Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Bibi Wants Low Profile On Syria WMD

As President Obama weighs the evidence on suspected Syrian use on Sarin nerve gas and what to do about it, the Israeli government is trying to keep a low profile, or at least low by Israeli standards.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed his government not to make this incident about Israel and not to speak publicly about the issue, but first deputy foreign minister Ze'ev Elkin warned that a weak American response to Syrian use of Sarin would encourage Iran to accelerate its nuclear program.

Obama To Name Two Jewish Activists To Economic Posts

President Obama is close to filling out his second term cabinet with appointments to top economic posts of two longtime friends who also have a background of Jewish community activism.

He is expected to name Michael Froman to be the next U.S. Trade Representative and Penny Pritzker as secretary of commerce.

Froman, 50, is a former Harvard Law School classmate of the president, where they were editors of the Harvard Law Review, and he is currently the deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs. 

House Resolution Calls For Stable West Bank

Two U.S. congressmen have introduced legislation calling on the Palestinian Authority to prevent a Hamas takeover of the West Bank.

Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) introduced a resolution Tuesday urging the Palestinian Authority to work for political stability and calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to create a presidential succession plan.

The two politicians also spelled out the need for expanded political freedom in the West Bank.

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

The road to the White House goes through Jerusalem.  At least it seems that way as the Israeli capital has become a virtually mandatory stop for politicians of both parties running for president.  The latest arrival is Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley this week, accompanied by a bevy of business execs and Jewish community leaders from his state.

Another Reason Congress Doesn't Get Respect

Boston Police, the FBI, ATF, Homeland Security were still trying to figure out who was responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing Monday but that didn't stop one of Congress's most notorious wingnuts from trying to exploit the tragedy to advance his own political agenda.

How Much US Aid Does Israel Need?

Does Israel really need $3.4 billion in U.S. aid grants this year when it has one of the strongest economies in that part of the world? That is the question raised in a report by NBC News's longtime Israel-based correspondent Martin Fletcher.

The Israeli Finance Ministry is predicting Israel's economy will expand by 3.5% this year and next.  By contrast, economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal predicted 2.4 percent growth for the United States.

An Unholy Alliance

What do Iran, Syria, North Korea, half the U.S. Senate and the National Rifle Association have in common?

That unholy quintet is adamantly opposed to any restrictions on selling arms to anyone anywhere in the world – be they terrorist organizations, tyrannical regimes or organized crime -- who wants them: no principles, no qualms, no regrets.  

Guns And Blather

When it comes to protecting constituents over protecting the NRA and the gun industry, at least 14 senators – all Republicans -- have lined up with the gun lobby to block any legislation that might make it tougher for the wrong people to stock up on AK-47s, Bushmasters and megaclips of ammo.  Despite polls consistently showing overwhelming majorities of Americans – including Republicans and gun owners – want effective background checks and other measures, their loyalty lies elsewhere.

Richard Milhous McConnell

When caught in a meeting with campaign ads plotting ways to smear a potential opponent, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reacted with typical Nixonian double-speak by claiming to be the victim of a liberal plot. 

On Second Thought

President Obama had to apologize this week to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for calling her the best looking attorney general in the country.  Some folks thought he was being sexist, but could it have been that Eric Holder was offended and sulking in his office at the Justice Department?

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