Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Talking About Talking About Peace To Begin Monday

Just after the Israeli cabinet voted 13-7 with two abstentions to release 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners, the State Department announced that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators would meet in Washington Monday evening and Tuesday to resume peace talks after a three-year hiatus.

Dem Bones

Hats off to Yaakov Kirschen, the man behind the popular Israeli cartoon Dry Bones.  His latest zinger takes a well-deserved smack at the European Union and its decision to boycott anything Israeli or Jewish coming out of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

"Europe has no problem with importing goods made in Chinese prisons and Bangladeshi sweatshops, or buying oil from repressive Islamist regimes. But Jews building homes in their ancient Jewish homeland really offends Europe's sense of morality."

High Hopes, Low Expectations

The latest word is Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are expected in Washington early next week to begin talking about talking.  They're not coming to negotiate peace but to discuss about the shape of the table, what diplomats call a "framework" for negotiations. 

Even the most optimistic, those with the highest hopes, have low expectations.  They're not convinced Netanyahu and Abbas are ready or able to take the risks or make the difficult, historic decisions necessary for peace. 

Helen Thomas’s Worst Enemies Are Not Zionists

Some of the worst wounds in Washington are self-inflicted.

Even a paranoid like Richard Nixon had no one to blame but himself for his political demise although he’d assembled an impressive and extensive list of enemies and sicced the IRS and FBI on many of them.

And no one forced Bill Clinton to lust after a White House intern who liked to boast about her conquest.

Iran, Turkey & Holocaust Denial

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described Holocaust denial as one of the proudest achievements of his eight years as president of Iran.  That’s because he was willing to “bring up…a taboo topic that no one in the West allowed to be heard,” he told Fars News Agency, and which, he boasted, brought him worldwide popularity.

Ex-GOP Operative Named Next Israeli Ambassador

Just when it seemed to be fading away, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reputation for meddling in American partisan politics got new attention this week with his decision to name as his ambassador in Washington a former Republican operative who promoted his bromance last year with Mitt Romney.

He picked his close confidante Ron Dermer to replace Amb. Michael Oren, who according to some reports, wanted to stay but was forced out by Dermer’s desire for the job. Oren, an American-born historian, has served four years and was considered popular and effective.

Eyes Of Texas Are On Washington

George W. Bush is out of step with the Tea Party, both of Texas's Republican senators and the GOP leadership of the House and Senate.  He is once again calling on Congress to enact a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He told ABC News' This Week that the failure to enact immigration reform was one of the greatest disappointments of his presidency. 

 “I think it’s very important to fix a broken system, to treat people with respect and have confidence in our capacity to assimilate people,” Bush said.

What Is McCain’s Real Egypt Agenda?

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) wants to halt all U.S. economic and military aid to Egypt until that country adopts a new constitution and holds “free and fair elections” for a new president, which could take many months or even years.

Is he serious or just being his usual contrarian self, opposing whatever President Obama is doing, regardless of merit?

Egyptian Democracy: Retreating Or Advancing?

As Egypt’s revolution lurches on, this week’s military takeover could wind up doing more to reverse the trend toward Islamization and set that country on the course of democracy than the continued rule of its first democratically elected president, the deposed Mohamed Morsi.

Boehner’s Dilemma: Make History Or Be History

Congressional Republicans sometimes resemble a circular firing squad.  That's on display these days as libertarians, tea partiers, religious conservatives, pro-business fiscal conservatives, old-guard GOP’ers, some lonely moderates, assorted wingnuts and a perplexed leadership try to deal with immigration reform.

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