Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Lawyers, Lobbyists Battle In Diplomatic Intifada

The next stage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the diplomatic intifada.  Both sides are mobilizing their lawyers and lobbyists to do battle on several fronts, but primarily in The Hague and in Washington, D.C.

Since neither side has shown much interest in sitting down at the peace table for serious negotiations, they've opted for the battle of the briefcases.

Most Diverse Congress? It's Relative

The 114th Congress that convened this week is being called the most diverse in history.  That is a bit misleading. Relative to prior sessions, yes, but far from reflecting the nation as a whole.

I am reminded of the dog food company that advertised its product as "half horse meat and half rabbit meat."  When sued for false advertising it came out that the company's definition of half and half meant one horse to one rabbit.

'Dumbest Congressman' Running For Speaker

The man who has been called "America's dumbest congressman" and "a singularly useless and unaccomplished nutjob" just announced he is running against John Boehner for Speaker of the House this week.

For those of you who might be missing the antics of Michele Bachmann in the new Congress that convenes this week, your problem has been solved by Rep Louis Gohmert. 

Road To White House Goes Thru Israel

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is in Israel this week, and you know what that means:  he's thinking of running for president. 

He's billing the trip as an "economic development" mission and hosting an Invest in Indiana breakfast and meeting with the American ambassador for a briefing on the Israeli economy.  The Indiana Economic Development Foundation is footing most of the bill but, as with so many governors before him, it's more than a search for investors. It is a required campaign stop on the road to the White House. 

Bibi's American Advisors

Benjamin Netanyahu's political rivals are hoping his American campaign advisor will do as well for him as he did for his last high profile candidate, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia).  House majority leader Cantor, the highest ranking Jew in Congressional history, was on track to be Speaker before going down to spectacular defeat in June at the hands of a long shot Tea Party challenger.

Israel Miffed, Won't Back Cuba Move

The Netanyahu government, miffed that it was kept out of the loop, has rejected the Obama administration's request made to it and governments around the world to express support for the new U.S. Cuba policy.  Canada and the Vatican were the intermediaries and there are no indications any other country was involved.

Bibi's Alumni Running Against Him

The 2015 Israeli election is looking like a Netanyahu alumni reunion except that these former alums are all running against the prime minister in hope of denying him a fourth term.

What Does Abbas Really Want?

Mahmoud Abbas' latest threat is that if the U.N. Security Council doesn't approve his resolution calling for recognition of the state of Palestine within the 1967 borders and order full Israeli withdrawal by the end of 2017, his Palestinian Authority with "no longer deal" with Israel.

A Chanukah Miracle For Allan Gross

"Hag sameach."  Those were the first words of the newly freed Alan Gross at his Washington press conference Wednesday afternoon.

After five years in a Cuban prison for trying to smuggle Internet equipment to the communist country's tiny Jewish community, he was freed as part of a dramatic change in relations between Havana and Washington..

Gross gave special thanks to the Greater Washington Jewish Community Relations Council and its executive director, Ron Halber, for their ongoing campaign for his freedom.

Zeldin To Co-Chair House GOP Israel Caucus

Congressman-elect Lee Zeldin of Long Island, the only Jewish Republican in the incoming 114th Congress, was elected co-chair of the 100-member House Republican Caucus. 

Other co-chairs are Reps Peter Roskam of Illinois, Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Leonard Lance of New Jersey. 

Roskam, in announcing the appointment, stressed the strategic relationship between the United States and Israel but made no mention of the search for peace with the Palestinians.

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