Blogs

The Jerusalem Embassy Act and other pro-Israel political games

Is this news, or just restating the obvious?

This week President Obama invoked waive provisions of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act, which requires the State Department to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

U.S. policy has always been that the status of Jerusalem is a matter for negotiations with the Palestinians, and that moving the embassy before that would compromise this country's ability to serve as an effective peace mediator.

New Air Force Chief a MOT

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Remember the recent controversy over proselytizing at the U.S. Air Force Academy? And charges by some groups that the service branch has become a very uncomfortable place for religious minorities, including Jews? That could change with Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ appointment last week of a new Air Force chief. His pick: Lt. General Norton Schwartz, a 1973 Air Force Academy graduate, onetime cargo aircraft pilot and official Member of the Tribe.

Regulation and Amnesia

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Isn’t it interesting how Democrats and Republicans alike have turned “regulation” into the foulest of political expletives – but as soon as things go bad, complain that the regulators weren’t on the job?

Chas Freeman and the pro-Israel lobby: watch your definitions

Thursday, March 12th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Was it really the  “pro-Israel lobby” that scuttled the nomination of Chas Freeman as head of the National Intelligence Council, as Freeman himself charged in an outburst after his withdrawal on Wednesday and prominent columnists like the Washington Post’s David Broder agree? Well, it depends on you definition of “the lobby.”

Harry Schwarz, anti-apartheid crusader and South African Jewish leader, dies

Today JTA is reporting that Schwarz, a refugee from Nazi German and a  longtime South African Jewish leader, has died at the age of 86.

Rep. Ackerman counsels - gasp - patience on Iran

You don't hear a lot of politicians talking sense about Iran these days. Either they pretend tough talk and unilateral sanctions will do the trick, ignoring history and common sense,  or they are part of the  “don't bother me now” faction.

That's why I liked Rep. Gary Ackerman's statement to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia this week during a hearing on the political reform movement in Iran.
 

Obama hit from both sides on faith-based initiative

The natives are getting restless when it comes to the Obama administration's Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships .

Today the Anti-Defamation League joined with 23 other national organizations  in a statement urging the administration to make sure federal funds distributed as part of the ongoing faith based initiative aren't used to proselytize or discriminate based on religious beliefs.

More Gibson Melodrama

An interview with Mel Gibson on a local Chicago station has been getting more than the usual amount of play. It seems reporter Dean Richards of WGN popped a question into a fluffy Mel Gibson movie plug session that made the action hero uncomfortable.

Blogging the New Israel Fund flap

The reaction against attempts by the political right in Israel to portray the New Israel Fund as a  kind of anti-Israel fifth column is intensifying.

“Avatar” And Blue Palestinians

It’s probably just a coincidence that the blue-skinned, endangered aliens from the planet Pandora in the mega-hit “Avatar” are called the Na’vi, which is Hebrew for prophet. It couldn’t be that non-Jewish writer and director James Cameron took the term deliberately to make a point that in these victimized, ultimately triumphant underdogs we were to see a glimpse of some conflict in the offing. Could it?

Probably not. But it is one of the things to ponder about a movie that borrows so much of its essence, while leaving so much to interpretation.

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