Blogs

Keith Ellison, Gaza and what it means to be "anti-Israel"

I keep getting emails and reading blogs about the infamous “Ellison letter” - the congressional letter to President Obama urging him to press Israel to lift the Gaza blockade (many of the writers put the word “blockade” in quotation marks, as if it bears no connection to reality).

The Many Kinds Of Intermarriage

 The last Super Bowl I watched was in 1980, when I was in third grade. I know the Steelers won, but that’s about all I can tell you.

What are New Israel Fund critics afraid of?

As the controversy over grantees of the New Israel Fund and their alleged role in supplying information used by the Goldstone Report on the Gaza war rages here and in Israel, I can't help but wonder this: what are the critics so afraid of?

There's an irony here. Unlike its adversaries in the Middle East, Israel actually has a vigorous, outspoken and independent  human rights movement  willing and able to critically examine the actions of its own government. That's a good thing, right?

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.

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