Douglas Bloomfield's blog

Lamdan Honored For Exploring Jewish Roots

Amb. Neville Lamdan, who served Israel in top posts in Washington, at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and at the Vatican before leaving the diplomatic arena to explore Jewish roots, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Boston this week. 

Enemies Lists

It was 39 years ago today that our most paranoid of presidents resigned in disgrace, the victim of repeated self-inflicted wounds. One of his legacies is his enemies lists; he intended to create problems for his critics but it all backfired and presence on one of Richard Nixon's enemies lists became and remains a badge of honor.

The anniversary brought to mind an item by the Washington Post's conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin shortly after the death of New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg; her column looked a lot like a Nixonian honor. 

Congress Hits Road To Jerusalem

The greatly underworked and unproductive Congress just adjourned for a long, undeserved summer vacation. You know what that means:  it's time to hit the road.

At least 60 are heading for Israel this month on what they euphemistically refer to as "study missions."

First to the boarding gate will House Democrats led by Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), who will be making his umpteenth visit to the Holy Land.  This time he's taking 36 other House Democrats. 

Kerry Gives Talks 9 Months To Produce Peace

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators spent more time on planes flying to and from Washington this week than meeting with each other and American officials, but they accomplished enough to begin formal negotiations within the next two weeks.  Those talks will be "sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations," will take place in the Middle East and will aim for a comprehensive final status agreement within nine months, said Secretary of State John Kerry.

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.

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