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Jewish Journal

Ron Kampeas

  • Groups join to oppose sanctions

    January 29, 2014 | 2:04 pm

    A loose coalition of advocacy groups and policy experts, including a pair of dovish Jewish organizations, have been coordinating messaging in support of the Obama administration’s Iran strategy.

    The coalition was convened by the Ploughshares Fund, which advocates for a...

  • Newest entrant into GOP field, Rick Perry, is longtime friend of Israel—and Jesus

    August 15, 2011 | 11:50 am

    To some conservative Jews, Texas Gov. Rick Perry would make an excellent presidential candidate. He’s been to Israel more than any other candidate in the field and has said he loves it. And Perry creates jobs.

    But other Jewish conservatives seeking the anti-Obama candidate look at...

  • For Obama, Bibi tensions subside, political problems begin

    May 24, 2011 | 3:30 pm

    That Israel problem President Obama had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Old news.

    That Israel problem Obama has with Congress? And with his party?

    That’s just beginning.

    In two successive speeches—one to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday and...

  • At AIPAC, effort to shift focus back to agenda: Iran, foreign aid, Capitol Hill relationships

    May 24, 2011 | 8:14 am

    Let’s get past this U.S.-Israel relationship thing, so we can get on with important stuff, like the U.S.-Israel relationship.

    That seemed to be the message this week at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    With a record 10,000 people and...

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  • AIPAC likes Obama’s clarification on ‘67 lines

    May 22, 2011 | 2:21 pm

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said it “appreciated” President Obama’s clarification that he did not expect Israel to return to its 1967 lines. 

    “In particular, we appreciate his statement that the U.S. does not expect Israel to withdraw to the boundaries that existed...

  • ZOA to AIPAC: Withdraw Obama invite

    May 20, 2011 | 9:16 am

    The Zionist Organization of America urged AIPAC to rescind its invitation to President Obama after he called for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the basis of 1967 lines, saying Obama is the most hostile U.S. president ever to Israel.

    “We urge AIPAC to rescind the invitation for...

  • Jewish groups strategize for statehood debate at UN

    April 20, 2011 | 5:14 pm

    The path to international recognition of Palestinian statehood by September — when the Palestinians plan to bring the matter before the U.N. General Assembly — seems clear.

    The question before Israel and its supporters who oppose such recognition is how to create a detour.

    Some...

  • Steve Rosen: Campaign with alleged Libyan funding was Jesse Jackson’s

    December 16, 2010 | 3:17 pm

    Former senior AIPAC staffer Steve Rosen says he attempted in 1984 to disseminate information linking Libyan funders to the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign.

    Rosen told reporters Thursday that Jackson was the candidate mentioned in documents he filed this week in his...

  • AIPAC viewed U.S. gov’t as targeting pro-Israel groups during espionage probe

    December 16, 2010 | 1:04 pm

    It was a case that transfixed the pro-Israel community: the arrest in August 2005 on espionage charges of two senior officials at the most influential pro-Israel group in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    Before the government dropped the case in May 2009...

  • Revelations of Iranian Plant Return Nuclear Threat to Center Stage

    September 30, 2009 | 4:04 am

    With Iran, it always comes back to the nuclear issue.

    The revelation last Friday that Iran has a second secret uranium-enrichment plant — with a “configuration” inconsistent with peaceful intent, according to President Obama — placed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program...

  • William Safire, New York Times Columnist, Dies at 79

    September 30, 2009 | 2:15 am

    William Safire, the Nixon speechwriter-turned-New York Times political columnist, died of pancreatic cancer at 79 in a Maryland hospice on Sept. 27. He was known for making an art of at once embracing and poking the Washington establishment.

    In 2001 the wily wordsmith set his sights...

  • Oren Navigates Waters Among Israel, U.S. Government and American Jews

    August 18, 2009 | 4:38 pm

    Tweeted, a diplomat’s job would look something like this: Explain home abroad, explain abroad home.

    In recent weeks, it’s seemed as if the job description for Israeli envoys would encroach on the 140-character limit: Explain home abroad, explain abroad home, explain Jews abroad...

  • Obama Ready With (or for) Peace Plan?

    August 11, 2009 | 7:03 pm

    Are the parties in the Middle East ready for a U.S. peace plan? Or just for a plan for a peace plan?

    Talk of a near-term U.S. peace plan was spurred last week when a State Department official said one would be in place “within weeks” — a projection confirmed within a day by...

  • AIPAC Decision a Victory — With Qualifiers

    May 6, 2009 | 9:05 pm

    Baruch Weiss, the young lawyer who helped cripple the government’s case against two former AIPAC staffers, says the prosecution’s loss is a “great victory” for free speech and for Israel’s friends.

    He’s not wrong, but like any legal document, the government’s motion on...

  • At AIPAC, Obama and Netanyahu Administrations Listen to Each Other

    May 6, 2009 | 8:57 pm

    “This relationship matters to me,” one partner says.

    “Show me,” says the other.

    Such conversations, as any couple can attest, usually don’t augur the happiest of chats.

    If this year’s AIPAC policy conference stopped well short of a full-blown spat between the...

  • U.S. Pulling Out of ‘Durban II’ Conference

    February 27, 2009 | 6:40 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—The Obama administration has decided to boycott the so-called Durban II conference out of concerns for anti-Semitism.

    Multiple sources on a conference call with the White House on Friday told JTA that the Obama administration had opted not to attend any further...

  • Possible Intelligence Pick Linked to Biased Saudi Book

    February 26, 2009 | 11:00 am

    The Obama administration’s reported pick for a top intelligence post helped peddle a Saudi-funded school study guide decried by Jewish groups and educators for having anti-Jewish biases.

    Charles “Chas” Freeman, the U.S. envoy to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, is...

  • Jewish Banker Sets Heartfelt Tone for Obama Speech

    February 25, 2009 | 6:11 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—In times like these, “Jewish banker” might seem an unlikely descriptor for “hero,” but that’s who President Obama chose to make his point about being generous in hard times.

    Obama’s salute to Leonard Abess in his state of the nation speech Tuesday was likely to...

  • Obama Envoy Embarks on Mideast ‘Listening Tour’

    January 28, 2009 | 4:22 pm

    A rush of speculation is circulating about what answers George Mitchell, President Obama’s newly named special envoy, may bring to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

    It’s natural to wonder: Mitchell, 75, a former governor and U.S. senator from Maine who became majority leader,...

  • Obama’s Black-Jewish Pledge

    January 15, 2009 | 5:29 pm

    Barack Obama’s pledge to use his presidency to revive the black-Jewish alliance starts on Day (minus) One — the day before he becomes president.

    The president-elect’s inaugural committee has asked Jewish groups to make black-Jewish dialogue and joint outreach to the poor a...

  • Analysis: Gaza crisis is opportunity for Obama

    December 29, 2008 | 7:55 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Does the mini-war underway between Israel and Hamas in and around the Gaza Strip present President-elect Barack Obama's incoming administration with a crisis or an opportunity?

    Israel's aerial bombardment, the most intensive in the Gaza Strip in the history of the...

  • Analysis: Obama sounding similar to Bush on foreign policy

    December 3, 2008 | 6:16 pm

    Not only is Barack Obama inheriting President Bush's Middle East, it looks like he's adopting his strategies.

    Perhaps the most striking presence on the Chicago stage Monday, where President-elect Obama presented his national security team, were the policies of the outgoing president....

  • Jewish organizations mostly at ease with Obama appointees

    November 24, 2008 | 7:49 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Barack Obama's "team of rivals" is turning into a collection well known to the Jewish community, which should comfort those who expressed apprehension about who the president-elect would appoint to his Cabinet.

    Obama is fulfilling pledges he made during a grueling...

  • Rahm Emanuel is a fighting policy wonk with a Jewish soul [VIDEO]

    November 13, 2008 | 1:03 am

    Political insight, killer in a fight, Yiddishkayt -- it's an inseparable package when it comes to Rahm Emanuel, say those who know President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be the next White House chief of staff.

    Since his days as a fundraiser and then a "political adviser" -- read:...

  • Jews looked past worries to embrace Obama

    November 6, 2008 | 6:08 pm

    For some Jewish voters, the strangeness of Barack Obama was like a recurring dream: unsettling and then settling in, and then, suddenly, revelatory.

    Ari Wallach described breaking through to elderly Jews in Florida who had resisted voting for the son of the man from Kenya, the tall...

  • Obama—who won 78% of Jewish vote—faces global disarray, Mideast challenges

    November 5, 2008 | 12:26 am

    WASHINGTON (JTA) - Barack Obama emerges from a maelstrom into a vacuum.

    The U.S. senator from Illinois has survived the longest and roughest election season in memory to assume control of a free world in free fall: A collapsing economy, a resurgent Iran, an obstreperous Russia.

    "He's...

  • ANALYSIS: Who advises McCain and Obama?

    October 28, 2008 | 5:50 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA) -- When the question of recognizing Israel landed on President Harry Truman's desk in May 1948, he had to balance the advice of his old friend, Clark Clifford, against the general he deeply admired, George Marshall.

    In the end Truman went with his friend,...
  • ANALYSIS: Obama worked hard to gain Jewish trust

    October 27, 2008 | 7:49 pm

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (JTA)—A major Republican tack against Barack Obama has a simple theme: By his friends you shall know him.

    For the McCain campaign, in recent weeks this has meant repeatedly linking the Democratic presidential nominee to William Ayers, the former member of the...

  • Don’t run Republican Jewish Coalition ads, pro-Israel group J Street tells Jewish newspapers

    October 13, 2008 | 3:19 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—A campaign by a new dovish pro-Israel group to get Jewish newspapers not to run Republican Jewish Coalition attack ads has raised questions about what’s kosher and what isn’t in this fraught political season.

    The new group, J Street, helped flood many Jewish...

  • Debate wrap up: Palin contradicts McCain, will make peace process a ‘priority’

    October 3, 2008 | 6:53 pm

    ST. LOUIS (JTA)—Israeli-Palestinian peace talks would be a priority of a McCain administration, Sarah Palin said last night.

    “A two-state solution is the solution,” Alaska Gov. Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, said in her debate with the Democratic vice-presidential...

  • Poll: Obama hits wall with ‘undecided’ Jews

    September 26, 2008 | 5:07 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Barack Obama has hit a wall of Jewish indecision.

    The American Jewish Committee survey published Thursday shows the Democratic presidential nominee still hovering around 60 percent among Jewish voters. His big problem: the undecideds.

    The U.S. senator from...
  • McCain advisors:
    No to Syria talks, little interest in Middle East peace process

    September 22, 2008 | 5:17 pm

    LEESBURG, Va. (JTA)—A McCain administration would discourage Israeli-Syrian peace talks and refrain from actively engaging in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

    That was the message delivered over the weekend by two McCain advisers—Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on...

  • Politicizing Iran:
    GOP spikes Obama sanctions bill, Dems scuttle Palin's rally gig

    September 19, 2008 | 3:18 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—Just when you thought it was safe to put the issue of Iran back in the bipartisan closet, out it roars into a food fight between the Republicans and Democrats.

    The two parties are tussling over who should have appeared at a Jewish-sponsored anti-Iran rally next week...

  • McCain and Obama campaigns focus on sanctions as Iran threat looms

    September 16, 2008 | 6:47 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The mounting anxiety over Iran’s nuclear program is sparking campaign chatter over a possible Israeli strike and prompting a bipartisan effort to revive long-stalled sanctions legislation in the U.S. Congress.

    Time is running out, say advocates of new...
  • Attack dog? Fresh meat? Quest for Jewish vote flips Biden and Palin roles

    September 10, 2008 | 3:13 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—Joe Biden, all wrong on Israel? Sarah Palin, a Jewish woman’s worst nightmare?

    Republicans and Democrats campaigning for the Jewish vote have flipped the traditional role of the vice-presidential candidate from “attack dog” to fresh meat.

    Campaign attacks typically...

  • Biden, Palin lead campaign clash on Mideast

    September 4, 2008 | 5:25 pm

    ST. PAUL (JTA)—The two vice-presidential candidates led the way Wednesday as the Obama and McCain campaigns worked to draw clear battle lines on Iran and Israel.

    In a highly anticipated speech at the Republican National Convention, Alaska Gov. and vice presidential nominee Sarah...

  • Allies and foes scrape through Palin bio for Jewish material

    September 2, 2008 | 2:56 pm

    ST. PAUL (JTA)—A small Israeli flag propped up on a window frame. A Pat Buchanan button sported briefly as a courtesy. A prospective son-in-law with a biblical name.

    Little about the Frozen North is Jewish outside the realm of fiction (see Mordechai Richler, Michael Chabon,...

  • McCain surrogates likely to echo Bush on Iran and Israel

    August 29, 2008 | 6:05 pm

    DENVER (JTA)—John McCain’s campaign has walked a fine line between upholding the values of the GOP base that still reveres George W. Bush, while repudiating the legacy of the most unpopular president in modern history.

    In at least one area, however, there’s no ambivalence: When it...

  • Democratic platform sticks close to Jewish positions

    August 27, 2008 | 1:00 am

    DENVER (JTA) -- When it comes to the Middle East and Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic Party platform, things are staying pretty much the same -- which, in this case, is the kind of change pro-Israel activists can believe in.

    The platform committee appears to have heeded recommendations...

  • Let the games begin: GOP plays ‘Iran card’ against Democrats Obama and Biden

    August 25, 2008 | 5:14 pm

    DENVER (JTA)—A year ago, the push for a congressional amendment that urged the declaration of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist group was signature legislation for much of the pro-Israel lobby. Only two dozen U.S. senators out of 100 opposed it.

    Two of those...

  • With seven rabbis and counting, Dem parley reaches out to the faithful

    August 20, 2008 | 5:08 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—Jewish voters and organizations often are among the first to object when Republicans and Christian conservatives inject religion into politics.

    But this year, especially at their convention next week, the Democrats are jumping into the religion game—and looking to...

  • McCain campaign checks out sole Jewish Republican Congressman as possible VP

    August 5, 2008 | 8:40 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA) -- U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor bridges two unlikely constituencies, say those hoping to see the Virginia Republican on John McCain's presidential ticket: Jews and hard-core, red state conservatives.

    Pressed, however, these Cantor devotees admit there's not much between...
  • How will Israel’s changes affect U.S. interests?

    August 1, 2008 | 6:16 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—When Ehud Olmert announced this week he was quitting, three of the four people likeliest to succeed him already were auditioning for two of the job’s toughest constituencies: the U.S. government and American Jewry.

    Whether intentional or not, Olmert’s timing was...

  • Analysis: Olmert’s journey from right-wing idealogue to unsuccessful pragmatist

    July 31, 2008 | 4:52 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—The day after Ehud Olmert buried his own political career, he announced plans to commemorate Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the ideological proponent of Greater Israel whose vision Olmert has done much to bury.

    It was an odd closing of a circle: Olmert’s signature achievement...

  • Israel-Iran war talk blamed for oil price frenzy

    July 7, 2008 | 5:40 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—Even if the tough talk between Israel and Iran never comes to blows, it’s already hitting consumers where it hurts—at the gas pump.

    Experts say that talk of an Israeli strike on Iran is a key part of what’s unsettling already volatile oil markets.

    “It’s clearly...

  • Jewish groups say Supreme Court’s decisions are a mixed bag

    July 1, 2008 | 2:19 pm

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—Perhaps the most noteworthy development for Jewish groups that watch the Supreme Court was not what it decided this session, but what it decided not to decide.

    In its 2007-08 session, which ended last week, the majority conservative court turned away a number of...

  • Olmert in D.C.: Iran talk, not goodbyes

    June 8, 2008 | 1:03 am

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—Expressions of love, walks down memory lane, even the rain lashing the capital’s monuments.

    The latest meeting between Ehud Olmert and George Bush played out like the end of a movie romance. Only the Israeli prime minister says he’s not going anywhere because there...

  • McCain raps Obama on Iran and Iraq at AIPAC

    June 2, 2008 | 3:05 pm

    WASHINGTON [JTA] -- No confessional bloc rejects the Iraq war more than American Jews do. But in a bit of political jujitsu, John McCain is making the policy his own in his plea for Jewish votes.

    The presumptive Republican presidential nominee made headlines -- and drew heavy fire...

  • Iran sanctions figure large in AIPAC lobbying

    June 2, 2008 | 11:30 am

    As 5,000 AIPAC activists ascend Capitol Hill this week, they will be pushing a multifaceted agenda with a clear bottom line: It’s the sanctions, stupid.

    Some new wrinkles in the lobbying blitz that traditionally follows the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy...

  • After weeks of feuding over Mideast, candidates head to AIPAC conference

    May 29, 2008 | 3:41 pm

    If there's any doubt about AIPAC being the belle of Washington, check out next week's ball.

    The lobbying powerhouse's conference, to be held June 2-4, is the only policy event since the presidential election campaign was launched that has attracted all three major candidates: U.S....