On Friday, TNR Contributing Editor and Washington Times national security reporter Eli Lake published a blockbuster scoop about the National Iranian American Council, (NIAC), and it's founder, Trita Parsi. I recently wrote about Parsi's appearance at the J Street conference, where he waived away concerns about the Iranian regime's warnings about destroying Israel and compared such invocations to statements issued by the United States about Iran's nuclear program.
Last week, I wrote about a panel at the inaugural convention of the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization J Street, in which former Bush NSC staffer Hillary Mann Leverett said the following: Too often, Iran's security concerns are dismissed in the U.S. and in Israel as false or manufactured, reinforcing the stereotype of Iranians as chronically duplicitous and unprepared to keep any commitment they enter into. ... Those stereotypes are simply not supported by the historical record. ...
The self-declared mission of J Street, the dovish "pro-Israel, pro-Peace" lobby that just concluded its first national conference this week, includes redefining the meaning of the term "pro-Israel." For too long, the organization's founders and supporters argue, right-wing elements in the Jewish community have abused the term to hijack the debate and tarnish mainstream, sensible advocates of a two-state solution. J Street's "pro-Israel" bona fides were questioned almost immediately after its launch, and with good reason.
This week I've been attending the first national conference of J Street, the "pro-Israel, pro-Peace" group which I first wrote about last year. I'm working on a longer piece about the organization's identity crisis that should appear sometime soon, but there have been two events thus far worthy of special note. First was the speech delivered by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism and one of the most prominent liberal Jews in the country.
I'm a bit late in getting to this, but I have to disagree with Suzy Khimm's take on GOP Senator Tom Coburn's co-authoring a piece for The Advocate with Christopher Barron, Chairman of GOProud. That organization was founded earlier this year (I wrote about it here) by a pair of disgruntled former employees of the Log Cabin Republicans, who argued that the flagship gay GOP organization had been hijacked by liberals.
On September 12, the United States government revoked the visas of de facto Honduran President Roberto Micheletti and 14 of the country’s Supreme Court justices. Days earlier, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S.-government body, voted to cut off $11 million in aid to the cash-strapped Central American country.
Speculation as to who will succeed Ted Kennedy is proceeding apace, with his nephew, former Congressman Joseph Kennedy II, the likely frontrunner in the January 19 special election. The eldest son of Robert Kennedy, Joe held the House seat once occupied by his uncle John and House Speaker Tip O’Neill, representing Boston from 1987 until 1999. If he does run, Kennedy would start with a financial disadvantage.
Ed Kilgore is mischaracterizing what I wrote yesterday when I criticized his postulation that it is racism and hatred of poor people motivating (some) critics of the president's health care plan--just like it's unspoken bigotry that leads certain Republicans to take positions against same-sex marriage. Kilgore writes that I believe there to be "no moral equivalence between homophobia and hostility to poor and minority people." But nothing I wrote would suggest such a privileging of repulsion for one type of bigotry over that of another.
Today, Barack Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 recipients. What should be a joyous affair, however, has been the subject of growing controversy due to the selection of Mary Robinson--a former United Nations official who presided over the notoriously anti-Zionist 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. For this, Obama has earned himself much criticism from the American Jewish community.
Ed Kilgore has a puzzling article on our website today, in which he compares opponents of the president's health care plan to anti-gay bigots. Kilgore begins by arguing that the real motivation of most people who oppose gay marriage is that they just don't like gay people.