Barack Obama

Obama to visit Israel in 2011

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 2, 2010

President Barack Obama will visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in a few months' time if the peace process continues, according to White House officials.

Mr Obama has been criticised by Americans and Israelis for not addressing both sides of the conflict directly during the first 18 months of his presidency. The president visited the region early in his term for a much-publicised speech in Cairo, but pointedly left Israel off his itinerary.

More..

Mazel tov from Obama, Schwarzenegger and the Queen

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

It would have been a guest list like no other, had all those invited to Travis’ barmitzvah been able to attend.

Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth and the late Charlton Heston were just some of the big names who made the list.

Sadly all the politicians, statesmen and celebrities who were sent invitations to the party in August 2007 by Travis’ father Gregory declined.

But 41 at least had the courtesy to reply and, after seeing another web user boast about a wedding message from the president, Travis has posted the responses online.

More..

Abbas faces hard choice over Israel talks

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 5, 2010

The next few weeks will be extremely stressful for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The notorious procrastinator, who has shied away from anything like a decision in his five and a half years at the helm of the PA, is under intense pressure to agree to direct negotiations with the Netanyahu government - and not even his Arab allies are prepared to help him out.

Last Thursday, the Arab League convened in Cairo and gave Mr Abbas authority to decide on the resumption of talks with Israel, at his discretion.

More..

Obama-link firm drops anti-Israel campaign

By Ellen Tumposky, July 15, 2010

An American public relations firm with ties to President Obama has decided not to renew a contract to orchestrate a campaign aimed at breaking the blockade of the Gaza Strip after Jewish organisations expressed dismay at the arrangement.

Fenton Communications - which boasts on its website that "we only represent causes we believe in ourselves" -- was being paid $240,000 for communications work this year for Al Fakhoora, a group that participated in the flotilla to Gaza. The money came from the office of Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, the second wife of the emir of Qatar.

More..

Analysis: Obama and Netanyahu smile for the cameras

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 8, 2010

The master of oratory was a bit off-form on Tuesday. President Barack Obama said all the right words at the end of his Oval Office meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but his heart obviously was not in it.

He stuttered slightly, repeatedly failed to make eye contact with the camera and almost fluffed his lines. Mr Netanyahu seemed much more at ease, but then he has a lot more practice than the president at glossing over compromise in public.

More..

Obama: 'unwavering' on Israel's security

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu received a warmer welcome in Washington as President Obama called for the resumption of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians within the next two months.

In a marked contrast to March’s frosty meeting, the president also assured that America “will never ask Israel to take any steps that would undermine their security interests."

More..

Netanyahu to meet Obama at White House

By Jennifer Lipman, July 6, 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set off for Washington to meet President Obama for what some have described as a “make-up visit”.

They are expected to discuss whether direct peace-talks between Israel and the Palestinians can be restarted, something Mr Netanyahu supports and Mr Obama sees as crucial to a two-state solution.

Mr Netanyahu recently said he was ready to meet the Palestinian President “today and tomorrow and the next day at any place.”

Palestinian leaders have so far rejected calls to start face-to-face negotiations.

More..

Kagan hearings start in Washington

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

Hearings have begun in Washington to confirm a Jewish woman as a judge on America’s highest court.

US President Barack Obama nominated his solicitor-general Elena Kagan for a position on the Supreme Court in May 2010. She faces at least two days of questions from a panel of 19 Democrats and Republicans.

If she is confirmed - and Republican critics have promised she will face tough questioning – a third of the nine Supreme Court justices would be Jewish. The other six members are Catholic.

More..

Rahm Emanuel tipped to leave White House

By Jennifer Lipman, June 21, 2010

President Barack Obama’s controversial and high-profile chief of staff, who is Jewish, could be leaving his job within a year to run for office in Chicago.

Rahm Emanuel, who was also a senior aide to Bill Clinton, has been tipped by Washington sources to leave the White House after November's mid-term elections.

Friends of the 50-year-old have said personality differences with President Obama and a desire to spend more time with his family are behind his probable exit.

More..

Bibi to meet Barack Obama at White House

By Jennifer Lipman, June 21, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arranged to meet President Barack Obama in Washington next month.

Following Israel’s announcement that it will ease the blockade of Gaza, the two leaders are to meet at the White House on July 6 to explore “additional steps” for the region.

A meeting had been scheduled for June 1 but was postponed in the wake of the clashes on the Gaza-bound flotilla.

More..