Barack Obama

Obama welcomes heritage festival

By Hilary Krieger, May 27, 2010

For the first time since its inception four years ago, Jewish American Heritage Month has received a full-blown White House reception, hosted this week by US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The event was due to feature some of the biggest names in US Jewry, from sports and literary icons to leading scholars and businessmen - not to mention Jewish members of Congress, major Democratic political players and key Obama fundraisers.

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Obama Chief of Staff to meet Netanyahu and Peres

By Jessica Elgot, May 26, 2010

President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will meet Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today and President Shimon Peres tomorrow.

Emmanuel, who is in Israel for his son Zach’s barmitzvah, is expected to have an informal chat with both men about the current proximity talks with the Palestinians and to discuss general US-Israel bilateral relations.

The barmitzvah ceremony will be held in Jerusalem, but it is not clear if it will take place at the Western Wall.

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Jewish woman is nominee for Supreme Court

By Jessica Elgot, May 11, 2010

US President Barack Obama has nominated his solicitor-general Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.

Ms Kagan’s appointment would be the first time three women will serve as part of the nine judges who form the Supreme Court, and the fourth woman to serve in the country’s history.

Her appointment would also mean she is the third Jewish member of the Supreme Court, joining six Catholic members. Fellow female judge Ruth Ginsberg is also Jewish, as is Stephen Breyer.

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Tikkun Obama

By Simon Rocker, May 6, 2010

Once tikkun olam was an obscure mystical idea known only to Kabbalists, now it's the official culture of American Jewry.

In a White House proclamation announcing Jewish Heritage Month this month, Barack Obama saluted Jewish Americans who "today… carry on their culture's tradition of tikkun olam - 'to repair the world' - through good deeds and service". 

He signed it "in the year" 2010 rather than the usual formula, "in the year of our Lord".

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Mitchell arrives in Israel to start peace talks

By Jessica Elgot, May 4, 2010

US Special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has arrived in Israel ready to start new indirect peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli media have reported that the talks are gearing up to start as soon as Wednesday.

But the Palestinian Authority has refused to participate in the talks until it has the backing of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, which will not meet until Sunday.

Talks, mediated by Mr Mitchell, were agreed last month but the PA cancelled after an Israeli announcement that new homes had been approved in Ramat Shlomo, east Jerusalem.

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Analysis: Why Obama suddenly loves Netanyahu

By Nathan Guttman, April 29, 2010

Last month, the Obama administration chose to go to an extreme when criticising Israel over its settlement activity. Now it is going to the opposite extreme in showing its love for the Jewish state.

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Analysis: On Iran, at least, Bibi and Obama agree

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 15, 2010

Commentators have been competing with each other to come up with the best superlative to describe the apparent crisis in Israel-American relations, but it has gone almost unnoticed that on one very significant issue, President Barack Obama seems to be closer now to Israel's position that the Bush administration.

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Bibi back in US for security talks

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 7, 2010

Only three weeks after the traumatic meeting in the Oval Office, Binyamin Netanyahu will be returning to Washington next week and participating in President Barack Obama's nuclear security summit.

The two leaders are not expected to meet privately as the Israeli government has yet to respond to the administration’s demands regarding the peace process.

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Obama is setting a precedent for Israel

By Jonathan Tobin, April 1, 2010

President Obama's foreign policy team came into office in 2009 determined to distance themselves from Israel. This was due in part to their inclination to change everything that the Bush administration did as well as their belief that a more "even handed" approach really could jump start the peace process.

This determination to cool things down with Israel was strengthened once Binyamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition won in the elections held only a month after Mr Obama's inauguration.

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Israeli cabinet mulls Obama's proposals for Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, March 29, 2010

US President Barack Obama aims to halt construction completely in east Jerusalem, including the strictly Orthodox neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo, as part of 10 demands made during his Washington meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel media has reported.

Other demands include ending the demolition of Palestinian neighbourhoods and the re-starting of indirect talks with the Palestinians to decide on future borders.

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