US government

UK peace talks give new hope

By Stephen Pollard and Jenni Frazer, August 27, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s three-day visit to London ended on an optimistic note after four hours of talks with President Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell.

A framework for resumed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is expected to be announced “between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur”, according to Israeli sources. This will almost certainly be at the UN General Assembly session in New York. Before that, Israeli officials are expected to hold further talks with Mr Mitchell next week.


Jewish tributes to Ted Kennedy

By Jessica Elgot, August 26, 2009

Jewish and Israeli leaders have paid tribute to US Senator Ted Kennedy, who died of brain cancer at the age of 77.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is currently in the UK called Senator Kennedy an "American patriot" said that he was "a great friend of Israel".

Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed deep sorrow at the death of Senator Kennedy
He said: "Kennedy was a clear friend of Israel the whole way, and in every place that he could help us, he did help.

“He was a particularly respected leader with an interest in helping society.


Anger over US medal for Israel critic

By Nathan Guttman, August 6, 2009

In the current contentious relationship between the Obama administration and Israel, even symbolic gestures are being taken as signs that the bond between the two countries is deteriorating.

Such is the case with Mary Robinson’s selection as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour.

The former president of Ireland and UN High Commissioner on Human Rights is among the 16 US and international figures who will receive the medal at an August 12 White House ceremony.


British diplomats involved in US-Israel tension

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 22, 2009

British diplomats played a major part in the recent spat between Israel and the United States over Jewish building in east Jerusalem.

Last week, during a routine meeting with Israel’s new ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, the Americans expressed objection to plans to convert the Shepherd Hotel in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah into 20 flats for Jewish families.

The building is owned by American-Jewish millionaire Irving Moskovich.


Can Dennis Ross bring Israel and US closer?

By Nathan Guttman, July 2, 2009

Veteran peace negotiator Dennis Ross is back in the US government’s Middle East portfolio in a move many interpret as a shift to the right for the administration.

After serving as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top adviser on Iran, Mr Ross is moving to the National Security Council (NSC), where he will be special adviser to the president on the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran and the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Mr Ross is considered to have close ties with Israeli officials. He previously chaired the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute.


Senate shock as lawmaker swaps parties

By Nathan Guttman, April 30, 2009

The only Jewish Republican in the Senate has defected to the Democratic Party, causing a potentially major shift in the senatorial balance of power.

Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, one of the longest serving senators, has long been at odds with his Republican colleagues.

His moderate views on economic and social issues became increasingly unwelcome and he publicly disputed the Republican caucus’s decision to oppose President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan.


Profile: Arlen Specter

By Nathan Guttman, April 30, 2009

At 79, Arlen Specter was a rare Republican voice. The Jewish lawmaker from Pennsylvania started as a Democrat but joined the Republicans at a time when party leaders promoted the idea of a “big tent” which could accommodate moderates and conservatives.

But during the Bush era, moderates had been consistently sidelined in favour of conservative voices.


Congressman defeats race slurs in US primary

By Nathan Guttman, August 15, 2008

A Jewish member of congress from Tennessee has emerged victorious from a fierce primary battle in which racial and religious accusations were thrown at him by his opponent.

Steve Cohen, a freshman Democratic member of congress from Tennessee's 9th district, won in a 60 per cent margin over his rival in the state's primary elections and is expected to keep his seat in the November elections.


The Arab envoy... who’s Jewish

By Candice Krieger, June 6, 2008

A woman believed to be the Arab world’s first Jewish ambassador, Houda Nonoo, was named this week as Bahrain’s ambassador to Washington. And according to her former headmaster, the British-educated envoy was the perfect student.

Houda Nonoo, educated in Britain

Ms Nonoo, 43, came to london aged 13 to better her education. she boarded at Carmel College, oxfordshire, together with her younger brother, Abraham.