Douglas Bloomfield's blog

Going To White House Via Jerusalem

Here's one thing presidential hopefuls of both parties agree on: if you want to get to the White House plan to stop in Jerusalem for some photo ops with prominent leaders and religious landmarks.

And if you're like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was there last week, you won't wait till you get home to begin sending -- Tweeting -- those pictures to your friends and supporters.

Sloppy Pandering

Lara Friedman, the eagle-eyed legislative watchdog for Americans for Peace Now, found an example of some of the most amateurish bill drafting by any Congressional office that I've seen in more than 40 years on and around Capitol Hill.

One thing I learned early on was that there's a highly professional, non-partisan staff of attorneys in the Legislative Counsel's office that will take any idea coming from a Hill office and put it into the proper language and form. It helps keep staffers from embarrassing themselves and their bosses.

When Shalom Doesn't Mean Peace

You might say his name is an oxymoron.  Putting someone named "shalom" in charge of peace negotiations who opposes the two-state solution and instead wants to expand settlement construction on the West Bank, doesn't make much sense.

If you had any lingering doubts about Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment to peace with the Palestinians, they should be eliminated by his decision to give the peace portfolio Silvan Shalom.

Israel's New Government And U.S. Jews

Israel now has the most right wing, religious, nationalistic, narrow and fragile coalition in its history.

It is shaping up as a government built on rejection of peace with the Palestinians, aggressive settlement construction, religious extremism, extortion, a disdain for democracy and huge payoffs from the national treasury.

Mideast Peace: Search and Rescue

The coalition guidelines Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented to Knesset on Wednesday revealed more by what they did not say that what they told about where he wants to lead his newly minted right wing government diplomatically.

The guidelines offered only vague language about peace and made no mention of the two-state approach or any new diplomatic vision or peace initiatives for the Netanyahu's fourth term.

Instead it offered what the Jerusalem Post defined as "a rather anemic clause" declaring:

Obama Gets Backing For Iran Talks

President Obama got a strong show of support from Jewish members of Congress and Democratic leaders this week in his efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran.

A letter signed by 150 House Democrats urged the President to "stay on course" for a negotiated "strong and verifiable agreement" that will "prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon."  They cautioned, "War itself will not make us safe. "

Snubs

Jimmy Carter was in Israel last week.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu let it be known he wasn't interested in seeing the former president, 90, who he considers hostile to the Jewish state.

Carter responded by saying meeting with Bibi would be "a waste of time" because the Israeli leader "does not now and has never sincerely believed in a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine." Rubbing it in, Carter said Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal is not a terrorist and is "strongly in favor of the peace process."

Balanced Budget Con Game

When politicians start talking about amending the constitution to require a balanced budget, they're telling you two things.

They have no courage and they think you're stupid.

What they really want is the issue and none of the responsibility that goes with balancing the budget. Republicans have majorities in Congress and could pass a balanced budget today if they were serious.  And if the President vetoes it, they have the issue they're looking for.

DC Branch of Knesset

The U.S. Congress sounds increasing like the Washington branch of the Knesset.  I'm just waiting for Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul to show up on the Senate floor wearing yarmulkes.

Senators debating the Iran bill this week have been busy trying to out-Israel each other.

Among the most ardent are Presidential hopefuls and senators facing tough reelection campaigns.  A number of them were in Las Vegas last weekend kissing the ring of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who they hope will dip into his billions to fund their campaigns.

Baltimore Mom's Lesson For The Middle East

It struck me while watching that heroic mother in Baltimore emphatically educating her son (see it here) about the perils of rioting and throwing rocks at police that she should be a role model for Israeli and Palestinian mothers.

Toya Graham saw her son Michael, 16, on TV and immediately went out on the streets looking to literally knock some sense into his head.

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