What Would A Bernie-Bloomberg Match Look Like?

In terms of the Jewish community, a Sander vs. Bloomberg match would be a moment of pride mixed with a fair amount of communal oy vey. The pride part is obvious. The oy vey relates to the not unreasonable concern over the rise of anti-Semitic stereotypes relating to either candidate. Clearly, pride overpowers concerns about haters just using this as another reason to hate, but the ride would be a tough one.

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AIPAC Falls Victim to Polarizing Politics

And yet, AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, should have been able to navigate this minefield a little more gracefully. The lobby, known for its political savviness, has demonstrated its mastery of political nuance in the past, knowing exactly how far it can go in stepping on the toes of one side (usually the Democrats) without alienating it altogether. AIPAC has shown its ability to remain a welcome guest and a trusted adviser regardless of the party occupying the White House or holding the majority in Congress.

This week, however, was different.

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Five Things to Know This Week: Trump’s Jewish American Gambit

1. Who’s in and who’s out of Trump’s Jewish allies circle? Last Tuesday, the White House hosted a group of Jewish leaders for a short pre-Passover meeting and briefing. There was a nice spread of gefilte fish, potato kugel and some Israeli-style salad, and, according to participants, the atmosphere was good with plenty of time left before and after the discussion for friendly schmoozing. That’s worth noting, because in terms of substance, participants didn’t get much—all the White House had to offer was an overview by the newly appointed Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism Elan Carr and a speech by Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer, praising President Trump and his policies toward Israel. The real point of interest is the list of invitees, and more importantly those left off. Trump’s White House made a point of...

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Five Things to Know This Week: AIPAC Insights And Trump’s Campaign Boost

1. AIPAC goes tough, but then what? An unmistakable air of combativeness set the tone for AIPAC’s annual policy conference. The 18,000 participants, dignitaries, professionals and reporters could not miss the fact that leaders of the pro-Israel lobby arrived not only well prepared for the battle, but even eager to fight. The enemy was targeted clearly, though rarely named. “They are emboldened and energized, and their false claims are taken at face value by new and larger audiences…They say you can't be a good progressive and be a supporter of Israel. And now they're saying you can't even be a good American and be a supporter of Israel,” said AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr in his opening speech. Who are “they” whom Kohr does not mention by name? It was clear to all that the threat AIPAC was warning...

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Five Things to Know This Week: Can Bernie Sanders show Ilhan Omar the right way to criticize Israel?

1. Ilhan Omar watch: Where’s Bernie? House Democrats are spending more and more time trying to understand, educate and counter their colleague Ilhan Omar. What started off as an unfortunate Twitter quip has ballooned into a major issue for Dems. This week brought some Jewish Democratic heavyweights into the ring, taking their turn at trying to discipline Omar, or at least using the effort to make clear she does not speak for the party. A compelling exchange between Omar and veteran Democrat Nita Lowey serves as a good illustration of the generational, and ideological rift separating old guard pro-Israel Democrats from younger members of the progressive wing. There is, as of now, no real dialogue taking place. Angry Democrats seem to have exhausted attempts to drive home their message that criticism of Israel is fine, but it’s...

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Five Things To Know This Week: AIPAC and Bibi Clash

1. Are Bibi and AIPAC no longer BFFs? As promised last week, the Ilhan Omar controversy has died out and made way for a fresh debate. And yes, once again it’s about AIPAC and once again it’s tearing the pro-Israel community apart. For those who spent their weekend watching Oscar-nominated movies instead of following the news, the controversy, in short, has to do with AIPAC tweeting an unequivocal condemnation of Otzma Yehudit, an extremist Israeli political party made up of followers of Meir Kahane’s racist Kach. What’s the big deal about the tweet? Criticizing a marginal Israeli political movement for its anti-Arab racism is nothing new, even for mainstream Jewish organizations. But this time, it’s the context that matters. Otzma Yehudit had just entered a political deal that will likely ensure its members get elected to...

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