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Eric Fingerhut
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Health-care vote could mean tough campaign for some Dems

WorldPublished: 02 April 2010

WASHINGTON – A window was shattered by a pellet gun in an apparent vandalism attack at her Tucson district office. Sarah Palin has put her on the list of Democratic lawmakers she is targeting this fall. Arizona Tea Party activists are pledging to help defeat her bid for re-election.

All this because Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) voted for health-care reform.

Giffords is one of a few Jewish Democrats political observers say could have a difficult re-election campaign because of her vote for the controversial Democratic-backed health-care bill.


Left and right join on religious expression statement

WorldPublished: 22 January 2010

WASHINGTON – The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Baptist Convention may butt heads over where the line ultimately should be drawn on the separation of church and state, but representatives of both organizations say they agree on where the law now stands — and with more than two dozen other experts they have come together to help explain it to the rest of the country.

After nearly four years of work, the organizational representatives have issued a 32-page document titled “Religious Expression in American Public Life: A Joint Statement of Current Law.”


GOP upset in Mass. raises questions for health reform

WorldPublished: 22 January 2010

WASHINGTON – The election of Scott Brown to replace the late Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate has thrown the future of health-care reform into doubt.

With the Republican’s upset victory Tuesday in Massachusetts, Jewish groups backing comprehensive reform must figure out how to respond. One organization said that passing the Senate version of the legislation is the best possible outcome at this point, but others are undecided.

Brown has vowed to be the crucial 41st vote against ending the filibuster on any reform of the U.S. health-care system, dimming the prospects for passage of any kind of conference committee deal between the Senate and House of Representatives. That has led some to suggest that the only hope for health-care reform is if the House passes the Senate bill without amendments, so the Senate does not have to take another vote on the issue.


Jewish environmental group increasing efforts as climate debate heats up

WorldPublished: 18 December 2009

WASHINGTON – As the debate over how to combat climate change heats up in Copenhagen, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life is ramping up its efforts to help make the Jewish community a key player in the discussion.

Without a full-time director since early 2006, COEJL has secured a half-million dollars in funding for the next two years and hired Sybil Sanchez, executive director of the Jewish Labor Committee, to be its new director.

Sanchez said she sees COEJL helping the Jewish environmental movement transition into a new phase.


WASHINGTON – Opinion polls are expected to provide a simple answer to an important question: What

WorldPublished: 18 December 2009

WASHINGTON – Opinion polls are expected to provide a simple answer to an important question: What are people thinking? But the details often reveal a much more complicated picture.

Take two recent surveys — one of American Jews and one of Israelis — dealing with attitudes about President Obama. The former found that support for Obama has plummeted, but a closer look reveals that the findings are virtually useless as a measure of American Jewish opinion. The survey of Israelis is scientifically solid, but the numbers provide a more complex, divided view than previously thought.


Did group raise funds for Hamas on college campuses?

WorldPublished: 11 December 2009

WASHINGTON – A U.S. congressman is the latest to call for a Justice Department investigation into whether a pro-Palestinian group has been raising money on college campuses for Hamas.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) urged a probe into Viva Palestina USA, a humanitarian aid convoy led by British lawmaker George Galloway that brought medical supplies to Gaza last July.

Both the Zionist Organization of America and Anti-Defamation League in recent months have urged Holder to investigate reports about the convoy’s links to Hamas.

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Groups fighting abortion restriction in health-reform bill

WorldPublished: 04 December 2009

WASHINGTON – Several Jewish groups are fighting a controversial measure in health-reform legislation that would have the effect of eliminating insurance coverage for abortion for millions of women.

At issue is the Stupak Amendment, a measure included at the last minute in the health-care bill passed Nov. 7 by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Several organizations — including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the National Council of Jewish Women, the American Jewish Congress, and the Chicago-based Joint Action Committee — have spoken out or are lobbying to make sure the amendment does not end up either in the Senate version of health-care legislation or the final bill that emerges from a conference committee.

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Conservatives rap report by ADL on anti-gov’t anger

WorldPublished: 04 December 2009

WASHINGTON – Some conservatives are accusing the Anti-Defamation League of launching a partisan attack following its report asserting that a “current of anti-government hostility” has swept the United States in the year since Barack Obama was elected.

The conservatives have argued that the Jewish defense organization did not respond similarly to anti-Bush hatred during the previous eight years and was unfairly linking mainstream criticism of the president with fringe attacks on Obama.

But the ADL said it frequently denounced extremist rhetoric during the Bush administration, and that its new report does make a distinction between everyday partisan vitriol and more problematic attacks.

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New anti-Semitism monitor sees role as reactive, proactive

WorldPublished: 30 November 2009

WASHINGTON – Hannah Rosenthal knows her new position fighting anti-Semitism will include responding to anti-Jewish attacks and rhetoric, but she also figures to be heavily involved in outreach, too.

“I expect there will be some reactive things when hate rears its ugly head,” said Rosenthal, who started work Monday as the State Department’s new special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. “But I see some of this as proactive, being an ambassador and educator to organizations, to activists, to people in various parts of the world, on the importance of viewing anti-Semitism as a human rights issue.”

Acknowledging it may sound a little “hokey,” she said it’s about “participating in some strategies that will build tolerance and make the world a better place.”

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Palin joins other GOP prospects in slamming Obama on Israel

WorldPublished: 30 November 2009

WASHINGTON – As Sarah Palin embarked on a tour for her just published book “Going Rogue,” she became the latest prospective Republican presidential candidate to criticize the Obama administration’s policy on Israel.

In an interview with ABC News last week, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate told Barbara Walters that Jewish settlements “should be allowed to be expanded upon” because “more and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead.”

At least two other likely candidates for the GOP nomination in 2012 have made similar comments in recent months.

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