- First, Bibi Netanyahu borrowed the format of Barack Obama’s Web site. Then Shas ripped off the president-elect’s "Yes, We Can" slogan, And now, reports the Jerusalem Post, there’s an Israeli version of "Obama Girl" — "Livni Boy":
In the Livni Boy video, actor Liran Avisar is seen waking up under a picture of Livni, putting on a Livni Boy shirt and singing of his love for Livni while dancing on the streets of Tel Aviv.
"Oh Tzipi, you’re what I wanted, all that I expected from a political leader," the chorus goes in a mixture of Hebrew and English. "I don’t want Ehud. I don’t trust Bibi. Tzipi if you let me, I will be your man. Just tell me yes."
In another line, he sings "Not Golda, not Condoleezza, not Palin, not Michelle Obama, because no one can beat you, Momma."
- A donor to Commerce Secretary nominee Bill Richardson, who is also a big donor to Jewish causes, in under investigation by a federal grand jury in New Mexico, reports the Associated Press:
A federal grand jury is investigating how a California firm that contributed to the political activities of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the nominee to head the Commerce Department, won a lucrative government contract. A person familiar with the proceedings told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the panel is looking into possible "pay-to-play" dealings between CDR Financial Products and someone in a position to push the contract through with the state of New Mexico….
CDR and its CEO, David Rubin, have contributed at least $110,000 to three political committees formed by Richardson, according to an AP review of campaign finance records. …
Allan Ripp, a spokesman for CDR, said … Rubin is politically liberal and has given millions of dollars to political and Jewish causes over the years. Rubin also was born in Mexico, and Richardson is a prominent Hispanic politician who grew up in Mexico and whose mother was Mexican.
- Bibi Netanyahu has said he likes what he hears from Barack Obama. And Obama backer Rep. Robert Wexler has said the two men would get along fine if Bibi becomes the Israeli prime minister. But former Clinton adviser Dick Morris, in FrontPage Magazine, argues a "collision" between the two men is "almost inevitable":
If Netanyahu wins the election, he will bring with him a determination to stop Iranian nuclear weapons, no matter what, and a refusal to concede more territory in the name of the peace process. But Obama’s foreign policy team will be focusing on pushing Israel in just the opposite direction.
The result is likely to be the most significant divergence between Israeli and American policies since 1956, when President Eisenhower sided with the Arabs to halt the British-French-Israeli invasion of Suez.
- "Israel is confident there is strong support among Jewish organizations for following Israel’s lead and skipping the 2009 UN World Conference Against Racism, or Durban II, in Geneva in April, according to Foreign Ministry officials," reports the Jerusalem Post:
Aviva Raz Schechter, director of the ministry’s department for combating anti-Semitism, said Israel’s impression from a conference call Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held on Tuesday with Jewish organizations throughout the world was that there was understanding of Israel’s position not to attend and "wall to wall recognition that the organizations would try to convince their governments not to attend either."
- Former top AIPAC official (and AIPAC trial defendant) Steve Rosen answers questions from readers on Shmuel Rosner’s blog at the Jerusalem Post:
Do you really believe that Obama and Hillary Clinton can work together?
Yes, as well as Sharon and Peres or Bibi and Barak–maybe better.
- Jeffrey Goldberg, at The Atlantic, points out a story from a forthcoming book on the Middle East by Patrick Tyler about former CIA director George Tenet, drunk in Prince Bandar’s palace:
According to one witness, he mocked the neoconservatives in the Bush administration and their alignment with the rlght wing of Israel’s political establishment, referring to them with exaxperation as, "the Jews.
- Norm Coleman will be using campaign funds to pay for the defense lawyers he and his wife have hired to defend him in an FBI investigation, reports Politico:
“We intend to have any legal fees related to what we believe to be a politically inspired legal action to be covered by the senator’s campaign," said Coleman spokesman Luke Friedrich.
The tactic may be risky: The Federal Election Commission allows elected officials to use their war chests to pay legal bills only if the action/investigations arise as a result of their tenure in office or campaigns.
- Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that "at this rate, Minnesota’s U.S. Senate recount will never end":
The five-member [state Canvassing Board} ruled on about 160 challenges made by Franken’s campaign — with most of the votes awarded to Coleman, as expected — only to learn at day’s end that the Coleman campaign planned to restore 200-odd withdrawn challenges to its stack of around 1,000.
- The Yeshiva World News reports on a recent meeting of top private school represenatives, including Agudath Israel, with the Obama transition team:
“We applaud the Obama team for reaching out to all schools – including private and religious schools — in the hope of addressing problems that all too often are neglected on the state and local levels,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, director and counsel of Agudath Israel of America’s Washington office. “They understand the need for a federal role to make sure that assistance is going to those children who are needy and eligible.”
The private school representatives covered various critical areas, such as private school independence and accountability, as well as school choice programs and early childhood education. Rabbi Cohen was asked to discuss the private school stake in NCLB (the federal government’s primary education funding statute, including Title I) and IDEA (the federal special education program).