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  • Betsy DeVos, Trump pick for education, pleases Orthodox, spooks church-state separationists

    WASHINGTON (JTA) – Add sweeping school reforms – and with them, funding for private schools that Orthodox groups embrace and secular Jewish groups fear — to the campaign promises that Donald Trump plans to fulfill. Last week, just before Thanksgiving, the president-elect named Betsy DeVos, a billionaire education reform activist and champion of charter schools and…

  • Jimmy Carter urges Obama to recognize ‘Palestine’ before leaving office

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jimmy Carter urged President Barack Obama to recognize a state of Palestine before leaving office. Writing Monday in a New York Times op-ed, the former president said before Donald Trump assumes the presidency on Jan. 20, the United States should back a United Nations Security Council resolution that lays down the parameters of…

  • Keith Ellison’s ascent signals the Democrats’ willingness to redefine ‘pro-Israel’

    WASHINGTON (JTA) – The most shocking thing about talk of Keith Ellison’s Israel record as he rises within the Democratic Party is how few think it’s shocking. Rep. Ellison, D-Minn., is a leading contender for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, despite a record of tough criticism of Israel that pro-Israel insiders say would easily…

  • Trump says he does not want to ‘energize’ white supremacists, defends Bannon

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — President-elect Donald Trump said he wants to find out if and why he is “energizing” white supremacists. “It’s not a group I want to energize,” Trump said Tuesday in a meeting with New York Times editorial staff, according to a tweet by Maggie Haberman, a reporter in attendance. Trump was referring to…

  • Jewish groups fret as Republicans retreat from two-state solution

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — In recent months, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have each emphasized what in recent years hardly needed emphasizing: mainstream Jewish support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The reiterations of support signify a concern growing among Jewish organizations about deepening partisan…

  • Trump team condemns ‘racism’ without addressing pro-Trump event with Nazi salutes

    WASHINGTON (JTA) –Donald Trump’s transition team declined to directly condemn a conference where his victory was hailed as a triumph for white supremacists, instead reiterating a general denunciation of racism. Asked by NBC and other media to comment on the weekend conference in Washington D.C. , the president-elect’s transition team said Monday that Trump opposed “racism of…

  • Bannon rejects, and supplies ammunition to, those who label him anti-Semitic

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — Stephen Bannon, in his first interviews since Donald Trump named him a top White House aide, denied being anti-Semitic or a white nationalist. At the same time, he continued to advance a theory of “globalist” conspiracy that echoes centuries-old anti-Semitic libels, but without any mention of Jews. “Breitbart is the most pro-Israel site…

  • Right-wing critics take aim at Keith Ellison’s Israel record, Jewish left-wingers rally to his defense

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — Keith Ellison is facing mounting attacks from the pro-Israel right wing as the first Muslim congressman is positioned to lead the Democratic Party. And left-wing Jewish groups are rushing to his defense. The Zionist Organization of America, in a release this week, noted Ellison’s role in drafting a congressional letter following the…

  • Meet the 3 firebrands Donald Trump is naming to national security posts

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — Controversial pasts marked by incendiary statements and a fierce loyalty to the president-elect. Judging from the announcements Donald Trump is expected to make Friday, his White House and Cabinet is likelier to look a lot more like Stephen Bannon than Reince Priebus. Those are, respectively, Trump’s top strategic adviser and his prospective…

  • Israel’s US envoy: We look forward to working with Trump team, including Bannon

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel’s U.S. ambassador, heading into a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, named Steve Bannon as someone his country was ready to work with. Ron Dermer made his remarks about the newly appointed chief strategist, Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Thursday in the Trump Tower lobby in New York. “Israel has…