* Rahm Emanuel, who is all set to light the "national menorah" on Sunday, fund raised Tuesday night for U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
Emanuel hasn’t "done" fund raising since leaving Congress, Ben Smith notes, and Ben speculates that this might be a thank-you to Berman for timing his stops and starts on Iran sanctions legislation, according to the White House timetable.
I wonder. Emanuel’s appearance at last month’s Federations GA was also a Jewish "first" since he left Congress, and now, on Sunday, there’s the menorah lighting.
This is purely speculation on my part, but this coming-out business is interesting, timing-wise. Is the platform-loving Rahm sick so soon of the behind the scenes chief-of-staff job? Is there a Senate seat opening up in Illinois? Pope? Catholic? Bear? Woods?
* In The Wall Street Journal, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren writes about how the Obama administration gets the significance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement freeze — but, critically, the Palestinians do not, at least not yet:
Mr. Netanyahu has now taken that initiative. By suspending new Israeli construction in all of the West Bank, the prime minister has done what none of his predecessors, including Rabin, ever suggested.
At home, Mr. Netanyahu’s decision has been fiercely criticized, even by some members of his own party. The Knesset has considered a vote of no-confidence in his leadership. And the most recent poll shows that more Israelis oppose the freeze than support it.
The prime minister has nevertheless persisted — his coalition is among the strongest and most representative in Israel’s history — but the opportunity generated by his action will not endure indefinitely. Together with the Obama administration, which has repeatedly asserted its commitment to restarting talks without preconditions and to achieving a permanent two-state solution, Israelis hope that Palestinians will once again join them in talks.
By taking risks and accomplishing the unprecedented, Mr. Netanyahu has demonstrated his commitment to peace. Now the Palestinians must match that dedication and seize this propitious moment.
* On the excellent The Cutting Edge website, Gregg Rickman, the former U.S. anti-Semitism envoy, pithily gets to the heart of why the organ-stealing lie is inherently anti-Semitic:
Anti-Semitism is about conspiracy and blame spread by small minds. The accusations laid at the Jews throughout history never had to be true, they just had to be repeated enough and they were accepted as fact. Accusations of organ harvesting by Israel, seen now as the “collective Jew,” is a modern-day equivalent of the infamous Blood Libel, whereby Jews were accused of killing Christian children for their blood either to drink or to make matzah with it. There are other versions of the slander as well. When I was in Saudi Arabia in 2007 in my capacity as the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, I was asked if Jews made their pastries with blood.
* At Newsweek, Christopher Dickey outlines, persuasively, the case for why the Iranian government’s anonymous witness making its bogus conspiracy case against an array of journalists and activists may be Hossein Derakhshan, the very "blogfather" who shepherded Iran into the freedom of infdormation exchange age. Also included are details of Derakshan’s Israel visit, which is what might finally have pushed the Iranians to arrest the dual Canadian-Iranian citizen.