MEDIA NOTICE: Steve Clemons on Al Jazeera English at 7 pm



The big news today is of course the announcement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to Washington at the beginning of September to engage in the first direct talks between the two sides in two years. The stakes are high on a regional and international level, but Clinton’s announcement left many things up in the air, by refusing to endorse the pre-1967 boundary as the starting…

Cuba Travel on the Horizon?



Nicholas Maliska is a research intern with the New America Foundation/U.S.-Cuba Policy Initiative. Rumors that the Obama Administration is preparing to announce measures that will ease travel restrictions to Cuba have been circulating for several weeks, but the news now seems to be official with multiple knowledgeable sources indicating that the announcement will come within the next week or two. The scope of the changes is still unknown and could range from a limited loosening of restrictions on specific licenses…

Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, & George W. Bush Central Speak Out: What Would George W. Bush Do?



(President George W. Bush speaking at the 50th anniversary re-dedication of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C.) Slate‘s Dave Weigel has a nice clip quoting former Bush administration Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and current Director of the George W. Bush Institute James K. Glassman. Weigel writes: [James K.} Glassman, who served as undersecretary for public diplomacy under George W. Bush, also believes that the controversy over the planned Islamic community center will hurt the U.S. image among…

More than Half-Way but Not Full Friends: Israel and Jordan



This morning I received an email from former Israel Labor Party Deputy Leader and former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh. It started “To my Muslim friends – Ramadan Karim”. Sneh maintains a friends mailing list for his thoughts and articles, and I’m honored to be included — and appreciate very much that in a time that the United States is twisting itself in moral knots over the false debate about a mosque near the World Trade Center site in New…

Norquist: Attack on Mosque Will Undermine Past Republican Political Gains



Slate‘s Dave Weigel has posted on a very interesting interview that he did with Republican icon and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist. In an argument that I had not seen anywhere, Norquist argues that Republicans fought hard to win enhanced legal rights for faith-based organizations when engaged in disputes with local and regional government authorities. And now, he argues, they are undermining one of their most notable accomplishments. Weigel writes: In an interview just now, Grover Norquist of…

Eco-Resistance in the West Bank



Al-Khan Al-Ahmar school was built using recycled car tires. This is a guest note by Fadi Elsalameen, Executive Director of The Palestine Note, the website where this post originally appeared. Can you imagine defending your land and resisting occupation with windmills, solar panels, and recycled car tires? If you live in Palestine, this is not an eco-Utopian dream – it is the reality of a few West Bank communities squeezed by settlements and occupation. The Israeli occupation uses force and…

Families Torn Apart



My home in Cuba. This is a guest post by Anya Landau French, who directs the New America Foundation/U.S.-Cuba Policy Initiative. This post originally appeared at The Havana Note. Remember this gem from then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fisk in 2004? “An individual can decide when they want to travel once every three years and the decision is up to them . . . So if they have a dying relative, they have to figure out when they want…

President Obama gets it Right on Mosque



President Obama gets it right on the Mosque at Ground Zero during his remarks at last evening’s White House Iftar Dinner. Was very pleased to see that our good friends Representatives Keith Ellison and Rush Holt were at the dinner. Yours truly was quoted by Sheryl Gay Stolberg in this morning’s New York Times on the issue and Obama’s remarks. Despite the controversy, I thought that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s remarks on this Ground Zero Mosque were definitive, compelling…