Focus U.S.A.

by Natasha Mozgovaya
| Last Update: 23.11.2011
Be Merry /A treasure in a jar

Quince jam is perfect in a stew, a salad or spread on a fresh baguette.

77 comments Quince jam - Limor Laniado Tiroche
obama - Official White House Photo / Pete Souza
A day in the life of a White House photographer

Pete Souza speaks to Haaretz about covering President Barack Obama and the First Family.

Obama - Reuters - November 3, 2011
Democrats strike back at Republicans on foreign assistance to Israel

In the sphere of U.S. presidential politics, as in the game of chess, once you've touched a piece, it's not easy to backtrack.

Herman Cain - Reuters - 13112011
Republican presidential hopefuls slam Obama on Iran

Saturday night's CBS 'commander in-chief' debate was meant to return the foreign policy - even briefly - to the front.

Students at GA - Natasha Mosgovaya - November 2011
Obama makes his Jewish outreach work harder

For some, it will be hard to dismiss the overheard critical comments about Netanyahu that were made by Obama and Sarkozy.

Obama, Sarkozy at G20 in Cannes - AFP - November 2011
U.S. Republicans hit back after leak of Sarkozy-Obama exchange on Netanyahu

A day after Presidents Sarkozy and Obama get caught deriding PM over a 'hot mic', Republicans make very clear who they feel is no friend of Israel.

Obama with Netanyahu - Reuters - May 20, 2011
Israel is a strategic asset for U.S. national interests, according to new report

Report issued by Washington Institute for Near East Policy describes how the benefit of the U.S.-Israel relationship far exceeds the cost.

Abe Foxman, AP
ADL bid for U.S. bipartisan support for Israel faces staunch resistance

Anti-Defamation League chief Abraham H. Foxman under fire for releasing 'National Pledge for Unity on Israel,' meant to avoid Israel becoming a debate point in the road to the 2012 presidential elections.

Republican debate - Reuters - 18.10.2011
Shalit deal makes surprise appearance at U.S. Republican presidential debate

Asked whether or not the U.S. would consider a swap deal, Tea Party affiliate Michele Bachmann says a prisoner exchange goes contrary to U.S. nature.

Americans 'occupy' for change

Tent camps finally reach Washington, seem more politicized than other protests throughout the U.S.; inevitably, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict comes up.

Wasserman Schultz - AP - 12102011
Obama's other first lady

Jewish, liberal and Floridian, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz has all the traits needed to drum up support for the president ahead of the 2012 elections. His poll numbers may be sagging, but the new Democratic leader isn't worried.

Obama and Abbas - AP - September 2011
Washington's stance on Israel and Mideast peace is murky

A number of questions remain over Washington's relationship with Israel, the Palestinians and where it stands on advancing peace talks.

Obama - AP - 20092011
Capitol Letter / Obama is stuck between a veto and a hard place

Whatever position Obama takes on the Palestinians' bid for statehood, he is going to pay a steep price.

netanyahu - GPO - May 20 2011
Report claims U.S.-Israel rift more than just a clash of personalities

New report 'Crossroads: The Future of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership', claims 'social and political trends in United States and Israel are reshaping politics of both societies'.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen tells Haaretz: We must stop Palestinians' ‘dangerous scheme’

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is behind a bill that would cut U.S. funding for UN organizations who support recognition of Palestine as state.

Netanyahu, Abbas, Obama
Obama is not pro-Israel enough for U.S. advocacy group

Emergency Committee for Israel launches billboard and media campaign claiming Obama pressures Israel to 'apologize to terrorists' and 'attacks Israel at the UN' in run-up to UN vote on Palestinian statehood.

UN Security Council - AP - January 13, 2010
Pro-Palestinian activists in U.S. optimistic about UN vote

Pro-Palestinian activists and business leaders meet in Washington, claiming upcoming vote in UN on Palestinian statehood will be the game changer.

muslim - Getty Images - September 9 2011
'Don't panic, I'm a Muslim'

The last decade has been marked by soul-searching and conciliatory moves on the part of America's Muslims; still, today, a majority feels that life has become more difficult and that the community is being singled out by government anti-terror policies.

Ira Forman (Natasha Mozgovaya)
Obama campaign does not shy from his record on Israel

Obama campaign believes that many U.S. Jews are not aware of the depth of President Obama's support for Israel.

'The Israel Project' Ambassadors with Netanyahu on Monday - David Katz - August 8 2011
Watching Israel's social revolution from an American idyll

Many Israelis living in the United States aren't sure what to make of the tent protests.

Israel tent protest outside the white house - August 4 2011
Israelis take tent protest to the White House

A group of Israelis living in New York pitches up outside the White House in Washington, in a show of solidarity with the social protests currently sweeping Israel.

Peter King - AP - 02082011
Yale gives anti-Semitic studies a second try

Will the esteemed university's new program for the study of anti-Semitism get critics as angry as its short-lived predecessor?

Newt Gingrich July 29, 2011 (Natasha Mozgovaya)
'The Arab Spring is a fantasy'

In interview with Haaretz, Republican stalwart and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is quite clear in his views regarding the biggest enemies of the United States and Israel.

Obama - Reuters - 23.7.11
Middle East drama on Capitol Hill

Middle East policy is a hot topic in Washington, from congressmen calling on Obama to adopt a more decisive stance toward Syria to conflicting views on how to solve stalled Palestinian-Israeli talks.

Quartet dinner - Reuters -
Quartet fails to release joint statement while Palestinians power on

Chief PLO Representative to the United States Maen Rashid Areikat says Palestinians not after ‘victory on paper,’ rather they hope UN recognition will assist them in putting pressure on Israel to reach a two-state solution.

Michele Bachmann
Bachmann’s old Kibbutz friend finds letter from the congresswoman

Members of Kibbutz Be’eri respond to a video released by Rep. Michele Bachmann, in which she speaks about her experience as a 17-year-old volunteer in Israel.

Hamas man in Gaza - Natasha Mozgovaya
Will Hamas be the next extremist group to be engaged by the U.S.?

After the Obama administration welcomed talks with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the co-editor of 'Engaging Extremists' argues that Hamas is 'engageable'.

Tim Pawlenty - Reuters - June 28, 2011
U.S. presidential candidate accuses Obama of treating Israel like a problem

Republican former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty says the U.S. president's Middle East policy 'breaks his heart', claims Obama is wrong in belief that 'Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies at the heart of every problem in the Middle East'.

duffy - Natasha Mozgovaya - June 21 2011
Two groups leave U.S. to Israel: One to immigrate, the other to break Gaza blockade

Diverse groups of Americans recently hosted farewell parties in Washington, D.C.

UN Human Rights Council
Is the UN Human Rights Council changing for the better?

Council makes historical move by passing resolution which supports rights of homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons; U.S. official says UN attitudes towards Israel are improving over time.

Ron Prosor - Tess Scheflan
New Israel ambassador to UN still sees hope for September

Haaretz speaks with newly appointed Ambassador Ron Prosor, who views the possible unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood in September as a challenge, but not an inevitability.

Newt Gingrich - Reuters
U.S. presidential candidates still working out positions on Israel

Republican candidates Bachmann and Gingrich voicing their ardent support for Israel, but no plans for practical steps seem in sight.

Gaza, computer - AP - 5.6.11
Gaza, the most Facebook friendly place on earth

Social media sites are a force to reckon with in the Palestinian territories, says former PA communications minister, adding that if a new uprising erupts, that is where it will begin to brew.

Rolling Thunder
Bikers ride in Washington to raise Gilad Shalit awareness

Close to 20 motorcycle bikers don 'Gilad Shalit is alive' T-shirts in annual 'Rolling Thunder' ride in Washington DC for prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Netanyahu AIPAC - GPO - May 23, 2011
Netanyahu's Washington visit - Haven't we seen this movie before?

Every meeting between Netanyahu and Obama seems to produce a crisis that they have to repair instead of moving forward.

Obama - AP - May 22, 2011
Obama at AIPAC – conciliatory but unapologetic

The president reaffirmed U.S.-Israel ties, rejected the mantle of Mideast peace revolutionary, stood his ground on the key issues, and invited Netanyahu's response.

Obama – Reuters – April 13, 2011
Will Obama reframe his '1967 borders' message for AIPAC?

Numerous U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle expressed concerns over U.S. President Barack Obama's call for Middle East peace negotiations to be based on the 1967 borders.

Obama - Reuters - 19.5.11
Obama's Mideast policy speeches: then and now

It seems the U.S. president has changed his approach to discussing the United States' Middle East policy since his last speech, which he presented in Cairo in 1999.

oren - Natasha Mozgovaya - May 13 2011
America celebrates Israel's birthday, Israel celebrates U.S. attack on bin Laden

Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren talks of the special connection between the two countries at a party to celebrate 63 years of Israeli independence.

Fadi Elsalameen
Coming home to Hebron, looking forward to Palestine

Fadi Elsalameen, a Hebron native, educated in the United States, receiving his MA at Johns Hopkins University, feels more at home in Hebron where he has gotten full scholarships to university for 30 boys and girls.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen - AP
U.S. Congressmen call for cutting aid to a Fatah-Hamas government

U.S. House Foreign Affairs chair says Abbas' decision to reconcile with Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist group, shows his leadership is 'not a partner for peace.'

Syria - Reuters - April 17, 2011
U.S. won't go to war with Syria, lays sanctions instead

The State Department responds to reporters' questions comparing American foreign policy towards Syria on one hand and towards Libya on the other.

U.S. President Barack Obama
As the Mideast burns, who cares about Israel and the Palestinians?

While Syria is up in arms and Egyptians voice reluctance to preserve a decades-old peace treaty with Israel, both Israel and the U.S. are struggling to propose a peace plan that will bring convince the Palestinians to talk.

abbas - AP - April 26 2011
Abbas vents frustration at Obama peace-making efforts

In Newsweek interview, the Palestinian President reveals personal insights into his expectations of how Barack Obama would perform in office once he became U.S. president.

obama - AP - April 22 2011
Netanyahu and Obama have peace plans up their sleeves

Diplomats discuss the inclinations of various politicians to contribute new proposals that would restart the peace process.

Richard Goldstone
U.S. Senator : Goldstone report unsubstantiated and biased

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tells Haaretz that regardless of regional turmoil, the U.S.-Israel bond remains strong and important as ever.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen - AP
Fight to rescind Goldstone report reaches Congress

New legislation initiated in Congress would 'make it U.S. policy to demand the UN General Assembly revoke and repudiate the Goldstone Report and any UN resolutions stemming from the report.'

Al Jazeera, Clayton Swisher
The Palestine Papers are back

The head of Al Jazeera's Transparency Unit lets Haaretz in on the findings his new book will reveal about the key negotiators of the Mideast Peace Process.

Israeli and U.S. flag, April 8, 2011.
What did Israeli lawmakers learn about the U.S. Jewish community?

A group of MKs spent a week in the U.S. with selected members of its Jewish community to learn what life looks like right of the Atlantic; their impressions were varied.

Barack Obama - Reuters - 1.2.2011
What to expect from Obama in a post-Mubarak, post-Goldstone world

U.S. official indicates administration attention has shifted, saying Israelis and the Palestinians for the first time are 'left to their own devices.'

miri ben-ari - AP - March 31 2011
Michelle Obama invites Israeli violinist to perform at the White House

Miri Ben-Ari asked to participate in a mentoring program for American girls in honor of Women's History Month.

conservative - Norm Blinder - March 2011
Livni: To keep a Jewish majority, we must promote two states for two people

At a rabbinical convention in Nevada where Livni spoke, Conservative Rabbis fume over Israel's Religious Services Minister Margi's declaration that there are no streams in Judaism: 'You are sending our best young people away.'

Gabi Ashkenazi
Ashkenazi tells Israeli expats in U.S.: Send your children to fight in IDF

The former Israel Defense Forces head has been out of work for a month, but he's still cheerleading for the Israeli military,

Sarah Palin
Palin visits Israel in attempt to prove her foreign policy prowess

Former U.S. vice presidential candidate is set to visit Israel next week, where she will meet with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, following in the footsteps of other Republican presidential nominee hopefuls.

Natan- Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel
Sharansky: Free world must help topple oppressive regimes

Jewish Agency chairman tells House Committee of Foreign Affairs that dissidents need help 'to cross the fear barrier', adding that the West must stop accommodating dictators.

rights - Nir Keidar - December 10 2010
What does Israeli Apartheid Week actually achieve?

Israeli Apartheid Week has become an annual campus tradition. But do the events do anything beyond creating a headache for Israel supporters?

J Street's second annual conference - Natasha Mozgovaya
Israel will have to deal with J Street sooner or later

Despite growth in number of participants at J Street's annual conference, it failed to bring in any big gun speakers like Netanyahu or Clinton; the Israeli Embassy skipped the conference altogether.

Jeremy Ben Ami
J Street president: We criticize Israel's policies but believe in its right to exist

Leftist Pro-Israel lobby group J Street held its second annual conference in Washington DC; The group has sparked much controversy for opposing the U.S. veto of the UN Security Council resolution condemning the settlements

Professor Ahmet Doğan
Father of teen killed in Gaza flotilla raid seeks American justice

Like the other people on board the Mavi Marmara, says Professor Ahmet Doğan, 'we did not expect Israelis to attack the ship in the middle of the night.'

Dr. Ziad Asali
U.S. Palestinian activist: Victims don't make compromises

Such liberal sentiments have ignited criticism against the leader of the D.C.-based American Task Force on Palestine, who isn't afraid of causing controversy, even it draws criticism from foes and friends alike.

Mubarak & Obama- AP - Sept. 1, 2010
Obama's new-found criticism of Mubarak may backfire

Prior to delivering this clear criticism regarding the insufficiency of Mubarak's announcement that he would retire only at election time, Obama's administration had cautiously navigated the crisis in Egypt.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and U.S. President Barack Obama - AP
History might judge Mubarak, but Obama dealt well

Many in Washington called on Obama to pressure Mubarak, with others chose to criticize opposition leader ElBaradei, saying he was not tough enough with Iran during his stint at the IAEA.

J Street Ben Ami - Alon Ron - Oct 1, 2010
J Street remains an outcast in the pro-Israel lobby

J Street announced several days ago its intention to lead the organization's first 10 day Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel this summer, leading right-wingers to petition Birthright to bar the trip.

Revava AP
Settlement issue isn’t Israel's problem, it's Obama's

Arab states draft UN resolution on settlements is putting Washington in the awkward position of having to veto a resolution it absolutely agrees with.

DC office of Gabrielle Giffords
How will the Arizona shooting of Rep. Giffords affect U.S. politics?

Congressmen are cautious not to join in the blame game triggered by the shooting that has placed responsibility for the attacks on incitement by the political right-wing.

John Boehner of Ohio accompanied by other Republican Congressional leaders Jan. 23, 2009 (AP)
What the changes in Washington mean for Israel in 2011

Washington is welcoming 96 new members into the House of Representatives and 16 newcomers into the Senate - how will these changes affect Israel in the coming year?

Maen Rashid Areikat
Palestinian delegate to U.S.: Congress shouldn't interfere in Mideast peace process

Maen Rashid Areikat: Israelis and Palestinians, not the U.S. Congress, will decide the future of the conflict; parents of Rachel Corrie receive award at event marking International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

netanyahu - Reuters - November 11 2010
Talking lots and going nowhere

We might well end up with a situation where, when the leaders are finally ready to sit and talk, by then the people will be too skeptical to listen.

Glenn Beck rally in Washington Reuters Aug. 28, 2010
Glenn Beck, George Soros and a row about the Holocaust

America's top conservative TV host's use of the Shoah as a stick to beat political enemies has left a bad taste in many mouths.

Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of JFNA
How will the Republican sweep at the House of Representatives impact the U.S. Jewish community?

Haaretz interviews the President and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, Jerry Silverman, ahead of this weekend's annual General Assembly in New Orleans.

John Boehner of Ohio accompanied by other Republican Congressional leaders Jan. 23, 2009 (AP)
How will the Republican-controlled House affect U.S.-Israel ties?

Republicans are expected to take a tougher stance on Iran and put pressure on Obama administration to be easier on Israel.

Obama NY - AP - Sept 23, 2010
Democrats split on whether Obama should serve a second presidential term

AP poll points to severe disappointment with Obama among Democrats, one day ahead of mid-term election.

Sanity Rally- Natasha Mozgovaya- Oct. 30, 2010
Jewish Democrats: Republican majority controlled by Nazi reenactors and their friends

'Republican leadership panders to Tea Party by embracing Nazi reenactors,' says U.S. Representative.

Michelle Obama - Reuters - Oct. 29, 2010
Digging out the roots of obesity in Michelle Obama's vegetable garden

First Lady calls Americans' bulging waistlines a problem of 'epidemic proportions', costing the U.S. health-care system $3 billion a year.

jet - Eliahu Hershkovitz - October 6, 2010
As midterms near, Israel is again a battleground for U.S. politicians

Democrats angry at Republican attempts to 'manipulate assistance to Israel for political ends'.

Obama at White House, Reuters, October 15, 2010
When Israel stars in U.S. campaigns – is it good for the Jews?

Even when there is no justification to bring Israel as an issue into Congressional election campaigns, it is still very often there.

IDB president Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali
Money makes the world go round, but can it bring Mideast peace?

While Israel insists on building in settlements and the Palestinians object to talks without a moratorium, the U.S. is dealing with midterm elections; meanwhile they all talk shop.

J Street Ben Ami - Alon Ron - Oct 1, 2010
J Street keeps accumulating scandals

Fresh reports regarding the leftist pro-Israel lobby's possible ties to Richard Goldstone have everyone talking, again.

Bill Clinton Benjamin Netanyahu July 9, 1996 AP
What Bill Clinton needs to understand about ‘Russian’ Israelis

Almost nothing was done by the government to provide the Russian immigrants with basic, neutral information about their new turbulent country, which is as necessary as teaching them Hebrew.

Former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar, September 15, 2010
Focus U.S.A. / Can the West stay strong if Israel is weakened?

Friends of Israel - a non-Jewish lobby group launched by former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar - arrives in Washington to promote its mission that Israel has a 'right to exist as a normal country'.

levey - Press photo - Sept 13 2010
Focus U.S.A. / How to make peace in the Middle East without leaving your apartment

An interview with Gregory Levey, author of 'Shut Up, I'm Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government: A Memoir'

Michael Moore AP 4.3.2010
'Islamic center shouldn't be near, but inside Ground Zero site'

Controversial documentarist Michael Moore parallels plight of N.Y. Muslims with the struggles of the Jewish community in city's early years.

9-11 - AP - August 25 2010
Focus U.S.A. / Sept. 11 bereaved families group: We support efforts to build NYC Islamic center

National spokeswoman for the September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who lost her pregnant daughter in the attacks, tells Haaretz she doesn't attend 9/11 remembrance ceremonies.

Netanyahu, Clinton, Abbas, Peace Talks Washington 2/9/10 Reuters
Focus U.S.A. / 'Neither Israel nor the Palestinians can afford to walk out on the U.S.'

'Americans tend to think everything is about giving people a piece of the pie, that it’s all about power. I am very skeptical about that' - U.S. Mideast analyst David Makovsky gives Haaretz his take on the peace talks.

money - AP - August 12, 2010
Focus U.S.A / Are U.S. tax officials punishing Zionists who won't toe the White House line?

Right-wing Z-Street sues IRS over claims it withheld tax breaks because campaigners' policies clashed with Obama's: 'This is a clear violation of the First Amendment.'

People in New York protest the proposed construction of a mosque near the World Trade Center.
Focus U.S.A. / Ground Zero mosque row puts ADL in unchartered waters

Organization finds itself defending possible victims of the new wave of Islamophobia in the U.S., after denouncing the choice of the place to build the center as insensitive.

Dimona nuclear reactor - Archive
Focus U.S.A. / A quest to coax Israel out of the nuclear closet

Acclaimed researchers Avner Cohen and Marvin Miller say Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity is past its sell-by date.

Satellite image of Naval building in San Diego
Focus U.S.A. / The ongoing saga of the U.S. Navy swastika building

In the 1960's a building was built in U.S. Naval Amphibious Base in San Diego which looked from satellite images like a swastika; it still stands.

People in New York protest the proposed construction of a mosque near the World Trade Center.
Focus U.S.A. / Should an Islamic center be built near Ground Zero?

With midterm elections looming, it is no wonder Obama waited until the last minute to express his views on the Ground Zero mosque issue.

A nuclear reactor in Bushehr
Will Israel really attack Iran within a year?

After interviewing dozens of Israeli, American and Arab officials, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic Magazine concludes Israel may not even ask for a U.S. 'green light' to attack Iran nuclear sites.

President Barack Obama
Focus U.S.A. / With midterms looming, Democrats take time out to celebrate Obama's birthday

Maryland's Democratic Party chair: U.S. Jews know that support for Israel and commitment to its security is a non-partisan issue.

New immigrant to Israel with star on cheek
Focus U.S.A. / How do you 'sell' Israel to skeptic potential olim?

It's not enough to mention the delicious food and world-class beaches when Israel faces deadly rocket attacks and less than inspiring leadership.

Delegates at the Christians United for Israel conference, Washington June 21, 2010
Focus U.S.A / Whatever happens, Israel can always count on U.S. evangelicals

Thousands of Christian activists descended on Washington this week in a show of strength by America's pro-Israel Christians.

Protester calling for boycott of Israel
Food co-op in Rachel Corrie's hometown boycotts Israeli goods

The Olympia Food Co-op announced last week that no more Israeli products will be sold at its two grocery stores.

U.S. President Barack Obama
Focus U.S.A. / Why is Obama suddenly speaking to Israeli media?

There was never a period where Obama could feel comfortable talking about relations with Israel without difficult questions on his level of trust in Netanyahu, the settlements, and the stalled negotiations with Iran.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama
Focus U.S.A. / Netanyahu-Obama meeting continues the Israel-U.S. soap opera

Professional cynics should have no doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama had an 'excellent' meeting at the White House.

Professor of International Relations Amitai Etzioni
Focus U.S.A. / 'The U.S. will have to confront Iran or give up the Middle East'

Amitai Etzioni, professor of International Relations at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., believes the only option available to contain Iran's atomic ambitions is a series of assaults on its non-nuclear facilities.

Anti-Israeli demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC,
Focus U.S.A. / Will the Gaza flotilla attack affect U.S.-Israel ties?

As the conservatives defend the IDF and J Street is more critical, hundreds of angry Americans march to White House demanding to cut ties with Israel.


About the blog

Natasha Mozgovaya is the chief U.S. correspondent for Haaretz, based in Washington D.C. Through Focus U.S.A., Mozgovaya presents additional insight to the people and politics of he United States, and how they affect Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

Follow Natasha on Twitter at!/mozgovaya