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Alan Elsner
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Author and journalist Alan Elsner had a 30-year career with Reuters News Agency, including stints in Jerusalem, London, Stockholm and Washington where he covered foreign policy and presidential elections. In 2007, Elsner was a Knight International Journalism Fellow in Romania where he advanced the cause of a free media in an emerging democracy.

Elsner’s first book, “Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America’s Prisons” won praise as a dramatic exposé of appalling neglect and abuse in the nation’s jails. The late Sen. Edward Kennedy said: “This book should be a wake-up call for federal, state, and local governments across America.”
In 2007, Publisher’s Weekly called Elsner’s first novel, “The Nazi Hunter” “a gripping debut thriller” while Kirkus Reviews praised its "intriguing protagonist, terrifying historical lessons, and a well-orchestrated, pulse-pounding conclusion." Elsner also wrote a memoir of his father's experiences in Soviet Gulag camps during World War II called "Guarded by Angels."
His second novel, "Romance Language" which appeared in October 2009, is a love story that takes place against the backdrop of the 1989 revolution in Romania.
Elsner is Vice President for communications at J Street, a pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy group.

Entries by Alan Elsner

Can Kerry's Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts Succeed?

(10) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 10:01 AM

For years of U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East, it has become a cliché to state that the United States cannot want peace more than the Israelis and Palestinians themselves.

The statement appears to have been originated, or at least was popularized, by Secretary of State James Baker, who included...

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Young Israelis Need Reason for Hope: Progress on Peace Would Help

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 9:14 AM

A recent poll published by the Times of Israel has found a striking increase in pessimism about the future in Israel, especially among young people.

Around this time last year, just before the Israeli parliamentary elections, voters aged 18 to 24 were about evenly divided, with 48 percent...

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Israeli Extremists Gear Up to Oppose Kerry Peace Initiative

(24) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 4:40 PM

Naftali Bennett, the leader of the hardline "Jewish Home" Party, who is Israel's Economics Minister, made a significant speech today which tells us how serious the peace negotiations being pushed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have become -- and how worried opponents of the two-state solution are getting.

...
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Israel's Latest Settlement Plan Endangers Peace Talks

(44) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 10:04 AM

On Sunday, Israel will release a third group of Palestinian prisoners -- setting up yet another challenge to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

If the past is any guide, events will then unfold with the precision and predictability of a piece of kabuki theater. Thousands of Palestinians headed by President...

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Proponents of Iran Sanctions Bill Are Playing With Fire

(28) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 1:46 PM

Philosopher and essayist George Santayana famously said that those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

How true this is right now for the United States, which after years of tragic and costly combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, now finds itself at a crossroads in...

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Netanyahu Should Remember: Obama is a Friend

(13) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 7:17 AM

The last month has been dismaying for anyone concerned about the US-Israel relationship.

While the United States and five other powers worked to reach a diplomatic agreement with Iran to halt its nuclear program in exchange for allowing Tehran access to a few billion dollars in frozen...

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Dragon of Israeli Right-Wing Incitement May Be Stirring Again

(5) Comments | Posted November 6, 2013 | 10:49 AM

In the run-up to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on Nov. 4, 1995, the country was witness to a vicious campaign of ultra-nationalist incitement against him and his government, given religious justification by some rabbis and abetted by senior opposition leaders including Benjamin Netanyahu.

Now, as we...

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Israel's Prisoner Release Was Netanyahu's Horrible Choice

(1) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 2:23 PM

Even the firmest supporters of a two state solution to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians could be forgiven for holding their noses when reading about today's release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, all of whom had been convicted of murdering Israelis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended this release...

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Time for Netanyahu to Get Honest about Hebron

(8) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 1:49 PM

This weekend, thousands of Jewish settlers and their allies will descend on the Palestinian city of Hebron in a show of force that will also be seen as a warning to the government never to relinquish control of the city as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

The...

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My Marathon for the Ages (and for the Aged)

(2) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 4:30 PM

As I passed mile 22 of the marathon, run on rolling hills around Portland, Maine, I asked myself, how on earth did I get into this?

There were a whole lot of reasons, but the moment I made the decision to run the second marathon of my life, and the...

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Berkeley's Jewish Student Union's Rejection of J Street - and Reality

(21) Comments | Posted October 17, 2013 | 11:28 AM

Some 37 years ago, when I was a field organizer for the Union of Jewish Students in Britain, I fought against attempts by far left groups to ban Jewish societies from campuses - so I'm particularly saddened by what's been happening recently at the University of California, Berkeley....

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Let's Get Beyond Lip Service to A Two-State Solution

(42) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 9:34 AM

It seems like almost everyone in the American-Jewish community - with the exception of a few on the extreme right and the far left - supports the two-state solution as the only way to solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

But with real negotiations now underway for the...

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J Street Conference will Bolster Israel-Palestine Peace Efforts

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2013 | 1:22 PM

This weekend will see an unusual and significant event in Washington DC when the five-year-old J Street peace organization holds its largest-yet annual conference.

J Street, which advocates for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has attracted an unprecedented lineup of speakers this year headed by Vice President Joe...

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Seven Reasons for (Cautious) Optimism About Kerry's Mideast Peace Effort

(34) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 11:15 AM

In the days since Secretary of State John Kerry laid out the framework for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, some prominent experts have been listing all the reasons why this latest attempt to end the conflict is bound to end in failure.

Noted commentator Jeffrey Goldberg went as far as to...

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Conditions Not Perfect for Israeli-Palestinian Peace -- But May Be as Good as They'll Get

(116) Comments | Posted July 17, 2013 | 6:42 PM

A classic cartoon in the New Yorker shows a man standing in front of an open window speaking on the phone. "No, Thursday's out," he says. "How about never -- is never good for you?"

I'm reminded of that image by some of the discourse surrounding Secretary of...

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Israel's New Generation of Leaders Begins to Speak Up

(8) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 12:51 PM

One of the unexpected results of last January's Israeli election was the emergence of 47 new members of parliament, 13 of them under the age of 40, who have taken their places among the 120 Knesset members.

They include people like Russian-born Yoel Razvozov, a former...

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Best Music for One's Own Funeral

(7) Comments | Posted May 24, 2013 | 4:34 PM

Every so often one reads about someone staging their own funeral, sometimes so they could hear themselves being eulogized, sometimes for more illicit reasons.

The phenomenon seems to be fairly universal. One recent case, which made headlines worldwide, happened in March in China when a student, Zeng Jia, hired...

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Netanyahu Must Clarify Government's Stance on Two States

(229) Comments | Posted May 24, 2013 | 2:06 PM

As Secretary of State John Kerry labors to launch a new Israel-Palestinian peace initiative, it is legitimate to ask how firmly the government of Israel still believes in a two-state solution.

Polls show that a majority of Israelis support a two-state solution, 62 percent in one recent survey,...

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"State 194" - Bracing Documentary about Building Palestine

(28) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 5:34 PM

A new documentary highlighting the efforts of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to build the framework of a Palestinian state opens May 17 in New York and Los Angeles on limited release. One hopes the distributors send it nationwide so that more Americans can see it.

State 194,...

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Re-reading Leon Uris' Exodus

(15) Comments | Posted April 24, 2013 | 11:31 AM

I recently reread Leon Uris' novel Exodus -- and found it disturbing and unsettling in many ways.

I first read the book in 1970 around the time of my first visit to Israel and fell in love both with the book and the country. I was swept away...

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