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Alan Elsner
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

The Steps We Take

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 11:45 AM

On Sunday October 25, the day on which a dear friend died suddenly aged 58, I took 13,737 steps -- beating my target of 13,171 by 566.

I know this because the device I wear strapped to my wrist told me so. The following day, moving through a fog of...

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Netanyahu Broke New Ground in U.S. Trip -- But Not in a Good Way

(306) Comments | Posted November 12, 2015 | 11:57 AM

In his trip to the United States this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advanced a very dangerous narrative of why, in his view, Israel and the Palestinians cannot possibly make peace under current conditions.

During his visit, Netanyahu made a special effort to reach out to American progressives by going...

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Israeli-Palestinian Violence Is a Failure of Political Leadership on Both Sides

(4) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 12:05 PM

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets tomorrow with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and later this week with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Hussein, aiming to find ways to tamp down the horrible wave of violence and terrorism that has erupted in Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank...

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Head of Group Opposing Iran Deal Comes Out in Favor

(10) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 1:07 PM

Gary Samore, a former advisor to President Obama, was never pollyannish on the prospects of a U.S.-Iran nuclear deal. After decades working on arms control for Presidents Clinton and Obama, he knew firsthand how hard it can be to roll back a nation's nuclear program once its scientists have mastered...

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What Netanyahu Really Thinks About Military Action Against Iran

(96) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 12:24 PM

Israel's former ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, is on a crusade to discredit President Obama and derail a possible nuclear deal with Iran -- and his new memoir contains interesting information about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's real thoughts on how to stop the Iranians getting a nuclear weapon.


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Eight Arguments Against an Iran Nuclear Deal -- and Why They Are Wrong

(4) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 11:41 AM

As the end of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program draws near, we can expect the campaign against an agreement to intensify. In that debate, many questionable statements, assumptions and propositions have been thrown around.

To aid in the debate, J Street has launched a website,...

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Israeli Envoy's Flawed Message

(8) Comments | Posted June 17, 2015 | 4:09 PM

Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren is getting some attention for his claim in a memoir to be published next week that President Obama "abandoned Israel." The book is sure to be a hot debating point this summer in the American Jewish community and possibly beyond.

The US ambassador to Israel,...

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U.S. Congress Being Tricked Into Defending Settlements

(38) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 3:54 PM

A little-noticed clause in the comprehensive free trade bill currently being debated by Congress would turn the United States into an open defender of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, turning almost 50 years of U.S. policy on its head.

The measure's backers in Congress, as well...

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Some Thoughts on Israel's Independence Day

(5) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 11:41 AM

Tonight, Israel will begin to celebrate the 67th anniversary of its modern rebirth as an independent state on its Independence Day.

Founded in the face of enormous challenges and in the shadow of the Holocaust, Israel has much to celebrate over the course of its tumultuous history. Its Declaration of...

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Rothko's Jewish Influences?

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 12:44 PM

Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel
by Annie Cohen-Solal
Yale University Press, 281 pages, $25

What is it that gives the paintings of Mark Rothko their tremendous power? Why do those squares of vibrating color, that seem to float in space, somehow liberated from their canvases,...

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Book Review: Math, Judaism, Family, Genius, Mourning, America, Russia -- A Heady Brew

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 9:56 AM

The Mathematician's Shiva
A Novel by Stuart Rojstaczer
Penguin Books, 365 pages , $16.00

The mathematician in the title of this intriguing debut novel is Rachela Karonovitch, known as possibly the greatest woman math genius in history. As the book begins, she is on her last day of...

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Why No Debates in Israeli Election?

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 2:35 PM

One of the stranger aspects of watching the Israeli election campaign from afar is the absence of a televised debate between the two top candidates for Prime Minister, the incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu and Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog.

There was one debate during the current campaign in which...

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US-Israel Relationship Being Hijacked by Far-Right

(27) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 1:54 PM

This week, Texas Republican and probable presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) -- and his opening remark showed how far the US-Israel relationship has become a partisan football in American politics.

"So there's not a single Democrat here," he...

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Not Too Late to Postpone Netanyahu Speech

(8) Comments | Posted February 11, 2015 | 4:58 PM

By now, it has become clear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to address Congress on March 4 has become a disaster -- not just for him but more importantly for the US-Israel relationship.

From the beginning, one of the chief objections to the visit -- and the reason...

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American Jews Overwhelmingly Back Two-State Solution

(9) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 10:29 AM

A new poll of American Jewish voters reveals a community that cares deeply about Israel but overwhelmingly backs assertive U.S. leadership to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on a two-state solution -- even if that means publicly stating disagreements with both sides.

The poll of...

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An Agenda for Supporters of a Two-State Solution

(4) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 3:21 PM

With peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in deep freeze, what can supporters of a two-state solution do in the months ahead? I suggest our most important imperative is to step up and sharpen our opposition to Israel's ceaseless settlement expansion -- a task that is crucial to preserving...

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US Must Take a Stand Against Settlements

(83) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 7:16 PM

A report issued this week by the non-partisan Adva Center, which studies social inequalities in Israel, found that in the past two decades the population of Israel had grown by 60 percent and the population of its West Bank settlements by 240 percent.

In the two...

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Time for a Cease-Fire Agreement in Gaza

(1) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 3:37 PM

For more than three weeks now, fierce violence has raged between Israel and Hamas, taking an enormous toll in human life and suffering. Who among us is not deeply shocked and saddened by the losses suffered in this round of violence?

One's heart goes out to the families of all...

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Can Kerry's Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts Succeed?

(10) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 11:01 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 | 10:14 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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