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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

Some Thoughts on Israel's Independence Day

(5) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 10:41 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 | 11:44 AM

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 | 8:56 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 | 1:35 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 | 12:54 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 | 3:58 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 | 9:29 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 | 2:21 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

(86) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 6:16 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 | 2:37 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 | 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.


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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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