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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

Who Are Israel's Friends?

(11) Comments | Posted February 2, 2016 | 11:20 AM

Memo to: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
From: Director General, Ministry of Friendship
Subject: Our Friends

An Op Ed in the New York Times by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon headlined "Don't Shoot the Messenger, Israel," raises the issue once again of who are our real friends...

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Israel's Creeping Annexation of West Bank Speeds Up

(10) Comments | Posted January 29, 2016 | 2:28 PM

As is is well known, many members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government are strident opponents of a two-state solution and would like to annex at least a major portion of the occupied West Bank.

Until recently, many in the international community assumed that Netanyahu would block such...

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Hélène Grimaud's "Water" Expands Language of Classical Piano Recital

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2016 | 12:34 PM

In recent years, there have been valiant attempts to revive the tired format of the classical piano recital. You know, the one where the audience sits in reverent hush while soloists, clad in evening dress, display how fast their fingers can move up and down the keyboard and how loud...

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Opponents of Iran Nuclear Deal Just Won't Quit

(38) Comments | Posted January 12, 2016 | 1:36 PM

Opponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and six world powers to deal with Iran's nuclear program mounted a massive campaign last summer, spending tens of millions of dollars to sabotage the agreement.

They failed -- but they have not quit.

Days after reports that Iran...

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Disturbing Trends in Israel

(55) Comments | Posted January 6, 2016 | 12:19 PM

The arrest of a Jewish settler, who has been charged with burning to death three Palestinians, including an 18-month-old infant in the West Bank village of Duma in July 2014, is tremendously disturbing in many ways.

First and foremost of course is the confirmation of the long-held assumption that this...

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Incitement Grows Against Israeli NGOs

(6) Comments | Posted December 16, 2015 | 10:59 AM

For some time, we have seen a growing climate of intimidation in Israel aimed at silencing non-governmental organizations that monitor human rights and report on the situation in the Palestinian Territory. Such intimidation now even extends to the country's ceremonial head of state, President Reuven Rivlin, who has been

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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.

In...

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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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