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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Kerry's divergence from Obama on foreign affairs raises questions

By Paul Richter






JewishWorldReview.com |

mASHINGTON — (MCT) John Kerry opened his diplomatic mission to Syria in 2009 with a decidedly undiplomatic question for President Bashar Assad: Why did so few Arab leaders trust Assad?

One month into President Obama's first term, the then-chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was in Damascus to explore the possibility of Syrian-Israeli peace talks. But minutes into their meeting, Kerry pressed the Syrian autocrat to explain why other Middle Eastern rulers said Assad always "says one thing and does another ... or he says he will do something then doesn't do it."

Assad, clearly startled by the question, demanded examples. "I need to know this," he said, according to a State Department memo later disclosed by the website WikiLeaks.

With Kerry off on his debut trip as secretary of State to nine nations in Europe and the Middle East, his blunt exchange with Assad offers insight on his determination to use whatever it takes -- even insults -- to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, his personal passion.

Kerry has made it clear he wants to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a long and sporadic process whose latest collapse occurred during Obama's first term. He is well aware that failed attempts tarnished the reputations of elder statesmen and presidents for decades, including Obama.

He is not deterred.

"We need to try to find a way forward," Kerry said at his Senate confirmation hearing last month. He said the window to create an independent Palestinian state and to ensure Israeli security soon "could shut on everybody, and that would be disastrous."

Kerry will accompany Obama next month on the president's first visit to Israel since entering the White House. They won't present a U.S. peace plan, aides said, but will gather ideas, serve notice that Obama is again considering the issue and make it clear that Kerry speaks for him.

Yet Kerry and Obama have sharply different attitudes and approaches to foreign crises. The differences raise questions, if not doubts, about how far Kerry can go to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough.

Kerry is fired by a desire for a diplomatic success in the Middle East that could secure his legacy. Obama is chiefly focused on winding down America's wars overseas and preventing other conflicts from spreading.



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Daniel C. Kurtzer, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt, interprets Obama's high-profile trip and other White House signals as "a cautionary approval" for Kerry to try again on restarting talks.

Obama is "saying let's be careful, so if there is no opportunity here we won't be too exposed," said Kurtzer, now at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Marwan Muasher, a former Jordanian foreign minister who has dealt frequently with Kerry, admires him but sees daylight between America's new top diplomat and the president.

"Frankly, I'm skeptical that the president has yet made a commitment on the Middle East," said Muasher, research director of the nonpartisan Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "And for anything to be accomplished, a presidential commitment will be needed."

Kerry's commitment is clear. He made his first official phone calls as secretary to Israeli and Palestinian leaders. His predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, made her first trip to East Asia.

Some of Kerry's advisors envision him at some point beginning frantic Henry Kissinger-style shuttle diplomacy between Middle East capitals to nail down a deal.

Kerry, 69, is no global diplomacy neophyte. While in the Senate, he served as an unofficial diplomatic troubleshooter for Obama in Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and elsewhere. In some cases, he drew political flak for his efforts.

In February 2009, he and two House members were the first U.S. lawmakers to visit the Gaza Strip after its takeover by the Hamas militant group two years earlier. The goal was to assess humanitarian needs after a three-week Israeli military offensive, but critics said Kerry was giving undeserved legitimacy to Hamas, a group the State Department had labeled a terrorist organization.

Kerry also came under fire for meeting five times with Assad from 2009 to 2011, part of Obama's effort to reach out to countries that were shunned during the George W. Bush administration. The White House saw a huge potential payoff if Kerry could help move Damascus toward peace with Israel and break its alliance with Iran. But the effort fizzled, and conservative critics mocked a photo of Kerry, Assad and their wives dining in Damascus, as well as Kerry's later praise of his host as "very generous."

Since then, Assad has presided over a civil war that has claimed almost 70,000 lives in the last two years and has defied calls for him to step down.

Kerry's persuasive skills and endurance drew praise in 2009 when he was sent to Afghanistan to persuade President Hamid Karzai to take part in a runoff election that the White House viewed as a key test of democracy. Kerry spent 20 hours over five days with Karzai in marathon walks, dinners, visits to mosques and talks with political rivals. Karzai ultimately agreed, and won the runoff.

Kerry is more inclined to sweet talk than browbeating in his negotiations. And the secretary, who was among the wealthiest members of Congress and has Champagne tastes, sometimes schmoozes far from the conference room.

After a recent meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Kerry recounted how they enjoyed fine meals together in Jordan, visited a posh resort at Wadi Rum and rode motorcycles by the Dead Sea.

Kerry's previous views on Middle East policy didn't always align with the White House. For example, he called for the administration to arm opposition rebels in Syria and to help protect them by establishing "safe zones," ideas the White House rejected as too aggressive.

He also criticized Obama's failed effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with a demand that Israel freeze settlement construction on land it seized during the 1967 Middle East War, saying the White House "wasted a year and a half on something that for a number of reasons was not achievable."

Kerry, who fought in the Vietnam War, is confident he can deal with the formidable diplomats of the Middle East. Some officials are intimidated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a burly former army commando. Kerry isn't awed by the Israeli's combat past.

"He's been there. He's unimpressed," said a former Kerry aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

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