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The White House Hanukkah party is Wednesday night; it follows weeks of public discussion over some tone-deaf gaffes — such as the decision to bill the event as a “holiday reception” and pare down the guest list, interpreted as a “snub” by some Jewish Democrats.

But hey. It’s party time now, and one with a teachable moment.

“Those in attendance should have fun, but they should not forget that there are several million co-religionists who think they deserve to be there more,” Tevi Troy tells Inside the Beltway.

A fellow at the Hudson Institute, Mr. Troy was a White House Jewish liaison during the George W. Bush administration. His recent Op-Ed for a Jewish news agency that cautioned the White House about the political sensitivities at stake got folks wondering whether a Hanukkah-gate was in the making.

“There are two key lessons for the White House from this incident. One is that the defense secretary can send troops to battle, but the social secretary can start a war,” Mr. Troy says.

“The second lesson is that some errors are fixable. The Obamas took a page from Santa’s book by making a list but checking it twice — countering the initial criticism on this issue by expanding the size of the guest list. I hope the White House takes this to heart in substantive matters as well as symbolic ones.”


A powerhouse coalition is taking lawmakers to task over Iran. Its message, sent to House leaders in a letter: If the “rogue regime” doesn’t cease its obsession with nuclear weapons, then bring on the sanctions.

Among the members of the newfound Christian Leaders for a Nuclear-Free Iran: Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network, Gary Bauer of American Values, Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, prison ministry specialist Chuck Colson, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, James Merritt of Cross Pointe Church, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, John Hagee of San Antonio’s Cornerstone Church and Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.

“Now that supermajorities in the House and Senate have made their support for sanctions known, and now that the Iranian regime has made its increasing defiance clear to the world, the time for Congress to act has arrived,” says Mr. Land.

The letter urges the House to pass, at a minimum, a cutoff of exports of refined petroleum products, including gas as a “firm yet peaceful measure against the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.” The vote on the matter is looming.

“Tehran needs proof we are serious,” Mr. Land adds.


The Tiger Woods saga has been politicized as analysts ponder the links of his wife, Elin, to socialism — a phenomenon recently identified by the Daily Beast Web site. Then there are the comedic implications of his marital infidelity. NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has declared that Mr. Woods’ chronic womanizing has bumped the affairs of South Carolina Gov.Mark Sanford and former presidential hopeful John Edwards right off the news media’s radar.

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About the Author


A graduate of Syracuse University, Jennifer Harper writes the daily Inside the Beltway column and provides additional coverage of breaking national news, plus long-term trends in politics, media issues, public opinion, popular culture, Hollywood foibles and “eureka” moments in health and science.

She has been a frequent broadcast commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Voice of America, Citadel Broadcasting, ...

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