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Alan Elsner

Alan Elsner is Executive Director of the Americas for The Israel Project. Prior to joining TIP in August 2010, Elsner had a 33-year career at top levels of journalism and published two novels, a memoir of his father’s Holocaust survival and an acclaimed book about the U.S. prison system. Elsner’s journalistic career began with The Jerusalem Post. He joined Reuters in Tel Aviv in 1980 and became the news agency’s first correspondent in Jerusalem in 1983. Elsner’s subsequent career took him back to London and to Stockholm where he headed the agency’s four Nordic bureaus. In Washington, Elsner was assigned to the State Department from 1989-94 when he covered the end of the Cold War and the first Gulf War. His sharp questioning at the State Department during the Rwanda genocide in 1994 forced the Clinton administration to change its policy. His role was highlighted in several books about the massacres and his voice was featured in the movie, "Hotel Rwanda." Elsner was Reuters Chief Political Correspondent from 1994-2000 and headed coverage of the 1996 and 2000 presidential campaigns. He was National Correspondent from 2001-2004 and covered the 9/11 attack. In 2006, Elsner won a Knight International Journalism Fellowship and spent nine months in Romania teaching journalism and strengthening free media. His first book, “Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America’s Prisons” was hailed by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy as a “wake-up call” and welcomed by the political left and right. Elsner later testified to governmental and independent commissions on prison reform. Elsner’s memoir of his father’s wartime experiences, “Guarded by Angels,” published by Yad Vashem, has been described as a major addition to Holocaust literature. It helped spark a successful campaign to build a new memorial at the site of the Belzec extermination camp in Poland. His novel, “Romance Language” which deals with the Romanian revolution of 1989, will come out in Romania next year. His first novel, “The Nazi Hunter” was described by Publishers’ Weekly as "a gripping debut thriller and a compelling tale." Kirkus Reviews said, “The plot twists accelerate nicely. . . . An intriguing protagonist, terrifying historical lessons, and a well-orchestrated, pulse-pounding conclusion." Elsner has lectured and taught widely at universities in the United States and Europe, including Princeton, Dartmouth, American University, George Washington University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Rochester and the University of North Carolina. His op-eds have appeared in The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times and he blogs on The Huffington Post.

Articles by Alan Elsner:

The Hagel Nomination and Monty Python January 16, 2013 12:57 am

The Hagel Nomination and Monty Python

Why I Joined J Street December 13, 2012 3:07 pm

Why I Joined J Street

The IAEA is Powerless Against Iran September 6, 2012 3:55 pm

The IAEA is Powerless Against Iran

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  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

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  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

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  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

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  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

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  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

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