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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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  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

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  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

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  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

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  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

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  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

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  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

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  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

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  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

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