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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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  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

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  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

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  • Book Reviews Jewish History Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    It’s hard to make a new contribution to the field of Holocaust studies,  but German historian Götz Aly accomplishes just that in Why the Germans, Why the Jews? His premise is that the origins of the Holocaust were rooted in the specific anti-Semitism found in Germany in the decades and centuries before World War II. Aly (who is not Jewish) seeks to prove his theory by studying only pre-Holocaust history, and tracing how the German people’s envy and hatred of [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Blogs Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    JNS.org – During the current conflict in Gaza a number of celebrities have voiced their opinions in support of either the Israeli or Palestinian positions. But others—be it during Operation Protective Edge or at other times—have gone further than simply supporting the Palestinians by actively supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, making false accusations about the Jewish state, ignoring Israel’s position on the conflict, or justifying the actions of the terrorist group Hamas. Many of these [...]

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  • Blogs Sports Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    JNS.org – Days after winning his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight bout against Steven Siler on July 26, Israeli-born mixed martial arts competitor Noad Lahat boarded a plane for his native country, choosing to temporarily exit UFC’s octagonal cage to rejoin the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as a paratrooper for its operation against Hamas in Gaza. Except he didn’t actually consider it a choice. “When [our] home is in danger, there is no other way for us [but to serve [...]

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  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

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  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

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  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

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