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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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  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

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  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

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  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

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  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

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  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

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  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

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