The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
To put it mildly, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s trip to Israel didn’t go over well with spokesmen for the Palestinians, the Obama administration and a number of columnists and commentators who echoed their criticisms.
The Palestinians were incensed by Gov. Romney’s failure to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as his reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his blaming “Palestinian culture” for the dismal state of Palestinian economic development without mentioning the impact of Israeli occupation. They also resented his praising of Israel’s culture as a basis for its remarkable economic progress.
Meanwhile, Obama administration officials say Gov. Romney’s Jerusalem remark was inconsistent with longstanding U.S. policy. Let’s look a little closer at the facts.
We can well understand that the Palestinians would rail against the Romney snub. But didn’t the president of the United States travel to Cairo to announce his game-changing outreach to the Muslim world and pointedly fail to visit nearby Israel?
As for the issue of Jerusalem, haven’t we all heard just about enough of the mantra that the Palestinians expect to get Jerusalem or part of it as the capital of a Palestinian state? But based on what? The UN Mandate declared all of Jerusalem to be an international city and it was only the 1948 invasion by Arab states that upset that plan as Jordan seized much of the city. Why is Arab conquest in a war of aggression more legitimate than Israel’s seizure in a war of self-defense?
And the Palestinian economy? The Palestinians pretty much share the same culture found among the various sovereign Arab states. Is any one of them a model of systemic growth? Where would they all be without the benefit of the ultimately artificial factor of oil? Aren’t they all characterized by economically and politically debilitating corruption? Why is it that not one of them has developed into a democracy? Are they all ruled by autocratic kings and dictators because Israel builds a few houses in Judea and Samaria and defends itself against murderous Palestinian thugs?
The Jerusalem Post reported Monday that folks in the White House were “scratching their heads” trying to figure out Mr. Romney’s Jerusalem remarks. In a speech on Sunday Romney said, “It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” And in an interview a short time later with CNN he said, “My understanding is the policy of our nation has been a desire to move our embassy ultimately to the capital. That is something which I would agree with. But I would only want to do so and to select the timing in accordance with the government of Israel.”
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said of Romney’s comments, “Well, our view is that that’s a different position than this administration holds. It’s the view of this administration that the capital is something that should be determined in final status negotiations between the parties.”
He added, “I’d remind you that that’s the position that’s been held by previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican. So if Mr. Romney disagrees with that position, he’s also disagreeing with the position that was taken by Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.”
Since 1995, federal law has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995 provides that “(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected; (2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and (3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”
To be sure, Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush invoked a “national security waiver” to postpone the move, though by its terms the waiver only applied to penalties for not moving the embassy, not the requirement to move the embassy. The waiver had to be renewed every six months, which both did. However, President Bush inserted language in his waiver statements over eight years which stated: My administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem.” President Obama, who has also issued waivers every six months, dropped that sentence each time.
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During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
The gap isn’t between Israeli and American Jews-it’s between American Jews and the rest of the world
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
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