The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
We have no doubt that there is some measure of political partisanship in the controversies swirling around the Obama administration. That is, after all, the American way of governance and, frankly, how wrongdoing is often identified and uncovered. But political maneuvering is just a sideshow that distracts from the questions that should concern us, each of which strikes at the heart of American self-government.
Those questions are: Did the State Department and possibly the president himself intentionally mislead the public on the Benghazi terrorist attack last September? Did the Department of Justice improperly subpoena a journalist’s phone records? Did the IRS single out for special scrutiny conservative groups seeking certain exempt status?
The Benghazi attack on the American consulate in Libya took place in the heat of a presidential campaign. For it to have emerged that the episode was a coordinated attack organized by terrorists would have given the lie to the president’s claim that the terrorist enterprise in Libya had been destroyed on his watch. Similarly, it would have underscored the lack of protection for American diplomatic personnel at an American facility.
So there certainly was motive for the administration to withhold such information from the electorate. Of course, the administration and its supporters argue that there was no effort to withhold and that the error lay in the information provided by the intelligence community – namely that the attack was the spontaneous reaction of Muslims outraged by a video they considered grossly disrespectful to the prophet Muhammad.
And there the matter sits, with congressional committees reportedly preparing for further hearings into the matter. These inquiries are obviously important, as they deal with the possibility that administration officials willfully misled the electorate by manipulating information put out by governmental agencies just prior to a presidential election.
Meanwhile, the IRS now admits it subjected organizations with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names to extra scrutiny before deciding whether to grant tax-exempt status under Section 501 (c) 4 of the Internal Revenue Code which, as distinct from Section 501 (c) (3) status, would have allowed them to keep their donor lists confidential and engage in some level of political activity. There was no disclosure until well after the election that this practice was taking place.
So on two levels there are serious issues here. Who in government tried to tamp down conservative groups, and why was news of it suppressed until after the election? The first points to possible use of governmental power to discourage financial support for certain groups, putting a severe crimp in their ability to spread their particular messages. The second is the purposeful withholding of information important to the electorate through manipulation of the flow of official and relevant news.
Ominously for the administration, polls are showing that latter controversy is particularly galling to Americans – a Quinnipiac survey of registered voters shows 76 percent favoring the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups.
Finally, the issue of the Justice Department’s subpoena of the phone records of a Fox News reporter took center stage this past week. This was reportedly part of an effort to track down the source of a leak to James Rosen, who wrote a story about a North Korean nuclear test that had not been made public.
It is unfortunate that most observers are focusing on whether Attorney General Eric H. Holder misled Congress or committed perjury in his testimony on the matter before a congressional committee. A serious examination of Mr. Holder’s response to one particular question raises serious doubts about his veracity, but the overriding issue is that a Department of Justice document has surfaced which declared that there was probable cause to believe a reporter had committed a crime when writing about secret information received from a government source. To be sure, reporters have in the past been jailed for not giving up their notes, but for a reporter to be labeled a possible lawbreaker for using information gathered in the normal course of business is something new and quite alarming.
In his May 15 testimony, Mr. Holder replied to a question about whether reporters writing about national security secrets should be indicted under the Espionage Act by saying: “With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I’ve ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy. In fact, my view is quite the opposite….”
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
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
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
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.”
“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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