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July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘AIPAC’

Guess What Each of the US Jewish Organizations Are Saying About the Iran Deal

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

We know the Iran deal is bad. How bad it is is we all may be spending the rest of our lives finding out. That is, unless enough members of Congress are able to inject sufficient spine-strengthening and -straightening serum to override President Barack Obama’s already promised veto of any effort to derail the deal.

So let’s take a stroll through the playground of American Jewish organizations and see what they have to say about the proposed deal which allows many of the things American leaders swore would not be permitted and forbids many of the things that were promised would be included.

First, let’s lay out the general parameters of the deal, as they are currently understood, based on analyses of the 159 page document.

According to the Iranians themselves, the deal blesses Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear programs and will lift sanctions from Iran through a new UN Security Council resolution. It allows all of Iran’s nuclear installations and sites to continue, none of them will be dismantled. Plus, research and development on key and advanced centrifuges will continue.

There will be no “anywhere, anytime” inspections. Instead, there will be a mechanism in place that will ensure that at least 24 days elapses before inspectors can visit any facility which Iran decides it doesn’t want visited.

And although the U.S. administration and its representatives repeatedly insisted that the nuclear program deal would have no impact on any other sanctions imposed against Iran, guess what? It does.

The P5+1 have agreed to lift the arms embargo against Iran within five years, and the embargo on missile sales will be lifted within eight years. Of course, the unfreezing of between $100 and 150 billion is perhaps the most frightening immediate effect of the deal. As with the nuclear and military sites, there will be no transparency to ensure that the money does not get funneled into Iran’s other favorite activity: financing global terrorism, especially murderous terrorism directed at Israel.

Most of the major Jewish organizations either blasted the agreement with Iran or punted, assuming a wait and see stance. However, one “pro-Israel, pro-peace” outfit was thrilled with the deal. More on that in the body of the article.

Here they are, summaries of the statements on the Iran deal issued by American Jewish organizations.In alphabetical order.

The Anti-Defamation League unhappy

Usually known for a more even-keeled approach to most administration ventures, the ADL is highly critical of the Iran deal. The ADL leadership said they were “deeply disappointed by the terms of the final deal with Iran” which “seems to fall far short of the President’s objective of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state.” The ADL leadership praised the administration’s negotiators for sticking to it for so long and for appearing to put off Iran’s ability to become a nuclear state in the short term, but it fails to prevent it for the long term.

The ADL further blasted the “front-end loaded infusion of billions of dollars in sanctions relief [which] will finance Iran’s ongoing global campaign of terror against Israel and other U.S. allies, and be used to further exert its influence across the Middle East, thereby harming U.S. interests.”

While stopping short of calling on Congress to do its best to derail the job, the ADL leadership took the time to urge those debating the matter to do so in a civil and respectful manner.  Some jaded commentators might wonder whether such admonishments are ladled out when the plan of someone considered to be right wing is under attack.

Americans for a Safe Israel angry

Not surprisingly, the small, New York-based, staunchly Zionist organization AFSI is unalterably opposed to the Iran deal. As Helen Freedman, AFSI’s long-time executive director wrote regarding the deal crafted by Obama and Kerry, “there was never any doubt in our minds that this deceitful duo would cross all the red lines and give Iran everything it demands-  and more. Our ‘leaders’ even made it difficult for Congress to do anything to Stop Iran by insisting this is not a treaty, only a ‘deal.’ Only those who applaud the naked emperor will celebrate this travesty.”

American Israel Public Affairs Committee worried

AIPAC’s deep affinity for diplomacy and close connections with the administration as well as members of Congress puts the organization in a bit of a bind. Its statement reflects that dilemma. AIPAC had previously outlined several requirements any deal with Iran had to meet. Those included:”anywhere, anytime” inspections – that ain’t happening; sanctions relief should only come after Iran satisfies all its commitments – nope; any deal had to prevent Iran from the ability to acquire nuclear weapons for decades – not that either; and Iran had to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure – nope again.

“We are deeply concerned based on initial reports that this proposed agreement may not meet these requirements, and thereby would fail to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.” Deeply concerned? Even the President’s talking points make clear that AIPAC’s red lines have not been met.

AIPAC, as did several of the other organizations, signaled that it would continue to review the deal and issue updates on its position.

American Jewish Committee worried

The AJC spent the first third of its statement praising the administration’s negotiators and leadership for its attempt to reach an accord. AJC’s executive director David Harris then called on Congress to ” thoroughly review, debate, and, ultimately, vote it up or down.” Towards the end of the statement, Harris finally gets around to venturing an opinion about the deal. He said that the nuclear deal does not appear to address certain “extremely troubling aspects of Iranian behavior.” He then lists out five different concerns of the AJC regarding the deal, including its reign of terror in the Middle East and its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program (which cannot have a peaceful purpose), and its systematic repression of human rights.

But rather than urging its members to take any particular action, the AJC director concludes his statement by noting that however “Congress decides to vote on the nuclear deal,” Harris concluded, “the need for vigilance regarding Iran will not for a single moment be diminished.”

Endowment for Middle East Truth angry

EMET expressed “profound disappointment” that the deal with Iran is “more deplorable than we had even anticipated. Of particular concern to EMET is that the “Administration has caved on almost every one of its initial criteria. It also pointed out that the Iranian Ayatollah maintained all of his red lines, even those which are contrary to UN resolutions.”

Sarah Stern, the president and founder of EMET said, “we all understand and appreciate that Americans are not eager for armed conflict, but willfully blinding ourselves to the reality of a bad deal does not prevent war.” EMET blasted the deal as a “diplomatic disaster of historic proportions.”

The Israel Project unhappy

TIP’s president, Josh Block, said of the deal with Iran that it “is a realization of the deepest fears and the most dire predictions of skeptics who have, for two years, been warning against exactly this outcome – a bad deal that enriches this tyrannical regime and fails to strip Iran of nuclear weapons capability.” TIP unequivocally called on Congress to reject “this bad deal.” The Israel Project has been providing nearly daily, and extremely detailed, updates and analyses of the negotiations for many months, and is considered extremely knowledgeable regarding both the process and the details of the agreement as it has evolved.

J Street  happy

J Street founder and president Jeremy Ben-Ami once described his nascent organization as “President Obama’s blocking back.” It apparently still sees itself that way. While hedging its bets a tiny bit by calling the deal “complex and multi-faceted,” J Street takes President Obama at his word and concludes that the deal “appears to meet the critical criteria around which a consensus of non-proliferation experts has formed for a deal that verifiably blocks each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.” Tellingly, the statement does not mention what those criteria are.

Every other organization that praised the negotiators did so for their efforts. Not J Street. J Street congratulated them for bringing the negotiations “to a successful conclusion.”

J Street mentioned the upcoming review of the deal by Congress, but sent its own thinly-veiled threat: Congress should be “mindful of the likely consequences of its rejection: a collapse of diplomacy and international sanctions as Iran pushes forward with a nuclear program unimpeded.”

In other words, unless Congress approves the deal, or fails to override the promised veto, J Street is telling its followers that the alternative will be an Iran with nuclear weapons. You can bet that is how they will couch their calls to supporters in the upcoming congressional review period.

Jewish Federations of North America hmmmm

The parent organization of the Jewish Federations and JCRCs was careful to thank the negotiators for their efforts and to express its support for diplomacy, but clearly signaled its discomfort with the way the deal has shaped up, given Iran’s terrorist history. The JFNA statement expresses its concern: “Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas, its human rights violations and its aggressive threats toward neighboring countries – including Israel – make the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran untenable.”

But the JFNA resorted to mouthing the assurances that President Obama has been making – even while the facts regarding them have been changing – for nearly the entire period of the negotiations. The JFNA concluded its statement by urging Congress to give the accord its “utmost scrutiny.”

National Jewish Democratic Council can't talk

Perhaps not surprisingly, the NJDC takes absolutely no position on the content of the deal and does not state one word about it. Instead, the statement issued by the NJDC focuses on the process of deliberations going forward and the need “to take partisan politics completely out of this situation.” In fact, it preemptively takes those who oppose this deal to task for turning the Iran deal into a “wedge issue” which divides Jews. It appears the NJDC did not take the temperature of its erstwhile center and center-left Jewish organizational playmates, as virtually every one of them, and they all contain large numbers of Democrats, are highly critical of the deal.

Republican Jewish Coalition angry

The RJC called the agreement “a bad deal” because “it is not enforceable, verifiable or in America’s national security interest.” The group called on Congress to stop the deal or “the world will be less safe as the United States will remove sanctions on Iran, and in return, Iran will still pursue nuclear weapons.” The RJC called on all members of Congress to reject the deal.

Simon Wiesenthal Center worried

The Wiesenthal Center’s leadership said they are “deeply worried” about the deal which they said “confirms Iran as a threshold nuclear power” and that “will end economic sanctions against the Mullahocracy.” The SWC called on Congress to review the document carefully and to vote against it if it is as dangerous as it appears to be.

World Jewish Congress hmmmm

The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, expressed strong skepticism about the Iran deal. He also mentioned the hard work of the negotiators but repeatedly stated that Tehran has a long history of misleading the world and that there is no reason to trust Iran over the implementation of the deal.

“I fear we may have entered into an agreement that revives the Iranian economy but which fails to stop this regime from developing nuclear weapons in the long terms, which would have disastrous consequences for the entire region and the world.” The WJC urged the international community to stand ready to reimplement sanctions immediately if Iran fails to meet its obligations under the agreement.

Zionist Organization of America angry

No surprises from the ZOA leadership on this issue. If they didn’t use a thesaurus to find every word that means bad to describe this deal, it is only because they have been using those words to describe this deal that way since its infancy.

The ZOA is “deeply horrified, but not surprised by the truly terrible nuclear agreement,” the statement begins. In a highly detailed recitation of how and why the deal is so bad, long-time ZOA president Mork Klein said that the nuclear agreement “is quite simply a catastrophe and a nightmare. It leaves the world standing at an abyss.”

In addition to decrying the lack of spontaneous inspections, the huge boatloads of cash to spend on its terrorist activities and subordinates and the egregiously antagonistic behavior of the Iranian leadership even over the past few days, Klein made another point.

“Two years ago, the Iranian economy was collapsing under the weight of sanctions. President Obama could have intensified pressure and international resolve to compel Iran to relinquish its nuclear program. He never even tried. Instead, he preemptively relieved the pressure on Iran by easing sanctions which enabled Iran to withstand every demand. As a result, we now stand on the precipice of an era of nuclear terror.”

The ZOA, as did several other organizations, urged Americans to call their elected federal representatives through the Capitol Hill Switchboard (202-224-3121) and urge them to oppose the nuclear deal.

****

While there are two outliers, it turns out the Iran deal is so bad that nearly every major American Jewish organization is, at minimum, extremely concerned about it. That’s quite a feat.

Israel Saved Obama’s Neck on Assad’s Chemical Weapons

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Israel let President Barack Obama off the hook on which he hanged himself by saying he would bomb Syria because of Bashar Assad’s’ use of chemical weapons, former Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote in his new book.

The man behind the covert plan was none other than Yuval Steinitz, who at the time was Minister of Intelligence. He also is one of the loudest hawks when it comes to warning that President Obama and the other P5+1 powers are in the midst of making a terrible if not lethal mistake by dealing with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.

Assad’s use of chemical weapons, a war crime – as if he were not guilty of others – was discovered in 2013.

President Obama had done everything possible to avoid getting directly involved in the war in Syria, where any result would be a bad result.

However, the use of chemical weapons was a red line President Obama could not ignore.

Obama threatened several times to bomb Syria, and after a month he suddenly changed course 180 degrees.

Oren said it was due to Steinitz, who with the approval of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came up a plan for Assad to turn over his chemical weapons stockpile to Russia, Assad’s ally.

Bloomberg News reported that Oren wrote in his new book “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide,” to be launched next week but not yet released to the public, that Israel was not against an American aerial attack but was willing to help the president avoid it.

Steinitz was the source of the idea even if it was not a plan so much as an off-the-cuff remark that set off a domino chain reaction.

According to Oren, Steinitz mentioned the idea to the Russians, and then to the State Dept., which did not take him too seriously. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took it very seriously, and the plan quickly moved forward in the United States and United Nations, with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s blessing.

Oren wrote:

The idea originated with an Israeli minister, Yuval Steinitz, who first pitched it to the Russians, who were eager to avoid an American intercession that they could not stop. Netanyahu next brought it to Obama and received a green light.

Before Obama changed course, he had gone so far as to ask the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby to lobby for a war resolution, Oren writes.

Obama never credited Israel, which Steinitz and Netanyahu agreed would not be a good idea,

Steinitz told The New York Times that that he and Prime Minister Netanyahu kept their mouths shut about their role in helping Obama so that no one would say “it’s an Israeli strike [or] Israeli conspiracy, [and] maybe it’s a reason to stop it.”

He told the newspaper:

They never asked if they can give us credit, and we never asked them to give us credit,” he added. “Until today, it was a secret.”

Israel didn’t want credit, giving both Russia and Obama the opportunity to boast.

Oren wrote:

In subsequent interviews, Obama rarely missed the chance to cite the neutralization of Syria’s chemical capabilities as an historic diplomatic achievement.

Russian president Vladimir Putin also took credit for the initiative and praised this ‘vivid example of how the international community can solve the most complex disarmament and non- proliferation tasks.’

Israel’s role remained unmentioned, but its citizens were relieved not to have to sign up for more gas masks.

Granted that President Obama may not think that Israel should bow down to him for not bombing Syria instead of risking retaliation against Israel and the horrendous scene of Israelis walking around with gas masks on their faces because of a chemical attack.

And granted that Obama should not let Israel dictate policy on key issues just because Israel helped him in another area.

But it is one thing not to thank Israel, at least not in public so the the Arabs won’t get upset, and it is another matter to create an image of hate of the leader of an ally that, intentionally or not, may have saved President Obama from one of the worst of the many disasters of his foreign policy.

No one is asking him to say, “Thank you,” but it is reasonable to expect a bit of civility. Obama simply can’t get over his control trip complex.

The president’s obsession with the non-existent “peace process” and with a deal with Iran, no matter what, has blinded him into treating Netanyahu like a voodoo doll in which he has to stick pins.

PI-INOs (Pro-Israel In Name Only) Continue to Give Cover to Obama

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama held two meetings with American Jews last week. They were the best of meetings, they were the worst of meetings. In reverse order.

The worst part of the worst meeting – from the perspective of Americans who care about regional stability in the Middle East and the continued existence of the Jewish State – was an offer made by J Street-esque Jews who promised to “do the leg work” for Obama if he decides to remove the “veto protection of Israel” at the United Nations, as reported in the Algemeiner.

At the first meeting, the Jewish organization heads represented the concerns of pro-Israel Americans regarding this administration’s recent actions, particularly regarding steps to allow Iran to come out from under the yoke of international sanctions regarding its nuclear program.

Participants in this meeting included representatives from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the World Jewish Congress, The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, AIPAC, B’nai Brith, the ADL, the Jewish Federations, representatives of the three major streams of Judaism, and partisan and leftist groups such as the National Jewish Democratic Council, the Israel Policy Forum, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, J Street and the National Council of Jewish Women, according to the JTA.

At the second meeting, the one with those who claim to be pro-Israel when it suits them, but who are first, last and always pro-Democratic party policies (we’ll call them PI-INOs: Pro-Israel In Name Only), encouraged Obama in his belief that he “is a member of the tribe” because they, like he, understand his far-leftist orientation to be really a form of Social Justice Judaism.

Those present at this meeting included major Jewish Democratic party donors and fundraisers, including ones associated with AIPAC and J Street. They included the Israeli-American Haim Saban, who is believed to be, unlike others present, at least somewhat critical of Obama’s Middle East policies.

But a theme, originally laid out in a lengthy, glowing New York Times magazine about J Street when it was first launched, was played out again at this second meeting. This theme is, at least for those most closely associated with J Street, they serve as Obama’s “blocking back” for American Jews, presenting his adverse position on matters typically of great concern to American Jews, softening up the crowd, and taking the initial body slams.

Obama was encouraged, according to sources present at the meeting who shared what transpired with the Algemeiner, to “take steps against Israel and remain steadfast in his approach to Iran negotiations.” A “J Streeter” went so far as to have “pushed Obama to remove the veto protection of Israel at the UN in the event that a Security Council resolution called for the creation of a Palestinian State.”

This “J Streeter” reportedly said “if you decide to go against Israel at the UN, ‘let us know first, and we’ll do the legwork for you in the community.” The conversation described at least that participant as actively pushing the president to work against Israel’s concerns on the world stage.

Another participant at this second meeting reportedly encouraged Obama to continue with his negotiations with Iran and remain firm against Congress’s efforts to intervene.

The president later changed course on the Congressional initiative known as the Corker bill, fueling speculation that it actually ended up being a net positive for the administration’s efforts. There are conflicting views that the administration caved because it recognized a tidal wave was going to wash over them anyway, but careful analysts such as former U.S. Naval intelligence officer J.E. Dyer suggest that is too optimistic a view.

What Candidate Obama Promised the Jews Before Elections [video]

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Candidate Obama said so many interesting things in 2008 when he was trying to get elected — when he wanted that Jewish vote. Well, I mean, if it’s not racist to say that he wanted to get the Jews out to vote for him.

At AIPAC, Candidate Obama said, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

I can only assume that since Candidate Obama promised that before elections, then he wouldn’t have taken any steps during his tenure (any evidence to the contrary) that would contradict that promise, such as getting upset when Jews build homes in Jerusalem, or by demanding building freezes in Jerusalem from the Israeli Prime Minister.

Here is his 2008 AIPAC statement on Jerusalem:

Let me be clear. Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper — but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.

I have no illusions that this will be easy. It will require difficult decisions on both sides. But Israel is strong enough to achieve peace, if it has partners who are committed to the goal. Most Israelis and Palestinians want peace, and we must strengthen their hand. The United States must be a strong and consistent partner in this process — not to force concessions, but to help committed partners avoid stalemate and the kind of vacuums that are filled by violence. That’s what I commit to do as president of the United States.

Candidate Obama also said, “But Israel is strong enough to achieve peace, if it has partners who are committed to the goal.”

Notice the qualifier that Candidate Obama put in that statement – “if” – if Israel had a partner for peace.

I can only assume that since it is absolutely clear that Israel doesn’t have a partner on the other side, then what Candidate Obama promised to the Jews before elections, would be respected by President Obama.

Candidate Obama promised to “not to force concessions” – such as settlement freezes, or threatening to not use the UN Veto, just to name two things that pop to mind.

After all, we should believe what Candidate Obama told us. Otherwise, I would be seething, infuriated and unimpressed.

Unfortunately the disparity between Candidate Obama’s pre-election statements and President Obama actions, “new positions and comments” have forced me to “reassess”…

Here’s a link to entire text of Candidate Obama’s AIPAC speech. It’s worthwhile to read what Candidate Obama also said about Iran.

You might want to check out Elder of Ziyon’s article on Obama’s pre-election Iran statements:

If you abandon your dangerous nuclear program, support for terror, and threats to Israel, there will be meaningful incentives — including the lifting of sanctions, and political and economic integration with the international community. If you refuse, we will ratchet up the pressure.”

I wish we could hold him to that.

AIPAC Honors United Hatzalah as Leading Innovator [video]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

United Hatzalah (UH), Israel’s premier volunteer emergency response network, was honored for its leadership, innovation and service yesterday by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. The organization’s Founder and President Eli Beer stunned the 16,500 conference participants by arriving on stage lights and sirens blaring on an ambucycle, a specially equipped motorcycle ambulance designed by United Hatzalah to speed up emergency response times.

The “game-changer” organization was recognized for its innovation in effectively and efficiently assisting in saving lives. With a network of 2,500 volunteers across Israel, United Hatzalah responds to 700 emergency calls daily, using tailored GPS technology and smartphone app to respond to crises within minutes after the initial report. The successful United Hatzalah has been a model for the world, with EMTs in Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Lithuania, Ukraine, Rwanda and Jersey City now implementing the Israeli-developed strategies and methods.

“Driving in on a United Hatzalah ambucycle, one of Israel’s outstanding innovations, talking in front of 16,500 people, and hearing them cheer made me tremendously proud of what UH does every single minute to protect Israel, and proud of the work we are doing to export this beautiful concept to wherever it is needed,” said Beer. “As an Israeli I am happy that there are organizations like AIPAC that work day and night to protect Israel and help spread the good word about the work the people of Israel do for this world.”

Eli moved and motivated the huge crowd of passionate supporters of Israel with his heartfelt presentation. Throughout the 3-day convention visitors are welcomed to United Hatzalah’s showcase display of technology, training and emergency medical first response.

To learn more about United Hatzalah, visit representatives at the AIPAC Policy Conference Village or online at http://israelrescue.org/

Netanyahu’s Map of Iranian Terror Network Sets Stage for THE Speech

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pulled out a map at his address to AIPAC Monday to show how the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist network is threatening the world.

The display gives a hint of what may be the thread of the Prime Minister’s speech in Congress today – that Iran cannot be trusted with any nuclear program because it funds a worldwide terrorist network.

The map was not as cute as Netanyahu’s diagram at his United Nations speech three years ago, when he showed a red line with a cartoon bomb to illustrate Israel’s limits of tolerance to threats to be wiped off the map.

The map showed lines reaching from Iran to the point of terrorist attacks in five continents.

For some reason, he left out Argentine, the site of the Hezbollah bombing in 1994 of the AIMA center, but the map included Peru, the United States, India, Thailand, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, France, Germany and, of course, Israel.

 

 

Samantha Power Promises US Won’t Allow Nuclear Iran

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was first up at bat Monday morning to try and discredit Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the AIPAC convention.

Power struck hard and fast at the star-studded political “go to” conference, saying plainly that a nuclear-armed Iran simply will not happen.

“The United States of America will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Period.”

Power said the U.S. would always be committed to Israel’s security – after a diplomatic solution with Iran is tried first.

“We believe diplomacy is the preferred route to secure our shared aim, but if diplomacy should fail, we know the stakes of a nuclear-armed Iran as well as everyone here. We will not let it happen,” she promised.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/samantha-power-promises-us-wont-allow-nuclear-iran/2015/03/03/

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