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October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘American Israel Public Affairs Committee’

AIPAC Mourns Shimon Peres, Indefatigable Advocate for Justice [video]

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby group extended its condolences Wednesday on the passing of former Israeli President Shimon Peres.

The organization created an especially dramatic video tribute to Peres, using for the audio track a recording of a stirring speech delivered in English by Peres himself, against starkly simple piano notes.

In a separate statement the organization said, “We join the people of Israel in mourning the loss of Shimon Peres, a visionary Israeli patriot and beloved statesman who came to symbolize the reborn Jewish state.

“He sought to realize the ancient Jewish yearning for peace where there was strife and pursued reconciliation amidst discord.

“As an indefatigable advocate for justice and human progress, he earned the respect and appreciation of his fellow leaders and the global community. Indeed, his life’s work was an inspiration to all who strive for peace and freedom.

“Throughout his distinguished career in public service, including his work as Prime Minister and then as President, Shimon Peres sought to strengthen ties between the United States and Israel in deep appreciation of the democratic values we share.

“As we mourn his passing, we know his legacy will live on through the many good deeds he accomplished, the countless lives he enriched, and the commitment to the Jewish state he inspired in so many. May his memory forever be a blessing.”

Hana Levi Julian

Anti-Israel NGO Al-Haq Making Inroads on Capitol Hill

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Al-Haq, a Ramallah based NGO established in 1979 has been making friends on Capitol Hill in recent months, establishing a group of 20 Congress members who are on the record in support of the PA against Israeli policies in Judea and Samaria. The list of 20 lawmakers, which Al-Haq boasts on its website, is not made up of anti-Israel Congress members, which is probably the most worrisome part of this story. They are Congress Members who have mostly bought into the seductive message that Israel has lost its way in trying to, justifiably, deal with the wave of Arab youth rioting and violence in areas under its control, and that the US should come up with ways to help the Israelis rediscover their moral compass.

This group of Al-Haq friendly lawmakers is led by the most anti-Israeli Congress Member, Betty McCollum, US Representative for Minnesota’s 4th congressional district. Back in 2006, she got into a huge feud with AIPAC, when her chief of staff said they had been told by an AIPAC representative that the congresswoman was supporting terrorists because she voted against the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 in committee. The bill was passed overwhelmingly by the House, and AIPAC claimed the Congresswoman was lying about that phone call. McCollum took her story everywhere, including an open letter to AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr in The New York Review of Books—not a hotbed of Zionist fervor. She demanded an apology, AIPAC refused. She told Kohr: “Until I receive a formal, written apology from your organization, I must inform you that AIPAC representatives are not welcome in my offices for meetings with my staff.”

The June 20, 2016 Congress Members’ letter to President Barack Obama, written by Rep McCollum, urged the president “to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth to travel to the west Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel to hear directly from Palestinian youth, human rights and legal experts, NGOs, Palestinian and Israeli officials, including police and military leaders. Such a fact finding mission will provide the Obama Administration with vital information necessary to actively promote human rights, but also establish a framework for the next US administration.”

McCollum’s letter also called on the State Dept. “to elevate the human rights of Palestinian children to a priority status in our bilateral relations with Israel and our ongoing engagement with the Palestinian Authority.”

And, McCollum ended with a threat, “ignoring the trauma being inflicted on millions of Palestinian children undermines our American values and will ensure the perpetuation of a conflict and occupation we all want to see ended peacefully.”

To sum up: 1. Appoint another Goldstone commission; 2. Accumulate a one-sided, anti-Israel body of “evidence,” this time with the backing of the White House; 3. Rinse, repeat.

The ambitious letter to Obama, which is touted on the Al-Haq website, attracted the endorsements of US Reps Eddie Bernice Johnson, Andre Carson, John Conyers, Earl Blumenauer, Donald Beyer, Barbara Lee, Keith Ellison, Hank Johnson, Bobby Rush, Marcy Kaptur, Chellie Pingree, Danny Davis, Peter DeFazio, Raul Grijalva, Sam Farr, Luis Gutierrez, Jim McDermott, Yvette Clarke, and Mark Pocan. Although they are all liberal, and mostly from blue states, these US Reps are not necessarily all enemies of Israel. But they were taken in by the Al-Haq propaganda, as it was sung to them by McCollum.

This fall, Al-Haq is revving up its efforts on the Hill. On Monday morning, October 17, on Capitol Hill (Room TBA), Al-Haq is offering a Capitol Hill Briefing on “Israeli Settlements: Their Impact on Palestinians Living Under Military Occupation.” The briefing will feature speakers from Al-Haq, as well as from Youth Against Settlements and from Al-Shabaka. All three NGOs are heavily funded by European countries and charity organizations.

At the October 17 briefing, the “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation” will launch its policy paper on “steps that Congress and the Executive Branch can take to make US opposition to Israeli settlements more effective.”

A light breakfast will be served, probably not kosher.

According to NGO Monitor, Al-Haq has been a leader in the anti-Israel “Lawfare” and BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) campaigns. Lawfare is the overall title of the strategy aimed at delegitimizing Israel using legal frameworks. It was adopted at the NGO Forum of the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, as a plan to single out Israel as a “racist” and “apartheid” state; isolate Israel internationally through a BDS campaign; and explicitly advance the political war against Israel. The NGO Forum Declaration called for the “adoption of all measures to ensure [the] enforcement” of international humanitarian law, including “the establishment of a war crimes tribunal to investigate and bring to justice those who may be guilty of war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing and the crime of Apartheid . . . perpetrated in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

These efforts are being led by Al Haq, as well the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan, and Badil, and aided by international NGOs including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Federation of Human Rights (France), and the Center for Constitutional Rights (New York). Israeli NGOs Adalah, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and Yesh Din also figure prominently in this scheme. All of these organizations are largely supported by European governments and foundations.


Rumor: AIPAC Meddling in GOP Platform to Tone-Down Pro-Israel Language

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Alan Clemmons, a member of the GOP Platform committee, who on Monday wrote on his Facebook page that he was “honored to propose a strong Israel Plank of the GOP Platform” (See Lori Lowenthal Marcus’s report in today’s Jewish Press), also mentioned that “unfortunately, the saga is not over. The rumor is that AIPAC is trying to recruit surrogates on the Committee to oppose and weaken our strong Israel Plank language tomorrow when it comes before the full committee for approval.”

Last week, the Washington Free Beacon revealed that “AIPAC pursued a quiet campaign to weaken pro-Israel language in the Republican Party’s 2012 platform.” According to the WFB, “AIPAC-backed changes to the 2012 platform included the removal of support for an ‘undivided’ Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the removal of language calling for the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,” ostensibly to insure a balance on Israel between the Democratic and the Republican platforms.

AIPAC’s success in weakening the 2012 pro-Israel language left some Republicans angry, according to sources who told the Free Beacon that the fight over the platform’s Israel language is likely to renew next week in Cleveland.

AIPAC denied working to cool down the pro-Israel language in the 2012 GOP platform.

But Jeff Dunetz, writing for The Lid, reported Monday that he “was able to contact another person involved with the committee who [confirmed] that they too heard that AIPAC is working on a full court press to roll back the 2016 GOP language.”

Jeff Ballabon, chairman of Iron Dome Alliance, who told the Jewish Press‘ Lori Lowenthal Marcus on Monday evening that AIPAC “is amongst the most firmly pro-Two States,” and that “Republican pro-Israel legislators have grown increasingly less enthusiastic about AIPAC,” also told Jeff Dunetz that he is “personally familiar with a number of instances where AIPAC lobbied against Israel’s clear interests and stated policies in pursuit of their own agenda.”

Clemmons, who posted a link to the Dunetz story on his Facebook page, called on his fellow registered Republican Jews: “If you know any Platform Delegates please send them a note to STAND STRONG FOR ISRAEL!!!”

At this point, these are only rumors based on last week’s story about AIPAC and the 2012 GOP platform language. It should be said that, even if AIPAC denies the new rumor, which they probably will, their involvement in preventing a war between the GOP and DNC over who is more pro-Israel is understandable. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have attempted to make Israel the battlefield where the two sides in this election would fight each other, and no one in their right mind would want this — especially not a political PAC investing in ongoing, day in and day out pro-Israel lobbying.

David Israel

Netanyahu: No Cuts in US Support for Missile Defense

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office issued the following statement regarding the dispute between the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Obama Administration over US support for Israel’s anti-missile program:

“In the wake of numerous misleading reports, the Prime Minister’s bureau would like to clarify there has been no cut in American assistance. There is an internal debate between Congress and the White House on the size of the annual supplement to the missile defense program.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu is working to anchor this supplement as part of the discussions on the assistance agreement for the next ten years.

“Not only will security assistance for missile defense not be cut, it will be increased.

“The attempt to turn the dialogue with the US into a domestic Israeli political tool is improper; expressions of panic are not warranted,” the PM’s statement concluded.

David Israel

AIPAC ‘Deeply Disappointed’ Obama Won’t Up Israel’s Missile Defense by $445 Million

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued a statement criticizing the White House Office of Management and Budget’s “Statement of Administration Policy” which threatened to veto the Senates $576 billion defense spending bill, among other reasons because the statement of policy “opposes the addition of $455 million above the FY 2017 Budget request for Israeli missile defense procurement and cooperative development programs.”

Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $600 million in funding for 2017, which represents an increase of $455 million over the president’s original request.

The statement of administration policy released Tuesday by the Office of Management and Budget reads: “The bill is inconsistent with the [Bipartisan Budget Act], and the administration strongly objects to the inclusion of problematic ideological provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation. … If the president were presented with H.R. 5293, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

One of those “problematic ideological provisions” is the increased allocation for Israel’s missile defense research and development.

The White House used the same tactic against the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which the president also threatened to veto.

AIPAC said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” with the White House’s choosing to include the increase in defense spending on Israel’s missile programs in the components of the budget to which it objected. “On a bipartisan basis, Congress has increased funding above administration requests this year, as it has done for well over a decade,” AIPAC said. “These cooperative programs—including the Arrow, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome—are critical for Israel’s defense against a growing array of missile threats and make an important contribution to US missile defense programs. We applaud Congress for consistently supporting these key programs, and urge their full funding in both the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization and Appropriations Acts.”

Incidentally, on the same day the White House announced it would not increase the funding for Iron Dome, among other programs, DefenseNews reported that after five years of a stellar performance in which Iron Dome has been credited with more than 1,500 operational intercepts—a 90% success rate, and despite a reported widespread global interest, government and industry sources say Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket intercepting system, developed by state-owned Rafael Ltd., has not yet been sold to a single customer.

“Who else in the world is constantly threatened by rockets?” former head of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization Uzi Rubin asked DN, noting: “It’s essentially only us and perhaps sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf, where for obvious reasons, we do not yet export.”

Rubin did not mention that in other, saner parts of the world, persistent rocket attacks from, say, Mexico, against, say, the US, would result in a one-time search and destroy response, rather than with a technological solution such as Iron Dome that contains those unceasing rocket attacks. You don’t have to be Donald Trump to figure that one out.

David Israel

Hillary Emails: How to Demote AIPAC to its Proper Place

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

The previously secret emails of former U.S. secretary of state and current favorite to be the Democratic contender for the U.S. president Hillary Rodham Clinton are a bonanza for those seeking to discern her non-public face and those of her closest advisers with respect to Israel.

With more than 30,000 emails released, drip, drip, drip since December, 2014, there’s a lot to plow through.

But one omnipresent correspondent of Clinton’s, her former advisor Sidney Blumenthal, stands out as he harps away at two issues close to his heart: one, Israel, the object of deep hostility, and the other, his son Max, a source of immense pride. That one’s son is a source of pride to a father is neither surprising nor shameful. But most of what Blumenthal promotes about his son Max is the never-ending fusillade of hate screeds written by the son in frequently obscure outlets which are directed at the other Blumenthal obsession: Israel.

In the batch released over the weekend, several Blumenthal emails attacks on Israel stand out in particular.  One offers advice to Clinton on how to make both the Jewish State and the largest American pro-Israel organization, AIPAC, bend to her will.

In an email dated March 21, 2010, Blumenthal tells Clinton how she should optimize the speech she was about to give to the American Israel Public Action Committee. It is all about bringing the dog to heel.

First, Blumenthal admonishes Clinton to “[h]old Bibi’s feet to the fire.” He suggests that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must be reminded that “Israel has no oil,” all it has it values, and by failing to pursue peace with the Palestinian Arabs, Blumenthal urges Hillary to tell the Jews, Israel is squandering that.

Blumenthal also has his needle stuck on the Wye Plantation Agreement, and he  is convinced that only one person is responsible for the breakdown in the peace process:  Bibi Netanyahu. Blumenthal cannot find a single fault on the Arab side worth identifying as even one cause among many for the lack of a resolution to the decades-long conflict.

He sees the U.S. as the creator of peace between Israel and Jordan, and Israel and Egypt, and he actually believes and writes Wye was a success. He urges Hillary to build on it so the U.S. can make peace really happen this time with “Palestine.”  But, he insists, that means overcoming one obstacle:  Bibi.

Blumenthal’s emails reveal a conviction of Zionists (he thinks they are all Likudniks) in control of American policy-making organs that would shame Lindbergh, while at the same time he instructs Hillary to fight back against this monster by threatening it with recognition for a more pliable competitor:  J Street.

He urges Clinton:

remind [AIPAC] in as subtle but also a direct way as you can that it does not have a monopoly over American Jewish opinion.  Bibi is stage managing USJewish organizations (and neocons, and the religious right, and whomever else he can muster) against the administration.  AIPAC itself has become an organ of the Israeli right, specifically Likud.  By acknowledging J Street you give them legitimacy, credibility [one wonders why they didn’t have these things before being given a bracha by the U.S. Secretary of State’s advisor] and create room within the American Jewish community for debate supportive of the administration’s pursuit of the peace process. Just by mentioning J Street in passing, AIPAC becomes a point on the spectrum, not the controller of the spectrum.

There’s a good deal more in this treasure trove that the Jewish American public should know about, and the JewishPress.com will continue publishing on this important topic. Our grandmothers warned us (or was it that famous TV commercial for an insurance company?) that people are known by the company they keep.  Hillary kept company with Sidney for a very long time, and paid him for years to send her emails just like this one. His views tells us a lot about hers.


Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Obama Now Ready to Meet with Netanyahu

Friday, September 11th, 2015

President Barack Obama’s victory in the battle with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Republicans over the nuclear deal with Iran has given him his security blanket for a face-to-face meeting.

President Obama told rabbis in his annual pre-Rosh HaShanah phone call that he plans to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu next month, when the U.N. General Assembly convenes after a summer recess.

Obama said:

Our consultations have already begun with Israeli military and intelligence officials.

My hope is to have a long discussion with Mr. Netanyahu about these issues when he comes to the United Nations during the General Assembly of the United Nations, or immediately after that.

Obama avoided the Prime Minister earlier this year when he addressed Congress, two weeks before Israel’s general elections, which he said precluded a meeting that could be exploited for political purposes.

Now that Netanyahu, if not the United States itself, appears to be the loser in the fight over the nuclear agreement, Obama has not problem meeting him, if no other reason than to gloat.

However, Arab American leader James Zogby wrote an interesting analysis last week in The Huffington Post that shows that although Prime Minister Netanyahu lost the fight to reject the Ian deal, he actually was the winner in the long-term, particularly concerning the Palestinian Authority.

President Obama told the rabbis:

Israel’s long-term security does depend on somehow resolving the Palestinian issue. We’re going to have to work on these issues, and they’re going to be messy and challenging in the years to come.” There’s going to have to be some soul searching in Israel and the American Jewish community because they’re tough questions.

Zogby explained that President Obama will be careful before he pushes his luck with Jewish Democratic Congressmen who supported the P5+1 agreement with Iran.

He wrote:

By throwing what amounted to a political and diplomatic tantrum, the Israeli side succeeded in making itself the center of attention for the Administration and Congress. In the last few months, there were more meetings held, more hours spent, and more effort expended on reassuring Israel and its supporters of America’s ‘unbreakable, unshakable’ commitment, than in any period in our history….

Senators and members of Congress will also now be inclined to make clear their support for Israel. Many Democrats who announced their intention to support the president made sure that their statements declared undying support for Israel. The myth that ‘AIPAC will beat you if you don’t toe the line’ continues to hold strong, and so it can be expected that many members, despite their resentment of AIPAC and Netanyahu’s pressure, will spend excessive time and energy between now and next November playing “make up” by proving their support for Israel.

However, Zogby said that in the longer-term, “The emergence and rapid growth of liberal pro-Israel Jewish groups like J Street and Americans for Peace Now, or non-Zionist Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, or the expansion of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement on college campuses are all evidence “of a shift in American policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

He can credit President Obama with having successful weakened the influence of AIPAC by bolstering the prestige of the left-wing groups, but he doesn’t realize that they have gone so far out in left field that they are leaving “mainstream Jewish” support out of the ball park.

Even if they nevertheless one day are viewed as representing American Jews, probably by including 3-4 million people who simply call themselves Jews, it will be too late because the Palestinian Authority by then will have succeeded in making demands that prove that a new Arab country within Israel’s present borders would mean the end of Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-now-ready-to-meet-with-netanyahu/2015/09/11/

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