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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

President Erdogan Sends Hanukkah Greetings to Turkey’s Jews, Beats Obama to Holiday!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lost no time this year in publicly offering warm holiday wishes and Chanukah greetings to the nation’s Jewish community.

In fact, he issued that greeting via all media outlets an entire day ahead of the holiday, light years ahead of the annual holiday greeting to the Jews of America issued from the White House by President Barack Obama.

(By the way, there was no such delay in this year’s greeting from Obama to American Muslims for this year’s holy Islamic month of Ramadan, which began on Saturday evening, June 28. Obama’s holiday salutation came a full day ahead of time, on Friday June 27, 2014.)

“I congratulate our Jewish citizens on the advent of Hanukkah with my most sincere wishes. We see the diversity in our social, cultural and anthropological being as the greatest wealth that has made Turkey what it is today, and reinforced its unity and cooperation as well as enhanced our solidarity and fondness,” Erdogan said in a statement released Monday by Turkey’s Presidential Press Center.

“Turkey will continue to carefully protect this rich cultural and historical heritage carefully today, as it has done until now,” the statement continued, according to an article posted in the Daily Sabah.

The Turkish newspaper went on to explain that “Hanukkah Day, celebrated by the Jews worldwide for eight days and nights, is celebrated on the 25th day of Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November to late December on the secular calendar. In Hebrew, Hanukkah means “dedication”, as the holiday celebrates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory against Seleucid monarchy in 165 B.C.E.”

Absolutely correct.

Coming from the leader of nearly any other industrialized nation, this greeting to Jewish citizens would be prompt, timely for all time zones, and not at all out of place. But this is the president of Turkey we are talking about, the man with a track record of ambivalence, at best, in his relationship with Jews and the Jewish State.

Erdogan scored major points in the majority Muslim population in Turkey this summer for raising more than $20 million in aid to Gaza residents left homeless after Israel’s defensive war with Hamas and allied terrorists.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Authority Arab families were aided by Turkey, including many in Judea and Samaria as well. In addition, Turkish aircraft transferred a number of wounded to Ankara for medical treatment as well. But the aid was secured by an agreement with Israel, and the aircraft used an Israeli airport. Israel facilitated the movement of goods from the aircraft to their destinations, and patients were transported to the aircraft the same way.

All that, despite some rather vicious, anti-Israel rhetoric by the same Turkish president-elect who the day before Chanukah offered warm greetings to his Jewish citizens.

In July, Erdogan told the Daily Sabah, “Jews in Turkey are our citizens. We are responsible for the security of their lives and property… I talked with our Jewish citizens’ leaders… and stated that they should adopt a firm stance and release a statement against the Israeli government. I will contact them again, but whether or not they release a statement, we will never let Jewish people in Turkey get hurt.” Erdogan suggested that Turkish Jewish leaders criticize “Israeli aggression,” the newspaper said, and said Israel’s government “abuses all Jewish people around the world for its fraudulent policies.”

It was Erdogan who said that Israel had “committed acts of genocide and surpassed Hitler in barbarism” during the summer war forced on the Jewish State by incessant rocket fire launched by Hamas.

Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, sent a letter to Erdogan in July, demanding he return the Profiles in Courage award he received in 2004. Rosen wrote that Erdogan was “spewing dangerous rhetoric for political gain and inciting the Turkish population to violence against the Jewish people… your attacks on Jews call into question everything we honored you for… However, should your views change in the future we hope to be able to return the Profile of Courage award.” Subsequently Erdogan returned the award.

White House Spokesman Denies Sanctions Against Israel

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The White House denied on Monday that President Barack Obama’s administration is planning to impose economic sanctions against Israel.

Spokesperson Josh Earnest told journalists that reports that the president had been considering the sanctions due to plans by the Israeli government to build homes in Jerusalem were “completely unfounded and without merit.”

“Recent reports suggest that your administration has held classified meetings over the past several weeks to discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions against Israel for its decision to construction homes in East Jerusalem,” 48 Congress members wrote to Obama on Friday.

“We believe that those actions are counterproductive, that they don’t serve to facilitate the kind of trust that we believe is necessary for both sides to try to hammer out their differences in a way that is consistent with the national security concerns of the Israeli people and with the broader aspirations of the Palestinian people,” Earnest said.

Last month there were echoes of frustration from the U.S. State Department over plans to build 500 housing units in the badly overcrowded Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in Jerusalem. The State Department called an announcement of the plans by the Jerusalem district planning and building committee “unfortunate” and “illegitimate” — a condemnation that followed a similar spat the week prior.

At the end of October, the prime minister’s office approved plans to build 600 new housing units in the same neighborhood, in addition to 400 units in Har Homa, another post-1967 neighborhood in the capital. Washington said at that point that Israel was taking steps that were “not conducive to peace in the region and a two-state solution.”

The State Department had expressed “concern” over what it called “settlement construction” — an odd choice of words for a northern Jerusalem neighborhood that is home to more than 20,000 people and has been in existence for nearly half a century.

 

 

NYPD ‘Retraining’ Force After Grand Jury Clears Cop in Suspect Death

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Thousands blocked traffic around the city and more than a few clashed with New York City police in Times Square Thursday night following a grand jury decision not to indict an officer in the death of a man resisting arrest.  Hundreds also marched across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn at around midnight.

At least 22,000 police officers are also heading for a three-day in-service retraining program after the grand jury spent six months hearing testimony and then cleared Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the case.

Staten Island resident Eric Gardner died after being “taken down” in a half-Nelson hold by a New York City police officer while resisting arrest. Gardner was illegally selling “loosies” – single cigarettes – on the street at the time. The incident was videotaped by a passerby.

Pantaleo and a number of others restrained Gardner and attempted to handcuff him even as he loudly told officers “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” Gardner was morbidly obese and had a history of asthma and a host of other medical conditions. He died while being “taken down” by the officer. The coroner’s report listed a number of reasons for his death, including those medical conditions — and the “take down,” which Pantaleo said he performed exactly as he was taught at Police Academy.

Within hours of the grand jury’s decision, thousands of protesters were in the streets. Hundreds were packed behind rows of barricades on the sidewalks of Fifth Avenue as revelers awaited the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Just a block away, on Sixth Avenue, police stood in riot gear, controlling an even bigger mob. More marched down the West Side Highway and blocked major arteries into the city.

On Thursday, thousands again came out to Foley Square in downtown Manhattan, chanting “I can’t breathe” and the mantra of the 1991 Crown Heights riots, “No justice, no peace.”

They marched across the Brooklyn Bridge carrying fake coffins while a second group demonstrated in Harlem and others blocked traffic near the Holland Tunnel, the Manhattan Bridge and on the West Side Highway.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio said the program was aimed at “changing how our officers talk, and how they listen to residents of our city.” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton joined DeBlasio at the podium, saying the training would be managed in a professional manner and would accomplish a long-awaited upgrade to the force.

Given the current wave of disturbances sweeping across the United States, it is odd the US is telling Israel how to manage its internal, defense and foreign relations with the Palestinian Authority or Gaza.

New York’s police “retraining” program is specifically intended to “build trust through respect” in the community, Deputy Police Commissioner Bill Tucker told reporters. The new slogan for the city’s force, he said, will be “Talk down, not take down.”

Among the skills the officers will be taught are “ways to communicate more effectively,” Tucker said, adding the officers will also learn to recognize the “notion of implicit bias.”

Nothing that city officials did, however, seemed to suffice: Some 25 “civil rights and social justice” organizers met at the National Action Alliance headquarters headed by Rev. Al Sharpton and announced a “March on Washington” set for Saturday, December 13, among other events in coming days.

 

Ya’alon: US Defense Secy Hagel is ‘True Friend’ of Israel

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was unstinting with his praise of outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday in response to the news that Hagel is stepping down.

Ya’alon called Hagel a “true friend” of Israel, commenting that in recent years, his relationship with the defense secretary had been “very open and honest.”

The U.S. security establishment under his command, said Ya’alon, “is an example of uncompromising support and exchange of information.” Ya’alon also referred to the “extensive and valuable military assistance that the U.S. has provided Israel.”

He thanked Hagel “in the name of the government of Israel and on behalf of its citizens” for his “contribution to the empowerment of Israel and his friendship and willingness to help at any time.

“I wish him well and good luck in his future endeavors,” Ya’alon added.

Hagel handed his formal letter of resignation to President Barack Obama on Monday morning prior to a ceremony at the White House in which Obama told reporters that both men agreed it was an “appropriate” time for him to resign.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Calls It ‘Quits’

Monday, November 24th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel handed in his resignation to President Barack Obama on Monday, and the two then announced it officially to the media.

The announcement followed pressure from the top and an extended, failed attempt to break through a presidential team of national security advisers.

In a formal ceremony at the White House, Obama said the decision had been a mutual one with both deciding this was an “appropriate time for him to complete his service.”

Obama noted that Hagel was the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense. “He stood where his soldiers stood,” Obama pointed out. “He sees himself in them. They see themselves in him.”

Hagel’s departure leaves the Obama administration “defenseless” as his national security team faces the continued rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its march towards a caliphate in the Middle East. Also ongoing is Russia’s escalating encroachment into Ukraine, and an incremental movement backwards towards another Cold War with the U.S.

Hagel, 68, is also a Republican leaving a lonely Democratic Obama administration as it faces a newly powerful Republican House of Representatives and Senate.

The two men grew close when they both served across the aisle from each other in the Senate, prior to Obama’s election as president. Hagel served as a senator from Nebraska after earning two Purple Hearts during the Vietnam War.

“Chuck Hagel has devoted himself to our national security and our men and women in uniform across six decades,” Obama said. But the president’s advisers were not nearly as happy with the defense secretary, whose loyalty they doubted and whose actions they questioned throughout his tenure.

Short-listed to replace Hagel are former deputy defense secretary Ash Carter and the current deputy, Robert Work.

Hagel has agreed to remain at his post until a successor is confirmed by the Senate. But the process may take some time, given the difficulties of finding a candidate the White House and its Republican adversaries can all agree on.

FBI to Probe Har Nof Synagogue Massacre

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is set to investigate the horrific terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue that took the lives of four rabbis and an Israeli Druze police officer, and wounded six others.

U.S. law enforcement officials said Tuesday night the case fell into the agency’s domain because three of the victims were American citizens.

President Barack Obama condemned the attack following a conversation between Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“We condemn in the strongest terms these attacks,” Obama said. “The murders for today’s outrageous acts represent the kind of extremism that threatens to bring all of the Middle East into the kind of spiral from which it’s very difficult to emerge and we know how this violence can get worse over time.”

Nevertheless, said Obama, “a majority of Israelis and Palestinians overwhelmingly want peace.”

He urged both sides to work together to bring calm to the situation, particularly in view of tensions that have flared recently over access to the Temple Mount.

“Our hearts go out to all Israelis for the atrocity of this event and for all the reminders of history that go with it,” Kerry said in his statement from London. “This simply has no place in human behavior and we need to hear from leaders who are going to lead their people to a different place.”

Iran’s Best Shot Rapidly Approaching

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Iran is rapidly approaching its last and best chance with the United States to reach a diplomatic agreement over the parameters for its nuclear development program.

The November 24 deadline for the conclusion of negotiations between Tehran and world powers draws closer, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and European Union senior adviser Cathern Ashton locked into intense discussions in Muscat, Oman, that began yesterday (Sunday, Nov. 9) and are continuing into today (Monday, Nov. 10).

The yawning chasm that separates the sides must still be closed before a deal can be reached to prevent Tehran from producing a nuclear weapon, according to U.S. President Barack Obama, who appeared Sunday on “Face the Nation” on the CBS television network.

“There’s still a big gap. We may not be able to get there,” Obama said.

One of the major concerns in the Middle East – and the rest of the planet – is the possibility that once developed, Iran can and probably would sell its nuclear arms and/or technology to the myriad terrorist groups it generously supports. Most of those have set their sites on the destruction of Israel.

But the month of January will also bring with it a whole new world in the House of Representatives and the Senate – and with that, a drop in Iran’s options for compromise as well as possibly any wiggle room for further discussion, period.

U.S. President Barack Obama at that point will also be far more limited in his ability to protect the Iranian regime’s freedom to expand its uranium enrichment, which has allow it to continue its race towards an atomic weapon.

During Obama’s years in office, Iran has managed to enrich uranium far above the minimum level required for development of military-grade nuclear fuel. He approved a number of loopholes and exemptions for countries such as China and Turkey in economic sanctions imposed on international energy trade with Iran. The sanctions were designed to force Iran into compliance with United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requests to inspect sites and recommendations for ensuring Tehran’s nuclear program would remain within the guidelines for peaceful civilian use.

Iran, for its part, has consistently refused to limit its nuclear production or development in any way, ever. The Islamic Republic has also vowed throughout each administration since 1979 — the Islamic Revolution — to annihilate Israel, including very recently, despite the current president’s image as a so-called “moderate.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/irans-best-shot-rapidly-approaching/2014/11/10/

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