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February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

V15 – Look Who is Behind the New US Democratic-Style Campaign in Israel

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

There’s a new grassroots, door-to-door knocking, community organizing style campaign effort that just landed in Israel. It’s focused on hoping for change and changing for hope and taking-the-street-to-the-street style shake it up electioneering.

Flying in to run the show is none other than Jeremy Bird. The same Bird who was the deputy national campaign director and then national campaign director for Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, respectively.

The new outfit is called V15 (as in Victory 2015), and it is a project of something called OneVoice, which is itself a program of the PeaceWorks Network, a non-profit, tax-exempt entity. Really. Funding this political campaign effort.

V15 sent out a press release in which it described itself as a “a non-partisan movement founded by young adults just as the 2015 Israeli elections were announced, V15 members have set aside party affiliation to disrupt the status quo.” But just about everybody else is calling it the “Anybody but Bibi” campaign.

So who is behind this V15, in addition to Obama’s former campaigns director? Well, as we learn from J.E Dyer, over at Liberty Unyielding, when OneVoice was formed in 2003, its inaugural board of advisers included Gary Gladstein. And who is Gladstein? He used to be the chief operations officer of Soros Fund Management. As in George Soros. Doesn’t it feel as if everything really, really awful has Soros’ fingerprints somehow, someway?

OneVoice explains in its 2014 Annual Report that it is dedicated to peaceful solutions in the Middle East. This is how it describes the actions it takes to bring about change:

promoting popular resistance, state-building, and the Arab Peace Initiative, while advocating for an end to the conflict and a two-state solution along the 1967 borders.

Hmm. Something is missing there. Nothing about ending terrorism or violence or incitement.

And it’s pretty much the same view of how to “resolve” the Middle East conflict that flows out of the White House and Foggy Bottom. In Secretary of State John Kerry’s requiem for Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, he cited as one of the king’s greatest contributions, that the “courageous Arab Peace Initiative that he sponsored remains a critical document for the goal we shared of two states, Israel and Palestine.” 

Making cameo appearances in the OneVoice 2014 Annual Report are both Tzippi Livni and J Street. Not quite so apolitical as it claims.

Here’s another problematic aspect of this whole V15/OneVoice/PeaceWorks Network Foundation campaign effort. What does the PeaceWorks Foundation have to say about its OneVoice project on its tax return? It describes this project as an organization which “aims to amplify the voice of the silent majority of moderates who wish for peace and prosperity. These efforts are known as the OneVoice movement.”

And on its tax form, where it is required to state the purpose of grants it makes to entities or organizations outside of the U.S., including the grants it makes to the “Middle East and Africa,” the purpose it states is “educate peace and condemn violence.”  Nothing about running a campaign field office. And how could it, given it is a 501(c)(3) entity. Where is Lois Lerner when you need her?

Finally, there is another source of information about the kinds of bedfellows the V15/OneVoice/PeaceWorks Network keeps. It is the listing it provides of its partners. Along with at least half a dozen “peace” organizations and even the UK Conservative Party, it has lots of questionable listings. Those include: Association of British Muslims, the Christian Muslim Forum, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the New Israel Fund, Yachad (the “British J Street”), Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East, the UK Labour Party and Labour Friends of Israel.

"partner" of V15's parent organization

“partner” of V15′s parent organization

Their partners also include the European Commission and the U.S. Department of State.

There will be much more to come on V15.

Ambassador Ron Dermer Explains Bibi’s Upcoming Visit to Washington

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer. explains to his audience why PM Netanyahu had a moral obligation to come before Congress and speak about the Iranian nuclear threat, just as he had a moral obligation to go to France and march in the rally.

H/T The Israel Project

Netanyahu ‘Will Go Anywhere Invited’ to Prevent Iran from Achieving Nuclear Weapons

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened this week’s Sunday cabinet meeting with a grim warning about the current negotiations taking place between world powers and Iran — and the implications for Israel.

World powers currently negotiating with Iran are liable to reach a framework agreement in the coming weeks, Netanyahu said in a statement at the start of the meeting.

The agreement, if reached, is “an agreement that is liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, which would endanger, first and foremost, the existence of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu warned.

“This is the same Iran that has taken over Lebanon and Syria and is now taking over Yemen and Iran,” he continued. “This is the same Iran that is preparing an active front against us both on the Golan Heights and in southern Lebanon. This same Iran cannot advance toward nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.

In a clear response to the past week’s brouhaha over Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress – not a first-time event for the prime minister in any case – Netanyahu then added:

“As Prime Minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel. This effort is worldwide and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence.”

Time-Honored White House Diplomatic Traditions on Israel

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

For those readers who have become avid fans of the soap opera unfolding in the White House around the drama between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a tidbit just for you.

On Friday, as the White House press corps was engaged in its usual back-and-forth with spokesperson Josh Earnest, they finally managed to force a truth from his lips: The President and the Prime Minister, he said, have a “fundamental disagreement” about diplomatic talks with Iran.

Netanyahu “doesn’t share [Obama's] view,” Earnest admitted. But still, he claimed, those “differences of opinion” don’t undermine the “unshakable” American commitment to Israel’s security.

On America’s terms, of course. And if it happens to prove mistaken and an existential threat to the Jewish State, which is about the size of New Jersey, well. . .

<menacing music>

As it happens, most members of Congress also have a “fundamental disagreement” with the President about the diplomatic talks with Iran, it seems. Not just the Republicans, who comprise the majority in both houses, but there are a fair number of Democrats who also believe Iran is using the talks simply to gain more time for its covert nuclear development activities.

And Iranians have long made it clear both in the street and in their mosques that their targets will not be limited to Israel; America is in the cross-hairs as well. Members of the intelligence community are well aware of it, as are members of Congress and the Israeli government.

So as early as last October, U.S. Rep. John Boehner was talking to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer about inviting Netanyahu to address the Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. The formal invitation was made public last week – and accepted as well – to the apparent “surprise” of the White House.

It’s a bit hard to believe that any of The President’s Men – or Women – could be caught off guard. But let’s leave that bit for quiet contemplation.

It turns out the annual AIPAC conference is being held in March this year – a “must” for every Israeli head of state, and Netanyahu is no exception. The address to Congress made much more sense scheduled around AIPAC, and was penciled in for the same week.

Utter fury at the White House. Sarcastic remarks from press secretary Josh Earnest, with a reference to the Speaker of the House making a “departure from protocol.” On the Prime Minister’s visit, Earnest was altogether tight-lipped, saying his boss was “reserving judgment.”

Later reporters were told that neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with Israel’s head of state while he is in Washington for both events.

Imagine. One of America’s “closest allies” comes to the capital and neither the President nor the Secretary of State makes time to meet with him, when the United States shares military, intelligence, economy, academic and who knows how many other priorities with Israel.

Not to mention their “differences of opinion” that are so important to work out – something that one would believe an administration so committed to the process of “diplomacy” would consider a priority.

The White House spokesperson tried to put a good face on it.

“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” he explained Thursday.

White House Takes Aim: Netanyahu ‘Departing From Protocol’

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

A spokesperson for President Barack Obama is making sure Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu knows his boss is disgruntled.

The White House says it is “reserving judgment” of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress about Iran on February 11, but that the event to which the prime minister has been asked to speak “is a departure from protocol.” The event is being held at the first branch of the American government, the legislative branch.

Netanyahu’s planned visit comes in response to a direct invitation by Congressional Speaker John A. Boehner, who asked the prime minister to address lawmakers of both houses on the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat. Boehner extended the invitation Wednesday, Jan. 21, less than 24 hours after Obama snubbed the Congress on the issue in his State of the Union address, broadcast live Tuesday night local time on national television.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing aboard Air Force One that it had not yet spoken with Israeli government officials. He said U.S. officials are reserving judgment on prime minister’s visit until they hear from their Israeli counterparts about Netanyahu’s plans.

“The protocol would suggest that the leader of one country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there,” Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama. “This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol,” he added dryly in a clear poke at Israel’s top leader and the Speaker.

As has been the case for some time, there is obviously no deep friendship between the American president and the Israeli prime minister. Nor have Obama’s staff in recent months bothered to trouble themselves to hide their own personal distaste for most members of the Israeli administration.

But this latest sarcasm makes it plain the president is now granting new privileges to those who speak for him; or perhaps he is no longer chooses to restrain his own emotions in the interest of diplomacy or simple good taste.

Sadly, this particular battle is not even with Netanyahu although Obama has decided to make it so: actually it’s between the president and his Congress, and Israel’s prime minister is just being caught in the crossfire.

In his address, Obama vowed to veto any measure that in any would infringe on negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear development activities.

Israel’s voters, meanwhile, are facing a national election in March. Netanyahu will have to answer to his constituents at the ballot box himself and explain what, if anything, he has or has not done to eliminate the existential threat to Israel presented by Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu has repeatedly warned the international community, and the United States, that Israel will never allow Iran to achieve its goal in creating an atomic weapon of mass destruction.

No Israeli government official, and few – if any – intelligence officials in the world today actually believe Iran’s claims that it is continuing to increase and upgrade its uranium enrichment activities for “peaceful purposes only.”

Even if the Supreme Leader himself crosses his heart and solemnly says so.

 

Obama Urges Resistance to ‘Donors’ (i.e. Jews) Pushing for Iran Sanctions

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

“Neocon” used to be the code word for Jews, now it appears to be “donors,” at least when used by certain politicians, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama attended the Democratic Senate retreat Senate Democratic Issues in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday, Jan. 16.

During a discussion about Iran sanctions, the president urged senators to resist imposing additional sanctions against Iran. He vowed to veto legislation being drafted by Mr. Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and Senator Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, that would trigger sanctions after multiparty talks are set to end this summer.

Obama said pushing for sanctions would undermine his authority and might derail negotiations with the Iranians. Mr. Obama also said if the U.S. were to enact increased actions it could lead international observers to blame the Americans, rather than the Iranians, if the talks collapsed before the June 30 deadline.

But then the president made what was interpreted as a veiled reference to Jews, which triggered a heated exchange in the otherwise courteous debate.

He said, according to the New York Times, that “he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others.”

As Matt Brooks, the president of the Republican Jewish Coalition pointedly erupted: “What exactly was President Obama suggestion when he said opposition to his Iran policy is due to ‘donors’? No one would say opposition to his Russia policy is due to ‘donors,’ or his Cuba policy is due to ‘donors,’ or his general foreign policy is due to ‘donors.’ So why did President Obama single out those who seek tougher sanctions on Iran and ay their viewpoints are based on ‘donors’?

It was reported that one Senator in particular, Robert Menendez (NJ), rose to his feet and announced he took “personal offense” to Obama’s statement.

“The threat Iran poses to Israel and the western world is a national security issue. Attributing opposition to his Iran policy to the views of ‘donors’ is an inappropriate statement and it underplays the serious threat that Iran represents,” the RJC’s Brooks pointed out.

Obama Negotiated with Cuba ‘Behind Everyone’s Back,’ Lawmakers Charge

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama negotiated with Cuba to restore diplomatic relations “behind everyone’s back,” lawmakers charged Wednesday night after he announced the restoration of full diplomatic ties with the island nation.

News agencies in the United States buzzed on Thursday with the details of how Obama accomplished that task in a personal 45-minute telephone call on Tuesday with President Raul Castro. The call followed 18 months of secret talks between the White House and Cuban officials that also involved the highest levels of the Vatican – and Pope Francis himself.

As part of the deal, USAID worker Alan Gross returned from Cuba on a U.S. government 757 aircraft after five years in custody, along with a U.S. intelligence agent who had spent the last 20 years of a life term in prison.

The move, which was carried out without any knowledge of Congressional lawmakers on either side of the aisle, inflamed already hot tempers about Obama’s penchant for doing things on his own. Media commentators and some legislators on Thursday referred to the president as “King Obama.”

The president further exacerbated that anger by saying he was “ending an outdated approach that had failed to advance U.S. interests for decades… The previous approach failed to promote change, and it’s failed to empower or engage the Cuban people,” he said. “It’s time to cut loose the shackles of the past and reach for a new and better future with this country.”

Democratic lawmakers expressed shock and disappointment that the president had spent 18 months negotiating with an “enemy, Communist regime” without even consulting with any other legislator from his own party.

Members of the Cuban immigrant community were incensed that Obama had cut through more than half a century of sanctions and provided a “shot in the arm” to the repressive regime they fled for its brutality.

Castro said the 52-year embargo had caused enormous human and economic damage. He added there was still disagreement on many issues, including that of foreign policy.

Following the announcement, however, the Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped, possibly in response. Media commentators began discussing what the economic implications would be if Congress could not control corporate financial and production flow in and out of Cuba.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-negotiated-with-cuba-behind-everyones-back-lawmakers-charge/2014/12/18/

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