web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Robert Malley and the Shift to Appeasement

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Back in 2008 when Barack Obama first ran for president, one of the many signals he sent Jewish groups to reassure them of his good will toward Israel and his foreign-policy bona fides was to sever ties with Robert Malley, a Clinton-era National Security Council staffer best known for his stand blaming Israel rather than Yasir Arafat for the collapse of the 2000 Camp David peace summit.

Malley’s position as an informal adviser to the Obama campaign was a major liability for a candidate desperate to reassure Jewish Democrats that he could be relied on to maintain the alliance with Israel. But when it became known in May 2008 that Malley had met with Hamas terrorists, the Obama campaign severed ties with him.

It turned out that those who worried that Malley’s presence in the Obama foreign-policy shop was a sign of future trouble with the Jewish state were right. Despite his campaign promises and the fact that he failed to give an inveterate Israel-basher like Malley a job in his administration, Obama spent most of his first term picking fights with Israel before a reelection-year charm offensive.

But now well into his second term, the president is finally rewarding Malley for falling on his sword for him during his first campaign. It was announced last week that Malley is heading back to the White House to serve as a senior director at the National Security Council where he will be tasked with managing relations between the U.S. and its Persian Gulf allies.

While we are told the administration is making an effort to bolster its traditional ties to the region, Malley’s appointment sends a very different signal, especially to Israel.

At a time when Saudi Arabia and other allies in the region are worried that the U.S. has turned its back on them as part of the president’s misguided pursuit of détente with Iran, the president has called back to service one of the foremost defenders of appeasement of terror.

Though Malley is merely one more member of a second-term team that is increasingly hostile to Israel, his joining the NSC removes any remaining doubt about where American foreign policy is heading.

At the time he was working for the Obama campaign, his defenders, including a gaggle of high-ranking Clinton foreign-policy officials, denounced Malley’s critics for what they claimed were unfair personal attacks. But the problem with Malley was never so much about his motives or his father’s role as a supporter of the Egyptian Communist Party and the Nasser regime as it was his own beliefs and policies.

By claiming as he did in an infamous article in The New York Review of Books in August 2001 that the Camp David summit’s failure was Israel’s fault rather than that of Arafat, Malley demonstrated extraordinary bias as well as a willingness to revise recent history to fit his personal agenda.

Malley absolved Arafat from blame for refusing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of an independent state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem. In doing so he not only flatly contradicted the testimony of President Clinton and other U.S. officials present, but his justification of Arafat’s indefensible behavior also served to rationalize the Palestinian terror offensive that followed their rejection of peace.

In the years since then, Malley has remained a virulent critic of Israel and an advocate for recognition and acceptance of the Hamas terrorists who rule Gaza as well as engagement with Iran and other rejectionist states.

All this should have been enough to keep him out of any administration that professed friendship for Israel. But by putting him in charge of relations with the Gulf states, Obama is also demonstrating that he is determined to continue a policy of downgrading relations with traditional allies in favor of better relations with Iran and other radicals.

Determined to Get Kerry a Nobel, Obama Planning to Squeeze Netanyahu

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

The man who brought peace to Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and Syria (did I forget anything? Yes – Turkey!), our own President Obama, is about to throw his weight into the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the NY Times reports this morning.

When he welcomes Netanyahu to the White House on Monday, tye White House leaked to the Times, Obama will press him to embrace the Secretary of State John Kerry framework for a “conclusive round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations,” which is being drafted as we speak. Then, a few weeks later, Obama will meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, “to make the same pitch.”

By the end of April, if all goes according to plan, both sides will have a road map (didn’t we already have one of those?). In April the self-imposed 9-month time limit will expire, and in a television-driven political world, a date is a date, ergo the big gun.

“Now is a very timely opportunity for him to get involved,” a senior official told the Times, setting up the newest great expectation in a tone that didn’t convey much conviction: If the two sides agree to the framework, which would set out general terms on issues like Israel’s security and the borders of a future Palestinian state, the negotiations could be extended, with a new target of completing a treaty by the end of 2014.

Of course, should things not work out as expected, we could always come up with new shticks, rename the whole thing, possibly divide the topics of discussion into columns A and B and pick targets Chinese restaurant fashion, slap a new target date on it and go on with the show. The idea is to keep having a peace process—never mind the peace.

If they keep doing this through the 2016 presidential election, there’s a good chance Kerry could still get the Nobel Peace Prize even if he doesn’t get anything accomplished peacewise. After all, Obama got it just for being black and promising – couldn’t Kerry take one for being tall and lanky? Good teeth? No?

It is far from clear, notes the Times, that Mr. Obama can pull off what has so far eluded his secretary of state. Here’s another thing that’s been eluding the Americans – over the past several weeks, the Arabs and the Jews haven’t been meeting face to face. They talk to Kerry and to his special envoy, Martin S. Indyk, and that’s it. It means, “analysts say,” that there’s been no movement on anything.

If you ever sold cars for a living, or watched any sitcom or movie about selling cars, you know that the time to bring in the owner is after it’s been established that the customer really wants the car, he just needs to discuss terms. You bring in the boss, right away he knocks of two grand off the list price, everybody’s smiling – and you close. But to bring the boss in before both sides are buying anything, anything at all, that has desperation written all over it.

Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator who is a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told the Times that bringing the president in at this stage is admission of defeat on Kerry’s part. “What is it going to take to get to a comprehensive deal if the president has to do heavy lifting?”

It means Kerry has little credibility left with either side. And the Jews hate him for the boycott threats, which he has since been backtracking from so fiercely, you worry he’d hit his head on the end of the pool.

Pollard Pardon? Not Now

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence for the crimes he committed nearly 30 years ago is, without a doubt, both a travesty of justice and completely disproportionate.

Indeed, I offered Pollard advice and help when he called me from prison for some years in the mid-1990s. For example, I published an original document about his trial in 1997 and evinced new information about him from Caspar Weinberger in a 1999 interview. I have maintained a weblog entry exposing the rank hypocrisy of U.S. leaders who come down so hard on Pollard even as American intelligence services spy no less, and probably much more, on Israel.

I mention these bona fides because I do not want Barack Obama to pardon Pollard.

While delighted by this prospect for the prisoner and his family, after so many years and so much emotional freighting, his pardon will certainly carry a high strategic cost (just as did the release of Gilad Shalit). I expect an exorbitant price in the currency of Israeli concessions toward the Palestinians or even toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Cool U.S.-Israel relations have their benefit when Obama, Kerry, Hagel, Brennan, and Rice are running the foreign policy show.

Accordingly, and with a heavy heart, I call on the free-Pollard advocates to cease their efforts until a president with an understanding of American interests comes to office.

Obama on Foxman: ‘Abe Is Irreplaceable’

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

President Obama praised Abraham Foxman as “irreplaceable” after the Anti-Defamation League announced the planned retirement of its longtime leader.

“For decades, Abe Foxman has been a tireless voice against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all of its forms, always calling us to reject hatred and embrace our common humanity,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House on Tuesday.

The ADL announced Monday that Foxman would retire as its national director in July 2015. Foxman has led the ADL for 27 years.

“Michelle and I wish him well as he prepares to leave the leadership of the Anti-Defamation League — an organization that he built, and led with such passion and persistence,” Obama said in his statement. “Abe is irreplaceable, but the causes that he has dedicated his life to will continue to inspire people in the United States, Israel, and around the world.”

After he steps down, Foxman will serve as a part-time consultant to ADL and sit on the organization’s national commission and national executive committee, the organization said.

Founded in 1913, the ADL fights against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and on behalf of civil rights.

Obama Turns on Israel

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

Barack Obama’s March 2013 trip to Israel had a too-good-to-be-true feel about it. While barely pressuring on Israel, he instructed Palestinians not to set preconditions for negotiations and admonished them to “recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state.” It felt out of character, suggesting a price to be paid later.

Well, that price has now, eight months later, been revealed and it has two components. If I might paraphrase the U.S. position: “First, sit by quietly as we reach an accord with Tehran that freezes but does not dismantle its nuclear buildup. Second, stop the illegitimate residential construction on the West Bank or the Palestinian Authority will, with American acquiescence, start a third intifada.”

Israeli responses to the two demands have been stark, blunt unlike anything in memory. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blasted the prospective Iran deal as a “monumental mistake” and after meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry warned:

I reminded him that he said that no deal is better than a bad deal. And the deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and pays nothing. And this is when Iran is under severe pressure. I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal, a very, very, bad deal. It’s the deal of a century for Iran; it’s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community.

Economy and Commerce Minister Naftali Bennett was even more direct, even raising the prospect of an Iranian nuclear bomb destroying New York City:

These critical days in November will be remembered for years to come. The Free World stands before a fork in the road with a clear choice: Either stand strong and insist Iran dismantles its nuclear-weapons program, or surrender, cave in and allow Iran to retain its 18,500 centrifuges. Years from now, when an Islamic terrorist blows up a suitcase in New York, or when Iran launches a nuclear missile at Rome or Tel Aviv, it will have happened only because a Bad Deal was made during these defining moments.

Like in a boxing match, Iran’s regime is currently on the floor. The count is just seconds away from 10. Now is the time to step up the pressure and force Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. Not to let it up. It would be dangerous to lift the sanctions and accept a deal which allows Iran to retain its entire uranium-production line. It would be dangerous because Iran would, a year, two or three from now, just turn everything back on and obtain a nuclear weapon before the world can do anything to stop it. It is not enough to shut off the centrifuges. They need to be completely dismantled. We call upon the West to avoid signing a Bad Deal.

Israel’s responsibility is to ensure the security of its citizens and that is exactly what we will do. We will never outsource our security.

On the Palestinian issue, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon took the lead:

There is no need to fear threats of whether there will or won’t be a third intifada. We have been in an open and ongoing conflict [with the Palestinians], which as far as the Palestinians are concerned does not end in 1967 lines. There is Sheikh Munis, [their name for] Tel Aviv, Majdal, [their name for] Ashkelon. We got out of the Gaza Strip and they continue to attack us. They raise their youth to believe that Haifa and Acre are Palestinian ports and more. There is no sign of compromise here. … We will have to be smart, and not fear threats of whether there will or won’t be a third intifada.

I wrote before the last presidential election that “Israel’s troubles will really begin” should Obama win second term. At Obama’s second inauguration, I predicted that he, “freed from re-election constraints, can finally express his early anti-Zionist views after a decade of political positioning. Watch for a markedly worse tone from the second Obama administration toward the third Netanyahu government.”

Obama’s YouTube Wars

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Last September, Barack Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly to denounce a YouTube video, calling it “crude and disgusting” and assuring Muslims everywhere that this particular YouTube video did not represent America.
Finally Obama delivered what is surely one of the most famous YouTube negative video comments ever, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

The future is still up for grabs, but the man behind the YouTube video was taken in by a crowd of armed police and locked up earning him the privilege of being one of the few movie producers imprisoned for their movies; alongside Robert Goldstein of  “The Spirit of ’76″.

As YouTube thumbs downs go, a year in jail is pretty harsh. The thumbs of American presidents historically lacked the thumbpotence of Roman emperors sitting in their Coliseum boxes and deciding if a gladiator should live or die. But when a YouTube video is passed off as the biggest national security threat since a Twitter hashtag about Biden’s hairplugs, why shouldn’t Obama take on imperial airs and drop the prison banhammer?

The trailer for a movie about the Muslim persecution of Christians did not actually lead to multiple coordinated attacks by Salafists against American embassies and diplomatic missions.

Unfortunately in an election where the incumbent was running on his claim that he had single-handedly killed Osama bin Laden in an arm wrestling match, it would have been embarrassing to admit that Al Qaeda had pulled off its second worst attack on America since September 11… on September 11.

It was easier to blame it on YouTube.

Last September, a YouTube video was blamed for several acts of war. This September, a war may be fought over a bunch of YouTube videos.

Obama addressed the nation to rally support for his Syrian strikes. As evidence that “chemical weapons were used in Syria” he mentioned the “videos, cell phone pictures, and social media accounts from the attack”.

The message was that if you want Obama’s case for war, go watch it on YouTube. And hope it isn’t as staged as Jimmy Kimmel’s Twerking fail video..

William Randolph Hearst was supposed to have told a reporter, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”. Now YouTube and social media furnishes the videos and pictures and Barack Hussein Obama will furnish the war.

Obama didn’t even bother assembling a playlist of the top 10 WMD YouTube videos that will make a case for war; a strange omission for an administration that prides itself as the most tech-savvy organization in the room when it comes to emailing voters and reading their email.

Instead officials boasted about their high-end YouTube watching skills and their “Classified intelligence tools… used to ensure that bodies were not counted twice.” Hopefully at least one of those classified tools involved basic arithmetic.

Traditionally a case for war would be based on some kind of physical evidence, but in this new digital world where no one ever has to do anything in person, except get treated for carpal tunnel syndrome, we can blame wars on YouTube videos and fight wars over YouTube videos.

And if the whole Syrian chemical attack turns out to have been faked by Jimmy Kimmel, at least it will have been the most epic troll ever leading to a flame war with actual flames.

It’s easy to blame Obama for being too lazy to send someone out to Syria to actually check the toe tags instead of clicking through a few videos, marking the WMD box checked and then checking out the trailer for the remake of Robocop.

But it’s not like anyone else has been doing a much better job.

French intelligence released a report confirming a chemical weapons attack by Assad that killed 281 people based in part “on dozens of videos culled by French intelligence services”.

Forget James Bond. Jacques Bond dispenses with the tuxedo, martinis and the Walther PPK and equipped with a Snuggie, a swivel chair and some Hot Pockets assembles a case for war based on his unique skill of video cullings. It really is the ultimate playlist with Europe’s The Final Countdown as the soundtrack. Or maybe Iggy Pop’s Search and Destroy.

When Assad said that the accusations are based “on arbitrary videos posted on the Internet”, he kind of had a point. Or maybe he didn’t. After all they’re based on arbitrary videos posted on the internet and then culled by the crack Le Hot Pockets team at French intelligence and the best YouTube watchers our own intelligence services have to offer.
It’s easy to get confused when building a case for war based on YouTube videos.

France’s Top Secret YouTubers claimed 281 people had been killed. Our own YouTubers appear to have come up with 1,429 since that’s the number that John Kerry has been waving around on any channel willing to give him 5 minutes of airtime.

But maybe our YouTubers just watched the same video 5 times.

Across the channel, UK’s social media spooks claimed 350 dead. Maybe they watched the full video. Doctors Without Borders, which hopefully counted actual bodies instead of URLs, pegged the death toll at 355. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights went up to 502. Even that is only 1/3 of Kerry’s 1,429.

Where does Kerry get his oddly specific 1,429 number from?  No one knows. The Senate Intelligence Committee received 13 videos whose authenticity was verified by that specter known as “the intelligence community”. The intelligence community is a notoriously flexible entity. It usually knows the truth, but sometimes serves other masters.

Back when Obama was determined to blame a movie trailer for the murder of four Americans, the intelligence community, which originally pointed to a terrorist attack, was muscled by Hillary’s people into blaming the dreaded YouTube video in the Benghazi talking points.

Online videos don’t make the best case for war. It’s not just Jimmy Kimmel who can fake viral videos.

Both sides in the Syrian Civil War have filled the internet with viral videos claiming to show the other side using chemical weapons, killing babies and eating with their left hands. There’s a fake suicide bomber auction video being distributed by the regime and a fake government massacre being passed around by the rebels. And those are just some of the more notorious examples.

The pro-regime Syrian Electronic Army is hacking websites and the Syria expert whose Wall Street Journal article claiming that the Syrian rebels were moderate was cited by McCain and Kerry turned out to have faked her academic credentials while working for a Syrian rebel front group.

The best thing to believe about Syria is nothing. Both sides are engaged in epic levels of fakery. And if we are going to bomb Syria, the least we can do is sort through real life evidence.

Obama may begin wars over YouTube videos and blame wars on YouTube videos, but the people who die in those wars are all too real. In his UN General Assembly speech, he mentioned the video seven times, but never once mentioned the names of the two former Navy SEALS who rushed to the rescue.

If the future is to belong to anyone, it should belong to men like them and not to amateur YouTube reviewers who start wars.

Those who live in a virtual world, often forget that the things that matter are real. Wars aren’t really virtual; even if they’re fought with drones and reported on by Twitter accounts. The people who die in them are real and the money used to wage them has to be taken out of the monthly paychecks of families struggling to pay for winter clothing, braces and a home cooked meal.

Obama, like Hollande and Cameron, his leading Syrian War allies, slashed military spending while starting new wars. He cut military paychecks and raised the cost of military healthcare while drastically slashing the armed forces. In a debate, he sneered that objections to his policy of gutting the Navy while expecting it to fight all his wars for him were like so retro.

“We have fewer ships than we did… we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed,” Obama said. The line quickly became a trending Twitter hashtag and inspired YouTube videos; none of which, fortunately, led to jail sentences.

But now it’s not hashtags or YouTube videos steaming toward Syria; it’s Navy ships with not enough of the cruise missiles that Obama would like to fire off. And so the bayonets may have to do.

YouTube videos are great for streaming Obama’s war speeches and finding scapegoats for the terrorist attacks he wants to deny happened, but they don’t fight wars.

Men like Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who died not because of a YouTube video, but because Obama failed to provide them with armed support while they were fighting for their lives, are the ones that fight them. And they fight with whatever is left to them by a government that tried to blow $250,000 on an Afghan YouTube channel, but didn’t have enough left over to provide security for American diplomats or health care for American soldiers.

Obama is a virtual leader for a virtual nation. He has virtual solutions for all problems, none of which actually work in the real world. He can virtually do anything, but he can’t really do anything except spend fortunes on useless boondoggles in proper Silicon Valley style. Like so many dot coms, he thinks that inspiration is a substitute for a business plan and communications and social media outreach are a substitute for a strategy. They aren’t.

Like so many Silicon Valley dot coms with a huge audience and no profits to show for it, he has gotten away with it because too many are invested in the virtual pyramids of the Arab Spring, along with his other pyramid schemes, to hold him accountable.

But his Syria speech is only another reminder that he doesn’t have a plan for the war. He has a video.

Egypt: al Jazeera ‘National Threat,’ Bans Channel, Arrests Journalists

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Egyptian ministers announced that al Jazeera’s channel in Egypt is a national threat.  They have banned the affiliate and arrested four of its journalists.

In their statement, the Egyptian ministers of investment, telecommunications and information accused al Jazeera Mubashir Misr of spreading lies and rumors damaging to Egyptian national security and unity.

The statement read: “Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr does not have a legal basis for its presence in Egypt, and it has been shown that it does not possess any of the licenses and permits that it requires to conduct its operations on Egyptian territory.”

The Egyptian government took this step the day after Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr broadcast a message from the Muslim Brotherhood’s spokesman Mohamed El-Beltagy.

Beltagy, speaking from an undisclosed location, criticized the interim Egyptian government. The Brotherhood’s spokesman also emphatically denied that his organization is a terrorist organization.

While it may be fine for an American politician from the Republican party to go on the air and criticize U.S. President Barack Obama, things don’t go down quite the same way in Egypt, or, for that matter, in any Muslim country in the Middle East.

Although they cannot actually block al Jazeera from its communications satellite, Egypt’s ministers of investment, telecommunications and information issued a public statement banning the channel for using satellite transmitters without an official license.

In addition to making the announcement banning the Qatari channel, the offices of Al Jazeera’s Mubashir Misr were raided and four of its journalists were arrested. Correspondent Wayne Hay, cameraman Adil Bradlow and producers Russ Finn and Baher Mohammed were detained on Tuesday, the network said on Thursday, calling the arrests “a campaign against al Jazeera in particular,” the Guardian reported.

In addition to the detention of the al Jazeera journalists, Egyptian officers also located and arrested Mohamed el-Beltagy, as well as the  former Labor minister Khaled al-Azhari.

The arrests, in turn, prompted the Muslim Brotherhood to ramp up calls for nationwide protests against Egypt’s military-backed government. The Egyptian government immediately responded to the call by warning that live ammunition would be used against protesters who attack public institutions.

Friday will be another day of violence in Egypt.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/egypt-al-jazeera-national-threat-bans-channel-arrests-journalists/2013/08/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: