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July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

State Dept. ‘Perplexed’ by Negative NY Times Report on Iran

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

he U.S. State Dept. is “perplexed” over a report in The New York Times Tuesday that Iran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel has increased 20 percent since the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) that was supposed to limit its nuclear fuel.

There are two news items in one: The report raises questions whether any deal with Iran can be other than “bad,” but no less significant is that it was published in the newspaper that is considered close to being the Obama administration’s unofficial public relations office.

The New York Times reported:

With only one month left before a deadline to complete a nuclear deal with Iran, international inspectors have reported that Tehran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel increased about 20 percent over the last 18 months of negotiations, partially undercutting the Obama administration’s contention that the Iranian program had been ‘frozen’ during that period.

But Western officials and experts cannot quite figure out why.

The authors of the article speculated that technical problems may have prevented the conversion of enriched uranium into fuel roads for reactors, making it worthless for a nuclear weapon. A second possibility is that Iran simply is playing games and increasing its stockpile to use as a bargaining chip in negotiations for a final deal by June 30, the deadline President Barack Obama has imposed for an agreement.

State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf told reported Tuesday:

Our team read that story this morning and was quite frankly perplexed because the main contentions of it are totally inaccurate.

First, the notion in the story that western officials or U.S. officials involved were unaware of this issue or not understanding of what this entails is just absurdץ. Under the JPOA, Iran can fluctuate its numbers in terms of their stockpile. They can go up and down as long as at the end of fixed date they are back down below a number.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in March:

We’ve actually succeeded in not just halting Iran’s progress as it relates to their nuclear program but actually rolling it back in several key areas, including reducing and eliminating their stockpile of highly enriched uranium.

Harf expressed the Obama administration’s belief that everything will be fine and dandy because Iran promised to live up to its agreements.

She said:

What matters is that they have committed already.

The Institute for Science and International Security’s David Albright and Serene Kelleher-Vergantini have stated:

Iran has fallen behind in its pledge to convert its newly produced LEU hexafluoride into oxide form. There are legitimate questions about whether Iran can produce all the requisite LEU oxide ….  Iran has clearly fallen —–behind in its pledge under the JPA.

But not to worry. Iran is committed to its word.

Obama Peeved Jews Don’t Appreciate Him: ‘I’m the Closest Thing to a Jew’

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

In an advance peek at what looked to be a blockbuster report from Israel’s Channel 2 Tuesday night, we learned that the reporter, Ilana Dayan, spoke with several of President Obama’s closest advisers regarding frayed relations between the White House and the Prime Minister’s House.

Obama’s confidantes undoubtedly believe and attempted to convey the impression that Israel’s Netanyahu is the source of the bad blood.

A preview of the report was published by the JPUpdates, but The Daily Caller realized what was the money quote, and it came from President  Obama’s former political aide, David Axelrod.

David Axelrod is a Democratic political consultant and was a senior adviser to Obama during his first administration as well as a top aide to Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Axelrod suggested that not only is Netanyahu to blame for the bad relations between the two executives, but Axelrod also blames Netanyahu for causing some people to view Obama as not only anti-Israel, but anti-Semitic as well.

Here’s the Obama quote, which comes from Axelrod:

‘You know, I think I am the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office. For people to say that I am anti-Israel, or, even worse, anti-Semitic, it hurts.’

The political operative, Axelrod, went on to attack Netanyahu’s integrity not only in his dealings with Obama, but as the leader of Israel.

Axelrod explained that there are two kinds of people who run for public office. There are those who run “because they want to be somebody,” and then there is a smaller group of “respectable people who run for public office because they want to do something – something positive. Shape the future in a positive way.”

According to Axelrod, Netanyahu is not in that second group, the one made up of respectable people: “I think Benjamin Netanyahu completely falls in the first category.”

And then Axelrod shared his own concern for the Israelis. He said Netanyahu “knows what he needs to do to get through the next election. But it seems to me that Israel has to think about what they need to do to get through the next generation.”

It will be interesting to see whether Axelrod serves as an adviser to Hillary Clinton, as he did for her husband, President Bill Clinton.

Another Jewish adviser to Obama, Martin Indyk, was not content to just criticize Netanyahu. He slammed all Israelis for “being ungrateful” to Obama. His basis? “They never really appreciated his rule whereby nothing will harm the security of Israel.”

Indyk talks about Israelis’ security concerns the way a paternalistic but insufficiently attuned university administrator might address what he would call an hysterical co-ed. “You are an emotional nation, not a rational nation. You work from your gut and not your mind.”

Indyk, who most recently served Obama as the U.S. Special Envoy for the Israeli–Palestinian Negotiations from 2013 to 2014, must believe it would have been more logical for Israelis to immediately conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority rather than to wait for Israel’s neighbors to renounce terrorism before concluding a deal.

Indyk twice served as the U.S. ambassador to Israel. He also served on the board of the controversial New Israel Fund, which awards grants to many far leftist organizations, some of which advocate economic and legal warfare against the Jewish State.

The third close adviser to Obama about whom we learned Channel 2 interviewed for its story is the current U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro. Like Indyk and Axelrod, Shapiro is also Jewish, but he is the only one who is currently in office.

Netanyahu Tells Israelis Military Challenges Due to Iran Are ‘Piling Up’

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Israelis Tuesday in an interview aired on Channel 2 television that the US-brokered deal with Tehran will “pave the way for Iran to atom bombs.”

Speaking at Home Front Command headquarters during the week-long “Turning Point” nationwide military defense drill, Netanyahu said challenges from the rising risks of imminent attacks are “piling up.”

The threat of rocket and missile fire has hung over Israel for decades. Most of the weapons have been supplied to the terror organizations by Iran, both north and south of the border.

“When speaking of the security of the citizens of Israel I rely first and foremost on us only. Proof of the wisdom of this is the agreement emerging between the world powers and Iran,” said the prime minister. He pointed out that the deal would inject billions of dollars into the Iranian economy, in addition to “paving the way for Iran to atom bombs.”

With the funds it receives, Iran “can continue to arm our enemies with high trajectory weapons and other arms, while also arming its own war and terror machine which is acting against us and the Middle East, and which is much more dangerous than the Da’esh (ISIS) terror machine, which is also dangerous,” Netanyahu said.

U.S. President Barack Obama is slated to present his case for the deal with Iran on Israel’s Channel 2 television later in the evening on Tuesday night.

Obama’s Judeo-Christian State of Israel

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Everyone wants to foist a 2-state solution onto Israel.

Obama just introduced a new one: The Judeo-Christian State of Israel.

Now, I don’t exactly know what Judeo-Christian traditions and values are, but Obama repeatedly stated that the Judeo-Christian state of Israel simply isn’t living up to the double-standards he set for it.

When Iran nukes a Judeo-Christian state, does it have to allow Iran to nuke it again, but afterwards it can rise up and kill Iran in return? Can a Judeo-Christian have an abortion? Can a Judeo-Christian have a state, except when that successful state negates Christian replacement theology? Would a Judeo-Christian auto-de-fé include an actual burning, or is it just a lot of internal guilt and angst? Can a Judeo-Christian rejoice at the downfall of an enemy? And what is a Judeo-Christian supposed to do with that whole pagan son of god thing, because that’s definitely not a Jewish value, at all.

Judeo-Christian values sounds very schizophrenic to me, and definitely not very Jewish, in fact, it gets rid of the Jewish.

It’s the kind of thing Reform would go for. Not so much the “progressives” because of the whole religion thing.

But here’s the problem. We’re a Jewish state, not a Judeo-Christian state.

And we don’t want to be a Judeo-Christian state either. And certainly not one held up to Obama’s double-standard (which by the way, matches the US State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism).

We want to live according to Jewish values.

And you know what?

The Jewish State of Israel is doing a pretty good job of it too.

So when Obama repeatedly complains that Israel isn’t living up to his Judeo-Christian standards, I say, “great”.

And by the way, according to Jewish values, the entire Land of Israel is ours.

Obama’s Irrational Understanding of Anti-Semitism

Monday, May 25th, 2015

The President’s interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the The Atlantic makes for some incredulous reading.

There’s a lot to write about, but today, I want to pick at one specific point that not only surprised me, but clearly also surprised Jeffrey Goldberg.

I was disappointed that Goldberg, who could have actually asked a serious followup question, instead chose to give Obama a pass on such an important point, when he clearly knew Obama was wrong.

Goldberg questioned one of the many contradictions in the President’s worldview.

He pointed out Obama’s contradictory belief that while anti-Semitic regimes are not rational players, they will still respond rationally and practically to pressure and incentive.

(As an aside, whether Iran is simply driven by anti-Semitism or by a radical Islamic desire, in which anti-Semitism plays a central role, to bring about Armageddon is another important point to discuss, another time.)

When Goldberg pointed out that anti-Semitic European leaders made irrational decisions against their own survival, he was clearly thinking of Hitler as the prime example of that, as were all of us when we read Obama’s statement.

And Nazi Germany is far from the only example that contradicts Obama’s belief (just look how Hamas and the Palestinian Authority use their foreign aid money – building terror tunnels, buying weapons and paying terrorists instead of building hospitals and sewer systems).

Obama then claimed that since anti-Semitic regimes will care about their survival more than killing Jews, they will make rational decisions towards survival, despite their anti-Semitism.

More incredulously, Obama then claimed their anti-Semitism is limited to discrimination and as an organizing tool, “where the costs are low, they may pursue policies based on hatred as opposed to self-interest.”

Nothing in the history, actions or decisions of Nazi Germany (and other anti-Semitic regimes) backs up that claim.

Throughout the war, Hitler diverted physical and manpower resources to killing Jews that could have been much better deployed fighting the allies.

And in particular, towards the end of the war, Hitler (and Eichmann, more specifically) chose to continue to transport Jews to the Death Camps, instead of deploying more resources to fighting the allies.

Those costs were not low, and they clearly opposed Nazi Germany’s self-interest — unless you understand that anti-Semites view killing Jews as being in their primary self-interest, even greater than their own or their regime’s survival.

I’m not expecting a rational and informed answer from the President.

But worse, it’s clear that Jeffrey Goldberg, who obviously had the same question, apparently wasn’t expecting a rational or informed answer either, and instead gave the President a pass.

Here’s that section of the interview:

Goldberg: Stay with Iran for one more moment. I just want you to help me square something. So you’ve argued, quite eloquently in fact, that the Iranian regime has at its highest levels been infected by a kind of anti-Semitic worldview. You talked about that with Tom [Friedman]. “Venomous anti-Semitism” I think is the term that you used. You have argued—not that it even needs arguing—but you’ve argued that people who subscribe to an anti-Semitic worldview, who explain the world through the prism of anti-Semitic ideology, are not rational, are not built for success, are not grounded in a reality that you and I might understand. And yet, you’ve also argued that the regime in Tehran—a regime you’ve described as anti-Semitic, among other problems that they have—is practical, and is responsive to incentive, and shows signs of rationality. So I don’t understand how these things fit together in your mind.

Obama: Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations. You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism, Jeff, there were a whole lot of European leaders—and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country—

Goldberg: And they make irrational decisions—

Obama: They may make irrational decisions with respect to discrimination, with respect to trying to use anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool. At the margins, where the costs are low, they may pursue policies based on hatred as opposed to self-interest. But the costs here are not low, and what we’ve been very clear [about] to the Iranian regime over the past six years is that we will continue to ratchet up the costs, not simply for their anti-Semitism, but also for whatever expansionist ambitions they may have. That’s what the sanctions represent. That’s what the military option I’ve made clear I preserve represents. And so I think it is not at all contradictory to say that there are deep strains of anti-Semitism in the core regime, but that they also are interested in maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their own country, which requires that they get themselves out of what is a deep economic rut that we’ve put them in, and on that basis they are then willing and prepared potentially to strike an agreement on their nuclear program.

Someone please send the President a history book.

Transcript of President Obama’s Speech at Congregation Adas Israel [video]

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release May 22, 2015

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

Adas Israel Congregation
Washington, D.C.

10:57 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, good morning, everybody!

AUDIENCE: Good morning!

THE PRESIDENT: A slightly early Shabbat Shalom. (Laughter.) I want to thank Rabbi Steinlauf for the very kind introduction. And to all the members of the congregation, thank you so much for such an extraordinary and warm welcome.

I want to thank a couple of outstanding members of Congress who are here. Senator Michael Bennet — where did Michael Bennet go? There he is. (Applause.) And Representative Sandy Levin, who is here. (Applause.) I want to thank our special envoy to combat anti-Semitism, Ira Forman, for his important work. There he is. (Applause) But as I said, most of all I want to thank the entire congregation of Adas Israel for having me here today.

Earlier this week, I was actually interviewed by one of your members, Jeff Goldberg. (Applause.) And Jeff reminded me that he once called me “the first Jewish President.” (Laughter.) Now, since some people still seem to be wondering about my faith — (laughter) — I should make clear this was an honorary title. (Laughter.) But I was flattered.

And as an honorary member of the tribe, not to mention somebody who’s hosted seven White House Seders and been advised by — (applause) — and been advised by two Jewish chiefs of staff, I can also proudly say that I’m getting a little bit of the hang of the lingo. (Laughter.) But I will not use any of the Yiddish-isms that Rahm Emanuel taught me because — (laughter) — I want to be invited back. (Laughter.) Let’s just say he had some creative new synonyms for “Shalom.” (Laughter.)

Now, I wanted to come here to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month because this congregation, like so many around the country, helps us to tell the American story. And back in 1876, when President Grant helped dedicate Adas Israel, he became the first sitting President in history to attend a synagogue service. And at the time, it was an extraordinarily symbolic gesture — not just for America, but for the world.

And think about the landscape of Jewish history. Tomorrow night, the holiday of Shavuot marks the moment that Moses received the Torah at Mount Sinai, the first link in a chain of tradition that stretches back thousands of years, and a foundation stone for our civilization. Yet for most of those years, Jews were persecuted — not embraced — by those in power. Many of your ancestors came here fleeing that persecution.
The United States could have been merely another destination in that ongoing diaspora. But those who came here found that America was more than just a country. America was an idea. America stood for something. As George Washington wrote to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island: The United States “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

It’s important for us to acknowledge that too often in our history we fell short of those lofty ideals — in the legal subjugation of African Americans, through slavery and Jim Crow; the treatment of Native Americans. And far too often, American Jews faced the scourge of anti-Semitism here at home. But our founding documents gave us a North Star, our Bill of Rights; our system of government gave us a capacity for change. And where other nations actively and legally might persecute or discriminate against those of different faiths, this nation was called upon to see all of us as equal before the eyes of the law. When other countries treated their own citizens as “wretched refuse,” we lifted up our lamp beside the golden door and welcomed them in. Our country is immeasurably stronger because we did. (Applause.)

From Einstein to Brandeis, from Jonas Salk to Betty Friedan, American Jews have made contributions to this country that have shaped it in every aspect. And as a community, American Jews have helped make our union more perfect. The story of Exodus inspired oppressed people around the world in their own struggles for civil rights. From the founding members of the NAACP to a freedom summer in Mississippi, from women’s rights to gay rights to workers’ rights, Jews took the heart of Biblical edict that we must not oppress a stranger, having been strangers once ourselves.

Earlier this year, when we marked the 50th anniversary of the march in Selma, we remembered the iconic images of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marching with Dr. King, praying with his feet. To some, it must have seemed strange that a rabbi from Warsaw would take such great risks to stand with a Baptist preacher from Atlanta. But Heschel explained that their cause was one and the same. In his essay, “No Religion is an Island,” he wrote, “We must choose between interfaith and inter-nihilism.” Between a shared hope that says together we can shape a brighter future, or a shared cynicism that says our world is simply beyond repair.

So the heritage we celebrate this month is a testament to the power of hope. Me standing here before you, all of you in this incredible congregation is a testament to the power of hope. (Applause.) It’s a rebuke to cynicism. It’s a rebuke to nihilism. And it inspires us to have faith that our future, like our past, will be shaped by the values that we share. At home, those values compel us to work to keep alive the American Dream of opportunity for all. It means that we care about issues that affect all children, not just our own; that we’re prepared to invest in early childhood education; that we are concerned about making college affordable; that we want to create communities where if you’re willing to work hard, you can get ahead the way so many who fled and arrived on these shores were able to get ahead. Around the world, those values compel us to redouble our efforts to protect our planet and to protect the human rights of all who share this planet.

It’s particularly important to remember now, given the tumult that is taking place in so many corners of the globe, in one of the world’s most dangerous neighborhoods, those shared values compel us to reaffirm that our enduring friendship with the people of Israel and our unbreakable bonds with the state of Israel — that those bonds, that friendship cannot be broken. (Applause.) Those values compel us to say that our commitment to Israel’s security — and my commitment to Israel’s security — is and always will be unshakeable. (Applause.)

And I’ve said this before: It would be a moral failing on the part of the U.S. government and the American people, it would be a moral failing on my part if we did not stand up firmly, steadfastly not just on behalf of Israel’s right to exist, but its right to thrive and prosper. (Applause.) Because it would ignore the history that brought the state of Israel about. It would ignore the struggle that’s taken place through millennia to try to affirm the kinds of values that say everybody has a place, everybody has rights, everybody is a child of God. (Applause.)

As many of you know, I’ve visited the houses hit by rocket fire in Sderot. I’ve been to Yad Vashem and made that solemn vow: “Never forget. Never again.” When someone threatens Israel’s citizens or its very right to exist, Israelis necessarily that seriously. And so do I. Today, the military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries is stronger than ever. Our support of the Iron Dome’s rocket system has saved Israeli lives. And I can say that no U.S. President, no administration has done more to ensure that Israel can protect itself than this one. (Applause.)

As part of that commitment, there’s something else that the United States and Israel agrees on: Iran must not, under any circumstances, be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. (Applause.) Now, there’s a debate about how to achieve that — and that’s a healthy debate. I’m not going to use my remaining time to go too deep into policy — although for those of you who are interested — (laughter) — we have a lot of material out there. (Laughter.) But I do want everybody to just remember a few key things.

The deal that we already reached with Iran has already halted or rolled back parts of Iran’s nuclear program. Now we’re seeking a comprehensive solution. I will not accept a bad deal. As I pointed out in my most recent article with Jeff Goldberg, this deal will have my name on it, so nobody has a bigger personal stake in making sure that it delivers on its promise. (Applause.) I want a good deal.

I’m interested in a deal that blocks every single one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon — every single path. A deal that imposes unprecedented inspections on all elements of Iran’s nuclear program, so that they can’t cheat; and if they try to cheat, we will immediately know about it and sanctions snap back on. A deal that endures beyond a decade; that addresses this challenge for the long term. In other words, a deal that makes the world and the region — including Israel — more secure. That’s how I define a good deal.

I can’t stand here today and guarantee an agreement will be reached. We’re hopeful. We’re working hard. But nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. And I’ve made clear that when it comes to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, all options are and will remain on the table.

Moreover, even if we do get a good deal, there remains the broader issue of Iran’s support for terrorism and regional destabilization, and ugly threats against Israel. And that’s why our strategic partnership with Israel will remain, no matter what happens in the days and years ahead. And that’s why the people of Israel must always know America has its back, and America will always have its back. (Applause.)

Now, that does not mean that there will not be, or should not be, periodic disagreements between our two governments. There will be disagreements on tactics when it comes to how to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and that is entirely appropriate and should be fully aired. Because the stakes are sufficiently high that anything that’s proposed has to be subjected to scrutiny — and I welcome that scrutiny.

But there are also going to be some disagreements rooted in shared history that go beyond tactics, that are rooted in how we might remain true to our shared values. I came to know Israel as a young man through these incredible images of kibbutzim, and Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir, and Israel overcoming incredible odds in the ’67 war. The notion of pioneers who set out not only to safeguard a nation, but to remake the world. Not only to make the desert bloom, but to allow their values to flourish; to ensure that the best of Judaism would thrive. And those values in many ways came to be my own values. They believed the story of their people gave them a unique perspective among the nations of the world, a unique moral authority and responsibility that comes from having once been a stranger yourself.

And to a young man like me, grappling with his own identity, recognizing the scars of race here in this nation, inspired by the civil rights struggle, the idea that you could be grounded in your history, as Israel was, but not be trapped by it, to be able to repair the world — that idea was liberating. The example of Israel and its values was inspiring.

So when I hear some people say that disagreements over policy belie a general lack of support of Israel, I must object, and I object forcefully. (Applause.) For us to paper over difficult questions, particularly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or about settlement policy, that’s not a true measure of friendship.

Before I came out here, the Rabbi showed me the room that’s been built to promote scholarship and dialogue, and to be able to find how we make our shared values live. And the reason you have that room is because applying those values to our lives is often hard, and it involves difficult choices. That’s why we study. That’s why it’s not just a formula. And that’s what we have to do as nations as well as individuals. We have to grapple and struggle with how do we apply the values that we care about to this very challenging and dangerous world.

And it is precisely because I care so deeply about the state of Israel — it’s precisely because, yes, I have high expectations for Israel the same way I have high expectations for the United States of America — that I feel a responsibility to speak out honestly about what I think will lead to long-term security and to the preservation of a true democracy in the Jewish homeland. (Applause.) And I believe that’s two states for two peoples, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. (Applause.) Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people on their land, as well. (Applause.)

Now, I want to emphasize — that’s not easy. The Palestinians are not the easiest of partners. (Laughter.) The neighborhood is dangerous. And we cannot expect Israel to take existential risks with their security so that any deal that takes place has to take into account the genuine dangers of terrorism and hostility.

But it is worthwhile for us to keep up the prospect, the possibility of bridging divides and being just, and looking squarely at what’s possible but also necessary in order for Israel to be the type of nation that it was intended to be in its earliest founding. (Applause.)

And that same sense of shared values also compel me to speak out — compel all of us to speak out — against the scourge of anti-Semitism wherever it exists. (Applause.) I want to be clear that, to me, all these things are connected. The rights I insist upon and now fight for, for all people here in the United States compels me then to stand up for Israel and look out for the rights of the Jewish people. And the rights of the Jewish people then compel me to think about a Palestinian child in Ramallah that feels trapped without opportunity. That’s what Jewish values teach me. That’s what the Judeo-Christian tradition teaches me. These things are connected. (Applause.)

And in recent years, we’ve seen a deeply disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in parts of the world where it would have seemed unthinkable just a few years or decades ago. This is not some passing fad; these aren’t just isolated phenomenon. And we know from our history they cannot be ignored. Anti-Semitism is, and always will be, a threat to broader human values to which we all must aspire. And when we allow anti-Semitism to take root, then our souls are destroyed, and it will spread.

And that’s why, tonight, for the first time ever, congregations around the world are celebrating a Solidarity Shabbat. It’s a chance for leaders to publicly stand against anti-Semitism and bigotry in all of its forms. And I’m proud to be a part of this movement, and I’m proud that six ambassadors from Europe are joining us today. And their presence here — our presence together — is a reminder that we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. (Applause.) Our traditions, our history, can help us chart a better course as long as we are mindful of that history and those traditions, and we are vigilant in speaking out and standing up against what is wrong. It’s not always easy, I think, to speak out against what is wrong, even for good people.

So I want to close with the story of one more of the many rabbis who came to Selma 50 years ago. A few days after David Teitelbaum arrived to join the protests, he and a colleague were thrown in jail. And they spent a Friday night in custody, singing Adon Olam to the tune of “We Shall Overcome.” And that in and of itself is a profound statement of faith and hope. But what’s wonderful is, is that out of respect many of their fellow protestors began wearing what they called “freedom caps” — (laughter) — yarmulkes — as they marched.

And the day after they were released from prison, Rabbi Teitelbaum watched Dr. King lead a prayer meeting before crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And Dr. King said, “We are like the children of Israel, marching from slavery to freedom.”

That’s what happens when we’re true to our values. It’s not just good for us, but it brings the community together. (Applause.) Tikkun Olam — it brings the community together and it helps repair the world. It bridges differences that once looked unbridgeable. It creates a future for our children that once seemed unattainable. This congregation — Jewish American life is a testimony to the capacity to make our values live. But it requires courage. It requires strength. It requires that we speak the truth not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard.

So may we always remember that our shared heritage makes us stronger, that our roots are intertwined. May we always choose faith over nihilism, and courage over despair, and hope over cynicism and fear. As we walk our own leg of a timeless, sacred march, may we always stand together, here at home and around the world.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)

END 11:26 A.M.

Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

De facto  Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Israeli diplomats Thursday that her policy is to deliver  a message to the world that “this land is ours” because God gave it to the Jews.

Hotovely official is Deputy Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu officially has the title of Foreign Minister. In practice, he has placed his trust in her to deal with foreign diplomats.

An Orthodox woman and mother to a baby girl, Hotovely somewhat shocked several Israeli diplomats with a “Dvar Torah,” Hebrew for a short lesson from the Torah. She quoted in brief the Torah commentator Rashi, who cited the interpretation of the  first word of the Torah:

Rashi wrote:

Said Rabbi Isaac: It was not necessary to begin the Torah except from ‘This month is to you, (Exod. 12:2) which is the first commandment that the Israelites were commanded. Now for what reason did He commence with ‘In the beginning?’

Because of [the verse] ‘The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations.’ (Psalms 111:6). For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, ‘You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],’ they will reply, ‘The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us.’

Hotovely added, “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country,” she said. “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

Her comment that no apologizes are necessary is right out of election campaign of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and its chairman Naftali Bennett.

Hotovely also quoted Rabbi Yehuda Ashkenazi:

If Jews will convince themselves when facing the world that they are right in their ways, they will get along fine.

Haaretz reported that one diplomat said, “This the first time we have been asked to deliver a Dvar Torah to explain Israel to the world.”

It’s about time.

Her speech to the diplomats represents a radical change – a real revolution – in the Israeli government.

Hotovely, a darling of the national religious movement, has shown herself to be a brilliant politician, and she has won the full trust of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which is not easy.

One of the main reasons Netanyahu named her as Deputy Foreign Minister is because Hotovely never has lashed out at the Prime Minister like other Likud politicians.

She and Moshe Feiglin, whom Netanyahu maneuvered out of the Knesset, believe that the national religious movement is better off working through the Likud party instead of a smaller and ideologically defined faction, such as the old National Religious Party (Mafdal).

Hotovely has succeeded where Feiglin failed. He tried to go one-on-one against Netanyahu. Hotovely plays the game the way politicians are supposed to play it.

Even when the government carries out expulsions of Jews from the homes in Judea and Samaria, she politely disagrees but carries on with the attitude, “He is the Prime Minister, and I respect that,”

Netanyahu can trust Hotovely, who speaks excellent English, to represent the e the government, and she has stated that she will do so even if she personally disagrees.

Foreign media are aghast that Israel has a de facto Foreign Minister who is against the two-state illusion but Netanyahu has brilliantly made Silvan Shalom responsible for the non-existence “peace process” that Israel has to pretend is alive.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/foreign-minister-hotovely-tell-the-world-god-gave-israel-to-the-jews/2015/05/22/

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