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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Bret Stephens’

Sen. Leahy: Obama Secretly Suspended Egypt Military Aid

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

“[Senator Leahy’s] understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.

If it’s done as required by law, why is the U.S. government keeping it a secret that it believes the regime change in Egypt was a military coup? If it is, indeed, temporarily suspending most of the military aid to Egypt, where is the public announcement that we don’t send money to governments that were installed by a coup?

After skewering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hard—through the good services of the NY Times—for his attempts to preserve stability in Egypt and the integrity of the peace treaty, now the administration is attempting to punish the naughty Egyptian generals, but without making a big deal out of it.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked on Monday about the suspended aid, and told reporters the aid is not officially suspended.

I suppose the Egyptians can use the officially unsuspended aid money the same way Israelis can live in the officially unfrozen homes in East Jerusalem…

“After sequestration withholding, approximately $585 million remains unobligated. So, that is the amount that is unobligated,” Psaki said.

I looked up “unobligated” and means funds that have been appropriated but remain uncommitted by contract at the end of a fiscal period. In other words, an I keep, you don’t get kind of relationship.

“But it would be inaccurate to say that a policy decision has been made with respect to the remaining assistance funding,” Psaki clarified.

In other words, I keep, you don’t get, but it’s not forever.

The Daily Beast quotes two Administration officials who explain it was the government lawyers who decided it would be more prudent to observe the law restricting military aid in case of a coup, while not making a public statement that a coup had taken place.

Bret Stephens, a deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote on Monday (A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi):

“What’s realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. Victory permits magnanimity. It gives ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to return to normal life. It deters potential political and military challenges. It allows the appointed civilian government to assume a prominent political role. It settles the diplomatic landscape. It lets the neighbors know what’s what.”

By taking the opposite approach, making it harder for the new Egyptian government to bring the internal conflict to a conclusion, the Obama Administration is promoting and prolonging chaos in yet another country. Which is why, I suspect, Senator Leahy has spoken to the Daily Beast in the first place, to stop this blind march over the cliff.

Middle East analyst Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, told the Beast he thought the Administration was “trying to maintain maximum flexibility,” but he suggested that this horse is long out of the barn. “Egypt’s struggle has become so intense, polarized, and violent, and I worry that no matter what move the United States makes now, the competing power centers in Egypt might continue down the dangerous course they’ve headed.”

Unless, of course, the U.S. is making clear, with loud noises and a light show, that it supports stability in Egypt, and in order to hasten new elections, it will not suspend military aid to Egypt. In fact, with its financial and military might, the U.S. will do everything it can to restore stability and democracy in Egypt.

But that would require President Obama to get over the insult of the Egyptian nation ignoring his wishes and dethroning his favorite Muslim Brother president.

‘Judeophobia’ Asks: Why Do They Hate Jews?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

For those tired of hearing that Jews are in danger and that Israel-hatred is only the latest form of Jew-hatred, this movie, Unmasked Judeophobia: the Threat to Civilization is for you.  That’s right, those really are the people who need to see this movie, but they need to see it only if they are willing to cleanse their minds of the countless layers of sediment that the New York Times, Haaretz, television network news, and Hollywood party chatter has built up over their eyes and stuffed into their ears.  Because for those crumbling pillars of western civilization, truth is false, big is little, careful is belligerent and right (and the right) is always wrong.



But everyone else should see it too.  There are three reasons why.

First, the film carefully and concisely packs into 81 minutes the birth, metamorphosis and metastasization of Jew-hatred.  It shows how the early anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church was fueled forward by the angry sense of betrayal of Martin Luther and the other Protestants, which was then transmogrified into racial hatred by the Nazis, which in turn was embraced and transformed into the hatred of the Jewish nation-state, or anti-Zionism, by the Arab Nazi-acolyte al-Husseini, which is now being fed back to the far left, the far right and much of Europe, as the loop is replayed and reinforced.

This film carefully and clearly reveals that process, through the use of expert testimony and documentation, explained by the leading thinkers in the field. And in it you will learn why Greenfield believes Judeophobia is a more accurate and more powerful term than is anti-Semitism, which, like the former universal guilt over the Holocaust, has lost its teflon-like ability to protect Jews from further harm.

The second reason why this film needs to be seen is that its very existence proves its thesis true.  The location of most of the screenings in England could not be advertised because of serious security concerns.  If a movie about Jew-hatred cannot be seen in 21st Century England without fear of physical assaults and mayhem, Houston, we have a problem.

And finally, the completely obtuse responses by the major movie critics of the English language – in the New York Times , in Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter make clear that the refusal to understand Jew-hatred is almost as powerful an affliction as is Jew-hatred itself.  It is hard to find another explanation for the fact that what appear to be otherwise intelligent people can watch a movie and then criticize it for proving what it sets out to prove.  Indeed, the mainstream critics simply refuse to acknowledge there is a problem, and instead prefer to blame the victim – for acknowledging they are victims!  Read on.

“Unmasked Judeophobia: the Threat to Civilization,” is Gloria Z. Greenfield’s second documentary.  The first,  released in 2008, was “The Case for Israel,” which showcased Israel as democracy’s outpost in the Middle East. Earlier in her career, Greenfield was deeply involved in the field of radical feminism.  But when, over time, the radical feminists made it clear to Greenfield that support of Israel would not be accepted within the fold, Greenfeld left the fold.

As she watched audiences respond to her first film, it dawned on Greenfield that whether or not Israel is a shining democracy in a sea of tyrannies, for most people the only issue that mattered was the conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis, and that for such people the conflict was about territorial policies.  The widely held belief – conscious or not – was that it is in the control of the Israelis to end the conflict – all they have to do is give up some (more, of course) of the land, and the problem would go away.  And everyone wants the problem to go away.

That way of thinking about the conflict has several advantages: it means there really can be a solution; it allows cursory observers to read and listen to the mainstream media with a nod and a flip of the page; and it allows what should be ancient history to remain buried.

But, Greenfield believes, it isn’t true.  And there still are people out there who want to know the truth who will, if you can make the solid case, comprehend the situation and begin to make a move towards addressing the problem.

Greenfield realized that she needed to produce a documentary that would educate “the good and decent people, provide them with the context for the hatred that was being expressed towards the nation-state of the Jewish people, and that would also give some context to the global resurgence of lethal Jew-hatred – this hatred towards the Jewish people and towards Israel as the collective Jew.”

Greenfield means for this film to be a modern “tekiyah gedolah” – the mighty shofar blast that warned the ancient Israelites of danger.  Because, she says, once again, the Israelites are in real danger.

In this documentary, Greenfield set for herself a mighty task.  She divided the eighty minute film into several different “chapters,” so that it can be stopped at various points in order to facilitate discussion, or simply to help viewers organize and understand the different permutations of  Judeophobia.  It is a disease that has traveled and adapted through time and space, shrinking in the wake of the Holocaust, adapting and transforming to the needs of whoever wished to vilify the Jews at whatever moment they most needed a convenient scapegoat.  Greenfield shows how Jew-hatred builds upon the evil lies of the past to create a new and detested monster that can be hated anew in the present.

How does she do this? Greenfield weaves together testimony from the most knowledgeable analysts of the day, people like Robert Wistrich, Ruth Wisse, Manfred Gerstenfeld, Natan Sharansky, Elie Wiesel and so many others who examine Jew hatred through the lens of human history.  This enable us to understand the moments of transformation and distribution, guided by those who have spent lifetimes and filled volumes meticulously reviewing the evidence.  But Greenfield is able to keep the narrative flowing with skillful editing and an ever-ready ability to snip out extraneous information under which the enterprise would otherwise collapse.

We also hear from contemporary commentators who share the view from their perspectives, people like Bret Stephens and Prof. Alan Dershowitz and Amb. John Bolton.  These are people with ringside seats – at the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Law School and the United Nations – to today’s attacks on Jews and on the Jewish State.

People who saw the film during its recent screenings throughout England were all wildly enthusiastic about its strengths.  Clyde Hyman is a Scotsman who has lived for many years in Golders Green, a Jewish suburb north of London.  Hyman was unabashed when he told The Jewish Press that the film, “scared the [deleted expletive] out of me.”  Hyman is an activist who generally denounces fellow pro-Israel Brits whom he describes as “practitioners of dynamic apathy,” but, he said, this film “really put all the pieces together in a wonderful way, like a jigsaw puzzle pulls together what look like unrelated bits.”

Simon Barrett is a British television journalist and Christian Zionist.  Barrett interviewed Greenfield last week on his show, “The Middle East Report,” a weekly current affairs show on Revelation Television.  Barrett is a skilful interviewer and on his show he allowed Greenfield to talk frankly about her hopes and plans for “Unmasked Judeophobia,” interspersed with extended clips from the movie.

When Barrett spoke to The Jewish Press, he expressed dismay that the people who hosted screenings of the movie in Manchester and in Birmingham would not publicly disclose the locations.  As he put it, “the haters have already won if people are too afraid to publicize this film.”  While Barrett acknowledged that it is very different for him to sit in a television studio and not have to live with the possible negative consequences of public attacks, “they’ve got to overcome that spirit of fear, or we really will all watch as the world goes mad.”

Even the film’s score is worthy of note.  Sharon Farber created a subtle musical accompaniment that never overpowers the visual, but rather weaves in and out, ominously rising where the drama increases and then fluttering to a whisper when more sensory stimulus would be a distraction.

One of the few criticisms this reviewer heard from knowledgeable pro-Israel activists such as Helene Fragman Abramson, of Princeton, New Jersey, is that the documentary lays out the problem, but then viewers are left without a game plan. Abramson saw the documentary last year in New York City, at an event hosted by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.  Senior leadership at CAMERA are co-producers of the film.

As if in answer to Abramson’s complaint, just last week Greenfield’s production company, Doc Emet Productions, released With Clarity and Courage – An Activist’s Guide as a companion to the film.  The publication is available here.  It was written by Anna Kolodner, former executive director of the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership, and contains detailed information on how to combat Judeophobia.   So in addition to delivering an absolutely first rate, must-see documentary, Doc Emet Productions has now provided a follow-through game plan, or at least the tools for activists to use to create their own.

Upcoming Screenings

Newton, Massachusetts
January 6, 2013
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Orange County Internatlonal Jewish Film Festival, California
January 16, 2013
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Port Elizabeth, South Africa
January 20, 2013
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Durban, South Africa
January 21, 2013
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Cape Town, South Africa
January 24, 2013
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Modi’in, Israel
January 27, 2013
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New York, New York
February 6, 2013
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New York, New York
February 7, 2013
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Dallas, Texas
February 10, 2013
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Winchester, Massachusetts
April 21, 2013
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Scarsdale, New York
May 6, 2013
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New Hyde Park, New York
May 11, 2013
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To rent the movie for public events or private screenings, or to see where the film is being shown in  your area, go to www.unmaskedthemovie.com.

Admitting the Mistake of the Disengagement

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

On Sunday, Wall Street Journal editor and columnist Bret Stephens did what too many need to do: own up to the mistake of supporting the Disengagement Plan.

At the time, Stephens was editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post.

In his WSJ column Stephens wrote that on each of the points he argued regarding the Disengagement plan he turned out to be wrong. He writes:

My error was to confuse a good argument with good policy; to suppose that mere self-justification is a form of strategic prudence. It isn’t. Israel is obviously within its rights to defend itself now against a swarm of rockets and mortars from Gaza. But if it had maintained a military presence in the Strip, it would not now be living under this massive barrage.

Or, to put it another way: The diplomatic and public-relations benefit Israel derives from being able to defend itself from across a “border” and without having to get into an argument about settlements isn’t worth the price Israelis have had to pay in lives and terror.

Put simply, Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza yielded less security, greater diplomatic isolation, and a Palestinian regime even more radical and emboldened than it had been before. As strategic failures go, it was nearly perfect.

He also makes a recommendation about not accepting a ceasefire, citing Netanyahu’s analysis as opposition leader during Operation Cast Lead, but I don’t want to spoil the article, so check it out yourself.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/admitting-the-mistake-of-the-disengagement/2012/11/21/

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