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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Schumer’

Despite Veto Threat and Heavy Pressure, Schumer Supports Sanctions Bill

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The Democratic senior senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, remains on track with the new bi-partisan Iran sanctions bill despite intense lobbying by the White House and the threat of a presidential veto.

The new sanctions bill is called the “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.”  It  is co-sponsored by Schumer, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, and was introduced on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Under this bill, new sanctions would not be imposed until after the six-month negotiations window between the U.S. and Iran passes, or if Iran breaches the interim deal.

But Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told Time magazine earlier this month that any new sanctions, even ones that take effect after the interim agreement expires, would kill any chance of a more comprehensive deal.

At Thursday’s press briefing, the president’s spokesperson Jay Carney said he saw no need for this sanctions bill and assured everyone that if it becomes law the president will veto it.

“We made it very clear to the Senate that it is not the time for new Iran sanctions. We don’t think it will be or should be enacted,” Carney told reporters.

Schumer said he discussed the sanctions issue with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough Thursday, according to BuzzFeed. The New York senior senator downplayed the idea of bad feelings over the matter between the White House and him, saying he supports the idea of negotiating an interim agreement with Iran, “but I don’t think the reduction of sanctions made much sense.”

“Basically, it’s a judgement call. We have a disagreement with them,” Schumer said. “Many of us believe that by ratcheting up sanctions, not by reducing sanctions, is the best way to produce peace and get Iran to forego a nuclear weapon.”

The bill has 26 co-sponsors. Co-sponsors from the Democratic party include senators Ben Cardin (Md), Bob Casey (PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).

 

PA Official: We Reject US Safeguards for Israel in Peace Plan

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

For days the mainstream media has been filled with headlines condemning Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his intransigence in thwarting U.S. efforts towards a Middle East peace accord and for trying to torpedo the West’s appeasement deal with Iran.

You could wall paper an entire house with the articles criticizing Netanyahu for “damaging the relationship” with the U.S.  Why, even former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert joined the croaking chorus with this gem: “We’ve [Israel] declared war on the U.S. government. You can’t deny this.”

But on Thursday, Dec. 5, it was the Palestinian Arabs who slammed the door in U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s face.

The Palestinian Authority rejected Kerry’s ideas for security arrangements under a possible future peace accord with Israel, a PA official said, according to Reuters.

“The Palestinian side rejected them because they would only lead to prolonging and maintaining the occupation,” according to the official, who refused to allow his name to be used.

Those security arrangements were the ace in the hole the U.S. was counting on to lure the Israelis into accepting a peace plan.

General John Allen, the U.S. envoy to the peace process, discussed with Netanyahu the issue of possible security arrangements to assuage Israel’s fears for any final status agreement that would leave the Jewish state vulnerable.

Of primary concern is the ability of Israel to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley and to have some control over airspace that could leave Israel vulnerable. A video of an American air security expert addressing the need for Israel to maintain such airspace control is at the end of this article.

The time may come when the United States and other countries will realize that any arrangement which provides adequate security to Israel will be rejected by the negotiators representing the Palestinian Arab leadership.

The so-called “Middle East peace talks” was one of two issues Kerry is expected to discuss with the leaders of the Israeli and the Palestinian Arab people.  The other issue is the recent agreement which the U.S., along with its P5+1 partners, allegedly reached with the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

That agreement has been widely criticized as a huge boon for Iran and a destabilizing force in the Middle East by most Israeli security experts as well as even some of President Obama’s most stalwart defenders, such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School.

Panicky Obama Recruiting Olmert to Slam Bibi

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

How can you tell when the White House is in a panic? When they recruit a disgraced has-been Israeli politician to go after Netanyahu’s Iran message. It means they were unable to get President Shimon Peres to carry that bucket of water for them, which says a lot.

After revelations that the U.S. has been misleading two of its most loyal friends in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia, and conducting secret talks with Iran even before the latter picked “moderate” Hassan Rouhani – it’s not easy to find A-list Israelis to make fun of Bibi’s “hysteria.”

So Olmert agreed to do the deed, and told a conference of security experts on Sunday that Netanyahu’s public criticism of the American nuclear deal with Iran was provocative and counterproductive.

Netanyahu, you’ll recall, said the deal with Iran was an “historic mistake” and Israel is not bound by it.

This means that no matter how much good will Rouhani is getting from Obama and the EU gang – Israel could up and bomb the plants overnight, any night. And, considering the Saudis’ mood about Obama these days – the IAF could fly through Saudi airspace unmolested. Why, the royal band would be playing Hatikva as the Israelis fly above (you don’t want them to play the Saudi anthem, because it could interfere with the mission).

Olmert said he, too, had disagreements with Obama, but always made sure to voice them in private.

Bibi’s response was that in contrast to “others,” when it came to the security of Israeli citizens “I will not be silent.”

Why should the White House be in a panic? Because of the bipartisan action taking place in both houses of Congress – something which has been rare, indeed, these past few years. As always, only the Jews could get the Democrats and Republicans together, or, if you will, only a clear betrayal of an old friend by the president could do it.

Anonymous senior officials in the Obama administration have been making a point of saying that Netanyahu’s efforts to appeal to Congress won’t be effective and Netanyhau can be “managed”, saying that Netanyahu is “weak and desperate”, that Netanyahu lacks self-confidence, and and the the White House isn’t excited by Netanyahu’s opposition, according to a report on Israeli TV. The official made sure to add that they aren’t naive.

The anonymous senior official doth protest too much, methinks.

According to Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations writing for Politico, the Iran accord, freezing but not eliminating Iran’s nuclear program over the next six months, is proving “contentious,” as congressional critics are highlighting its problems. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), for instance, urged that the agreement be met “with healthy skepticism,” and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the sanctions relief vs. Iranian concessions “does not seem proportional.”

Takeyh reminds readers that all the Iran sanctions bills to date have passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities.

“Liberals and conservatives have come together to punish the Islamic Republic for its nuclear transgressions and sponsorship of terrorism. During the past three decades, while many countries have been enticed by Iranian commerce, Congress has distinguished itself by persistently holding Tehran responsible for its human rights abuses.”

And Takeyh insists this should not be attributed to pressure from AIPAC etc., since “American legislatures are perfectly capable of being offended by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s penal colony without such advocacy.”

Of course, the Iranians are not helping. President Obama wakes up every morning to discover new quotes from Iranian officials being candid about the interim deal. Last week, Hossein Shariatmadari, the voice of the Supreme Leader, according to the Washington Post, bragged to the Wall Street Journal that “if the right to enrich is accepted, which it has been, then everything that we have wanted has been realized.”

Wouldn’t you panic reading this quote? The Iranians are spilling so many beans, somebody is bound to trip and break something…

According to the Hill, the sanctions effort is led by Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who co-authored the Iran sanctions legislation that sailed through the Senate 100-0 two years ago (see: Senate Foreign Relations Chair (D) Attacks Obama ‘Fear Mongering’). And Senators Schumer and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are pushing for new sanctions, too.

It appears that the new legislation will take into consideration the general support of the American public for any deal that doesn’t require starting yet another war. What they’ll do is push for verification of Iran’s compliance. It will focus on getting Iran to dismantle its nuclear program, which the current six-month deal does not do.

Meanwhile, it appears Ehud Olmert, once Israel’s political fixer, has been reduced to doing Obama’s bidding. It’s a good job, but with an obvious sunset date: 2016. Until then, send all water carrying assignments to Yossi Olmert’s older brother.

Top Senators Pledge Sanctions Legislation after Thanksgiving

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

U.S. Senate leaders pledged to revisit intensified Iran sanctions after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The Senate must be prepared to move forward with a new bipartisan Iran sanctions bill when the Senate returns after Thanksgiving recess. And I am committed to do so,” Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, told The Hill, a Capitol Hill daily, on Thursday. “I believe we must do everything possible to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons capability.”

Separately on Thursday, a bipartisan slate of 14 senators issued a statement saying they would work to reconcile a number of sanctions bills circulating “over the coming weeks.”

“A nuclear weapons capable Iran presents a grave threat to the national security interest of the United States and its allies and we are committed to preventing Iran from acquiring this capability,” said the statement signed by, among others, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a leader in advancing sanctions, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the body’s third-ranked Democrat.

The Obama administration is opposed to intensifying sanctions while negotiations with Iran are underway to stop its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions. Israel’s government and a number of lawmakers favor adding new sanctions as leverage in the talks.

However, the latest statements from senators are not inconsistent with the White House strategy; while the Obama administration has pressed the Senate not to pass new sanctions for now, it has encouraged Congress to make clear such an option is still on the table.

The third round of these talks are taking place now in Geneva.

The $13 M Runoff for a $2.1 M NYC Political Office: Tish James Wins

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

In the September 10th Democratic primary for New York City Public Advocate, none of the five candidates received 40 percent or more of the vote. For that reason, on Tuesday, October 1, there was a runoff election for the position, which has a total budget of only $2.1 million. The cost of the runoff election? Thirteen million dollars.

The winner, Letitia James, is currently a NYC Council member. In the past, James was a public defender with the Legal Aid Society, an assistant New York State Attorney General, and the chief of staff in the New York State Assembly. James was heavily supported by labor unions, women’ groups and Muslim organizations.

James’s opponent, Daniel Squadron, is a Yale graduate, a NY state senator and a former aide to New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Squadron enjoyed Schumer’s endorsement, as well as that of two former NYC Public Advocates, Mark Green and Betsy Gotbaum. Squadron also won the endorsements of the major NYC newspapers.

Other than the fact that Squadron is a white male and James is a black female, there is not much difference between the two candidates, at least politically. Both are liberal Democrats. And in fact, the position is one well-suited to liberal Democrats. The City’s Public Advocate is expected to be the government voice for consumers.

James is not only a member of, and runs on the ticket of, the Democratic Party. She has also long been a member of a community organizing party known as the Working Families Party, which is made up of civil rights leaders, community advocates and tenant organizers.

The winner of Tuesday’s runoff will move on to the general election on November 5th as the Democratic Party nominee. However, given that there is no Republican candidate in the race, James is sure to become the next Public Advocate.

Although the position is not a well-known one, as far as the NYC Charter, it comes in as most important after the mayor. And the Democratic contender for mayor this year, Bill de Blasio, is the current NYC Public Advocate.

Given that the runoff election cost the City of New York nearly seven times the entire budget of the office of Public Advocate, maybe the first thing James should do is abolish the forty percent threshold which mandates a runoff – no matter how small the office.

JStreet’s Hagel ‘Victory’ is on American Jewry

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

The Jerusalem Post reports today that JStreet, the only lobby dedicated to opposing and putting pressure on Israel, is claiming Hagel’s confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Defense a “victory.”

That’s funny, because JStreet is probably one of the Jewish organizations whose stance mattered least of all, and Hagel is a Secretary of Defense who’s approval was filibustered and who received the most nay votes in all of American history. If this is a show of JStreet power, then those of us who are actually pro-Israel have something to be thankful for.

And what was the battle that was won? JStreet lobbied for the President’s policy. Opposing the president in foreign policy is always an uphill battle. It doesn’t take an Israel lobby to get the president’s nomination through, especially when his party controls the Senate. (Though I admit, it’s useful to have Jews telling Americans to override their natural moral perspective on Israel-related issues).

But there is a victory in there somewhere – perhaps for clarity.

JStreet supported the president in his Israel policy, just as most of American Jewry has done since the days of FDR, when the American government did nothing to save millions of Jews, took part in an informal global conspiracy not to grant fleeing Jews refuge, and by acquiescing in British requests not to do anything which would force the British to let Jews into Palestine.

Jews like then ZOA president Stephen Wise did their best to defend Roosevelt against the “extremists.” Today those extremists include, ironically, the Zionist Organization of America, as well as the neoconservative Emergency Committee for Israel. Even more ironically, those whom the respectable Jews tried to silence were the Jabotinskyite Hillel Kook & Co., a group which included Irgun commander Yitzchak Ben Ami, the father of JStreet head Jeremy Ben Ami.

Take U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s support for Hagel. A word from Schumer, a senior Democratic senator, could have forced Obama to withdraw Hagel’s nomination. A word from AIPAC, which remained silent, could have forced Schumer to oppose the nomination or at least not publicly announce that all of his fears had been calmed in a short meeting with Hagel. AIPAC was silent because they need to work with the government – the classic Diaspora Jewish explanation for going along with anti-Zionist policies. Schumer put up no opposition – who knows why? Because he too wanted the President’s support for something? Because of party loyalty? Because he was duped with assurances that from now on Obama would leave Israel alone.

What should be clear now is that while JStreet may be a minor group, it is only doing what most American Jewish leaders already agree to, putting the president’s policy ahead of what common sense and Israel’s obvious interests dictate. American Jews support Democratic presidents. American Jews support Palestinian statehood. American Jews support all other sorts of Israeli concessions because they would rather have the moral high ground than the actual high ground. American Jews criticize Israel to show they are fair observers.

So congratulations, JStreet, you won before you even started! Perhaps you can save your breath, energy and George Soros’ and God knows who else’s money and go home.

Sandy-Battered Rockaways Residents Boo Schumer and Bloomberg

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Hecklers in the Rockaways, battered by Superstorm Sandy, booed Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Chuck Schumer at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Sunday.

“For the politicians to come down here and try to take our celebration and make it their thing . . . it’s disgusting,” one resident told the New York Post.

“Let’s hear it for the Rockaways,” said Schumer, who was met with a response of, “Send money, pal. Send money! Talk is cheap!”

Schumer Cites Hagel’s Tears, but Smears Jewish Conservatives

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

As evidence continues to mount about why former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is so high on the dance card of Iranian regime supporters and so low on the dance card of most pro-Israel supporters, the politicians supporting Hagel have begun to sound desperate.

New York’s senior senator, Chuck Schumer, may have just relocated this debate from the staid halls of congress and plopped it directly onto the high school dramatics level of bathos.

Schumer, who initially attracted attention when he publicly stated he was not sure about the Hagel nomination, then had an intimate tête á tête (multiply the last digit by many orders of magnitude) with Hagel in the White House.

It was during that bull session that the former Nebraska senator – perhaps with some assistance from others present – apparently convinced Schumer that Hagel was the right man to head the department of defense.

In the weeks since Hagel received Schumer’s hecksher, instead of soaring, Hagel’s star faltered as it grew ever more tarnished, with multiple revelations of anti-Israel and anti-American slurs.

But Hagel’s poor performance at his confirmation hearing was sufficient to convince enough congressional members to block the nomination’s movement to the full senate for a vote there.

There was concern in particular about documents that had not been turned over addressing compensation from potential worrisome sources.  In addition, some were uncomfortable with Hagel’s inability to field questions put to him during the vetting process. And then there were the questions of where the former senator stood with respect to various players in the Middle East, based on earlier comments and votes.

Now, while the senate is on a brief hiatus, revelations continue.

And just to show how low Hagel’s star has fallen, we learned that Wednesday morning, while Schumer was giving a talk to some business groups in Manhattan, he shared with them some of the details about the famous conversation he had with Hagel, the one that moved him onto the pro-Hagel for secretary of defense team.  Those details were not discussed previously, as they had been described as confidential.

What did Schumer learn? He learned that deep down, Hagel is an uber sensitive guy.  All Schumer had to do was explain why it was so hateful to Jews for Hagel to refer to them as the “Jewish lobby,” to share the pain of the double standard Jews have had to endure, and Hagel was cured!

According to Schumer, the scales fell from Hagel’s eyes.  And Hagel repented.  He felt their pain.  How do we know that?

We know that because Schumer brought his Wednesday morning audience into that intimate space with him, and told those listening what he felt.  “And he really, you know, he almost had tears in his eyes when he understood. So I believe he will be good.”

Schumer provided inaccurate information about other matters Wednesday morning.  He said that “there is not a major Jewish organization against Hagel.”

That’s not true.

The Zionist Organization of America and the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) have been on record opposing the nomination of Chuck Hagel since President Obama first named him as his choice for secretary of Defense.

The centrist American Jewish Committee has been at least softly opposed to Hagel’s nomination even before the nod was officially given by the president.  Back in December, the AJC’s president, David Harris said, “what message would it send to have a Pentagon chief who has very different views on strategies for dealing with Iran, the central foreign policy challenge of our time, than the White House has had to date? Or questions the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group at the same time the Administration is urging the European Union to add the group to its terrorism list?”

And the politically centrist, Democratic Party-leaning Anti-Defamation League joined the AJC in strongly questioning the nomination after information about some of Hagel’s comments, in particular that he was recorded as saying that the “U.S. State Department is an adjunct of the Israeli Foreign Ministry,” at a speech at Rutgers University in 2007.

AIPAC NOT TAKE POSITIONS ON NOMINATIONS
Much has been made of the lack of opposition by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, but AIPAC never takes a position on a political nomination.  The absence of one in this situation should give no comfort to Hagel supporters, or signal anything else to those who have questions and are looking to organizational leadership for direction.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/schumer-cites-hagels-tears-but-smears-conservative-jews/2013/02/21/

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