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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Clinton’

Setting the Record Straight: Clinton Bears Partial Responsibility for ISIS

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

During Monday night’s presidential debate, Candidate Trump accused Secretary Clinton and President Obama of bearing the responsibility for the creation of the Caliphate, a.k.a. the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Trump charged: “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — […] they shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.” Trump suggested that ISIS “wouldn’t have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn’t have had them.”

Clinton responded: “I hope the fact-checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard.” She explained that “George W. Bush made the agreement about when American troops would leave Iraq, not Barack Obama. And the only way that American troops could have stayed in Iraq is to get an agreement from the then-Iraqi government that would have protected our troops, and the Iraqi government would not give that.”

Without taking sides, there is something to what Trump is saying. The fact checkers on Politico found his statement attributing the responsibility to Obama to be wrong, since, as they put it, “ISIS formed as Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2004, before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state and Barack Obama became president, and long before the US began drawing down troops in Iraq.” But the fact is that the core of both Al Qaeda in Iraq and its splinter group ISIS that became much bigger and better organized than the original franchise, were Sunni Baath Party members who lost their government and military positions once the Americans had occupied Iraq and handed the national rule to the Shiite majority.

As Reuters reported in 2015, the rising Islamic State, with the help of former Saddam Hussein military officers, out-muscled the Sunni-dominated Baath Party troops which had been fighting a guerilla war against US troops in Fallujah and elsewhere, and absorbed thousands of them. The new recruits joined Saddam-era officers who already held key posts in the Islamic State.

It’s safe to say that President GW Bush, by invading Iraq and then sending hundreds of thousands of Saddam loyalists to the unemployment lines instead of incorporating them into the new, semi-democratic Iraq, created ISIS. The creation of the Taliban and later Al Qaeda, by the way, can be largely attributed to President Reagan, whose CIA recruited and trained the Arab Mujahideen insurgent groups who fought against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Those same highly trained, largely Saudi troops were later galvanized into a disciplined and effective force in Bosnia, Somalia and Chechnya.

So the bulk of the blame rests with the second Bush administration, which altered the Middle East forever. Incidentally, despite the citation of a lone radio interview with shock jock Howard Stern, in which Trump made a noncommittal, off the cuff comment supporting the Iraq invasion, he clearly has been one of the earlier voices against the American presence in Iraq, while Senator Clinton with her vote actually handed President Bush the keys to start the war. She says she and fellow Democrats had been duped by Bush, who promised not to use the war powers they gave him, but some in the Senate (Sen. Obama, for one) did not fall for it.

But the most devastating point was made by Secretary Clinton when she said the Obama Administration had no choice but to pull out of Iraq, because the Shiite government, practically operating on instructions from Tehran, wouldn’t agree to let them stay. Seriously? Had President Obama actually insisted on staying he couldn’t have come up with ways to persuade the Iraqis?

The fact was Obama had promised his voters to pull the military out of Iraq by the appointed time. He did not begin the withdrawal of troops, GW Bush did, starting in 2007. But it must be noted that the last US troops left Iraq on 18 December 2011, just in time for the first Democratic primary in Iowa. They left behind a Sunni-owned Fallujah where only the US military had been able to maintain a semblance of law and order, with a combination of raids and bribes. As soon as the declared date for withdrawal had arrived, those same former Saddam loyalists who had been transformed several times over the previous decade, were ready for their current reincarnation as ISIS.

Many, including several US senators, most notably John McCain and Lindsey Graham, begged for a contingency of troops to stay, just in case things went south in Fallujah. They urged Obama to sell the idea, with a measure of force if necessary, to Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki. But as Iraq analyst Kirk Sowell told NPR in 2015, Obama never really tried. “This is one of the criticisms of Obama — that he sort of wanted the negotiations to fail,” Sowell said, “and, so, he didn’t even talk to Maliki until it was basically all over.”

To complete this fact check: the Obama-Clinton Administration did not start the complex and incredibly expensive process that led to the creation of ISIS, but there’s no doubt they could have stopped it with a comparatively low investment of troops and funds.

Advantage Trump.

JNi.Media

Trump Promising Netanyahu Jerusalem Embassy, Wants Advice on Building Fences

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

The Trump campaign press release following the meeting Sunday between Benjamin Netanyahu and the GOP presidential candidate stated that Trump told Netanyahu “a Trump administration would finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” The statement also said Trump “agreed that the military assistance provided to Israel and missile defense cooperation with Israel are an excellent investment for America,” and “there will be extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries,” should Trump be elected.

Trump emphasized that Israel is a “vital partner of the United States in the global war against radical Islamic terrorism.” According to the statement, the nuclear deal with Iran and ways to defeat ISIS were also discussed, as well as “Israel’s successful experience with a security fence that helped secure its borders.”

A short while before Sunday’s meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump, the GOP presidential candidate and indefatigable tweeter tweeted: “Looking forward to my meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu in Trump Tower at 10:00 AM.” The meeting lasted an hour and twenty minutes behind closed doors, and the two did not speak to the press before or after.

The Prime Minister’s office released a laconic statement saying, “Netanyahu presented to Trump Israel’s positions on regional issues related to its security and discussed with him Israel’s efforts to achieve peace and stability in our region.” The PM’s office also said that Netanyahu thanked Trump for his friendship and support for Israel. The meeting included Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and Trump’s son-in-law, Jewish businessman, investor and political operative Jared Kushner.

Netanyahu was scheduled to meet next with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who has already committed to inviting the Israeli PM to her White House as soon as she’s sworn in. Clinton is on the record as supporting the nuclear deal with Iran, but repeats her commitment to Israel’s security. In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV, Clinton said “Trump should worry every Israeli, regardless of his positions on Israel.”

The two meetings were arranged when a senior Netanyahu official told reporters after his meeting with President Obama that he hadn’t been approached by either candidate for a meeting while he’s in the US, but should they invite him he’d be delighted to accept. A day later the invite came from the Trump campaign, followed by one from Hillary.

Monday night the world will follow with bated breath the first presidential debate between the two candidates. Many Israelis have reported setting their alarm clocks (or apps) to wake them up at 4 AM Tuesday, to watch the Monday at 9 PM match.

David Israel

Report: US Jewish Donors Mostly Avoid Trump, Favor Clinton

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The website FiveThirtyEight, whose Editor in Chief Nate Silver is possibly the most trusted odds maker in North America, published a report Wednesday suggesting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is being abandoned by Jewish donors. To measure the relationship between Republicans and Jewish supporters, FiveThirtyEight took in data about campaign contributors, because there’s no other reliable way to measure Jewish voting, seeing as Jews make less than 2% of the US population, so that in a representative sample of 1,000 Americans, which is the accepted norm, you get about 20 people who say they are Jewish, and so pollster don’t really have enough to work with on Jewish voters, except for their donations. The AJC poll released last week claimed to offer reliable information on Jewish voter behavior, but one poll does not a reliable behavior reflect.

The FiveThirtyEight authors were hoping that Studying Jewish political contributors would offer a “useful signal,” because, while they may be an insignificant percentage of the population, Jews make up a much larger share of campaign contributors. So that if one discerned a significant swing in their donation behavior, one might assume the entire tribe is reacting in a similar fashion.

So they looked at every contribution of more than $200 to a federal candidate, in data provided by Catalist, a political data vendor which offers reasonably reliable estimates on whether a US voter is Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist or other. Jews are easier to verify this way, because they often have recognizable names and live in geographic clusters. Yes, Upper West Siders, we mean you, but we don’t mean you, former Senator William Cohen of Maine.

Now the results: in 2012, about 70% of Jewish money and Jewish votes (the total given was $160 million) went to President Obama. But in 2016, out of the $95 million given to presidential campaigns so far by Jewish donors, according to FiveThirtyEight, 84% went to Democrats, only 16% to Republicans, including all 16 losers in the primaries. Meanwhile, discounting the Jewish money donated to primary losers, 95% of all Jewish contributions went to Clinton.

But here is the result that’s the most devastating in terms of Jewish support for Trump: as a percentage of all contributors, Jews made up 18% of Obama’s donors and 7% of Romney’s donors in 2012. In 2016, 20% of Clinton’s donors are probably Jewish, only 3% of Trump’s donors have stood at Mount Sinai.

With such a dramatic shift in numbers, assuming they are reliable (having been following Nate Silver for a while, we believe they are), we can’t discount as “leftists” all the Jews who are sending their $200 donations to Clinton, because they probably aren’t. It’s safer to say that Donald Trump has yet to convince Jewish voters that they can trust him as leader of the free world. They barely trust Hillary, for that matter.

JNi.Media

Trump And Clinton Both Used The Word ‘Bombings’ – But Only One Of Them Was Excoriated For It

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was sharply critical of her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, for having described the Saturday explosions in New York City and New Jersey as “bombings” shortly after their occurrence.

Soon after his comments, Mrs. Clinton was asked by a reporter whether Mr. Trump had “jumped the gun” in labeling the explosion a bombing before investigators came up with more information. She said the reaction was emblematic of Mr. Trump’s rashness and lack of capacity for calm deliberation, which is why he is unsuited to be president of the United States. Mrs. Clinton’s remarks in this regard are disturbing, to say the least.

First, distinguishing between a “bomb” and other means setting off an explosion seems at best an irrelevant quibble. Especially in light of the significance that there was a confirmed bombing detonated hours earlier that day in Seaside Park, N.J., why would someone who is seeking to be the leader of the free world obsess on a fine verbal distinction? Indeed, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “bomb” as “a device that is designed to explode in order to injure or kill people or to damage or destroy property.” So one could rightly wonder what information Mr. Trump was missing when he spoke.

But there is something more unsettling. It seems that Mrs. Clinton referred to the episodes as “bombings” moments before Mr. Trump did. Thus, not only did she dissemble but she was aided and abetted by a CNN reporter who edited out her use of the “bomb” term.

This is part of what Mrs. Clinton told several reporters on Saturday night:

Mrs. Clinton: I’ve been briefed about the bombings in New York and New Jersey, and the attack in Minnesota. Obviously, we need to do everything we can to support our first responders, also pray for the victims. We have to let this investigation unfold. We’ve been in touch with various officials, including the mayor’s office in New York, to learn what they are discovering as they conduct this investigation. And I’ll have more to say about it when we actually know the facts.Reporter: Secretary Clinton, do you have any reaction to the fact that Donald Trump, immediately upon taking the stage tonight, called the explosion in New York a “bomb”…?

Mrs. Clinton: Well I think it’s important to know the facts about any incident like this. That’s why it’s critical to support the first responders, the investigators who are looking into it, trying to determine what did happen. I think it’s always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened.

Yet CNN’s Jake Tapper said this in an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:

[Mr. Trump] is being criticized for talking about the New York bomb before local officials or law enforcement had a chance to do so. He told the Colorado Springs crowd that “a bomb went off in New York, and nobody knows exactly what’s going on” – that’s really just a few minutes after the incident. And his opponent tried to draw a contrast. She waited hours later, until local officials spoke and then she said this:Clinton (clip): I think it’s important to know the facts about any incident like this. I think it’s always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions.

Incredibly, Mr. Tapper, in his attempt to draw a distinction between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton on the issue, failed to include Mrs. Clinton’s use of the term “bombings.” And Mr. Tapper’s edited version of Mrs. Clinton’s comments got the most play in the media.

This episode says a lot about how far Mrs. Clinton is willing to go to make political points and how far some in the media are willing to go to assist her.

Editorial Board

Bill Clinton Inquired about Shimon Peres’ Condition

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Former US President Bill Clinton called on Tuesday to inquire about the health of former Israeli President Shimon Peres. Peres is at Sheba Medical Center, where he remains in serious but stable condition as of Wednesday morning, having suffered a severe stroke Tuesday night, according to Sheba Director Yitzhak Kreiss.

President Clinton was paid $500,000 to speak at Shimon Peres’ birthday celebration in Israel on June 17, 2013. The fee was paid by the Jewish National Fund, which Ha’aretz at the time wrote was a “cause for embarrassment.”

At the 90th birthday celebration, Clinton said, “It was my great honor to be here when President Peres celebrated his 80th birth day, I am now here at his 90th birthday. He is clearly the world’s greatest visionary, one of the reasons he lived this long is he always thinks of the future not the past, he is always thinking about tomorrow. Just tonight he promised me that he would attend my 80th birthday, that he would attend my 90th birthday, that he would speak at my funeral.”

“The rest of you are here celebrating his infinite wisdom, I came to get his diet,” Clinton quipped.

David Israel

Netanyahu Representative in DC to Negotiate $38 Billion Aid Deal

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Brigadier General Yaakov Nagel, Israel’s acting National Security Council, arrived in Washington DC on Tuesday to meet with President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice, in preparations for signing a new US military aid package. The new US aid deal, which the two governments have been negotiating since November 2015, awards Israel $38 billion over 10 years.

Nagel met with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to work out the final details before leaving for Washington — including the text of the official announcements. The new aid package is expected to average $3.8 billion a year, a considerable cut from Netanyahu’s initial request for $4.5 billion. The deal is also contingent on Israel agreeing not to approach Congress for additional funds, as in the case of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which Congress has been paying for outside the annual aid package. Now an estimated $5 billion out of the package will be spent over 10 years on missile defense development.

In other words, the new aid package is only adding $300 million to the previous amount. To remind you, the sum of $3 billion annually was set during the Camp David peace negotiations with Egypt, as compensation to Israel for giving up the Sinai peninsula as a military asset. That amount has never been raised in close to 40 years, even though the current value of that annual package would have been $10.48 billion.

The critical disagreement between the two sides over the current deal has been whether or not Israel could continue to invest a percentage of the aid package in Israeli made military products. The Obama Administration wanted the entire amount to stay in US corporations, which would have been devastating to Israeli manufacturers and to the IDF. A short episode during the 2014 Gaza War, in which the Obama Administration stopped shipping to Israel all defense items, including Hellfire missiles, served as a memorable lesson to the Israeli security apparatus about the need to increase its self-reliance.

The new deal ended up adding six years in which Israel can continue to spend as much as 26% of the US aid money on Israeli made products, as well as another 13% for fuel purchases. By the seventh year, or halfway into Clinton’s or Trump’s second term, the Israeli military industrial complex would have to quit US aid cold turkey — Unless Netanyahu or his successor is able to renegotiate that part — depending on who is in the White House and who controls Congress at the time.

David Israel

Dennis Ross: If Elected, Clinton Should Seek MORE Israeli Concessions

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

If Hillary Clinton is elected U.S. president, she should launch a behind the scenes initiative to bring about changes in Israel’s policies, according to former Clinton adviser and U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross.

Ross’s remarks came during a panel discussion at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service on Thursday.

Ross said that “even though negotiations with the Palestinian Authority won’t work now,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should take steps of his own. “He should, at a minimum, announce an official policy that there will be no further Israeli construction east of the security barrier,” Ross said.

Numerous Israeli settlements would be affected by such a policy, including the communities in the Jordan Valley. Ross said such unilateral concessions would be consistent with “the traditional Zionist way of shaping your own destiny.”

The public disputes between Israel and the Obama administration were counter-productive, the former peace process negotiator said. “So if the more traditional of the two presidential candidates is elected, she should not undertake a big public initiative, but instead there should be some effort behind the scenes,” he added.

Ross charged that Netanyahu “does not want to make the difficult choice between his domestic interests and what the international community expects.” But, he emphasized, Netanyahu’s past concessions to the Palestinian Authority indicated that “if you could create the circumstances that would force him to make that historic choice, I think he would.” Twice the former ambassador said the Israelis need to realize if they want peace, “they can’t get it on the cheap.”

Ross sparked a moment of controversy when he said that President Obama “considers himself a genuine friend of Israel–the kind of friend who doesn’t let his friend drive drunk.”

Ross’s apparent agreement with the comparison of Netanyahu to a drunk driver provoked a strong response from fellow panelist Elliot Abrams, a former assistant secretary of state and former President George W. Bush’s former deputy national security adviser.

Abrams said senior White House aides traditionally step in to help patch relations when the president does not get along with a foreign leader. With Netanyahu, “the White House staff has made things worse,” he asserted.

Abrams singled out National Security Adviser Susan Rice as harming relations between the U.S. and Israel. He also pointed out that the unnamed White House official, who last year used an obscenity to characterize Netanyahu, “did it deliberately, for publication, and yet was never punished for that ugly remark.” Abrams added, “If the president and his national security adviser wanted such talk to stop, it would have.”

Ross responded that “things like that didn’t happen under Tom Donilon, with whom I worked.” Donilon, Rice’s predecessor, served from October 2010 to June 2013. Several audience members pointed out afterwards there were a number of unpleasant incidents during Donilon’s time, including Obama’s open mic moment when he complained that he “has to deal with [Netanyahu] every day,” and Hillary Clinton’s assertion, at the 2012 Saban Forum, that Israel has a “lack of empathy” for “the pain of an oppressed people.”

Ross also seemed to blame Netanyahu for some of the problems enforcing the terms of the Iranian nuclear agreement. “Instead of holding Iran’s feet to the fire, [the administration] just comes up with excuses for Iran’s actions,” he said. “More could have been accomplished if Netanyahu had pressed for the creation of a Joint Implementation Committee, as I proposed.”

Israeli historian Benny Morris and former Haaretz correspondent Natasha Mozgovaya also took part in the panel, which was moderated by Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University professor of government and international affairs.

 

Dr. Rafael Medoff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dennis-ross-if-elected-clinton-should-seek-more-israeli-concessions/2016/09/13/

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