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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Clinton’

US: Russia Shipping Attack Choppers to Syria

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton charged Russia with delivering attack helicopters to Syria.

“We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria,” Clinton said Tuesday at an appearance with Israeli President Shimon Peres. “We are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria.”

Clinton suggested that Russia was showing bad faith in the international effort to oust the Bashar Assad regime in the 15th month of its crackdown on opponents by claiming that its arms transfers were not used in the crackdown.

“That is patently untrue,” she said. Syria has used helicopter gunships in attacks on civilians, according to reports.

Israel is furious at the arms transfers; its leaders are concerned that the Assad regime may attempt to draw Israel into a conflict as a distraction.

“What happens in Syria matters greatly to the U.S., but matters drastically to Israel,” Clinton said.

She said the United States would give until mid-July to see results from an effort led by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to achieve a peaceful transition, adding that she had made clear to Annan that Iran could not be involved.

Peres, in remarks at a lunch hosted by the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center, said the Arab League should take the lead in assuming responsibility for the Syrian transition.

Clinton gave the Russians higher marks for their role among the major powers seeking greater nuclear transparency in Iran.

Moscow is due to host the next round of talks with Iran on June 18-19, and Clinton suggested that the Russians share the Western perception that the Iranians are stalling.

“The Russians have made it clear they want the Iranians to advance the discussion in Moscow, not just to come, listen and leave,” she said.

Yoram Ettinger: Jerusalem – American people vs. White House

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Jerusalem has been one of the most dramatic issues of discord between the will of the American people and Congress on the one hand, and State Department-driven presidential policy on the other hand.

In contrast to most Americans and their state and federal representatives, who cherish Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of the Jewish state, all U.S. presidents have embraced Foggy Bottom’s denial of Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital, or even as part of Israel. Moreover, the U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy has disavowed the 1947 non-binding U.N. General Assembly Partition Plan, but for one segment — Jerusalem, which the U.N. designated as an international city.

Israel is the only country in the world whose (3,000 year old) capital is not recognized by the State Department and by the presidents of the U.S. However, the American people consider Israel to be the second most trusted and dependable ally of the U.S. (after Britain), and 71% support (and 9% oppose) Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.

President Barack Obama has gone further than any U.S. president in implementing the Jerusalem policy of denial. He is pressing for an unprecedented construction freeze in Jerusalem beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, and is trying to eliminate any reference to “Jerusalem, Israel” in present and past official documents and communications.

On the other hand, Jerusalem has earned the affection of the American people since the arrival of the pilgrims in the 17th century, who viewed the U.S. as “the modern day Promised Land,” establishing many towns with biblical names, including Jerusalem. There are now at least 18 U.S. towns called Jerusalem and 32 called Salem, the initial, biblical name of Jerusalem (Shalem), meaning wholesomeness, divine, and peace.

While the American affinity with Jerusalem has cemented the unique covenant between the U.S. and the Jewish state, the State Department never viewed Jerusalem as part of the Jewish state. In 1949, President Harry S. Truman followed Secretary of State George Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing any part of Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, inspired by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, opposed the relocation of Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and prohibited official meetings in Jerusalem. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson adopted the Jerusalem policy of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who opposed Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence. Johnson highlighted the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the unification of, and construction in eastern, Jerusalem. In 1970, President Richard Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State William P. Rogers in attempting to repartition Jerusalem and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.

However, the presidential pressure was short-lived and ineffective due to the defiant Israeli response, which benefited from overwhelming congressional and public support of Jerusalem as the eternal, indivisible capital of the Jewish people.

In 1995, Congress decided to implement the will of the people, passing overwhelmingly (93-5 in the Senate and 374-37 in the House) the Jerusalem Embassy Act. It stipulated the recognition of unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, a presidential national security waiver, which was introduced into the bill by Senator Bob Dole with the support of Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin, has enabled Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama to avoid implementation.

In 1999, 84 senators realized that the national security waiver was misused by the White House, and that kow-towing to Arab pressure radicalized Arab expectations and belligerence. They attempted to leverage the co-determining and co-equal power of the legislature and to eliminate the waiver provision. But, they were blocked by Clinton and by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

In 2012, the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties should heed the historical will of Americans, synchronizing the White House and the State Department with the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s indivisible capital. Still, the success of such an initiative requires Israeli leaders to resurrect the steadfastness and defiance which characterized Israeli prime ministers from David Ben-Gurion (1948) through Itzhak Shamir (1992).

Originally published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1946

North Carolina Bans Gay Marriage

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, eliminating the possibility of same-sex marriages in the state.

Unofficial returns showed voters passing the amendment with 61 percent of the vote, making North Carolina the 30th state to adopt a ban on gay marriage.

Campaigning against the amendment included a recorded phone message by former President Bill Clinton, who urged voters to oppose the amendment.

Campaign spokesman for President Barak Obama called the ban “divisive and discriminatory”.

Clinton: Security Council, Germany, to Meet Iran in Istanbul April 13

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Iran and the group of five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have agreed to meet in Istanbul on April 13 for the latest round of nuclear talks.

Secretary Clinton made the announcement at a news conference Saturday following a security conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Iran and the six major powers met in Istanbul 14 months ago.

Clinton also urged Persian Gulf Arab states to develop a coordinated defense strategy against Iranian missiles, in collaboration with the US military.

Obama, Clinton, Abbas, Comparing Notes on Eve of Quartet Meet

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina has told AFP that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton phoned President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, ahead of a meeting of the international Quartet scheduled for next month.

Clinton’s call to Abbas was to follow up on discussions between Abbas and Obama a day earlier, the official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa reported Wednesday.

According to the report, Clinton said a group of US officials are slated to arrive at the region soon. Abbas told Obama on Monday that he would return to negotiations if Israel committed to the demands of the Quartet (e.g. settlement freeze).

Obama’s call to Abbas was their first conversation since their meeting in New York when the US vetoed Abbas’ bid for Palestinian statehood at the UN. This time around, Obama wished to reassure the PA President that the US was committed to Middle East peace, a PLO official told Wafa.

Saeb Erekat told the PA’s official radio station that Abbas told Obama the Palestinians would return to talks if Israel submitted its proposal on borders and security,

After talks ended in January without agreement, Abbas is preparing to send a letter to Israel and the international community outlining the basis for a Palestinian state and reiterating demands that Israel stop settlement building.

Erekat said Abbas briefed Obama on the letter, which will outline his position that Israel is responsible for the failure of the peace process.

Ha’aretz reported on Tuesday that Obama urged Abbas not to include a threat to dismantle the Palestinian Authority in his communiqué.

The Palestinian news agency Ma’an reports that Abbas also discussed the deal reached with Hamas in Doha last month to establish an interim government to oversee new elections. The agreement has since stalled amid criticism from Hamas’ Gaza-based leadership.

Clinton, Panetta, Push Back Republican Criticism on Israel

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

The AP reports this morning that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are rejecting Republican criticism of President Barack Obama’s policy on Israel.

The two senior Administration officials say the attacks, fueled by the 2012 elections, ignore the strong cooperative relationship and the record billions of dollars in U.S. aid for the Jewish State.

The two appeared separately on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Clinton highlighted Obama’s budget for next year, which calls for $3.1 billion in military assistance for Israel, a slight increase over the current level and the most for any foreign country. Panetta said U.S. support for Israel is unshakeable.

But if the overall US support for Israel continues to hover around $3 billion, let’s not forget that, though very large, it is the same amount promised at the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1978 – not adjusted for 34 years of inflation. The real figure should have been just under $10 billion ($9,913,218,705 to be exact). It was awarded to Israel back then in exchange for giving back the Sinai, to cover one-time as well as on-going costs born by the major restructuring of its military operations.

If not for the $3 billion going to Israel and $2 billion to Egypt, there would have been no Camp David accords. Indeed, the Muslim Brothers have threatened to revoke the accords should the US halt its aid to Egypt.

Also — the military aid money is being spent in the US, on purchases from American companies, a hidden government jobs program, if you will. Opting not to reduce it, at this point, is the same as opting not to commit political suicide — regardless of who sits in the White House.

Clinton noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called the bilateral security cooperation between the two countries unprecedented.

All of this is taking place just before Netanyahu’s visit to Washington next week and his scheduled meetings with Obama and congressional leaders.

The AP story points out that Republicans see a political opening in the disagreements between Washington and Jerusalem over two major issues: Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria and their influence on the peace talks with the Palestinians, and the Obama administration’s pressure on Israel to hold off on a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program.

A House Budget Committee pressed Panetta on why the administration budget requests for Israel’s missile defense program to help protect Israel from short-range ballistic missiles and rockets that might be fired from Gaza or from Lebanese Hezbollah territory or for longer-range missiles from Iran or Syria had declined.

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. wanted to know “what justification, given what we see out of the nation of Iran, can you give?”

Panetta struggled to show the panel that the Administration has significantly increased, rather than decreased the funding, “It’s now $650 million, which more than doubles what was the level in the prior administration of about $320 million.”

But the bulk of Republican accusations has not been so much about foreign aid to Israel, but about military support in a strike against Iran.

AP reports that Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., asked Panetta why the administration “doesn’t give complete support to Israel and say, you know, if Iran continues with its program, we will do whatever is necessary to stop that program and give Israel the support that I think they need.”

Not highly articulate, perhaps, but quite astute. The support Israel really needs should come in the form of American air power that would make possible a multi-pronged attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel, according to recent expert views, can only consummate a single such attack, while the US can get the job done.

When Netanyahu arrives in Washington, he will surely be pushing this point both with the President and on the Hill.

 

Lieberman Scaled Political Heights, But Wants Shabbat To Be His Legacy

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

WASHINGTON – Call Joe Lieberman the unlikely evangelist. The Independent senator from Connecticut – and the best-known Orthodox Jew in American politics – is probably more cognizant than most of his Jewish congressional colleagues about rabbinical interdictions against encouraging non-Jews to mimic Jewish ritual.

Yet here he is, about to release a book advising Christians and others not to drive to church, to welcome their Sabbath in the evening, to cut off the wired world and to enjoy your significant other.

Meeting with Lieberman in his Senate offices last week, before the Aug. 16 release date of his new book, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath, he laughed at the term evangelical. But he also embraced it.

“In a way it is” evangelical, he said.

Not that he wanted to convert anyone, Lieberman emphasized. 

“This gift, I wanted not only to share with Jews who are not experiencing it, who haven’t accepted it, but also in some measure to appeal to Christians to come back to their observance of their Sabbath on Sundays,” he said.

Lieberman does so in a surprisingly engaging read – surprisingly because books by politicians fronted by photos where they pose in studied, open-collared casualness are usually a recipe for a surfeit of encomiums packed with feel-goodness but bereft of intellectual nourishment.

Instead, melding an unlikely array of tales ranging from 16th-century Safed to tension-soaked Republican and Democratic back rooms, Lieberman makes the case for a structured day of rest that offers freedom within iron walls. 

The book also provides a glimpse into how religion shaped this most adamant of congressional centrists, whose stubborn hewing to his beliefs brought him within shouting distance of the vice presidency before propelling him toward the end of his political career (Lieberman will not seek reelection in 2012).

One potent example of Lieberman’s championing of freedom through restrictions is how the dictates of the holy day liberate him from his BlackBerry.

“Six days a week, I’m never without this little piece of plastic, chips and wires that miraculously connect me to the rest of the world and that I hope makes me more efficient, but clearly consumes a lot of my time and attention,” he writes. “If there were no Sabbath law to keep me from sending and receiving email all day as I normally do, do you think I would be able to resist the temptation on the Sabbath? Not a chance. Laws have this way of setting us free.”

As it turns out, this has been a book Lieberman has been considering for a while. He says the seeds of it reach as far back as his first run for state senator in 1970, when his Sabbath observance first created logistical problems for his campaign staff.

It emerged full force when Al Gore named him as his running mate in 2000. In Lacrosse, Wis., on a Saturday after the announcement, he found people coming out of their homes to greet him and wish him well as he walked to the local synagogue.

Conversations with Christians and their curiosity about his observance crystallized the idea for the book, he said.

“This is something I thought about doing for a long time,” Lieberman said, “because the Sabbath has meant so much for me. It’s really been a foundation for my life.”

The book is published by Simon & Schuster’s Howard imprint in conjunction with OU Press. Lieberman co-wrote it with David Klinghoffer, a politically conservative (and Orthodox Jewish) columnist and author, in consultation with Rabbi Menachem Genack, who runs the Orthodox Union’s kashrut division and with whom Lieberman takes a weekly telephone class.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/lieberman-scaled-political-heights-but-wants-shabbat-to-be-his-legacy/2011/08/10/

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