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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Netanyahu Meets with House Armed Services Members

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened Hamas to radical Islamists in Iraq and Syria in a meeting with members of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Thursday evening.

“We’re faced with common enemies, radical Islamic terrorists who have absolutely no inhibitions on executing people, terrorizing people, targeting innocent civilians,” Netanyahu said at the meeting with a bipartisan delegation led by chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.). “These are common enemies of Israel, the United States and all the civilized countries. And I think we should take a common stand to defeat them.”

McKeon in his response pledged continuing support for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, credited with deflecting over 80 percent of targeted missiles in the recent war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“On the House Armed Services Committee, we’re happy with the work we’ve been able to do, working with you on [Iron] Dome and how you’ve used it to protect human life,” he said. “And we will keep that bond and that friendship and that special relationship that we have forever.”

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal outlined tensions between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration over Israel’s direct lobbying of Congress and the Pentagon for supplementary weapons supplies.

‘Last Minute’ Iron Dome Infusion from US

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

The Congress voted Friday morning to transfer an additional $225 million to Israel for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

The move came less than 24 hours after Hamas terrorists kidnapped an Israeli soldier during a cease fire demanded by the United States and the United Nations.

President Barack Obama immediately signed the measure into law, and the funds were transferred overnight, according to a report posted by ABC News.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee two weeks ago approved the transfer of $351 million, bringing the total appropriations for Israel to $621 million.

The funds transferred last night followed a unanimous vote of approval by the Senate just before the start of a long Congressional recess.

“This is a good example of us being able to put aside partisan considerations and work together to help our good friend, Israel,” Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Politico.

“I will stand by Israel for a lot of personal reasons but certainly for political reasons,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). “And I have no hesitation in declaring to the world that’s how I feel.”

Senatora Tom Coburn (R-OK) tried but failed to convince his colleagues to pass an amendment to offset the costs of helping Israel by “reducing unnecessary contributions to the UN.”

United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, meanwhile, earlier had slammed the United States for funding the entirely defensive Iron Dome anti-missile system.

“Americans not only equipped the Israelis with weapons used in the Gaza Strip but also helped Israel in the amount of almost a billion dollars to develop the Iron Dome system that protects the residents from rocket fire,” Pillay said. “Gaza residents were not given similar protection from Israeli bombing.”

Pillay has called for an international investigation of Israel’s counter terror operation in Gaza, claiming the IDF is guilty of war crimes. She has not, however, used the same criteria in addressing the actions of Hamas, who started this war, and freely uses civilians as human shields in combat and in placement of weaponry for use against Israel.

Peres Bids Farewell to US and Threatens to Continue to Praise Abbas

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden awarded outgoing President Shimon Peres with the Congressional Gold Medal Thursday for his decades of dedication to saying the word “peace,” especially with Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas but not so much with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Peres again took the opportunity to heap admiration on Abbas, only weeks after the head of the Palestinian Authority regime in Ramallah embraced the Hamas terrorist organization with a unity pact.

Peres has made a career of telling Western leaders what they want to hear, mainly that he is willing to sell out all of Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem in return for praise. Peres backed the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif in 2005 and then showed his remarkable ability for being out of touch with reality by expressing out loud his amazement that Hamas responded by attacking Israel with missiles.

Equally amazing is that Western leaders and media still headline Peres every time he says, as he did on Thursday, “President Abbas is clearly a partner for peace.

“There were people who thought otherwise, I feel they are now closer to my judgment than their own.”

It is not clear what  people he meant because Peres has been preaching to a dwindling chorus for decades.

There is Talmudic passage in Baba Metzia (page 66) that illustrates the meaningless of Peres’s declarations.

“Reuven” sold land to “Shimon” but without any responsibility to compensate Shimon if a creditor were to step in and take the land. Seeing that Shimon  was so sad over the possibility, Reuven promises, “If it is taken from you, I will return any improvements of crops that you grew on it by giving you my best property.”

The Gemorrah concludes that the promise consists of “empty words’ and were said only to make Shimon feel better.

That has been Peres. Everyone makes him feel so good that he has no idea of what is going on in the world outside of his presidential residence and room of trophies, award, certifications, medals and honors, the least of which is the Nobel Peace Prize that he won along with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat.

With peace partners like that, Israel indeed had no enemies.

By insisting that Abbas is “peace partner” despite his his regime’s maps  showing that all of Israel is “Palestine” and despite his glorification of ”martyrs,” Peres is uttering empty words that the Netanyahu government does not honor.

In return, he is showered with empty words that bring Israel lots of faint praise that means, “We love you, Israel, and now please be good Jews and do as we say and stop being Jewish and Israeli.”

Speaking of empty promises, President Barack Obama said farewell to Peres with a promise that he would not let Iran obtain a nuclear weapon.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Peres said, “I am leaving the office, but I am not leaving the battle for peace,” which he threatens to take to the corporate world.

“We can combine the Israeli companies with other global companies. Companies go without nationality; you don’t have to raise your national flag. Governments are suspicious; companies are not.”

Companies are not suspicious?

Peres really said that?

Probably so because he is good at “empty words.”

Eric Cantor Stepping Down as House Majority Leader

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Eric Cantor will be stepping down as House Majority Leader by July 31, according to a Washington Post report.

The scramble is now on as to who will get to replace him.

Cantor has also decided to not run as a write-in candidate in November’s election.

Israeli Shoe on America’s Foot, Swapping Taliban Terrorists for a Soldier

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama is finding himself in the same position as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – having to explain a controversial decision to outraged lawmakers and a questioning public.

Obama faced the nation on Saturday night to defend his directive to negotiate a prisoner swap with the Taliban terrorist organization in order to free the lone American soldier held hostage by the group in Afghanistan for the past five years.

Like that of former Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the background behind the capture of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was less than heroic. Shalit was not in combat when he was kidnapped by Arab terrorists in a cross-border raid in southern Israel in 2006. According to a blog post by prominent U.S. civil rights attorney Jonathan Turley, Bergdahl was taken prisoner after leaving his base in east Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.

On Saturday, the 28-year-old army soldier was released by his Taliban captors in exchange for five Taliban members who were freed from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The deal was reached after a week of intense negotiations mediated by Qatar, which allegedly will maintain custody of the Taliban detainees for one year.

U.S. officials said efforts to negotiate the soldier’s release began in November 2010 and that his return became a top priority in May 2011. The opportunity to resume talks over the issue emerged several weeks ago, Turley wrote.

The U.S. president called the deal part of America’s “iron-clad commitment to bringing our prisoners home.” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in making the announcement that he informed Congress on Saturday of the decision, adding that the U.S. had “coordinated closely with Qatar to ensure that security measures are in place and the national security of the United States will not be compromised.” He thanked the Emir of Qatar for that and for his “instrumental role in facilitating the return” of the soldier.

But the United States has also had a legal “iron-clad commitment” not to negotiate with terrorists, as it happens.

Turley quoted a joint statement expressing outrage and concern over the swap by top U.S. Congress member Howard P. McKeon, (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Like all Americans, we celebrate the release of Sergeant Bergdahl from terrorist captivity,” the two lawmakers said. “However – we must carefully examine the means by which we secured his freedom.

“American has maintained a prohibition on negotiating with terrorists for good reason. Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans.”

Hm. Sound familiar? Perhaps an echo of the fears expressed by the Israeli public over endless “good will gestures” forced on its government by the U.S. State Department to free convicted Arab terrorists in order to keep the Palestinian Authority at the negotiating table? Or the outrage expressed by families of victims of terror when more than 1,000 bloodthirsty jailed terrorists were freed in exchange for the lone Israeli soldier held hostage for more than five years by the Iranian-backed Hamas rulers of Gaza?

Yes – the same Hamas terror organization with which PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas now intends to unite his Fatah faction in a Palestinian Authority “unity” government. Mind you, most of those freed terrorist murderers are still at large, armed and dangerous, working on their next “projects.”

Gee.

America’s lawmakers also pointed out that President Obama “clearly violated laws” requiring him to notify Congress 30 days prior to the transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay. Those laws require him to explain exactly how the threat posed by those terrorists was substantially mitigated.

Israel Slams Claim of Spying on U.S.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed a report by U.S.-based Newsweek magazine claiming Israel has been “spying” on America.

The foreign minister told listeners on Israel’s Voice of Israel government radio Wednesday morning, “First of all, these are malicious accusations. . . I would not agree to any spying on the United States, not in any form, directly or indirectly.”

Israeli Embassy spokesperson Aaron Sagui also flatly denied the charges, telling Newsweek, “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period. We condemn the fact that such outrageous, false allegations are being directed against Israel.”

The report, published Tuesday by Newsweek, quoted anonymous senior intelligence officials in the United States, and Congressional staffers.

Written by journalist Jeff Stein, the report began with the question, “Whatever happened to honor among thieves? When the National Security Agency was caught eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, it was considered a rude way to treat a friend. Now U.S. intelligence officials are saying – albeit very quietly, behind closed doors on Capitol Hill – that our Israeli “friends” have gone too far with their spying operations here.”

Stein wrote the espionage had allegedly been revealed in recent visa waiver briefings, saying the spying came under cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts. The alleged primary target: “America’s industrial and technical secrets,” according to his report.

Last month a senior House aide also noted the U.S. intelligence community is concerned that adding Israel to the visa waiver program would make it easier for Israeli spies to enter the country, the CQ Roll Call news site reported.

Counter intelligence agents, wrote Stein, had called Israel’s “espionage activities in America… unrivaled and unseemly,” and said they went “far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan.” Unnamed Congressional staffers referred to testimony at the briefings as “very sobering … alarming … even terrifying … damaging.”

Of course, wrote Stein, the United States spies on Israel as well. He quoted a former top CIA operative who told him that Israel was “the last place you wanted to go on vacation” because of ‘heavy-handed Israeli surveillance.’

Israel’s foreign minister, however, said Wednesday morning that he heard no complaints about “spying” during a meeting with members of Congress on a visit to the United States last month. Mr. Liberman told listeners he believes the charges are the work of saboteurs trying to scotch relations between the two countries.

The U.S. visa waiver program enables travelers to the United States to enter the country without first having to obtain a visa. According to a statement by the Department of Homeland Security quoted by Newsweek, requirements for entry to the program include “enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States, timely reporting of lost and stolen passports, and the maintenance of high counter-terrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards.”

Israelis face a high rate of visa refusal by the U.S. due to the problem of young people entering the country and then staying past the expiration date of tourist visas in order to work illegally.

Another obstacle to Israel’s acceptance to the program is the U.S. government’s perception of alleged discrimination against Arab Americans in Israeli security protocols.

AIPAC Conference Opens with Appeal for Bipartisanship

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

The pro-Israel lobby AIPAC opened its annual conference with an appeal for bipartisanship.

“Bipartisanship is essential,” Michael Kassen, the board chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said Sunday in his opening statement to the conference, which drew a record 14,000 activists.

“We must affirm bipartisanship in our own ranks if we want support for Israel to be championed by Democrats and Republicans alike, he said. “AIPAC’s political diversity is critical to our continued success.”

The conference opening Sunday follows a period of tension between the lobby and the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress over AIPAC’s backing for new Iran sanctions, which Obama opposes as a detriment to nuclear talks now underway between Iran and the major powers.

AIPAC last month retreated from pressing for an immediate Senate vote on the sanctions, not wanting to undercut its influence with Democrats. The group is still backing the sanctions bill but is not pressing for a vote until the measure has enough endorsers to bust a promised Obama veto.

A number of conservatives and Republicans have since urged the group to resume its pressure for a Senate vote, even if it would land AIPAC in a partisan battle. Advocates of renewing pressure for a sanctions vote say the stakes with Iran are too high to consider Democratic sensibilities.

Kassen’s remarks seemed directly aimed at those who would advocate for an immediate vote.

In addition to seeking additional endorsers for the sanctions bill, AIPAC delegates who will meet Tuesday with lawmakers will press for the passage of an enhanced U.S.-Israel security relationship bill. AIPAC activists backed the same bill at the last conference a year ago, but it has only made limited headway.

The delegates also will seek signatories on a bipartisan Senate letter to Obama outlining the “core principles” that must come out of the talks with Iran. Chief among them is preventing Iran from “having a uranium or plutonium path to a nuclear bomb.” A similar letter may also come out of the U.S. House of Representatives in time for the Tuesday lobbying blitz.

The “path” wording allows for a degree of flexibility between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outspoken advocacy for ending Iran’s uranium enrichment capability and the Obama administration’s warnings that Iran likely will have some limited civilian enrichment capability.

Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s executive director, told delegates they would encounter a degree of resistance to their Iran-related advocacy on Capitol Hill.

“When you’re up on the Hill, no matter what reception you receive, no matter how forcefully your member of Congress may express reservations,” he said, “be gracious and be respectful and make clear that the conversation cannot end here, that you will come back.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/aipac-conference-opens-with-appeal-for-bipartisanship/2014/03/02/

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