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June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Obama Sends Biden to Threaten War on Iran

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden used the “W” word – war – in a speech Thursday night that is part of a new White House charm offensive to calm down Israel’s concerns that Washington is ready to sign a “bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear program.

Biden said at his speech to the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy:

A war with Iran, if required, it will happen. It is a risk we may have to take should Iran race to a bomb….

The finest military in history remains at the ready. Don’t underestimate my friend Barack Obama. He has a spine of steel and he is willing to do what it takes to keep our allies safe.

Biden also emphasized parts of the proposed deal that Iran has thoroughly rejected in public, particularly “phased sanctions relief” and a demand that Iran take off the mask off past nuclear weapons research.

President Obama sent Biden two weeks ago to placate Israel at the annual Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration in Washington, where he began his speech by declaring, “My name is Joe Biden, and everybody knows I love Israel.”

The White House clearly is trying to mend fences after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress in March, when he warned of a “bad deal” with Iran.

Obama lost the elections in Israel two weeks later. His aides not only have given up hope that Netanyahu won’t be able to form a new coalition government, they also have finally realized it will be much more stable and more right-wing than previous governments.

The president has no choice but to play ball with Netanyahu, and Biden is his pitcher, although he showed his ignorance of Jewish self-guilt by throwing a couple of spitballs in his Yom Ha’Atzmaut speech , bragging that two of his children married Jews.

Netanyahu is reciprocating to a certain extent and laying off high-profile attacks on the proposed Iran deal.

Zalman Shoval, an adviser to Netanyahu and former ambassador to the United States, told Bloomberg News Thursday that Israel “would like to do what we can to remove the unnecessary hindrances in our relationship with the U.S.”

“Neither side want to have an open conflict, but Netanyahu will certainly continue to criticize the Iran talks and there isn’t much he can deliver on the actual peace process,” Robbie Sabel, a Hebrew University professor and a  former Israeli diplomat, told Bloomberg.

Netanyahu last month suddenly released nearly half a billion dollars in tax revenues that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority, without deducting the entire sum from a large debt Ramallah owes Israel for electricity and other services.

Israel also has allowed more permits for Arabs in Judea and Samaria to travel to Jerusalem.

Obama reiterated last month he will visit Israel, but not before June 30th, the deadline for a final deal with Iran.

Tehran already has said that the deadline is not holy, so don’t expect Obama land at Ben Gurion Airport on July 1

Tom Cotton Challenges Iran’s Zarif to Debate on US Constitution

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton called Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif a “cowardly” on Wednesday and challenged him on Twitter to a debate on the U.S. constitution “to debate Iran’s record of tyranny, treachery, & terror.”

Cotton was replying to Zarif’s  comments at New York University Wednesday that a deal with Iran will be accompanied by the removal of sanctions “whether Sen. Cotton likes it or not.”

Cotton then dared Zarif to a debate but assumed that Zarif would turn down the opportunity because of his “cowardly character” he demonstrated by deciding to “hide” in the United States during the Iran-Iraq war.

Zarif, speaking about the next president after Obama, said at the university:

The resolution will endorse the agreement, will terminate all previous resolutions including all sanctions, will set in place the termination of EU sanctions and the cessation of applications of all U.S. sanctions…

I’ve studied and lived in the U.S. I know enough about the U.S. Constitution and U.S. procedures, but as a foreign government I only deal with U.S. government. I do not deal with U.S. Congress.

Cotton, who last month penned a letter to the Iranian government that it “may not fully understand our constitutional system,” tweeted yesterday:

Hey @JZarif, I hear you called me out today.  If you’re so confident, let’s debate the Constitution.

Here’s offer: meet in DC, @JZarif, time of your choosing to debate Iran’s record of tyranny, treachery, & terror.

I understand if you decline @JZarif after all, in your 20s, you hid in US during Iran-Iraq war while peasants & kids were marched to die.

Rubio’s ‘Poison Pill’ May Force Democrats to Get Off the Fence on Israel

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio’s insistence  on amending the proposed Senate bill for review of a deal with Iran by requiring  the Islamic Republic to recognize Israel is beginning to make Democrats squirm.

Iran has repeatedly stated that Israel should be wiped off the map. It is building Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and by all accounts, except Tehran’s, is not far from being able to obtain a nuclear warhead.

It doesn’t take an evangelist Republican to connect the dots despite Iran’s position that it would never never even dream of obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Iran never would accept Rubio’s proposal that it recognize Israel, at least not in Ayatollah Khamenei’s lifetime, and Rubio knows it.

So does President Barack Obama, who warned on Wednesday he would veto a Congressional bill if it makes negotiations with Iran impossible.

Democrats, especially the Jewish ones, also know that supporting the president and voting against the suggestion that a Muslim country recognize the Jewish state will be recorded in the history book on warped thinking, with the notion the way to peace is to allow an enemy to scheme to destroy an enemy instead of dismantling the scheme, admitting defeat and recognizing that the enemy is its own hallucinations.

Where is Shimon Peres when we need him? Peres has said dozens of times that “one makes peace with enemies, not with friends.” The cliché is more ridiculous than it is trite, but if that is his philosophy, why isn’t he out there backing Rubio?

The Senate began on Tuesday to debate the proposed law that any deal with Iran on its nuclear development must be submitted to Congress for review.

President Obama originally said he would veto such a law, but after Republic Sen. Bob Corker toned down its original language so that the legislation would have a veto-proof majority, he changed his mind.

That was until Rubio, who has announced he is running to be the GOP’s presidential nominee next year, came up with seven amendments,  known as the “poison pills” because there is no chance Obama and Iran would accept them.

Besides demanding that Iran recognize Israel, the Florida Republican wants Iran to release American it is holding. He also demands that sanctions having nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear development be retained on Tehran.

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, Jewish and strongly identified with Israel, blocked Rubio’s effort on Wednesday to bring the “recognize Israel” amendment to a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I appreciate the senator from Maryland’s passion,” Rubio said, “but I want a vote on the amendment,” and he intends to do so when the bill comes to the floor of the Senate.

Rubio has managed to scare Republicans as well as Democrats.

Several GOP Leaders are angry with Rubio because his “poison pill” amendments would destroy the bi-partisan support for a watered-down bill for Congressional review of a deal with Iran.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a strong backer of Israel, said he would vote against Rubio’s amendments.

Graham explained:

I don’t think anybody is going to accuse Lindsey Graham of being anti-Israel. I’ve been working for a year … to put this coalition together. And failure is not an option.\

Politico reported that “GOP leaders appear to siding with Rubio [and] so far, they have not moved to orchestrate Republicans to vote against problematic amendments.”

Rubio has the Democrats in a tight corner. He said, “Do Democrats not support Israel?”

The oddity is that Democrats are holding their collective breath for Corker, a Republican, to convince Rubio to back off or convince his colleagues to vote against the amendments.

Jewish Sen. Bernie Sanders to Run for President

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Jew who is not involved in organization religion, will toss his hat in the political rang today and announce he is challenging Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic party’s nominee for president in 2016.

We would write that he is throwing his kippa into the ring except for the faint possibility that he even owns one.

Vermont Public News (VPR) reported, “Sanders will release a short statement….and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks…. Sanders’ basic message will be that the middle class in America has been decimated in the past two decades while wealthy people and corporations have flourished.”

Sanders is an Independent and a vocal critic of “corporate America” and the government’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

A socialist, the 73-year-old Sanders wants to make campaign finance reform, climate change and the rich-poor gap as the center of his campaign, and he will focus on the proposed TPP to try force Clinton to declare whether she supports or opposes it.

Sanders might be exactly what the United States needs, someone who is not afraid to challenge the “billionaire class” instead of cooperating with it while the middle class, as in almost every other western country, fells it is becoming an endangered species.

His being Jewish is not going to win him any points from Orthodox or even the Conservative Jews.

Sanders, born in Brooklyn, once volunteered on an Israeli kibbutz after university, an experience which may have bolstered his socialist views.

As for Judaism, he is not actively involved, and the Burlington, Vermont Free Press reports:

When it comes to the impact of religion on his life, he said, ‘I find myself very close to the teachings of Pope Francis,’ and he described the pope as ‘incredibly smart and brave.’

A quote from Pope Francis also graces Sander’s Sanders for President Facebook page.

Judaism and being Jewish are not part of his public face. The Jewish Telegraph Agency wrote last January after an interview with Sanders, “With a series of observations about the Jewish history of rootlessness and oppression, Sanders begins to describe the role of his lower-middle-class upbringing in forging him into the Congress’ only self-described socialist.

Sanders boycotted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress last month. He has deep roots in the civil rights and the anti-Vietnam war movements but has tried to remain neutral concerning Israel.

He said a Town Hall meeting in Vermont last year that Israel “over-reacted” to Hamas missile attacks but noted that the terrorist organization attacked from within populated areas and wants to destroy Israel.

If it is good news that this Jew is running for president, pray that he beats Clinton so he can lose the big race.

Below is a video of Sanders explaining why he boycotted Netanyahu’s speech.

Corker-Menendez Bill So Bipartisan that Even Obama No Longer Objects

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

In what looks like a complete reversal, the proposed legislation intended to impose tough Congressional oversight of the Iranian nuclear deal has been the subject of so much compromise that rather than simply gaining enough Democrats to override President Barack Obama’s threatened veto, it has gained the support of the President himself.

The President said that so long as the legislation passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, April 13, is not the subject of further amendments, the President will not veto the bill but instead will sign it.

The vote in the Committee in favor of the bill was 19-0. The zero may represent the teeth remaining in the legislation, or it may simply mirror the rounded mouths of the president’s advisers who told him Congress would not dare insert themselves into his foreign policy prerogatives.

At this point some of the details of the compromise legislation have been revealed: the original Corker-Menendez Congressional review period was 60 days after the negotiators concluded their deal, the amended bill which was approved Tuesday afternoon provides for 52 days of Congressional review.

The way it works, according to Omri Ceren of The Israel Project, is this: once the President’s team of negotiators (and their counterparts from the other P5+1 countries) arrive at a deal, Congress then has 30 days to review the details. “If Congress acts to block the deal,” it is expected that the President will veto the blocking legislation, and then Congress will have the additional 22 days to assemble a large enough group of lawmakers to override the veto. They will need 67 senators to join on to a veto override.

A change the White House wanted which was removed from the proposed legislation was requiring the President to certify that Iran was not supporting or itself engaging in terrorism against Americans or the United States.

Two things that Israel supporters wanted that they did not get was, first, language in the bill that would require the Islamic Republic of Iran to recognize Israel as a fellow nation, and two, have the deal between the U.S. and Iran be treated as if it were a treaty rather than an executive agreement. Had that been the case, it would have had to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

The next stage is for the House of Representatives to consider the Corker-Menendez bill.

Putin Lifts Ban on Selling Iran S-300 Missiles in Return for Oil

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday lifted the ban for delivering to Iran S-300 anti-missile systems in return for oil in a move that is going to send Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu through the roof.

Putin’s daring move to pocket billions from the emerging deal on Iran’s nuclear program, in which Russia has a huge investment, paves the way to allow Iran to defend itself better against American, Israeli or Saudi missiles.

The S-300 systems would make it more difficult for a retaliatory attack on Iran in the event that Tehran is caught reneging on a deal and caught in the last stages of developing a nuclear weapon.

Russia suspended deliveries of the systems after pressure from the United States, encouraged by Israel, and from other Western countries five years ago.

The missiles-for-oil deal could be worth up to $20 billion.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters that the deal does not violate current sanctions.

“In exchange for Iranian crude oil supplies, we are delivering certain products,” he stated.

Israel has not yet commented on Putin’s lifting the ban on the deliveries of the missile systems but definitely will make it clear to the U.S. Congress that it makes President Barack Obama’s agreement for a temporary framework deal even more problematic.

The deal does not stop Iran from continuing to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles that could easily reach Israel.

Put together ICBM missiles, S-300 anti-missile systems and a “bad deal” and you come up with a nuclear weapon aimed at Israel.

Putin’s announcement Monday is great timing for Republican senators.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will formally draft legislation tomorrow that would prevent President Barack Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran for 60 days while Congress reviews the final deal and possibly vote to keep sanctions in place.

 

 

Suicide Shooting and Suspicious Package Lock Down Capitol in Washington

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Police have closed the Capitol and the immediate area Saturday afternoon after one man shot himself dead and left a suspicious package outside the building.

Visitors and workers were not allowed to enter or leave the Capitol, but Congress was on spring break.

Capitol police are investigating the package, apparently a suitcase belonging to the man who shot himself, but officials ruled out terror as a motive.

Police are searching for the man’s car.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/suicide-shooting-and-suspicious-package-lock-down-capitol-in-washington/2015/04/11/

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