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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

Maryland Congressman Apologizes for Holocaust Reference

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

A Maryland congressman apologized for referring to the Holocaust as he discussed his opposition to federal involvement in providing student loans.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) apologized Thursday for the remarks, which drew criticism.

“While explaining my position on an important Constitutional issue I regrettably used an extreme example as a comparison that was ill-advised and inappropriate,” Bartlett said in a statement. “I should never use something as horrific as the Holocaust to make a political point, and I deeply apologize to anyone I may have offended.”

In his initial comments at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Bartlett had argued that the federal government lacked the authority under the Constitution to offer student loans and warned of a “slippery slope” if the Constitution is ignored.

“If you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad,” he said, adding: ” The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope.”


Morsi Instituting Sweeping Changes in Army leadership, Constitution, Political Appointments

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Egyptian president Morsi made several sweeping decisions on Sunday afternoon, announced by the presidential spokesperson in a televised statement.

Al Ahram reported that, to start, Morsi cancelled the addendum to the constitutional declaration, issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on June 17. The addendum included clauses that gave the armed forces a high level of autonomy; with SCAF retaining the final say in all military-related issues. It also stipulated that the head of the SCAF, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, was to remain minister of defense until a new constitution was drafted.

Next, Morsi issued a decision to retire Hussein Tantawi, the minister of defence and the general commander of the Armed Forces.

Morsi also retired Sami Anan, the Army’s Chief of Staff, from his duties. Both men were awarded state medals and appointed as advisors to the president.

The president next appointed the head of the military intelligence, Abdel Fatah El-Sisi, as Minister of Defence to replace Tantawi.

Sedky Sobhy, the commander of the Third Army, was appointed as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.

Morsi also retired the Commander of the Navy, Mohab Memish, and appointed him as head of the Suez Canal Authority.

Reda Hafez, the commander of the Air Force, was also retired and appointed as minister of Military Production.

Mohamed El-Assar, the SCAF member in charge of armaments, was appointed as assistant to the Minister of Defense.

Finally, Morsi appointed Mahmoud Mekki, the deputy head of the Cassation (appellate) Court, as his Vice President.

Immediately following the announcement of their appointments, Mahmoud Mekki, Egypt’s new vice president, and Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the new minister of defense, were both sworn into office before President Morsi shortly after 5 PM on Sunday.

Jewish Press Staff

Rubin Reports: A First Look at Egypt’s New Constitution Shows a Careful Ambiguity On Islamic Rule

Thursday, July 12th, 2012


Although it isn’t official, the first two articles of Egypt’s new Constitution have been reportedly drafted by the committee of parliamentarians charged with that task. Article 1 defines Egypt as part of the Arab and Muslim nation, a compromise between acceptance of the country as a normal nation-state and its identity as either a purely Arab nationalist or Islamist entity.

Similarly, Article 2, according to Mohamed Emara, head of the committee responsible for drafting this section, says:

“Islam is the religion of the state, and Arabic is its official language, and the principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source for legislation. Christians and Jews shall resort to legislation derived from their own religions.”

There is some ambiguity here as to whether Egypt would thus be a Sharia state. On one hand, Islamic law is not made the sole source of legislation, while the word “principles” might mean that the interpretation will be loose, principles and not all of the details. Bourhamy says that this merely shows that Egypt isn’t a secular state.

On the other hand, though, both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis accepted this formulation which, since they want a Sharia state, apparently feel does not block their goal from being reached. Moreover, precisely what “principles” means will be defined not by some governmental organ but by the al-Azhar mosque university. While the leaders of that institution are more moderate than the Brotherhood and Salafis, presumably President Muhammad al-Mursi will replace them at some point with his own people.

The Arabic word used to define “democracy” was “shura.”  This is a term often used in Muslim countries because it is found in the Koran. It might be translated as “consultative,” since the ruler (in this case, al-Mursi) can consult with the parliament. This might be taken to imply that its decisions are not binding. Also that the parliament does not have a free hand in passing laws since—it is implied—no law can be passed that conflicts with Sharia law.

Non-Islamists can argue that there is no harm in the word but it should be noted that the idea for using this term was suggested by a Salafist.

The bottom line is that there is an ambiguity which Western observers and anti-Islamist Egyptians can say means that the country will not be a Sharia state, while Islamists can maintain their own view. The key point, of course, is not the wording as such but who gets to interpret it down the road.

Finally, Christians, it is implied, will be governed by their own religious laws. But this is a peculiar formulation. If Egypt is not governed by Sharia law then why would Christians need to be exempt from it? If this provision is restricted only to matters of personal status (principally marriage, divorce, and inheritance) then Christians would mostly be living under Sharia law in any state court. And what does this constitutional provision mean for example regarding the status of women, where Egyptian law has granted more rights than Sharia would do? Another important issue will be the appointment of future judges since many of the current magistrates oppose Sharia law as that of the state.

If there is an Islamist president and parliament who pass laws that correspond only to Sharia and who appoint Islamist judges and al-Azhar  shaykhs then Egypt will be a Sharia state. No doubt though the Constitution will be interpreted by many Western observers of proof that the Brotherhood and Salafists have moderated.

Barry Rubin

Israel At 100: Looking Ahead

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The Third Jewish Commonwealth has accomplished remarkable growth and productivity in its first six decades, and inspires the world with its resourcefulness. Yet as a young country, Israel has much room for improvement. Here are the Top 12 most pressing issues facing the reborn nation today:

Electoral Reform: Israel’s electoral system of party-list proportional representation, where the entire country acts as a single constituency, has severely hampered the national leadership from acting decisively on behalf of its citizenry. Switching from a PR system to a relative majority or plurality voting system – election of candidates by district using a first-past-the-post/winner takes all mechanism – would increase MK accountability and government stability.

Constitution: Israel has for 64 years relied upon Basic Laws and legislative statutes to govern the country, and preferred an evolving, piecemeal constitution to a single national document. In June 2006, Professor Abraham Diskin of The Institute for Zionist Strategies drafted a proposed constitution that serves as a useful basis for the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee to debate, amend, and adopt such a seminal document.

Parliamentary Immunity: The Israeli legislature is plagued with rogue MKs who routinely undermine national security with virtual impunity. Statutes and/or Knesset by-laws should be enacted to censure acts of treason by those responsible for the wellbeing of the country.

Judea & Samaria: Israel should annex the heartland of the homeland and offer Arab inhabitants the choice of permanent residency – with guaranteed human and civil rights including municipal and regional voting rights – or emigration with compensation. Jordan, which is several times the size of Israel and 3/4 of what was Palestine, has been the de facto Palestinian Arab state since 1921, and the Gaza Strip has been a second Palestinian Arab state since 2005. There is no justification for a third Palestinian Arab state, nor is it reasonable for the sole Jewish state to relinquish the most significant parts of its geographical identity, history, and heritage.

Warfare: Israel has warred regularly since its founding, and in recent memory largely because it fights without the decisiveness and finality required to impose peace. No nation can tolerate quasi-armies perched on its frontiers, hellbent on its destruction, striking at whim. This scenario ensures renewed warfare every few years. Rather, Israel should reject artificial timelines imposed from without, and conduct its defense until terrorist groups are defeated to a man.

Chief Rabbinate: This symbolic office should be replaced by a re-established Great Sanhedrin of 71 sages, a body of Jewish rabbis and scholars serving the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora and which devotes itself to practical religious and spiritual issues rather than serving as nominal figureheads of the religious within the distinct political realm.

Jewish Heritage Sites: While Israel has an excellent system of about 70 National Parks and Nature Reserves, several important sites from antiquity have little or no official identification and are not yet visitor-friendly. Such historical sites include: Modi’in, home of the Hasmoneans; the Maccabean battlegrounds of Beth Zur and Beth Zechariah; Yodefat and Gush Chalav, major locales in the First Jewish Revolt; and Betar, the last citadel of Bar Kochba.

Penal Reform: Prisoners – including bloodstained murderers, gangsters, and terrorists – currently receive financial benefits while in durance, in addition to the enormous expenses borne by the state on their behalves resulting from their incarceration. Instead, convicts should be made to pay for their jailing costs to alleviate the public burden and strengthen deterrence.

Road Safety: Israel’s high rate of motor vehicle deaths is reversible with better safety standards. The state should: raise the licensing age from 17 to 18; enact graduated licensing with mandatory in-class and in-car defensive driving training; enforce speed limits rigorously; re-examine drivers every 5 years for roadworthiness; raise safety standards for automakers; broaden stretches in remote or difficult terrain and improve their lighting, road markings, and signage; and impose stiffer penalties for driving with hand-held devices or without seat belts.

Bedouin Relations: Despite recently improved relations with the Negev’s Bedouins, Israel should define its relationship with the nomadic Arab community after consultations with pertinent regional councils and representative sheikhs. Such an agreement would eliminate unseemly house demolitions that occasionally still plague relations, and would determine the nature of sovereignty, partnerships, and mechanisms for conflict resolution.

Brandon Marlon

Elections Bring Egypt to the Edge of Abyss

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

About a year after the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the crisis in Egypt has brought the country to the edge of abyss.

The political crisis escalated shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood decided to appoint its own candidate for presidency. This decision came after the Brotherhood, together with the Salafists, obtained an overwhelming majority in the Egyptian parliament.

Shortly after this decision it became clear that the Brotherhood and the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has governed Egypt since Mubarak’s fall, are not on the same page any more. Their differences involve key issues such as the drafting of a new constitution and the power of the Egyptian parliament.

In addition, negotiations regarding a much needed IMF loan ended without a deal because of lack of political support for acceptance of the IMF conditions.

Another complicating factor is the lack of progress in drafting the new constitution.

Tensions further increased after several presidential candidates, including Khairat al-Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, and Salafist leader Abu Ishmail, were disqualified as presidential candidates.

The disqualified candidates appealed against the decision of the supervisory body of Egypt’s election committee, but their appeals were dismissed. The Muslim Brotherhood then simply appointed a new candidate: Mohammed Mursi, the leader of the Freedom and Justice Party.

Last Wednesday unknown assailants shot dead 11 Salafist protesters in Cairo’s Abbaseya neighborhood. The Salafist protesters demonstrated against the disqualification of Abu Ishmail.

On Friday new clashes broke out in the same neighborhood prompting the army to impose a curfew. Most Egyptian media accused the SCAF of being behind the bloodbath in Abbaseya.

Several political parties, among them the Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party, announced new demonstrations in Tahrir Square and decided to boycott meetings with the SCAF.


As a result of the increasing violence it seems all but sure that the presidential election, which starts May 24-25, will take place as scheduled.

To complicate matters, Islamists and liberals are demanding that there should first be an agreement on the new constitution before the presidential elections can take place.

The Islamists, who have a large majority in parliament, want to use the new constitution to minimize the power of the new president, and to increase of the power of the Egyptian parliament.

The SCAF recently decided to dissolve the parliamentary committee that was in charge of drafting a new constitution. This decision was made after a disagreement over the composition of the council, which consisted mainly of Islamists, whereas liberals, Copts and women were under-represented.

The SCAF in turn had its own reasons for dissolving the Constitutional Council. In this way it is trying to influence the drafting of the new constitution and the scope of presidential power.

Transfer of power

Both liberals and Islamists fear that the Army will not really transfer all its power to the democratically elected parliament and president.

This distrust is also evident from the recent demonstrations that call for the resignation of the SCAF. During these demonstrations the protesters also demanded that Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi resigns and even called for his execution.

On April 13 for example, Islamists held a mass demonstration in Tahrir Square against members of the Mubarak era, meaning SCAF officials and the now disqualified presidential hopeful Omar Suleiman.

The protesters shouted that the people “will force the Field Marshal (Tantawi) to resign” and that “the remnants of the old regime should be removed.”


Omar Suleiman is the former vice president and director of Egypt’s intelligence service (Muchabarat), who recently signed up as a candidate for the presidency.

Suleiman is considered to be a henchman of Mubarak, and was accused of being an ‘Israeli agent’. He and Mubarak were pictured on placards together with a Star of David.

In turn, in an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Saba’a Suleiman accused Israel of trying to look for reasons to reconquer the Sinai desert.


The April 14th decision by the Election Committee of the Supreme Court to disqualify a large number of presidential candidates has significantly aggravated tensions.

Omar Suleiman was disqualified because he did not have enough signatures from supporters (according to Egyptian law, a presidential candidate must have at least 30,000 signatures).

The Salafist Abu Ismail (al-Nour party) was rejected because his mother was a U.S. citizen (according to Egyptian law, the presidential candidate, his parents and his spouse should all hold Egyptian nationality).

The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Al-Shater, was disqualified because he supposedly had a criminal past.

The disqualifications came at a time when Egypt was already struggling with severe tensions between the various political and religious groups.

The Salafist leader Abu Ishmail even predicted an Islamic revolution if the decision to disqualify him was not reversed.


Besides the political crisis, there is Egypt’s economic mayhem which has brought the country to the brink of disaster.

Missing Peace

Bill to Impeach Obama for Bombing Syria without Congressional Authorization

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Drew Zahn of World News Daily reports that Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., R-N.C., has introduced a resolution declaring that the president’s use of offensive military force  without Congressional authorization would be considered “an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor.”

Jones cites Obama’s authorization of military force in Libya as an example for such unilateral action.

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo wrote in WND: “This week it was Secretary of Defense Panetta’s declaration before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he and President Obama look not to the Congress for authorization to bomb Syria but to NATO and the United Nations. This led to Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., introducing an official resolution calling for impeachment should Obama take offensive action based on Panetta’s policy statement, because it would violate the Constitution.”

Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution reserves for Congress alone the power to declare war.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

PA Explores Alternatives Sources Of Funding
   The Palestinian Authority is studying the possibility of relying on Arab money instead of regular financial aid from the U.S. and Europe should it persist with its plan of unilaterally declaring a state at the United Nations in September.
   Sources close to PA President Mahmoud Abbas told this column the Palestinian leader even is willing to give up his job as a result of backlash regarding his drive to declare a state at the UN.
   “Abu Mazen [Abbas] wants to go down in history as the one who led this UN process. He doesn’t mind giving up his role in office, leaving his job as a consequence,” said one PA official.
   PA officials said that at Abbas’s behest, the PA leader’s chief of staff, Mohammed Shtayyeh, established a committee to investigate the possibility of giving up financial aid from the U.S., European Union, and Russia as a result of the UN drive.
   The officials said the immediate results of Shtayyeh’s commission were not encouraging.
   Revealed one official: “The conclusion so far is not encouraging, but still we are studying the possibility of looking for independent and Arab money and other sources to replace U.S. and Western money if the PA faced sanctions.”
   Currently, the vast majority of all aid to the PA comes from the U.S. and EU. According to figures released by the PA, only 22 percent of the $530,000,000 received since the beginning of 2010 came from Arab donors.
   The PA fears financial sanctions if it persists with its UN unilateral declaration plan.

   Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution threatening to suspend financial assistance to the PA if its leaders “persist in efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by turning to the United Nations or other international bodies.”


More White House Ties

To Soros-Funded Organization
   Still more White House officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have ties to an effort funded by billionaire George Soros to push for a new, “progressive” U.S. Constitution.
   This column previously reportedthat President Obama’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, maintained extensive ties to Soros’s funding, particularly with regard to a movement that openly seeks to create a “progressive” consensus on what the U.S. Constitution “should” provide by the year 2020.
   Now, it has emerged that Lisa Brown, Obama’s staff secretary, served as executive director of the Soros-funded American Constitution Society, ACS, a progressive legal organization that was behind the Constitution scheme.
   Also, Holder has been closely tied to the ACS, serving on the group’s board of directors and even keynoting its 10th anniversary national convention earlier this month.
   In 2008, Holder also keynoted its convention. At that event, he reportedly urged young lawyers to get involved in the liberal legal network, saying America would soon be “run by progressives.”
   In April 2005, Sunstein opened up a conference at Yale Law School entitled “The Constitution in 2020,” which sought to change the nature and interpretation of the Constitution by that year.
   The event was sponsored by Soros’s Open Society Institute and the Center for American Progress, which is led by John Podesta, who served as co-chair of Obama’s presidential transition team. Podesta’s center is said to be highly influential in helping to craft White House policy.
   The Yale event on the Constitution was also sponsored by the ACS, which has received more that $2.2 million from Soros’s Open Society since 2002.
   Sunstein himself has been pushing for a new socialist-style U.S. bill of rights that, among other things, would constitutionally require the government to offer each citizen a “useful” job in the farms or industries of the nation.
   According to Sunstein’s new bill of rights, the U.S. government can also intercede to ensure every farmer can sell his product for a good return. It also is granted power to act against “unfair competition” and monopolies in business.
   All this and more is contained in Sunstein’s 2004 book, The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’S Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever.

   In the work, Sunstein advanced the idea that welfare rights, including some controversial inceptions, be granted by the state.


Van Jones Launches New Leftist Movement


   A new movement led by communist revolutionary group founder Van Jones seeks to counter the Tea Party while petitioning for a progressive agenda that includes “making Wall Street and the super-rich pay their fair share.”
   The organization, dubbed “The American Dream Movement,” is partnered with a slew of radical groups funded by billionaire George Soros.
   Last Thursday, Jones officially launched his “American Dream Movement” at a New York City event co-sponsored by MoveOn.
   The movement has been described as a grassroots progressive group seeking to emulate the success of the Tea Party. The movement, however, is anything but grassroots. It is already partnered with two of the nation’s largest unions, the AFL-CIO and the SEIU, who boast an army of millions of public employees.
   AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recorded a web video for the campaign.
   Also signed on to the movement are the Soros-funded groups, Campaign for America’s Future and the Center for Community Change.
   Campaign for America’s Future was co-founded in 1996 chiefly by Robert Borosage, who previously served as director of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies.

   The CCC boasts a board filled with radicals, including socialist activists.



   Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.

Aaron Klein

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