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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Council’

Ex Powell Aide: US Can Attack without UN Mandate

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

The 15-nation UN security council is not, traditionally, a place where decision are made based on morality and ethics. The august body has been split on the civil war in Syria since ir began, in 2011, with Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s ally and chief arms dealer, and China, eager for the Syrian oil, vetoing three resolutions condemning Assad and urging punitive measures to make him stop.

It is virtually certain that the same UN council will reject a call for moving troops against Assad’s army, even if the Syrian president is caught splashing anti-American graffiti with a spray can of sarin on the walls of Damascus.

“The experts in Syria have the mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used, and if so, which ones, but not who unleashed this attack” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that point for reporters in Moscow on Monday.

But the U.S. has intervened in at least one conflict in the recent past without security council support—when President Clinton threw the Airforce into the Kosovo War in 1999, some suggesting in order to divert attention from his troubles with a pesky special prosecutor.

U.S. and European officials have been referring to the Kosovo bombing campaign, which pressured Serb President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his troops from Kosovo. The beleaguered Clinton ignored the security council to avoid letting the Russians cast a veto, and got his backing from NATO, or, in other words, from himself.

It’s been done, and it can be done again, is the message in Washington this week.

Richard Haas

Richard Haas

Richard Haas, president of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations who served in the GW Bush administration, rejected the Russian argument that a Western attack on Syria would require UN approval, Reuters reported.

“The UN Security Council is not the sole or unique custodian about what is legal and what is legitimate, and, as many have pointed out, it was bypassed at the time of Kosovo,” Haas told reporters in a conference call, possibly while loading bullets into his personal firearm.

“To say only the UN Security Council can make something legitimate seems to me to be a position that cannot be supported because it would allow in this case a country like Russia to be the arbiter of international law and, more broadly, international relations,” said Haas, who probably recalls the time, in 2003, when he was a close advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell under President GW Bush, and his boss offered a shamefully deceitful presentation to the security council regarding the grounds for launching another war.

Will President Barack Obama want to associate himself with the unilateral strategies of both his predecessors? Barack the multilateralist, champion of the Arab Spring – resorting to hiring the services of an adviser straight out of the GW war room? Incidentally, Haas has had second thoughts on the invasion of Iraq, and in an interview with the Huff Post he said it was a wrong war and a war of choice.

Nevertheless, it looks like you can take the foreign policy expert out of the GW White House, but you can’t extract the GW White House out of expert:

Legitimacy for a strike on Syria, Haas said, could come from a “coalition of the willing” (when have we heard that one before?) of individual countries supporting retaliation against Assad, to demonstrate that the use of weapons of mass destruction (wait, that one is familiar, too!) will not be tolerated.

A furious Russia could launch the general assembly in an attempt to humiliate the U.S. and force it to abandon its attack on Syria, should Obama opt to strike.

Israel could only benefit from an American attack: for one thing, it is sure to wipe out the Syrian WMD reserves (which, unlike Saddam’s Iraq, the Syrians do possess, and then some); and then, once the U.S. is mired in international condemnations – it might go easy on the Netanyahu government when it issues a permit—as comedian Jacky mason put it so aptly—to add a toilet to some settlement.

Stay tuned…

Yori Yanover

Ariel University Approved

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

After years of dispute and roadblocks from within the Israeli academic system, on Tuesday the Ariel University Center was officially granted University status by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria. The Ariel University Center is now one of Israel’s eight universities. As a result it can now begin to officially receive money from the government like other Israeli universities.

Jewish Press News Briefs

More About Ulpana Hill

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Those who read my book, Where There Are No Men, already know that no real struggle can be conducted by the Yesha Council. We understood that the hard way when we established the Zo Artzeinu movement, and we have since explained how we reached this conclusion in detail.

Nevertheless, during the Expulsion from Gush Katif, I abstained from publicly voicing my opinion on the Yesha Council. I hoped that perhaps I was mistaken, and in the face of the approaching struggle I did not want to create conflict. We did all that we could to organize a parallel struggle against the Expulsion – without entering into conflict with the Yesha Council. The organizers of our struggle, who established the Bayit Haleumi movement, sat in jail for many long months and were the object of contempt and castigation at the hands of Yesha establishment leaders.

The end of the Yesha Council’s “great struggle” against the Expulsion was the Kfar Maimon farce and the channeling of the young people’s anti-Expulsion energies into sobbing in the Gush Katif synagogues. Since then I have a guilty conscience over the fact that I, who had written a book on this very topic, didn’t warn everyone of the end that was already determined at the beginning of the struggle.

Approximately a month ago, we held marathon meetings with government ministers to convince them to vote in favor of the Regulation Law. After a few meetings, I began to once again smell the same old smell. I understood that the deals were all being struck in a different place – not inside the political system and not in the grassroots struggle. Once again, shadowy leaders were making deals behind the backs of the public.

I decided to publicize my view, doing so in two separate sector-based columns and in our weekly update. Apparently, the things I wrote touched upon the most sensitive nerves in the Yesha Council, which embarked on a campaign to restore its legitimacy. The sector’s media filled up with adoring articles about the Yesha Council, petitions supporting each other, mutual praise gatherings and, of course, a scathing attack on me and distortion of my words.

From the attacks it is clear that what bothers the Yesha establishment more than my opinion on the Ulpana Hill controversy is the fact that I am in the race for the Likud chairmanship. On the surface, there is no connection between the two and it is not clear why they are lumped together. If there is a political strategy that has aided the settlements from within the Likud, it is the fact that, as mentioned, I am running for the Likud chairmanship. This in turn has fostered mass registration for the Likud in Judea and Samaria, and has given the settlers political power inside the party. Without this move, it is questionable if the settlers would have received such generous proposals in exchange for a quiet evacuation.

In truth, though, those who cannot create an alternative always remain captive to the current leadership and will necessarily conduct themselves in the manner about which I warned. They are fighting for their positions as the arms-bearers of the existing leadership. Manhigut Yehudit is their downfall. It is inherently opposed to their very essence. When they lose the public’s confidence, they strike out at me – justifiably so.

The more faith-based leadership consciousness grows, the more the Yesha Council becomes extraneous. That is why they have opposed me, working tirelessly for Prime Minister Netanyahu in the previous and past elections for Likud head. They conducted an expensive campaign that encouraged Likud voters to stay home and not vote.

I do not retract what I wrote in my columns about the Yesha Council. My arguments were precise and it is important that they are in writing. But I would like to issue a clarification: On a personal level, I have absolutely nothing against those people currently attacking me. I value their dedication, I do not want to take away from their many merits, and I am friendly with some of them. The debate between us is on matters of essence, and those people who, even after Gush Katif and Kfar Maimon, still want to cling to the same methods and the same leaders have every right to do so.

I have no intention of getting sucked into a sectoral political debate. From the moment that the fate of Ulpana Hill was determined, I see no reason to continue to deal with the subject.

Moshe Feiglin

Getting Serious About Get-Refusal

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

It’s human nature to hide our heads in the sand. That may be because we are mostly optimistic. We believe everything will be all right even when we know we are taking a chance.

On the flip side, it’s emotionally very difficult to admit we have a problem. We are worried about how others will regard us. Moreover, addressing a problem entails gathering strength to go about solving it. It’s so much easier to hide our heads in the sand.

About ten years ago, at a rabbinic convention in Israel, I was introduced to a well-known American Orthodox rabbi as a to’enet rabbanit – rabbinical court advocate. The rav politely asked me what I do. I briefly explained how I work with dayanim in Israeli batei din on cases of Get-refusal they have difficulty resolving. I stressed my focus on prenuptial agreements to prevent the agunah problem from arising in the first place, through the Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel.

“Oh, I know all about prenups” the rabbi replied. “My daughter just got married but I didn’t tell her to sign one. We don’t need these things.”

This rav, one of the most effective leaders in the American Orthodox world, did not recognize the very real agunah problem in his community. In fact, I have received cries for help (even though I am in Israel) from women who belong to every manner of Orthodox community in the U.S., from chassidishe and haredi to Modern Orthodox and everything in between.

Truth be told, it is difficult for a rav to admit publicly to a problem of Get-refusal in his community when no one is admitting it in the other communities. It is more comforting to imagine that should an agunah case arise, the community will take care of it. However, individuals who begin to tread the path of a me’agen are becoming more and more resistant to communal pressure or even rabbinic influence.

By recognizing the potential for the problem and arranging the signing of prenuptial agreements for its prevention, communal and rabbinic influence can be restored. The problem needs to be prevented from taking root in each individual case before it is too late.

Nevertheless, the practice is to hope for the best, rationalizing the agunah problem with statistics. “What,” we think, “are the chances of this happening to me or to my daughter?”

And yet our communities have overcome deep-seated reluctance in order to deal with other widespread problems. To cut down on the number of cases of genetic disease afflicting the Orthodox community, for example, practical yet dignified solutions were found. The community needed to find a way to assist individuals on a communal level and so now many Orthodox educational institutions routinely bring professionals into twelfth-grade classes to administer blood tests.

In this manner, the individual understands the implicit stamp of approval by the rabbanim and the fear of “what will others think?” is erased, since all are working toward the prevention of the problem.

Similarly, the leadership of each of the various Orthodox communities can make practical arrangements for prenup education with every educational institution – high school, yeshiva gedolah, seminary or college.

A service should be provided whereby every student, man or woman, who becomes engaged is called in. The school’s rabbi or counselor can present the couple with a halachic prenuptial agreement together with an explanation, and arrange for notarization services in the school’s office. In this manner the community will quickly understand that all are expected to sign a prenuptial agreement. It will become “automatic” – one of the things you have to arrange before you get married.

Even those who marry later, while no longer under the aegis of educational institutions, will remember to sign a prenuptial agreement since it will have become a standard part of the shidduch process.

Twenty-one rabbanim of one of Americas’ Orthodox communities – roshei yeshiva of Yeshiva University – recently signed a (second) kol koreh calling on all rabbis and the Orthodox community to promote the standard use of a halachic prenuptial agreement. They were spurred to do so by the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot. There are those who may feel YU or ORA is not their derech, but that does not relieve them of the responsibility to address the agunah problem in their own communities.

Dr. Rachel Levmore

A Curious Gambit

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

We were struck by a petition drive launched by the National Jewish Democratic Council demanding that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican Party reject contributions from billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson.

The NJDC claims Mr. Adelson’s money is tainted, based on unproven allegations in a lawsuit brought by a disgruntled former employee as well as other claims that Mr. Adelson was personally aware of and condoned unsavory conduct in several of his companies. Coming at a time when the media are reporting problems with President Obama’s reelection fund-raising efforts and, in contrast, a flourishing money drive by Mr. Romney, we can’t help but detect a sense of panic. This is especially so since Mr. Adelson has announced plans for huge infusions in contributions to Republican coffers in the run-up to the November election. But the outcry over Mr. Adelson may end up being a Pandora’s Box for the president.

As noted, the NJDC campaign invokes unproven charges against Mr. Adelson. Yet major Democratic contributor George Soros was convicted in 2002 by a French court of insider trading and fined some 2.2 million Euros. No similar calls have been made to reject or return his contributions. The NJDC effort is also likely to resurrect the controversy over President Obama’s refusal to return a million-dollar contribution from comedian Bill Maher following his outrageous derogatory public references to Sarah Palin and other prominent Republican women.

And then there are the very public embraces of the racial arsonist Al Sharpton by the president and his attorney general, Eric Holder. That’s the Reverend Al Sharpton of Tawana Brawley, Crown Heights and Freddie’s Fashion Mart fame. Most recently, Mr. Sharpton stretched to find a racial dimension to the congressional vote holding Mr. Holder in contempt for failure to turn over requested documents:

As I marched this past Sunday with tens of thousands in New York in opposition to the abhorrent practice of stop & frisk, I couldn’t help but think of our attorney general. Tattered down and publicly humiliated, AG Holder has been mishandled just like the young Black and Latino men (and women) who are demonized on our streets everyday….

From the president on down, Democrats have ignored these notorious actions, which are matters of public knowledge. If Mr. Adelson is a fitting target for rebuke, why not those from the Democratic side? And a word or two about the NJDC’s reliance on mere allegations might also be in order.

Editorial Board

Obama Administration Stabs Israel in the Back

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

The Founders in their wisdom divided the powers of government; some to the Executive, some to the Legislative. The power of the purse went to Congress; diplomacy to the Executive.

How that shakes out matters to the U.S. and our democratic allies.

The democracy of Israel, for example, had a good week with Congress. The Senate adopted, by unanimous consent (and 69 sponsors), a bill increasing coordination in the fields of missile defense, homeland security, energy, intelligence, and cyber-security. It also called for enhancing Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME), a difficult-to-measure state of affairs, but a concept that friends of Israel appreciate. The House already passed its version of the same legislation.

The practicality of the bill is striking: do things, share things, develop things, produce things, and protect things. These are security enhancements that can only be done with an ally. Congress wants to do them with Israel.

President Obama, on the other hand, has been doing diplomacy, which by its nature skirts the concrete. Many administrations, including this one, believe speech is action. Diplomats fear they won’t get credit for damage avoided, so they often choose to produce no outcome all – just another meeting set for later – and never end the “process.” Playing for compromise – or even a respectable loss – can be satisfactory. Talking can replace doing. That may work for the United States, a big country with room to maneuver when it makes mistakes, but Israel lives much closer to the edge. Diplomatic trouble can quickly become economic, political or military trouble.

The UN Security Council has not managed to have a discussion about Syria since April, but the President has finally figured out how to have the Council “briefed” on the subject by Navi Pillai – a renowned Israel-basher. The French wanted to discuss Syria. The Russians were willing only if the US-French-British adventure in Libya was on the docket. Rotating member Pakistan wanted to hang Israel. And so a deal was done – give up Israel for Syria – protecting the French, skirting the Russians, and accommodating our friends the Pakistanis. As a veto-wielding member, the U.S. could have nixed the program, but instead insisted only that the Syrian meeting be held in the morning and the Israel-bashing in the afternoon; Ms. Pillai will have time in between for lunch.

Read the unparalleled Anne Bayevsky for the details.

France, by the way, was the only European country to agree that the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem should be listed as a Palestinian UNESCO Heritage Site. The US is not a member of the World Heritage Committee. Our delegate campaigned against the vote, but lost. We are accustomed to losing in the UN, and it seems not to bother us much as it should for a country that covers nearly a quarter of the U.N.’s payroll with a blank check, no questions asked (or, more accurately, no answers given).

In the UN Human Rights Council, our representative Eileen Donahoe again remonstrated the Council for its “biased and disproportionate focus on Israel, as exemplified by this standing agenda item.”

The “standing agenda item” is Item 7, “Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab territories.” It mandates that every discussion in the Council have a component devoted to (castigating) Israel. Ms. Donahoe objects – but she knows (her boss, the President, knows) she will lose every time because she is sitting with the likes of Congo, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Qatar, Cuba, the PRC and Malaysia. Players rotate (terms on the Council are three years), but the number of countries with unspeakable human rights records far exceeds the number of democratic countries, and the number of countries that vote en bloc (Arab/Muslim/African) far exceeds the number voting independently. The Council will always contain a preponderance of authoritarian countries whose governments engage in human rights abuses and have nothing to lose by castigating Israel.

President Obama stated that the U.S. would engage the Syrian uprising in the context of UN-sponsored discussion and UN-sponsored plans. Over last weekend, the UN-sponsored Syria Action Group convened in Geneva. Neither the Syrian government nor the opposition attended. The final communiqué told both how to behave; both rejected the tutorial. The U.S. and Russia also have also publicly disagreed about the implications of the document.

Shoshana Bryen

Day Two of the Presidential Conference Closes with Pessimism about the Global Economy

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson, President of the Council of Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, and Financial Times Reporter Martin Wolf headlined a panel led by Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer.

The panel, which focused on the future of the global economy was highlighted by a general sense of pessimism, with several members noting that tough times lay ahead, particularly for Europe.

When the discussion turned to the strength of the Eurozone, an especially grim picture emerged.

“If things are just left to unfold as they are now,” said Wolf, “with the resources they put up for it – the Euro zone is going to fail.”

Ferguson echoed this stormy forecast, noting that the current stagnation may be a precursor for larger problems, saying, “We ain’t seen nothing yet. The flash crash (of 2008) will be nothing compared to the next crash.”

The session also included Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Alan Bollard and was preceded by an address from Alassane Ouatarra, President of the Ivory Coast.

While the panelists tended to see a bleak picture, President Outarra’s address was filled with optimism in the strength and potential of the growing African economies, calling them the “African Lions.” Yet, he too recognized that economic prosperity needs stability.

“The democratic process is irreversible,” said Ouatarra, “but we need to win the war of security for economic development so that the next generation can benefit too.”

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/special-features/president-conference-israel-2012/day-two-of-the-presidential-conference-closes-with-pessimism-over-the-global-economy/2012/06/21/

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