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Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Wasserman Schultz’

Wasserman Schultz Turning Her Back on Israel over Iran Sanctions

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s pro-Israel image is being tarnished – make that blackened – by a firmly based report that she is the number one obstacle to a bi-partisan Congressional initiative to threaten new sanctions on Iran, effectively scuttling the recent interim agreement secured by President Barack Obama and the rest of the P5+1 club.

Her spoiler role, reported Wednesday by the Washington Free Beacon, starkly differs from her wild support in August 2012 for the “hardest-hitting sanctions in history” against Iran thanks to Congress having made “clear to the world [that] we are resolute in using all tools at our disposal to halt Iran’s nefarious nuclear ambitions.”

Those “nefarious ambitions” apparently have transformed in less than 18 months into the development of enriched uranium for medical research and other do-good humanitarian efforts that are a disguise for a nuclear warhead headed for Israel, if not Washington.

President Obama has threatened he will veto any Congressional bill to impose harsher sanctions on Iran and put a hole in his “engagement” with the Ayatollahs. Nevertheless, leading Democrats such as New York Sen. Charles Schumer and New Jersey’s Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker don’t buy it, and they support the proposed bill that shows Iran it cannot get away with murder literally.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland also was on the sanction bandwagon but backed off in the past two weeks. Why?

All fingers point to Wasserman Schultz, the Free Beacon reported, and the reactions back home in her strongly Jewish South Florida district are far from favorable.

“Every minute she is publicly silent, or working against bipartisan efforts to pressure Iran, is a minute she is siding with the Mullahs over the American people who overwhelmingly want mounting pressure,” one Democratic Congressman told the Washington newspaper.

“Debbie has been busy at home telling her constituents she is doing all she can to stop Iran, but in reality it appears she is busy behind the scenes working to scuttle bipartisan action to put increased sanctions pressure on Iran.”

It quoted a South Florida Jewish community leader as saying that her constituents have serious problems with her new soft-on-Iran position.

She has a Congressional ally with Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, who also opposed the bi-partisan effort, but she will have a lot of explaining to do at a meeting this week called by Jewish leaders in her South Florida district.

Wasserman Schultz’s spokeswoman did not reply to the Free Beacon’s request for a comment on the report.

The first sign of her currying favor with President Obama and closing her eyes to Iranian’s Islamic wish to annihilate Israel came on November 25, after the interim agreement was reached.

“I commend President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Under Secretary Sherman and their team for the tremendous amount of work they put into these negotiations,” she said in a press release. “This agreement provides a framework to stop the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran while we work to negotiate a broad, comprehensive deal to permanently dismantle their nuclear weapons capability.”

After having bragged in 2012 that the Congressional sanctions caused Iran “a daily loss of $133 million and 1.2 million barrels of oil… [and] that we will not accept a nuclear Iran, and that we are prepared to use all options at our disposal to keep the world free from this Iranian threat.” she has swallowed the Obama “let’s trust Iran” policy hook, line and sinker.

Wasserman Schultz is ignoring official Iranian statements that make it clear it signed the agreement to buy time.

For example, the interim agreement would prohibit Iran from adding more centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facilities.

So how did Iran follow up? Well, at least it is honest, to wit:

“We have two types of second-generation centrifuges. We also have future generations [of centrifuges] which are going through their tests,” Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said less than two weeks ago.

Also last December, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assured the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Arak reactor in Iran that is designed to use plutonium, which could be used to construct a bomb, is “frozen stone cold, where it is” and “we’re actually going to have the plans for the site delivered to us.”

Really?

Salehi announced a week later that Iran’s heavy water installations Arak will continue its work with full power.

If Wasserman Schultz still believes that Iran has turned over a new leaf and no longer has “nefarious ambitions,” all she has to do is look at Lebanon and Syria.

Hezbollah, now up its neck in Syria and working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is smuggling anti-ship missiles from Syria piece by piece after previous attempts to smuggle them into Lebanon were ruined by Israeli intelligence, followed up by Israeli aerial strikes on the weapons.

So Iran really does not need a nuclear bomb if it can simply use Hezbollah to blow Israel off the map.

Wasserman Schultz may be the woman who saves President Obama from having to veto the sanctions bill, which already has the support of 50 senators, twice as many as when the bill was introduced last month, and one short of a majority.

The bill is aimed at putting teeth into the interim agreement by declaring that Iran must abide by it rather than simply biding time until a final agreement is reached, if that ever happens.

If not, then new sanctions would go into place.

It appears that the only thing that might change Wassermann Schultz’s new go-soft-on Iran position is a severe backlash from her constituents, who are more worried about the Iranian nuclear threat against Israel – and the United States – than she is.

Congress to Obama: Time to Punish Arabs for Blowing Up Oslo and Blowing Off the US

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

A bi-partisan majority of congressional members sent a letter to U.S. President Barak Obama late last week.  In the letter, the members insist that the time has come for this U.S. government to hold the Arab Palestinian leadership responsible for their bald refusal to comply with repeated requests from the United States government to refrain from seeking an enhanced status at the United Nations General Assembly, as is required of the Arabs under the Oslo Agreements under which it is bound.

The PLO pledged in the Oslo Agreements that it would take no unilateral actions to change the status of the disputed territories and Gaza.

Congressional leadership that has long been involved in working with Israel and the Arab Palestinians in attempts to resolve the Middle East conflict, such as U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee, U.S. Reps. Edward R. Royce (R-CA) and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY, Chairman-designate and Ranking Member-designate, respectively, of the Committee, along with more than 230 other members of  Congress, signed and sent the letter to the President on Friday, December 21.

The letter informed the President that “we believe the United States must react strongly to the ‘Palestinian’ leadership’s failure to uphold its obligations,” and explained that in order to send a clear message of U.S. disapproval, the Arab leaders must learn that their actions are not “cost-free,” and, “at a minimum, they result in setbacks to U.S.-’Palestinian’ relations.”

Congressional members suggested that the minimal steps the U.S. should take at this time would be to close the PLO office in Washington, D.C. and to call on the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem – who is, illogically, responsible for relations with the Arab Palestinians but not Jewish or Arab Israelis – back to Washington for consultations.

The congressional letter to President Obama points out the necessity for the U.S. government to ensure that the UNGA vote on November 29 “does not serve as a precedent for elevating the status of the PLO in other UN bodies or international forums.”

Should the PLO attempt to force its hand by seeking membership in those other UN institutions, the congressional members told President Obama that, “we should do everything possible to make sure that does not happen, including by reaffirming our commitment to maintaining and enforcing U.S. laws that require withholding U.S. contributions from any international forum that grants membership to the PLO.”

The PLO envoy in Washington, Maen Aerikat, told the Palestinian News Agency Ma’an, that the congressional letter “is an attempt by Congress to undermine the U.S. administration in any possible role it is planning to play in Palestinian affairs.”

In addition to pointing out that “punitive measures won’t pay off.  If they were effective we would have already changed our mind,” Aerikat railed at Israel, suggesting it was behind the congressional effort.  He said, “It is a political decision, a decision on the part of the Israeli government to escalate things against the Palestinian people at home and here…the U.S. is their other front.”

In a letter circulated to members of Congress by the PLO Envoy on December 14, Aerikat sought to dissuade Congress from responding to the PA provocation.  Aerikat makes several points in his letter, one of which should qualify for the Chutzpah Hall of Fame.  Perhaps he forgot that the action taken by Congress was in response to the decision by his colleagues to spurn dialogue and negotation, and instead to take unilateral action by introducing a one-sided resolution at the U.N.  This is what Aerikat wrote:

Engagement and dialogue is the only way to express the views of Congress.  Biased and one-sided resolutions cannot contribute to an atmosphere that is conducive for a political resolution to the conflict.

Not all Jews supported the congressional effort.  In the interview with Ma’an, Aerikat appreciatively listed both J Street and Americans for Peace Now as organizations that oppose the initiative to punish the Arab Palestinians for violating the Oslo Accords by seeking unilateral changes through the UN vote.  Although not mentioned by the PLO Envoy, the Union for Reform Judaism has also actively lobbied against congressional efforts to shutter the PLO Office.

US State Department Still Refusing to Say Jerusalem Is Capital of Israel

Friday, September 7th, 2012

First we learned that the traditional pro-Israel language affirming that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel was deleted from this year’s Democratic Party Platform.  Then, after waves of negative publicity, the Democrats re-inserted the magic language in a balagan that will be remembered as one of the most chaotic moments in political party convention history, despite the lack of an obvious 2/3s majority.  In less than an hour, Democratic National Committee Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl) was saying, with a straight face, that of course it was the position of this administration, as it always had been, that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

And Wasserman Schultz insisted that the position of President Obama has always been that Jerusalem is and always will remain the capital of Israel.  What’s more, she stated in numerous interviews, that it was President Obama who made sure that the language be re-inserted into the platform.  Never mind that Wasserman Schultz has, throughout this campaign, adamantly supported the State Department Spokeswoman and the White House Press Secretary’s refusal to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

But we’re not done yet.

Less than 24 hours after the “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel” language was reinserted, this administration has once again shifted course.  In today’s State Department’s daily press conference, the United States officially refuses to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Daily Press Briefings : Daily Press Briefing – September 6, 2012
09/06/2012 04:12 PM EDT
Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
September 6, 2012

TRANSCRIPT:


12:52 p.m. EDT

MR. VENTRELL: Okay, good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department. We have with us some diplomats who are headed out to be spokespeople at some of our embassies overseas, so welcome to the briefing, to all of you. I don’t have anything else, so I’ll turn it over to you.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: On Israel?

MR. VENTRELL: Yeah.

QUESTION: Which city does the U.S. Government recognize as the capital in the – Israel?

MR. VENTRELL: Well, as you know, longstanding Administration policy, both in this Administration and in previous administrations across both parties, is that the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. So that’s longstanding Administration policy and continues to be so.

QUESTION: I mean, no city is recognized as a capital by the U.S. Government?

MR. VENTRELL: Again, I just stated our position, and it’s one we’ve said here many times before.

QUESTION: That means Jerusalem is not a part of Israel?

MR. VENTRELL: What it means is that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in final status negotiations.

QUESTION: But you do have an Embassy in a city which is not Jerusalem.

MR. VENTRELL: Our Embassy is in Tel Aviv, and we have a Consulate General in Jerusalem.

QUESTION: Right. But I mean, if you have an Embassy, usually it’s in the capital; so therefore, it would appear that you believe that Tel Aviv is the capital.

MR. VENTRELL: What we believe is that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in final status negotiations between the two parties. And currently, our Embassy is in Tel Aviv.

QUESTION: Are there any other countries in the world where the U.S. doesn’t know what the capital is or won’t say what the capital of a country is?

QUESTION: What does the U.S. think the capital of Israel is? What do you –

MR. VENTRELL: As I’ve just said, we believe that the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status –

QUESTION: I’m not asking you that question. I’m asking you what you think the capital is.

MR. VENTRELL: And my response is that Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations.

QUESTION: She didn’t ask about Jerusalem, though.

MR. VENTRELL: Look, this is something we’ve been through at this podium. Toria has been through it before. We’ve repeated it many times. You know that the position is. It hasn’t changed for decades.

QUESTION: Wait, I know that. And I don’t want to play the verbal game, I’m just very curious if you actually have a position about a capital of that country. And if you don’t, if – I just would like to hear you say you don’t.

Will DNC Chair Be Dumped?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The Weekly Standard is already advancing the speculation that Debbie Wasserman Schultz be let go from her post as DNC chair following her blatant lie regarding Republicans, Israel, and Israel’s ambassador Michael Oren.

In a TV appearance Tuesday night, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was asked about the Michael Oren email. But instead of acknowledging her misstatement, the DNC chair attacked the reporter, Philip Klein, who quoted her.

“I didn’t say he said that,” Wasserman Schultz said. “And unfortunately, that comment was reported by a conservative newspaper. It’s not surprising they would deliberately misquote me. What I always say is that unfortunately the Republicans have made Israel a political football, which is dangerous for Israel. And Ambassador Oren has said that we can’t ever suggest that there is any daylight between the two parties on Israel because there isn’t. And that that’s harmful to Israel. That’s what I said, and that is accurate.”

But Klein fired back.  Not only did he state that “Debbie Wasserman Schultz lied on national TV,” and accuse her of smearing the good name of an honest reporter in order to achieve her goals, but posted the audio recording of her statements online, so that readers could judge for themselves whether Schultz made the statement about Oren.  The clip was uploaded to Youtube, and posted below.

Israel’s Ambassador: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Lied

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Israel’s U.S. ambassador Michael Oren denied the claim made by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, that he had told her that what the Republican party was doing was “dangerous for Israel.”

Back in August, Hadassah Magazine interviewed Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and one of their question was: “Why did you call on both parties to refrain from challenging each other over support for Israel?”

“What the Republicans are doing is dangerous,” answered the DNC chair. “They are using Israel as a political football.… Israel’s ambassador [to the United States], Michael Oren, has said this. If there is any perception of daylight between the parties on support for Israel, that strengthens Israel’s enemies. The president rejects what some Republican candidates have been saying, that America should review all its foreign aid commitments from zero, making each country justify the support it receives.”

Then, in a speech at the Democratic Convention yesterday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz declared, “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”

In an emailed statement, Ambassador Oren stated “I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel. Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle.”

According to Philip Klein of the Beltway Confidential, the Florida congresswoman made the charge at a training session for Jewish Democrats, aimed at teaching Jewish Democrats how to convince their fellow Jews to vote for Obama.

As she was wrapping up her remarks, Klein reports, she claimed that, “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”

It could be that she didn’t actually mean that Oren had told this to her directly – but there’s no doubt that the impression her crew of volunteers walked away with was: Oren told Debbie the Republicans are dangerous to Israel.

He says he never did. She lied, basically using Israel to bash the Republicans.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Touts Obama’s Creds, Many Remain Unconvinced

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

If the goal of the Jewish Americans for Obama event was to rally the home crowd and pound away at well-worn talking points about why Jews should support Obama, an event held at a Philadelphia suburban synagogue on Monday night was just what the doctor ordered.

If the JAO’s goal was to inform and educate those who were not already fervent supporters of the president, the cantankerous headline speaker and a determined and equally partisan segment of the audience made sure that did not happen.

More than a thousand people filled the auditorium of Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, Monday night, to hear Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tout President Obama’s record.

The warm-up speakers were an array of local, state and national Jewish politicians. They mostly stayed on message, and hit the high notes of the president’s accomplishments that appeal to Jews.

Much was heard from column A of the Jewish menu, the domestic front: primarily abortion rights and the more generic “civil rights and civil liberties,” and, from column B, support for Israel: continued foreign aid for the Jewish State, increased funding for the Iron Dome defense system, and the amorphous but emphatic “unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation” between the U.S. and Israel.

There were some partisan swipes, but an effort was made, especially by favorite son Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, to emphasize their kosher bona fides, providing the hecksher for Obama support.

But when it came to the main act, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the evening became a little less of a Jewish kumbaya session and a little more of a boxing brawl. After spicing up her standard purely cultural Jewish connection between Barack Obama and American Jews with some Hebrew phrases (some of which, like gemilut chasadim—acts of charity—she stumbled over), the congresswoman at last re-entered her comfort zone.

“Our faith is so rooted in ideas of justice, and our values are the same as those at the core of the Democratic party,” she told the audience. “The harmony between these ideals makes the Democratic party the natural home of the American Jewish community.”

Once Wasserman Schultz was fully launched, it seemed impossible for her to hold back. After extolling the justice and fairness values of the Jewish religion, and lining it up precisely with the Democratic party, she went the next step, and opened the sluices.

“There is nothing, and I mean nothing, in the Republicans’ right wing social agenda that appeals to the American Jewish community,” she asserted.

“Not true,” a lone female voice was heard from the audience.

And from that moment on, there were repeated interruptions and isolated but persistent heckling, whenever the speaker veered into anti-Republican commentary. There were also open challenges to some assertions of the president’s stalwart support for Israel, especially that he has “unequivocally, publicly defended Israel on the world stage.”

There are some in the Jewish community who believe the United States has not done enough at the United Nations to support Israel from constant and unfair attacks.

And so the rest of the evening went, with a constant but muffled Greek chorus of “untrue” in response to some of the more extreme statements either praising Obama or bashing the Republicans.

An apparently unintentionally ironic Wasserman Schultz statement drew the biggest laugh of the evening. Following a ten minute talk liberally sprinkled with attacks on Republican values and on the Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, she said, “I know we are all disturbed and troubled by those who make misleading statements for purely partisan gain.”

Walter and Marcia Rosen are Republicans who readily acknowledge they were initially unhappy with the idea of having the Wasserman Schultz event at their synagogue. Walter, a retired scientist and entrepreneur, is intensely aware of current events and is critical of President Obama for many reasons, particularly his lack of appreciation of the role played by the private sector in creating jobs.

Rosen was ultimately satisfied that the shul saw the event as an opportunity to provide information to congregants, and that the leadership is committed to having a similar event for the Republicans. But he was nevertheless disappointed by the event. “The idea may have been to have an educational event, but Wasserman Schultz and her team clearly considered this to be nothing more than a pep rally,” he said.

As happens so often with a large crowd, audience questions written out by participants on index cards were collected in advance. An announcement was made at the beginning of the evening that the most representative questions would be selected for the Question and Answer session.

The first question, directed to Wasserman Schultz, was “How do you feel about Romney having a Swiss bank account?” Romney has taken a pounding in the media for having money in such accounts, socked away beyond the reach of the Internal Revenue Service.

Wasserman Schultz pounced over to the microphone. “It is difficult for me to understand why an American businessman needs a Swiss bank account, other than if he’s trying to evade paying taxes,” she said.

Over the past week it was revealed that Wasserman Schultz herself (or, at least, her husband) had at least some funds in Swiss and similar bank accounts.

At the conclusion of the event, a woman approached Marcia Rosen, who, unlike much of the crowd, had not been enthusiastically clapping throughout the evening.

“What’s the matter, aren’t you a Jew?” The woman demanded of Rosen. “Do you want another Holocaust?” Rosen, a tall, thin woman, shrank back. Larry Kagel, from nearby Fort Washington, adorned with an Abortion Rights pin, and a Jewish Americans for Obama pin, interceded. “People can have disagreements,” Kagel said, “but you’re both Jews.”

Suburban Philly Temple to Feature GOP Speaker after Wasserman Schultz

Monday, July 16th, 2012

A Philadelphia-area Reform temple will feature a Republican speaker to balance an appearance by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is set to speak Monday at the Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pa., on behalf of President Obama.

The synagogue’s senior rabbi, Lance Sussman, told JTA that he is now working with the Republican Jewish Coalition to set up an alternative event.

Sussman said the synagogue had reached out to multiple Republican officials, including at the Romney campaign, at the office of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the Jewish U.S. House of Representatives majority leader, and Republican state lawmakers before announcing the Wasserman Schulz event.

In the absence of a speaker, and with Wasserman Schultz’s appearance approaching, Sussman said the temple had no choice but to go ahead with her event, while noting in the literature that a Republican speaker would also appear at another date.

The RJC’s Philadelphia-area chapter then objected through social media to what it called a one-sided program.

“The RJC presumed – and didn’t check with us – that we are not having another evening with a Republican speaker, which is something we are committed to and announced in our publicity,” Sussman told JTA.

Sussman ackowledged that the RJC had not been “on my radar,” although it has a high profile among political Jewish groups. But he also noted that his other Republican interlocutors had not referred him to the group. He said he would now establish a relationship with the group.

JTA left a message late Sunday with Matthew Brooks, the national RJC director, seeking further comment.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/suburban-philly-temple-to-feature-gop-speaker-after-wasserman-schultz/2012/07/16/

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