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March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘democratic’

Mitt, Supporting Palestinian Statehood is NOT Pro-Israel

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Let’s be clear, Barack Obama is anti-Israel president and a pro-Palestinian president. As I have written in detail, he came into office with the goal of pressuring Israel and raising the banner of the Palestinian cause.

Mitt Romney seems to have a genuinely friendly view towards Israel, which he has demonstrated in various public statements and his recent visit to Israel. And, quite frankly, pretty much anyone would be friendlier to Israel than Obama. Yet, in his foreign policy address yesterday, Romney adopted the position which is at the heart of U.S. pressure on Israel: supporting Palestinian statehood.

Romney said:

Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.  On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.

A Palestinian state can and will never live side by side in peace and security with the Jewish State of Israel. As a number of Palestinian opinion polls have shown, Palestinians are determined to destroy Israel even after they have a state. Palestinian organizations – even “moderate” ones like Fatah – and leaders – like the “moderate” Mahmaoud Abbas – have declared that they don’t and won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish State. They repeatedly declare that all of the land from the river to the sea belongs to them. They teach this to their children. They use violence against civilians as a political tool and devalue the worth of Jewish life. They teach this to their children too.

Nor will it be democratic as President George W. Bush called for with his Road Map for Peace. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is serving his seventh year of his five year turn. Hamas democratically won Palestinian parliamentary elections and then proceeded to militarily take over Gaza and executed their opponents.

Romney has himself made these points.

Talking about this “peaceful” and “democratic” or even “demilitarized” Palestinian state continues the delusion and results in more pressure in Israel to make gestures (which in turn results in dead Israelis) as Israel is the only party to the process willing to listen.

Of course, Romney is not to blame. Successive Israeli administrations have endorsed this position, despite the fact that it causes so much misery to Israel. So Romney should not be expected to be more Catholic than the Pope when it comes to Israel’s claims and interests.

True, pressure from the State Department has a lot to do with Israel’s position and the president is ultimately responsible for the State Department’s actions. Nevertheless it is up to Israel to stand up for its interests and make its own case to counter other voices which the president is exposed to whether it be the State Department or Arab leaders and diplomats.

“Israel’s Capital” Lingo Re-Added to Democratic Party Platform

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

At President Obama’s behest, and to boos from some delegates, Democrats on Wednesday night inserted a few lines into their party platform affirming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Two of the lines had appeared in the 2008 party platform but had been dropped for some reason when this year’s platform was released Monday night; no one could quite explain the omission.

The removal of the language had prompted a firestorm of criticism from Republicans, including Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and from Democratic lawmakers in Congress, who said the removal of references to Jerusalem had blindsided them. Pro-Israel groups also asked that the language be restored to the party platform.

“Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel,” stated the amendment that passed Wednesday evening when the party’s platform committee met in Charlotte, the site of this year’s Democratic National Convention. “The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

Robert Wexler, a top Jewish surrogate for President Obama’s reelection campaign and a drafter of this year’s platform, told JTA that Obama played a direct role in Wednesday’s change. “The president directly intervened to make sure this amendment happened,” he said.

The first two sentences appeared in the 2008 platform. The third satisfied longstanding demands from pro-Israel groups that Obama restate the pledge he made at the 2008 American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference that he is committed to an “undivided” Jerusalem.

Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles’ mayor and a chairman of this year’s convention, faced a chaotic scene when he brought the committee’s reconstituted language to the full floor for a vote. The amendment also restored the word “God” to the platform, following complaints from some religious groups.

It took three voice votes to pass the language, and although Villaraigosa finally declared a two-thirds majority, it was not clear that the amendment got majority support. Boos were audible.

The Republican Jewish Coalition, the Romney campaign and the Arab American Institute suggested that what Democratic opponents at the convention didn’t like was the change made to the Jerusalem language.

Romney’s campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, called the approval of the language “begrudging.” Matthew Brooks, RJC’ director, said, “To hear delegates on the floor of the Democratic convention strongly voice their opposition to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then boo when the chairman passes the resolution to adopt that language, is a shock.” James Zogby, the Arab American Institute president, expressed his pride “that so many delegates delivered a resounding no.”

C-SPAN video showed delegates in the institute’s “Yallah, Vote” T-shirts voting against. But a report from the floor on the news website BuzzFeed cited myriad reasons by delegates for their opposition. Some objected to the God language; others appeared to resent having the resolution forced past them without consideration.

“I didn’t get a chance to read it and there was no discussion,” John Washburn, a delegate from Georgia, told BuzzFeed. “It was up there for 30 seconds and then it was down. I’m upset with the process. That’s why I voted no.”

An array of congressional Democrats had complained on Tuesday and Wednesday about the removal of the Jerusalem language from the party platform, saying they were caught unawares.

Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) said he was angry when he learned of the omission. “It’s wrong,” he told JTA, although, he added, “these platforms don’t have a lot of meaning in terms of the work I do in the U.S. Senate.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), who is running for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat and is one of the most steadfastly pro-Israel Democrats in Congress, said that it was an understatement to say she was disappointed.

“I believe with every breath in my body that Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” she told JTA. She added that she believes Obama’s record on Israel overall is supportive, noting the enhanced U.S.-Israeli security relationship and Obama’s efforts to push back in the United Nations against anti-Israel measures.

Campaign officials had said that the language was removed because the overall platform focused on Obama’s achievements — in Israel’s case, the enhancement of defense cooperation and the isolation of Iran.

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.

Democratic Platform Omits Language on Jerusalem, Notes Iran Military Option

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The 2012 Democratic Party platform omits language recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and suggests that military force is “on the table” as an option for addressing the Iranian nuclear issue.

The platform released late Monday night makes no mention of Jerusalem or of the issue of Israel’s capital. By contrast, the 2008 platform stated that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” The 2008 platform also stated that the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations.”

The new platform touts President Obama’s work on implementing tougher international sanctions against Iran. It says that Obama “is committed to using all instruments of national power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

“President Obama believes that a diplomatic outcome remains the best and most enduring solution,” the platform states. “At the same time, he has also made clear that the window for diplomacy will not remain open indefinitely and that all options — including military force — remain on the table.”

The 2008 platform referred to “keeping all options on the table.”

On Israel, the new platform emphasizes the Obama administration’s support for Israeli security measures such as Iron Dome and refers to Obama’s “consistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel.”

It also states that the president and his party are committed to seeking peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

“A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state,” the platform states. “At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel’s security concerns are met.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition, on Twitter, criticized the omission in the new platform of language describing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The current Republican platform refers to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The RJC also highlighted the absence from the new Democratic platform of language in the Democrats’ 2008 platform calling for Hamas to be isolated, Palestinian refugees to return to a future Palestinian state rather than to Israel, and stating that “it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” The Republican platform also does not articulate these positions.

Incorrect And Ill-Advised Assumptions: A Response To Critics Of The Levy Report

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Mr. Peter. A. Joseph, Chairman, Israel Policy Forum Mr. David A. Halperin, Executive Director, Israel Policy Forum Dear Mr. Joseph and Mr. Halperin,

Permit me to introduce myself. I am Ambassador Alan Baker, a member of the Edmond Levy Commission established to examine the status of building in Judea and Samaria and to make recommendations to the government on this and related issues.

As you may know, I am the former ambassador of Israel to Canada and former legal adviser to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the latter capacity, since the early ‘90s I have served as a member in the Israeli delegations to the peace process negotiations with Israel’s neighbors, including the negotiation and drafting of the various agreements between Israel and the PLO.

I read with considerable dismay the letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, dated July 13, 2012, sponsored by IPF and signed by 41 prominent personalities in the U.S. Jewish community, urging him to reject the Levy Commission’s findings and recommendations.

Rather than responding to each individual signatory directly, I am forwarding this response to you both, as chairman and executive director respectively of IPF, in the hope you will ensure that it is circulated among all the other signatories to the letter.

From the content and tenor of the letter, I suspect the signatories are basing themselves on selective media reports and other sources that in fact bear no relation whatsoever to the actual content of the Levy Commission report itself. This is perhaps understandable because, to the best of my knowledge, no English language version of the report exists (apart from a translation by me of the brief summary of the basic conclusion and recommendations).

Accordingly one may presume that none of the signatories have actually read the content of the report. In this context, one may wonder on what basis 41 prominent, important and responsible leaders of the U.S. Jewish community could seriously proffer criticism of a report that they have not read and presume to advise the prime minister of Israel to reject it.

Permit me, with respect, to presume that had the signatories read the report, they would not find any reason to claim, as stated in the letter, that the report “will place the two-state solution, and the prestige of Israel as a democratic member of the international community, in peril.”

Similarly, the description of the report as “legal maneuverings” and as something that will “add fuel to those who seek to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist,” other than insulting to myself and the other members of the commission in light of our respective contributions to the welfare and prestige of Israel, is totally devoid of any basis.

The central and reasoned conclusion of the report, reaffirming the legal and historic rights and claims of Israel with regard to the area and the nature of Israel’s presence therein, is no different from Israel’s policy statements over the years, including speeches by all of Israel’s leaders and ambassadors in the United Nations, as well as in official policy documents issued over the years by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

There is nothing in the report that could in any way be interpreted as placing the “two-state solution” in peril. The opposite is in fact the case. The report reiterates, in paragraph 9, that despite Israel’s well-based and solid legal and historical claims to sovereignty over the area and the right of Israelis to settle therein in accordance with the requisite legal norms and requirements, as set out in the body of the report, consecutive Israeli governments have chosen to opt and continue to opt in favor of conducting bone fide and pragmatic negotiations with the representatives of the Palestinian people and the Arab states, with a view to determine the fate of the area.

This is completely compatible with the address by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the U.S. Congress last May, quoted in your letter.

The main body of the Levy Report deals with practical ways of resolving the outstanding issues concerning planning, zoning and building in the area, in light of the confusing situation in this field that has developed over the last few years. The report proffers recommendations for adjudicating land-ownership disputes between Palestinian and Israeli claimants – all with a view to ensuring just, proper and fair administration.

Paid for by Charles Bronfman, ‘Jewish Stars’ Attack Pro-Settlement Report

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Forty U.S. Jewish leaders sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing concerns about the findings of an Israeli judicial committee that said Judea and Samaria settlements are legal.

The letter, initiated and organized by the Israel Policy Forum (IPF), was delivered Sunday to the Prime Minister’s Office.

“As strong advocates for Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish and democratic state, we are deeply concerned about the recent findings of the government commission led by Supreme Court Jurist (Ret.) Edmund Levy,” the letter read. “We fear that if approved, this report will place the two-state solution, and the prestige of Israel as a democratic member of the international community, in peril.”

IPF, which used to be the darling of former president Bill Clinton, who used an IPF gala in 2001 to unveil his Clinton Parameters for Arab-Israel peacemaking, has greatly diminished in influence and presence in recent years. But a June report by JTA suggested the organization is being pulled out of mothballs to become the prestigious pro-2-State Jewish powerhouse which J-Street just isn’t.

The group that has restarted IFP is made up of Jewish stars in search of a steady employment: Aaron David Miller, a former negotiator in the first Bush and Clinton administrations, Eric Yoffie, who just ended his term as president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), who is retiring from office. With funding from philanthropist Charles Bronfman, the resurrection appears all but certain.

Charles Bronfman is Co-Chairman of Birthright Israel International, a successful program providing an educational travel experience to Israel for young Jewish adults aged 18 to 26.

The IPF rhetoric is the same old tired stuff, extremely 1999:

“A two-state solution – an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip existing peacefully alongside Israel – is an imperative.”

As if the past ten years or so, with thousands of Palestinian rockets and mortar shells dropping on Israeli civilian populations, are not even a speck of schmootz on their rosy glasses, as if the evacuation of thousands of Jews has not led to untold suffering for both Jews and Arabs, as if every Israeli attempt to urge on a concession has not been met with torrents of violence, the 2-staters push on:

“It is the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ensure Israel’s security and future as a Jewish and democratic state.  It is also in the interests of the United States, Israel, the Palestinians and the international community.”

But would to do if the Arabs once again react to Israeli peace gestures with fire? Not to worry, IFP has a solution:

“Israel’s security is a core American interest,” they declare (now, that’s a relief). and: “Terrorism, violence and incitement are central impediments to peace in the region and should be collectively and explicitly renounced. Similarly, rockets targeting innocent civilians along Israel’s northern and southern borders should be condemned by the United States.”

There you go – if Jews start getting killed all over the place, God forbid, this will not go by without the strongest condemnation from the U.S. government!

Signatories on the IFP letter to Netanyahu include the aforementioned Charles Bronfman, who is joined by fellow-philanthropist Lester Crown; Marvin Lender, the former national chairman of United Jewish Appeal; Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University; Bernard Nussbaum, former White House counsel; Richard Pearlstone, former chairman of The Jewish Agency ; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

This group of Jewish leaders between jobs has discovered the platform that would pay their rent for the foreseeable future, and will utilize their skills in one direction: getting Israel back to a position of weakness, torn by internal conflict over the future of the settlements, and once again exposed to Arab violence.

The IFP gang is receiving its first important task, to throw its full, prestigious weight against the findings of an exceptionally distinguished jurist, retired Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy. The Levy committee 89-page report released last week has established what has been known for decades, that “Israel does not meet the criteria of ‘military occupation’ as defined under international law” in Judea and Samaria, and therefore settlements and outposts there are legal.

IFP deals with Levy with the kind of flippant approach Bill Clinton would have appreciated:

“Securing Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state requires diplomatic and political leadership, not legal maneuverings,” they wrote Netanyshu.

See, this is not about justice, it’s about getting things done. What things? Well, justice for the Palestinians, of course.

And, as always in the U.S. Jewish left’s dealings with Israel, there’s the unveiled threat:

“…our great fear is that the Levy Report will not strengthen Israel’s position in this conflict, but rather add fuel to those who seek to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist.”

See? In the end it’s not about solutions, or about priorities, or about—God forbid—the rule of law. In the end it comes to if you don’t do as we say you’ll die.

Finally, somewhere on the list of 40, you’ll rather incongruously find Conservative Rabbi Daniel Gordis, President of the Shalem Center, who’s been making such a profound case all over You Tube for Israel’s need to exist, debating Peter Beinart who sees the settlements as the mother of all evils – what happened to Gordis? Is he over his conflict? Did he go over to the dark side?

Anyway, at this point it is clear that Israel would do much better with fewer friends…

UJA content was used in this article.

Western Critics of Democracy – “Accomplices to Injustice”

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Support for people who criticize their own Western democratic societies is now all too apparent among many Western intellectuals, academics, members of the media, international organizations, and religious groups which, while refusing to challenge cases of injustice, particularly in Muslim countries, instead criticize and condemn the state of Israel at every turn, despite the continuing physical and rhetorical aggression against it.

Intellectual support for, or acquiescence in, tyrannical regimes and unjust rulers is familiar in history. It runs from Plato supporting the tyrant of Syracuse; Seneca praising Nero; Aristotle advising Alexander the Great, and it extends to modern times with individuals such as Martin Heidegger approving, for a time, Hitler, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who, in 1947, justified the fraudulent Moscow Trials which condemned the Russian critics of Stalin.

The Dean of Canterbury in Britain for over 30 years, Hewlett Johnson, embodied a deluded, fanatical mind at work: safe in his ecclesiastical position, and suffering no penalties for his utterances and actions, Johnson was a life-long admirer of both Communism in theory, and the Soviet Union in action. He defended the Nazi-Soviet Pact of September 1939 — the prelude to Hitler’s start of World War II. Johnson’s undying admiration for Communism led him to defend both the arrest in 1949 on false charges, of Cardinal Mindzenty by the Hungarian secret police, and the Soviet invasion of Hungary — for which he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1950, and the Stalin International Peace Prize in 1951.

As George Orwell – himself familiar with such “fellow travelers” of the Soviet Communist regime who, in their irresponsible fashion, supported or excused that regime despite its tyranny and brutality, and at no cost to themselves – wrote, “So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.”

These critics, consciously or not, are now allying with groups and states whose open, ultimate, objective is the destruction of the state of Israel. In fairness, people with this mindset have, in recent years, also supported worthy causes, such as sanctions against the apartheid state of South Africa and calls for its abolition. Such support, however, could hardly be considered courageous: no one had to pay any price for it; on the contrary, there were benefits, both ideological and personal, such as enlarged self-esteem or glory in success.

What is important is that the compassion shown by these individuals has not been present in the face of gratuitous attacks on democratic values, or in the face of aggression, physical and rhetorical, against the state of Israel. Nor have Western Europeans, at least, been willing to face the real problems currently exponentiating there, such as the mass immigration of people from other cultures, who have failed to be successfully integrated into Western societies, as well as the rise of Islamism. The critics of their own democratic societies rarely discuss the real difficulties, both demographically and politically, of the multicultural societies of Britain and France, or what the significance might be of over half the Muslims in Britain believing that it was actually the CIA or the Israeli Mossad which were responsible for the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

What can explain this failure by self-proclaimed high-minded people to respond not only to the physical violence against a tiny democratic ally, but also to the attacks on free speech, or the attempts to prevent criticism of some activity supposedly based on religious principles, such as Christians continually being burned alive in their churches in Nigeria by the fundamentalist goup, Boko Haram [literally: "Western Education Is Forbidden"], or the the possible judicial murder by Iran of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani for refusing to recant his conversion to Christianity, or Iran’s illegal, ongoing threats of genocide against a fellow member of the United Nations?

Part of the explanation, at least regarding Europeans, may be due to what Walter Laqueur, in After the Fall, called a “crisis of lack of will, inertia, tiredness, self-doubt, a lack of self-confidence.” Other people, who are perhaps seeking fame, or acceptance as politically correct, or even material rewards, or who are simply ignorant of political reality, pay no price for their appeasement of the actions and language of countries and groups that are critical of, and actively threaten, democratic values.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/western-critics-of-democracy-accomplices-to-injustice/2012/06/11/

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