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November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Doug Lamborn’

Bill Introduced to Block U.S. Visas for Terrorists

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

On Tuesday, April 1, Colorado congressman Doug Lamborn (R) introduced H.R. 4357 into the U.S. Congress. This proposed legislation is intended to prevent known terrorists from obtaining visas to enter the United States as ambassadors to the United Nations.

Yes, it is absurd that legislation needs to be passed to prevent such a farce. But unless this legislation is passed, the U.S. will allow one of the Iranians who took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and held 52 of our citizens captive for 444 days, to enter the U.S. and to travel to the U.N. in New York.

That is because the current president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hasan Rouhani, named Hamid Aboutalebi as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Aboutalebi is a member of the militant group The Muslim Students Followers of the Imam’s Line, which took the Americans hostage in Tehran.

On November 4, 1979, the Islamic revolutionaries scaled the walls of the American Embassy and occupied it to show their support for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and to express outrage that the deposed Shah of Iran had been admitted into the U.S. for cancer treatment. The revolutionaries wanted the Shah returned to Iran for a trial and, presumably, execution.

“America should not willingly accept into our country a diplomat who helped hold American diplomats hostage. Diplomatic immunity should not apply to terrorists. The only way terrorists should be allowed into our country is if they are coming to face justice. The President can already deny visas to diplomats for spying. Terrorist activities by diplomats, past or present, should be dealt with just as severely,” said Lamborn in a statement released on April 2.

Aboutalebi is now downplaying his role in the group, claiming that he was “merely” a translator and negotiator during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, referred to in Iran as “Conquest of the American Spy Den.”

Lamborn’s proposed bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK1), is a companion bill to the senate version introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), S. 2195.

The bills which seek to prevent known terrorists from obtaining visas in order to enter the U.S., were sent to the Judiciary Committees of their respective houses.

Only 11 percent of all bills introduced make it out of committee, and only approximately three percent of all bills were enacted during 2011 – 2013, so expectations are not high that these bills will pass.

Two Letters to Bibi: Congress Welcomes, Jews Warn

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Within four days last week, pro-Israel congressional leaders Cong. Brad Sherman (D-CA-30) and Cong. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-05), gathered signatures from nearly 100 of their colleagues for a letter urging that a congressional invitation be extended to Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The bi-partisan congressional letter called upon the leadership of the House of Representatives to invite Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of congress when he visits Washington this spring.

The letter cites the importance of inviting the leader of “our closest ally in the Middle East” to speak to congress, particularly given the widespread instability and turmoil in the region.

“Given the importance of our relationship with Israel we ask you to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a Join Session of Congress. Doing so would send a clear message of support for Israel,” the letter states.

“The strong support we have received for this initiative shows our close relationship with the State of Israel which is based on deeply shared values, as well as moral, historical and security ties,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) in a release issued on Thursday, Feb. 13.

At virtually the same time as members of congress were joining together in an effort to demonstrate support for America’s closest ally in the Middle East, another group of Americans were drafting a letter with a very different message to Netanyahu, Israel’s democratically elected leader.

JEWS LAUD KERRY’S EFFORTS; WANT NETANYAHU TO FOLLOW SUIT

This second letter was primarily drafted and signed by members of the Israel Policy Forum, a group once considered iconoclastic because it chose to follow a path that differed from the centrist American Israel Public Affairs Council.

The IPF, formed in the early 1990s, is largely indistinguishable from the newer J Street, other than that the leadership and membership of J Street is much younger. The IPF membership is not only significantly older than J Street, most are extraordinarily wealthy.  Moshe Dann wrote an informative article on the IPF membership in 2012. They have billionaires and heiresses and a felon, oh my!

The central plank of the IPF, like that of J Street, is that a “Two State Solution” to the Middle East conflict is imperative and American diplomatic strength must be deployed to push Israel to accept that policy immediately.

In keeping with that position, the IPF letter to Netanyahu on Wednesday, Feb. 12, lavishes praise on the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his “extraordinary resolve” in advancing the “efforts to pursue a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states for two peoples.”

The IPF letter explained to Israel’s elected leader that they believe what Kerry is doing presents the best opportunity for Israel’s future.

We believe Secretary Kerry’s determined diplomatic effort offers an unprecedented opportunity to ensure Israel’s security, to enhance its prosperity, and to avoid the existential threat to the Jewish posed by bi-nationalism.

Those signing the letter express “hope” that the acting leader of the Palestinian Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, will help to advance the talks.

Describing this as being a  “pivotal moment of decision making” and a “critical juncture for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” the IPF signers implore Netanyahu “to move forward to pursue a lasting peace agreement.”

The letter is signed by 150 American Jews. Although they refer to themselves as a “cross section of American Jews,” most of them have been involved with the IPF for more than 20 years. Apparently they believe the inclusion of Professor Alan Dershowitz, a harsh critic of the boisterous J Street young bucks, gives them diversity creds.

Most recently (prior to last week’s letter) virtually the same passel of peaceniks wrote to Netanyahu in April, 2013.  That time they sent him a finger-wagging letter, imploring him to, in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the Middle East, “respond to President Obama’s call for peace.”

Bulgaria: Additional Evidence Connects Hezbollah to Burgas Bombing

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

In what has become a one step forward, one step backward dance by the Bulgarian government about whether or not Hezbollah was responsible for the deadly July, 2012 bombing of a tourist bus outside the resort town of Burgas, the dance added another step forward this week.

Although a Bulgarian government leader recently seemed to step back from the country’s initial finding that Hezbollah was behind the July, 2012 bombing of a tourist bus outside of the resort town of Burgas, which killed five Israelis – including a woman who had just learned she was pregnant for the first time – and a Bulgarian bus driver, the recent presentation of yet another connection between the Lebanese Shia terrorist group and the bombing should put to rest any doubt about who perpetrated the act of terrorism.

A Bulgarian representative to the European Union said earlier this week that investigators have discovered that a Hezbollah operative was the owner of a printer used to produce fake documents that facilitated the July 19, 2012 bombing.

“The Bulgarians put new evidence on the table during this meeting,” a diplomat quoted by Reuters said. “Their representative said the printer had been sold to someone from Hezbollah.”

The reason it matters so much whether this particular act of terrorism is recognized by a European country as one committed by Hezbollah, is because to date the European Union has refrained from placing Hezbollah on its official list of terrorist organizations.

The European Union is made up of 27 countries, and every member country has to vote in favor of placing an organization on the EU’s terrorist organization list.  But once that were to happen, Hezbollah’s bank accounts would be frozen, and the organization and its supporters would be barred from raising funds for the group anywhere in the European Union. Incredibly, until that happens, one can legally host, or simply contribute to, a Hezbollah fundraiser in most places in Europe.

Speaking at a press conference before meeting with the EU foreign policy chief Lady Catherine Ashton, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said he finds it hard to understand exactly what is a terrorist organization, if not Hezbollah.

I hope that those in Europe who refuse to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization will change their mind, and I hope there will be a European consensus on this. I mean, it’s hard to see how you cannot have a consensus on Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. If Hezbollah isn’t a terrorist organization, I don’t know what a terrorist organization is. I mean, they’re butchering people left and right across the world and now in the cities of Syria. They’re murdering civilians without let-up, including on European soil, as was discovered in Bulgaria, as they try to do in Cyprus. So I would say the designation of Iran’s proxy Hezbollah as a terrorist organization is our second hope that Europe would do, and it would do the right thing.

Netanyahu gave similar remarks when he was in Poland earlier this month.  Poland is also understood to be reticent about placing Hezbollah on the EU’s terrorism list.

The United States placed Hezbollah on its Foreign Terrorist Organization listing in the mid-’90′s. In 2010, the Obama administration described Hezbollah as “the most technically capable terrorist group in the world.”

American politicians have also been calling upon the EU to place Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations. Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), last week amended the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)  to include language urging the EU to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

“Hezbollah is one of the world’s most dangerous organizations. After al Qaeda, it is responsible for the most deaths of American citizens. Unfortunately, the European Union has not yet designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, ” said Lamborn, who is co-chair of the Congressional Israeli Allies Caucus.

Britain, France and Germany are on record as supporting the placement of the Shia terrorist group on the official list of terrorist groups, but resistance remains in some quarters.  Italy, Austria, Finland and the Czech Republic are considered the EU members which most strongly oppose naming Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

A decision about whether the EU will officially name Hezbollah a terrorist organization is expected before the end of 2013.

Bi-Partisan Call: Move US Embassy to J’slm, but Obama Renews Waiver

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

On Tuesday, June 4, a bi-partisan congressional call went out for the United States government to move its Embassy from Tel Aviv, to the capital of Israel, in Jerusalem.

The call went out from the congressional Israel Allies Caucus at an event marking Israel Reunification Day, the day in 1967 that Jerusalem was reunified as the result of Israel’s defeat of the Jordanian army.  Israel acquired the land by defeating Jordan which attacked Israel as part of the 1967 war, despite Israel’s repeated pleas to Jordan to stay out of the hostilities.

The Congressional Israel Allies Caucus is a bi-partisan pro-Israel body which is jointly headed by Democratic and Republican Congressmen alike, and includes dozens of Congressmen across the political spectrum.

“We strongly believe that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel with no waivers and no caveats,” said Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), co-chair of the IAC.

“It is long overdue for the U.S. government to relocate our embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem,” said Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-30). Sherman, who is Jewish, who became the co-chair of the IAC in late May.  He noted that the move was a “no brainer” because the location of the planned U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is in a part of the city which has been under Israeli sovereignty since 1948.

“The deep commitment and friendship to the State of Israel transcend political differences,” said Republican Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-08).

The Capital Hill event marking Jerusalem’s reunification was marked by dozens of lawmakers all over the world, via simultaneous broadcasting in government centers in Israel and in Europe.

“We appreciate your tireless efforts to secure the future of Jerusalem and of the Jewish State,” said Noam Katz, from the Embassy of Israel in Washington.  “You are true and abiding friends who stand faithfully by our side.  Your continued friendship inspires and sustains us.”

On the same day as the bipartisan plea, President Obama once again sent his official memorandum to the secretary of state invoking the suspension of the 1995 U.S. law that requires this country to move the embassy to Jerusalem.  Obama, as has every president since the law was passed, both Democrats and Republicans, claimed that the embassy cannot be moved to Jerusalem because to do so would endanger the national security interests of the United States.

“I hereby determine that it is necessary, in order to protect the national security interests of the United States, to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitations set forth in sections 3(b) and 7(b) of the Act.”

But the rebuff by the U.S. president did not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants.

Newly installed Knesset member Dov Lipman flew in to Washington for the event.  He said, “Jerusalem is not just a place but an idea where we can unify people of all faiths and all backgrounds.”

“We have made Jerusalem a place where everyone can worship openly.”

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/congress-to-obama-time-to-punish-arabs-for-blowing-up-oslo-and-blowing-off-the-us/2012/12/25/

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