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June 27, 2016 / 21 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Ya’alon: I’m Running for PM Next Elections, to Fight Hate, Discrimination and Fear Mongering

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

At his keynote speech at the 2016 Herzliya Conference, Lt. Gen. (res.) and former Minister of Defense Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon announced his plan to run for Prime Minister of Israel in the next elections. But he did not reveal in which party.

Ya’alon began by describing the current security situation of Israel and reviewed the different threats it is facing. “Terrorist organizations have taken the place of the nation states. War against them will be costly, not an existential threat towards Israel,” he said. Ya’alon argued that following the nuclear agreement with Iran, even though it continues to be “the number one element thriving to destabilize the region and attempt to hurt Israel through terrorist organizations,” it is not an immediate threat to the existence of the state of Israel.

“Knowing the strategic situation of Israel in detail, and the IDF’s power and capabilities, I can say that today and in the foreseeable future there is no existential threat to the state of Israel,” Ya’alon insisted. “Therefore,” he continued, “it is expected of the leadership to stop scaring the citizens of Israel and giving them the sense that we are on the brink of a second holocaust. It is a cynical attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the public, because of the perception that if the public is scared, they will forget the everyday challenges they are facing.”

“Last month I resigned my positions as Israel’s minister of Defense and member of the Knesset. In my announcement I declared my plan to return to public life. My intent is to run for the leadership of Israel in the next elections. The last few months have added and clarified for me the perceived differences between the prime minister and myself.”

“What I am truly worried about are not the weapon trucks travelling from Syria to Lebanon, nor Iran’s attempts to terrorize us – Israel can handle these threats. What I am worried about are the cracks in Israeli society, and the breaking down of fundamental values. The attempts to hurt the IDF in a way that endangers its resilience. The fact that the leadership became litigious instead of building an exemplary society.”

“The state of Israel needs change. We need a leadership that will lead Israel according to its conscience and not based on polls and radical responses on social media. We deserve a leadership that does not use underhanded tactics of ‘divide and concur,’ dividing and inciting Israelis against each other to gain an additional month in government.”

“It is the role of a state leadership to connect the different parts of society, not tear them apart. We require a leadership that would not allow attacking judges and Supreme Court. We deserve a leadership that is not busy with incitement and lashing out against judges and enslaving the media for its own survival needs. The media in Israel must be free and unthreatened, and allow people of all opinions on the right and the left to express them. We deserve a leadership that will be a model of tolerance, a leadership that will vigorously fight sexual harassments and violence against women. A leadership that will not base its survival upon hatred and incitement towards leftists, rightists, settlers, Arabs, Kibbutz members, or any other group – only to get a few more votes.”

“Israel must remain a Jewish, democratic state, and part of the family of nations. It must not allow the violent and racist discourse of a radical minority that have infiltrated the mainstream and the leadership to roll us down to the abyss.”

“A change is important for the future of the state of Israel and it is our obligation to execute it for our future. Therefore, I plan to offer an alternative to the current leadership, because we have no other country,” Ya’alon concluded.

David Israel

New US-Funded PA Reality Show Teaches Candidates How to Buy Votes to Win Elections

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

And ……. we’re back! Cast your ballot for the candidate of YOUR choice for only 80 cents, voters! Who will become the NEXT.President.of.PALESTINE!’

Sound a little weird?

Well yeah, maybe, but this wildly popular reality television show, ‘The President’ has been going on for two seasons now here in the Middle East, and it’s the closest thing to real elections that Arabs in the Palestinian Authority have had in more than a decade.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has made sure of that, after having been “elected” 11 years ago. His presumed five year term hasn’t ended yet.

This show, is being broadcast on the Ma’an satellite network, funded primarily by a U.S. State Department grant to the NGO ‘Search for Common Ground.’ It was originally aired in 2013, and supported by a two-year grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The show reaches viewers in PA-controlled areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as well as elsewhere in the Arab world. And it has an impact, quietly teaching the concepts of how a democratic election really operates.

In the first season, 1,200 candidates ages 25–35 from Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and Israel auditioned to compete in an elimination-style series of trials designed to test their political skills. They were called upon to act as a PA ambassador in a foreign country, managing a large corporation for a day, answering hard-hitting questions on live TV on various political, social, and economic issues affecting Palestinians, exhibiting sufficient self-discipline to be “on-call” and “on-message” 24/7 while on the campaign trail, and keeping their cool in an intense, televised political debate.

In this second season which just culminated this past Thursday (Congratulations to Wa’ad Qannam!), 24 contestant were winnowed out from 1,200 people who sat down to take a series of exams on politics in the Palestinian Authority, international law, development and gender equality.

It’s also an unparalleled learning opportunity for the contestants: at the end of each week the competitors must face a panel of judges to explain what they learned after having shadowed a PA minister or business leader for the entire week prior — and then also tell the judges how they would improve on their “mentor’s” performance.

Both male and female candidates run in the election for leadership and hold rallies while cameras are rolling.

(The top three political platforms this season: Boycott Israel, seize half of Jerusalem for the capital of ‘Palestine’ and reconcile the two estranged ‘halves’ of the PA — Hamas-controlled Gaza with Ramallah-controlled parts of Judea and Samaria.)

The audience is drawn from viewers who can vote via text message at 80 cents per text. Votes from judges and the audience determine who make it from one round to the next – but it’s only the audience who decides in the finale.

Because there are no caps on how many times a voter can send a text, money plays a big part in how far a candidate can get.

A NY Times article pointed out exactly how much money a number of the candidates paid to buy votes to better guarantee their democratic victory. One candidate’s family complained that 24,000 votes they bought and had receipts for had disappeared.

Just like in a real third world kleptocracy.

The point of the show is to groom young citizens in the Palestinian Authority to take on leadership roles in the future, NGO co-director Suheir Rasul told the Associated Press.

Ma’an general director Ra’ed Othman called the show “a message for the Palestinian leadership,” and said bluntly, “Elections are the solution. Democracy is the solution.”

However you get your votes.

Hana Levi Julian

Shaked Drops Bomb: Habayit Hayehudi Ready for New Elections

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), who is also a member of the Netanyahu security cabinet, on Sunday morning delivered a punch to complement her party’s chairman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s confrontational stance regarding the need to revamp the communications between the security ministers and the IDF. Shaked told Army radio that Habayit Hayehudi is prepared to vote against the appointment of MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) as defense minister, thus blocking the entrance of his faction to the coalition, as long as Netanyahu refuses to appoint a military attaché to every security cabinet minister.

Shaked said this demand is not new, but has in fact been posed to Netanyahu by Bennett several times this year, and received no response from the PM. “Sooner or later, as cabinet members, we are given the responsibility in times of war, which is why we need to receive all the relevant information and be able to see the entire picture.”

Shaked revealed that Bennett had raised the issue at the coalition negotiations a year ago, and Netanyahu said this was not a matter for the coalition agreement, promising he would take it up with Bennett later. But, as is often the case with Netanyahu’s promises, later never came.

“This is not a party issue or a portfolio issue,” Shaked insisted, making clear that “we will vote against Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu entering should this issue not be resolved.” She explained that the issue is not very complicated: decision makers in war-time should be updated on the facts on the ground in order to make good decisions. “We just want to make sure the issue has been resolved,” she reiterated.

Naftali Bennett on Sunday morning has issued his most combative press release to date, stating, “I left hi-tech and entered politics after seeing, as a commander during the second Lebanon war (2006), what happens when the state leaders send soldiers into battle without knowing what they’re doing.”

I didn’t need a job or the money,” Bennett noted, “I swore to myself that I would not allow what I had seen to happen again. Our demand is as simple as it is dramatic: we want that the commander of the chief of staff and of the IDF, meaning the security cabinet, the body that makes life and death decisions, will stop being blind.”

Bennett insisted that “Right now it is blind by choice.”

Citing his fight with the IDF chief of staff and the defense minister during the 2014 Gaza War over the threat of Hamas terror tunnels that led into Israeli territory, Bennett accused the security apparatus and the prime minister of intentionally keeping the security cabinet in the dark, and, in fact, discouraging IDF commanders from sharing relevant information that might contradict the official military line. He blamed the fact that the war began too late and without consideration of the tunnels’ threat for the fact that the war lasted way too long — 51 days — and cost so many lives (63 IDF soldiers).

“I am not able to give in any longer,” Bennett declared.

Shaked rejected the announcement by Netanyahu’s office that yet another committee would be appointed to examine the Habayit Hayehudi demands. “There have been many committees,” she noted, pointing out that their recommendations have never been applied.

Finally, a coalition member party who votes against the PM’s legislation, in this case the expansion of his coalition, is subject to a swift dismissal of its ministers from the cabinet. When asked, Shaked said she was not worried. “We don’t believe this should lead to new elections,” she told Army Radio, “but if it does, we’re ready to run.”

JNi.Media

Beware the Echo Chamber, Fear the Media Savvy Left, Stick to the Truth

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

I’m not sure which is more worrisome: the ease with which the media, politicians and public opinion were manipulated by the White House and by Ben Rhodes and his associates, or the fact that Ben Rhodes and his associates not only do not care care that their methods have been exposed, they are openly proud of how they did it and are apparently just waiting for the next opportunity and client, so they can do it again.

The Ploughshares Fund was one of the most egregious abusers of the public’s right to receive good, unbiased information, when, during the critical period leading up to the Senate vote on the Iran nuclear deal, suddenly new organizations and experts began popping up out of nowhere, filling up the internet and social media with their distorted information.

Ploughshares used their money to network and amplify the voices of 86 organizations and 200 individuals during the Iran Debate, creating, what Ben Rhodes described as an “echo chamber” effect, where it looked and sounded like the voices on their side of the public debate were the overwhelming majority, always making a point to be there to oppose any conflicting opinion.

But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this technique being used.

Remember V15 in Israel? A previously unknown group which popped out of nowhere during the 2015 elections and tried to oust PM Netanyahu, claiming to be a “grassroots” organization, yet flush with suspiciously copious funds, enough to make a lot of noise. Now we know V15 was connected to OneVoice, which had received a $233,500 grant from the US State Department in 2013, according to NGO-Monitor, and, by their own admission, other money from overseas Jews, including S. Daniel Abraham (Founder of Center for Middle East Peace) and Daniel Lubetzky (Founder of PeaceWorks, which created OneVoice Movement). They also hired Jeremy Bird, President Obama’s 2012 campaign director, to help in their anti-Bibi campaign.

Then there’s that multi-headed hydra, The New Israel Fund, with the multiple NGOs they fund.

The Left’s war for the public’s votes and opinions isn’t being fought based on issues or values. Its operation is based on confusing the message and tricking the public, overwhelming them with variations of the same message over and over, simultaneously hitting them from different sources from every direction, having them think that support for one side of the debate is overwhelming larger than it is, trying to give credibility to radical ideas simply through constant repetition — when in fact those who support it may be minuscule in numbers and in some cases dangerously on the fringe.

I expect that the reporters who thought they were actually in tight with President Obama and then discovered they were being proactively manipulated will let it happen to them again, despite whatever anger and embarrassment they feel right now. And who in the public is going to remember Ploughshares, V15 and NIF’s manipulations come the next event or policy they want to manipulate?

The question is, how do we fight it?

Do we immitate them and duplicate their media manipulations — fighting fire with fire, to the point where no one has credibility any more, and it comes down to who can slam you harder and more often with his message?

Or do we stick to the truth and hope that by pointing out how easily they were fooled last time, this time they won’t let it happen — praying that even that message doesn’t get overwhelmed by the next Ben Rhodes’ “hammer and ploughshare” campaign?

I don’t have the answer. I don’t believe that those on our side of the political spectrum even comprehend the scale and deviousness of the media and public opinion manipulations of the Left.

But if we don’t learn, if we don’t try and if the financial backers on our side ignore these lessons, whatever the solution, then our message, our truth, our way of life will simply be drowned in the Left-generated echo chambers of social media and lies.

JoeSettler

Will Israel be ‘Trumped’ by the US Presidential Elections?

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

There is a great deal at stake for Americans voting in this year’s U.S. presidential elections — but at least as much is riding on the results for the State of Israel.

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has been one of the few candidates in the race to insist he would maintain neutrality when dealing with Israel and the Palestinian Authority from the White House.

Israeli Jews surveyed so far have nevertheless expressed more faith in his ability to deal fairly with Israel than any of the other candidates.

This may be due to Trump’s blunt, “in your face” style – the very characteristic that so alienates some of his American audiences – but which is similar to a large percentage of Israelis in the Jewish State.

It is far easier to deal with a person who is “up front” about their intentions, one might say, than a smiling politician who hides the weapon. Moreover, Trump pulls no punches about dealing with tough situations in a like manner – a necessary Middle Eastern attitude.

But probably the biggest factor in his popularity has to do with his willingness to simply say he will be neutral in dealing with both sides.

At an MSNBC town hall meeting in South Carolina on Feb. 17, Trump described a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as “probably the toughest deal in the world right now to make.” What he did promise was that if he were elected president, he would “give it one hell of a shot.” This was a deal in which he would act as “sort of a neutral guy,” he said. Wisely, when asked whose fault it was that no agreement had been reached so far, he deflected the question – and did not blame either side.

That is the mark of a real negotiator, one who has the seasoned skills of someone who has been at the table for a very long time. It gives the lie to those who claim Trump lacks foreign policy experience; they forget that Trump has been dealing with political leaders around the world for years while cutting deals in nations on different continents for his various business interests.

Israelis have too often heard American politicians claim their undying support of Israel only to throw the Jewish State under the bus as they try to “bring peace” to the Middle East.

However, at a Republican debate held on CNN, Trump did comment at one point: “It doesn’t help if I start saying, ‘I am very pro-Israel, very pro, more than anybody on this stage… With that being said, I am totally pro-Israel.” But he was unwilling to go farther, and made no promises whatsoever. Certainly no promise to ‘bring peace to the Middle East.’

Nearly every single U.S. presidential candidate has vowed to move the American embassy to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem – and not one has done it once taking office.

Every American president swears up and down about the “unbreakable bond” between the two countries – but that didn’t stop President Barack Obama from freezing the supply of basic military equipment and ordnance in the middle of Israel’s defensive counter terrorist war with Hamas in the summer of 2014.

Promises are one thing and action is quite another, and if Israelis have learned anything, it is to know not to depend on fancy promises. So when a guy like Trump says he will be neutral, after flowery vows of endless support – that gets the attention of Israelis who are really sick of making that run for the bomb shelters.

Trump’s style and substance is straightforward, simple and different. He’s making no promises and no pretensions to expertise. He is an executive who says he’ll run the country pretty much the same way – by hiring top experts to do what they do best, in the areas of their specialization.

Hana Levi Julian

Sanders Keeps His Judaism Silent, Israel at a Distance

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

As residents head to the polls for Super Tuesday 2016 to choose a nominee for president in 12 states, Democratic U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is fighting to stay in the race against former Secy of State Hillary Clinton.

Folks in Vermont know their U.S. Senator likes to keep his Jewish faith on the “q.t.” and they have accepted it with equanimity.

But not so the American Jewish community at large – and that fact may now be creating a backlash at the polls, when Bernie Sanders most needs the support of The Tribe.

After his February 9 win in New Hampshire – the first Jewish candidate to win a major party presidential primary – Jews outside the country have been watching his progress closely. It was more sluggish than one might expect, given the swashbuckling performance he turned in last month.

Part of the problem is while most candidates are wide open about their personal backgrounds – they have to be for transparency’s sake – Bernie Sanders has been dismissive, almost brusque, about his own Jewish faith.

And in America, faith is very much an issue. There is still plenty of anti-Semitism, which Sanders is obviously trying to avoid, but most voters prefer some belief in the One Above. Complete secularism is not popular in the United States at election time.

After all, even on the U.S. dollar it says, “In God We Trust.”

Yet Sanders works hard to evade the issue. He does not identify himself as a Jew publicly even in the “cultural” sense. In fact, in 30 years as a politician he has totally avoided the issue, colleagues say.

He was heckled in Vermont during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and was among the few senators who did not co-sponsor the Senate resolution supporting Israel in the war. It passed with a voice vote.

As a presidential candidate, Sanders said he consulted the far-left ‘J Street’ lobby and the Arab American Institute founded by Jim Zogby on Mideast Policy. Last year he was one of the first who announced they were skipping the historic address to Congress on Iran by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Even Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is skeptical about Sanders as a candidate. “He’s never really been that identified that strongly with pro-Israel advocacy,” Hoenlein said.

Coming from Hoenlein, who is more of a centrist himself, that is a whopping red flag.

Perhaps all this is not as surprising as one might think, however, given his family background and the fact that his second wife, Jane, was raised a Roman Catholic. Sanders grew up in Brooklyn as the son of immigrants; much of his father’s family was wiped out in the Holocaust. In fact, he once told still remembers the call his father received in the middle of the night, telling him a relative had arrived at a DP (displaced person’s) camp.

From that, he told Margaret Talbot at New Yorker magazine, he learned that a 1932 election had led to the murders of 50 million people. From that, perhaps he left unsaid, he also learned early on that Jews could die when identified as Jews.

His brother Larry was quoted by PBS in an interview in England where he lives, as saying that being Jewish is “very important to us. There was no problem of debate, it was just a given in our lives, just as being Americans was a given in our lives. But Bernard is not particularly religious. He doesn’t go to synagogue often. I think he probably goes to synagogue only for weddings and funerals, rather than to pray.”

Hana Levi Julian

Rouhani Wins Tehran in Iran’s Election for Assembly of Experts

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his allies won 15 of the 16 seats for Tehran in the Assembly of Experts, the state news agency IRNA reported Monday.

The 16th seat went to Ahmad Jannati, a known hardliner.

The Assembly of Experts is the 88-member clerical body tasked with choosing Iran’s next Supreme Leader – the country’s most powerful position.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rouhani-wins-tehran-in-irans-election-for-assembly-of-experts/2016/02/29/

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