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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘embassy’

US Issues First Visas to Same-Sex Israeli Couples

Friday, August 9th, 2013

The American embassy in Tel Aviv issued its first derivative visas to same-sex Israeli couples.

The derivative visa allows the applicant to receive a visa through a spouse or first-degree relative who is eligible for residence in the United States.

The embassy on Thursday issued the visas to the same-sex spouses of two Israelis relocating to the United States on work visas. The visas were presented by Amb. Dan Shapiro and Consul General Lawrence Mire.

“We are delighted that Embassy Tel Aviv has now issued its first visas to a married same-sex couple,’ Shapiro said.  ”Gay rights are human rights, and our new visa regulations are an important step forward.”

Same-sex marriages are not performed in Israel, but marriages performed abroad are recognized.

Denmark, Finland Upgrade Palestinian Diplomatic Missions

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Denmark and Finland have jumped on the bandwagon of pro-Palestinian Authority countries to update their Palestinian diplomatic missions to embassy status.

The countries made a joint announcement Saturday on the sidelines of a meeting of Nordic foreign ministers in Stockholm.

“We hope that the intention to give, for all practical purposes, the Palestinian Missions in our capitals conditions for work identical to those of an embassy will encourage [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas to engage with determination in the necessary negotiations with the Israeli government on a two-state solution,” the Danish and Finnish foreign ministers, Villy Sovndal and Erkki Tuomioja, said in a statement.

The updated status will take effect by the end of this year.

Sweden’s parliament upgraded the status of the Palestinian mission in Stockholm to an embassy in March.

Unanswered Questions About Susan Rice

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

President Obama reportedly has decided to appoint U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as his next national security adviser. Since the national security adviser is a member of the president’s executive staff, Ambassador Rice would not need to be confirmed by the Senate, as would a nominee for a cabinet-level office such as secretary of state. (It will be recalled that worries over her prospects at being confirmed by the Senate derailed her widely expected nomination as secretary of state).

Given that the national security adviser has the ear of the president and in most administrations is an enormously significant member of the foreign policy team, salient parts of Ambassador Rice’s record warrant scrutiny.

There still are serious, unanswered questions concerning Ms. Rice’s role in the aftermath of last year’s terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Since that time it has been learned that the administration knew almost at the outset that the attack was a well-planned operation of Islamist terrorists. Yet officials initially claimed the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video. Indeed, Ambassador Rice touted the notion of a spontaneous mob action for several days after the event despite the evidence to the contrary.

On what basis did Ms. Rice promote the false storyline? Did she knowingly mislead the public or was she duped? These are important questions about someone who would advise the leader of the free world on a daily basis.

In terms of Israel, we continue to be dismayed by her performance at the U.N. Security Council in February 2011, when she cast the U.S. veto of an Arab-initiated resolution condemning Israeli settlement expansion. President Obama had said early on that the U.S. would not go along with it and if necessary, block the measure by voting against it. (Because the U.S. is a permanent member of the Security Council, this meant the measure could not pass no matter how many affirmative votes were cast by others.)

A video of that Security Council session shows a visibly upset Ambassador Rice as she cast the negative vote. Her body language and facial expressions strongly suggest she was doing something she really didn’t want to. And most of her speech was characterized by a lambasting of Israel for its settlement activity.

One excerpt:

[W]e reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. For more than four decades, Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 has undermined Israel’s security and corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace….

While we agree with our fellow Council members – and indeed, with the wider world – about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. We therefore regrettably have opposed this draft resolution.

And then there were the instances when she snubbed Israel. She skipped Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the U.N. in September 2012. She was not present during the UN debate over the Goldstone Report and left it to her deputy to read a statement from the Obama administration opposing it. She was also absent from the UN Security Council in 2011 when the U.S. opposed Palestinian efforts to declare statehood at the United Nations, again relying on a deputy to read an administration statement.

To be sure, Ambassador Rice has her defenders in the pro-Israel community who cite her many efforts defending Israel against the institutionalized demonization that is part of everyday life at the U.N. But that doesn’t quite alleviate our concern over her apparent embrace of the Palestinian narrative on the core issues of the Arab-Israel conflict – even when the president seems to be leaning the other way.

Netanyahu Condemns Terror Attack Against US Embassy in Turkey

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the terrorist attack against the US Embassy in Turkey, that happened on Friday.

Netanyahu sent the following letter to President Barack Obama:

Dear Mr. President,I was shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious terrorist attack against the US Embassy in Ankara.

Such acts of wanton violence remind us of the dangers faced by those who courageously represent us abroad and of the threats which those who despise freedom continue to pose to those who love liberty and life.

Our hearts are with you, with bereaved family members, and with the American people.

Sincerely,
Benjamin Netanyahu

The First Plane Out of Benghazi

Monday, December 31st, 2012

It took some 22 hours for American help to arrive in Benghazi after all the t’s had been crossed and the i’s had been dotted and the body of America’s ambassador to Libya had been dragged through the streets by “rescuers” stopping along the way to pose for cell phone pictures with his corpse.

By way of comparison it takes about 16 hours for a boatload of Libyan illegal immigrants to row to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Support for the Americans under fire in Libya would have arrived sooner if a few former members of the Harvard Rowing Team had gotten in one the many rowboats beached on the shores of Lampedusa and pushed the oars all the way to Benghazi.

It says something about the current state of asymmetrical warfare that not only can Al Qaeda throw together a coordinated string of attacks on American embassies around the region without anyone  being the wiser for it, but boatloads of migrants from Libya can reach Europe faster on muscle power than American forces can reach a mission under attack while equipped with jet power.

For that matter, less time passed between the ubiquitous campaign fundraising emails that every American with internet access was barraged by no less than three times a day, than between the Benghazi’s mission first call for help and the arrival of American support. But that night, Obama’s priority was to get to a Vegas fundraiser, not to get American support to two former SEALS fighting and dying in a hellish mess created by his policies.

Obama Inc. blamed the second set of September 11 attacks on a movie, which was giving Al Qaeda credit for not only orchestrating worldwide attacks on American embassies and consulates, but doing it in a matter of days based on nothing more than a YouTube trailer. That would make Al Qaeda one of the more impressive organizations around, but the administration of the perpetual campaign found it easier to give Al Qaeda credit that the terrorist group didn’t deserve rather than accept the blame that it did deserve.

When madmen in America shoot up schools or movie theaters, Obama blames the weapons they used and calls for gun control. When madmen in the Middle East shoot up American consulates and embassies, he blames movies and calls for film control.

The filmmaker was locked up because he was one of those non-union types and none of Obama’s Hollywood friends would complain about a scab that wasn’t in the Producers Guild of America, whose director was not in the DGA and whose writers were not in the WGA being thrown in the slammer for making an offensive movie.

In another time and place, a place called America, an attack on an American diplomatic mission would have been considered an act of war, but the United States had just gotten over fighting a war in Libya, despite denying that any such thing was going no matter how many bombs were being dropped, and that war had led to Benghazi being run by Al Qaeda militias.

Obama assured the nation that the “folks” from the militant militias of Mayberry, Libya  responsible would be brought to justice. After three weeks of trying to get through Libyan immigration and dealing with concerns about conducting a criminal investigation in a war zone, the FBI finally made it to Benghazi, strolled around the compound for a few hours, took some pictures and then went home without interviewing any persons of interest.

An independent commission chaired by an Iranian lobbyist whose members were handpicked by Hillary Clinton conducted a review of what went wrong and found that the State Department probably should not have relied on an Islamist militia affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood for security, especially considering that its members had been going on strike for pay raises.

Four State Department officials resigned voluntarily, which in government lingo means that three of them took administrative leave and the fourth resigned one of his portfolios while keeping the rest. And the media declared that Benghazigate was over at last. Time for everyone to move on and close the book on another one of those Obama success that up close look a lot like failures.

Freedom of Religion Denied

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

You know your city might be out to stop your Synagogue when one of its most powerful officials testifies that its creation might bother the Libyan embassy that is your neighbor. But that was the testimony of City Engineer Ken Albert at a recent hearing where he said that our Synagogue may not have enough “landscape buffering” to protect the Libyans next door.

Landscape buffering.

And here I was more concerned about Kaddafi owning the house next door to me and possibly stockpiling arms as he reportedly did with embassies all over the world and God forbid harming my family. And what did the city do protect us? Nothing. Zero. Gornisht.

Over thirty years they even forced me, and the rest of Englewood’s residents, to subsidize Kaddafi’s murderous regime by refusing to challenge his tax exemption. But as soon as we apply for a Synagogue, the city Engineer, whose full salary remains undisclosed despite it being paid from the public purse, is concerned that we might interfere with the rights of the Libyans. It has suddenly taken on great importance that our Libyan neighbors – who pay no taxes – be protected by requiring planting of evergreens capable of growing to 106 feet within one year, 25 feet from the property line. It seems that landscape buffering has now been added to our national policy of cooperation and trust building between our two nations! Perhaps they are trying to play out “and they shall turn their swords into plowshares….”

Our hearings before Englewood’s Board of Adjustment have been farcical. Harry Reidler is a member of the board who is also an active Democratic Council member in Bergen County. He has repeatedly brought up my Congressional candidacy (Republican) in the hearings, although they were never germane to the application. His hostility has been glaring and undisguised.

In the last thirteen years our Synagogue has hosted thousands of people of every denomination, religion, color and creed, including Mayors of our City, Governors, Senators, and world-renowned personalities. For many, especially secular Jews and non-Jews, it is their first introduction to the beauty of Judaism and the peace and serenity of the Sabbath. But that did not stop Reidler from a bizarre insinuation in the last hearing, by some strange comparison, that our Synagogue might be something of a scam. This loathsome and slanderous suggestion, bordering on the anti-Semitic, was, mercifully, quickly objected to by the chair but only on the grounds that it was off topic. That Reidler seems to have made up his mind about our application before it was heard and does not even evince a pretense of objectivity is evident from the hearing’s transcripts, which are all part of the public record. Another board member, Elliot Fuld, seems only slightly behind Reidler in animus and opposition.

Hearings that are supposed to be fair and objective have instead been characterized by deep hostility, making a mockery of Englewood justice. Albert, for example, did not even reveal, as he should have been required to at the beginning of his testimony, that about eight years ago, after he and the city tried to strong-arm me by appropriating part of our property for a traffic light and offered us $1000 in compensation (in Englewood, when your home is assessed for tax purposes it is Versailles, but for condemnations it suddenly becomes a trailer park), I sued the city with Albert as its main witness. They paid me a settlement and Albert’s plan was revised. They did not take the land. Surely a lawsuit in which Albert played a central role should have been mentioned by him as part of full disclosure.

Nor is the board beyond intimidation in order to try and get us to back down and withdraw our application. Ken Albert is supposed to be simply the City Engineer, however well compensated. But in our hearings he suddenly decided to play the role of City code enforcer, suggesting to the board that because we have employees (he mentioned four, there are actually fewer) we are in violation of city statutes. (Interestingly, the last City code enforcer, Peter Abballe, with whom I clashed over the Kaddafi home next door to me, was arrested by the FBI in a sting operation and pleaded guilty to taking bribes). Those present at the hearing began to imagine a frightening scenario of a city doing random spot checks for inconsequential violations on the part of citizens that run afoul of city elders.

Ax Wielding Jew Attacks Tel Aviv US Embassy Staff

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

A security guard, was attacked by an ax wielding mentally unstable Jew from Bat Yam in front of the U.S. embassy on HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv. Police is on its way.

Embassy guards returned fire at the attacker in response, hitting him and later arresting him.

A group of about 100 Arabs, calling itself the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, a radical group headed by Sheikh Raed Salah, was demonstrating in front of the embassy this morning.

Embassy spokesperson Luba Samri told reporters that “a suspect came to the US embassy at 11:00 am (4 AM eastern) with a knife and an axe and attacked a security guard.” She said the guard was injured in the leg, and his fellow officers opened fire.

 

CORRECTION: The original report was that it was an Arab attacker, and that is not the case.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/tel-aviv-us-embassy-staff-shot/2012/11/20/

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