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July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

W’s Private Remarks to RJC Reveal Disagreements with Obama (SHOCKER)

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

At a Republican Jewish Coalition dinner that was closed to the press and at which the attendees were reportedly told repeatedly not to transcribe his remarks, George W. Bush did something he was refrained from doing since leaving public office. He shared his views on the way his successor has handled foreign policy.

It happened at a dinner given by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson at a Republic Jewish Coalition gathering in Las Vegas.

But at least one of the 800 people in the room, despite the repeated importunities to refrain, transcribed portions of what the former president said, and then shared them with the media. Both the New York Times and Bloomberg View published accounts based on those transcripts.

You ready to hear the big secret? That former president doesn’t think much about this current president’s decisions.

Really.

Take Obama’s foreign policy track record. Please. On Iraq, on Iran, on ISIS, on America’s role on the world stage, Bush was critical.

According to the press reports of the leaked “transcripts,” Bush thought Obama was too trusting of Iran’s intentions and to quick to relax sanctions on Tehran. Admitting that the current president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, is certainly smoother than was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bush was doubtful that there has been any real change in ideology or in plans.

Bush did not have positive things to say about the rapidity with which U.S. troops were pulled out of Iraq in 2011, nor about Obama’s hands-off approach to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

As far as the ascent of ISIS, the former president described this barbaric terrorist group as “al Qaeda’s second act.”

The former president also took a shot at making some predictions regarding the upcoming U.S. presidential campaign. About former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Bush said she will have to make a choice as to whether she will run on the Obama administration’s policies or against them.

“If she defends them, she’s admitting failure,” he reportedly said, “but if she doesn’t, she’s blaming the president.”

On the Republican side, Bush said that foreign policy is going to be very important, and that “the test for Republicans running will be who has got the ‘courage’ to resist isolationist tendencies.”

Ted Cruz is Running for President as the anti-Obama [video]

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

In a midnight twitter announcement, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) made it official: he is running to become the next president of the United States of America.

Cruz is, like all things iconically Texan, larger than life.

The son of a Cuban activist who was imprisoned and tortured, Ted Cruz is an ardent Evangelical Christian, and a huge supporter of Israel.

A captivating orator, Cruz has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and was the Solicitor General of Texas. He worked in the U.S. Justice Department and at the Federal Trade Commission.

Cruz’s father was an immigrant who washed dishes for 50 cents an hour and spoke no English upon his arrival in the U.S. His mother was the first in her family to attend college.

Cruz graduated with honors from Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

Alan Dershowitz, the former Harvard Law School professor, said of his former student, that Cruz was “off-the-charts brilliant,” and one of the smartest students ever from Harvard Law School.

On the other hand, the State Department briefings often sound like an elitist jock club chortling at the mention of an initiative or query issued by Sen. Cruz – with both the reporters and the State Dept. spokesperson acting as if Cruz is the team doofus. This isn’t surprising, given Cruz’s unabashed conservativism, his religiosity and his ardent support for Israel, all traits belittled by those progressive elites.

Cruz made his candidacy announcement in a midnight tweet, followed the next day by a formal speech at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia.

His speech Monday morning, March 23, in Virginia hammered out his core message: with Cruz you’ll have the antidote to all that has gone wrong under the Obama administration. The Texas senator intended to repeal “every word” of the Obamacare legislation and to dismantle the Internal Revenue Service, as well as rescind illegal immigration amnesty.

Cruz also lambasted the educational curriculum standard “Common Core,” which is not only strongly supported by the Obama administration, it is supported by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is considered the front runner in the field of Republican presidential hopefuls.

Cruz elicited the longest and loudest applause from the Liberty University audience when he urged them to “imagine a President who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel” according to CNN.

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Cruz is the first of several who are expected to seek the Republican nomination. The others, who will be announcing their own candidacies soon, include Bush, Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Florida’s Marco Rubio, as well as Congressmen Scott Walker of Wisconsin and New Jersey’s Chris Christie.

The Democratic field is expected to be dominated by former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden.

Of all the current front-runners, Cruz is also the standard-bearer for positions on Israel and Middle East policies that run counter to this administration’s. He has repeatedly criticized the administration for its own criticisms of Israel and for pandering to the behemoth terrorists in the Islamic Republic of Iran and ISIS, as well as the more moderate in execution – though no less so in hatred – terrorists of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Authority.

 

US High Court Hears Whether US Passport Can Say Jerusalem, Israel

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

On Monday, Nov. 3, the United States Supreme Court heard argument on the claim of a young American citizen who was born in Jerusalem to have his passport identify the place of his birth as Jerusalem, Israel.

That such a request is the subject of a lawsuit, let alone one which has endured for more than a decade, might be more of a surprise were the case not about Israel.

As most people who pay attention are aware, everything about Israel is complicated – or is treated that way.

Seventeen days before Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky was born, on Sept. 30, 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for fiscal year 2003.  A subsection of that law was intended to prevent exactly the kind of litigation that was argued before the United States Supreme Court today, in Zivotofsky v. Kerry.

The relevant subsection of that law states that for “purposes of the registration of birth, certification of nationality, or issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem, the Secretary shall, upon the request of the citizen or the citizen’s legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel.”

But when plaintiff’s mother went to the U.S. Embassy in Israel and asked to have her then two month old baby registered as a United States citizen and have a passport issued to him stating that his place of birth was Jerusalem, Israel, the request was refused.

Instead, a passport was issued to Baby Zivotofsky which indicated his place of birth was Jerusalem. Just Jerusalem.

On Sept. 16, 2003, the Zivotofskys filed a Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking the court to direct the defendant – the secretary of state – to register the child’s birthplace as Jerusalem, Israel, have the child’s passport reissued reflecting that fact, and instructing all U.S. consular officials to comply with the law signed by Pres. Bush in Sept. 2002.

That did not happen.

The reason that did not happen is that, according to the U.S. Constitution, the Executive branch of the U.S. government has a great deal of control over what U.S. foreign policy should be.

The state department, of course, is part of the Executive branch. The Constitutional clause relevant here (Article 2) says that the President of the United States has the exclusive right to “receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers” from other countries.

Over the years the Supreme Court has read that clause to mean that the President has the sole right to decide which government in any country is the legitimate one, and to decide what the U.S. is going to say when it speaks to the representatives of other countries.

The section of the law passed by Congress in the 2003 Authorization Act that is relevant to this lawsuit, therefore, forces an important separation of powers discussion.

If the question is understood to be about whether Congress or the Executive branch decides what American policy is about Israel, then Congress, and therefore Zivotofsky, is unlikely to prevail.

The case has now gone from Zivotofsky’s complaint in the federal district court all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Zivotofskys are on one side, the Executive branch, on the other side, is represented by the head of the state department, Secretary of State John Kerry.

There are also many “friends of the court” known as amicus curiae, who have filed briefs as well. These amici offer their understanding of how the Supreme Court should think about and decide the issues presented in this case.

The parties, and most of the amici, have argued as if the issue in the case is whether Congress or the State Department gets to decide the foreign policy issue which they believe is central to the case.

ADL Honors George W. Bush

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

The Anti-Defamation League awarded its highest honor to former President George W. Bush.

The ADL presented its America’s Democratic Legacy Award to the former president during a Thursday night gala dinner that opened the its national executive committee meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.

“We will never forget, Mr. President, how the vision you laid out of ‘two states, living side by side, in peace and security’ still informs our consciousness and our parlance today,” said the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman. “You solidified an unbreakable affinity between two democracies challenged by extremists and terrorists — and an ironclad shared understanding — that security is one of the most important foundations for peace.”

Foxman also hailed Bush’s support for immigration reform and his leadership after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“When you were called on to respond to unspeakable terror, hate and violence, you refused to let America give into stereotypes,” Foxman said. “You answered calls for anti-Muslim revenge with calls for respect and understanding.”

Bush spoke at the dinner, which was held at The Breakers resort and was reportedly closed to the press.

Previous recipients of the award, which the ADL has been giving out for more than half a century, have included American presidents as well as other government, business, literary and religious figures.

Iran Owes Terror Victims Billions of Dollars, Says Activist Lawyer

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

An Israeli lawyer who has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims has asked Obama administration officials why they are discussing letting Iran off the hook on sanctions while it owes American relatives colossal sums of money.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who heads the Israel Law Center, has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims in lawsuits against the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organization as well as banks and other agencies that aid terrorists or act as a pipeline for funds for them.

She wrote Under Secretary Wendy Sherman last month, “Iran must not be allowed under any circumstances to avoid making payment of reparations and due compensations to the families of those whose lives they have destroyed through terrorism…and through the terror organizations it supports: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.”

In a blog posted this past week on The Hill website based in Washington, Darshan-Leitner noted that Sherman did not respond, and she added, “As a result of lawsuits taken by American victims of terror in U.S. courts, the Iranian regime currently owes billions of dollars from decades of terrorist activity resulting in dozens of victims and severed families. This debt has yet to be recognized or paid by the Iranian government with no sign of an intention to do so.”

She called on Congress to ensure that the U.S. government is working to keep the interests of the terror victims’ families on the table.

Darshan-Leitner pointed out that when George W. Bush was President, he conditioned repealing of any sanctions against Libya on payment of reparations to the victims of Libyan terror. “This move resulted in the payment of $1.5 billion dollars to the victims’ families,” she wrote.

On the other hand, Bush also removed North Korea from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism in 2008, without compensation being paid to American families, she added.

“We fear this lack of response not only portends a potential Iranian exemption from paying reparations and giving due compensation to families affected by terror in return for normalization of relations, but that it also signals a softening of Sherman’s position on the proliferation of terrorist activity and most significantly, creates difficult implications for the United States’ reputation as a pillar of justice in the war on terror,” according to Darshan-Leitner.

Her blog continued, “As lawyers for American, Canadian and Israeli victims of Iranian terror, we call on Congress to take action and place a check on Under Secretary Sherman in this current round of negotiations… We call on all members of Congress to ensure that victims of terror are not forgotten and to help make the Iranian regime provide the proper reparations and due compensation for the innocent lives taken at the hands of terrorist activities and not to gain a free pass in the name of diplomatic maneuverings.”

GW Bush Fundraising for Proselytizers of Jews in America and Israel

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Former President George W. Bush will headline a fundraiser in Texas for a group that seeks to convert Jews to Christianity, JTA reported.

Dubya follows in the footsteps of Glenn Beck, who was the star of the group’s fundraiser last year at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Bush is scheduled to appear Nov. 14 in suburban Dallas to raise funds for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a Texas-based group that says its mission is “to bring Jewish people into a personal relationship of faith with Yeshua the Messiah, knowing their acceptance will eventually mean life from the dead.”

Tickets for the event at the Irving Convention Center start at $250 and rise to as high as $100,000.

According to Mother Jones, which first reported the fundraiser, the $100,000 tickets include a VIP reception with Bush and a tour of Israel guided by the institute’s president, Wayne Wilks.

The MJBI mission is “to boldly proclaim Yeshua as Messiah, train leaders for Jewish ministry around the world, and educate the Church on God’s heart for the Jewish people, as it eagerly awaits the promise of Romans 11:15 that the acceptance of the Jewish people will mean ‘life from the dead.’”

The Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI) was formed in 1995 and launched in 1996, through the cooperative efforts of both Messianic Jewish and Gentile Christian leaders, according to the group’s website. After initially targeting Jews in Russia and eastern Europe, in 2002 the MJBI began to sponsor banquets, events, and training sessions in the United States for the purpose of proselytizing Jews there and in Israel.

In 2006, the group’s co-founder Dan Juster immigrated to Israel, where he oversees the MJBI programs directed at Israeli Jews. Their major emphases are producing teaching materials in Hebrew, a two-year bible school program intended to establish a Christian Ethiopian Israeli “leadership,” and seminars for messianic leaders.

Mother Jones reminded its readers that “last year, Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, told Politico that former Sen. Rick Santorum’s appearance at an event hosted by another Messianic Jewish organization, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, was ‘insensitive and offensive.'”

Reform Rabbi (nebech) David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, told Mother Jones about the Bush appearance: “It’s disappointing that he would give his stamp of approval to a group whose program is an express effort to convert Jews and not to accept the validity of the Jewish covenant.”

At last year’s MJBI fundraiser, Glenn Beck received a “Defender of Israel” award. On his now defunct FOX News show, Beck once said: “One of the reasons why I love Israel so much is I’m a guy who’s for the underdog. I’m a Mormon, which is kind of the Jew of the Christian world.”

Now, that’s a disheartening thought…

According to Mother Jones, Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, which Beck attends, introduced Beck as a “prophet” at the event. Morris told the crowd that his church has supported MJBI because “when we do this, the Bible tells us, it’s going to change the whole world. That it’s going to hasten the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s going to bring about worldwide revival.”

A spokesman for Bush and a spokeswoman for the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum did not respond to requests for comment.

Obama’s Foreign Fiasco

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

It’s a privilege to be an American who works on foreign policy, as I have done since the late 1970s, participating in a small way in the grand project of finding my country’s place in the world. But now, under Barack Obama, decisions made in Washington have dramatically shrunk in importance. It’s unsettling and dismaying. And no longer a privilege.

Whether during the structured Cold War or the chaotic two decades that followed, America’s economic size, technological edge, military prowess, and basic decency meant that even in its inactivity, the U.S. government counted as much or more in world developments than any other state. Sniffles in Washington translated into influenza elsewhere.

Weak and largely indifferent presidents like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton mattered despite themselves, for example in the Iranian revolution of 1978-79 or the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1990s. Strong and active presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had greater impact yet, speeding up the Soviet collapse or invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

But now, with Barack Obama, the United States has slid into shocking irrelevance in the Middle East, the world’s most turbulent region. Inconstancy, incompetence, and inaction have rendered the Obama administration impotent. In the foreign policy arena, Obama acts as though he would rather be the prime minister of Belgium, a small country that usually copies the decisions of its larger neighbors when casting votes at the United Nations or preening morally about distant troubles. Belgians naturally “lead from behind,” to use the famed phrase emanating from Obama’s White House.

Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Qatar (with a national population of 225,000) has an arguably greater impact on current events than the 1,400-times-larger United States (population: 314 million). Note how Obama these days takes a back seat to the emirs of Doha: They take the lead supplying arms to the Libyan rebels, he follows. They actively help the rebels in Syria, he dithers. They provide billions to the new leadership in Egypt, he stumbles over himself. They unreservedly back Hamas in Gaza, he pursues delusions of an Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Toward this end, the U.S. secretary of state made six trips in four months to Israel and the Palestinian territories in pursuit of a diplomatic initiative that almost no one believes will end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of defense called Egyptian leader Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi 17 times in conversations lasting 60-90 minutes, yet failed in his pleas that Sisi desist from using force against the Muslim Brotherhood. More striking yet, Sisi apparently refused to take a phone call from Obama. The $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt suddenly looks paltry in comparison to the $12 billion from three Persian Gulf countries, with promises to make up for any Western cuts in aid. Both sides in Egypt’s deep political divide accuse Obama of favoring the other and execrate his name. As dozens of Coptic churches burned, he played six rounds of golf. Ironically, Egypt is where, four long years ago, Obama delivered a major speech repudiating George W. Bush policies with seeming triumph.

Obama’s ambitions lie elsewhere – in augmenting the role of government within the United States, as epitomized by Obamacare. Accordingly, he treats foreign policy as an afterthought, an unwelcome burden, and something to dispatch before returning to juicier matters. He oversees withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan with little concern for what follows. His unique foreign policy accomplishment, trumpeted ad nauseam, was the execution of Osama bin Laden.

So far, the price to American interests for Obama’s ineptitude has not been high. But that could change quickly. Most worrisome, Iran could soon achieve nuclear breakout and start to throw its newfound weight around, if not to deploy its brand-new weapons. The new regime in Egypt could revert to its earlier anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism; already, important elements in Egypt are calling for rejection of U.S. aid and termination of the peace treaty with Israel.

As an American who sees his country as a force for good, these developments are painful and scary. The world needs an active, thoughtful, and assertive United States. The historian Walter A. McDougall rightly states that “The creation of the United States of America is the central event of the past four hundred years” and its civilization “perturbs the trajectories of all other civilizations just by existing.” Well not so much perturbation these days; may the dismal present be brief in duration.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/the-lions-den-daniel-pipes/obamas-foreign-fiasco/2013/08/21/

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