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April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

Ukraine Conflict Transforming to ‘Russia versus the West’

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Despite a cease-fire that went into effect one minute after midnight on Sunday, the conflict has apparently resumed between pro-Russia separatists and Ukraine government forces, but with clear Russian involvement.

The European Union has responded by activating sanctions against nine organizations and 19 people in Russia, including two Russian deputy defense ministers and Iosef Kobzon, age 77 — a Jewish man known as the “Russian Frank Sinatra.”

Kobzon is a long-time member of the Russian parliament. Sanctions were imposed against him because he “visited the so-called Donetsk People’s Repubic and during his visit made statements supporting separatists” after the Kremlin annexed Crimea, seizing it from Ukraine, the EU Official Journal explained. Donetsk is Kobzon’s birthplace.

For weeks the Russian-backed separatists have been focusing their attention on laying siege to the railway hub of Debaltseve, which so far has remained under the control of the Ukraine forces.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said at a briefing over the weekend that photos snapped in eastern Ukraine provided “credible pieces of evidence” that Russia herself – and not just separatist rebels – has been involved in the conflict.

“We are confident that [large amounts of artillery and multiple rocket launchers seen in the images around Debaltseve] are Russian military, not separatist systems,” Psaki said.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in a phone conversation on Saturday to discuss the situation. Kerry expressed concern over what he called efforts by Russia and separatists to cut off the town ahead of the cease-fire.

Artillery fire was also exchanged in massive shootouts around the rebel-held regions of both Donetsk and Lugansk. Rocket attacks were directed at areas around the government-held Azov Sea port city of Mariupol on Saturday as well.

Last week a teacher at the Chabad-Lubavitch preschool was killed in Donetsk when a rocket slammed into her apartment, killing her instantly. Irina Shelkayeba was an active member of the Donetsk Jewish community and a teacher at the Ohr Avner Preschool, Rabbi Aryeh Schvartz told Chabad.org.

The Beth Menachem synagogue – the only synagogue left in Donetsk – survived a narrow miss in a rocket attack that followed Shelkayeba’s death the same day. Instead, a minibus in a bus station some 300 meters away was hit by a shell in an attack that followed on the heels of the one that killed Shelkayeba.

Four people were killed in that attack, including the driver of the bus, which was incinerated along with a nearby vehicle. Nevertheless, the synagogue’s morning minyan (quorum) gathered to pray the regular morning service 90 minutes later as it does each day. Emergency food and supply packages sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews were then distributed at the Jewish Community Center next door to the synagogue.

The city’s Chabad emissary, Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski, said, “We have recently known many especially difficult and terrible days. I ask that Jews worldwide pray for their brethren in the war-torn territories – for everyone living in danger – and that they should all have peace and security.”

Kerry Says ISIS ‘Insults the Religion They Falsely Represent’

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry clearly placed the Islamic State (ISIS) out of the realm of Islam, or even radical Islam, and declared that its terrorists “are an insult to the religion they falsely claim to represent.”

Kerry’s statement Tuesday, following the announcement that American aid worker and ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller has been confirmed dead, came one day after President Barack Obama did not refer to radical Islamists as such but instead commented here on “vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”

Kerry made it clear that “ISIL, and ISIL alone, is the reason Kayla is gone,” but he then disassociated them from Islam, to wit:

Like our friends in Jordan, our resolve is unshaken to defeat this vile and unspeakably ugly insult to the civilized world and to defeat terrorists whose actions – killing women, killing children, burning people alive – are an insult to the religion they falsely claim to represent.

Eulogizing Mueller, Kerry said that she was “a compassionate young American who represented everything good about the human spirit.”

He added, “She so purposefully had one mission in life from the very start, and that was to help people…. She embraced children who had lost their parents. She comforted the sick and the wounded…. Kayla’s sense of values, her humanity and generosity, her idealism – this is what will endure, and it will endure long, long after the barbarity of ISIL is defeated.”

If Kerry can say that the Islamic State falsely represents Islam, can he say the same about Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Taliban, Al Qaeda and their jihadist allies?

If the Islamic State is not defined as radical Islam, will its eventual defeat mean that radical Islam is guaranteed a long life?

US Begins to Use ‘Daesh’ for ISIL, ‘Islamic State’

Monday, February 9th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry honored the memory of a Jordanian pilot tortured to death by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in finally calling the group by its Middle Eastern, regional Arabic name: ‘Daesh.’

The radical Islamic terror group that swallowed massive territory in Syria and Iraq and is penetrating into Europe, the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza, already has had many names.

ISIS, ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, as it is called by U.S. President Barack Obama) and “Islamic State.”

But among Arabs and Israelis the group is referred to as “Daesh,” the Arabic language moniker by which it is known to every Middle Eastern nation.

Last year after a particularly vicious attack by the group in France, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called on the rest of the world to join the Middle East, contending the group never was and never will be an “Islamic State.”

Most of Europe rallied to that call, especially following its savage execution of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Basaesbeh after which it released a video a month later, showing how it burned him alive in a metal cage.

The main holdouts were English-speaking countries, among them the United States, which clung to the “ISIL” acronym, as did Great Britain.

Yesterday, however, it appears the United States joined the Middle East and Europe. Secretary of State John Kerry referred to the group as “Daesh” during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference.

One of the major tests facing the United States, Europe and “the entire civilized world,” he contended in his address, is “the rise of violent extremism.”

Kerry went on to detail how each week brings new examples of “how far the evil of these extremist groups reaches.

“Daesh’s execution of a captured Jordanian pilot by burning him alive is a new level of depravity. And far from hiding such a despicable act, they posted a video of it for all the world to see.

“And last week, the UN reported the horrifying ways that Daesh treats even its most vulnerable captives – crucifying children; burying children alive; handpicking mentally challenged children to serve as suicide bombers and kill even more innocent people. This is what we’re up against.”

But it’s not just Daesh, Kerry warned. On a visit to Pakistan last month, “extremists viciously attacked a military school, and Pakistani officials showed me the time-stamped photos of the sequence of the school’s assembly hall before and after that December 16th assault.

“At first, there were children, as children would be, lined up in their uniforms, sitting in their chairs in this auditorium, innocent faces attentive, listening, watching, waiting for knowledge. Minutes later, the scene changed – brutally and horribly – from a learning center into a killing chamber. Blood everywhere, broken eyeglasses, scattered textbooks, torn jackets, young kids strewn across the floor, lifeless bodies.”

On that day, Kerry added, the school’s principal was escorted to safety but returned to try to save her students. “When challenged by the assassins, she pointed to the children saying: “I am their mother,” her last words. “When they’d finished their slaughter in the auditorium, they telephoned on cell phones to call back for instructions, and the instructions that came through were, about the soldiers who were closing in, “kill them and then blow yourselves up.

“Let me be clear,” Kerry continued, “there are no grounds of history, religion, ideology, psychology, politics, economic advantage or disadvantage, or personal ambition that justify the murder of children, the kidnapping and rape of teenage girls, or the slaughter of unarmed civilians. These atrocities can never be rationalized; they can never be excused; they must be opposed with every fiber of our being, and they must be stopped.”

He added that the world “cannot and will not cower in the face of this extremism.” Which extremism?

U.S. administration officials led by President Barack Obama cannot even bear to name it. How can America fight an enemy that it fears to even define?

Readers, there was one word missing from that incredibly passionate, graphic account delivered by America’s secretary of state to those participating at the Munich conference. Everyone there knew the word that was missing, and everyone understood its implications. Most of those in the room have used that word because for them it holds no special significance. They may fear it — but they face it.

Radical Islam. Basic radical Islamic extremism which gave birth to murderous hatred of those who do not believe in the same way.

This is an ancient threat in a new package and must be fought — as such things have been before.

But first, let’s call it what it is so at least there’s no confusion on the battlefield.

Western Leaders Head to Ukraine to Try for Peace with Russia

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all intend to try and make peace between Ukraine and Russia this week.

Kerry is already in Ukraine to show America’s support for the Kiev government.

Hollande told international media Thursday in Paris that he and Merkel would head first to Kiev and then to Moscow on Friday to present Russian President Vladimir Putin with a proposal “based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

NATO, meanwhile, is unveiling details of a plan to bolster its military presence in eastern Europe in response to the Ukraine crisis, according to the BBC. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told the news service it will be the biggest reinforcement of its collective defense since the end of the Cold War, centering on a “spearhead” force of up to 5,000 troops with lead units able to deploy within two days. A network of command centers is being established in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, Stoltenberg said, in response to “the aggressive actions we have seen from Russia, violating international law and annexing Crimea.”

The French president described the months-long conflict with pro-Russia rebels that wreaked havoc in Ukraine as a full-fledged war. “Ukraine is at war. Heavy weapons are being used and civilians are being killed daily,” Hollande said.

Kerry told the BBC in Kiev that the U.S. wants to see a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but will not close its eyes to Russian aggression.

“We want a diplomatic resolution but we cannot close our eyes to tanks that are crossing the border from Russia and coming into Ukraine,” Kerry said at a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

More than 5,000 people have died in the fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebel troops, some of which include Russian “volunteers,” since April 2014. The eastern Ukraine cities of Donetsk and Lugansk are both under rebel control.

Quiet on Temple Mount Helps Return Jordanian Ambassador to Israel

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Jordan has returned its ambassador to Israel three months after recalling him to Amman because of Jewish activists on the Temple Mount, which promoted daily violence by Arabs.

International media tried to explain that a spree of grisly Arab terrorist attacks on Jews was a result of Muslim anger over Jews on the Temple Mount.

Mohammad al-Momani, the Jordanian government spokesman, told The New York Times that there has been a “significant improvement” in coordination with Israel for Muslims to pray at the Al Aqsa mosque on Fridays, the Muslim Sabbath, and with Muslim clerics for tourists and Jews to visit the holy site.

“We felt the message was heard loud and clear, and it is time for the ambassador to go back and to continue following Jordanian interests,” Momani told the newspaper.

The envoy, Walid Obeidat, arrived in Tel Aviv Monday night.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated, “This is an important step that reflects the shared interests of Israel and Jordan and first among them, stability, security and peace.”

Daily violence on the Temple Mount three months ago was only the climax of years of anti-Israeli incitement at mosques and in media in the Arab world, including the Palestinian Authority.

Constant reports that Jewish civilians and soldiers “stormed” the Temple Mount, plotting to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque and build the Third Temple were destined to cause a volcanic eruption.

It burst approximately three months ago with Muslims rioting on a daily basis and making it virtually impossible for Jews to visit the Temple Mount, which police often closed off to Jews.

Attempts by Jews to pray at the holy site, forbidden by Muslim authorities, and visits by Knesset Members infuriated Muslims.

U.S. Secretary of State, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah met in Amman in an unannounced meeting, which paved the way for a return to calm on the Temple Mount.

All of a sudden, two Cabinet ministers announced that Knesset Members should not visit the Temple Mount.

At the same time, Arab media stopped telling readers that Jews are “invading” the Temple Mount and digging tunnels to undermine the Al Aqsa mosque

Nothing was put in writing in Jordan, but it can be assumed that Netanyahu promised that Jews will not pray there.

As previously reported here and here, the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty specifically provides for mutual respect for worship at the holy site.

As with most treaties between Israel and the Arab world, they simply are the basis for future arguments.

US Condemns ISIS ‘Vicious’ Beheading of Kenjo Goto

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

United States Secretary of State John Kerry promptly issued a formal statement Saturday night condemning the “vicious murder” of Japanese journalist Kenjo Goto by an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) executioner after a video showing the ritual beheading was uploaded to the internet.

The American reaction to the journalist’s death was much swifter than the response last week to the killing of two Israeli soldiers after a Hezbollah missile attack on a convoy traveling in northern Israel. Seven others were wounded, including two critically, in the attack which also destroyed a private home in the Druze village of Ghajar. A Spanish UNIFIL soldier also was killed in the exchange of artillery fire in the battle between Israeli and Hezbollah forces that followed. It took hours for the United States to issue a statement.

“The United States condemns ISIL’s vicious murder of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. We extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his wife, his family, and his loved ones, as well as to the people of Japan,” Kerry said in his statement Saturday evening Eastern time, shortly after the murder video appeared.

“The barbaric killing of Kenji Goto, and of Haruna Yukawa before him, shows again ISIL’s brutality and extremist agenda. The United States knows this pain on a personal level born of our own experience. We share the sorrow and continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our ally Japan in confronting terrorism.

“We commend Japan’s support for those in the region who have been displaced by ISIL, the Syrian regime, and other militant groups. Japan’s generous assistance to vulnerable communities fully reflects its commitment to international peace and development.”

The ritual beheading – much like those that preceded the one seen in the video uploaded Saturday to the internet – came 10 days after a demand for ransom by the group was not met. ISIS told Japan the price for Goto’s freedom and that of his friend, who was executed the week prior, was $200 million and the release of a female Al Qaeda failed suicide bomber currently waiting for execution on death row.

The group had also tied the release of a Jordanian pilot to the fate of the Al Qaeda terrorist as well; negotiations over the prisoner swap are still ongoing between ISIS and the Jordanian government, which has said it cannot release the woman without proof the pilot is still alive.

Sen. Cruz Asks if Obama Behind V-15 ‘Political Campaign against Netanyahu’

Friday, January 30th, 2015

“Has President Obama launched a political campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his representatives?” Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, also a Republican, asked Sec. of State John Kerry in a letter Thursday.

They asked “for information regarding media reports that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to fund efforts to influence upcoming elections in Israel.”

The Jewish Press reported here this week that non-profit and tax-exempt leftist groups  are campaigning to dump Netanyahu.

Sen. Cruz asked:

This administration’s relentless harassment of Israel is utterly incomprehensible. The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet, and there can be no doubt that their first target will be Israel, followed by the United States. This administration should be focusing its animosity on the very real enemies we face, not on our staunch allies.

Zeldin added, “It is completely unacceptable to use U.S. tax dollars to influence the elections in Israel. State Department grants should never be given to entities working to overthrow strong allies like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We have great allies around the world, but Israel is our strongest, and a beacon of freedom in a region filled with radical Islamic extremists and state sponsored terrorism. Today, I join with Sen. Ted Cruz in calling for a U.S. Department of State investigation into this important matter.”

Sen. Cruz and Rep. Zeldin request asked Kerry to answer eight questions:

— How much funding has the U.S. Government provided to OneVoice, PeaceWorks Network Foundation, and any connected initiatives, projects or subsidiaries?

— Who approved providing such funds?

—What is the oversight and accounting process for how these funds are being spent?

— How often and on what dates has such funding been provided?

— What were the specific reasons and terms for providing funds, and how are these funds specifically being spent?

— Can the Department of State guarantee that none of these funds have been or will be used in the endeavor detailed above, namely the partnership with V15, or any similar effort to exert undue influence over the Israeli political process?

— Was there any knowledge from the State Department or other U.S. government officials of the partnership with V15 prior to providing funds to OneVoice?

— Does OneVoice’s work with V15 violate its 501(c)(3) status (or the status of the PeaceWorks Network Foundation) as a tax-exempt organization and should such status be revoked?

In the letter, Cruz and Zeldin wrote, “Of course private American citizens are free to engage in political activities according to their inclinations, but given the overtly partisan nature of this particular case, we are deeply concerned by the relationship that also exists between OneVoice and the U.S.”

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sen-cruz-asks-if-obama-launched-political-campaign-against-netanyahu/2015/01/30/

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