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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘liberman’

Leftwing J Street Going After Pro-Israel Regavim’s US Tax-Exempt Status

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of leftwing, anti-Netanyahu group J Street, sent an email to his group’s supporters announcing that he is pressuring the Obama Administration to revoke the US tax-exempt status of the Israeli (and pro-Israel) NGO Regavim in response to their supposed activity against the two-state solution.

The urgent need to harm Regavim’s US donations resulted from the effective work the group has done in forcing the Israeli authorities to apply Supreme Court rulings on demolishing illegal Arab construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria. One of the recent focal points of the Regavim efforts has been the squatter camp outside the Jewish community of Susiya, which the US and the EU insist must stay put despite the fact that its existence violates every signed agreement between Israel and the PA.

Ben-Ami wrote his followers that he was shocked to discover that the “settler movements” aiming to destroy Susiya are partially funded by donations from the US — including Regavim which has systematically mapped out the Susiya shacks and lean-tos, pointing Israeli police at the precise location of structures that violate the law. Ben-Ami sees this well-organized campaign to enforce the law as a threat to a future Palestinian State, which, he believes, must some day be handed the entire area.

Ben-Ami attributes to his organization’s work behind the scenes with the US State Dept. the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman have responded to international pressure and postponed the evacuation of the illegal Arab squatters until November 15.

The president of J Street shared in his email how enraged he is by the fact that groups that work against “the future of the State of Israel” and in direct defiance of US foreign policy and “perhaps” even US law, enjoy a tax-exempt status in the US, which is why J Street will continue to pressure the US government to revoke Regavim’s special status.

Should Ben-Ami be interested in learning what happened the last time the IRS has taken on a pro-Israel group, he should Google “Z Street,” a feisty organization headed by Jewish Press Online reporter Lori Lowenthal Marcus. As Lowenthal Marcus and others have reported over the past seven or so years, the IRS was “slow-rolling” discovery in lawsuits about how it slow-rolled applications by conservative non-profits in general and Z Street in particular.

In 2009, Z Street filed for 501(c)(3) status and was caught in the net of IRS targeting for groups that opposed Administration policy.

An IRS agent confirmed on the phone that Z Street’s application had been sent for special screening for groups connected with Israel. Z Street sued the IRS in 2010 for political discrimination that violated the First Amendment, and IRS Exempt Organizations Determinations Group manager Jon Waddell actually said in a December 2010 sworn declaration in federal court that the IRS flagged Z Street because “Israel is one of many Middle Eastern countries that have a ‘higher risk of terrorism.’”

“That’s hilarious,” wrote the Wall Street Journal last August, “since Z Street supports a country targeted by terrorism. But it also is untrue, which the Administration apparently knew before Mr. Waddell gave his statement to the court. In an October 25, 2010 internal IRS memo on the Z Street case produced in discovery, the IRS acknowledged that when Z Street’s application was being scrutinized Israel wasn’t on the list of terrorist countries, and that an agent may have been using an outdated list.”

If Jeremy Ben-Ami believes the Obama Administration is prepared to go after the tax-exempt status of yet another Zionist group — he should probably check with someone in the State Dept. Perhaps President Hillary Clinton would be inclined to alienate her Jewish voters and Israel by using the IRS for political purposes. It’s quite clear President Donald Trump won’t.

As to the self-congratulations of Ben-Ami on how he and J Street got the US and the EU to condemn Israel’s legal activities in Susiya — it stands to reason they knew all about it on their own. Why, the EU has been building illegal structures in Area C (which Regavim has successfully gotten demolished) without any help from J Street.


Liberman Cites International Pressure over Arab Squaterville in Area C

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday sat with schoolchildren in the Jewish community of Susiya in south Mt. Hebron, next door to which a squatter Arab community has emerged recently, in an obvious attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over Area C of Judea and Samaria. Liberman told the children the encroachment by the residents of Yata Village to the lands near Susiya was not an accident, but a planned effort to physically separate the new community of Susiya and the historic synagogue on the nearby archeological site.

Susiya is a legitimate archaeological site in the southern Judean Mountains that bears the archaeological remains of a 5th century CE enormous synagogue, one of the largest and most magnificent ever discovered, which was turned into a mosque by the Arab invaders in the 8th century.

“Are you familiar with the archeological site of Susiya?” Liberman asked, and continued, “One day all kinds of illegal buildings started popping there, supported by foreign countries. And why did they pop there? On purpose, to divide between the community of Susiya and the historic Susiya.”

Liberman revealed that he had been under “pressure from all over the world” not to apply the demolition order handed out more than once by the Supreme Court. “The European Union, the US — they all discovered Susiya. Suddenly the United Nations Security Council is also interested in Susiya.” He promised the children he would obey the law and carry out the demolitions. “The free world is preaching especially for this to be a country of laws, and we must honor our judiciary system,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the demolitions of illegal Arab construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, violate the recommendations of the so-called Middle East Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, on the way forward in the peace process.

Liberman attacked the Europeans and the Americans who demand that Israel ignore the Supreme Court ruling to demolish Susiya, but to enforce the same court’s ruling on demolishing the Jewish Amona community in northern Samaria. “We are a country of laws,” he said, and we will honor ourselves and our laws, regarding Amona, E1 (the area connecting Jerusalema nd Ma’ale Adumim), and Susiya,” he clarified.

Liberman called on the residents of Amona to embrace the compromise being offered by the government, and moved to the promised homes to be built near their community. “I say to the residents of Amona, there’s a ruling of the high court and we will obey it. If anyone is delusing themselves that we won’t, it’s not going to happen. Whatever the court permits we will do. That’s why we offered many alternatives, and I hope we’ll find one the Amona residents will also accept.”

David Israel

New Management: Liberman Says Soldiers Shouldn’t Have to Consult a Lawyer on the Battlefield

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Israel’s still relatively new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Monday distinguished himself from his predecessor in the most decisive way, when he stressed that both the medic Elor Azaria who is on trial this week for shooting dead a terrorist who had already been neutralized; and the soldier from the Netzah Yehuda battalion who may go up on charges for shooting a psychologically impaired Arab who stormed–albeit unarmed–an IDF post outside Ofra, are innocent until proven guilty.

The statement, which contradicted former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s all out attack on Azaria only a few hours after anti-Zionist NGO B’Tselem released a video showing the shooting, before an investigation into the matter had been launched, was a more decisive note of change at the Defense helm than even the 50 sorties Liberman had sent into the Gaza Strip the other day, only 15 minutes after a single Hamas rocket had fallen in the town of Sderot.

The loud and clear statement from the Defense Minister that he will back his soldiers rather than sic lawyers at them will likely go a long way to improve IDF morale, because, as Liberman reminded reporters on Monday, “In the State of Israel, in a Democratic country, only the court has the right to convict, not the media. And as long as a man was not convicted he is innocent.”

Liberman also told the reporters that “soldiers cannot go out on a mission with an attorney attached to them. Which is why sometimes they make the right decision, sometimes they don’t. But we can’t have a situation whereby every soldier would be asking for legal advice before they go out on a mission.”

Liberman’s comments were made on a day when the Elor Azaria defense was doing exceptionally well, calling to the stand a witness that had been on the prosecution’s list but was not called up. Soon enough it became clear why the prosecutors chose to skip him — a platoon commander in Azaria’s company, he fully supported the medic’s version that the terrorist on the ground was suspected of carrying a suicide belt under his coat. In fact, the witness told the court he had advised Azaria’s platoon commander to open fire on the terrorist on the ground should he appear to be trying to detonate a bomb.

A sapper who testified earlier for the defense was critical of the manner in which the terrorists were being handled, as the order to move their bodies was given before the sappers had a chance to examine them for hidden explosives.

Since much of the trial hinges on Sgt. Azaria’s state of mind, and whether or not he really believed the terrorist on the ground posed a danger after being neutralized, both testimonies have boosted the defense’s case.

David Israel

PA Senior: Israel Refusing Meeting Ahead of Possible Cairo Summit

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

A senior official at the Palestinian Authority told Israel Radio Sunday that Israel has refused an offer for a preparatory meeting with the PA side ahead of a possible summit meeting in Cairo between Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

According to the official, the Cairo meeting is intended to prepare for the international peace conference which is being planned in Paris by the end of the year, possibly with representatives from both France and the US. Apparently, various sources have advised Netanyahu to send an envoy to meet with a PA representative to prepare the Cairo meeting, but Netanyahu refused.

“Netanyahu does not want negotiations for a permanent settlement, and as long as he is at the helm there will not be a Palestinian State,” the PA senior said.

The same official also told Israel Radio that the PA does not demand that Israel freeze settlement construction as a prerequisite to the Paris conference, but rather the freeze should coincide with the start of negotiations. He threatened that “should Netanyahu not arrive at the Paris conference, we expect France and the other participating states to recognize the Palestinian State, open Palestinian embassies in their own capitals and boycott the settlements.”

Regarding Defense Minister Liberman’s plan to bypass Abbas in developing communication channels with key people in the PA society, the senior official said Liberman has yet to learn the lesson of the Village Associations that were set up by the late Ariel Sharon as a bulwark against the PLO in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which eventually became the Hamas movement.

“[Liberman] is treating the Palestinians as if they were animals: if they follow the rules they’ll get food, if not — a kick in the behind. The Village Associations failed then and will fail today. No one will work with Liberman, people here are not traitors,” the official said, adding, “Israel can’t run the same experiment, change nothing and expect different results.”


Liberman Plans to Bypass Chairman Abbas, Forge Direct Relationships with PA Arabs

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told military correspondents in his Kirya office in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that he intends to seek out Arab leaders living in the Palestinian Authority and bypass the PLO-run authority government. He wants a personal dialogue with academics, business people and intellectuals. In fact, according to Liberman, his staff has already put together a list of these people whom he now intends to pursue.

There’s also going to be a new website in Arabic, reporting the news of the day from the Defense Ministry’s perspective. It will cost about $2.5 million.

“I want to connect with them directly, not through the [PA headquarters in Ramallah] Muqata,” Liberman reiterated, saying he expects the new website to hit the Internet by the end of January. He admits it’s an ambitious and challenging project, but he’s going for it nonetheless, budgets, regulatory standards and all.

According to Liberman, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been an obstacle to a working solution for the area. Indeed, he asked, “if there are intellectuals, academics, those who stand out on the municipal level — why should they talk to us through Abbas?” Also, if “[Abbas] is talking directly to the Israeli society, why can’t we speak directly to the Palestinian society?”

When asked why, then, if he is seeking out PA Arabs for a dialogue, did he bar the entry into Israel of Muhammad al-Madani, chairman of the Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, Liberman said al-Madani, a senior PLO official, was not coming to have a dialogue and seek co-existence, but the opposite.

Liberman also told the military correspondents about a rift between himself and the Attorney General Avihay Mandelblitt, who objects to the Defense Minister’s policy of holding on to the bodies of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis and has gone so far as to state that he would refuse to defend the new policy before the Supreme Court. Liberman said that’s fine, if need be he would defend the policy before the court. Liberman said he asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the issue in the cabinet, because “it looks a little grotesque that the two ministries (Internal Security and Defense) maintain contradictory policies on this matter.”

The Justice Ministry also objects to Liberman’s new policy on terrorist bodies, because it contradicts fundamental Supreme Court rulings. They do support conditioning the release on the families’ committing to small funerals that won’t erupt into riots.


Liberman Apologizes to Obama for Munich Comparison

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Last Friday, Israel’s Defense Ministry reacted sharply to the claim by President Obama that it, too, has reached the conclusion that the Iran nuclear deal improved security in the Middle East. The Defense Ministry, in an unsigned announcement, compared the Iran deal to the Munich accords of 1938, saying that the “basic assumption, that Nazi Germany could be a partner to any kind of agreement, was wrong,” and the world failed to prevent WW2 and the Holocaust, because world leaders at the time ignored the explicit threats made by Hitler and the rest of the Nazi leadership.

On Monday night, Defense Minister Liberman had to walk back his office’s statement, and apologize to the US. The Defense Ministry’s announcement Monday insisted the Friday release had been misunderstood by the media, and that “the State of Israel and the Israeli defense apparatus will continue to work in close and full cooperation with the US, out of a deep appreciation and mutual respect.” However, the new announcement explained, “Israel remains deeply concerned over the fact that even after the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Iranian leadership continues to declare that its central aim is the destruction of the State of Israel, and continues to threaten Israel’s existence with words and action.”

According to Ha’aretz, some 45 minutes after the Friday announcement, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has had his own clashes with the current Administration, rushed to release his own statement, clarifying that “Prime Minister Netanyahu still believes that Israel has no greater ally than the United States.” Netanyahu then sent a senior advisor to US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, to explain that the Defense Minister had acted on his own, without Netanyahu’s approval.

On Sunday, the White House staff let the Israelis know they were fuming, and unable to understand how Israel chooses to attack the president in the midst of negotiating the biggest military aid package the US had ever awarded anyone on planet Earth.

Amb. Shapiro, who maintains a close relationship with Liberman, helped him out of this quagmire. He told him directly that unless he wants his name on the failure of the American military aid deal, he must apologize ASAP. Liberman understood, eventually, and for the first time in his career, apologized to a foreign entity. He pinned some of the blame on the media, but finally eked out an apologetic statement: “The difference between the positions of Israel and the US does not in any way diminish our deep appreciation of the United States and the president of the United States for their enormous contribution to Israel’s national security, and the enormous importance we attach to the strong alliance between the two nations,” the apology opened, and then delivered the needed specifics: “The Friday statement was not intended to make a direct comparison, neither historically nor personally [with the Munich accords]. We are sorry if it was interpreted otherwise.”

And he’ll never do it again.


Obama, Liberman Statements Expose Raw Nerves in Jerusalem, DC, over Iran Deal

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

On Thursday, President Barack Obama claimed that Israel’s “military and security community” has realized he was right all along and now supports his nuclear deal with Iran. “The country that was most opposed to the deal,” he told a press conference, “acknowledges this has been a game-changer.”

That same military and security community, currently under new management, reacted swiftly and bitterly, saying that deals have value only when they are based on existing reality, and are entirely without value if the facts on the ground are the opposite of those assumed by the deal.

It then added a harsh reminder, that the 1938 Munich accord, whose “basic assumption, that Nazi Germany could be a partner to any kind of agreement, was wrong,” failed to prevent WW2 and the Holocaust, because world leaders at the time ignored the explicit threats made by Hitler and the rest of the Nazi leadership.

The Israeli response, despite the mention of the Holocaust, was considered by Israeli analysts to be showing restraint. For one thing, it was not delivered personally by Prime Minister Netanyahu, nor by the actual head of the “military and security community,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. The boorish voice in this incident belonged to Obama. As a NY Post editorial put it, “What could President Obama have been thinking?”

Or, as the unsigned Liberman response implied, how can anyone in their right mind trust “the agreement with Iran, which itself explicitly and publicly announces that its goal is to destroy the state of Israel.”

It continued: “A US State Department document published this year states that Iran is the chief state sponsor of terror world-wide. Therefore, the Israeli security establishment, the nation of Israel, and many other nations around the world, understand that agreements like those signed between the world super powers and Iran aren’t helpful. They only damage the uncompromising struggle against nations which support terror.”

Netanyahu’s office issued a much softer response, following Liberman’s office’s statement, saying that despite the difference of opinions over the Iran deal, “Prime Minister Netanyahu still believes that Israel has no greater ally than the United States. As Netanyahu said in his UN speech last year, it’s important that those who were for the agreement and those who were against it cooperate to fulfill three goals; to make sure that Iran doesn’t violate the agreement, to deal with Iran’s regional aggression, and to dismantle Iran’s global terror network. The Prime Ministers expects these goals to become part of shared policies, and that the alliance between the United States and Israel only grow stronger not only with President Obama, but also with his successor.”


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-liberman-statements-expose-raw-nerves-in-jerusalem-dc-over-iran-deal/2016/08/06/

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