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May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Lori Lowenthal Marcus’

Brandeis Commencement Speaker Leads Iran Cheerleader Squad

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

All those concerned about the dangers of Iran obtaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons have been closely watching the negotiations between Iran and the U.S. and its partners in the P5+1.

Perhaps no country has been more concerned about that danger than Israel, the nation which the Iranian leaders continue to brazenly threaten with annihilation.

It is reasonable to conclude that those who are urging the negotiators to proceed apace, to succumb to Iranian threats and demands without integrating ironclad precautionary methods are not overly concerned about the safety of Israel.

Given the university’s past “sister” relationship with Al Quds University, perhaps that explains Brandeis’s willingness to offer Ambassador Thomas Pickering – the Iran cheerleader and harsh critic of Israel – an honorary degree as this year’s Commencement featured speaker.

But what about Iran’s human rights record?

Don’t Brandeis students think hanging gays and summary executions are sufficiently objectionable to protest a pro-Iran commencement speaker?

And yet, Brandeis University is having as its 2015 commencement speaker an ardent supporter of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ambassador Thomas Pickering.

A few weeks ago JewishPress.com exposed Pickering’s disdain for Israel and his demands that the U.S. stop coddling the Jewish State and only making demands on the Palestinian Arabs (we’re not kidding).

The lack of a response from the university shows that Justice Brandeis’s namesake university doesn’t care so much about Pickering’s lack of support for Israel’s current leadership. But Israel’s existence? Or how about human rights?

STRONG SUPPORT FOR IRAN’S DEMANDS REGARDING ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAM

It is now clear that Pickering is at the forefront of those advocating for the rights of Iran to continue with its nuclear program, without ensuring every possible cautionary step be taken, and for the as-soon-as-possible rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran, human rights failings be damned.

This year’s planned commencement speaker at Brandeis is anxious to improve U.S.-Iran relations. And “improve” means increasing recognition of and hospitality towards the Islamic Republic by the U.S., without any necessary concomitant improvement in, oh, say, antagonism voiced by Iranian leadership towards the U.S. or any of its allies. Or even any improvement in its treatment of its own citizens.

Pickering has a leadership role in the big three pro-Iran diplomatic organizations: the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the American-Iranian Council and the Iran Project. All three of these entities are focused on normalizing relations between the U.S. and Iran without demanding Iran first improve its appalling human rights record.

Pickering and his colleagues were delighted when the administration announced the P5+1 pre-Agreement Agreement, back on April 2; they immediately lauded the deal.

And then, when there was so much pushback, not only from the Israeli leadership, or from the Republican leadership, but from the leadership of the Democrats in Congress, Pickering and his pals began playing defense for the deal.

Pickering and his pals at the American-Iranian Council feared that the Congressional proposal might “hamper a speedy resolution to the nuclear deal as well as the AIC’s broader goal of rapprochement between the United States and Iran.”

They did not want to lose the momentum that had seemed to have been gained at Lausanne (momentum that began sputtering as soon as the fact sheets put out by the U.S. and Iran differed dramatically on significant points).

The AIC was horrified that Congress might “undermine all the progress and goodwill” that the negotiators had achieved in Switzerland.

“We remain steadfast in our support for a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear issue that would remove a major issue that has bottlenecked a broader rapprochement between the US and Iran,” AIC advised on its website.

PI-INOs (Pro-Israel In Name Only) Continue to Give Cover to Obama

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama held two meetings with American Jews last week. They were the best of meetings, they were the worst of meetings. In reverse order.

The worst part of the worst meeting – from the perspective of Americans who care about regional stability in the Middle East and the continued existence of the Jewish State – was an offer made by J Street-esque Jews who promised to “do the leg work” for Obama if he decides to remove the “veto protection of Israel” at the United Nations, as reported in the Algemeiner.

At the first meeting, the Jewish organization heads represented the concerns of pro-Israel Americans regarding this administration’s recent actions, particularly regarding steps to allow Iran to come out from under the yoke of international sanctions regarding its nuclear program.

Participants in this meeting included representatives from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the World Jewish Congress, The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, AIPAC, B’nai Brith, the ADL, the Jewish Federations, representatives of the three major streams of Judaism, and partisan and leftist groups such as the National Jewish Democratic Council, the Israel Policy Forum, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, J Street and the National Council of Jewish Women, according to the JTA.

At the second meeting, the one with those who claim to be pro-Israel when it suits them, but who are first, last and always pro-Democratic party policies (we’ll call them PI-INOs: Pro-Israel In Name Only), encouraged Obama in his belief that he “is a member of the tribe” because they, like he, understand his far-leftist orientation to be really a form of Social Justice Judaism.

Those present at this meeting included major Jewish Democratic party donors and fundraisers, including ones associated with AIPAC and J Street. They included the Israeli-American Haim Saban, who is believed to be, unlike others present, at least somewhat critical of Obama’s Middle East policies.

But a theme, originally laid out in a lengthy, glowing New York Times magazine about J Street when it was first launched, was played out again at this second meeting. This theme is, at least for those most closely associated with J Street, they serve as Obama’s “blocking back” for American Jews, presenting his adverse position on matters typically of great concern to American Jews, softening up the crowd, and taking the initial body slams.

Obama was encouraged, according to sources present at the meeting who shared what transpired with the Algemeiner, to “take steps against Israel and remain steadfast in his approach to Iran negotiations.” A “J Streeter” went so far as to have “pushed Obama to remove the veto protection of Israel at the UN in the event that a Security Council resolution called for the creation of a Palestinian State.”

This “J Streeter” reportedly said “if you decide to go against Israel at the UN, ‘let us know first, and we’ll do the legwork for you in the community.” The conversation described at least that participant as actively pushing the president to work against Israel’s concerns on the world stage.

Another participant at this second meeting reportedly encouraged Obama to continue with his negotiations with Iran and remain firm against Congress’s efforts to intervene.

The president later changed course on the Congressional initiative known as the Corker bill, fueling speculation that it actually ended up being a net positive for the administration’s efforts. There are conflicting views that the administration caved because it recognized a tidal wave was going to wash over them anyway, but careful analysts such as former U.S. Naval intelligence officer J.E. Dyer suggest that is too optimistic a view.

Obama Gift List to Former Enemies Continues: Cuba Plucked from Terrorism Sponsor List

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

So, let’s see. He “reset” with Russia’s Putin – ask the Crimeans what they think of that move -, he sent loving happy new years notes to Iran, and that produced a warm and loving feelings towards America. He drop-kicked Egypt’s Mubarak from the buddy league but snuggled up with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi. That did not do much for Morsi, and he spit in the eye of Israel’s Netanyahu whom everyone agrees actually benefitted from Obama’s animosity.

So to whom is U.S. President Barack Obama now handing out party favors? Why, it’s none other than Raul Castro, el jefe of Cuba.

That’s right. The happy dictator to our immediate south either was granted this gift or was simply rewarded, unbidden, with the imminent delisting of Cuba from the U.S.’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

First, the punishments which will be lifted if Cuba is removed from the terrorism list include: a ban on arms-related exports and sales; 30-day Congressional notifications for exports of goods or services deemed “dual use,” meaning they could have peaceful uses but they also could have be used to support terrorism; and prohibitions on economic assistance.

Unless Congress acts to prohibit the delisting, 45 days after the President issues the report making that recommendation, Cuba goes off the list.

How did this happen?

We learn from a press release issued by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, April 13, that Obama directed the State Department to launch a review and then provide him with a report to determine whether Cuba should continue to be designated as an official terrorism sponsor this past December. The president did that as a “critical component of establishing a new direction for U.S.-Cuba relations.”

Well, perhaps not surprisingly, the State Department recommended “based on the facts and the statutory standard” that Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism be rescinded.

To be sure, it might have been possible for the State Department to determine Cuba was ineligible for removal from the designated list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Why, according to the State Department’s statement, if Cuba had “provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six months,” or if it had refused to provide “assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future,” those naughty boys would remain on the terrorism list. But the answers to the questions being asked were such that the president was able to give one of his new best friends, Raul Castro, the good news.

In issuing its statement recommending the removal of Cuba from the state terrorism listing, the State Department carefully pointed out that the narrow requirements it focused on constitute the qualifications set by Congress for what countries can be removed from the terrorism sponsors list. That statement also pointed out that the criterion for review was a narrow and Congressionally-determined one.

The basis for removal from the list does not mean that American authorities have determined Cuba, a Communist nation with one political party, is no longer engaged in repression or human trafficking or any other significant departures from modern democratic societies, but those issues are not part of the calculation for terrorism sponsoring de-listing.

“While the United States has had, and continues to have, significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these concerns and disagreements fall outside of the criteria for designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” is how the State Department couched it.

“Circumstances have changed since 1982, when Cuba was originally designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism because of its efforts to promote armed revolution by forces in Latin America. Our Hemisphere, and the world, look very different today than they did 33 years ago. Our determination, pursuant to the facts, including corroborative assurances received from the Government of Cuba and the statutory standard, is that the time has come to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” the statement continued.

Obama: Netanyahu has to Prove He Supports Two State Solution

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Once again at the U.S. State Department briefing on Wednesday, March 25, the issue of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement regarding the feasibility of creating a Palestinian State during the current period of extreme unrest in the region was a topic.

The issue was raised by Bradley Klapper, of the Associated Press. Klapper asked it of Jen Psaki, whose last day it was as the current State Department Spokesperson.

Bradley Klapper of the Associated Press

Bradley Klapper of the Associated Press

Psaki is leaving the State Department. On April 1 she will begin her new position as the White House communications director. Psaki formerly served as a press secretary to then-senator Barack Obama during his first presidential campaign, and worked in the White House as a deputy communications director.

Klapper was piggy-backing on the briefing room lobbyist for the Palestinian Authority, Said Arikat, who writes for Al Quds newspaper.

Arikat said that during President Obama’s press conference on Tuesday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Obama mentioned “the importance of having a process, a framework, that will lead, ultimately to a two-state solution.”

Arikat.jpgArikat then, as he does so often, prodded for a timetable for a return to the “negotiating table” to impose a Palestinian State on the region.

Psaki, however, demurred, pointing out that Israel had just gone through elections and was in the process of forming its new government. Arikat halfheartedly pushed a bit more, raised several other points ostensibly posed as questions, but barely masking his perpetual attempt to create policy sound bites by repeating words he likes strung together.

At the end of this little soft-shoe duet, AP’s Klapper chooses to pursue Arikat’s point (no doubt to the great delight of Arikat). Klapper referred back to Obama’s Tuesday press conference with Afghanistan’s Ghani. Klapper claimed that the president said he supports the two-state solution, “but that the prime minister thinks otherwise.”

Klapper asked Psaki to explain the government’s understanding regarding Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s position on a two-state solution.

The State Department spokesperson, as if she were already speaking for President Obama, ticked off that Netanyahu made some statements before the election and some after, obviously suggesting that Netanyahu had become inconsistent regarding his support for the creation of a Palestinian State.

Psaki said: “We have to see if there is actually a path to make the hard choices towards negotiations, and we don’t know the answer to that yet. So we’ll be looking for actions and policies that demonstrate genuine commitment.”

Klapper, seeking to clarify Psaki’s diplospeak, suggested that what the president was saying, was that the U.S. government no longer is sure whether Israel’s Netanyahu supports a two-state solution.

And then comes the kicker, with Klapper suggesting what Obama is really saying about Netanyahu’s support for a two-state solution: “He has to prove that, essentially.”

To which Psaki responds: “Correct.”

In a room in which there is rarely, and even then, only briefly, any challenges made to the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to living side by side with Israel in peace and security, or any calls for there to be a cessation of the glorification of terrorism and murder of Israeli citizens, the State Department briefing room instead doubles as a star chamber for the Jewish State.

Your tax dollars at work.

US Orchestrated Anti-Bibi Bomb May Bite its Backers

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Remember Al Capone?

He was the notorious American gangster who met his downfall by the inelegant and unexciting – but sometimes deadly – U.S. tax code. So, too, may be the ultimate fate of the ubiquitous and well-funded Obama-style campaign machine gunning for Netanyahu, known as V15.

That entity and its creators are barred under US tax law from attempting to achieve its two stated goals: defeating Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and changing Israeli law in order to create a Palestinian State.

For some reason the fact that V15 is an avowed effort to oust Netanyahu did not raise enough eyebrows when it was first announced.

The lack of sustained attention back in January caused some to scratch their heads. That V15 was run by the same folks, and in the same style, as U.S. President Barack Obama’s notorious street theater, in your face, take no prisoners-style campaign director, Jeremy Bird; that its financial, emotional and political source received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the U.S. State Department; and even though that same source is an entity which has tax exempt status in the U.S. – which means it cannot fund projects to either support or defeat a political candidate in the U.S. or anywhere else, did not lead to a long media shelf life.

The first two issues should have drawn attention to V15 not because political operatives are barred from selling their strategic skills – that is, after all, the nature of their job – but because it was so odd for someone like Bird to come all the way to Israel to sell his skills. Bird is not Jewish, and his only apparent connection to Israel was working for an anti-Israel American radical activist back in his graduate days.

But who was paying for Bird? Campaign funding is very strictly regulated in Israel. The strategist who managed Obama’s two U.S. presidential campaigns – in which billions of dollars were spent – was likely to have a very high price tag.

Then there was the matter of the U.S. State Department grants to OneVoice, V15’s “creator.” The airy dismissal that all State Department funding ended at the end of November, so there was no U.S. government money being used for the election — which was publicly announced in early December — was, incredibly, accepted without any further interrogation by the American (and most of the Israeli) press corps. Former Naval Intelligence officer J.E. Dyer  pursues that angle with the kind of tenacity one should be able to expect from the seasoned press corps members who show up nearly every day at State Dept. briefings.

But the least interesting angle, at least to most, is the one that involves the Internal Revenue Service. Before your eyes glaze over, recall that the U.S. actually had what could almost be called a juicy scandal beginning nearly two years ago, that involved the IRS.

Quite a few politically conservative (and one pro-Israel) organizations claimed that the IRS was treating their applications for tax-exempt status in a discriminatory fashion. The initial response from the IRS was that many of those groups were not really entitled to tax-exempt status, because they were engaged in political, not educational or charitable, work.

That seemed to many like a reasonable response. The Internal Revenue Code states that even a non-profit organization cannot be exempt from paying taxes, and its donors will not be entitled to tax deductions, if the organization is involved in politics or lobbying.

But while much of the IRSGate attention has since focused on where are Lois Lerner’s emails and whether they are really gone forever or just deleted, hidden or irrelevant, the fact that tax-exempt organizations cannot engage in raw politics seemed to be one tiny aspect of American government that many people learned.

Understand Israeli Elections – Here’s a Primer, Part 1

Friday, March 13th, 2015

The Israeli political system is radically different from the one in the United States. The most obvious differences are that Israel is a parliamentary system with more than 20 potential parties in the mix, unlike just the two standard American parties, the Democrats and the Republicans.

This year 26 parties are vying for positions in the upcoming vote, 11 of which are likely to pass the threshold requirement for becoming part of the next Knesset.

The first step of this year’s Israeli election to determine who makes it into the Knesset at all, then which parties will form the governing coalition, and finally, who will be the prime minister of the state of Israel, takes place next Tuesday, March 17.

The date was set by a formal meeting in early December, of all the then-current Knesset party leaders. Those leaders chose the date for the election to take place in just four months. While four months is a dramatically short campaign period by American standards, Israeli law permits only five months to elapse between the dissolution of one Knesset and the election for the next.

Election day is a big deal in Israel. Virtually everything, except the polling places, is closed. Free transportation is provided for any voter who needs it to reach their regular polling place.

On March 17,  all eligible voters – every Israeli citizen over 18 years of age – can vote. That includes Arabs, Muslims, Christians and Jews, men and women, able-bodied and those with disabilities. There is no voter registration system; every citizen is automatically registered once they turn 18. Nearly six million Israelis are eligible to vote in this year’s election.

MARCH 17: THE BALLOT BOX

Eligible Israeli voters go to polling places in their neighborhoods. There are more than 10,000 polling places throughout this tiny country. Most open at 7:00 a.m. and remain open until 10:00 p.m.

Turnout for Israeli elections has been declining for years, but it’s still well over 60 percent. In the U.S., turnout has been in the low-to mid 50 percent zone since the early 1970’s.

Before entering the voting booth, each voter is handed an envelope. Inside the booth is a tray, with different strips of paper. Each strip of paper includes the name and symbol of a party. The voter chooses the slip of paper which has the name and symbol of the party for whom they wish to vote, and puts that piece of paper in the envelope they were handed. After leaving the booth the voter places the envelope with their chosen party slip into the ballot box.

Israeli voters choose parties, not individual candidates, which, among other things, means their national representation is ideological, not geographic, and the vote is proportional, meaning the 120 Knesset seats are divvied up in proportion to each party’s percentage of the total vote. There is a minimum threshold for a party to meet before it can sit in the Knesset. That minimum is currently set at 3.25 percent of the total votes cast, which translates into four seats.

PHASE TWO: HORSE TRADING

Once the polling places close and the ballots are counted, the second phase of the Israeli election begins, the one frequently described as “horse trading.” In order to have the right to form a government and choose the prime minister, a group of parties needs to be able to control a majority of the Israeli Knesset, the single chamber Israeli legislature. The Knesset has 120 seats.

With so many parties competing, no single one has ever attained that magic number of 61 seats, and it is even likely that three or more parties need to agree to work together to form the ruling coalition. Therefore, parties which have been thrashing each other in public now start eying each other as potential dance partners, trying to figure out with whom they can create a functioning coalition to run the government.

This coalition building phase is a little bit like when, after a brutal primary in the U.S., the second place vote getter and the winner frequently kiss, make up, and agree to live with each other as their party’s candidate for president and vice president during the general election. But several different parties and lots of individual members of those parties are all added into the Israeli decision making mix. It isn’t easy.

But first let’s back up. How were the individuals on each party’s list chosen?

     PARTY LISTS

As soon as the Knesset is dissolved, either because it reached its four year expiration date, or because it is dispersed for some other reason (such as happened in the current case, when Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the Knesset to disperse and the Knesset unanimously agreed, on Dec. 8), the parties begin internal negotiations to determine who will be on their official “list,” and in what order. The higher up on the list one is, the greater the likelihood of actually making it into the Knesset.

There are various systems for determining who are included, and where they are placed, on each party’s list, including voting by the party leadership. Additional factors are taken into consideration, such as whether enough women are included, whether there are security experts represented, whether certain ethnic minorities will be included.

     PRIME MINISTER SELECTION

How does one of the party members then become the prime minister? Israel’s president, currently former Knesset member Ruby Rivlin, selects the member of Knesset believed to have the best chance of forming a viable coalition government, given the election results. This can take some time until the parties are able to align so that they can govern together.

Some of the horse trading here involves party leaders with high numbers demanding significant ministry positions in exchange for pledging their party’s support. Compare this to the ability of the U.S. president, once elected, then deciding who will become the various cabinet members.

This phase is incredibly complicated. For example, right now at least five different parties will be needed to join together to create a ruling coalition. And it is not as if just the top five vote-getting parties will join together, because of differences in ideology.

For example, the tiny far left Meretz party, which currently is polling at five seats, thought it would be able to create a power bloc by pairing up with the Joint Arab List. The Arab group dashed those hopes, claiming they would not join with “Zionists.”

Another complicating factor is that certain parties have claimed they will not join in a coalition with Netanyahu, and the Likud has ruled out creating a coalition with other parties, including the current frontrunner, the so-called “Zionist Union.” That party is a joining together of the center-left Labor party and Tzipi Livni and her entourage. Livni has changed parties so many times in the past few years most people just refer to this new party as Labor-Livni.

Once finally selected, the prime minister announces the formation of a new Knesset and the offices each minister will hold.

January 29 was the deadline for all parties to submit their lists of candidates. As of that date, the following parties had the following members in the following order (the parties are listed in terms of their most recent polling status):

ZIONIST UNION (1) Isaac Herzog (2) Tzipi Livni (3) Shelly Yachimovich (4) Stav Shaffir (5) Itzik Shmuly (6) Omer Bar-Lev (7) Hilik Bar (8) Amir Peretz (9) Merav Michaeli (10) Eitan Cabel (11) Manuel Trajtenberg (12) Erel Margalit (13) Mickey Rosenthal (14) Revital Swid (15) Danny Atar (16) Yoel Hassan (17) Zuhair Bahloul (18) Eitan Broshi (19) Michal Biran (20) Nachman Shai (21) Ksenia Svetlova (22) Ayelet Nahmias Verbin (23) Yossi Yona (24)Eyal Ben-Reuven (25) Yael Cohen-Paran. The left-center Zionist Union was forged by combining Labor and Tzipi Livni and her followers, has very recently been polling at between 20 and 24 seats.

LIKUD: (1) Benjamin Netanyahu (2) Gilad Erdan (3) Yuli Edelstein (4) Yisrael Katz (5) Miri Regev (6)Silvan Shalom (7) Moshe Ya’alon (8) Ze-ev Elkin (9) Danny Danon (10) Yariv Levin (11) Benny Begin (12) Tzachi Hanegbi (13) Yuval Steinitz (14) Gila Gamliel (15) Ophir Akunis (16) David Bitan (17) Haim Katz (18) Jackie Levy (19) Yoav Kish (20) Tzipi Hotovely (21) Dudu Amsalem (22) Miki Zohar (23) Dr. Anat Berko (24) Ayoob Kara (25) Nava Boker. Likud has been polling at between 26 and 20 seats, most recently declining.

YESH ATID (1) Yair Lapid (2) Shai Piron (3) Yael German (4) Meir Cohen (5) Yaakov Peri (6) Ofer Shelah (7) Haim Yalin (8) Karine Elharrar (9) Yoel Razvozov (10) Alize Lavie (11) Mickey Levy (12) Elazar Stern (13) Pnina Tamano-Shata (14) Boaz Toporovsky (15) Ruth Calderon. Yesh Atid focuses on social and economic issues and was brand new for the last elections. Yesh Atid has been polling at around 10 – 13 seats.

JOINT ARAB LIST (1) Aiman Uda (Hadash) (2) Masud Ganaim (Islamic Movement (3) Ahmad Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) (4) Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash (6) Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya (Islamic Movement) (7) Haneen Zoabi (Balad) (8) Dov Khenin (Hadash) (9) Taleb Abu Arar (Islamic Movement). The Joint Arab party has been polling between 11 and 13 seats.

BAYIT YEHUDI (1) Naftali Bennett (2) Uri Ariel (3) Ayelet Shaked (4) Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan(5) Nissan Slomiansky (6) Yinan Magal (7) Moti Yogev (8) Bezalel Smotrich (9) Shuli Mualem (10) Avi Wortzman (11) Nir Orbach (12) rabbi Avi Rontzki (13) Orit Struck (14) Anat Roth (15) Ronen Shoval. Bayit Yehudi, the religious Zionist party, has recently been polling between 10 and 14 seats.

KULANU (1) Moshe Kahlon (2) Yoav Galant (3) Eli Alalouf (4) Michael Oren (5) Rachel Azaria (6)Tali Ploskov (7) Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton (8) Eli Cohen (9) Roy Folkman (10)Merav Ben-Ari. Kulanu is a brand new party created by its number one on the list. Kahlon is understood to have destroyed the cell phone monopoly in Israel. Kahlon has not ruled out joining with Likud or Zionist Union. His determination to be the next finance minister is well-known. Kulanu has been polling around 8 – 10 seats.

SHAS (1) Aryeh Deri (2) Yitzhak Cohen (3) Meshulam Nahari (4) Yakov Margi (5) David Azoulay (6) Yoav Ben-Tzur (7) Yitzhak Vaknin (8) Avraham Michaeli. Shas (the Sephardi Haredi party which has experienced severe upheaval since its leader, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s death in Oct. 2013) has been polling pretty consistently at 7 seats.

UNITED TORAH JUDAISM (1) Yaakov Litzman (2) Moshe Gafni (3) Meir Porush (4) Uri Maklev (5)Menachem Eliezer Moses (6) Israel Eichler (7) Yaakov Asher (8) Eliezer Sorotzkin. UTJ, the Ashkenazi charedi party, has recently been polling between 6 and 7 seats.

YISRAEL BEITEINU (1) Avigdor Lieberman (2) Orly Levy-Abekasis (3) Sofa Landver (4) Ilan Shohat (5) Sharon Gal (6) Hamad Amar (7) Robert Ilatov. Yisrael Beiteinu is identified with the Russian immigrants and is considered right wing, although it does not believe in annexing Judea and Samaria. It has been polling at 5 seats for quite some time.

MERETZ (1) Zehava Gal-on (2) Ilan Gilon (3) Issawi Frej (4) Michal Rozin (5) Tamar Zandberg (6) Mossi Raz (7) Gaby Lasky. Meretz, which is left on social and Arab-Israeli issues, has been polling pretty consistently at around 5 seats.

YACHAD (1) Eli Yishai (2) Yoni Chetboun (3) Michael Ayash (4) Baruch Marzel (5) Sasson Trebelsi. Yachad, only recently created as a split off from Shas, has been polling between 4 – 6 seats.

Other parties which are not expected to reach the threshold number of votes include the Green Party, the Green Leaf (legalize marijuana) Party, Rent with Honor Party, the Economics Party, a Charedi Women’s Party (called Ubezchutan) and even something called the Pirate Party. Gotta love Israelis.

JewishPress.com will post another primer once the elections reach the second phase: assembling the ruling coalition.

Bibi: ‘ISIS Would Devour Palestinian State, We Cannot Help Create That’

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Whether or not he was publicly forced into stating it, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has now said what most focused Israelis and Israel-watchers have realized for quite some time: the creation of any Palestinian State now, as weak as it is and has been since its leadership began attempting to resemble a functioning state, would be immediately subsumed (or, if you will, “gobbled up”) by ISIS or any of the other Islamic extremist groups in the region.

For that reason alone, if not for the myriad others – such as its own leadership’s inclination towards and support for its own version of terrorism – it is impossible for any responsible leader in the region to consider the creation of a Palestinian State any time soon.

In the words of the Israeli prime minister regarding the calamitous instability in the region and its impact on whether there should be a Palestinian state anytime soon: “Therefore, there will not be any withdrawals or concessions. The matter is simply irrelevant.”

Whether Netanyahu’s hand was forced because of the pressure placed on him by the Religious Zionist party Bayit Yehudi which consistently states it will not hand over any territory to the Arabs, or because a right-wing member of his own Likud party got the ball rolling, the end result is the same.

The cat is back in the bag, the Two State “Solution” is now clearly only a solution for ending Israel, and enslaving even the Palestinian Arabs themselves. For the safety of all those living in the land south of Lebanon, west of Syria and Jordan and north of Egypt, the only way to prevent ISIS and its fellow barbarous murderers is for Israel to remain in control of all the borders.

The Israeli prime minister began his most recent iteration in his leadership role with a earth-shattering speech at Bar Ilan University. Netanyahu invoked the “Two State” mantra as if it were within reach.

In that 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan, Netanyahu said he would recognize a Palestinian State “if we get a guarantee of demilitarization, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state.” He said, if that were to happen, “we are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state.”

Even after the recent Gaza wars and bruising condemnations of Israeli self-defense by much of the international community, Netanyahu continued speaking, at least in public, of working with the Palestinian Arab leadership towards a result they claim (an idea that much of the international community was pushing very hard) they want: a Palestinian State.

Perhaps Netanyahu and his advisers believed that Israeli security is so strong it could even survive the birth of a tiny terror state of Palestine (Palistan?). But inviting ISIS into its own neural network? That would make the recent machete, hammer and automobile terrorism by local Palestinian Arab terrorists look like mere schoolyard spitting contests.

Netanyahu’s statement shutting the door on Palestinian statehood came on Sunday, March 8. It came in response to a question about a position taken by the Likud party’s answer to a small Israeli paper’s campaign question.

As Lahav Harkov reported in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, “The article claimed that the Likud’s answer to a question as to its leader’s position on Palestinian statehood was: “The prime minister told the public that the Bar-Ilan speech [in which he advocated a demilitarized Palestinian state] is canceled.”

According to Harkov, a Likud spokesperson said party member MK Tzipi Hotovely provided the answer and it was her personal position. But regardless of whose language appeared in the campaign response, Netanyahu later made it clear he would not allow ISIS to fill the vacuum created by a weak Palestinian State.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bibi-isis-would-devour-palestinian-state-we-cannot-help-create-that/2015/03/09/

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