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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Michael Oren’

Iran Blinks First, But Could Still Produce Nuclear Weapon in 2013

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is limiting his country’s nuclear program to fit Israel’s demands, at least for the time being, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to senior U.S., European and Israeli officials, Khamenei’s decision was designed to avoid a crisis during Iran’s election year.

Khamenei wants the June vote to produce a new leader closer to his positions than President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and to avoid the kind of unrest that marked Iran’s 2009 elections.

According to the Journal, Khamenei is “placing the Obama administration and its allies in a delicate strategic position, possibly constraining their response to Iran’s nuclear program.”

Iran’s nuclear program was supposed to hit its point of no return in 2013, enriching a sufficient amount of uranium to enable it to produce a nuclear weapon. In such a case, Israel and its allies were mulling the possibility and the timing of using military force.

A senior U.S. official working on Iran reported that “based on the latest IAEA report, Iran appears to be limiting its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium by converting a significant portion of it to oxide. But that could change at any moment.”

The officials still expect Khamenei’s moves to be a delay, rather than a change of policy. Iran’s actions still appear to be in line with accelerating the pace towards creating weapons-grade fuel. They point out the IAEA’s report that Iran has installed thousands of new centrifuges at the Fordow underground military facility in Qom,. The site is a huge, fortified bunker, possibly immune to U.S. or Israeli air strikes.

With the new centrifuges, Iran is capable of tripling the pace of enriching uranium. If Khamenei decides to step over Israel’s red line sometime this year, Iran could move rapidly to produce the weapons-grade fuel for a bomb.

“There is a good point to be made that Iran has accepted 250 kilograms as the red line, but they are doing this very cleverly,” said Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Iran’s moves would “enable Iran to cross the red line clandestinely in a matter of weeks,” he said.

Oren Says ‘Gatekeepers’ Makes His Job Harder

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Israel’s U.S. ambassador Michael Oren, said the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Gatekeepers” complicates his mission.

The movie compiles interviews with six former leaders of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, and records their perceptions of how successive Israeli governments missed opportunities for peace.

“This is a good movie that presents a narrative of 45 years of occupation but is completely devoid of information on Israel’s peace plan offers — (Ehud) Barak’s Camp David attempts, then [Ehud] Olmert, from the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the rocket fire on us,” Oren told Yediot Acharonot’s website in a story posted Sunday. “Whoever views the movie without knowing the background can leave feeling that Israel is to blame and didn’t do a thing.”

Oren said he hesitated to criticize the movie for fear of being attacked as limiting speech freedoms, but added that he felt that Israel was “on the defensive” in its effort to explain its right to exist.

Oren Opens AIPAC with Appeal to Non-Jews for Pro-Israel Outreach

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, opened the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC)annual policy conference with an appeal for pro-Israel outreach to African Americans, Latinos and Muslims and others.

“Reach out to the churches in your community, to the African Americans, the Latinos, to the mosques,” Oren said Sunday after he was asked what his main message was to the 13,000 activists drawn to the annual conference.

Oren, in an interview with Frank Sesno, a former CNN anchor, said Israel was looking forward to President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel later this month and addressed three challenges facing the allies: Getting Iran to suspend its suspected nuclear weapons program, securing Israel from the turmoil in Syria, and renewing peace talks with the Palestinians.

On Iran, Oren said there was a small window for diplomacy to work.

“Imagine if Iran had that nuclear weapon, what is the price of inaction?” Oren asked.

Syria must be kept from transferring weapons to Hizbullah, and the Palestinian Authority must take risks, as Israel has, Oren said.

The ambassador sounded a tough note on the prospect of any reconciliation between P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

“We see that very much as a game blocker,” he said.

Also scheduled to address the conference, which runs through Tuesday, are Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the conference by video.

Activists will lobby Congress to sharpen Iran sanctions, to call on the president to support Israel should it be “compelled” to strike Iran, and to establish a new category, “major strategic ally,” to describe the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Why Jews Are So Bad at PR

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The biggest question surrounding the State of Israel is why it is so hated. The conventional wisdom is that the world remains hopelessly anti-Semitic and is therefore deeply biased against the Jewish State. No doubt there is some truth to this assertion.

But to absolve Israel and the Jewish people of any involvement in this monumental failure to communicate strikes me as convenient and allows us to blame others for our shortcomings.

In truth, while the State of Israel was asleep the Arabs pulled off one of the great propaganda coups in global history. They somehow convinced the nations of the world that six million embattled Jews, with a deep commitment to democracy, human rights, and religious pluralism were the aggressors in a war with hundreds of millions of oil-rich Arabs, whose governmental commitment to women’s and religious rights is tenuous at best and appalling at worst. The Palestinians in particular demonstrated a black belt in PR by convincing the world that amid their rejection of every peace deal ever offered to them, including the 1947 UN Partition plan, that it is Israel that has no interest in peace.

More than anything else ours is an age of media. Those who master media rise to great heights while those with contempt for PR most often fall. In 2000 Barack Obama lost in his run for Congress. Eight years later he was the most powerful man on earth. Why? Because in that time he mastered the media, wooed radio and TV producers, and won over op-ed columnists with his vision for America. Agree or disagree with this policies, his meteoric rise is a demonstration of how mastery over the organs of communication ultimately leads to mastery over the opinions of the people.

Yet here we are, a nation with a Biblical charge of serving as a light unto the Nations, that is simply terrible at communication. Perhaps we Jews feel that we will never be understood anyway, so why try. Or perhaps it’s that Israel’s cause seems so self-evidently just that it requires no explanation. Or maybe it’s that we find PR to be trite and superficial, all form with little substance. No matter the explanation, we have ceded the PR ground to Israel’s enemies.

The price paid is steep. What good is having Apache helicopter gunships, or Merkava tanks, to defend your citizens against attack if you can’t even use them because the world thinks you’re always the aggressor? Indeed, in the recent war in Gaza Israel did well in the PR battle precisely because it was using a defensive weapon – Iron Dome – which the world, amid its bias, could not possibly construe as an offensive instrument.

But the people paying the biggest price for Israel’s often deplorable PR efforts are Jewish students on campus the world over. It is at universities which are, for the most part, great bastions of liberalism that PR attacks against Israel are the most strategically coordinated and most effective. I remember as Rabbi at Oxford how well funded the Arab student organizations were while we struggled to convince donors of the importance of influencing impressionable young minds with pro-Israel advocates. Inevitably, the haphazard Jewish response by mostly volunteer activists on the world’s campuses is no match for the well-coordinated and well-funded efforts of anti-Israel campaigns that have become de rigueur on campuses throughout the world.

It is for this reason that at universities, more than anywhere else, there must be an effort to galvanize Jewish student leaders who are naturals at PR. And they must be cultivated from an early age.

The news stories this week that Ron Dermer, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s senior adviser, may be tapped to be Israel’s next Ambassador to the United States, is a case in point. If the news is accurate then American Jewry can look forward to an electrifying few years of pro-Israel arguments on the American airwaves with little previous parallel. Michael Oren, Israel’s current Ambassador, is already one of the greatest communicators ever to occupy the role. As a world class historian prior to taking the post, he has further distinguished himself as an eloquent and magisterial defender of the Jewish State.

Cut from the same cloth, Dermer will take this to the next level. In my experience, Ron is quite simply the most capable and erudite advocate for Israel alive anywhere in the world today. From the time that he arrived at Oxford in the mid-1990s as a brilliant political science superstar from the University of Pennsylvania, he shone as a leader and as one of the University’s most charismatic students. At the time, the battles we faced in making the case for Israel at one of the world’s premier universities was intense. Oxford receives a great deal of Arab philanthropy and each year graduates the sons and daughters of the leading Arab families of the Middle East. In addition, the University has long had a romantic history of Arabism and Lawrence of Arabia was one of Oxford’s greatest twentieth century products.

Israel’s US Ambassador: We’ll Act to Stop Chemical Weapons Reaching Hezbollah (Video)

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Israel’s ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said on Sunday night that Israel has been monitoring the situation in Syria for a long time and is worried about the possibility of Syrian chemical weapons coming to Hezbollah’s possession.

“If these weapons fall into the wrong hands, it will be a game changer for us,” Oren stated in an interview with Fox News.

Oren told the interviewer, Chris Wallas:”You can imagine the Hezbollah, with its thousands of missiles, having chemical weapons? It could kill thousands of people.”

The Sunday Times has reported that Israeli special forces are operating in Syria as spotters to track the regime’s stocks of chemical and biological weapons. The cross-border operation is part of a secret war to trail Syria’s non-conventional armaments and sabotage their development.

“For years we’ve known the exact location of Syria’s chemical and biological munitions,” an Israeli source told the Sunday Times, referring to Israel’s spy satellites and drones. “But in the past week we’ve got signs that munitions have been moved to new locations.”

As Horrific Images Outrage the Globe, Israeli Ambassador Explains Cynical Goals

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

In an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Ray Suarez, Israel Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren explained the explosion of images circulating around the world, allegedly showing dead Gazan children “targeted” by Israeli air strikes.

“They [Hamas] are  putting these rockets in schools, in mosques, near hospitals, even in homes. We have pictures of rockets in homes because they not only have a military strategy. They have a media strategy. They want pictures of civilian casualties to make the front page of newspapers around the world,” Oren said.

“We knew that terrorists in Gaza had Iranian-supplied long-range missiles. Our aircraft has managed to neutralize a great number of those missiles. Some of them were located in densely populated areas, in mosques, under schools and playgrounds,” Oren said.  “In one case, one of our pilots targeted one of those long-range missiles and then aborted at the last minute because he saw children playing in the vicinity.”

He added that 4.5 million Israelis, including Arabs – a total of half of Israel’s population –  have been threatened by Hamas rocket fire, which has led to Israel’s strengthening of Operation “Amud Anan”, Pillar of Defense.

“And here you see the type of price we pay for trying to avert as much as possible civilian casualties.”

Oren did not address the falsification and disinformation Hamas and its partners have used to attempt to villainize Israel in the eyes of the Arab world and international community.  In one instance, the Alqassam Brigades was found to have taken an image of a crying man holding a dead child which was taken in during the Syrian civil war weeks ago and attempted to pass it off as a picture taken in Gaza.

UC Irvine Students Vote for ‘Israel Divestment’ But Have No Investments to Divest

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Late last night, November 13, there was a unanimous vote at a California school for divestment from certain companies that do business with Israel.  Unanimous, 16 -0.

There are, however, several points militating against an uptick in alarm.

For one thing, the school at which this took place was the University of California at Irvine.  Yes, the school that allowed students to repeatedly disrupt Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, in 2010.  Eleven of those hooligans were charged and convicted of conspiracy and disrupting a public meeting.  Those convictions were obtained despite the efforts of many UCIrvine faculty members, including a large number of  Jewish Studies department faculty.

But more importantly, the vote was taken by the UC Irvine Student Government, which, in all likelihood, does not have any investments in the targeted companies, or any other companies, for that matter.

The student government also called on the UC Irvine administration to divest from the named companies, but a student group’s call on its university to take the students’ investment advice is not exactly like money in (or, in this case, out of) the bank.

While the vote was really the equivalent of a small group of children shouting at those acting in loco parentis to take its investment advice, last night’s effort by anti-Israel student leadership at UCI is noteworthy for a small shift in tactic.

Although the Resolution repeatedly compared Israeli activity to Apartheid South Africa, the student government Resolution only sought divestment from those companies it deemed to provide support for the Security Fence, the demolition of “Palestinian” homes, and the building or maintenance of  the “illegal Israeli settlements” on “occupied Palestinian territory.”  In the past, calls for divestment from Israel typically called for divestment from any company doing business in Israel, which was the South Africa Apartheid divestment model.

The nitty gritty details, that is, that it was a student group that voted to divest its own (non-existent) financial holdings from certain companies – and was not the vote by a university to divest its holdings from companies doing business in Israel – was completely lost on most other media reporting on the vote.  Professional Israel haters such as Ali Abunimeh and Noam Chomsky were quick to add their support, as were Muslim Student Associations and other anti-Israel groups across the country.  To see the misguided glee, check on twitter #IrvineDivest.

The Resolution, which was introduced by Sabreen Shalabi, and seconded by Shadi Jafari, follows:

 

Item Number: 16 Legislation Number (B: Bill, R: Resolution): R48-15
Synopsis: Divestment from Companies that Profit from Apartheid
Date of Presentation: November 13, 2012
 Divestment from Companies that Profit from ApartheidWHEREAS, it is UC Irvine’s duty to maintain the values of “respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, and empathy” which includes the promotion of human rights, equality, and dignity for all people without distinction;WHEREAS, it is the mission of the UCI Foundation to “ensure the appropriate use of all funds” in order to uphold the values of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment appreciation, and empathy;WHEREAS, students have a legacy of standing against oppression and injustice at UC Irvine and across the U.S.;WHEREAS, the role of student activists in exposing South Africa’s apartheid system and  supporting equality, freedom, and dignity sets an example for us to follow as students of global conscience;WHEREAS, as the example of South Africa shows, it is imperative for students to stand unequivocally against all forms of racism and bigotry globally and on campus, including but not limited to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, patriarchy, and Israel’s system of apartheid;WHEREAS, the occupied Palestinian Territory is controlled militarily by the Israeli government;WHEREAS, certain companies have promoted and been complicit in these ongoing human rights violations systematically committed by the Israeli government, which have been documented by human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International, Addameer, B’tselem, Adalah, Badil, and the Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolitions;WHEREAS, according to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), “the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law”;WHEREAS, according to the same ICJ decision, the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem is also illegal by international law;

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/uc-irvine-students-vote-for-israel-divestment-but-have-no-investments-to-divest/2012/11/14/

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