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May 22, 2015 / 4 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Netanyahu’

Gov. Walker Visits Kotel in Likely Pre-Election Campaign Photo-Op

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker visited the Western Wall (Kotel) this week for the first of several photo-ops that are likely to precede an announcement in June that he will be another candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.

“Really, for us though, we wanted to make it an educational focus, not just a media trip,” Walker said.

His “education” will be focused on learning enough about Israel that he can convince people he know something about foreign policy, a subject on which he already has proved is far from being his ace.

Walker recently compared the Islamic State (ISIS) with union protesters, meaning he could take care of both groups, CNN reported.

He obviously is not on the left side of the Republican party.

Walker said in South Carolina last Saturday:

We need a commander-in-chief who will once and for all call it what it is, and that is that radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to us all. We need a president who will affirm that Israel is our ally, and start acting like it.

His itinerary covers the usual required sites, such as the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial. He also will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Members and IDF officers.

A helicopter tour will give him a bird’s-eye view of Israel’s narrow borders with unfriendly neighbors.

Walker returns to the United States on Thursday, where he undoubtedly will tell everyone how much he now knows about Israel.

It is amazing how politicians learn so much so quickly. Gov. Walker said in South Carolina last week:

Although I’ve only been here once this year, I know South Carolina. Now get to know me.

If Israel is going to be his calling card in the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates, Walker does not have much of a chance. Israel is near the bottom of subjects that interest most American voters.

But terror is big, and Walker is big on fighting terror.

In his speech in South Carolina, he said:

it is not a matter of if another attempt is made on American soil; it is a when another attempt is made on American soil…. I want a leader who is willing to take the fight to them before they take the fight to us.

If Gov. Walker joins the race to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2016, he will have plenty of company. His problem, and that of most other Republican candidates, is that they all sound alike.

Herzog Wants New Elections

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog has called for new elections because it took Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu two months to put together a coalition government that he said will cost the taxpayers an additional $250 million.

He told a meeting of the Zionist Union, the merged parties of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s HaTnuah parties, that it would be best to go again to the polls and let the people decide if they really want what they got.

He reiterated that not only will he not join Prime Minister Netanyahu in a national unity government, but he also will do everything he can to topple the new government.

His call for a new election should not be dismissed so quickly.

There is no question that if elections were held today, the Hareidi parties would retain at least the 13 seats they now have in the Shas and Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) parties. They probably would win a couple of more from those who made the mistake of voting for Eli Yishai’s Yachad party, which failed to get enough votes to enter the Knesset.

There also is no question that the Likud would lose at least four seats that Netanyahu grabbed from the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) in his last-minute blitz. Considering how the Prime Minister mistreated Bayit Yehudi in forming the new coalition, the party’s current strength of eight MKs likely would rise to more than 12 because it would also win back one or two seats that voters gave to the failed Yachad party.

Kulanu, led by Moshe Kachlon, would probably take a couple of seats from the Likud and a couple from Yair Lapid, who has succeeded in proving to voters there is nothing but air inside a windbag.

On the left, Livni is a dead duck, and Labor is not going to get any more votes than it now has unless they take them from Meretz, and vice-versa..

Yisrael Beiteinu also would not win any more than it now has and could even be headed for oblivion.

The Arabs would return with more or less the same 12 seats they now have.

The bottom line is that if Herzog wants new elections, let him have them.

The result will be a stronger national-religious government.

And then Herzog can call for a third round of elections, and a fourth, unit he finally figures it out that he represents a diminishing minority.

Canada May Propose Defining Boycott of Israel a ‘Hate Crime’

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The pro-Israel Canadian government may be planning to include boycotts of Israel as a hate crime, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported Monday.

It said that such a move would target organizations such as the United Church of Canada, Canadian Quakers, campus protest groups and labor unions. It also would raise legal questions under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadian Prime Stephen Harper is unarguably the most pro-Israel head of any government in the world. He sounded like an echo of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit to Israel last year.

Recently-retired Foreign Minister John Baird in January signed an agreement with Israel to fight the Boycott Israel movement, and government ministers have said they will show “zero tolerable” towards groups that are part of Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS). He described the Boycott Israel movement as “the new face of anti-Semitism.”

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney recently said that boycotts of Israel cannot be separated from anti-Semitic hate speech and the recent terrorist attacks against Jews in France.

CBC asked the government to explain the meaning of “zero tolerance,” and Blaney replied that Canada has “one of the most comprehensive sets of [hate] laws anywhere in the world.”

Last year, Canada changed its definition of hate speech to include statements made against “national origin” and not just race and religion.

That has raised fears among civil libertarians that anti-Israel remarks could be classified as statements against Jews.

The concept of associating Israel with Jews goes at the very heart of the liberal Jewish community, as well as Jews who have no interest in Judaism in Israel. Whether they like it or not, hatred of Israel and Jews increasingly makes them identified with Israel by the fact that they are Jews.

They can like it or not, but inevitably, “Jew” cannot be separated from “Israel.” They can like it not, but the “People of Israel” means Jews – everywhere.

The question is whether that definition has a legal standing.

CBC reported that the Canadian Quakers wrote a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson in March “expressing concern” about describing boycotts as acts of anti-Semitism.

Blaney’s office did not specifically say that would be the case but noted that it is illegal to promote hatred against an “identifiable group.”

However, BDS protests in other parts of the world have been anything but violent, with frequent clashes with police such as in France.

In Israel, it is against the law to boycott the country

In France, hate speech as a crime includes statements aimed at people’s “national origin,” and BDS activists sometimes have been charged with violating the law.

Belgium is considering a similar law.

On paper, it would seem that prohibiting a group from promoting a boycott of a country – and Israel is the only nation that is targeted – because of its political polices is a violation of freedom of speech.

In reality, such protests are often like the Palestinian Authority term “resistance,” a code word to encourage terrorists to kill Jews.

Saudi Arabia Snubs US Summit on Iran

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman has screamed its irritation with President Barack Obama’s eagerness to cooperate with Iran on its nuclear program by snubbing a U.S. summit and sending his crown prince instead.

The monarchy explained in its sudden announcement that King Salman won’t attend the planned meeting at Camp David because he is too busy with the crisis in Yemen.

The official version is the king cannot attend “due to the timing of the summit, the scheduled humanitarian cease-fire in Yemen and the opening of the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid.”

Two days earlier, the White House played up the expected meeting between President Barack Obama and King Salman as a venue “to build on their close consultations.”

Close consultations?

Since King Salman ascended to the throne in January after the death of King Abdullah, there have been drastic shifts in Riyadh’s attitude in public. It has been more open about its opposition to how President Obama and the rest of the P5+1 is making a deal with Iran on its nuclear development as an end in itself instead of a means to putting an end to the threat of a nuclear Iran.

It also is scared stiff of Iran’s open desire to take over the entire Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are on the same page. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to Washington to preach his gospel against trusting Iran, and President Obama refused to meet him since the speech was two weeks before the general elections in Israel.

Obama was looking forward to meeting King Salman as another opportunity to show how he can continue on a one-way street with Iran while bringing along a passenger who is going the other way.

King Salman, like Prime Minister Netanyahu, is not playing Obama’s political posturing.

There are some analysts who are insisting that the king’s absence from the summit is not a “snub” Obama and that the crisis in Yemen is more urgent.

But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with King Salman on Thursday and said, “I’ll see you next week.” Kerry also was with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Juber when the cease-fire in Yemen was announced.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia sent signals that it was not certain King Salman would arrive, and the kingdom confirmed the king’s absence on Saturday.

The Obama is spinning that it is business as usual with Saudi Arabia and the relationship is as strong as it has been in quite some time, just like it always assures Netanyahu of Washington’s “unbreakable bond” with Israel while it walks with Iran towards a nuclear weapon.

The Washington Post quoted a State Dept. source as saying:

They did not mean it as a snub. They were not trying to send a message.”

The newspaper also quoted Johns Hopkins International Studies lecturer Jean-Francois Seznec as saying, “I do not think this is a snub. I think on the other hand that it is a proof that the Saudis want substantive talks.”

Okay. It’s not a snub. In diplomatic language, it is “a message we aren’t happy with Obama.”

In other words, a snub. Or if not that, a spit in the face.

Or as was said by Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The king’s decision suggests that, despite all of this, he thinks he has better things to do with his time.”

In other words, a snub to get the message across to President Obama that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not alone.

So who’s coming to the party at Camp David besides the crown prince of Saudi Arabia?

There are five other Gulf States besides Saudi Arabia, and only two of them are sending a king. Two Gulf monarchs are not in good health. The third is from Kuwait, but its king, like King Salman, is sending his crown prince.

Salman’s absence could be seen as a snub to Obama’s administration, said Jon Alterman,

In one of the understatements of the year, Bloomberg News quoted Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Gulf Research Center in Geneva, as saying that “after six years of empty promises, hesitation, and indecisiveness” by Obama, the Gulf States have a “very deep lack of trust” in his administration.

Hosni Mubarak learned what it means to have friends like President Obama, who panted after the Muslim Brotherhood before turning his back on the political party that he finally realized is a terrorist organization.

Netanyahu knows exactly how mixed-up Obama is when he equates Israeli security interests with America’s.

Saudi Arabia knows how much Washington can be trusted to stand by a decision to bomb Syria because of its use of chemical weapons.

Yes. Obama stepped back by stating that the Assad regime gave up its chemical weapons, which does not exactly explain evidence that surfaced last week of a chemical weapons attack on rebel strongholds.

Supreme Court Slaps Down Lapid’s Appeal to Freeze Netanyahu Coalition

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The Israeli Supreme Court Monday morning dismissed Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid’s appeal to rule against moves to expand the proposed coalition Cabinet.

The outgoing Cabinet approved the expansion bill that would remove the limit of 18 Cabinet ministries, and the Knesset is to vote on the legislation this week, paving the way for the inauguration of the new coalition.

The court, despite its decision not to freeze the legislative process, still has not yet ruled on Lapid’s appeal  questioning the legality of the expansion.

The Knesset’s attorney, Eyal Yinon, argued before the court that Lapid’s appeal was “baseless” and “unprecedented” as an attempt to interfere with legislation even before the Knesset votes on it.

The Cabinet cannot exceed 18 ministries, under current law. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants it expanded to satisfy the demands of coalition partners, which is exactly why the Knesset previously passed a law limiting the size of the Knesset.

The expansion costs taxpayers millions of dollars and more importantly opens the door again to politicians auctioning off their participation in the government.

Lapid’s appeal was typical of his grandstand political style, but if the court eventually rejects his appeal, it will be one more defeat in his growing list of failures.

Cabinet Approves Expanding Cabinet to Meet Coalition Demands

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

The last Cabinet session of the outgoing government unanimously approved Sunday morning adding a number of ministries to satisfy demands of coalition partners in the new government.

If all of the ministers competing for the status of bang called “Minister” had their way, there would be approximately 61 ministries in the new government, one for every Knesset Member.

The Knesset later will approve the expansion, which will cost taxpayers a hundred million dollars.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said Sunday that he might rule that the coalition is not legal if there were specific agreements to allot a specific amount of money to different parties for earmarked projects.

Israel governments have a tradition of buying off coalition partners with promises for money for their pet projects.

Liberman is Persona Non Grata, and Bennett Can Forget About Judicial Revolutions

Friday, May 8th, 2015

PM Netanyahu has no one to blame for the results of his coalition negotiations but himself, though that’s not stopping him from blaming his partners (and former partners) he mistreated.

Netanyahu’s natural partners, Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu, were prepared to sign with the Likud immediately and with relatively reasonable demands, but Netanyahu saved them to last, played hardball with them, and basically abused them, until they decided they had enough.

An angry Avigdor Liberman quit as foreign minister and made it clear that he won’t be part of Netanyahu’s coalition. A fed-up Naftali Bennett decided to instead go for the gold, since his trust in Netanyahu was approaching zero, and he believed he had nothing left to lose.

According to a Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu told Likud MKs that not only will Liberman not be a member of his coalition now, Liberman will not be a member of his coalition, ever. Even if Liberman changes his mind, “there’s no coming back.”

Sources in the Likud said there will be revenge on Bennett for playing hardball during the last days of negotiations, and Netanyahu is plotting to kick Bennett out of the coalition as soon as possible and bring in Yitzchak Herzog and the Zionist Camp instead.

Within Bayit Yehudi, they believe that has been Netanyahu’s plan all along, even before Bennett began playing hardball back.

According to the Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu also said Bayit Yehudi can forget about introducing any judicial revolutions, whether they be reforms in how judges are selected or any other decisions that negatively impact the judiciary, as he will personally block it.

Netanyahu plans to rely on one of the conditions in the coalition agreement which prevents proposing “explosive” legislation in the legislation committee. This condition was introduced in the previous coalition to thwart then Justice Minister Tzipi Livni from going overboard, but it still didn’t stop Livni from proposing them all the time in the committee.

Likud sources say that Netanyahu is personally holding on to the Foreign Ministry portfolio so he can offer it to any party that might join the coalition later.

Since Lapid and Liberman won’t be allowed back in, that only leaves Yitzchak Herzog and his Zionist Camp (Labor).

For his part, Herzog says that he won’t be joining Netanyahu’s coalition, but when asked to confirm that position with a party vote, Herzog refused, leaving the feeling among his party members that he is leaving that door wide open.

Even within the Likud, a minor rebellion is brewing, with MKs jockeying for the limited number of ministerial positions, and each one feeling they deserve it more than their friends and associates, and that Netanyahu owes it to them.

Netanyahu’s coalition is off to a rough start, with a lot of anger and an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust.

In the previous coalition, Netanyahu tried to keep Bennett out of the government, but Bennett forced his way in and proved to be Netanyahu’s most trusted and reliable ally. Liberman has also been Netanyahu’s trusted and reliable ally for decades.

Maybe these relationships are now broken, but the thing about politics, and Israeli politics in particular, is that there is no such thing as forever –unless you’re Shimon Peres.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/liberman-is-persona-non-grata-and-bennett-can-forget-about-judicial-revolutions/2015/05/08/

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