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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’

Jerusalem Bracing for Obama’s Other Shoe

Monday, December 26th, 2016

The severe retaliation employed by Prime Minster Netanyahu against UN Security Council temporary members Senegal, Ukraine and New Zealand were not an expression of blind rage by a smarting leader, as some on the left have explained it, but a last-ditch effort to warn these smaller countries against repeating their mistake should the Obama Administration drop the other shoe on Israel just before the January 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump, a political source said Sunday night, according to NRG.

Oleh Lyashko, leader of the Radical Party of Ukrainian, bewailed the great damage inflicted on his country with the cancellation of a state visit of Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman in Israel as a result of the Ukraine’s vote in the UN Security Council.

The Israeli PM also cancelled a meeting with the new Prime Minister of the UK and summoned US Ambassador Dan Shapiro for “clarification.”

One of the clues to the PM’s anxiety about the damage a vengeful retiring president can still inflict on the Jewish State is the un-delivered speech by Secretary of State John Kerry. In his Dec. 22 press briefing, Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby, referring to the Egyptian delegation last Thursday pulling its proposed anti-settlements resolution, said that “the Secretary was preparing to deliver some remarks today about a vision for the Middle East and certainly the Middle East peace process itself. And he decided that, in light of the postponement of the vote, that it would be prudent for him to postpone his remarks as well. I’m not going to preview the remarks with any specificity, beyond just saying that it certainly was going to be about the Middle East and the process.”

Kirby explained that the Kerry “vision speech” was timed “in concert with what we expected to be a vote today, […] and in light of the fact that the vote has been postponed, he’s decided to postpone his remarks.”

He then stressed that “it doesn’t mean that it has to be done on the same particular day, but that’s the timing that we chose to pursue. And if and when the Secretary delivers those remarks, we’ll certainly keep you apprised and let you know.”

Netanyahu knows that Kerry is eager to give his vision speech, because of all the failures of his four years in office, which have inflicted hundreds of thousands of deaths on the region, his failure to bestow peace on Israel and the PA wounded him the worst. The outgoing secretary invested so much time, effort, and personal prestige in forcing that peace deal down the Israeli rightwingers’ throats – his ticket to a Nobel peace prize – he hates to walk away without any permanent achievement.

President Obama, too, is smarting, as he prepares to see much of his signature achievements being reversed by the next Congress and the Republican Administration. He can’t give it to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has outplayed him everywhere, most notably in influencing the US election, establishing his control over eastern Ukraine, and ramming through Syria in support of its homicidal President Assad. But he, Obama, can punish Prime Minister Netanyahu for eight years of bad blood.

This is why Netanyahu has been lashing at those temporary UNSC members, literally cutting them off from every bit of technological advantage with which Israel has endowed them. But it isn’t just Israel –Netanyahu’s message is also a hint that by voting against Israel, should the opportunity come up again, they could raise the ire of Obama’s replacement.

That was, most likely, the message President-Elect Trump delivered last Thursday to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: Don’t get stuck being messenger boy for a departing president, do business with me, the new guy. And el-Sisi blinked and withdrew.

Netanyahu’s spokesman David Keys told CNN Israel has “ironclad information, frankly, that the Obama administration really helped this resolution and helped craft it, from sources internationally and sources in the Arab world.” Keys added that the UNSC resolution was not just “deeply anti-Israel,” but represented a “last-minute jab” at Israel by the Obama administration. This means the gloves are off in the fight between Obama and the Israeli PM. No more niceties, no more pretense. The Obama White House is the enemy and it must be stopped, or at least slowed down.

JNi.Media

PM to Cabinet: I Told Kerry, Friends Don’t Take Friends to the Security Council [video]

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet ministers, “I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.” Alas, Kerry and his boss, President Barack Obama, last Friday revealed themselves as less than friends of the Jewish State.

“Over decades, American administrations and Israeli governments had disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue. We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away,” Netanyahu noted.

“I share ministers’ feelings, anger and frustration vis-à-vis the unbalanced resolution that is very hostile to the State of Israel, and which the [UN] Security Council passed in an unworthy manner,” Netanyahu confessed, adding that “from the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”

“This is, of course, in complete contradiction of the traditional American policy that was committed to not trying to dictate terms for a permanent agreement, like any issue related to them in the Security Council, and, of course, the explicit commitment of President Obama himself, in 2011, to refrain from such steps, Netanyahu said.

However, the PM said he was “encouraged by the statements of our friends in the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike. They understand how reckless and destructive this UN resolution was, they understand that the Western Wall isn’t occupied territory.” He also said that he was looking forward “to working with those friends and with the new administration when it takes office next month. And I take this opportunity to wish Israel’s Christian citizens and our Christian friends around the world a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Netanyahu promised to “do whatever is necessary so that Israel will not be damaged by this shameful resolution and I also tell the ministers here, we must act prudently, responsibly and calmly, in both actions and words. I ask ministers to act responsibly as per the directives that will be given today at the Security Cabinet meeting immediately following this meeting. I have also asked the Foreign Ministry to prepare an action plan regarding the UN and other international elements, which will be submitted to the Security Cabinet within one month. Until then, of course, we will consider our steps.”

JNi.Media

One More Jewish Billionaire Can’t Hurt: Carl Icahn Trump’s Next Regulations Czar

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

The market’s ultimate outsider, investor, activist shareholder, and philanthropist Carl Icahn, who spent decades raiding and rearranging corporate headquarters to fit his and his fellow shareholders’ vision, will be drafted to serve as special adviser to President Donald Trump on overhauling regulations, the Wall Street Journal revealed Wednesday.

Icahn, 80, was raised in a Jewish identified family in Far Rockaway, Queens, where his father, a sworn atheist, served as a cantor in a local synagogue. He is a world-renowned philanthropist, including large contributions to Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, of which he is a trustee, and which, in return, named a building the Icahn Medical Institute and, in 2013, renamed the Mount Sinai School of Medicine the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Icahn, who believes the Environmental Protection Agency hurts business, has been an influential member of the Trum transition team, including playing a central role in selecting the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in identifying Trump’s choices for other key posts, according to the WSJ. One of his contribution was the nomination of Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross to run the Treasury and Commerce departments, respectively.

Both Trump and Icahn believe American businesses have been overregulated under the Obama administration, resulting in retarding investments and slowing down the economy. Icahn will become President Trump’s big stick in loosening regulations.

“I’m involved with Donald where he wants me to be—I believe he respects my views and I think he listens to me,” Icahn told the WSJ. “What Trump is trying to achieve is to show business in a lot of this country they aren’t going to be ruined by absurd regulation by bureaucrats.”

Trump for his part praised Icahn’s negotiating skills and said “his help on the strangling regulations that our country is faced with will be invaluable.”

The Democratic National Committee criticizing Icahn as being loaded with conflicting interests, what with his billions in investments and his business dealings.

“It looks like Trump isn’t the only billionaire set to profit off of the presidency,” DNC spokesman Eric Walker said in a statement.

The WSJ got one cute scoop out the Icahn interview: when Mr. Trump the billionaire investor to consider becoming his Secretary of the Treasury, Icahn, also a late-nighter, joked that he doesn’t get up early enough to work for Trump. “I told him when you’re done tweeting, call me,” Icahn said. “I’ll be up.”

JNi.Media

IRS Told to Surrender Documents Containing ‘Israel’ ‘Zion’ ‘West Bank’ ‘Judea’ ‘Samaria’ and ‘Special Israel Policy’

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

The IRS has been ordered to surrender all documents since January 1, 2009 containing the words “Israel,” “Zion,” “West Bank,” “Judea,” Samaria,” and “Special Israel Policy” for review by Congress.

Late Tuesday night Israel time, investigative journalist Omri Ceren posted on the Twitter social networking site a copy of a letter dated December 14, 2016, that was sent to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, by House Ways and Means Committee co-chairs, U.S. Representatives Kevin Brady and Peter Rosam.

It said, in part:

“Although the Internal Revenue Service as vowed that it no longer considers inappropriate criteria, such as organization’s political beliefs, when reviewing applications for tax-exempt status, the Committee on Ways and Means remains concerned that IRS practices and policies may illegally target Americans and organizations based on their beliefs – in particular, their support for the State of Israel.

“… the Committee seeks documents from the IRS to understand how the IRS has treated tax-exempt organizations connected to Israel with viewpoints different than the Administration’s in the past and how the IRS plans to treat such organizations in the future…

“One such pro-Israel organization, Z Street, applied for tax-exempt status in 2009. After much delay in the application process, an IRS agent confirmed to Z Street that its application had been sent for special screening reserved for groups associated with Israel…

“It is distressing that the United States government subjected Americans to discriminatory treatment because of their political and religious beliefs,” the letter continues. “It is more distressing that it took seven years for one such group to get fair treatment by the IRS, even as the IRS told Congress that it no longer discriminated against such groups. And perhaps most alarmingly, recent press accounts suggest that even after all of this history, the IRS might even be pursuing new discriminatory policies. Reports state that the Administration is considering the possibility of pressuring Israel to make unilateral concessions to the Palestinians, such as through a United Nations Security Council Resolution, and in that context, also may consider new IRS actions that would affect the tax-exempt status of people or entities based on their viewpoints regarding Israel. Despite the IRS’s claim to Congress that it stopped political targeting in 2013, the IRS and Administration’s actions over the past seven years lend credibility to these reports…

“To help the Committee better understand the IRS’s historical and current position in these matters, please provide no later than 5:00 p.m., January 11, 2017, all documents dating from January 1, 2009, to the present to, from, or within the IRS, containing the words, “Israel”; “Zion”; “West Bank”; “Judea”; “Special Israel Policy”; and/or “Samaria.”

Beginning in 2011, Americans living in Israel began to hear stories circulating about friends or family members who also had immigrated on aliyah, or who were involved in Israel-linked activities, who were suddenly receiving notices from the IRS that their U.S. income tax returns for the years 2009 and/or 2010 were under audit.

One American living in Israel who has requested anonymity due to fears of retribution told JewishPress.com that during the process of untangling the long and “intimidating” audit, the IRS case manager assigned to the account said bluntly that American taxpayers whose “returns were coming in from Israel and who were getting money back for any reason, were being red-flagged.”

Now the House Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. Congress is ordering the IRS to turn over any and all documents that will reveal whether the Obama Administration has truly been engaged in a “Special Israel Policy.”

Hana Levi Julian

Trump Tweets Japanese Billionaire to Invest in US, Creating 50,000 Jobs

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Billionaire founder and CEO of Japanese multinational telecommunications and Internet corporation Softbank Masayoshi Son entered the Trump Tower Tuesday afternoon, for a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. A few minutes later, literally (at 2:10 PM ET), Trump tweeted: “Masa (SoftBank) of Japan has agreed to invest $50 billion in the U.S. toward businesses and 50,000 new jobs…” He followed it up with “Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!”

According to Reuters, the investment is likely to involve telecoms giant Sprint Corp, in which SoftBank owns 82%, would try again to merge with T-Mobile US, a deal that was previously killed by US government regulators. Apparently, the new White House (PT) resident plans to ease up on those regulations this time. One of the president-elect’s campaign promises was to rescind the Obama Administration’s over-regulation of business. Whether or not US consumers would also fare better with fewer regulations.

Standing with the visiting tycoon at the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, Donald Trump said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Masa from SoftBank of Japan, and he’s just agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States and 50,000 jobs.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the SoftBank investment is part of a $100 billion investment fund “Masa” is setting up with a Saudi Arabian fund.

“We are going to invest $50 billion into the US and commit to create 50,000 new jobs,” Son said at the Trump lobby, noting that the investment was made possible due to his expectation of seeing a lot of “deregulation” under the Trump administration.

No timeline was given for the investment, but Sprint shares reached their highest level in 2.5 years, closing up 1.5% at $8.17 in heavy trading. Shares of T-Mobile US were up 1.8% at $55.99.

Incidentally, earlier on Tuesday Trump rebuked Boeing for charging too much for the Air Force 1, sending its stock plummeting. So this is definitely going to be a memorable ride.

David Israel

Report: President Trump to Expose ‘Indefensible’ Iran Deal Documents

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Future senior Trump administration officials are discussing which unseen documents about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal they will make public after the inauguration, The Daily Beast reported Monday. The report cites chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker, possibly President Trump’s pick for secretary of state, who said, “My guess is that they will be very forthcoming. […] They’ll be more than desirous in ensuring that’s the case.”

The report also cites Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Il), who said, “The American people know the Iran deal is bad. I can tell you it’s even worse than most people think. The Obama Administration has long known its position is indefensible, so they’ve chosen to hide unclassified documents from the public.”

In March 2015, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) sent a letter, signed by 46 out of 53 Republicans in the Senate then, to Iran’s leaders, stating that any deal between Obama and the Iranian leadership would amount to only an “executive agreement” that could be undone by Congress or a future president. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time,” Cotton warned.

In November 2016, Cotton told Bloomberg, “In January, a President Trump and a Republican Congress will begin a new policy of resolve toward Iran’s ayatollahs.” Of course, by now the US has eliminated the sanctions against Iran, paid the Islamic Republic in cash to settle claims regarding an arms sale to the Shah, and unfroze billions in Iranian bank holdings. As Bloomberg put it, “at this point, a clear statement from the US that it was abandoning the nuclear agreement would only affect Iran’s obligations, such as international monitoring of its nuclear program and temporary limits on its centrifuge production and stockpile of nuclear fuel.”

In July 2016 the Obama Administration, following a law mandating a congressional review of the nuclear deal, used a clever trick in order to conceal unclassified documents by submitting them together with a single classified item – making the publicizing of any of this information illegal. Republican staffers are itching to make these unclassified documents public as soon as there’s a new sheriff in town.

According to The Daily Beast, one such document, “Elements of Iran’s R&D Plan,” is based on the “safeguards confidential plan [between] Iran and the IAEA,” describing how Iran’s research and development on its nuclear program, including on its centrifuges, could progress over time, despite the deal.

According to multiple US media reports, the documents the Trump team are weighing for publication come in three groups. The first group includes 17 unclassified annexes, appendices, and related agreements handed to Congress in July 2015 under the the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, a.k.a. Corker-Cardin. These feature letters from Kerry assuring US business institutionsthey could trade and deal with Iran, which may indicate the deal was never sustainable but for those US urgings; and information regarding the precise restrictions on Iran’s centrifuge development, which Iran has reportedly violated several times.

The second group includes documents describing the transfer of $1.7 billion cash to Iran, the release of 21 Iranian operatives, the Iranians’ leveraging of American hostages, and the lifting of international sanctions stemming from Iran’s ballistic missile development, which were described in August by the Wall Street Journal. The State Department denied much of the above, warning that revealing the identity of banks involved in the cash transfer would hinder future deals.

The third group are documents from the Joint Commission overseeing the implementation of the deal, which secretly permit Iran to violate its terms. The very existence of these exemptions proves the deal – from its inception – depended on the US turning a blind eye on its violations.

David Israel

John Kerry, Straw Men and the Saban Echo Chamber

Monday, December 5th, 2016
  • The Saban Echo Chamber and the Trump Effect
  • Peace with Other Arab Countries
  • Which Arab Countries?
  • Just Plain Insulting
  • Skipping Over the Peace Process
  • Jews, Settlers and Settlements and Obstacles to Peace
  • Kerry’s Straw Man
  • Kerry’s Complicated Solutions and Lack of Imagination
  • Just to Throw one Idea at Kerry
  • Conclusions

Secretary of State John Kerry’s rant at the Saban Forum was fascinating in that it illuminated everything that is wrong with the supporters of the two-state solution “peace” process.

 

The Saban Echo Chamber and the Trump Effect

To begin, Kerry asked the room to raise their hands to indicate their support for the two-state solution, and then to raise their hands if they are against it. Perhaps one or two hands were raised against it.

There’s no better indication that either nearly all the participants of the Saban Forum are out of touch with what Israelis believe and reality itself, thus forming a Saban echo chamber, or the participants are too intimidated to publicly admit to their peers that they don’t support it, just like Americans were publicly afraid to disclose they were voting for Trump.

I got the impression from Jeffrey Goldberg’s tough questions, that Goldberg realizes and acknowledges there’s an incorrectable problem with the two-state solution “peace” process and Kerry’s perception of reality, but Goldberg is unable or unprepared to make that intellectual leap and reach the logical conclusion.

 

Peace with Other Arab Countries

I was honestly baffled at Kerry’s absolute insistence that an Israeli peace with the other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan, is predicated on peace with the “Palestinians.”

Kerry insisted that while the Arab countries need Israel’s expertise in areas like agriculture, technology and finance, they refuse to take it because of the “Palestinian” conflict.

First of all, if these Arab countries want to shoot themselves in the head, gei gezunterheit.

Second of all, Jordan takes Israel’s water. Jordan’s parliament just approved a natural gas deal with Israel. And Israelis even manage agricultural farms in Jordan (shhhh) .

Egypt, under the non-fundamentalist Al-Sisi – whom the Obama administration pushed away, is discussing major cooperation projects with Israel, where Israel will assist Egypt in solar energy, agriculture, desalination, and even expanding tourism.

So, when Kerry includes Jordan and Egypt not taking what Israel has to offer, one has to wonder about his disconnect.

 

Which Arab Countries?

But here’s the real question. Which Arab states was John Kerry referring to, and are the real benefits to Israel so earth-shattering?

In this new Middle East, we already quietly get oil from Kurdish controlled Iraq.

Now that Erdogan is close to consolidating his position as Turkish dictator, he is calming down and making deals with Israel, especially over Israel’s natural gas.

Lebanon, for as long as it remains controlled by the Hezbollah terrorist organization and the Islamic regime in Iran, will never make any peace.

Syria, doesn’t exist anymore as a country, and no one is rushing there to eat Hummus in Damascus.

Iraq? Yemen? The Islamic State of Iran (who aren’t even Arabs, and don’t care about “Palestinians”)?

We already have quiet business happening with some of the Gulf states.

That pretty much just leaves Saudi Arabia, and personally, besides overflight permission for El Al, I could pass on them.

 

Just Plain Insulting

John Kerry doesn’t like how Israel turned out. He believes it’s not faithful to the original vision.

“It’s because we want to be able to see this thing develop into the full-blossomed beacon that Israel has the potential of being…”

A nasty word directed at Kerry, is the only proper response I can think to such a condescending and false statement such as that.

There’s nothing more to say on that one.

 

Skipping Over the Peace Process

I found it fascinating how Kerry confused the timeline between Oslo I (1993) and Oslo II (1995).

I found it instructive how Kerry completely avoided discussing and glossed over the only reason that Oslo II was stopped in its tracks – and that was the horrifying terror attacks by our so-called peace partners.

Terror attacks so extreme, that even then Prime Minister Shimon Peres threatened to end any further IDF pullouts if the attacks didn’t end.

Yet, he somehow expects Israel to not learn from history and experiences and what our own eyes see before us.

 

Jews, Settlers and Settlements and Obstacles to Peace

Let’s discuss settlements, that being an area dear to my heart.

Kerry says the vision of the settlers is to control all of Judea and Samaria and to prevent peace and a Palestinian state.

To the first part, I finally congratulate Kerry on finally saying something factually correct.

We “settlers” believe in greater Israel. We believe in applying sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria.

On the last part, I congratulate Kerry on recognizing the truth, we “settlers” do not want a Palestinian state in the Land of Israel, in any form.

As for his middle part, that’s Kerry’s straw man argument. As the only vision for peace that Kerry will accept or consider is his repeatedly failed two-state solution.

 

Kerry’s Straw Man

Kerry only believes peace is possible on his terms.

He warns that Israel could become a “unitary” state. He claimed there are more Arabs on this side of the Jordan river than Jews.

He pooh-poohs any other idea and concept for peace as leading down the same road.

He then knocks down his straw men.

 

Kerry’s Complicated Solutions and Lack of Imagination

What is most amazing is how he bragged about all the “complicated”, convoluted, ridiculous and impossible to implement solutions he came up that he claims would allow Israel to maintain its security after evacuating strategic territories.

The man is capable of building absurd castles in the skies for implementing his peace process, but when it comes to challenges that applying sovereignty might encounter, Kerry can’t even conceive there might be any solution to the problem.

It’s a religion for him.

 

Just to Throw one Idea at Kerry

Kerry raises the central concern that anyone considering a Sovereignty solution encounters. Long-term demographics.

Naftali Bennett has addressed the problem, Caroline Glick has addressed the problem and even Betzalel Smotrich has addressed the problem.

Yet Kerry acts as if no one advocating Sovereignty has any solution.

Kerry spoke about the Marshall Plan after WW2. Kerry spoke about complicated networks of drones, fences, and cooperation with terrorists on our border with Jordan.

I have a simpler, less expensive, and less convoluted solution for his concerns.

I’ve spoken with a number of Arabs living under the Palestinian Authority regime, and they would love if Israel freed them from under the PA thumb.

But do you know what they want more than that?

A Green Card.

If Kerry really was worried about the demographic problem and the future of Israel, he would find a way to offer a Green Card to every “Palestinian” family who chooses to voluntarily and permanently leave the Land of Israel.

He would get his peace partners in crime, France and the EU to offer the same.

Most of Gaza and the West Bank would likely be empty within a few months time.

Kerry has 6 weeks to implement this idea before Trump takes over and closes the borders.

That’s just one possible solution.

 

Conclusions

Is Kerry really serious about peace? Or does his vision of peace only involve kicking indigenous Jews out of our ancient homeland?

After listening to his rant last night, the answer is self-evident.

JoeSettler

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/john-kerry-straw-men-and-the-saban-echo-chamber/2016/12/05/

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