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July 6, 2015 / 19 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’

US Refuses to Recognize ‘West Jerusalem’ as Part of Israel [video]

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Now that the Supreme Court has told a 12-year-old boy that “Jerusalem, Israel” cannot be written as his birthplace on his American passport because the United States considers the united city “disputed” territory, the State Dept. has gone one step further and cannot pinpoint the capital of Israel.

The United States and the Palestinian Authority share the same policy that does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, as well as suburban neighborhoods in the north, east and southern areas of the city.

The Supreme Court decision on Monday upheld the Executive Branch’s power to determine foreign policy despite a Congressional law recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Obama administration, like its predecessors, does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital even though all government offices are located in “western” Jerusalem, whose sovereignty by Israel never has been explicitly questioned by the United States or even the United Nations.

However, it is implicitly questioned.

By not recognizing “western Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel, the American foreign policy casts doubt on Israel sovereignty.

Associated Press journalist Matt Lee asked State Dept. spokesman Jeff Rathke Monday afternoon:

 Can you remind us all what city – or what the United States regards as the capital of Israel?

Rathke never answered the question. This not the first time that the State Dept. has performed a song and dance to get around stating if Israel really has a capital and if so, where it is. For example, see here and click here.

But the Supreme Court on Monday decision magnifies the absurdity of U.S. policy that leaves Jerusalem in limbo.

Rathke said:

Since Israel’s founding, administrations of both parties have maintained a consistent policy of recognizing no state as having sovereignty over Jerusalem.

But what about West Jerusalem?

Rathke:

Again, no change to our policy to announce.

But what about West Jerusalem?

Rathke:

Again, Matt, I’ve got no change to our policy to announce.

But what about West Jerusalem?

Rathke:

Our consistent policy is we recognize no state as having sovereignty over Jerusalem.

All of Jerusalem?

Rathke: I don’t have a – I didn’t put a modifier in front it.

Rathke’s song and dance begins at 2:20 in the video here.

US Poll: Keep Negotiating with Iran and Let Israel Bomb their Nukes

Monday, June 8th, 2015

A large plurality of Americans prefer that the Obama administration take a more dovish approach to end the Iranian nuclear threat but at the same time back Israel’s bombing the Islamic Republic

The Zogby Analytics poll, published Monday by Forbes, offered two options to 909 likely voters nationwide: Continue negotiations for a deal that limits Iranian nuclear development and allows for U.N. inspections, with the lifting of sanctions, or stop negotiations and “tighten the sanctions against Iran until Iran is ready to end all nuclear development, even if it means the US losing support of countries like France, Germany and Britain.” The first and more dovish option won support of 42 percent of the respondents, compared with 32 percent for the more hawkish diplomatic alternative.

But in the words of Zogby, “voters do not mind the US encouraging Israel doing the dirty work.” The poll asked:

Do you mainly support or oppose the US allowing Israel striking against Iranian nuclear sites?

The results were startling, with 45 percent supporting an IDF attack and only 23 percent opposing it. The other 32 percent were undecided.

Support for an Israeli military attack grows with age, 44 percent among 18-19 year olds and 49-50 percent for those over the of 50.

Among likely Democrat voters, 36 percent back and 28 percent back an Israeli strike. On the Republican side, the hawks outnumbered the doves by 4-1, with a whopping 59 percent giving their voice of approval to an attack.

Zogby asked, “What should we make of this?” and answered that most likely voters support American diplomacy with both Iran and the major powers, prefer a deal rather than the risk of war but also would like to see a quick solution if Israel can end the nuclear threat.

The poll’s report concluded:

Few Americans will cry if Iran’s nuclear acquisition is halted but American cannot stomach another long-term military engagement.

The questions imply many assumptions that are wrong. Even Israel admits that attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities does not necessarily mean ending the threat. It is speculation whether Iran will bounce back in three or four years and come close to getting it hands on a nuclear weapon, as the Obama administration argues, or will take the hint and invest its resources into more productive areas.

It also is not so certain that Americans think that a U.S. attack on Iran would mean a long war or one that would put soldiers on the ground.

The poll suggests a few other conclusions:

–Americans have lost faith in their armed forces to do what has to be done;

–They really are not sure that a deal will end the Iranian nuclear threat. At best, it will kick the can down the road a few years, maybe;

–And Americans trust Israel.

It is the last suggested conclusion that is the most significant. Israel may not have Obama’s back but when things got sticky, it probably has the back of most Americans, and that has huge implications when it comes to the BDS movement, aid for Israel and the Obama administration’s insistence to pander to the Palestinian Authority.

Bennett Looks for Attention with Appeal to World to Recognize Golan

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett called on the world to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in speech to the annual Herzliya Conference on Sunday.

Israel annexed the strategic and water-rich Golan in 1981, but many foreign media articles are preceded with the dateline “Golan Heights, Occupied Territories.”

Bennett’s initiative might be the first small step towards what is going to be an eventual reality. As Syria falls apart, the idea of handing over the Golan to Bashar Al-Assad doesn’t even enter the imagination of Secretary of State John Kerry.

However, Bennett’s call for recognition was welcomed with a resounding thud by foreign media, such as AFP, whose first words in its report were “Far-right Israeli minister.” The description is outlandish, if not libelous, unless the same news agency were to call Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog “far-left.”

Bennett said yesterday:

I call on the international community… to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan…. I understand that there is a disagreement on Judaea and Samaria, what the world calls the West Bank. I understand that on this we shall agree to disagree.

But the Golan, to ban agricultural exports from the Golan? Where is the logic, where is your morality? Who would you like us to give the Golan Heights to? To Assad? To Al-Nusra Front? To the Islamic State group? To Hezbollah?

There is a consensus among Israelis that the Golan Heights should remain in Israel. The 20,000 Jews in the Golan Heights make up 50 percent of the population, the other half being Druze, approximately half of whom live in the city of Majdal Shams.

Prime Minister Netanyahu took the air out of Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party, which in the early stages of the election was polled to win 16 seats in the Knesset. By Election Day, the number was down to 12, the same it had in the previous government.

The day after the election, Netanyahu’s frantic call for Jews to vote had reduced the party’s strength to eight.

Bennett is not making the mistake of previous nationals religious parties to become a party of “Yesha,” the acronym for the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria.

He is trying to shed the party of the stigma that nationalists must be religious. Secular Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked was at the top of the heap in the elections and won the prize of Justice Minister.

Now Bennett needs even broader support in Israel to strengthen his position in the government, and his call on the world to recognize the Golan was more for local consumption than any expectation that the United Nations or even the Obama administration will admit to the truth.

State Dept. ‘Perplexed’ by Negative NY Times Report on Iran

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

he U.S. State Dept. is “perplexed” over a report in The New York Times Tuesday that Iran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel has increased 20 percent since the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) that was supposed to limit its nuclear fuel.

There are two news items in one: The report raises questions whether any deal with Iran can be other than “bad,” but no less significant is that it was published in the newspaper that is considered close to being the Obama administration’s unofficial public relations office.

The New York Times reported:

With only one month left before a deadline to complete a nuclear deal with Iran, international inspectors have reported that Tehran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel increased about 20 percent over the last 18 months of negotiations, partially undercutting the Obama administration’s contention that the Iranian program had been ‘frozen’ during that period.

But Western officials and experts cannot quite figure out why.

The authors of the article speculated that technical problems may have prevented the conversion of enriched uranium into fuel roads for reactors, making it worthless for a nuclear weapon. A second possibility is that Iran simply is playing games and increasing its stockpile to use as a bargaining chip in negotiations for a final deal by June 30, the deadline President Barack Obama has imposed for an agreement.

State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf told reported Tuesday:

Our team read that story this morning and was quite frankly perplexed because the main contentions of it are totally inaccurate.

First, the notion in the story that western officials or U.S. officials involved were unaware of this issue or not understanding of what this entails is just absurdץ. Under the JPOA, Iran can fluctuate its numbers in terms of their stockpile. They can go up and down as long as at the end of fixed date they are back down below a number.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in March:

We’ve actually succeeded in not just halting Iran’s progress as it relates to their nuclear program but actually rolling it back in several key areas, including reducing and eliminating their stockpile of highly enriched uranium.

Harf expressed the Obama administration’s belief that everything will be fine and dandy because Iran promised to live up to its agreements.

She said:

What matters is that they have committed already.

The Institute for Science and International Security’s David Albright and Serene Kelleher-Vergantini have stated:

Iran has fallen behind in its pledge to convert its newly produced LEU hexafluoride into oxide form. There are legitimate questions about whether Iran can produce all the requisite LEU oxide ….  Iran has clearly fallen —–behind in its pledge under the JPA.

But not to worry. Iran is committed to its word.

Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

De facto  Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Israeli diplomats Thursday that her policy is to deliver  a message to the world that “this land is ours” because God gave it to the Jews.

Hotovely official is Deputy Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu officially has the title of Foreign Minister. In practice, he has placed his trust in her to deal with foreign diplomats.

An Orthodox woman and mother to a baby girl, Hotovely somewhat shocked several Israeli diplomats with a “Dvar Torah,” Hebrew for a short lesson from the Torah. She quoted in brief the Torah commentator Rashi, who cited the interpretation of the  first word of the Torah:

Rashi wrote:

Said Rabbi Isaac: It was not necessary to begin the Torah except from ‘This month is to you, (Exod. 12:2) which is the first commandment that the Israelites were commanded. Now for what reason did He commence with ‘In the beginning?’

Because of [the verse] ‘The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations.’ (Psalms 111:6). For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, ‘You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],’ they will reply, ‘The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us.’

Hotovely added, “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country,” she said. “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

Her comment that no apologizes are necessary is right out of election campaign of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and its chairman Naftali Bennett.

Hotovely also quoted Rabbi Yehuda Ashkenazi:

If Jews will convince themselves when facing the world that they are right in their ways, they will get along fine.

Haaretz reported that one diplomat said, “This the first time we have been asked to deliver a Dvar Torah to explain Israel to the world.”

It’s about time.

Her speech to the diplomats represents a radical change – a real revolution – in the Israeli government.

Hotovely, a darling of the national religious movement, has shown herself to be a brilliant politician, and she has won the full trust of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which is not easy.

One of the main reasons Netanyahu named her as Deputy Foreign Minister is because Hotovely never has lashed out at the Prime Minister like other Likud politicians.

She and Moshe Feiglin, whom Netanyahu maneuvered out of the Knesset, believe that the national religious movement is better off working through the Likud party instead of a smaller and ideologically defined faction, such as the old National Religious Party (Mafdal).

Hotovely has succeeded where Feiglin failed. He tried to go one-on-one against Netanyahu. Hotovely plays the game the way politicians are supposed to play it.

Even when the government carries out expulsions of Jews from the homes in Judea and Samaria, she politely disagrees but carries on with the attitude, “He is the Prime Minister, and I respect that,”

Netanyahu can trust Hotovely, who speaks excellent English, to represent the e the government, and she has stated that she will do so even if she personally disagrees.

Foreign media are aghast that Israel has a de facto Foreign Minister who is against the two-state illusion but Netanyahu has brilliantly made Silvan Shalom responsible for the non-existence “peace process” that Israel has to pretend is alive.

Senate Democrats Defeat President Obama’s ‘Fast-Track’ Trade Deal

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

The Senate on Monday voted 52-45 against granting President Barack Obama the congressional authority he asked for to fast-track a trade deal with 11 Pacific-rim nations, a deal which happens to be at the center of his second-term economic agenda.

According to Reuters, the vote was a victory for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, an outspoken opponent of giving Obama fast-track authority, delegating the power to negotiate this trade deal to the president, while committing Congress to a simple up-or-down vote on its ratification.

“If the Senate is going to talk about trade, we must consider its impact on American workers and the middle class,” Reid said before to the Voice of America. “It is essential that, if we move to ‘fast-track,’ we consider these other bills as part of the process.”

Just recently, Congress passed a bill giving it some review powers over the Administration’s expected deal with Iran over its nuclear program.

In April, Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized the fast-track bill and the Obama administration’s refusal to release more information about it. The president responded harshly to her attack, and was actually flirting with Senate Republicans to get his bill passed.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership would unify standards for one-third of the world’s trade, and cut trade barriers. The bill faces opposition from labor unions who say it will hurt American workers.

Obama: ‘Deal Ensures Iran Won’t Have Nuclear Weapons, Will Keep Israel Safe’

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Leopards do not change their spots and Iran’s radical Islamist government is not likely to stop sponsoring terrorism either. U.S. President Barack Obama apparently does, in fact, know that — he just doesn’t think it’s important enough to stop the U.S. from closing a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Why? Because he says he believes it’s the best way to keep everyone, including Israel, safe.

Actually, Obama believes the world powers led by the United States should close that deal precisely because the Iranian government is not likely to stop sponsoring terrorism. At least, that is the way Obama explained his reasoning in an interview Monday with NPR’s Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep. In the exclusive interview, he also said Israelis are right not to trust Iran, but that they can always trust America to be there to help protect them.

The interview was focused in its entirety on the issue of the nuclear deal worked out between U.S.-led world powers and Iran last week, and how it affects the rest of the world, particularly Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been especially critical of what he has called, from the start, a ‘bad deal” repeatedly urging the “P5+1” world powers to reconsider, and reformat the agreement into a “different, better deal.”

Netanyahu this week expressed his deep concern over the enhanced ability of Iran to promote its terror agenda with newly-increased funds earned when international sanctions are dropped as a result of the agreement.

But Obama told NPR he believes it is more important to keep the focus on preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon – via the current agreement – than dealing with anything else Tehran is doing.

“I’ve been very forceful in saying that our differences with Iran don’t change if we make sure that they don’t have a nuclear weapon,” Obama said.

“They’re still going to be financing Hezbollah, they’re still supporting Assad dropping barrel bombs on children, they are still sending arms to the Houthis in Yemen that have helped destabilize the country.

“There are obvious differences in how we are approaching fighting ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq, despite the fact that there’s a common enemy there.

“So there’s still going to be a whole host of differences between us and Iran — and one of the most profound ones is the vile, anti-Semitic statements that have often come out of the highest levels of the Iranian regime.

“But the notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons, in a verifiable deal, on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms. And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment,” he said.

“The — I want to return to this point. We want Iran not to have nuclear weapons precisely because we can’t bank on the nature of the regime changing. That’s exactly why we don’t want [Iran] to have nuclear weapons. If suddenly Iran transformed itself into Germany or Sweden or France, there would be a different set of conversations about their nuclear infrastructure.

“So, you know, the key here is not to somehow expect that Iran changes — although it is something that may end up being an important byproduct of this deal — but rather it is to make sure that we have a verifiable deal that takes off the table what would be a game-changer for them if in fact they possess nuclear weapons.

NPR: The demand that’s being made there, of course, underlies a broader concern that Israelis have. You’re suggesting implying through this nuclear that Israel must live another 10 or 15 years and longer with a country that is fundamentally opposed to the existence of Israel. How should Israelis think about Iran in the years to come?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-deal-ensures-iran-wont-have-nuclear-weapons-will-keep-israel-safe/2015/04/07/

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