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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Analysis: The Costly War on the Hearts and Minds of 232 Democrats

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

(JNi.media) There are 188 Democrats in the House and 44 in the Senate, and over the next two months millions of dollars and unprecedented lobbying efforts will be invested in courting their votes on the Iran nuclear deal.

The math is relatively simple: both Republican-led houses of Congress are expected to pass a resolution rejecting the deal, some time in early September. President Obama will then veto the resolution, which will return to Congress. Starting at that point, Congress will have 10 days during which to try and overturn the veto with a two-thirds majority.

This is when the Democrats in both houses will become the most important people on the planet, because the Republicans cannot overturn the Presidential veto on their own.

And as is often the case in such competitions, the discussion is not so much about the validity of the deal itself—which has both strengths and very obvious weaknesses—but about conflicting loyalties. Many Democratic lawmakers will have to decide between their President and their pro-Israel voters.

And as there are significantly more Jewish voters backing Democrats than Republicans, the President has a serious challenge on his hands.

In this context, it’s important to note that the NY Times, that bastion of pro-Obama politics, is not a big supporter of the deal, regardless of the exclusive access to the President it has enjoyed. This week, the Times published its own version of The Iran Deal for Dummies, or, as they headlined it: “The Iran Deal in 200 Words.”

Here are some of the key assertions in that article—redacted for effect:

Can Iran keep enriching uranium? Yes.

Will inspectors have access to military facilities? The provision is short of “anywhere, anytime,” because the inspectors first need to present evidence.

How can the US be sure Iran won’t cheat? It can’t.

AIPAC’s newly hatched Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, is reported to be spending close to $5 million on an ad campaign in a large number of Democrat-leaning markets. Their first ad, titled “The Iran nuclear deal. Good deal or bad deal?” states a short list of talking points against the deal:

Iran gets to keep its 18 nuclear facilities, its 50 military facilities remain out of reach for inspectors, Iran has cheated the UN 20 times in the past, Iran is the Number 1 sponsor of terrorism.

According to sources cited by The Jewish Voice, AIPAC’s full media buy breakdown for the anti-Iran deal campaign includes:

Baltimore: $167,600; Boston: $263,850; Charleston-Huntington: $56,275; Chicago: $114,675; Dallas: $251,625; Denver: $158,200; Detroit: $222,700; Fresno: $16,965; Hartford: $128,055; Honolulu: $44,605; Houston: $234,750; Indianapolis: $110,735; Laredo: $28,904; Las Vegas: $132,770; Los Angeles: $415,350; Miami: $179,050; New York City: $474,700; Omaha: $66,045; Panama City: $23,960; Philadelphia: $151,400; Phoenix: $181,840; Pittsburgh: $91,500; Portland: $98,818; Providence: $60,105; Richmond: $41,319; San Antonio: $100,575; San Diego: $142,525; Seattle: $202,975; Tallahassee: $26,800; Tampa: $168,240; Washington, DC: $444,900; West Palm Beach: $96,300.

The White House has begun its own, massive media campaign in favor of the deal, with briefings by Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz, and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. All three senior officials are also scheduled to appear on Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the first open hearing on the deal.

Israel’s US ambassador Ron Dermer has been meeting with conservative House Republicans, asking them to “derail the accord,” as the NY Times has put it.

Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) has already called on Democrats to choose “whether to vote to protect the national security of this nation, to stand with our friend and ally the nation of Israel and to protect the lives of millions of Americans, or in the alternative, whether to value partisan loyalty to the White House above the most solemn responsibility each and every one of us has.”

President Obama Issues Executive Order that Jon Stewart Cannot Leave ‘The Daily Show’

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

(JNi.media)

President Obama made his final appearance on the Daily Show ahead of Jon Stewart’s departure after 16 years as host. The announcement that Stewart was leaving was met with dismay among his huge fan base.

After President Obama took the stage, he said, “I can’t believe you are leaving before me. I’m issuing an executive order that Jon Stewart cannot leave the show.”

Of course, it was added that such an order would be contested in the courts.

Joking about conspiracy theories that have been generated about President Obama in social media, Stewart remarked on the fact the President has only 18 months remaining in his second term. “You don’t have that much time to take away America’s guns, declare martial law and put hardworking Americans into labor camps. You’d better get started,” Stewart said.

Stewart went right to the controversial Iran nuclear deal which has drawn vociferous criticism from Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and many pro-Israel groups.

“Whose team are we on in the Middle East?” Stewart asked.

“Iran are anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic,” replied Obama, “and they sponsor terrorist organizations like Hezbollah.”

“Sounds like a good partner,” said Stewart.

“Well, as is said frequently, you don’t make peace with your friends,” the President said.

Obama reiterated points stated in defense of the deal, that it will take definitive measures to ensure Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon, that the inspection capability is “unprecedented,” that there is no chance Iran can get away with cheating. If caught, sanctions can be put in place, said the President. He added that with a deal, the US government can have greater visibility into Iran’s nuclear program.

Critics of the Iran nuclear deal do not approve of having to give Iran 24 days’ notice before checking its facilities, while some experts say 24 days, in the world of nuclear science, is not a long time, and it will be impossible to hide traces of the material. Critics of the deal also highlight the danger of freeing up large amounts of money for Iran, which has called for the destruction of Israel and finances terrorist organizations.

Jon Stewart, who was born Jon Stuart Leibowitz, received heat following his criticism of the Israeli military during last summer’s conflict with Gaza. Responding to those on social media who labeled him a “self-hating Jew,” Stewart responded, “I have many reasons to hate myself and being Jewish isn’t one of them.”

On his first day back following his vacation, a launching pad for his final three weeks on “The Daily Show,” Stewart welcomed the opportunity to ridicule real estate tycoon and now presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose unusual hair and insulting language are considered a boon to satirists.

“I’m sure the Republicans are enjoying Donald Trump,” said the President. Following his controversial statement that Senator John McCain, who spent 5 years as a POW, was not a war hero because he was captured, Jon Stewart imagined that Trump could inspire a new Jewish holiday. “I really feel this is a sort of Jewish holiday waiting to happen. Like, ‘we thought the craziness would only last a day, but by a miracle, it burned for eight, 10, days…”

Interestingly, Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka took the name Yael and converted to Orthodox Judaism, so who knows? She might start producing Trump menorahs.

Zarif Rejoicing: Iran Deal ‘Ruined’ Israeli Plans Against Iran’

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

(JNi.media) Since they reached an agreement with the West, which has just been approved by the UN Security Council, the official Iranian media (is there any other) have been celebrating the regime’s victory.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in parliament on Tuesday that his country’s nuclear agreement with the 5+1 powers has “ruined the Zionist regime security plan against the Islamic republic.”

He also said that “Iran has further declared to everyone that its nuclear enrichment, facilities, research and development would not be stopped.”

Zarif went to the parliament with the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi to present the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The prolonged and breathtaking nuclear agreement between Iran and the six powers indicated that the Islamic republic would negotiate but cannot be blackmailed,” Zarif said, pointing to the Israelis’ anger at the deal as an indication that “Iran is a powerful country in the region and across the globe.”

Zarif declared that Iran’s successful nuclear negotiations mean that “nobody would dare to threaten the Iranians.”

In a similar vain, last week, the leader of Iran’s Jewish community Haroun Yashayaei, published an article titled “Your Time Is Over Mr. Netanyahu,” focusing on the central concern of the Iranian regime, namely, will the Israelis attack.

“The Israeli prime minister was daydreaming and when the Americans had announced that the military option against Iran was no longer on the table as negotiations were the best solution for Iran’s nuclear issue, Netanyahu made a fuss by claiming that, even without the support of the United States, his army will carry out a military attack on Iran,” Yashayaei wrote, noting that “even when his own military commanders told Netanyahu that realization of his dream was neither possible, nor proportionate to the capabilities of the Israeli regime and army of Israel, he still didn’t understand that his time is over.”

Yashayaei further called Netanyahu “so narcissistic that none of these developments can deter him from following his delusional goals.”

So they’re still a little worried.

UN Security Council Votes Unanimously in Favor of ObamaDeal with Iran

Monday, July 20th, 2015

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously 15-0 for a resolution that sets the groundwork for ending international sanctions against Iran. The vote is a resounding show of support for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

The UNSC resolution is legally binding and defines the steps needed to end UN sanctions. It doesn’t affect US or EU sanctions, which are being lifted separately.

The resolution goes into effect in 90 days, which is after the 60 days Congress needs to vote for or against the Iran deal.

Some members of the US Congress are upset that the UNSC voted on the deal before Congress, and some see it as President Obama’s way of bypassing Congress.

The resolution doesn’t lift then arms embargo to Iran.

The resolution states that if Iran doesn’t abide by its commitments the sanctions automatically snap back without requiring vote.

Meet the 16 Democratic Senators Who Can Scuttle ObamaDeal

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Opponents to the agreement with Iran are lacking approximately nine Democratic senators to override a Presidential veto of its rejection, but the truth that is an opposition victory might have limited meaning.

Congress cannot strike down the agreement, which was made along with five other Western powers. All it can do is block President Obama’s agreement to lift U.S. sanctions.

Doing so would be very significant, both politically for President Obama and the Democratic party as well as for American’s relations with the other P5+1 countries and Iran.

There are seven undecided Democratic senators, according to a tally by the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips.

If all of them turn against President Obama, it will be easier to convince a couple of others whose positions are not yet known.

The seven undecided Democrats, acceding to Phillips, are:

Michael Bennet of Colorado;

Ben Cardin of Maryland;

Bob Casey of Pennsylvania;

Joe Donnelly of Indiana;

Tim Kaine of Virginia;

Bill Nelson of Pennsylvania;

and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Cardin is one of the most important of the undecided. He attends Baltimore’s largest and wealthiest modern Orthodox Beth Tfiloh Congregation, which is highly pro-Israel.

He told NPR this week:

Israel’s security issues are of major concern. We don’t want to see an arms race in the Middle East, so it is a factor. And it’s a factor that I’m sure we will carefully consider.

Earlier in the week, Cardin told Bloomberg:

There is no trust when it comes to Iran. In our deliberations we need to ensure the negotiations resulted in a comprehensive, long-lasting, and verifiable outcome that also provides for snap-back of sanctions should Iran deviate from its commitments.

The nine Democratic Senators whose positions are not known are:

Cory Booker of New Jersey;

Maria Cantwell of Washington;

Claire McCaskill of Missouri;

Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota’

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota;

Barbara Mikulski of Maryland;

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington;

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; and

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.

One of the most pivotal of the “unknowns” is McCaskill. She stated this week:

Preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon is paramount to our national security, and if this agreement accomplishes that goal, it will make the world a safer place for America and our allies. I plan to spend the coming weeks taking a hard look at the agreement’s details to ensure that it will result in a verifiable way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Phillip’s tally shows 43 senators “leaning” to vote against ObamaDeal, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, and only 26 are in favor or are leaning in favor.

Analysis: Obama Defends Iran, Jabbing at Israel and Sunni States at Press Conference

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

(JNi.media) “My hope is that building on this deal, we could continue to have conversations with Iran that incentivize them to behave differently in the region,” Obama said Wednesday at a White House press conference.

In fact, listening to the president’s message, one could conclude that the source of the problem has been not the Islamic Republic, but the Jewish State and the Saudi Kingdom.

“Israel has legitimate concerns about its security regarding Iran,” Obama said, but he added Prime Minister Netanyahu has yet to present a better option.

“Without a deal,” Obama argued, “there would be no limits to Iran’s nuclear program and Iran could move close to a nuclear bomb. Without a deal, we risk even more war in the Middle East.”

Except that Netanyahu did offer an idea for a better deal — walk away from this one, don’t make more concessions, trust the fact that the Iranians need the sanctions lifted badly enough to agree to more useful terms.

Back in March, speaking only a 10-minutes walk away from where President Obama had his press conference Wednesday, Netanyahu said “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.”

Netanyahu spoke mostly about strategy, not content, when he said, “Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.”

“And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran,” Netanyahu said to Obama, albeit indirectly—you have the power to make them need it even more.”

“My friends,” he said, “for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.”

The deal is a “historic chance to pursue a safer and more secure world,” Obama said at his news conference. “It represents an opportunity that may not come again in our lifetime.”

That’s not so much reality as salesmanship — the one-time chance sales pitch. But what was the upside of taking seriously Iran’s threat to walk away from the table unless… — when it was clear Iran was the side that’s aching for economic relief?

In addition to attacking Israel and its prime minister, Obama on Wednesday also attacked America’s friends and allies of many decades in the region, who are easily as terrified as the Israelis are of the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

A point to consider: since the 1950s, Israel has had enough nuclear weapons to eliminate every living thing between Afghanistan and Morocco, and yet no Arab country was feeling the urge to enter a nuclear arms race because they feared an imminent attack from the direction of Tel Aviv. But as soon as the Mullahs in Tehran began to arm themselves, everyone in the region starts preparing for a nuclear confrontation?

Does it say anything about what Arab leaders think about the sanity of the supreme leader and his merry revolutionary guards?

In May, Obama invited America’s Gulf allies to a meeting in Camp David, to calm them down. Evidently, they were hysterical, as they still are. The pro-Saudi London paper Asharq Al Awsat wrote an editorial on Wednesday headlined: “Iran nuclear deal opens the gates of evil in the Middle East.”

“Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states can only welcome the nuclear deal, which in itself is supposed to close the gates of evil that Iran had opened in the region,” the editorial concluded. “However, the real concern is that the deal will open other gates of evil, gates which Iran mastered knocking at for years even while Western sanctions were still in place.”

The Good Deal

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

We’ve shown this video in the past, but it still remains incredibly relevant, especially this week.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/video-picks/the-good-deal/2015/07/12/

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