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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Netanyahu Asking Kerry to Avoid UN 2-State Resolution

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night phoned Secretary of State John Kerry to tell him Israel expected the Obama Administration not to change its policy and promote or support a vote on the Israeli-PA conflict at the UN Security Council between the November 8 vote and the inauguration of the next US president in January, Ha’aretz reported citing an anonymous Israeli official.

According to the same source, Kerry responded by saying the Administration has not yet made its decision on this matter — which is probably what he would have said if he didn’t want an Obama anti-Israel move to hit the news before the election.

The chances for a hostile American move have increased following reports on the plan to relocate the Jewish residents of Amona in Judea and Samaria, which is slated for demolition on orders from the Israeli Supreme Court, to new homes that will be built for them in nearby Shilo, also in Judea and Samaria. This is because while the Supreme Court only objects to keeping Jewish residents on land whose ownership has been disputed by local Arabs, the US objects to any sign of new Jewish life in Judea and Samaria.

According to Ha’aretz, Netanyahu did not raise the issue of an anti-Israel US vote at the UNSC during his meeting with President Obama in New York in September. But following Netanyahu’s meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a few days later, the latter issued a statement saying she objects to any unilateral US move against Israel at the UN. Netanyahu is hoping that, should she win—which appears to be a certainty at this point—Clinton would restrain Obama during the transition period.

Pundit Eli Lake writing for Bloomberg suggested the mildest move on Obama’s part after November 8 would be a speech in favor of the two-state solution. This approach is similar to a speech Bill Clinton gave at the end of his presidency that laid out such parameters. Lake expects Obama to disclose in such a speech the concessions Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were willing to make in their negotiations that fell apart in 2014.

A second option, which Hillary Clinton has vowed to try and block, could be US support for a new Security Council resolution to replace resolution 242, which was drafted after the 1967 Israeli liberation of the territories occupied by Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1949. 242 does not mention a Palestinian State, but instead calls on Israel to return liberated territories to the Arab aggressors along its borders.

A third option would be for the Obama Administration to declare war on rightwing Israeli NGOs. Anti-Israel Jewish organizations such as J Street have suggested altering the US tax code to exclude rightwing Israeli NGOs which today frustrate Arab illegal settlement in Area C, placed under Israeli custody in the Oslo Accords. The NGO Regavim, for instance, has done an aggressive job compelling the Israeli Supreme Court as well as the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to act against illegal Arab squatters, enraging the EU and Us which have been paying for those illegal settlements.

Finally, the Obama Administration might declare its recognition of a Palestinian State in borders that include Area C, and issue an ultimatum for Israel to withdraw its military and civilians from the new state. It’s probably the least likely option, but it’s out there, being bandied about in think tanks in Washington DC and in Jerusalem.


Arab Terrorist Murders Two, Wounds Five Jews After Obama Admin Initiates New Crisis With Israel

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Originally published at Western Journalism

Just over a week after the White House declared Jerusalem was not a part of Israel, and a couple of days after the Obama Administration launched its most vicious attack on Israel to date, a Palestinian gunman took the streets of Jerusalem to murder Israeli Jews.

If you think making the link between these events is far-fetched, you are mistaken.

Musbah Abu Shbeih, a Palestinian Arab from East Jerusalem, went on a shooting spree in Jerusalem Sunday morning. The terrorist shot dead two Israelis and wounded five others while driving his car from French Hill to the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood near the Old City.

He was acting upon increasing anti-Israeli incitement, internal security minister Gilad Erdan said after the bloody attack.

Erdan blamed Facebook, in particular, for the terrorist attack.

“We have said all along that due to the rise in incitement, individuals would perpetrate attacks. Facebook has just reopened pages of Palestinian terrorism because of external pressure and that is scandalous,” Erdan said while stopping short of addressing the unprecedented anti-Israel rhetoric coming out of the White House last week.

The Palestinian terrorist was expected to begin a four-month prison sentence on Sunday for 15 acts of incitement to violence and seven acts of supporting terrorist organizations.

Israel National News published an example of the inciting message he posted on Facebook in the past.

“Your festival is the force of victory and an opportunity to us. 19 of your soldiers were killed. Oh child murderer, cowardly despicable soldiers the heroes of Alkassam (Izz-a-Din Al Qassam Hamas’ military wing have dragged your heads in the mud. Alkassam and soldiers of the resistance, Allah Aqbar and praises to god,” he wrote after the summer war in Gaza and just before Jewish New Year in 2014.

The terrorist most likely reacted to a call of Hamas to renew the so-called Al-Aqsa Intifada, the knife Jihad of lone-wolf terrorists that started last year just before the High Holidays in Israel, Israeli TV Channel 10 reported on Sunday evening.

The fact the call was issued at this very moment has to do with the latest crisis between the Obama Administration and the Israeli Government.

That crisis started last week after the White House and the State Department issued a sharply worded statement about an Israel plan to build 96 housing units for Jewish families that will be displaced as a result of the scheduled destruction of their unauthorized outpost Amona near Shilo in Samaria.

The administration went as far as to use terminology that usually is reserved for the crimes of rogue regimes, such as the Syrian government, and for terrorist attacks.

The White House “strongly condemned” the Israeli plan (instead of expressing “concern”) and falsely claimed the plan would make it much harder to implement the so-called Two State Solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In reality, the building will take place within the existing municipal borders of Shilo, and no new settlement will be built as the administration falsely claimed.

The Palestinians, however, saw what happened and apparently decided to do what they always do whenever there is political pressure upon Israel from Western countries, especially the United States.

They reverted to terror.

The same happened in March 2010, after the visit of Vice President Joe Biden to Israel.

A public spat between Israel and the Obama Administration about the announcement of a new building project in the Jerusalem neighborhood Ramat Shlomo during the visit of Biden almost led to the Third Intifada.

At the time, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded more than an apology from Israel and said Israel should take “concrete steps” towards peace.

Clinton later admitted the administration’s hard line toward Israel over the “settlements” had been a failure.

The administration’s harsh response to the plan led to more Palestinian intransigence and sparked massive riots in Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank.

Israeli pundits now say the same can happen in Jerusalem after Sunday’s shooting attack.

In a move rarely seen since the last decade Fatah, the ruling political movement in the so-called West Bank (Judea and Samaria) immediately announced a day of national mourning and called for a general strike after the Israeli police killed the terrorist in a shootout, Channel 10 reported.

The party of President Mahmoud Abbas also published a couple of inciting messages on its Facebook page, hailing the slain terrorist as a “martyr” and calling upon the Arabs to continue the fight against Israel until “Allah” will give them “victory.”

As a result, Arabs in East and North Jerusalem launched a strike and attacked Israeli police patrols in the Arab neighborhoods of Israel’s capital.

Israeli Arabs also clashed with Jews in the offices of the National Insurance Institute Bituach Leumi in Jerusalem while their Palestinian brethren stepped up their violent attacks on Jews in Judea and Samaria.

The increase of violence continued Monday when Arabs stoned an IDF patrol near A-Ram in Jerusalem and attacked buses and cars travelling from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria.

The Israeli authorities are bracing for more Arab violence in the coming days while former Obama official Martin Indyk warned the president could punish Israel for its alleged obstruction of the Two-State solution.

“At a certain point, the administration may well decide that there needs to be consequences for what it now sees as an effort to close off the two-state solution,” Indyk said.

He was referring to Israeli fears that Obama will refuse to veto a UN solution that will set a time line for the Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

Those fears have become more realistic over the weekend after Saudi Arabia called upon the UN to introduce a new resolution that will end Israel’s “occupation from occupied Arab lands” and after The New York Timespublished an editorial suggesting Obama support such a resolution.

Yochanan Visser

Final Obama Battle Waged Against Amona Jews

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

The new, and, God Willing, final confrontation between the departing Obama Administration and the still ticking Netanyahu government appears to center on Amona, located on a hill overlooking Ofra in Benjamin Region, at the heart of the liberated territories.


Amona was founded in 1995, and has 200-plus residents — 50-plus families. Amona’s very name is a densely packed tale of occupations: it is mentioned in the Book of Joshua 18:24 as Kfar HaAmmonai, meaning Village of the Amonites, but the Amonite kingdom was well to the east of the Jordan River, so that when the Israelite tribe of Benjamin took it over, it actually liberated it from foreign occupation. A dozen or so conquests later, Amona was initially redeemed and rebuilt in 1995, not as a community but as an archeological site and the location of the Mekorot national water company’s containers. In 1996, the head of the regional council, with the support of the defense ministry, placed three caravans with young people from Ofra on the Amona hill, for strategic purposes.

Since then, and until 2005, a succession of Israeli governments invested in Amona’s infrastructure and encouraged its settlement by young families, mostly from nearby Ofra. In fact, in 2001, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon encouraged the locals to start building permanent homes, into which they moved from the 30 or so caravans where they lived. In 2003, then Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu participated in the celebrations of opening the community’s first mikvah. There was no doubt that the State of Israel was sanctioning the Amona enterprise.

In 2004, the Amana residents completed construction of nine permanent homes. Then, in October 2004, the Israeli Civil Administration ordered the demolition of the same structures, based on complaints that the lands had been acquired illegally from local Arabs who used to graze their flocks there.

According to the Amona residents, the reason they can’t produce the proper registration of their land has to do with the Palestinian Authority law that penalizes anyone who sells land to Jews. Over the years, dozens of Arab real estate brokers who dared to sell to Jews, often through a straw man, have been imprisoned and even executed. The Jews of Amona claim they purchased most of the land from local Arabs, with the understanding that they would protect the sellers’ identity by not registering the sale.

In July 2005, Peace Now petitioned the Supreme Court, complaining that no demolition had been executed. And in November 2005, the destroyer of Gush Katif, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, ordered the demolition of Amona be carried out by the end of January 2006.

On February 1, 2006, local Jewish residents and a few thousand protesters, including several MKs, clashed with a force of 10,000 Police, Border Guard, and IDF troops. The cops were as brutal and cruel as Israel had ever seen. An estimated 300 Jewish protesters were injured. Young Jewish girls accused the cops of sexual assault.

Eventually, the nine newly built homes of Amona were destroyed.

In December 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the entire community of Amona had to be evacuated and their homes demolished. The court has rejected an idea by then cabinet secretary and now Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit, that in cases like Amona, where government was involved in a community’s establishment, the Arab claimant be compelled to accept market value or comparable land. Most recently, Habayit Hayehudi cabinet ministers have suggested moving the Amona residents to nearby land — and that is the move which caught the ire of the lame duck Obama Administration.


On Wednesday, in an angry press release reminiscent of the Days Secretary John Kerry was first realizing there was no Nobel Peace Prize for him for fathering a new Palestinian State, the State Department “strongly condemned” the planned Amona move, stressing it violates Israel’s promise not to build new settlements. State Department’s deputy spokesman, Mark Toner, said

“it is disheartening that while Israel and the world mourned the passing of President Shimon Peres, and leaders from the US and other nations prepared to honor one of the great champions of peace, plans were advanced that would seriously undermine the prospects for a two-state solution that he so passionately supported.”

Never mind what you do to us, look what you’re doing to Shimon!

The NY Times cited Martin Indyk, Obama’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and, as rumors have it, President Hillary Clinton’s next envoy for the same Sisyphean chore, who threatened, as only a Jew who passionately hates the idea of an independent and strong Israel can: “At a certain point, the administration may well decide that there needs to be consequences for what it now sees as an effort to close off the two-state solution.”

For his part, Spokesperson Toner told the State Dept. press briefing on Wednesday:

“…when we see Israel carry out this kind of action – new settlement activity, announcement of new settlement activity – that, frankly, contradicts its stated goal to have or to achieve or pursue a two-state solution, it raises serious concerns and we have to publicly and privately convey those concerns to the Government of Israel.”

Then came this from Toner:

“…with regard to the UN Security Council and any action at the UN, our position hasn’t changed. We’re always concerned, frankly, about one-sided resolutions or other actions that could be taken within the UN, and we’re always going to oppose those kinds of resolutions that we believe delegitimize Israel and undermine its security.” Then, having paid the proper lip service, Toner delivered the zinger: “But we’re going to carefully consider our future engagement, if and when we reach that point, and determine how to most effectively pursue and advance the objective that we all at least claim to share, which is that of achieving a negotiated two-state solution. That work is going to continue with our international partners and we’re going to continue to make clear when we have concerns, such as we do today, with regard to Israel’s actions. We’re going to make those concerns clear to the Israeli Government.”

Do you see the veiled threat of the US deciding to support or abstain at a UNSC unilateral vote on establishing a Palestinian State?

Netanyahu heard it, loud and clear. On Wednesday night, Israel’s Foreign Ministry (PM Netanyahu is also the Foreign Minister) issued a statement rejecting the American criticism, arguing that the construction plan the cabinet initiated a week ago does not constitute building a new settlement, and, besides, “the settlements are not the barrier to peace.”

“The 98 housing units approved for the Shiloh settlement do not constitute a new settlement,” went the statement. “These units are to be built on state-owned land in the existing settlement of Shiloh, and will not alter its municipal boundaries. These housing units are intended to provide housing to the residents of Amona who must leave their homes according to home demolition orders issued by the Supreme Court of Justice.”

The Netanyahu argument will probably not persuade Toner or Kerry and Obama for that matter. Their vision inherently encompasses Judea and Samaria as Judenrein (German for “clean of Jews”), and so the argument regarding Shiloh’s unchanged municipal boundaries is meaningless to them — they hold there shouldn’t have been a Jewish Shiloh there in the first place.

Or, as Toner put it,

“…that’s particularly why we find [Israel’s] actions so befuddling, when it takes actions such as continued settlement activity that run counter to what we’re all trying to achieve here. And so we’re going to continue to press that case to them. We have a very close and very frank and candid relationship with Israel. We’re going to continue to call it like we see it, and when we see this kind of activity that we believe is counterproductive, we’re going to say so.”

Al Quds reporter Said Arikat pressed Toner:

“You keep saying that the UN is a forum that is somehow inherently opposed to Israel, while in fact, it was created through that UN organization. But let me ask you this: I mean, if this is in occupied territory, which you acknowledge, and there are laws that pertain to the occupying power’s rights and privileges or obligations under international law, why not push forward, put your weight behind what is internationally lawful in this case, and bring Israel to bear on these issues – holding it to account?”

Toner would not say, because to actually reveal what the Administration is, presumably, planning for the day after November 8 could start WW3. But there’s no doubt that, should the US decide to support a UN vote on a two-state solution, Amona, that ancient home of the invaders from across the Jordan River, will definitely play a major role in the decision.

David Israel

In VP Debate Pence Fails to Score Resounding Blow on Iran Deal

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

In Tuesday night’s debate between Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), most of the pundits early on scored a slight win for Trump’s VP, mostly because he was much more restrained than Trump had been in his bout with Hillary Clinton a week earlier, and did not let Kaine go under his skin. One pundit even joked how presidential this guy Pence is, I wonder who’s going to be his VP pick. But while Pence held his own for 90 minutes, although he left all of his opponent’s challenges on Trump’s scandals and questionable statements unanswered, he let Kaine get away with at least one terrible lie: that the nuclear deal carved in part by Clinton as the former Secretary of State removed the Iranian nuclear threat.

This point should probably be scored as a win for the Democrat, because it’s one issue about which the consensus is wide and clear among many Democrats, as well as the bulk of the media: the much celebrated deal was forced on Congress by massive political trickery and outright lies, led to the release of an estimated $150 billion to the world’s largest perpetrator of terrorism, and freed Iran to start working on its nuclear weapon in as little as five years.

Overall, the debate veered to the Iran deal four times, and Gov. Pence was not able to turn any of them into a decisive knockout, or even a win on points.

When Sen. Kaine asked, “Do you know that Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon and Russia was expanding its stockpile? … [Sec. Clinton] worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.

Pence responded, astonished, “Eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program?”

Kaine came back, “Absolutely, without firing a shot.”

Pence let that statement stand and was dragged instead into a debate over who was responsible for the US withdrawal from Iraq. Advantage Kaine on the Iran deal.

Later on, the moderator, Elaine Quijano (CBS), asked Kiane, “Has the terrorist threat increased or decreased?” To which he responded, among other things, “The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways because an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been stopped.”

Kaine continued with an avalanche of points about why Clinton was a better leader to deal with terrorism, repeating ad nauseam that Donald Trump is an admirer of Vladimir Putin and other world tyrants.

When his turn came to respond, Pence first waded through a sluggish attack on Clinton’s responsibility for ISIS, which is not easy to prove, and only towards the end he reached what should have been his money shot, saying, “And a reference to the Iranian deal, the Iranian deal that Hillary Clinton initiated, $150 billion to the radical mullahs in Iran.”

Kaine said, “Stopping a nuclear weapons program without firing a shot?”

Pence then retorted, “You didn’t stop the nuclear weapons program.”

Kaine said, “Yes, we did.”

Pence was then cut off after blurting, “You essentially…” by Kaine, who actually said, “Even the Israeli military says it stopped.”

Pence, instead of pausing to challenge that misleading half-truth, made a weak statement lacking in specificity, that the deal “guaranteed that Iran will someday become a nuclear power, because there’s no limitations once the period of time of the treaty comes off.”

A little later on, Kaine said, again essentially unchallenged, “Hillary Clinton is the secretary of state who knows how to build alliances. She built the sanctions regime around the world that stopped the Iranian nuclear weapons program. And that’s what an intelligence surge means. Better skill and capacity, but also better alliances.”

Had Pence been better versed with the history of the Iran deal, he could have done a lot with this generalized statement, including, perhaps, mentioning the fact that by the Obama Administration submitted the nuclear deal for Congressional approval, it had already been implemented by all its “allies,” so that a continued US embargo would not have mattered — Iran’s revolutionary regime had already been legitimized by the world powers.

Pence then missed his last opportunity to score big on the Iran deal, when he opened, “But let me go back to this Iran thing. I mean, he keeps saying that [the deal] Hillary Clinton started [with the Iranians] prevented Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Kaine quickly interrupted: “That’s what the Israeli [chief] of staff is saying right now.”

Pence said, quite correctly, “Well, that’s not what — that’s not what Israel thinks.”

Kaine announced triumphantly, “Gadi Eizenkot, you can go check it.”

For the record, in January 2016, IDF Chief of Staff Lieut. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and six world powers was “significantly changing the vector that Iran has been on.” But in that same speech, and in many assessments that followed, Eizenkot and other Israeli generals have been warning against “many dangers as well as opportunities” created by the accord.

And on the day after that much quoted Eizenkot speech, a mini diplomatic crisis erupted when Israel’s Defense Ministry issued a statement comparing President Obama with British Premier Neville Chamberlain, who signed the 1938 Munich agreement with Adolph Hitler, basically abandoning the free democratic state of Czechoslovakia. But Gov. Pence probably did not bone up on that part, as can bee seen from his weak response, “You wouldn’t necessarily know that,” regarding Eizenkot’s supposed blessings for the Iran deal.

Kaine challenged him, saying, “Go to the tape.”

Pence then had enough of his wits about him to recall a talking point, when he said, “I know you boycotted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech when he came before the Congress.”

Kaine did not deny the charge, but said, apologetically, “No, I visited him in his office. I visited him in his office.”

Pence then, finally, pounced on him, saying, “You boycotted the speech.” Except that instead of marshalling the facts to expose the Iran deal for all its dangerous failures, Pence delivered a weak jab: “The point is, what this Iran — so-called Iran deal did was essentially guarantee — I mean, when I was in Congress, I fought hard on a bipartisan basis with Republican and Democrat members to move forward the toughest sanctions, literally, in the history of the United States, against Iran.”

Which Kaine, quick on his feet, responded to, saying, “And then Hillary used them to get a deal.”

Pence would not let his opponent have the last word, though, repeating, “We were bringing them to heel, but the goal was always that we would only lift the sanctions if Iran permanently renounced their nuclear ambitions. […] Elaine, let me finish a sentence. They have not renounced their nuclear ambitions. And when the deal’s period runs out, there’s no limitation on them obtaining weapons. […] And the fact that they got $1.7 billion in a ransom payment… is astonishing to the American people.”

That was the sum total of Gov. Pence’s effort, which could have revived a very sore, anti-Obama sentiment among undecided American voters, especially Jewish voters who at this point are second only to African Americans in their commitment to the Clinton camp. Perhaps Presidential Candidate Trump would be able to articulate a forceful argument in Sunday’s debate. It would require an intimate familiarity with the details of the deal, as well as with the range of violations of a variety of UN resolutions on the part of Iran. Can Donald Trump do it? If he wants to become president, he really should.


Obama Unites Congressional Democrats, Republicans, in Overriding Veto Damaging 9/11 Families

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby was in the middle of his daily press briefing Wednesday when a reporter informed him that the House had just joined the Senate in overriding the presidential veto on a law permitting the families of 9/11 attacks victims to sue Saudi Arabia should it turn out that the Kingdom was involved in carrying out those attacks. The reporter wanted to know if the Obama Administration, as it had warned would happen, had been approached by any foreign government threatening to “pass legislation that could affect the sovereign immunity of the United States and U.S. officials abroad?”

As expected, Kirby admitted he was not aware “that any government has expressed an intention to do so since the President’s veto. Before the President’s veto, though,” he noted, “some of our European friends — who are less likely to have been affected by the intent of the law itself — have expressed concerns about the issue of sovereign immunity surrounding the law. … France being one of them.” But no country like, say, Saudi Arabia, has so far stated its intent to seek anti-American retribution.

Possibly because Saudi Arabia is not interested in alienating the American public even more at this stage of the game, when the Iranians are running roughshod along its borders and the only reliable protection for the Saudis comes from the US.

However, as Kirby pointed out, the new law, now officially on the books, is forcing the US’ European allies “to rethink the whole issue of sovereign immunity. We didn’t make that up. That was communicated to us by other countries.”

Is the State Dept. expecting diplomatic difficulty with Saudi Arabia as a result of the veto? In Kirby’s view, “it goes beyond just Saudi Arabia. It goes to a larger concern that we have had about this idea of sovereign immunity — not just for diplomats but for our troops, for US companies that operate overseas.”

Possibly. What was most poignant about this vote was the fact that Congressional Democrats clamored to support the veto override, signaling to their voters that they are not captives of an irrational White House on this and other issues. Congressman Jerry Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat whose 10th Congressional District actually includes Ground Zero, was adamant in attacking the president’s arguments.

“Despite the overblown rhetoric of some critics of this bill, JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) will not pose a threat to American military personnel or diplomats,” Nadler told the house. Debunking Kirby’s fretting, he added, “They would be absolutely protected if another country passed legislation mirroring this bill because JASTA applies only to governments. To the extent that a foreign government might pass broader legislation that would make American personnel subject to liability, that country would not be reciprocating. It would be engaging in a transparent and unjustifiable act of aggression.”

Nadler also noted that, despite Obama’s exaggerated fears, “the economic, diplomatic, and military strength of the United States makes such action unlikely, and any rogue state inclined to target US interests can already do so. We must not hold justice for the 9/11 families hostage to imagined fears.”

Over at the Senate, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cast the only vote in favor of Obama’s veto. No Democrat argued in favor of Obama’s version of reality before the vote. The Senate voted 97-1 Wednesday to override the veto.

The White House was irate, obviously, and spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One following the Senate override, “I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983.”

For speculations as to what act of the Senate Earnest was referring to, check out this website, which tried to figure it out (White House Is Profoundly Wrong About the Most Embarrassing Thing Senate Has Done). We went to Wikipedia (so you won’t have to) and dug up possible embarrassing things Joe may have been thinking about, although, to be fair, most of them were attributed to the president, not the Senate:

On February 24, 1983, a special Congressional commission released a report critical of the practice of Japanese internment during World War II. That sure was embarrassing, but the shameful stuff didn’t happen in 1983, obviously.

On April 18, 1983, the US Embassy was bombed in Beirut, resulting in 63 dead. Then, on October 23, 1983, simultaneous suicide truck-bombings destroyed both the French and the US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, killing 241 US servicemen, 58 French paratroopers and 6 Lebanese civilians. That was horrifying and embarrassing, especially since at that point President Ronald Reagan decided to cut and run — a point not mentioned often enough in those stories glorifying him as a brave commander-in-chief.

Finally, on October 25, 1983, American troops invaded Grenada, possibly to show the US could still defeat somebody. Yes, that was pretty embarrassing.

Of course, Earnest was not referring to any of the above. He was merely responding to a reporter who had told him that Wednesday’s veto was the most overwhelming since a 1983 95-0 veto override. President Reagan vetoed a land bill that gave a few acres to six retired couples who had paid good money for it only to find out later that, due to a surveying error, it was still government property.

No Saudis were harmed in the commission of that other veto.


Obama, the Clintons and the Pope to Attend Shimon Peres’ Funeral

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement saying US President Barack Obama will attend the state funeral of Israel’s ninth president Shimon Peres on Friday. Also on the list of world leaders arriving in Jerusalem: former US President Bill Clinton and his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Pope Francis, Prince Charles, French President François Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German President Joachim Gauck, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Beatrix, Queen Mother of the Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, President of Togo Faure Gnassingbé, and President of Romania Klaus Iohannis.

The foreign ministry has activated an emergency protocol to consolidate information regarding the arriving dignitaries and caring for their needs. The statement notes that ministry personnel will be coordinating the funeral operation with Ben-Gurion International Airport, government ministries and police.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara expressed deep personal sorrow over the passing of the former President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres. The Prime Minister will issue a special statement later this morning and convene the Cabinet in a special session.

In his statement about the passing of President Peres, President Obama wrote: “There are few people who we share this world with who change the course of human history, not just through their role in human events, but because they expand our moral imagination and force us to expect more of ourselves. My friend Shimon was one of those people.

“Shimon Peres once said that, ‘I learned that public service is a privilege that must be based on moral foundations.’ Tonight, Michelle and I join people across Israel, the United States and around the world in honoring the extraordinary life of our dear friend Shimon Peres—a Founding Father of the State of Israel and a statesman whose commitment to Israel’s security and pursuit of peace was rooted in his own unshakeable moral foundation and unflagging optimism.

“I will always be grateful that I was able to call Shimon my friend. I first visited him in Jerusalem when I was a senator, and when I asked for his advice, he told me that while people often say that the future belongs to the young, it’s the present that really belongs to the young. “Leave the future to me,” he said, “I have time.” And he was right. Whether it was during our conversations in the Oval Office, walking together through Yad Vashem, or when I presented him with America’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, Shimon always looked to the future. He was guided by a vision of the human dignity and progress that he knew people of goodwill could advance together. He brought young people from around the world together because he knew they could carry us closer to our ideals of justice and equality.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett directed Israel’s education system to dedicate Wednesday to the life and achievements of Shimon Peres, and called on Jewish communities and schools to do the same, “so the future generation for whom he fought will know who he was and be inspired by him.”


Netanyahu to Cabinet: Obama and I Have Disagreed, But Our Countries’ Ties Are Strong

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday morning told his cabinet that “it is no secret that President Obama and I have had our disagreements, first and foremost on the Iranian issue. But, as it is clear, these disagreements have not clouded the strong and solid relations between [our two] countries at all. The link between the United States and Israel is based not only on deep common interests, but also on shared values in a manner without parallel in the world. This finds expression, first and foremost, in the massive support of the American public for the State of Israel, which I saw everywhere during my visit to the United States.”

Relating a personal anecdote, Netanyahu said, “I met there with Matthew Sullivan, an American security man, a former New York City policeman, and he waits for me every time at the exit from the United Nations General Assembly. He always gives me his opinion about [my] speech, and he told me that it was an excellent speech, but that I have given a better one. I asked him which one was better. He said the bomb speech was better. He said, ‘I express the general sense that United States citizens have in their massive support for the State of Israel.'”

“They see us as representing their values and this continues and it is the fundamental truth about the special relationship between the two countries,” the prime minister noted, adding that “it is not only relations with the United States which are stronger than ever. Something is happening now, an unprecedented flourishing of our international relations with the countries of the world. I spoke at the UN about its double standard and the automatic votes against Israel and I said that it is only a matter of time until this theater of the absurd disappears. It is only a matter of time because the strengthening relations between us and the countries of the world will also find expression in the way in which these countries vote at the UN. I must say that the change is considerable. We see countries in the region, first of all, that more and more understand that Israel is not their enemy, but their ally against the forces of radical Islam. Many other countries are rushing to deepen relations with us.”

Turning to another favorite topic, Israel’s growing involvement in Africa, Netanyahu told his minister, “On the same day of my speech, I went to an extraordinary exhibit of Israeli technology in Africa, and African leaders lined up one after the other and told me, ‘We are in need of the Israeli miracle. You are helping us to solve our water, energy and public health problems. In every field, we want Israel.'”

Netanyahu stressed that these new ties are extremely valuable in the international political arena, because, as he put it, “Just as I have said that Israel is returning to Africa, it is also important to say that Africa is returning to Israel. The automatic UN majority is based, first and foremost, on the African bloc. It is only a matter of time before we break up this majority and move it from one side to the other; this is a very great change in the international status of Israel.”

The PM urged his ministers to go to Africa. “Just as I told you to go to China, India and other countries, I am telling you to go to Africa. We will paint the map of the world blue and white, and in the end even the UN will reflect this changing reality,” he promised.

Concluding with a reference to the approaching new Jewish year, Netanyahu said, “Rosh Hashanah is almost upon us [and] the State of Israel is stronger than ever. The IDF is stronger than ever. The Israeli economy is growing. Israel’s diplomatic relations are flourishing. We still have challenges to face; we have not achieved everything. But as we have achieved these things, we will also achieve the rest of our goals. In the past year, I point out that there have been almost 27,000 new immigrants to Israel. In my view, this is the most important growth which represents the very purpose of our people and our state: The ingathering of the exiles and strengthening Jewish sovereignty and the Jewish state in its historic homeland.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-to-cabinet-obama-and-have-disagreed-but-our-countries-ties-are-strong/2016/09/27/

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