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January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Iran Celebrated Christmas by Hanging 7 People

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Iran hanged seven people at dawn on Christmas and 12 others before and after the Christian holiday, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian opposition group.

Several days earlier, President Barack Obama praised Iran and said that it could be a “successful” member of the international community if it decides to relinquish some portions of its nuclear weapons program, according to the interview.

”They’ve got a chance to get right with the world,” Obama stated.

Britain Rejects UN Resolution for Palestinian Authority

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Britain has followed the lead of the United States in rejecting the language of the Jordanian resolution presented to the U.N. Security Council that calls on Israel to sign on the dotted line with the Palestinian Authority within a year and get out of half of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria within three years.

British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters Tuesday there are ”difficulties” with the text, but he did not say if Britain would veto the resolution if it musters the needed two-thirds majority to pass.

In the event that the resolution passes, Britain could take the heat off by joining it in a veto, if Washington does so.

So far, the U.S. State Dept. is being cagey, saying it will oppose the resolution without going one step further and vowing to veto it

President Barack Obama would prefer that the resolution not pass, getting him off the hook by not having to exercise a veto.

The Palestinian Authority will have a better chance at winning the two-thirds majority after January 1 when more pro-Arab countries take a rotating slot on the Council, but the British decision could sway others or at least influence them to abstain.

Grant said Tuesday, “There’s some difficulties with the text, particularly language on time scales, new language on refugees. So I think we would have some difficulties.”

 

 

Diplomatic Ties with US May Strike Out Baseball in Cuba

Monday, December 29th, 2014

To the dismay of baseball fan Kit Krieger, future travels to Cuba will no longer include get-togethers with ex-Washington Senators pitcher Connie Marrero.

Marrero, who played for Washington from 1950 to 1954, died in Havana last April at age 102, a few months after Krieger’s last visit and three years after Krieger helped arrange for Marrero a $10,000 annual pension from Major League Baseball.

Theirs was a special friendship, one of many forged by Krieger, a Vancouver resident who will return to Cuba in late February — his 30th visit there beginning with a 1997 trip related to his job with the British Columbia teachers federation. That trip spawned a love affair with the country and its baseball scene.

Krieger, 65, would go on to found Cuba Ball, a company bringing baseball-mad tourists to the island nation — a venture begun really to enable himself to visit affordably with groups.

With President Obama’s Dec. 17 announcement on renewing diplomatic relations broken off by the United States in 1961, Krieger sees a double-edged sword: Cuba will emerge from U.S.-imposed isolation, but the country’s professional baseball scene could ultimately disappear, like America’s Negro Leagues following the integration of Major League Baseball.

In the near term, he figures, Cuban baseball will remain unchanged, since the country can hardly be expected to allow foreign teams to poach its premier talent — at least not without hefty payments, as in Japan. Individual players, Krieger adds, are unlikely to risk defecting while knowing that renewed diplomacy could prompt Washington’s lifting of an economic blockade, enabling them to legally sign lucrative contracts abroad.

Following Obama’s announcement, MLB released a statement saying that it will monitor whether the policy shift affects “the manner in which [teams] conduct business on issues related to Cuba.”

Krieger says he sees Cuba as “the largest pool of untapped baseball talent in the world, and no one knows if [the news] will open this pool.” But he fears “the beginning of the end” of a Cuban baseball reality caught in a sweet time warp evoking America of the 1890s. Eventually, Krieger says, Cuban baseball “will become integrated into the international baseball community, which it isn’t now.”

His love for Cuban baseball led him more than a decade ago to join the Society for American Baseball Research, where he recruited like-minded fans for the trips. He’s similarly passionate about family history, frequently conducting research on Jewish genealogy websites. Thanks largely to meticulous records kept by his ancestors, Krieger (his given first name is Ernest) can trace several branches in Poland and Germany back to 1700.

“I can even tell you the name of my grandfather’s mohel,” he quips.

Krieger’s baseball and genealogy interests at times have coincided: His late mother, Ann Kohlberg, grew up in an apartment building at 320 Riverside Drive in Manhattan, across the hall from New York Giants star Mel Ott. Kohlberg’s cousin, Don Taussig, went on to play outfield with the franchise after its move to San Francisco.

While Krieger doesn’t usually seek out Jewish residents or sites while in Cuba, another Jewish traveler, retired professor Oscar Soule, does.

Soule, of Olympia, Wash., who will be traveling with Krieger to Cuba in February, has been to the Caribbean nation five times and makes a point of going to a Havana synagogue on each visit. The draws for him are the baseball games and meetings with government officials, as well as such diamond legends as Omar Linares and Victor Mesa that wouldn’t happen without Krieger.

Marrero, a 5-foot-5 right-hander who posted a 39-40 record in the majors and made the American League’s All-Star team in 1951 at age 40, benefited from Krieger’s attention in his final years as he lost his eyesight and hearing. Krieger solicited notes of appreciation from the aging pitcher’s American contemporaries, all of whom Marrero fondly remembered. More than 90 letters arrived, and scores more for Marrero’s 100th birthday, including from Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Tommy Lasorda, George Kell and Harmon Killebrew.

Abbas Bucks Kerry and Runs to the UN to Throw Obama under the Bus

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Mahmoud Abbas is ignoring hints of American sanctions and a possible defeat in the U.N. Security Council which is set to consider a resolution from Jordan on Monday, ordering Israel to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority in one year.

The resolution calls on Israel to surrender within three years all of the land in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria that was restored to Israel in the Six-Day war in 1967, and it demands a  “just” solution for millions of Arabs classified by the United Nations as “refugees,” a generation-to generation status that does not apply to any other people in the world.

Palestinian Authority chairman Abbas informed Kerry on Sunday of the decision that effectively is a slap in the face, if not a shot in the leg, to the Obama administration which has staked its reputation on negotiations between the PA and Israel while backing almost all of Abbas’ demands from Israel.

It is not certain the resolution will pass in the United Nations, which probably will vote on it later this week. If it does pass, President Barack Obama will have to decide whether to veto it or not. No matter what he decides, if he is forced to do so, it will have a dramatic effect on the Israeli elections.

That is exactly why Kerry has begged Abbas to postpone going to the United Nations at least until after the elections in mid-March, but Abbas, obviously is listening to someone else.

He sees to be hell-bent on self-destruction. He has a better chance of winning the needed two-thirds majority in the Security Council after January 1, when more pro-Arab countries take their turn as rotating members.

In its report on Abbas’ conversation with Kerry,  the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported, “A well-informed official closed to Abbas spoke on condition of anonymity that Kerry exerted heavy pressure on Abbas over the phone to postpone the bid until after March elections in Israel.

“The official said that Kerry hinted there will be economic sanctions imposed on the Palestinians and that the US would veto the draft resolution in case it gains the nine Security Council votes.”

Reaction among Israeli hawks was swift and sharp. Likud minister Yuval Steinitz said that if the Security Council passes the resolution, “We will need to seriously weigh the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority.”

That would be absolutely stupid because Abbas is doing a good job all by himself to make the Palestinian Authority history.

The PA has won worldwide support vocally, but it is totally dependent on a nearly bankrupt European Union for help. The Arab countries have pledged billions and have paid pennies, and now Abbas risks sanctions from the United States.

One of his biggest political backers is Russia, whose economy is showing signs of a recession.

What or who is pushing Abbas over the cliff?

Perhaps he is afraid of a coup if he does not do something to satisfy the hard-core camp that can’t live without murdering Jews to prove their “resistance.”

Perhaps he wants to convince Hamas that he really is serious about getting rid of Israel and spitting on the United States.

Perhaps he is senile.

Perhaps he simply wants to prove that he is no different from other Arab leaders who would rather fail in an attempt to destroy Israel rather than accept it as a fact life.

Netanyahu Tells GOP Sen Graham PA Incitement Led to Firebombing

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told visiting South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham Saturday night that Palestinian Authority incitement led to the firebombing attack that has left 11-year-old Ayala Shapira fighting for her life.

“The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, has compared Israel to ISIS,” the Prime Minister said. “This is the same Palestinian Authority that joins hands with Hamas, incites constantly against Israel, the kind of incitement that has led to an attack that we witnessed just two days ago of a Molotov cocktail thrown at a little girl….”

“But the same Palestinian Authority is going to try to bring to the UN Security Council a resolution that seeks to impose on us conditions that will undermine our security.”

Sen Graham was an easy audience. He has been a strong backer of Israel and this month signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the Obama administration must now allow the United Nations to pass a resolution that would impose a future Palestinian Authority on Israel.

“We write to express concern about ongoing efforts to impose the terms of a peace agreement on our friend and ally Israel outside of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” wrote Senators Graham and Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York.

We urge you to make clear that the United States will veto any United Nations resolution and would oppose any efforts to bypass direct negotiations and impose peace terms on Israel through the United Nations Security Council and other international bodies.

For decades, the United States has consistently opposed efforts to bypass direct negotiations and impose terms on Israel through the United Nations Security Council…. A failure to decisively announce that we will veto any resolution from the United Nations that dictates the peace process runs counter to decades of American foreign policy and only gives momentum to these counterproductive proposals.

Netanyahu also told Graham that Israel continues to face a threat from Iran, which he said conducted a test on a suicide drone today.

“I believe that what is required are more sanctions, and stronger sanctions,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.

Black GOP Leader Prays at the Western Wall for ‘Solomonic Wisdom’

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Black Republican Dr. Ben Carson, touted as a possible GOP presidential candidate is touring Israel and visited the Western Wall, where he went through the required routine of placing a message for God between the bricks.

Unlike President Barack Obama and the pope, Carson divulged what he wrote.

Noting that King Solomon was there once upon a time, Carson told CBN he asked God for “Solomonic wisdom on what to do.” He has not yet stated whether he will be a candidate, but he certainly is acting like one.

He praised Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and concerning Judea and Samaria, Carson said, “Until such time as their neighbors are no longer desirous of their elimination,” he said, Israel’s continued control of the West Bank “makes perfectly good sense.”

His credentials as an anti-Obama conservative are impeccable. He made a speech at the national Prayer Breakfast earlier this year in which he said the United States is headed for “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.”

He also stated “We have imposed upon people restrictions on what they can say, on what they can think. And the media is the largest proponent of this, crucifying people who say things really quite innocently.”

President Barack Obama was sitting a few feet away, and although Carson did not directly blame the president for America’s ills, the White House was upset.

“Within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him,” Carson later wrote in his book “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future.”

Carson added in his book, ”I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”

The GOP leader also wrote that he did not plan to run for president – unless calls God him.

CBN’s video of his visit to the Western Wall can be seen here.

Alan Gross Credits Jewish Efforts for His Release From Cuba [video]

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Newly released from prison in Cuba, Alan Gross thanked his wife, his lawyer, the Jewish community, President Obama and numerous others in helping secure his freedom.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, Gross opened his statement with a Hanukkah greeting and a thank you to the president.

“Chag sameach,” he said. “What a blessing to be a citizen of the United States of America. Thank you President Obama for everything you have done today.”

He credited the advocacy by his wife of 44 years, Judy Gross, and his lawyer, Scott Gilbert, for getting him out of prison. He also thanked the Jewish community.

“To the Washington Jewish community, Ron Halber in particular and his staff at the Jewish Community Relations Council, all of the executive directors, staff and volunteers of participating JCRCs, federations, synagogues, schools, and other Jewish, Christian and Muslim organizations nationwide, God bless you and thank you,” Gross said. “It was crucial to my survival knowing that I was not forgotten. Your prayers and actions have been comforting, reassuring, and sustaining.”

In a deal that American officials said was technically separate from Gross’ release, the United States and Cuba agreed to exchange the three remaining incarcerated members of the “Cuban Five,” a Florida-based spy ring, for an American spy held in Cuba for 20 years and whose identity remains a secret.

It came, too, as the United States and Cuba agreed to re-establish full diplomatic ties that were severed in early 1961.

Gross, a Jewish-American who had been in detention in Cuba for five years of a 15-year term for crimes against the state, originally went to the island nation to do contract work for the U.S. government and help connect Cuban Jews to the outside world.

He suffered health problems during his imprisonment, and in his statement referenced his significant weight loss and the loss of some teeth.

“Ultimately, the decision to arrange for and secure my release was made in the Oval Office. To President Obama and the NSC staff, thank you,” Gross said. “A judicious lesson that I have learned from this experience is that freedom is not free.”

Gross expressed fondness for the Cuban people, saying they were not responsible for his ordeal and that he is pained “to see them treated so unjustly as one consequence of two governments’ mutually belligerent policies.”

He hailed Obama’s announcement that Havana and Washington now would resume diplomatic relations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/alan-gross-credits-jewish-efforts-for-his-release-from-cuba/2014/12/18/

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