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February 11, 2016 / 2 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Netanyahu Addresses Jewish Federations on US Trip

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

On Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 10, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an address to the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.

In his talk, Netanyahu addressed a broad range of issues, but stressed most importantly of all the strong relationships between Israel and the United States, and, concomitantly, the need for unity within the Jewish community:

“No matter what disagreements there have been within the Jewish community, maintaining the unity of our people is of paramount importance. There is only one Jewish people. There is only one Jewish state. And now, more than ever, we must work together to unite the Jewish people and secure the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli prime minister wowed the audience with a series of spectacular facts about the Jewish State, talking about it being the “global epicenter of innovation” in the areas of water technology, agritech, medicine, science and in the cyber field.

He reminded them of the incredible leadership Israel has provided to the world in terms of recycling water and water technologies. Israel’s continued and dramatic economic growth and its growing trade, especially in the new markets of India and China.

He then discussed the major challenge to Israel’s existence, which is security, and how that creates its major financial challenge, which is paying for its defense. He thanked the American people for the support it provides Israel. Netanyahu pointed out that he had a “wonderful discussion” on Monday with President Obama about securing that assistance for the coming decade.

Being particularly mindful of his audience, the Prime Minister spent a great deal of time talking about Israel’s values and its “intense, robust democracy.” He talked about Israel’s pluralism, its egalitarianism, its growing and thriving Christian population and its proud and strong LGBT community.

Netanyahu reminded the JFNA audience of the Arab members in Israel’s knesset and on its Supreme Court, and he mentioned the field hospital Israel built on its border with Syria which was set up specifically to treat thousands of wounded Syrians, at Israel’s expense. And he talked about Israel’s immediate humanitarian missions to provide assistance in disasters throughout the world.

After briefly touching upon the dangers currently surrounding the Jewish State, he returned to his theme of optimism about Israel and its future. He talked about the alliance between Israel and America and the growth of the Birthright program. He stressed the support given to Israel by the U.S. and the assistance Israel provides to the U.S., especially in terms of intelligence.

The vast majority of members of the JFNA audience are members of the Reform and Conservative movements, and the Israeli Prime Minister spoke about new efforts to involve and provide comfort to those movements in Israel.

The Prime Minister spent the last third of his talk addressing the issue of anti-Semitism and how it relates to Israel.

My dear friends,

The unity of the Jewish people is important at all times, but especially at this time. It’s especially important when the assault on the Jews is not confined to the Middle East, because as Michael said correctly there is a wave of anti-Semitism that is raging across Europe, but it goes beyond there to other continents as well.

I want to say something about anti-Semitism. My father was a great historian and a student of this phenomenon. It has ancient roots. It goes back roughly to Hellenistic times, five hundred years before the birth of the Christian era. It has a long tradition and old traditions die hard. Sometimes they don’t die. For centuries the world believed the worst things about Jews – and these lies were believed not just by the ignorant masses; they were believed as well by the educated elites. They said about us that we were poisoners of wells, spreaders of plagues, killers of children. Now the lies that were once leveled at the Jewish people are now leveled at the Jewish state. They say that Israel harvests organs, spreads AIDS and executes innocent children.

Once, the Jewish people couldn’t even raise its collective voice to fight against these lies, these slanders. Today, we have a voice. Today we have a voice. And we must ensure that our voice is heard loud and clear. We must speak out against the slander of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Now, whether it’s the Prime Minister of Israel speaking at the United Nations or Jewish students speaking at a college campus, we can and must fight lies and the only way you fight lies is telling the truth. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We have everything to be proud of. Stand up proudly. Speak the truth about Israel. Be proud as Jews.

The truth is Israel is a great country, a deeply moral country. Of course, like all countries, Israel is not a perfect country. But Israel is constantly judged by many in the international community according to a standard of perfection that is applied to no other country and that no country could possibly meet.

There is a name for holding the Jews to a different standard than other people. You know what it’s called. It begins with an “a” and it ends with an “m”. We recognize it for what it is. You cannot, you cannot hold the Jewish state to what I call the triple standard. One standard is for the dictatorships – you don’t expect much of them. The second standard is for the democracies. And the third standard – it’s not even a double standard, it’s the triple standard. There’s a special defined standard for the democracy called Israel. No way, no double standards, no triple standards. Treat Israel fairly. Treat Israel decently.

Now I have a friend whom you may know. His name is Alan Dershowitz. And he gave what I think is a very good test. He said this in the Oxford Student Union. By the way, he said he was the only one who won an Oxford Student Union debate on Israel. He gives a great fight. So here’s what our friend Alan Dershowitz, a great exponent of the truth, said. He said name a single country in the history of the world faced with threats comparable to those faced by Israel that has a better record of human rights, complies more rigorously with the rule of law and does more to minimize civilian casualties. He asked that and the answer was: There is no other country. Israel stands at the top of the list.

And I think we have to speak the truth about peace as well. The truth is that the reason that we don’t have peace yet with the Palestinians is not because of the settlements or a territorial dispute, the territories that that were won in our defensive war of 1967. Israelis and Palestinians had a conflict for half a century – almost 50 years – before Israel captured any of those territories or built even a single one of those settlements. And afterwards, we left part of that territory – Gaza. Left it to the very last centimeter or inch. Stripped out the settlements, went to the ’67 boundaries, uprooted all the people who were there, disinterred people from their graves. What did we get? Peace? We got rockets.

The truth is that the reason that there isn’t peace between Israelis and Palestinians is the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary. That’s the truth. If you recognize the problem, you’ll be able to get to its solution.

And here’s another simple truth: The truth is that Israel seeks peace. The truth is that I seek peace. And when Israel, the people of Israel, the governments of Israel, met Arab leaders who wanted peace equally, like Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Jordan’s King Hussein, Israel made peace. We could do so when you meet an Arab leader who essentially says we’re burying the past. We’re seizing the future. We have no more demands of the Jewish state.

And when Israel will face a Palestinian leadership that seeks peace, that is willing to bury the past, that will make no more demands on the State of Israel – not get a state next to Israel in order to displace Israel, not get a state next to Israel in order to flood the adjoining State of Israel with millions of Palestinian descendants; when we meet a leader who actually is willing to recognize finally the Jewish state, we will have peace and that is the first requirement, the most essential requirement.

I remain committed to a vision of two states for two peoples where a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state, and Israel will continue to work for peace in the hope that what is not achievable today might be achievable tomorrow. Netanyahu then took a quick historical tour through the nearly seven decades of Israel’s existence. He ended his lengthy talk with gratitude.

Obama Won’t Make It Easier for Pollard to Go Home

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

(JNi.media) Under the terms of Jonathan Pollard’s release, due this Nov. 20, he must remain in US territory for five years, under supervision, which would preclude any plans of making aliyah—he already received his Israeli citizenship some 20 years ago. According to the Washington Post, Pollard’s supporters have asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to ask President Obama at their Monday meeting—which was reportedly better than expected and lasted 45 minutes longer than scheduled—to use his executive power to waive the parole condition and allow the released spy to go to his new home.

Last week, Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Netanyahu raised the Pollard issue with Obama, but Netanyahu would not confirm or deny when reporters asked him after the meeting about Pollard.

Pollard’s attorney said last week that his client was going to live in New York, where he had a job and a home waiting for him, but, if he could, he would have preferred to join his wife, Esther, in Israel. “He wants to make a contribution, he has lots of significant ideas,” the attorney said.

But, judging by Netanyahu’s silence, the official White House line and the absence of leaks to the contrary from the White House, it appears President Obama will not intervene to let Jonathan Pollard skip his parole period and go home. Pollard is 61, which means that, after serving out his 5 halfway years, he could start collecting Israeli social security. He did contribute quite a bit to Israeli security, after all.

Meanwhile, Gail Berman’s The Jackal Group is developing a feature film about the Pollard’s case, based on Martin Blank’s play “The Law Of Return,” about Pollard’s work for the US Navy, and the process of his becoming a spy. Blank will write the script, Berman and SVP Film Development’s Rory Koslow are producing for Jackal Group. Perhaps the released Pollard could be hired as consultant.

Official Obama-Netanyahu Statements at White House Meeting

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Monday morning, Nov. 9.

The following are their official statements released by their spokespeople. President Obama:

“Welcome once again Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to the Oval Office. There’s no foreign leader who I’ve met with more frequently and I think that’s a testimony to the extraordinary bond between the United States and Israel.

Before I get started, I just want to say a brief word about the Jordanian attack that we discovered earlier, the fact that someone dressed in a military uniform carried out an attack at a training facility in which it appears that there may have been two or three U.S. citizens killed and a number of other individuals injured.

Obviously, a full investigation is taking place. We take this very seriously and we’ll be working closely with the Jordanians to determine exactly what happened. But at this stage, I want to just let everyone know that this is something we’re paying close attention to and at the point where the families have been notified, obviously, our deepest condolences will be going out to them.

I also want to extend my condolences to the Israeli people on the passing of former President Navon. Obviously, he’s an important figure in Israeli politics and we extend heartfelt condolences to his family.

This is going to be an opportunity for the Prime Minister and myself to engage in a wide-ranging discussion on some of the most pressing security issues that both our countries face. It’s no secret that the security environment in the Middle East has deteriorated in many areas. And as I’ve said repeatedly, the security of Israel is one of my top foreign policy priorities, and that has expressed itself not only in words, but in deeds. We have closer military and intelligence cooperation than any two administrations in history.

The military assistance that we provide, we consider not only an important part of our obligation to the security of the state of Israel, but also an important part of US security infrastructure in the region, as we make sure that one of our closest allies can not only protect itself, but can also work with us in deterring terrorism and other security threats. In light of what continues to be a chaotic situation in Syria, this will give us an opportunity to discuss what’s happening there.

We’ll have an opportunity to discuss how we can blunt the activities of ISIL, Hezbollah, other organizations in the region that carry out terrorist attacks. A lot of our time will be spent on a memorandum of understanding that we can potentially negotiate. It will be expiring in a couple of years, but we want to get a head start on that to make sure that both the United States and Israel can plan effectively for our defense needs going forward.

We’ll also have a chance to talk about how implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement is going. It’s no secret that the Prime Minister and I have had a strong disagreement on this narrow issue, but we don’t have a disagreement on the need to making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, and we don’t have a disagreement about the importance of us blunting destabilizing activities that Iran may be taking place.

And so, we’re going to be looking to make sure that we find common ground there.

And we will also have an opportunity to discuss some of the concerns that both of us have around violence in the Palestinian territories. I want to be very clear that we condemn in the strongest terms Palestinian violence against innocent Israeli citizens.

Netanyahu and Obama Meet: Kindred Nations, Cold Friends

Monday, November 9th, 2015

On Monday morning, Nov. 9, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. It was the first meet-up between the two leaders in a year filled with monumental events and mounting catastrophes in the Middle East and around the world.

The two were joined by several top level aides. Obama had Vice President Joe Biden and his national security adviser, Susan Rice, while Netanyahu had his Ambassador to the U.S. and longtime confidante Ron Dermer. The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, was also in the room.

The meeting was well-scripted: the topics included the main source of contention between these two cold friends, the Nuclear Iran Deal, which Obama sees as a cornerstone of his presidency and Netanyahu sees as an existential threat to his nation.

Other topics included Israel’s request for a long-term and greatly increased military aid package. The U.S. has repeatedly dangled such a package in front of Israel as a consolation prize for freezing out the Jewish state from its negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and then concluding a deal which was fervently opposed by Israelis across the political spectrum.

The two leaders also discussed the spreading assault on security across the Middle East, with the Syrian Civil War now in its fourth bloody year. That war has led to massive human displacement and structural collapse, the deaths of hundreds of thousands, and the exodus of as many as can flee the region, bringing unskilled workers, rampant disease and a brutalized and frequently brutal wave of humanity onto the shores of Europe.

In addition, the growth of the barbarous ISIS and its slow but inexorable spread across the region, and in particular its encroachment into countries which border Israel had to inform the discussion of terrorism in the region, as well.

Before the meeting, Obama said: “It’s no secret that the security environment in the Middle East has deteriorated in many areas, and as I’ve said repeatedly, the security of Israel is one of my top foreign policy priorities. And that’s expressed itself not only in words, but in deeds.”

The recent upswing in terrorist attacks against Israelis by Palestinian Arab citizen-terrorists was a focus of the talk, with the Israeli Prime Minister assuring the U.S. President that he was committed to peace between his people and his Palestinian Arab citizens and neighbors.

The U.S. President said he and his administration “condemn in the strongest terms Palestinian violence against innocent Israeli citizens.” Obama added,”It is my strong belief that Israel has not just the right, but the obligation to protect itself.”

For his part, Netanyahu thanked the President for his continued strong support for Israel’s security.

The Israeli President also assured Obama that despite the carnage, he still wishes to see “two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state.”

And there’s the rub. There is no way the Palestinian Arab leadership will or can ever accept a state that is demilitarized. And there is no way the Jewish State can accept yet another Arab neighboring state that refuses to recognize its legitimacy as a Jewish State, and/or one that is armed and will, in addition to its own genocidal wishes for Israel, will certainly be used as a proxy by Israel’s powerful enemies such as Iran.

Washington Leftist Troops to Protest Netanyahu Wherever He Goes

Monday, November 9th, 2015

A whopping 38 organizations are planning to picket Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, starting today (Monday).

One particularly thorny stop on the Prime Minister’s itinerary will be his appearance at the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) on Tuesday, where he will be interviewed by its president Neera Tanden.

The child of Indian immigrants from Massachusetts, Tanden worked for the 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign and served as domestic policy director for President Barack Obama’s second presidential campaign.

The usual suspects – American Muslims for Palestine, the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Code Pink, Jewish Voice for Peace, RootsAction and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation – served up petitions with 26,300 signatures, demanding that CAP cancel the event.

These groups essentially argued that there’s no way a progressive would even dream of having a dialogue on Palestine except with Palestinians.

On the day of Tuesday’s event, expect to find “Netanyahu is #NotProgressive” pickets outside the Center for American Progress, 1333 H St. NW, Washington DC, care of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

But before that event takes place, there’s the minor issue of the first meeting between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel since their spring and summer fisticuffs over the Iran nuclear deal.

Starting at 9 a.m. today (EST), there will be ample pickets outside the White House, sponsored by the ANSWER coalition. Organizers will demand three relatively modest things: Stop all US aid to Israel;

send Netanyahu to the International Criminal Court for War Crimes; and, naturally, self-determination and liberation for the Palestinian people.

Later, from 5-8 p.m., there will be a “No US Tax Dollars for Israel” rally outside the National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington DC, where the American Enterprise Institute will honor Netanyahu.

The rally, endorsed by those 38 anti-Israel NGOs, will feature Max Blumenthal, Phyllis Bennis, Dr. Osama Abuirshaid and the Rev. Graylan Hagler, all known Israel haters.

It’s going to be a full couple of days for anti-Israelis in Washington DC. The temperatures should stay around 55-60 degrees, with afternoon and evening showers both days.

Bring an umbrella.

Rav Ovadia Joins Kerry, Obama and Rivlin on Baratz’s ‘Hit List’

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Israel media have put another nail in the political coffin of Ron Baratz, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s nominee to be his national political adviser.

The late revered Rabbi Ovadia Yosef also was on Baratz’s hit list, according to the Chedrei Hareidim website, which published on Sunday a message that Baratz had posted on Facebook in December 2014.

It was revealed last week that Baratz previously has labeled one of President Barack Obama’s remarks as anti-Semitic, said Kerry has the mind of a 12-year-old, and had unkind words for President Reuven Rivlin.

He wrote of Rav Ovadia, the founder and spiritual leader of the Shas party:

Rav Ovadia gave a feeling of honor to many people. Nevertheless, in my opinion, his activities generally were negative.

He damaged not only the State of Israel but also, to a large extent, the same people he was trying to help.

Baratz added that besides his and Rav Ovadia’s having opposite political ideologies, the nominee for media adviser also does not relate to the late rabbi’s decisions on Jewish law and Torah wisdom.

Shas sharply condemned Baratz Sunday, and party leader Aryeh Deri joined the chorus against his being accepted as media advisor.

The party stated:

Baratz’s comments against Rav Ovadia proves his lack of good judgment and his being unsuitable to be the national media adviser.

Baratz’s Facebook post had some kind words for Rav Ovadia, stating that despite his criticism,” Every time I see him I love him and forgave him for everything.”

 

White House Aides: Obama, Netanyahu, Want 14 Trouble Free Months, Nothing More

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

(JNi.media) According to Reuters, citing Congressional officials, Israel, which currently receives $3.1 billion annually from the US, is looking to increase this aid package significantly, to $50 billion over 10 years. But Administration officials say no new aid agreement is going to be signed during Netanyahu’s visit this week. Some Obama aides believe Netanyahu will be happy to wait out the next 14 months with Obama at the helm, satisfied that there won’t be any new surprises from the Administration, such as a last-ditch peace effort, or failure to block anti-Israel UN Security Council resolutions. The PM is hoping for a new start with whomever becomes the next president.

David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Project on the Middle East Peace Process, summed up the Administration’s 2-state efforts for the Oberlin Review Friday saying that “it’s hard to see in the seventh year of an eight-year administration that you’re going to have this magical reset. … These two have had their differences. … I think Obama, coming in, in 2009, thought he would focus much more on settlements. And then Obama, as it went on, thought, ‘Oh no, let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on getting [Israel and the Palestinians] to the table.’”

And so, Makovsky continued, “Secretary of State Kerry really believed that each side said they wanted a two-state solution, so let’s help them get there. Ultimately, I think that part of the issue was that Netanyahu had no problem with the US holding Israel to a high standard, but he felt the United States held the Palestinians to no standard, and yet, these two have to be accountable for peace. … Netanyahu felt that the United States did not optimize its leverage in those talks and might have been able to get a better deal. … You could ask, ‘Is this … perfect being the enemy of the good?’ You couldn’t get the perfect deal, but you got the best deal you can? I think [Obama and Netanyahu] differed over those two things. Those are the two major differences.”

The fact is, Obama is just too busy elsewhere in the Middle East to be able to pay much attention to Israel and the Palestinians. Having scored his victory with the Iran nuclear deal, against a formidable campaign galvanized to a large extent by Netanyahu, the President is content with a status quo between the two men in which they do not trust each other and do not expect much from one another either.

Israel argues that awarding Iran sanctions relief will allow Tehran to invest heavily in its missile program, and to increase funding to two enemies on Israel’s borders, Hezbollah and Hamas. Israel believes it is entitled to an increased support to be able to deal with these collateral effects of the nuclear deal. According to Reuters, US officials concede only that Netanyahu and Obama might agree to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiations, under which Israel would seek to expand its order of 50 F-35 fighter jets, and to eventually buy the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor military aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing, which combines the functionality of a helicopter a turboprop aircraft.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/white-house-aides-obama-netanyahu-want-14-trouble-free-months-nothing-more/2015/11/07/

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