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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Israel ‘Disappoints’ US with 900 New Homes for Jews in Jerusalem

Friday, May 8th, 2015

The U.S. State Dept. has expressed “disappointment” and “concern” over Jerusalem’s final approval for 900 new housing units for Jews in northeastern Jerusalem, near the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat.

The homes for Ramat Shlomo have gone through several stages of bureaucratic approvals, giving the impression to foreign readers that seven approvals means 6,300 homes are being built instead of 900.

The 900 units are the same ones that caused a storm of protest in the Obama administration when the project passed another bureaucratic step just about the same minute Vice President Joe Biden landed at Ben Gurion Airport for a visit in 2010.

The Obama administration still spouts the “peace process” and “two-state solution” but in effect has not taken any actions to punish Israel for building or the Palestinian Authority for inciting terror and ditching the “peace process” that President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry espouse.

The policy of benign neglect made the job of State Dept. spokesman Jeff Rathke a bit difficult at Thursday’s briefing.

He went through the usual routine of saying:

 We strongly oppose steps by the Israeli authorities to advance construction in East Jerusalem. This is a disappointing development, and we’re concerned about it just as a new Israeli Government has been announced. Israel’s leaders have asserted that they remain committed to a two-state solution.

Let’s stop right there. None of the journalists at the daily State Dept. briefing, not even ace Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, has thought of asking why building homes for Jews (and in Jerusalem too) means the end of the concept of “two states.”

If they would stop and think about what the Palestinian Authority wants, they would realize that the “two states” would mean that no Jews can live in half of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria but that Arabs can live in whatever is left of Israel.

If a Jew-free Palestinian Authority country is not racist, what is?

But let’s assume that for the sake of peace, the Obama administration really is not out of its mind and that two states will mean the lion and lamb can sleep side by side – if only Israel would stop building homes for Jews.

That is when things get sticky for the spokesmen became reporters start asking why Washington does not put a stop to Israel’s insistence that Jews have a right to live in all of Jerusalem.

Rathke said, “We need to see that commitment in the actions of Israeli” and that  “construction of housing units in East Jerusalem is damaging and inconsistent with that commitment. We continue to engage with the highest levels of the Israeli Government, and we continue to make our position clear that we view this as illegitimate.”

A couple of reporters wondered about action instead of words. One asked:

Well, then what is the point of saying we need to see that commitment? If it becomes the case that you don’t ever see that, or you don’t see the commitment and you don’t do anything about it, what good is saying that we need to see that commitment?

Rathke sang and danced like this:

Well, this is a longstanding U.S. policy. We’re reiterating that policy in relation to this specific development that Said asked about. This is our view and it hasn’t changed.

Every time Israel builds another home for Jews in areas that cause the Obama to express “disappointment” and “concern,” Obama and Kerry lose more credibility among the Arabs.

President Barack Obama has created for himself a trap that was born with his predecessors Carter, Reagan, Clinton and the junior Bush.

Instead of standing by his word that it is up to the Arabs and Israel to make war or peace as they see fit, he went against his own stated common sense that he would not set the conditions for a peace agreement.

Senate Passes Bill that Puts Armlock on Obama Making a ‘Bad Deal’

Friday, May 8th, 2015

The Senate voted 98-1 Thursday to limit President Barack Obama’s ability to make a “bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear program.

The lone opponent was Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.

The House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill into law, which President Obama will sign after having originally threatened to veto any bill that gives the Congress the right to review a final deal with Iran.

The bill, unless it is amended, gives Congress 30 days to review the deal, a change from the original 60-day review period that was proposed until Democrats forced a compromise that also blocked amendments that would make a deal with Iran impossible. One of the most explosive proposed amendments called for Iran to recognize Israel as a condition to an agreement on limiting and supervising its nuclear development.

Most significantly, the bill prevents Obama from lifting sanctions on Iran until the end of the 30-day review period, assuming Congress does not scotch the deal. President Obama would have the power to veto a Congressional rejection.

Iran has not yet reacted to the passage of the bill in the Senate. It has been adamant in demanding that all sanctions be lifted immediately when a deal is signed, which won’t happen once President Obama signs the bill into law.

 

“This bill as drafted will provide some political cover to Senate Democrats to say they have voted to provide strict scrutiny and congressional approval of an Iran deal,” Texas Republican Ted Cruz said in the Senate this week.

He conceded that the bill won’t stop a deal, “no matter how terrible it is,” but the political fallout from a Congressional rejection and a presidential veto would be explosive, especially when taking into account that the campaigns for presidential nominees are underway.

 

Black Republican Ben Carson Running for President

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon and black Republican Dr. Ben Carson has announced he is running to be his party’s nominee for president in next year’s election.

Dr. Carson visited Israel in December, reported here, an unofficial prerequisite for presidential candidates.

The 63-year-old Republican is from Detroit, lived in Baltimore for more than 35 years and now lives in Florida. He was the first black doctor to head the Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgery unit.

His lack of both political experience and ties with such factions as the Tea Party offers Republican voters a distinct choice among the growing number of candidates. However, he does not have the organization and political experience of other contenders, the most popular being Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, also from outside the political world, is considering tossing her hat in the political ring.

Dr. Carson grew up in poverty and has the appeal to white voters as their desired image of an America where anyone can achieve success through hard work and without making himself out to be a victim.

He has been a harsh critic of President Barack Obama, whom Dr. Carson once described as someone who “seems to believe more in a utopian view of cradle-to-grave care.”

He has made headlines, for better and for worse, on the issue of same-sex marriage. Below is an interview on CNN in which he maintained that homosexuality is a choice and that each state should decide for itself whether or not to allow marriages of homosexuals. He said in the interview that many people become homosexuals after being in prison.

After harsh criticism, he apologized, and Dr. Carson stated before announcing his candidacy today:

I’ve come to recognize that when you use certain terms, people can no longer hear anything else you say. As you’ll notice in the last several weeks, I’ve been able to get my points across without inflammatory language.

In his visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in December, Dr. Carson placed a note between the bricks and later referred to King Solomon in an interview with CBN and said he asked God for “Solomonic wisdom on what to do” concerning the race for president.

His stand on Israel is clear, and he told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,

“Until such time as their neighbors are no longer desirous of their elimination,” Israel’s continued control of the West Bank “makes perfectly good sense.”

Dr. Carson’s strong conservative stand may appeal to Christian evangelists despite his being black.

He said at the national Prayer Breakfast earlier this year that the United States is headed for “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.” He also declared:

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.”

Netanyahu Tells US Think Tank Obama’s Deal with Iran Endangers Mideast [video]

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a Washington think tank Friday that the proposed deal with Iran to restrict its nuclear program “would make the world would a much more dangerous place.”

He spoke through a video message at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Vice President Joe Biden insisted the deal was “reasonable” and that the United States “has Israel’s back.”

Netanyahu said reminded his audience that Iran “repeatedly threatens to annihilate Israel” and has created “terrorist bases across three of Israel’s borders in Lebanon and Gaza and now on the Syrian Golan.

The Prime Minister asserted:

The international community cannot let Iran’s aggression in the region — in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen and elsewhere – to continue under the protection of an Iranian nuclear umbrella. And the international community cannot afford to let the planet’s foremost sponsor of terrorism have nuclear capabilities with which to terrorize the entire world….

The Lausanne framework….would make the world would a much more dangerous place…. Now there are those who say that the Lausanne framework will make Israel safer.

As the prime minister of Israel I can tell you categorically this deal will endanger Israel — big time. But it’s not just Israel that will be in danger: The Middle East and the entire world will be threatened.

Biden told the think tank, “Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other. They [Iran] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material. Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”

What he didn’t say is that Iran has gotten that far while Obama and Biden were in office. Netanyahu is saying that the proposed deal guarantees that Iran can achieve its goal.

The vice-president said that the United States will go to war with Iran if necessary to keep it from procuring a nuclear weapon.

The inference from Netanyahu’s position is that war can be prevented if Iran can be stopped from becoming a nuclear power, which is why the Prime Minister told the think tank, “A better deal is necessary. A better deal is possible. A better deal must and can be achieved. But if not, no deal is better than this bad deal.”

US Soldiers Arrive in Turkey to Train ‘Moderate’ Rebels against ISIS

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Approximately 120 U.S. Army soldiers have landed in Turkey to train “moderate” Syrian rebels at a Turkish air force base, Hurriyet News reported Friday.

The Obama administration previously has announced a grandiose program to train and equip rebels fighting the Assad regime, which has been joined by the Iranian-back Hezbollah terrorist  organization.

Implementation of the program has been delayed because of disagreement over which fighters will be trained. The United States wants to vet fighters so that the weapons don’t end up in the hands of Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, but that could mean that the best fighters won’t be trained.

American governments and their State Dept, gurus have a long and bloody history of ignorance of the Middle East, as well as Vietnam for those who recall the groups of “advisors” that ballooned into a full force of soldiers, 58,000 of whom were killed in the war in the 1960s and 70s.

A senior opposition commander in eastern Syria told Reuters, “When the Americans see anyone shout ‘Allahu Akbar! they think they’re Islamists.”

The Syrian rebels being trained by the American soldiers will return to Syria to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) and will take along machine guns and anti-tank weapons.

President Obama has been extremely reluctant to get involved in the civil war in Syria, and one wonders whether he simply is going through the motion to show that he is doing something, without actually doing much at all.

One rebel commander told Reuters that Syrians are most motivated to defeat Assad, whose regime he described to Reuters as the “biggest killer.”

Syria is geographically divided, with the ISIS controlling areas in eastern Syria.

The State Dept., in response to questioning from Sen. John McCain in March, wrote him, “Even when considered as a whole, U.S. government assistance to the moderate armed opposition will not be decisive in defeating regime forces.

“Nor will the fighters who receive this assistance, on their own, force Assad to change his calculus about trying to hold on to power.”

Rubio’s ‘Poison Pill’ May Force Democrats to Get Off the Fence on Israel

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio’s insistence  on amending the proposed Senate bill for review of a deal with Iran by requiring  the Islamic Republic to recognize Israel is beginning to make Democrats squirm.

Iran has repeatedly stated that Israel should be wiped off the map. It is building Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and by all accounts, except Tehran’s, is not far from being able to obtain a nuclear warhead.

It doesn’t take an evangelist Republican to connect the dots despite Iran’s position that it would never never even dream of obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Iran never would accept Rubio’s proposal that it recognize Israel, at least not in Ayatollah Khamenei’s lifetime, and Rubio knows it.

So does President Barack Obama, who warned on Wednesday he would veto a Congressional bill if it makes negotiations with Iran impossible.

Democrats, especially the Jewish ones, also know that supporting the president and voting against the suggestion that a Muslim country recognize the Jewish state will be recorded in the history book on warped thinking, with the notion the way to peace is to allow an enemy to scheme to destroy an enemy instead of dismantling the scheme, admitting defeat and recognizing that the enemy is its own hallucinations.

Where is Shimon Peres when we need him? Peres has said dozens of times that “one makes peace with enemies, not with friends.” The cliché is more ridiculous than it is trite, but if that is his philosophy, why isn’t he out there backing Rubio?

The Senate began on Tuesday to debate the proposed law that any deal with Iran on its nuclear development must be submitted to Congress for review.

President Obama originally said he would veto such a law, but after Republic Sen. Bob Corker toned down its original language so that the legislation would have a veto-proof majority, he changed his mind.

That was until Rubio, who has announced he is running to be the GOP’s presidential nominee next year, came up with seven amendments,  known as the “poison pills” because there is no chance Obama and Iran would accept them.

Besides demanding that Iran recognize Israel, the Florida Republican wants Iran to release American it is holding. He also demands that sanctions having nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear development be retained on Tehran.

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, Jewish and strongly identified with Israel, blocked Rubio’s effort on Wednesday to bring the “recognize Israel” amendment to a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I appreciate the senator from Maryland’s passion,” Rubio said, “but I want a vote on the amendment,” and he intends to do so when the bill comes to the floor of the Senate.

Rubio has managed to scare Republicans as well as Democrats.

Several GOP Leaders are angry with Rubio because his “poison pill” amendments would destroy the bi-partisan support for a watered-down bill for Congressional review of a deal with Iran.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a strong backer of Israel, said he would vote against Rubio’s amendments.

Graham explained:

I don’t think anybody is going to accuse Lindsey Graham of being anti-Israel. I’ve been working for a year … to put this coalition together. And failure is not an option.\

Politico reported that “GOP leaders appear to siding with Rubio [and] so far, they have not moved to orchestrate Republicans to vote against problematic amendments.”

Rubio has the Democrats in a tight corner. He said, “Do Democrats not support Israel?”

The oddity is that Democrats are holding their collective breath for Corker, a Republican, to convince Rubio to back off or convince his colleagues to vote against the amendments.

Iran Legislative Compromises may Cause Nuclear Explosion in Washington

Monday, April 27th, 2015

This week the U.S. Senate will meet to discuss what input Congress will have before sanctions imposed on Iran for violating a slew of U.N. Resolutions regarding its nuclear program can be lifted.

The offerings of amendments by various senators – whether for wholly ideological reasons, for presidential campaign purposes, or a combination and perhaps other factors – may result in a nuclear explosion of a whole other sort than the one the entire process was created to circumvent, and this one entirely within Washington, D.C.

The legislation formally known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, and informally as the Corker or the Corker-Menendez bill, was unanimously approved and voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month.

The INARA which came out of committee imposed a change on the nuclear negotiations with Iran. Until then, Congress played no role.

With the passage of Corker’s bill in its current form, Congressional sanctions against Iran could not be lifted even following a signed agreement with Iran, for 30 days, while Congress reviews the Agreement.

Congress could vote against lifting sanctions if it votes down the final deal, although this would require the vote of a significantly higher number of Senators than most think is likely, and led some critics to say the final version was actually helpful to the administration, despite their feigned annoyance.

The bill in its current state would also require this administration and all future ones to certify that Iran was following the terms of the agreement.

Corker, with the assistance of Maryland’s Senator Ben Cardin (D), successfully maneuvered the bill out of the SFRC without any of the threatened amendments which they claimed would kill the deal, and leave Congress with no voice at all.

But, as Corker himself admitted, anything can happen in the “Wild West” of the full Senate floor.

And it looks like quite a few gunslingers are loading up their barrels with various amendments, any one of which may force a serious showdown between the administration and the Senate, between the Democrats and the Republicans in the Senate, and even, perhaps, amongst the Republicans themselves.

Florida’s presidential contender Marco Rubio (R) is busily showing the gathering crowd what ammunition he plans to unload, and he has quite an array in his arsenal. Each of these amendments, if passed, would constitute a condition Iran would have to meet in order for the U.S. to lift the current Congressional sanctions on Iran.

Rubio wants to require Iran to recognize the state of Israel. He also wants Iran to release American prisoners being held, such as Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) wants the administration to certify that Iran is not supporting terrorism targeting Americans at home or abroad.

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) want a provision which would require Congressional approval of the deal, rather than simply the right to defeat it.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has said he will introduce an amendment that will require the administration to treat this deal with Iran as a treaty and not simply an executive agreement. The difference, of course, being that Congress plays a full partnership role with respect to a treaty, and almost no rule in an executive agreement.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-ARK), prime mover behind the Congressional Republican’s open letter to Rouhani, which supporters of the administration claimed was treasonous, said he agrees with Johnson. “A major arms control treaty with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism should be treated as a treaty,” Cotton said.

“The president should have to get 67 votes for a major nuclear arms agreement with an outlaw regime,” said Cotton. He wants to lower the number of votes needed to reject a deal from 60 to 51.

All those packing amendments are Republicans. “I have not heard of a single amendment on the Democratic side,” said Foreign Relations ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who worked closely with Corker to keep the SFRC members in line during the vote in that committee.

One option being discussed which would appease the opponents of the current bill, and still avoid incorporating language that may prove insurmountable for the Iranians, is to allow the inclusion of a “sense of the Senate” provision. This means the concerns would be raised in the narrative portion of the bill, but those points do not become an enforceable part of the legislation.

Debate in the Senate will begin on Tuesday, April 28. Once the bill is voted out of the Senate, it then has to be taken up in the House of Representatives.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-legislative-compromises-may-cause-nuclear-explosion-in-washington/2015/04/27/

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