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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Bibi Frees Killers, Gives Construction, Cancels Construction, La Di Da

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Here’s the only real purpose of anything and everything Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been doing regarding the “peace negotiations” with half of the Palestinian leadership: staying alive.

Netanyahu cannot afford to let his coalition government collapse this early in its term, because there’s a serious danger that he would lose the next elections. He may not even be able to retain his position of leadership in his own Likud party. The settlers, who supported him more than they care to admit last time around—because practically their entire local leadership is on Bibi’s government’s payroll—are furious at the prime minister. Their roads are unsafe, the secret police is dismantling their outposts, their archenemy has been appointed state attorney, and Tzipi Livni is discussing their fate, with Bibi’s blessings, behind closed doors, with thugs and gangsters.

Now comes the third phase in those negotiations, when Israel has promised to release the first batch of seriously bloody handed Arab murderers. The list is awful: men who burned women and children alive and blew up buses with dozens of innocent civilians in them. The kind of scum that would make the earth open up and scream in agony as they step into their freedom buses.

It’s the kind of move that could have been a Mandela gesture if it came against the background of real achievements on the way to a modicum of peaceful coexistence. As it happens, since the notion of peace is so delusional that the negotiations must be done in complete secrecy—the next prisoners’ release looks more like a capitulation to evil.

It’s also the kind of move that could bring down Netanyahu’s government, with a walkout not of “just” his Jewish Home coalition partner, but also of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu election partner, as well as a number of Likud party MKs and ministers.

Israel Beiteinu has already decided not to extend its campaign partnership with Likud, which cost both parties combined about a dozen seats last time around.

All of these political entities are heavily influenced by the settler movement, which is a sleeping giant at this point, but can become a raging, or, more likely, a panicky giant.

What to do, what to do? Of course: announce sweeping construction starts across Judea and Samaria, to coincide with letting out the very men who would happily go about murdering the folks settling in those constructions. It’s brilliant, because it pleases the settlers, who now have something to lose, so they stay on Bibi’s wagon even as he makes “painful concessions,” letting go of Jew killers.

He doesn’t have to do anything, just have his PR people deliver a promise that in a few weeks he will announce yet another promise to take bids for new housing in the disputed territories.

This will anger the Palestinians and the Americans, who will declare that Bibi is killing the peace—which doesn’t really exist, because the Palestinians will never recognize that Israel is a legitimate Jewish state, will never denounce the right of return, will never give up East Jerusalem, will never agree to Jewish settlements east of the 1949 armistice line.

Then the Americans will start threatening—they won’t even have to write new threats, the ones from a few months ago, when Bibi initiated exactly the same PR maneuver, are still fine.

And then Bibi will just not make good on his promise, as he hasn’t done before, the way he buried the Levi committee’s recommendation to impose Israeli law wherever Israelis reside in Judea and Samaria, and so remove the scourge of civilians living under permanent martial law. Empty promises are Bibi’s specialty. Remember his promise last year of going into gaza this time and removing the Hamas criminal government once and for all? Remember how, a mere two weeks later, Bibi, Barak and Lieberman announced that not going into Gaza and signing an accord legitimizing the Hamas government was the astute thing to do?

Gilad Shalit Calling for Jonathan Pollard’s Release

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Former captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit wrote in an open letter that all Israelis should demand that the United States free jailed spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard.

Israeli officials have said that the revelation over the weekend that the United States spied on at least two sitting Israeli prime ministers opens the door for Israel to demand the release of Pollard, who has served 29 years of a life sentence in a U.S. prison.

“After Israel has released terrorists with blood on their hands as a gesture to the Palestinians, a return gesture is all that is being requested,” Shalit said in his open letter. “I believe, and I think that like myself all of the People of Israel believe that the Prime Minister’s request for such a simple gesture, the release of Jonathan Pollard, is owed to us by right, and is not a favor,” he wrote.

“Please, everyone, join me, in a clear demand to our friends, the Americans: we have already freed scores of murderous terrorists with blood on their hands at your request – now it is your turn to make a gesture to us! It may even save Pollard’s life,” he wrote.

Shalit appeared to be reacting to reports, including one by Israel’s Channel 2, that Israel is linking a Pollard release to the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and will ask that Pollard’s release be linked to Israel’s release of Palestinian prisoners. The third group of prisoners is scheduled to take place at the end of the week. Channel 10 quoted White House officials as saying that freeing Pollard is not on up for discussion

Report: Netanyahu to Link Freeing Terrorists with Pollard

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will demand from President Barack Obama that he free Jonathan Pollard from jail as a condition for the next scheduled release of Palestinian Authority terrorists, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television.

The office of the Prime Minister has not commented on the report, which did not quote a specific source. Channel 2 also is not always accurate in some of its exclusive reports, and Channel 10 responded with a quote from the White House that there is no connection between Pollard and this past weekend’s report that  the United States spied on former Israeli prime ministers.

Israel leaders have jumped on the report to proclaim that the United States cannot justify spying on Israel while keeping Pollard behind bars. He was sentenced to life in jail for releasing classified documents, but he was not convicted for spying.

Pollard in the past has said he is adamantly opposed to being used as an excuse to free terrorists.

Mike Huckabee: How Can a Democrat Support Obama as ‘Pro-Israel?’

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Fox News talk show host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is already looking ahead to 2016 when he thinks American Jews who care about Israel will support him if he makes another stab at becoming the Republican party presidential candidate.

“I’m looking at it very seriously” he told JNS.org when asked about 2016, adding that he is having exploratory meetings to determine “whether people who I trust, and people whose views I have confidence in, believe that there is a pathway forward for me through the primary.”

Presidential candidates always have their eyes beamed on the “Jewish vote,” which includes “Jewish money.” One lesson from the 2012 election was that money cannot buy an election. Just ask Sheldon Adelson who GOP fundraisers said was $150 million poorer, in a virtual way, after President Barack Obama handily won re-election.

Most of the dough went to super PACs. Adelson also spent a few million dollars to prop up Newt Gingrich’s efforts to go head-to-head against Obama, but the money could have been better spent on supporting a yeshiva or some soup kitchens in Israel.

But Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, must view the American Jewish vote as something spiritual with roots in the Holy Land and an ear in the Heavens.

“Israel could have no greater supporter than Mike Huckabee, and as far as any concerns we have about the safety and security of the state of Israel, we couldn’t ask for better than Mike Huckabee,” Fred Zeidman, a Houston businessman and major donor to Republican presidential campaigns, told JNS.

President Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008 and “only” 69” percent in 2012. Republican pounced on the drop as indicative of a trend of Jews fed up with the President’s attitude towards Israel in general and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in particular.

“I would certainly hope” that the downtrend in Jewish support for Obama will continue in the next election, no matter who the Democrats nominate, Huckabee said.

He understands that Jews traditionally vote Democrat because of a liberal socio-economic orientation.

But if Israel is a factor, why would anyone committed to the safety and security of the future of Israel “be supportive of the policies of Barack Obama, which you can call the most frighteningly non-supportive [U.S.] policies on the state of Israel since its inception,” he asked.

“I can’t imagine that somebody could look at those policies and say, ‘Boy, [Obama has] really got the Israelis’ back’—because he doesn’t,” Huckabee added. “If that’s a priority, and that becomes a defining factor in how people vote, then it’s inconceivable to me that they could give their support to someone who supports the current administration’s policies toward Israel.”

The key to Huckabee’s mistake is that for most American Jews, Israel is not a factor.

Huckabee does not understand that the majority of American Jews supports their own concept of Israel, not Huckabee’s, and not mine and probably not yours.

This theme has been hammered over and over again in books on Americans and Zionism, but it bears repeating: The existence of Israel makes most American Jews feel good to be Americans, especially when Israel is considered something like a 51st state with kosher food and lots of synagogues open for Yom Kippur. Most American Jews have a good conscience so long as Israel exists, and they don’t care where the borders are so long as no one, God forbid, criticizes Israel.

“Oy, the United Nations says Israel is illegally letting Jews live in Judea and Samaria? The put them back in Tel Aviv where they belong

“Oy, The New York Times condemns Israel for maintain the Western Wall as an orthodox religious site? How Un-American! Let the Women of the Wall make the rules.”

And don’t forget to wave the Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, during the seventh inning stretch.

Huckabee forgets one important point. Sorry man, but most American Jews are not orthodox. Most American newlyweds do not even marry other Jews, unless the term “Jew” is widened to include anyone who decides for himself, ”Yeah, I think I will be Jewish.”

Regarding those who consider Israel a factor, Huckabee certainly has the backing of American Jews, most of them Orthodox, who know that the “peace process” is a bunch of baloney, but dangerously poisonous, and that Judea and Samaria is just as much a part of Israel as is Tel Aviv.

He forgets that most of the remaining real Jews – those who are Jewish according to Jewish law –  are “armchair Zionists.” They buy Israel Bonds on Yom Kippur, pushing down a tab with enough zeros after the “1” so that their name can be announced from the pulpit.

Bibi Shoots Back: Diplomatic Solution Needs Military Threat (Video)

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

There never will be a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority unless it is willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish state, and there cannot be a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat without the threat of a military option, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Saban conference Sunday.

Addressing the Saban Center for Middle East Policy less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama tried to assure Israel it should trust the “peace process,” the Prime Minister tried to throw the reason for a lack of an agreement on peace with the Palestinian Authority on the shoulders of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

He pointed out that that the Arab world rejected the existence of Israel as recommended by the British Peel Commission in 1937 and in the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947.

The core of the conflict has never been the borders and settlements, Netanyahu said in a video address. He explained that the problem is the “persistent refusals to accept Israel as a Jewish state. Six prime ministers…have been ready for compromise, but it  was never enough because all of the Israeli proposals, the concessions, were based on the premise that the conflict would be over and there would be no further Palestinian claims on the State of Israel… The Palestinians were unwilling.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu the past year has shifted gears. He knows there is no sense in talking about “issues,” because no matter what Israel says or offers, it faces a broadside opposition by the United Nations, the United States and foreign media, all of which are stuck in the mindset of the Arab world that all of its demands must be met, period, with nothing in return.

He has focused on the failure of the Palestinian Authority, and the Arab world, to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a condition that even the anti-Israel crowd will have a difficult time in rejecting and which the Palestinian Authority cannot accept if its leaders want to stay alive.

“So the question is not why Israel does not compromise, but [is] why do the Palestinians consistently refuse to accept” Israel as a Jewish state,” Prime Minister Netanyahu declared.

He also deflated the PA cry for sympathy with its Big Lie that it has been around for centuries. “We have been around for nearly 4,000 years,” Netanyahu said. The Palestinian have to come to grips with the fact there will always be a Jewish state next to their own. “He then added another requirement – security. No one has revealed exactly what security suggestions  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and retired General John Allen proposed to Netanyahu also week, but the Prime Minister made it clear that all security arraignments must be “based on Israel’s own forces,” Netanyahu asserted. “There is no substitute for that.”

So Abbas can put that in his pipe and smoke it until time runs out on Kerry’s clock because he has made it clear – and there is no backtracking – that no Israeli soldier will set foot on a future Palestinian Authority state.

So Abbas can put that in his pipe and smoke it until time runs out on Kerry’s clock because he has made it clear – and there is no backtracking – that no Israeli soldier will set foot on a future Palestinian Authority state.

Netanyahu also hammered one point over and over concerning the Iranian nuclear threat, after the usual fawning over Israel’ great admiration, respect and love for the United States, meaning President Obama.

“We share” President Obama’s desire for a diplomatic solution, he stated, but he emphasized that “it must be coupled with sanctions and a military threat to succeed.” For good measure, Netanyahu then repeated,  “A military option is necessary for a diplomatic solution.”

Netanyahu countered several American claims, particularly those of The New York Times and some Obama administration officials, that Israel is exaggerating the threat of Iran.

“Regimes with unlimited appetites act out their mad ideologies,” Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Saban Forum. “The Jewish people take seriously those who speak of our annihilation.

The Prime Minister also threw another monkey into Obama’s wrenching deal with Iran. He said no deal with Iran should be concluded without a declared change in what he called its “genocidal policy.”

Noting that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani last month called Israel “a rabid dog,” the Prime Minister stated that Rouhani regime “is committed to our annihilation, and I believe that there must be an uncompromising demand at the Geneva talks, for a change in Iran’s policy.

“In other words, there needs to be not just a change in the capability of Iran to arm itself, but also a change in its policy of genocide.

Perhaps the most telling remarks by Prime Minister Netanyahu were his six closing words:

“Thank you all –  and good luck.”

It had a slight intonation, of “good luck  because you are going to need all you can get and that won’t be enough.”

Alan Gross Meets with Cuban Jewish Leaders

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Cuban Jewish leaders met with imprisoned Jewish-American contractor on the last day of Hanukkah, two days after Gross marked his fourth year in jail in Cuba.

“During the encounter we could see that he was in better spirits, more physically recovered,” according to a statement from the Beth Shalom Temple in Havana according to the Associated Press. The Cuban Jewish leaders have met with Gross for other Jewish holidays throughout his imprisonment.

Gross, 64, a subcontractor for the State Department on a mission to hook up Cuba’s small Jewish community to the Internet, was arrested in December 2009 as he was leaving Cuba. The Maryland resident is serving a 15-year sentence for “crimes against the state.”.

Gross says he has lost 100 pounds since his imprisonment and suffers from painful arthritis. He reportedly leaves his shared cell once a day for one hour. In a letter sent last week, Gross asked President Obama to personally help secure his release. The Cuban government has indicated that it wants the United States to allow the return to Cuba of five spies in prison or on probation in the U.S. in return for negotiations on Gross.

Great News: US Has Security Plan for the ‘West Bank’

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

One has to be sparing with exclamation points, but this one’s a lollapalooza.  A dilly!  A doozie.  A big honkin’ mess-a that Middle East Security Hotness.  You heard right folks:  the United States of America has a “West Bank security proposal” for Israel, and we’re sending a retired Army general to present it to Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, himself.  !!!!!!!!!!

Why did no one think of this before?  Finally, someone has done something pragmatic and positive about the Israeli-Palestinian standoff, and just written up a proposal for the Israelis to chew on already.  The Obama administration has at last gotten things off top dead center with Iran, and it’s time to tackle those other intractable Middle East Security Problems, while the momentum is still red-hot.

The New York Times has done yeoman work in recent years pitching verbatim the information themes of the Obama administration, but interestingly, it comes off as a tad perfunctory in the story about the West Bank security proposal.  The tale seems to lack a little of that believer’s heart to it.  You might almost get the sense that there’s some editorial skepticism about the wisdom of this fresh Brainstorming for Peace initiative.

Almost.  Letting the Obama administration off the hook, as usual, for vagueness and strange diplomatic fire, NYT notes the following:

General Allen’s presentation appears to signify a more active American role, in which the United States is doing more than coaxing the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate and is presenting its own ideas.

What are the ideas about, exactly?  The NYT authors again:

Officials involved in the negotiations said security had been the prime focus lately, with most of the discussion revolving around the Jordan Valley. Israel has insisted that its own military continue to patrol there, rather than rely on an international force similar to those responsible for its tense borders with Lebanon and Syria. The Palestinians have said they cannot abide the presence of any Israeli soldiers in their future state.

Keep in mind, if George W. Bush’s officials were being so elliptical about a U.S.-drafted West Bank security proposal, NYT would be right in there concluding indignantly that American troops were about to be drop-kicked into the Jordan Valley to embroil a duped and overextended United States in Another Vietnam Quagmire (Marine Barracks Beirut Variety).  It would be barely possible to figure out what the Bush administration had actually said, so thick would be the underbrush of quotes from policy “critics” through which the reader would have to hack.

No such quotes enliven the current NYT piece.  The Obama administration gets the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe putting U.S. prestige and bona fides on the line with an unsolicited, and apparently very specific, security proposal to an ally isn’t a bad idea.  Maybe it’s not undiplomatic and prejudicial to announce it publicly before our briefer has even presented it to Israel’s prime minister.  Maybe it’s just, what, enthusiastic.  Maybe there’s nothing to be concerned about in the fact that the preemptive announcement is so vague.  Hey, we’re just talking – probably – a about U.S. proposal for administering military security in the Jordan Valley.  What could go wrong?

NYT lets this priceless, preemptive characterization go without comment:

State Department officials described the security briefing as an “ongoing process” and not a finished product on which the United States was demanding a yes-or-no vote from the Israeli side.

Sure, because announcing it in advance will put no onus on Israel to respond in a yes-or-no-type manner.  This formulation is like an addict pleading that he’s not using, he’s just snorting some coke.

Israel’s New US Ambassador Presents Formal Papers to Obama

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

In accordance with the ritual known as “credentialing,” Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, presented the official documents naming him to his position to U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 3, at the White House.

The new ambassador signed the White House guest log with this message:

I feel proud and honored to serve as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. America is a country to which the Jewish people owe so much and to which I, as a son of America, am so personally indebted.  I look forward to working with you and your administration to make the bonds between Israel and America stronger than ever.

Along with the presentation of the formal papers, Dermer also presented Obama with a gift.  It is a pair of custom-made etched menorah cufflinks. The etching is a replica of the etched Menorah Tablet found in the City of David Excavations in ancient Jerusalem.

The Menorah etching dates back to approximately the year 0 of the Common Era. It is one of the earliest depictions of the ancient universal symbol of Judaism. It also is a reminder to those who may otherwise forget, Jews have been in Jerusalem for millennia.

cufflinks given to US Pres. Obama by Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, Dec. 3, 2013

cufflinks given to US Pres. Obama by Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, Dec. 3, 2013

And just to lighten the mood, Dermer told President Obama that the day probably marked the first time in 40 years that there was a Golda in the Oval Office.  The Golda in the Oval Office 40 years ago, of course, was Golda Meir, the fourth Prime Minister of Israel who held that position from 1969 to 1974. The present Golda is Dermer’s 5 month old daughter.

Dermer, a thoroughly modern diplomat, tweeted the updates to his followers.

Dermer had already presented his credentials to the State Department’s Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns on Friday, Oct. 11, but the formal presentation of papers to the sitting president is the final step in the process.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israels-new-us-ambassador-presents-formal-papers-to-obama/2013/12/04/

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