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August 24, 2016 / 20 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘obama’s’

An Israeli Rabbi’s Response to Obama’s Speech on Radical Islam

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

If you don’t know who you are fighting, you can’t win the war.

Video of the Day

That Kissinger Promise and Obama’s Fulfillment

Monday, May 30th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Abu Yehuda}

Old realpolitiker Henry Kissinger was in the news recently when he sat down with Donald Trump, to give him the benefit of his experience. It brought to mind Kissinger’s numerous attempts to get Israel out of the territories it conquered in 1967, before, during and – especially – after the Yom Kippur War.

Kissinger went to Iraq in December of 1975 to try to wean the regime away from the Soviet Union and improve relations with the US. In a discussion with Sa’dun Hammadi, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Kissinger suggested that American support for Israel was a result of Jewish political and financial power, promised that the US would work to force Israel back to pre-1967 boundaries, and indicated that while the US would not support the elimination of Israel, he believed that its existence was only temporary. Here is an excerpt (the whole thing is worth reading):

I think, when we look at history, that when Israel was created in 1948, I don’t think anyone understood it. It originated in American domestic politics. It was far away and little understood. So it was not an American design to get a bastion of imperialism in the area. It was much less complicated. And I would say that until 1973, the Jewish community had enormous influence. It is only in the last two years, as a result of the policy we are pursuing, that it has changed.

We don’t need Israel for influence in the Arab world. On the contrary, Israel does us more harm than good in the Arab world. You yourself said your objection to us is Israel. Except maybe that we are capitalists. We can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel, but we can reduce its size to historical proportions. I don’t agree that Israel is a permanent threat. How can a nation of three million be a permanent threat? They have a technical advantage now. But it is inconceivable that peoples with wealth and skill and the tradition of the Arabs won’t develop the capacity that is needed. So I think in ten to fifteen years, Israel will be like Lebanon—struggling for existence, with no influence in the Arab world.  [my emphasis] …

Kissinger also promised that aid to Israel, which he presented as a result of Jewish political influence, would be significantly reduced. He indicated that legal changes in the US – he must have been referring to the creation of the Federal Electoral Commission in 1974 to regulate campaign contributions – would attenuate Jewish power and therefore American support for Israel. Naturally, he didn’t foresee the Israel-Egypt peace agreement, which permanently established a high level of military aid to both countries.

He further promised that the US would support a PLO-run Palestinian state if the PLO would accept UNSC resolution 242 and recognize Israel. This of course is what (supposedly) happened in the Oslo accords.

Kissinger insisted that “No one is in favor of Israel’s destruction—I won’t mislead you—nor am I.” But his hint that a smaller Israel might not survive is clear. Surely he understood that a pre-1967-sized Israel (within what Eban called “Auschwitz lines”) would have no chance of surviving, simply because of the strategic geography of the area.

Kissinger was wrong about the Arabs developing the capability to challenge Israel, but their place has been taken by soon-to-be-nuclear Iran and its proxies, who are significantly more dangerous than the Arab states ever were.

US policy, however, has kept more or less the same shape, except that the hypocrisy of insisting that the US supports the existence of Israel but in a pre-1967 size is even more glaring. The substitution of the PLO for the Arab states as the desired recipient of the land to be taken from Israel has barely made a ripple either in America or among the Arabs, suggesting that the policy is more about Israel giving up land than about the Arabs getting it.

The original motivation for Kissinger’s promises was supposedly the desire of the US to replace the Soviet Union as the patron of the Arab states. After the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War in 1991, however, there was no change in policy. Although the Oslo Accords were initiated by left-wing Israelis, the US eagerly embraced them, and the so-called ‘peace process’ became a permanent stick to beat Israel with.

President Obama is especially adept at emphasizing support for Israel’s existence while at the same time demanding that Israel make concessions that would make her continued existence impossible. Apparently agreeing with Kissinger about Jewish power, Obama has worked to reduce the pro-Israel influence of American Jews in numerous ways, such as by providing access to the White House for groups like J Street and the Israel Policy Forum, while marginalizing traditional Zionist organizations like ZOA.

Kissinger’s almost anti-Semitic claim that US support for Israel is bought with Jewish money was probably untrue in 1975 and is even less so today, when a large proportion of American Jews, including wealthy ones, have chosen their liberal or progressive politics over Zionism. The coming struggle over the introduction of a pro-Palestinian plank into the Democratic platform is an indication that the party and with it, many of its Jewish supporters, is moving toward Obama’s position.

The Obama Administration’s program to extricate itself from the Middle East by empowering Iran as the new regional power has given a new impetus to the policy of shrinking Israel. Iran sees Israel as a major obstacle to its hegemony, for both geopolitical and religious/ideological reasons, and is committed to eliminating the Jewish state. Obama found it necessary to restrain Israel from bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities at least once (in 2012), and seems to be prepared to sacrifice Israel in order to achieve his goal of establishing Iranian regional dominance.

Some would go even further and say that Obama’s primary ideological goal is to eliminate Israel and the Iranian gambit is a means to this end, but that is highly speculative! Or maybe it’s a matter of two birds with one stone.

Henry Kissinger didn’t do us any favors, but I think the anti-Israel thread in American policy would have been strong enough without him, running from Truman’s Secretary of State George C. Marshall all the way to Obama’s stable of anti-Zionists like Rob Malley and Ben Rhodes.

Today Israel is long gone from the Sinai, more recently from Gaza, and probably only thanks to the disintegration of Syria, still holding the Golan Heights. I would like to believe that PM Netanyahu was correct when he said that Israel will never leave the Golan. Regarding Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, I expect that we are about to begin a very difficult time, as the Obama Administration is likely to mount a campaign in its last days to fulfill Kissinger’s promise to the Arabs at long last.

Vic Rosenthal

Obama’s Double Standard Toward Netanyahu

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

As President Obama winds up his farewell tour of Europe, it is appropriate to consider the broader implications of the brouhaha he created in Great Britain. At a joint press conference with Britain Prime Minister, David Cameron, President Obama defended his intrusion into British politics in taking sides on the controversial and divisive Brexit debate. In an op-ed, Obama came down squarely on the side of Britain remaining in the European Union — a decision I tend to agree with on its merits. But he was much criticized by the British media and British politicians for intruding into a debate about the future of Europe and Britain’s role in it.

Obama defended his actions by suggesting that in a democracy, friends should be able to speak their minds, even when they are visiting another country:

“If one of our best friends is in an organization that enhances their influence and enhances their power and enhances their economy, then I want them to stay in. Or at least I want to be able to tell them ‘I think this makes you guys bigger players.'”

Nor did he stop at merely giving the British voters unsolicited advice, he also issued a not so veiled threat. He said that “the UK is going to be in the back of the queue” on trade agreements if they exit the EU.

President Obama must either have a short memory or must adhere to Emerson’s dictum that “foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Recall how outraged the same President Obama was when the Prime Minister of a friendly country, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke his mind about the Iran Deal.

There are, of course, differences: first, Israel has a far greater stake in the Iran Deal than the United States has in whatever decision the British voters make about Brexit: and second, Benjamin Netanyahu was representing the nearly unanimous view of his countrymen, whereas there is little evidence of whether Americans favor or oppose Brexit in large numbers.

Another difference, of course, is that Obama was invited to speak by Cameron, whereas, Netanyahu was essentially disinvited by Obama. But under our tripartite system of government — which is different than Britain’s Unitary Parliamentary system — that fact is monumentally irrelevant. Netanyahu was invited by a co-equal branch of the government, namely Congress, which has equal authority over foreign policy with the president and equal authority to invite a friendly leader. Moreover, not only are the British voters divided over Brexit, but Britain’s Conservative Party itself is deeply divided. Indeed, the leading political figure in opposition to Britain remaining in the European Union is a potential successor to Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party. So these differences certainly don’t explain the inconsistency between Obama’s interference in British affairs and his criticism of Netanyahu for accepting an invitation from Congress to express his country’s views on an issue directly affecting its national security.

So which is it, Mr. President? Should friends speak their minds about controversial issues when visiting another country, or should they keep their views to themselves? Or is your answer that friends should speak their minds only when they agree with other friends, but not when they disagree? Such a view would skew the market place of ideas beyond recognition. If friends should speak about such issues, it is even more important to do so when they disagree.

A wit once observed that “hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.” It is also the currency of diplomacy and politics. That doesn’t make it right.

The President owes the American people, and Benjamin Netanyahu, an explanation for his apparent hypocrisy and inconsistency. Let there be one rule that covers all friends — not one for those with whom you agree and another for those with whom you disagree. For me the better rule is open dialogue among friends on all issues of mutual importance. Under this rule, which President Obama now seems to accept, he should have welcomed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s advocacy before Congress, instead of condemning it. He owes Prime Minister Netanyahu an apology, and so do those Democratic members of Congress who rudely stayed away from Netanyahu’s informative address to Congress.

Alan M. Dershowitz

Nouveau Sheesh: Obamas Preen for Hollande

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Could the Obamas be any more “let ‘em eat cake”?

What are we trying to prove here, with the transformation of the South Lawn of the White House – in February – into a Claude Monet-inspired water-lily garden for the state dinner to honor French premier Francois Hollande?  Seriously, the guy’s not even bringing a Sig-O: someone to at least look glamorous in a Dior gown and some bangles or something.  All we get to see is his beagle-like mug suspended over a tux.  How much is this costing the American taxpayer?

Equally to the point, why is Monet being used as the inspiration for a costly, over-the-top outdoors-in-the-dead-of-winter shindig, when it would be more appropriate – and a lot cheaper – to go with an iconic image from American art?

At LU, we’ve assembled some lower-budget suggestions.  Come up with your own, if you like.  The possibilities are endless.

James Whistler, Portrait of the Artist’s Mother

monet-post-whistler

Thomas Hart Benton, Arts of the West

monet-post-benton

See the rest On the QT

J. E. Dyer

US, Setting Example For Israel, Releases Taliban Terrorists

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

On 28 July, Jonathan Tobin asked, at Commentary, if the U.S. would release terrorist killers as a precondition for talks – the measure Secretary of State John Kerry was demanding of Israel.

A couple of days later, in an almost supernaturally handy turn of events, we had the answer: yes.  The U.S. did exactly that at the end of July, agreeing to release five Taliban terrorists we’ve been holding at Guantanamo, in order to jumpstart the initiative – mainly ours – for talks with the Taliban.

Daniel Greenfield points out at FrontPage that in June, the Taliban offered to exchange U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for the five Taliban at Gitmo.  The Haqqani network of the Pakistan Taliban has been holding Bergdahl since late June or early July of 2009, shortly after he went missing close to Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

But the Gitmo Five were released without an exchange for SGT Bergdahl taking place.  This will have to be a blow to his family in Idaho (not to mention a blow to Bergdahl).

It will also be another blow to U.S. credibility, already on the ropes.  It certainly dents the credibility of detention as a deterrent to terrorism.  Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, had a hilariously timed oped in Friday’s Washington Post online in which he argued that the Obama administration should declare that the “war against al Qaeda” – yes, that al Qaeda; the one that has our embassies shut down across the Muslim world this weekend – is over.  Instead of acting on a war footing and killing terrorists, says Mr. Roth, we should be going with President Obama’s own expressed preference to “detain, interrogate, and prosecute” them.

Now, I have been a critic myself of Obama’s overreliance on drone killings as a method.  And detention and interrogation, while important for intelligence gathering, are not methods of deterrence, nor is prosecution.  I don’t argue for them as a substitute for drone attacks.

I’m getting those points out of the way so we can focus on what matters here, which is that detention is as close to meaningless as makes no difference, if we’re just going to turn terrorists loose anyway, to everyone we might have a yen to have “talks” with.  The Obama administration, just a few days before his oped appeared, provided Kenneth Roth with a conversation-stopping answer to his proposition that we should kill less and detain more.  The answer leaves Roth in the dust:  whether we stop killing terrorists or not, we should release the ones we have detained in order to get terrorists to have talks with us.

I guess, technically, there would be a purpose for detaining a few from time to time, on the assumption that we may want to have talks with their comrades in terror in the future.  This kind of preemptive hostage-taking is gang-and-guerrilla behavior, of course.  The degrees by which the mode of thinking shifts from “responsible statesman” to “mob boss” are not subtle here.

In any case, we can reassure Mr. Roth that the U.S. ended the war on terror in 2009.  Perhaps that’s not the same thing as the “war against al Qaeda,” but in the latter regard, Roth would do well to try and keep up:  al Qaeda has been “decimated” and has been “on the path to defeat” for a year or more, according to the Obama administration.

The die seems to be cast; we can at least hope that God really does watch out for fools, drunks, and the United States, because our president certainly isn’t doing it.  Given the reigning jumble of confused soundbites and incoherent actions that now masquerades as U.S. policy on the global threat of terrorism, we may justly ask, with our former secretary of state: what difference, at this point, does it make?

J. E. Dyer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/us-setting-example-for-israel-releases-taliban-terrorists/2013/08/06/

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