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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘platform’

Longtime Journalist Yair Lapid, Bolstered by Polls, Shakes Up Israeli Politics

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Popular media icon Yair Lapid has shaken the Israeli political establishment by leaving his position as presenter of Channel 2’s Friday night newsmagazine program to found a political party that could, recent polls suggest, become one of the strongest in the Knesset.

Lapid, who gained popularity beginning in the 1990s as a talk show host for Channel 1 and a columnist for Yediot Aharonoth’s weekend newsmagazine, has been considered a potential political candidate since the death of his father, the fiery former Shinui leader Yosef “Tommy” Lapid, in 2008. His position on Channel 2’s Ulpan Shishi program made the younger Lapid even more prominent – so much so that recent polls have shown a political party with Lapid at its head could overtake Kadima in the next Knesset elections.

While Lapid weighed launching a political campaign close to the next round of elections, his hand was forced by a bill, sponsored by Likud and aimed at preventing Lapid and other popular media figures from running, which would require journalists to retire as much as a year before an election.

In the past few years, Lapid had talked of wanting to eventually enter politics, and his newspaper columns increasingly resembled a political platform. His resignation from television and declared intention to form his own political party drew sharp responses from across the political spectrum. Kadima MKs expressed concern that Lapid would weaken their own party, while veteran Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said he feared that Lapid’s party would weaken Labor, as well, and strengthen Likud’s position. MK Nissim Ze’ev of Shas – the frequent target of Lapid’s father during his leadership of Shinui – wished Lapid a resounding failure.

Members of several parties, and commentators throughout the media, noted that the real test for Lapid would be to see whether he could translate his popularity as a media personality into a successful political campaign.

America’s Honey Trap

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Did you hear what Obama is offering?


What?

 

F-35 Stealth Bombers.


And why do we need them?

 

Are you serious?


I’m entirely serious. Why do we need the American jets?

 

Have you forgotten that Israel is under an existential threat, that our neighbors seek to destroy us?


And what is the greatest threat?

 

Iran, of course.


And why haven’t we bombed Iran’s nuclear facilities with the American jets that we already have?

 

What do you think, that Israel can do whatever it wants? We have international pressure. Luckily, the Americans still stand by our side.


And what will they do if we bomb?

 

They will stop selling us spare parts for the planes.


They will stop selling spare parts for the planes that they have already supplied?

 

Yes. That is what the experts say. We have not bombed Iran because if we do, the Americans will not sell us the spare parts for their fighter jets.


So you are saying that we cannot defend ourselves against the greatest threat against us because we have American jets.

 

Ummm


And now you want us to add more American jets to our military hangars so that we will have even less room to maneuver in dealing with the most serious existential threat that we face.

 

Just a minute. Are you proposing that we throw all the American jets in the garbage?


The sooner the better. There is nothing as detrimental to Israel’s security as American weapons. I think that the little exercise that we just did explains that clearly.

 

And how will you fight, with sticks and stones?


Until 1967, Israel did not have American weapons. In the War of Independence, the Sinai War and the War of Miracles that is called the Six-Day War, Israel achieved a far more convincing result without them than in all the battles that followed – when we were already equipped with American weapons.

 

Today Israel bases its military capabilities on American military hardware, and we cannot eliminate that in one day. But Israel can develop and produce the most advanced weapons in the world. We have already proven our capabilities. We must enter an accelerated process of production of Israeli weapons systems – including fighter jets. Why do you think the Americans are not willing to allow Israel to equip the F-35s with Israeli systems? They know that Israeli avionics are better than what they have to offer, and they wish to stop local development. They want to make sure that we do not do exactly what we need to do. They want to both protect their own weapons industry from competition and maintain Israel’s complete dependence on them.

 

Israel can produce a platform for a stealth bomber, together with the aeronautics industries of other nations that are eager for this type of partnership. Alternately, Israel can produce the platform itself, as it did with the Lavi project. What is certain is that the F-35 deal is leading us in the opposite direction: More dependence on American weapons is another obstacle in the face of Israeli weapons production, and most important of all another obstacle in the face of our ability to defend ourselves from the most serious existential threats that we face.

It’s My Opinion: Truth and Fiction

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

             A dreadful event occurred last month at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Animal trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by an errant whale that pushed her off a platform and dragged her under the water.

 

The trainer loved her job. Working with animals had been her life’s ambition. She was quoted as saying, “All that is needed is for me to trust the whales, and for the whales to trust me.”

 

Brancheau’s heart had interfered with her ability to see reality. The trainer wanted to believe that her kind interactions with these (wild) animals would change their innate character. This was not the case.

 

It is human nature to romanticize. Good people often want to believe in idealized notions. We see this not only in dealings with animals, but in dealings with our fellow man, as well. Unfortunately, these lapses in judgment can be deadly.

 

In today’s climate of political correctness, all groups are assumed to share the universal goal of equality and democracy. Different cultures are believed to share homogeneous ideals. Value judgments are shunned.

 

The United States of America and Israel have fallen victim to this folly. Both great nations believe that if they make painful concessions, their enemies will respond with peace.

 

According to our present administration, there is no “war on terror.” This change of semantics has done nothing to alter the truth. America and the whole world are dealing with global Jihad.

 

The United States feels that it can negotiate and collaborate with the rogue leaders of countries that are bent on its destruction. The theory is more than na?ve. It is dangerous.

 

The Jewish nation is especially vulnerable to this experience. All their unilateral concessions and giveaways of land have only served to whet the appetite of their enemies. The Palestinians do not want Gaza or the “West Bank” or even a separate Palestinian state. They have publicly stated their desires. They want every inch of Israel. They want to throw the Jews into the sea. They want nothing but the total destruction of the Jewish people.

 

It is easy to mix up truth and fiction. Contemporary culture has trouble seeing a straight- forward adversary. We tend to romanticize, and why can’t we all be friends? We feel that we should have mercy. In reality, it is rachmanus tipshim, the mercy of fools.

Fatah Assembly Raises Concerns About Palestinian Intentions

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

WASHINGTON – The fiery rhetoric at last week’s Fatah meeting in Bethlehem has renewed concerns that the Obama administration is not doing enough to pressure the Palestinians.

At the first Fatah General Assembly in 20 years, participants refused to renounce violence and passed confrontational resolutions, like one blaming Yasir Arafat’s death on Israel.

Even as Jewish organizational leaders condemned the assembly, many of them acknowledged that Fatah leaders would remain Israel’s chief Palestinian interlocutors for peace talks. But they urged the Obama administration to issue a condemnation of the harsh talk at the West Bank parley.

“We would like to see this administration express some disappointment on some of the rhetoric coming out” of the conference, said Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman. “It’s not in line with the American initiative to bring the parties closer together.”

Thus far, the Obama administration has said nothing, with the State Department passing up a chance to make a statement. State Department spokesman Robert Wood was asked at Monday’s media briefing about the party platform Fatah adopted at the assembly including the position that the group “maintains the right of resistance by all means possible.”

“I haven’t seen the plan” Wood said, and simply reiterated “the importance of both parties” implementing “the ‘road map’ obligations, not taking any steps that in any way prejudge the outcome of future negotiations.”

Some corners are viewing the administration’s lack of response to the conference rhetoric as another example of what some Jewish leaders have charged is an imbalance in the pressure being applied by the administration on Israel compared to the Palestinians and Arab states.

President Obama has told Jewish leaders that pressure is being placed as well on the Palestinians and Arab governments, and suggested that perceptions of an imbalance are largely created by the media. But while the administration has made repeated public demands on Israel for a settlement freeze, it has said little publicly about the necessary steps that the other side must take, though Obama has issued general calls on Palestinians to stop incitement.

Several Middle East observers said they had only read media accounts of the Fatah party platform and not seen the full document. According to the reports, the platform reportedly reiterates “the Palestinian people’s right to resistance to occupation in all its forms in line with international law”; Fatah leaders asserted in statements that they reserved the right to “armed struggle.”

In his speech to the conference, though, newly re-elected Fatah chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did stress that the Palestinians would focus on “nonviolent” resistance.

Some Israeli officials and officials at U.S. Jewish groups also criticized what they viewed as unreasonable demands made by Fatah at the assembly, such as proclaiming it would not negotiate with Israel until the Palestinians were given all of Jerusalem. Others downplayed such positions, saying that both sides usually posture by making maximalist demands before a negotiation begins.

Another complaint: Some who have engaged in violence and terrorism were honored and spoke at the parley.

Israeli government officials have been weighing in on the congress. Before the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said “the rhetoric coming from Fatah and the positions being expressed are grave and unacceptable to us.” The next day, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told a group of visiting U.S. Congress members that the Fatah platform, along with unrest in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, “has buried any chance of coming to an agreement with the Palestinians in the next few years.”

The American Jewish Committee called the assembly “a slap in the face” to those interested in peace. Jason Isaacson, the group’s director of government and international affairs, specifically pointed to the resolution charging Israel with the death of Arafat as “a signal of the lack of seriousness” of Fatah.

“How is that acceptable in a political movement trying to operate on the world stage?” he asked, also criticizing the “wink and nod about the return to armed struggle.”

“We naturally hope the administration” would view the conference “with the same sense of concern that we have expressed in our statements, unless the bar of expectations is set so low that a disappointing conference isn’t worth commenting on,” he said.

“This rhetoric impacts the street,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “We’ve learned you can’t dismiss the issue of incitement.”

But other observers suggested that the administration should be more cautious about condemnation.

Nathan Brown, a political science and international affairs professor at George Washington University and an expert in Palestinian reform, had not seen the full Fatah platform. Still, he said, it should be viewed as akin to a U.S. political party platform that might contain some “red meat language” to satisfy the political factions in a “large and diverse movement” like Fatah but isn’t necessarily followed by the party leaders.

Brown said what was more important was whether the Fatah leaders elected at the assembly would form a “coherent” organization dedicated to a diplomatic solution and whether they continue to “do what the Israelis want them to be doing” on security and other issues, something that won’t be known for a few months.

Americans for Peace Now spokesman Ori Nir, whose organization has been supportive of Obama’s approach, said that while some of the “hyperbole” from the Fatah congress was “troubling,” he didn’t think “micromanagement” of inflammatory statements by Palestinians or Israelis would be helpful to peace efforts.

Nir also put a positive spin on the excerpts of the party platform he had read, noting that while they were still holding out violence as an option, the platform “adheres to the peace option.”

Not everyone agreed with that assessment, though.

“This conference made it crystal clear,” said Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein, that “peace is not possible with Hamas or Fatah.”

(JTA)

Fatah Assembly Raises Concerns About Palestinian Intentions

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009


WASHINGTON – The fiery rhetoric at last week’s Fatah meeting in Bethlehem has renewed concerns that the Obama administration is not doing enough to pressure the Palestinians.


At the first Fatah General Assembly in 20 years, participants refused to renounce violence and passed confrontational resolutions, like one blaming Yasir Arafat’s death on Israel.


Even as Jewish organizational leaders condemned the assembly, many of them acknowledged that Fatah leaders would remain Israel’s chief Palestinian interlocutors for peace talks. But they urged the Obama administration to issue a condemnation of the harsh talk at the West Bank parley.


“We would like to see this administration express some disappointment on some of the rhetoric coming out” of the conference, said Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman. “It’s not in line with the American initiative to bring the parties closer together.”


Thus far, the Obama administration has said nothing, with the State Department passing up a chance to make a statement. State Department spokesman Robert Wood was asked at Monday’s media briefing about the party platform Fatah adopted at the assembly including the position that the group “maintains the right of resistance by all means possible.”


“I haven’t seen the plan” Wood said, and simply reiterated “the importance of both parties” implementing “the ‘road map’ obligations, not taking any steps that in any way prejudge the outcome of future negotiations.”


Some corners are viewing the administration’s lack of response to the conference rhetoric as another example of what some Jewish leaders have charged is an imbalance in the pressure being applied by the administration on Israel compared to the Palestinians and Arab states.


President Obama has told Jewish leaders that pressure is being placed as well on the Palestinians and Arab governments, and suggested that perceptions of an imbalance are largely created by the media. But while the administration has made repeated public demands on Israel for a settlement freeze, it has said little publicly about the necessary steps that the other side must take, though Obama has issued general calls on Palestinians to stop incitement.


Several Middle East observers said they had only read media accounts of the Fatah party platform and not seen the full document. According to the reports, the platform reportedly reiterates “the Palestinian people’s right to resistance to occupation in all its forms in line with international law”; Fatah leaders asserted in statements that they reserved the right to “armed struggle.”


In his speech to the conference, though, newly re-elected Fatah chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did stress that the Palestinians would focus on “nonviolent” resistance.


Some Israeli officials and officials at U.S. Jewish groups also criticized what they viewed as unreasonable demands made by Fatah at the assembly, such as proclaiming it would not negotiate with Israel until the Palestinians were given all of Jerusalem. Others downplayed such positions, saying that both sides usually posture by making maximalist demands before a negotiation begins.


Another complaint: Some who have engaged in violence and terrorism were honored and spoke at the parley.


Israeli government officials have been weighing in on the congress. Before the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said “the rhetoric coming from Fatah and the positions being expressed are grave and unacceptable to us.” The next day, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told a group of visiting U.S. Congress members that the Fatah platform, along with unrest in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, “has buried any chance of coming to an agreement with the Palestinians in the next few years.”


The American Jewish Committee called the assembly “a slap in the face” to those interested in peace. Jason Isaacson, the group’s director of government and international affairs, specifically pointed to the resolution charging Israel with the death of Arafat as “a signal of the lack of seriousness” of Fatah.


“How is that acceptable in a political movement trying to operate on the world stage?” he asked, also criticizing the “wink and nod about the return to armed struggle.”


“We naturally hope the administration” would view the conference “with the same sense of concern that we have expressed in our statements, unless the bar of expectations is set so low that a disappointing conference isn’t worth commenting on,” he said.


“This rhetoric impacts the street,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “We’ve learned you can’t dismiss the issue of incitement.”


But other observers suggested that the administration should be more cautious about condemnation.


Nathan Brown, a political science and international affairs professor at George Washington University and an expert in Palestinian reform, had not seen the full Fatah platform. Still, he said, it should be viewed as akin to a U.S. political party platform that might contain some “red meat language” to satisfy the political factions in a “large and diverse movement” like Fatah but isn’t necessarily followed by the party leaders.


Brown said what was more important was whether the Fatah leaders elected at the assembly would form a “coherent” organization dedicated to a diplomatic solution and whether they continue to “do what the Israelis want them to be doing” on security and other issues, something that won’t be known for a few months.


Americans for Peace Now spokesman Ori Nir, whose organization has been supportive of Obama’s approach, said that while some of the “hyperbole” from the Fatah congress was “troubling,” he didn’t think “micromanagement” of inflammatory statements by Palestinians or Israelis would be helpful to peace efforts.


Nir also put a positive spin on the excerpts of the party platform he had read, noting that while they were still holding out violence as an option, the platform “adheres to the peace option.”


Not everyone agreed with that assessment, though.


“This conference made it crystal clear,” said Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein, that “peace is not possible with Hamas or Fatah.”

(JTA)

Narrow Escape On NYC Train Platform

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Fourteen-year-old Avi Katz was almost struck by a train January 29 when the edge of the Kings Highway station platform collapsed beneath him.

“I tried a couple of times to get up. I saw the train coming at me and all I could think was, ‘Get up, get up’ – this isn’t how I want to die,” Katz said at a news conference Sunday, flanked by his mother, Rena, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

Katz had been heading home from yeshiva, waiting for the Q train, when he fell. As night had already descended and the light nearest him was burnt out, no one could see him. He managed to climb back onto the platform with only seconds to spare.

“Does someone have to die before something happens?” Rena Katz asked. “There is no excuse that this station is in such disrepair. My son could be dead.”

Said Hikind: “New Yorkers know that if the administrative offices of the MTA had rotted floorboards, they would be replaced immediately. One and a half billion riders deserve the same guarantees for their safety and security.”

In the meantime, Katz hasn’t gotten over his fear. “Every time I see a train pass by I think of me on the tracks,” he said.

Amram Mitzna’s Inauguration Address (Composed for him by Steven Plaut)

Saturday, February 22nd, 2003

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for electing me prime minister of Israel. As you know, I ran on a platform of peace and it is now my intention of keeping my promises to you and my backers and financiers from around the world — and I shall be fulfilling what I have pledged to do.

In my campaign, I ran on a platform that you voted for through me. I promised that I would conduct negotiations with Arafat and the PLO no matter how many Jews the PLO was murdering during the talks, with the intention of reaching an agreement for a complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip within six months.

I also promised that if the PLO refused to strike a deal with me in that time, then I would withdraw from the Gaza Strip unilaterally and without any agreement on the part of the Palestinian Authority for anything. I confirm tonight that this is my solemn intention.

In addition, within a year, I will reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority for a complete withdrawal by Israel from the entire West Bank and the eviction of all Jewish settlers living there. And if the PLO refuses to reach a deal or agree to my terms, then Israel will simply pick up and withdraw from the West Bank anyway, whether or not the PLO agrees to it.  Any settlers who refuse to cooperate with the withdrawal will simply be left for the PLO and Hamas to deal with.

So as you see, I refuse to abandon my principles and my struggle for a just and lasting peace. And just as I intend to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, whether or not the PLO agrees to my terms or agrees to any compromise, so I intend to resolve the Palestinian refugee question.

I intend to turn the Negev into a large resettlement district for all those people around the world claiming to be Palestinian refugees. They will be settled in the northern Negev and in the area around Beer Sheba, and Israel will withdraw from these areas of Palestinian resettlement whether Arafat and the PLO like it or not. We will negotiate with the PLO in good faith for 18 months, but if the PLO refuses to agree to our terms, we will withdraw from Beer Sheba unilaterally.

The next stage in my peace program will consist of settling Israel’s conflict with Hizbullah and Syria once and for all. I pledge that Israel will enter into serious full-hearted negotiations with Hizbullah and Syria and I hope they will produce a peace accord.

I am willing to wait for 24 months for these talks to yield results. If at the end of this two year period there is as yet no accord, then Israel will solve the problem unilaterally, whether the Syrians like it or not. I will order a complete withdrawal from the Golan Heights, whether Bashar
Assad has agreed to my terms or not, and I will order a 20-mile zone created along the Lebanese border within Israeli territory in which no Jews will be permitted to live and in which Lebanese Shi’ites may exercise their own sovereign self-rule.

As the next step in my program, I hereby pledge that I will allow no longer than 30 months for talks with Israeli Galilee Arabs to produce a peace accord. As you know, my party and I are committed to granting equal national rights to Israel’s Palestinian nationals, which is what we now call the Israeli Arabs. So, if by the end of these 30 months no peace accord has been reached in the talks, then I intend to solve the matter unilaterally by withdrawing Israel from all of the Galilee, whether the Galilee Arabs like it or not, and will order all Israeli troops and civilians to withdraw behind the new secure borders stretching along the Kishon Creek next to Haifa.

Yes, I am aware of the fact that I will have to order my own parents to abandon their homes in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Haim, but I am sure they are willing to make sacrifices for peace. If my good friend Gad Zeevi is not in prison at the time, he promises he will set them up in a nice penthouse.

Next, I intend to resolve once and for all the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs in the central parts of Israel, in Nazareth and the Wadi Ara district. I will conduct good faith negotiations with their representatives from the communist parties and the Islamic fundamentalist movement. I will give these talks no longer than 36 months. If by that time there is no accord reached, then I will order Israel to withdraw from all areas outside of the greater Tel Aviv-Gush Dan district.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/amram-mitznas-inauguration-address-composed-for-him-by-steven-plaut/2003/02/22/

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