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October 6, 2015 / 23 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Why Mariah Carey is a Hero

Friday, August 21st, 2015


Yishai discusses the tide of performers coming to Israel, and the tide of anti-Iran deal Democratic senators rising up.

It takes guts to overcome the anti-Israel bias and to fly in to perform in Israel. But that is exactly what some performers are doing, like pop superstar Mariah Carey, who performed in front of 12,000 fans at Rishon LeZions’s Live Park Amphitheater. Elie Pieprz, Founder of the International Division of the Counsel of Judea & Samaria and VOI’s Knesset Insider Jeremy Saltan join Yishai to discuss the tide of performers coming to Israel, and the tide of anti-Iran deal Democratic senators rising up.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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UK Wastes No Time Reopening Embassy in Tehran

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Barely four years after its building was ransacked and its flag was burned, the British Embassy is hurrying to reopen its doors Sunday in Tehran.

The destruction in November 2011, clearly backed by the Iranian government, came in response to sanctions imposed by London.

Since the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and a delegation of five world powers plus the United States, however, international business groups and world leaders have been lining up to do business with the Islamic Republic.

According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity with the Reuters news agency, “The Foreign Secretary (Philip Hammond) will travel to Iran to reopen our embassy there.”

A small group of business leaders will accompany the foreign secretary to Iran for a formal opening ceremony, according to the source. The embassy will be headed by the current non-resident charge d’affaires, Ajay Sharma, at least until a new ambassador is appointed.

Conversion Conversation

Thursday, August 20th, 2015


Yishai is joined by David Isaac Simpkins, a convert and former US soldier. Meet David Issac Simpkins, who spent ten years in the US military, including fighting in Afghanistan, and four years becoming an officer in West Point where he became interested in Judaism and subsequently converted. Hear Simpkins along with Rabbi Kenny Cohen, the founding rabbi of the Young Israel Century City, Los Angeles ( who helped Simpkins convert) tell Yishai about David’s remarkable journey.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Reform Movement Won’t Back Nuclear Iran Deal

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

The Reform Movement in the United States is one of the most liberal religious denominations in America. It is also the largest denomination of Judaism in the United States. Members of the Reform movement voted for U.S. President Barack Obama in overwhelming numbers – both times.

And so the announcement on Wednesday, Aug. 19, that the Reform movement will not take a position in favor, or opposed, to the Nuclear Iran Deal is momentous.

The statement, released by the leaders of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and ARZA (Reform Israel Fund), reveals a painstaking review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The statement referred to the debate over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a “makhloket l’shem shamayim,” a “debate for the sake of heaven.”

The overall position the movement took is reflected in the following statement: “The JCPOA does present a way forward, there are real dangers to rejecting it, and it does not foreclose Iran’s ability to become a nuclear weapons threshold state.” A more refined version, but not entirely different in meaning, from Cong. Brad Sherman’s (D-CA) assessment of the deal as “the good, the bad and the ugly.”

It revealed a fear not only of an Iran with nuclear weapons and of an Iran with a too-largely unfettered ability to foment and support terrorism, but also deep alarm over the fraying of the U.S.-Israel relationship and of America’s standing in the world.

The Reform movement made clear that while there was neither unanimity of opinion regarding the Nuclear Iran Deal amongst the movement’s leadership or the movement’s general membership, they were all united on the following concerns:”First, how is it possible to address our concerns about the JCPOA? Second, if the agreement is finalized, what happens the day after? Specifically, how can we work to support the strongest possible U.S.-Israel relationship going forward?”

The numerous meetings held with military leaders, political leaders and nuclear experts revealed to the statement’s drafters that their concerns can be categorized as: deterrence, Iran’s support of terror, inspections, human rights and religious freedom, and the standing of the U.S. in the world.

Based on those concerns, the Reform movement made a number of recommendations it hopes this Administration will implement, including pledging never to take any options off the table that could prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, whether at the onset of any Agreement, or at the conclusion of any Agreement, and to provide Israel with the necessary means to deter Iran and to defend itself.

Although vaguely defined, the Reform movement also recommended that the U.S. take a lead role in a broader international effort to eliminate Iran’s ability to support international terrorism.

It also believes that additional protections are necessary than the currently designed “snapback” protocol provided in the JCPOA.

And, the Reform movement avers, the U.S. must do more to encourage and push international pressure on Iran to “expand human rights, religious freedom and the development of democratic structures.”

Regardless of whether the Nuclear Iran deal passes or it does not, the Reform movement very much wants the rhetoric between those in favor and those opposed to the Agreement to be “tamped down.”

“Calling those who oppose the deal ‘war mongers’ shuts shown constructive debate; calling those who support the deal ‘enablers of a second Holocaust’ ends thoughtful discourse,” the statement admonishes.

The statement was signed by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, and Steve Sacks, Chair of the Board of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Denise L. Eger, President, and Rabbi Steve Fox, CEO, Central Conference of American Rabbis; Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Jennifer Kaufman, Chair, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism; and Rabbi Joshua Weinberg, President, and Rabbi Bennett Miller, Chair, Association of Reform Zionists of America.

Menendez Dismembers Iran Deal, Suggests More Robust Deal

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) doubled down on his position that the Nuclear Iran deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and his American team of negotiators, along with the U.S. partners in the P5+1, is a bad one that should not go into effect.

Menendez did that by holding a highly-publicized address at 1:00 p.m. E.T., on Thursday, Aug. 18, from the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations in South Orange, New Jersey.

During this address, Menendez meticulously explained why he will not vote for the Agreement and why he will vote to override the President’s veto.

When he completed his analysis, it was hard to understand how anyone could say the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is something any country except Iran would support.


The over-arching question, as Menendez put it, is why Iran, which has one of the world’s largest reserves of oil reserves, needs nuclear power for domestic energy. Given this vast reserve, there is no peaceful use of nuclear energy at all, and therefore no legitimate reason for Iran to have any right to enrichment.

Given Iran’s lack of a peaceful need for nuclear energy coupled with that nation’s repeated acts of “deceit, deception and delay” to evade United Nations Security Council Resolutions and thereby approach being a nuclear weapon state, it is indeed hard to make the argument for this Agreement.

Menendez spoke for nearly a full hour. He explained why Iran does not need nuclear energy and he reminded his audience of Iran’s repeated evasions of inspections.


The New Jersey Senator also described the many ways in which the JCPOA falls far short of so many absolute red lines and guarantees made by the U.S. administration during the course of the negotiations.

♦  The original goal was to “fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability,” a “roll-back your infrastructure and we’ll roll-back our sanctions.”

Instead, Menendez explained, the JCPOA is the equivalent of “an alarm bell should they decide to violate their commitments, and a system for inspections to verify their compliance.”

♦ When Menendez asked Secretary of State Kerry about dismantling Arak, Iran’s plutonium reactor, Kerry said: “They will either dismantle it or we will destroy it.”

Arak will not be dismantled, merely “redesigned.”

♦ The original position was that Iran’s underground Fordow facility would be closed because a peaceful civilian nuclear program would not need to be underground.

Fordow will not be dismantled, merely “repurposed.”

♦ Iran was supposed to “come absolutely clean about their weaponization activities at Parchin and agree to promise anytime anywhere inspections.”

Iran will not be required to disclose the possible military dimensions of their nuclear program at Parchin.

Menendez said that over the course of the negotiations, the original goal of preventing nuclear proliferation instead become merely one of “managing or containing” nuclear proliferation.

Just as alarming is that during the course of the deal under its current terms, Iran is allowed to continue its research and development. By the end of the term of the Agreement, Iran will be in a better position – meaning further along on its path to nuclear weapons capability – than it was before the deal was adopted.

“The deal enshrines for Iran, and in fact commits the international community to assisting Iran in developing an industrial-scale nuclear power program, complete with industrial scale enrichment,” Menendez explained.

In addition, the terms of the JCPOA ensure that the EU and the U.S. will not reintroduce or reimpose the sanctions lifted under this deal. That’s because, if sanctions are reintroduced or reimposed, that will “relieve Iran from its commitments in part or in whole.” There will be no incentive for any party to this agreement to find any violations, as that would erase any progress that was made.

When the Middle East Creates Strange Bedfellows

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015


Mideast expert Mordechai Kedar joins Yishai to talk about some odd political developments and alliances in the region.

Dr. Kedar, research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and lecturer in the department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, offers his insights about Russia’s talks with Syria, Israel’s and Hezbollah’s shared interest in stopping ISIS and the nuclear deal’s unexpectedly negative ramifications for Iran.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

‘We Are Not a Sick Society’

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015


JPost op-ed editor Seth Frantzman talks to Yishai about Israel’s self-flagellating reaction to recent acts of Jewish violence.

On the heels of acts of terror committed by Jews, the two discuss what the appropriate national response is to the crimes of individuals, and the responsibility of the authorities. Then, they debate the history and legitimacy of administrative detentions in Israel.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/radio/we-are-not-a-sick-society/2015/08/11/

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