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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

Family of Kidnapped Warren Weinstein Calls for Proof He Is Alive

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

The family of captive U.S. government contractor Warren Weinstein called for ”date-specific confirmation” that he is still alive.

In a statement released Thursday, the Weinstein family said a video distributed last week by al-Qaida in Pakistan does not prove that Weinstein is alive because there is no indication of when it was made.

Weinstein, 72, who has been held in Pakistan by al-Qaida for more than two years, in the video calls on President Obama to release al-Qaida terrorists in exchange for his release.

The video message featuring Weinstein, a former Peace Corps and USAID official, was sent to journalists and news services in Pakistan along with a link to a photo of a handwritten note. The testimonial letter is dated Oct. 3, 2013; it is not known when the video was filmed.

Weinstein, of Rockville, Md., was kidnapped in August 2011 outside Pakistan while he was working for J.E. Austin Associates, a private company that advises Pakistani businesses.

The United States has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaida, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

“Warren Weinstein is a scholar and a humanitarian who has spent his entire career working to improve the lives of men, women and children around the world,” his family said in the statement. “Prior to his abduction, he spent seven years in Pakistan working to improve local communities through projects related to dairy production, farming and health care. To be captured and held against his will after a life spent helping others, especially in the sunset of his proud career, is unacceptable. We urge the global community to help us bring him home.”

The family praised U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) for his efforts on behalf of Weinstein.

“We must be relentless in our efforts to bring him home and we must maintain a sense of outrage and determination,” Delaney said in a statement issued Thursday.

Senators Introduce Sanctions Bill to Break Iran Deal

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties introduced a bill on Thursday that would toughen sanctions on Iran and effectively squash the interim deal between the major Western powers and Iran. The deal has been ridiculed by many as appeasement in return for a nuclear bomb.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois said the bill’s proposals for a worldwide boycott on Iranian oil exports and blacklisting the country’s mining industries are “an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception.”

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey said, “Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table.”

In the unlikely event that the Senate defies President Barack Obama and passes the bill, and the House of Representatives goes along for the ride, it would render the deal null and void because of the negotiators’ promise that no new sanctions would be introduced before the end of talks for a final deal in six months.

The bill also states, “If the government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States government should stand with Israel” with diplomatic, military and economic support.”

The 26 senators who introduced the deal basically made a stand against President Obama, and when the time comes that it is clear that the President and the leaders of the major powers were duped, the bill’s sponsors can say, “We told you so.”

But that won’t be of much help to Israel.

Obama Takes Aim at Israeli Positions on Iran (Full Video)

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Watch the video starting at minute 8:56



President Obama sharply criticized as not viable a number of Israeli government postures on talks with Iran, but reasserted the military option should those talks fail.

In a wide-ranging talk with Haim Saban, the entertainment mogul who funds the annual Saban Forum in Washington, Obama took aim at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims that increased pressure during the interim talks would extract greater concessions from Iran, and anticipated a final deal that would grant Iran some uranium enrichment capabilities.

Alluding to the view of Netanyahu and a number of lawmakers in Congress, Obama said, “what this comes up down to is the perception that if we kept churning up the pressure, new sanctions, more sanctions, more military threats etc, that eventually Iran would cave.”

Instead, Obama said, that would likely drive away allies who have helped keep up the pressure on Iran through U.S.-led sanctions.

Obama outlined U.S. red lines in a final agreement, including the dismantling of the plutonium reactor at Arak and the underground nuclear reactor at Fordow, as well as advanced centrifuges.

However, he made clear an enrichment program would remain in place that would ensure that “as a practical matter, they don’t have a breakout capacity.”

That, Obama acknowledged, contradicted Netanyahu’s objective that “we can’t accept any enrichment on Iranian soil, full stop.”

Israel’s government believes that Iran has been allowed to advance its nuclear capability to the point where even a modest enrichment capability positions it dangerously close to weapons breakout capacity.

Demanding no enrichment, Obama said, was unrealistic, likening it to his believing Congress would pass every one of his legislative initiatives.

The Iranians needed to come to a deal that would afford them some “dignity,” he said, and alluded to broad popular support for some enrichment capacity.

Obama said that he did not trust Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s newly elected president, but noted that he was elected on a platform of reaching out to the West.

Again alluding to a Netanyahu claim, he said that those who say Rouhani is not different from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadeinjad, a Holocaust denier and anti-Israel maximalist, “understate the shift in politics” in Iran.

Obama twice said that he would reassert the military option should talks fail with Iran.

“I’ve made clear I can avail myself of including a military option, is one we can consider and prepare for,” he said.

He emphatically rejected hard lines in dealing with other countries. “Wherever we see the impulses of a people to move away from conflict and violence and toward a diplomatic resolution of conflict we should be ready to engage them,” he said. “We have to not constantly assume that it’s not possible for Iran like any country to change over time.”

Obama said he had a good, open relationship with Netanyahu. “There are occasionally significant tactical differences, but there is a constancy in trying to reach the same goal,” he said of the relationship.

Addressing renewed Israeli-Palestinian talk,s Obama said mediation is currently focused on addressing Israeli security needs, and appeared to back away from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s insistence that the sides achieve a final status agreement next year.

An agreement, he said, need not address “every detail” but is one that “gets us to a moment that gets us to move forward than move backward.”

On Kristallnacht Anniversary, Obama Speaking Out Against Intolerance

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

The lesson of Kristallnacht is to speak out “against anti-Semitism and intolerance,” President Obama said in marking the 75th anniversary of the pogrom that presaged the Holocaust.

“Kristallnacht foreshadowed the systematic slaughter of six million Jews and millions of other innocent victims,” Obama said.

“Seventy-five years later, Kristallnacht now signifies the tragic consequences of silence in the face of unmitigated hatred,” he said in a statement. “As we mark this anniversary, let us act in keeping with the lessons of that dark night by speaking out against anti-Semitism and intolerance, standing up to indifference, and re-committing ourselves to combating prejudice and persecution wherever it exists.”

Riots on Nov. 9 and 10 1938 organized by German authorities killed 91 Jews, destroyed 267 synagogues and were followed by the deportation of 30,000 Jews to concentration camps.

The systematized attacks, which came to be known as the Night of Broken Glass, anticipated the mass slaughter of European Jewry launched three years later.

Obama Administration: Shutdown Will Affect Israel Military Aid

Friday, October 4th, 2013

The Obama administration underscored potential cuts in defense assistance to Israel in making its case against the federal government shutdown.

“In the absence of a continuing resolution, we have no FY14 Foreign Military Financing, International Military Education or Peacekeeping Operations funds to obligate,” Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said Wednesday in prepared remarks about how the failure to keep the government funded through a stopgap funding bill, or “continuing resolution,” was affecting foreign policy.

“So for example – I’ll just give you one example – FY 2014 security assistance funding for Israel will be delayed until a continuing resolution or until full-year appropriation is passed,” Harf said. “The State Department’s ability to provide military assistance to Israel and other allies in the time frame that is expected and customary could be hindered depending on the length of the shutdown.”

Demands by the majority Republican caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives to defund or delay President Obama’s signature health care legislation, known as Obamacare, helped lead to this week’s shutdown.

White House Briefs Reform and Conservative Rabbis on Syria

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Nearly 700 rabbis and other Jewish communal officials were briefed by a top White House aide on President Obama’s Syria plans.

The call Tuesday with Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, was organized by the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center and the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly and attracted 691 callers from all religious streams, according to Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the RA’s executive vice president.

She said that rabbis were eager to be briefed on Syria so they could better discuss the issue in their Yom Kippur sermons.

Rabbis on the call pressed Rhodes on the moral underpinnings of striking Syria, distinctions between responses to the use of conventional weapons on civilians as opposed to chemical weapons, what the administration’s endgame in Syria was, and on how its Syria considerations affected its relationship with Israel.

Obama Wants Congress to Delay Action on Syria

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

President Obama asked Congress to delay a vote on whether to strike Syria while he consults with Russia over a deal that would end Syria’s chemical weapons program.

“I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path,” Obama said in a national address Wednesday night.

The Russian option, which emerged over the last two days, would transfer Syrian chemical weapons to international control for destruction. Syrian officials have said they will consider it.

A number of pro-Israel groups have in recent days heeded the White House call to urge Congress to endorse a strike, although it seemed an uphill battle, considering the lack of popular support for such a strike and resistance among a majority of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives.

These groups and the White House have emphasized the Israel is not the preeminent factor in considering such a strike, and although Obama cited in his speech a threat to U.S. allies, including Israel, should Syrian’s Assad regime become more promiscuous in the use of chemical weapons, he also said that Israel should not fear retaliation in case of a U.S. strike.

“Neither Assad nor his allies have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise, and our ally, Israel, can defend itself with overwhelming force, as well as the unshakable support of the United States of America,” he said.

In making the moral case for a strike should such a deal fall through, Obama cited the horrors of the 20th century, including the Holocaust, noting that these were premises for international bans on the use of chemical weapons.

“In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe,” he said. “In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a foreign policy leader among Republicans, criticized Obama’s plan to entertain the Russian offer for lacking particulars, but did not dismiss it out of hand.

“Such a plan would require the United States, together with our friends and allies, to immediately introduce a tough U.N. Security Council Resolution that lays out what steps Syria would have to take to give up its chemical weapons, including making a full and accurate declaration of all of its chemical weapons and granting international monitors unfettered access to all sites in Syria that possess these weapons,” McCain said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-wants-congress-to-delay-action-on-syria/2013/09/11/

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