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Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

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.

Abbas Scorecard on Stopping Terror: 5,700 Attempts to Kill in 2013

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

The resumption of “peace talks’ between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in July came one month after 660 rock and firebomb attacks in June ini Judea and Samaria, according to figures compiled by the “Hatzalah’ Judea and Samaria Emergency teams.

In the first six months of 2013, Hatzalah recorded 5,635 attempts to injure and murder Jews, including 611 Molotov cocktail attacks, eight shootings, three stabbings and 5,144 rock-throwing attacks that are intended to force drivers into fatal accidents, such as the one that killed American Israel Asher Palmer and his two-year-old son two years ago.

The statistics do not include terrorists’ blockage of roads and arson. At least 180 people were wounded from January through June, including 10 in June, and many of them still suffer from trauma and refuse to travel anywhere except in buses that have extra-thick plastic windows to protect it from rock attacks.

The terrorists attacks are seldom reported in most international and Israeli media because they are less dramatic and less “successful” than large-scale attacks carried out by an armed group.

Reporting rock-throwing as a terrorist attack also would go against the inherent urge of foreign media to promote the “peace agenda” and to focus on Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s statements that he rejects terror.

However, Abbas talks in code.

After he was chosen as Prime Minister in 2003, before the death of chairman Yasser Arafat whom he later succeeded, Abbas stated, “We reject terrorism from any party and in all forms.”

Earlier this year, a decade later, President Barack Obama told Israel “you do have a true partner in President Abbas… [with] a track record to prove it.” And Abbas told a Russian interviewer, “As far as I am concerned, there is no difference between our policies and those of Hamas. So why are they labeled as terrorists? In my opinion, [the EU] can remove Hamas [from the list], why not?”

Abbas told the German Die Zeit newspaper in 2012, “We will never return to the armed struggle! Never! There will be only non-violent resistance to the occupation.”

The Hatzalah record of attempted murder of Jews in Judea and Samaria as well as in Jerusalem shows that either Abbas has failed to stop terror or defines rock-throwing and firebomb attacks, along with stabbings and shootings, as “non-violent resistance.”

One person has been killed this year as a result of a terrorist stabbing attack in Samaria, and 171 suffered injuries, almost half of them civilians.

In June alone, when the Obama administration was working feverishly to create an atmosphere for the resumption of direct talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority negotiators, 10 people were wounded, including a policeman and IDF officer who was hit in the jaw by a rock, the second time in a month he had been struck. One of those wounded was an eight-year-old who was struck by a rock.

The Obama administration has frequently credited Abbas for stopping terror but is wrong on two counts. One, terror is alive and well, even if its victims are not.

Two, as The Jewish Press has previously reported here and here, the IDF has been the main reason there are not more terrorists running free.

The IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) in the past two months have busted several Hamas terrorist gangs while foiling countless other there terrorist attacks.

In May, security forces arrested a gang of “The Hazit HaAmamit-National Front” from Hevron and Shechem that was under the direction of Hezbollah.

They also broke up a terror infrastructure of the military arm of Hamas in the Hevron region, which was operating establish a regional command center to kidnap soldiers.

The IDF also arrested a terrorist who was freed in the exchange two years ago of 1,000 terrorists for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

Tazpit News Agency contributed to this report.

Obama Holds Pre-Rosh Hashanah Conference Call with Rabbis, Clergy

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

President Obama reflected on the High Holidays and offered New Year’s greetings in a conference call with nearly 1,000 Orthodox rabbis and other Jewish clergy.

In the call, on Friday afternoon, Obama extended the greetings on behalf of himself and the first lady for a sweet, happy and healthy New Year. He noted that the Jewish High Holidays provide an opportunity for Jews to reflect on the past year and recommit themselves to core values.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins on Wednesday evening.

With the United States marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Obama also noted the important role played by American Jews in the civil rights movement.

The president also discussed the upcoming enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act and the renewed Israel-Palestinians peace talks.

Four major organizations hosted the call: the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform); the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative); the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox); and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-holds-pre-rosh-hashanah-conference-call-with-rabbis-clergy/2013/09/03/

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