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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘presidential election’

Presidential Bid coming? Rick Perry Says He’ll Visit Israel

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, in what observers see as a move signaling a possible White House run, said he is planning to visit Israel in October.

Perry, who has announced that he will not run for a fourth term as Texas governor, told the Washington Times in an interview last Friday, “We will be going to Israel to bring together Arabs, Christian and Jews in an educational forum.”

Political analysts believe the trip to the Jewish state shows that Perry is considering a campaign for the 2016 presidential election. He dropped his bid for the 2012 Republican nomination during the primaries.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — reported to be potential presidential candidates for 2016 — have made trips to Israel this year.

Will Simcha Felder Save NY Republicans from Extinction?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

New York’s Republican party has little to celebrate Thursday, seemingly close to losing control of the state Senate in addition to losing the state for the presidential election.

Democrats are expected to hold a 33-30 majority in the state Senate, though a couple of races will not be concluded until absentee and affidavit ballots are counted.

Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich lost to Democratic Senator Joseph Addabbo.

According to a report in the New York Daily News, “The GOP’s best hope is to convince five renegade Democrats to join their team. Four Dems last year formed the Independent Democratic Conference and have worked closely with Republicans”

Former Councilman Simcha Felder, a Democrat who defeated incumbent Republican Senator David Storobin on Tuesday is also considered to be a potential partner with a Republican minority who would help the party maintain control of the chamber.

New York Republican US Senator Wendy Long was also defeated on Tuesday.

In The Matter Of Paul Ryan

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Time will tell whether Mitt Romney’s choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate is a game changer with respect to the outcome of November’s presidential election. But it already is clear that the Ryan selection has served to sharpen the policy differences between President Obama and Governor Romney.

Within hours of Mr. Romney’s announcement, President Obama said in a campaign speech in Chicago:

Too many folks still don’t have a sense that tomorrow will be better than today. And so the question in this election is, which way do we go? Do we go forward toward a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared? Or do we go backward to the same policies that got us in the mess in the first place?

In sharp contrast, Congressman Ryan, doubtless reflecting the Romney view, said,

We Americans look at one another’s successes with pride, not resentment, because we know, as more Americans work hard, take risks, and succeed, more people will prosper, our communities will benefit, and individual lives will be improved and uplifted…. America is more than just a place, it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.

Mr. Ryan is known for his oratorical skills and is expected to be Mr. Romney’s point man on economic issues.

On another front, President Obama has taken to lavishing much praise on Israel and to increasing military and intelligence cooperation between Washington and Jerusalem. He has also stood up for Israel at the United Nations. Yet the first two years of his presidency were characterized by sharp disagreements between the two countries and open hostility on the part of Mr. Obama toward Prime Minister Netanyahu.

This uneven record makes us wonder what the president may have in mind for Israel in a second term.

On the other hand, Mr. Ryan has been considered a strong friend of Israel. Indeed, his website states:

America has no better friend in the Middle East than the nation of Israel. Not only is Israel the region’s only fully functioning democracy, with a government based on popular consent and the rule of law, but it is also a valuable ally against Islamic extremism and terrorism.

In this Mr. Ryan seems to echo the Romney view of the Middle East, and his choice as Mr. Romney’s running mate would seem to underscore what a Romney presidency might mean for Israel.

Few Doubts on Whom Jews Should Pray for to Win Egyptian Runoff Election

Friday, June 15th, 2012

First, in case your Internet was off these past couple of days, Egypt’s High Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that the Political Disenfranchisement Law was unconstitutional. The court also found the election of one third of parliamentary seats, reserved for individual candidates, unconstitutional. The reason: instead of being genuinely independent, those candidates were heavily affiliated with religious parties.

Then Maher Sami, deputy head of Egypt’s High Constitutional Court, announced that Thursday’s court verdict means that both houses of Egypt’s parliament—the People’s Assembly and the consultative Shura Council—will be dissolved.

So these are not easy, stable times for Israel’s neighbor to the south-west.

But the runoff presidential election between former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and Freedom and Justice Party leader Mohamed Mursi is still going ahead as planned, on Saturday and Sunday.

And so, as interested parties, we must ask ourselves, which of the two candidates should we say a Mi Sh’Beirach for, or at least endorse in our hearts during prayer this coming Shabbat.

The details of this article were culled from the English language versions of the Arab press, and so, by definition, are already kind of biased. But you get what you can, and you hope that our Arab analysts out there will quickly and surely add a deeper dimension to this note.

Mohamed Mursi is a professor of Engineering. He served as member of parliament until 2005 and was head of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary blocback then. He is a top ranking Muslim Brothers official, who came in first in the first round of the presidential elections, with 5,764,952 votes, or 24.78 percent.

Ahmed Shafiq is a lieutenant-general in the army, former minister of civil aviation, and Mubarak’s last prime minister. He resigned after Mubarak stepped down. He finished second in the presidential election first round, with 5,505,327 votes, or 23.66 percent.

Concerns about Mursi are that he will be controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood leadership. He will likely increase the Brotherhood’s clerics’ dominance over all branches of the state, Iran Revolution style. He supports decriminalizing female circumcision, and will not be a friend of career women. There are fears that he will not be an effective bulwark against the extremist SCAF. And, judging by the Brotherhood’s disappointing performance in parliament, Mursi’s ability to rule effectively in a democracy has come under question as well.

Last week, Mursi declared at a Cairo University campaign rally: “The Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path, and martyrdom in the service of God is our goal. We shall enforce Islamic Sharia, and shall accept no alternative to it.”

Shafiq, on the other hand, appears to be a Western-style democrat – at least compared to Mursi. He favors of an inclusive and progressive civil state, and is against the politicizing of religion. If he wins, he has both the temperament and the experience of suppressing possible subversion on the part of the Brotherhood. And, despite his questionable ties with the Mubarak regime, Egyptian secular revolutionaries will fair much better following a Shafiq victory, because it would give secular parties time to establish themselves and grow politically – if the Brotherhood wins, the secularists will be targetted. And, naturally, economically, Egyptians will benefit greatly from a liberal-leaning presidency.

And Shafiq would probably maintain some  continuity in Egypt’s foreign policy, including its tenuous peace with Israel. When speaking about Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, he said, “I object to Israel’s current actions, but I am a man who honors past agreements”.

So, when you daven in shul this Shabbat and you happen to touch on Egypt’s political future, cast your spiritual vote for Ahmed Shafiq.

But don’t tell your Egyptian friends, because that would be his kiss of death…

Rubin Reports: Egypt’s (First-Round) Presidential Election is a Defeat (Perhaps Temporary) for the Islamists

Monday, May 28th, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/egypts-first-round-presidential.html

Muhammad Mursi (Muslim Brotherhood) – 25.3 percent Ahmad Shafiq (ex-general, ex-prime minister) – 24.9 percent Hamdin Sabbahi (radical left) – 21.5 percent Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh (“moderate Islamist) – 19 percent Amr Moussa (radical nationalist) – less than 10 percent

While the Brotherhood claims victory, the election was actually a defeat—at least temporary and possibly less important than it seemed—for the Brotherhood and Islamism. Here’s why.

The Islamist Camp

Note that only about 44 percent of voters backed an Islamist candidate, compared to 75 percent in the parliamentary elections, while only about 25 percent voted for the Muslim Brotherhood compared to about 47 percent in the parliamentary vote. Why?

To begin with, the two top Islamist candidates were removed by the election commission, the Brotherhood’s first choice and the only Salafist candidate. Presumably, many voters stayed home or opted for their second choice. The question is whether those who crossed the line and voted for a non-Islamist—will return to the Brotherhood in the second round.

A key question is the 25 percent who backed a Salafist in the parliamentary election but could not do so in this one. Did they stay home, or vote for the Brotherhood or the “moderate Islamist,” or for a secular party? And again, will most of them back the Brotherhood or a Mubarak era politician?

Clearly, the mistakes made by the Islamists were costly, and they do make many errors. The Salafists nominated a candidate who was vulnerable to vetting. He didn’t meet the qualifications of purely Egyptian citizenship for himself and his family.

On the Brotherhood’s part, victory in the previous elections made them more radical and more arrogant. They mistakenly cast off the cloak of pretended moderation too soon and too completely. So much for the “Turkish model”! This hubris scared some voters. Shafiq’s campaign managers warned voters that to elect Mursi would set off a battle for an “Islamic empire.”

But note this theme of radicalism going along with victory because it is going to be one of the most important of all. Let’s summarize it:

When Islamists win, they become bolder and more aggressive. Western observers who talk about moderating Islamism think the opposite.

An opposing camp, however, those who argue all Muslims “must” be Islamists and that political Islam inevitably sweeps all before it have also been proven wrong. As I try to explain, this is a political struggle that can go either way depending on circumstances.

Islamism is by no means immune to social conditions. The strongest support for Mursi is in Egypt’s poor, underdeveloped south; the weakest backing is in the cities.

Yet let’s also remember that the Islamists are still heading for control over Egypt. They might win the presidency in the second round. The parliament, which they run, is going to make the rules and write the constitution. If they don’t like who becomes president, they will reduce his powers.

Some argue that voters left the Islamists because they had thought they would be “different” and “honest” but have concluded that they are just regular politicians. It’s hard for me to understand how this can be true, however, because they haven’t actually done anything yet! Not a single law has been passed; no constitution has been written.

A more likely explanation, I think, is that either the Brotherhood scared them by being so extreme or they want to balance its power by having some institutions in the control of others.

A final note, the phenomenon of “moderate Islamism” is not a significant player here. It was a “one-man” operation (and I don’t believe Aboul Fotouh was more than marginally more moderate) and has no political party or representation in parliament. While the 18 percent of the vote it received seems significant, many of those voters were possibly more radical than the Brotherhood itself because of the Salafist endorsement.

The Non-Islamist Camp(s)

Note well that the three non-Islamist candidates had a majority. This means that if voters stay within these two camps, Shafiq will be elected president.

The main irony is that their leading candidate shows support for the kind of rule being delivered by the army junta now and even by the (supposedly) despised Mubarak regime. A lot of Egyptians want quiet and order. And Shafiq outpaced the alternative “establishment” candidate Amr Moussa because he is even more bland and moderate.

Romney to Meet with Jewish Donors

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Mitt Romney is meeting with some 30 major Jewish donors to his presidential campaign as part of a “constituents day.”

The former Massachusetts governor and all-but-certain Republican nominee for president, will meet for about an hour with the donors in Boston on Thursday.

A donor who was invited told JTA that the purpose of the meeting would be an exchange of views.

There would be other meetings the same day with other constituent groups, the donor said, confirming reports of the meeting from a number of Jewish community officials.

Romney and President Obama have intensified outreach to Jewish voters and supporters in this presidential election year.

On Monday, the White House hosted some 70 Jewish leaders in a bid to reassure them that the Obama administration was determined to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.

US Strategy: Stop Israel, Not Iran

Monday, May 21st, 2012

On Friday, the NY Times — which often speaks for the Obama Administration — published an article about the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran. There is a message between the lines, and it is not very well hidden. Here are a few excerpts with added emphasis, in case it isn’t obvious:

With signs that Iran is under more pressure than it has been in years to make a deal, senior Obama administration officials said the United States and five other major powers were prepared to offer a package of inducements to obtain a verifiable agreement to suspend its efforts to enrich uranium closer to weapons grade…

The major powers’ initial goal is to halt the activity that most alarms Israel: the spinning of thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity, which is within striking distance of the level needed to fuel a nuclear weapon. That would buy time for negotiations…

For President Obama, the stakes are huge. A successful meeting could prolong the diplomatic dance with Tehran, delaying any possible military confrontation over the nuclear program until after the presidential election. It could also keep a lid on oil prices, which fell again this week in part because of the decrease in tensions. Lower gasoline prices would aid the economic recovery in the United States, and Mr. Obama’s electoral prospects…

On Tuesday, the American ambassador to Israel, Daniel B. Shapiro, sought to reassure an Israeli audience that the United States not only was willing to use military force to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but had made preparations to do so…

Analysts said it was hard to gauge what kinds of concessions from the Western nations, Russia and China would draw a positive response from Iran, beyond lifting the oil embargo. European officials have suggested that the European Union could suspend a ban on insuring oil tankers that has had a far swifter effect on Iran’s sales elsewhere in the world than originally intended.

There is a lot more, but that is more than enough. Is the message clear? If not, I’ll spell it out:

1. The immediate problem, in the view of the Obama Administration, is that Israel might attack Iran, causing a spike in gas prices in the US and hurting the President’s chances for re-election. The Iranian program itself is a longer-term issue.

2. Anything that can delay a confrontation is ‘good’. Negotiations can be used to stay Israel’s hand, not so much by holding out hope for a solution, but by undercutting support for Israel if she should attack while they are going on.

3. Any kind of agreement with the Iranians, whether or not it is tough enough to be effective, will also isolate Israel if she chooses to attack.

4. The strategy for obtaining agreement, rather than increasing pressure on Iran,  will be to “make concessions,” even reducing those sanctions which have proven effective. Since Iran and the administration have a common interest in preventing an attack, the administration can be hopeful that they will be ‘successful’.

Although the US has stressed that contingency plans for an American raid exist, the Iranians know that nothing short of a public test of a nuclear device could make it happen before the election (even that is uncertain). In the meantime, Iran hopes to push its program to the point that it will be immune to an Israeli attack. The regime is confident that it can stay behind the American red line after that, while still obtaining a capability to assemble weapons in a very short time frame.

Placing concessions on the table before serious negotiations even begin will be read as a sign of weakness. And the P5+1 (US, Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany) demands are below what Israel considers the minimum to guarantee that Iran will not get a weapon. For example, Israel wants the Fordow enrichment facility dismantled, while the P5+1 only asks for activities there to stop. And this is before the hard bargaining.

These negotiations will not enhance Israel’s security. Rather, they will do the opposite. They represent a strategy of appeasement rather than the use of power. What should happen is that the West should deliver a credible ultimatum to fully dismantle the program or face sharply increased sanctions — or, ultimately, military action. Instead, they have chosen to weaken sanctions and to try to remove the only real military threat!

Obama Off-the-Record: I Will Have Greater Flexibility on Foreign Policy After Presidential Election

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

President Barack Obama, unaware that he was within microphone range at the Seoul Nuclear Summit, told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have greater flexibility on foreign policy after the upcoming Presidential election in November.

Obama later explained that with the US in the midst of a presidential election campaign, and Russia having just completed one, the political environment is not yet stable enough for the two countries to engage in serious negotiations on arms control and missile defense.

But some analysts see this as confirmation of a more general policy shift intended by Obama, one which is expected to be more active and assertive and reach Israel and the stalled peace process.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-off-the-record-i-will-have-greater-flexibility-on-foreign-policy-after-presidential-election/2012/03/27/

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