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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘presidential’

Choice to Make Love, Not War

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012


Alternative peace activist Baruch Widen joins Managing Editor of Jewish Press Online,Yishai Fleisher,. Together, they talk about the results of the Presidential election in Egypt and how these results will affect the relationship between Israel and Egypt. Yishai ends the segment by talking about difficulties he personally has faced living among Arabs and how they often make the choice to hate rather than love both Jews and each other.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

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…

Yori Yanover

Adelson Gives Romney PAC $10 Million

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

According to the Wall Street Journal, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who fueled Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, is now giving $10 million to the super PAC Restore Our Future, which supports presumptive  GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

It is the largest single donation to Romney’s coffer to date. By law, the independent political action committee is not allowed to coordinate its work with the formal Romney campaign.

Forbes Magazine ranked Adelson among the 10 wealthiest Americans, with more than $20 billion.

Adelson and his wife gave $21 million altogether to a PAC supporting Gingrich during the primaries.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Brushing Up On The Presidents

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

About a decade ago the Monitor recommended a bunch of books on U.S. presidents and the Middle East and then updated the list a few years later. With interest in the 2012 presidential race heating up, another look at the list seems in order.

These are not necessarily the best presidential biographies but are strong in terms of presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

Truman, the Jewish Vote and the Creation of Israel by John Snetsinger (Hoover Institute Press, 1974): In-depth account of the struggle for a Jewish state during the first three years of the Truman presidency. Very strong on how the 1948 presidential election influenced U.S. policy.

A Safe Haven by Allis and Ronald Radosh (Harper, 2009): The most recent addition to the Truman/Israel library, the book makes use of newly released documents but is a little too sympathetic to Truman, whose vacillation on the issue of a Jewish state was punctuated by anti-Semitic outbursts.

Eisenhower and the American Crusades by Herbert S. Parmet (Macmillan, 1972): A thorough look at the Eisenhower administration, with considerable attention paid to the Suez Crisis of 1956. Despite its having been written before the release of many classified Eisenhower-era documents, the book has aged well.

“Let Us Begin Anew”: An Oral History of the Kennedy Presidency by Gerald S. and Deborah Hart Strober (Harper-Collins, 1993): Real inside stuff here; the Strobers interviewed dozens of surviving Kennedy-era officials and opinion-makers who spoke candidly and on the record, many for the first time, on the major issues of the day.

Support Any Friend: Kennedy’s Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance by Warren Bass (Oxford University Press, 2002): A worthwhile read, though Bass gives Kennedy too much credit for the U.S.-Israel partnership that really began to blossom during the Johnson and Nixon years.

Flawed Giant – Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973 by Robert Dallek (Oxford University Press, 1998): The second and concluding volume of an authoritative biography, with the focus here on Johnson’s vice presidential and presidential years.

Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician, 1962-1972 and Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990 by Stephen E. Ambrose (Simon & Schuster, 1989, 1991): Parts two and three of a magisterial three-volume biography of Nixon, with plenty on the evolution of Nixon’s Mideast views.

Nixon: An Oral History of His Presidency by Gerald S. and Deborah Hart Strober (HarperCollins, 1994): The Strobers do for Nixon’s presidency what they did for Kennedy’s (see fifth entry above).

The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford by John Robert Green (University Press of Kansas, 1995): The definitive history of the Ford administration has yet to appear, but this offers a good examination of the Kissinger-Ford Mideast policy.

The Presidency of James Earl Carter, Jr. by Burton I. Kaufman (University Press of Kansas, 1993): As with Ford, a comprehensive history of the Carter presidency has yet to be written; in the meantime, this account touches on all the important points, with interesting details on the Camp David negotiations.

President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime by Lou Cannon (Simon & Schuster, 1991): A big book by a political reporter who covered Reagan longer than just about anyone else. Reagan: The Man and His Presidency by Gerald S. and Deborah Hart Strober (Houghton Mifflin, 1998): Yet another superb oral history from the Strobers.

George Bush – The Life of a Lone Star Yankee by Herbert S. Parmet (Scribner, 1997): Fair to its subject and rigorously researched, with a detailed account of the Gulf War and the Bush-Baker Mideast policy.

The High Cost of Peace by Yossef Bodansky (Prima, 2002): A smart and informed recounting of how U.S. diplomacy during the administrations of the first President Bush and President Clinton undermined Israel’s security and left the U.S. more vulnerable to Islamic terrorism.

American Presidents, Religion, and Israel: The Heirs of Cyrus by Paul Charles Merkley (Praeger Publishers, 2004): An examination of how the religious backgrounds of American presidents have influenced U.S. foreign policy.

Lost Years by Mark Matthews (Nation Books, 2007): The book’s subtitle – “Bush, Sharon and Failure in the Middle East” – makes the author’s bias clear, but this is a detailed and for the most part objective account of the U.S.-Israel relationship from 2001 through Ariel Sharon’s stroke in 2006.

Jason Maoz

Thousands Protest Egyptian Election Results, Set Ablaze Establishment Candidate’s HQ

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Thousands gathered overnight in Tahrir Square, Cairo, to demonstrate against Egypt’s election results which will pit deposed ruler Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq against Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi in a runoff election on June 16 and 17, al Ahram reports.

According to Egypt’s Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) officially announced on Monday the results of the first round, with Mohamed Mursi at the head of the pack with 5,764,952 votes, and Ahmed Shafiq second with 5,505,327 votes.

46.42 per cent of eligible voters participated in the first round.

On Monday night, Shafiq’s presidential campaign headquarters in the upscale Dokki neighborhood in Cairo were ransacked and set on fire.

“They seemed to know what they were after and they went directly to the storage rooms and set them on fire using petrol bombs,” Ahmed Abdel Ghani, 30, a member of Shafiq’s campaign, told Reuters.

The main headquarters villa did not burn, but protesters destroyed computers inside.

Graffiti on the wall outside the villa read: “No to Shafiq, no to feloul” (an Arabic word referring to the “remnants” of Mubarak’s era).

“We are sending a message to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) that we will never accept Ahmed Shafiq as our next president. He is the second Mubarak and was even in the Air Force like the ousted leader,” Aly, 24, a pharmacist, told al Ahram. “Personally I think the elections were rigged to put Mursi first, as it would have been a crisis if Shafiq was top – but, make no mistake, Shafiq is the military’s man.”

Soon the number of protesters in the square grew to thousands, led by former presidential contender and a left-wing labour lawyer Khaled Ali, who marched to Talaat Harb Square and around downtown Cairo before coming back to Tahrir Square.

“Smash Shafiq on his head,” the marchers chanted, holding Mubarak’s prime minister’s presidential campaign posters upside down with his face crossed out.

Others chanted “Down with the dogs of the military regime” and called on bystanders in balconies to join them.

One protestor held a poster saying “If Shafiq wins, we are all dead.”

Jacob Edelist

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!

Vic Rosenthal

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/us-strategy-stop-israel-not-iran/2012/05/21/

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