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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘ron dermer’

Bennett Asking Trump Advisors to Substitute Palestinian Autonomy for State

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Education Minister and HaBayit HaYehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett on Sunday met in New York with three staffers of President-Elect Donald Trump and asked that the new Administration not automatically adopt the two-state solution as its official policy but examine alternatives to what has been the Obama and GW Bush administrations’ default approach, Ha’aretz reported Tuesday.

The meeting between Bennett and the Trump staffers appears to have contradicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s explicit instruction not to conduct direct meetings with the incoming president’s people. Bennett’s office described his visit to New York as a routine work trip, for meetings with US Jewish organizations as part of his role as minister of diaspora affairs.

According to knowledgeable sources, Bennett suggested what he termed “Palestinian autonomy on steroids” in parts of Judea and Samaria, alongside a gradual application of Israeli sovereignty over other parts, such as the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim.

It is estimated that Bennett asked to meet with Trump’s circle in response to an announcement by Defense Minister and Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman, that Israel should be happy with a new US administration that merely approves the 2005 Sharon-Bush agreement, whereby Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria may build to meet the need of the existing population, but not start new outposts.

The Trump people were aghast at the Liberman statement, accusing him of “passing on the left” of the president-elect.

Netanyahu’s office issued a written directive at 4 PM Sunday through Cabinet Secretary Zahi Braverman, asking cabinet ministers not to make contact with the president-elect or his staff except through the PM’s office or the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC.

Last Friday, Agriculture Secretary Uri Ariel HaBayit (HaYehudi) sent a letter of support to Stephen Bannon, Trump’s controversial strategist advisor, telling Bannon that although he, Ariel, may not agree with him on everything, he is grateful to him for his stand against the Iran nuclear deal and the anti-Israel boycotts.

Last week, Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer was the first foreign ambassador the president-elect met at Trump Tower in New York.

JNi.Media

‘Israel Looking Forward to Working With Trump Team — Bannon Included’

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer told media in New York City on Thursday there’s “no doubt” President-elect Donald Trump is a “true friend of Israel.”

Dermer visited the Trump transition team at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Thursday, and met briefly with media on his way out.

“We have no doubt that Vice-President-elect Mike Pence is a true friend of Israel,” Dermer added, noting that Pence was one of Israel’s “greatest friends” during his decade in Congress, and “one of the most pro-Israel governors in the country.”

Dermer said Israel looks forward to “working with the Trump administration, with all of the members of the Trump administration, including Steve Bannon, and making the U.S.-Israel alliance stronger than ever.”

The reference to Bannon comes in the wake of a concerted effort by numerous media to demonize the former CEO of Breitbart News, who gave considerable website space to the alt-right and was not shy about allowing tabloid headlines that pushed the limits of propriety, including one written by a Jewish journalist that referred to a “renegade Jew.”

Bannon has been appointed by Trump to become senior adviser to the president-elect, and White House chief strategist, a move that has caused great anxiety among liberals in the United States.

Jewish journalists who have worked with Bannon are adamant, however, that he is no anti-Semite and in fact is a strong advocate for Israel. Bannon himself says he is a Zionist.

Hana Levi Julian

Friend of Israel Slated to Become HRC’s WH Chief of Staff

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta is the top choice to serve as White House chief of staff come January 2017, Politico reported Thursday. The choice of chief of staff will signal the presidential candidate’s expectations of her relationship with Congress, as well as her international plans.

A close Clinton ally told Politico that, on the campaign, Podesta was part of a small group of advisers the candidate “can already shorthand with.” Expectations are that should he agree to serve, it would be only for one year. “The question is can she convince him to do it for a year,” the source said, adding, “He could get the administration stabilized, and get hiring done.”

Podesta served as President Clinton’s Chief of Staff from 1998 until the end of Clinton’s time in office in January 2001.

As reflected from the thousands of his emails dumped by Wikileaks, Podesta is a great advocate of transparency, and has frequently criticized Hillary Clinton’s tendency for secrecy and cover-ups. In a 2004 speech at Princeton University, he condemned what he called the U.S. “excessive government secrecy” and “bloated secrecy bureaucracy.” He supported President Clinton’s Executive Order 12958 which helped declassify 800 million pages from the U.S. diplomatic and national security history. He called Executive Order 12958 “perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the Clinton administration.”

Podesta and Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s likely appointment for National Security Advisor (he is currently serving as Vice President Biden’s NSA), are considered friends of Israel, a fact supported by countless leaked emails. Podesta and Sullivan come across in these emails as associates of the pro-Israel circle of Hillary Clinton advisors, some of whom have been on close personal terms with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. Dermer used their good services to communicate a message from Prime Minister Netanyahu to the presidential candidate, asking her to curb her enthusiasm in support of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

One particular leaked email exchange, between John Podesta and his daughter, Megan Rouse, offers an un-staged insight into the former’s stand on US-Israel relations. Rouse wrote her father: “I’ve heard a concern from some folks who care deeply about Israel that Hillary will be the president ‘most unfriendly to Israel in our history, worse than Obama.’ Thoughts on how I might respond in conversation?”

Podesta replied: “That’s a bit crazy. Obama developed a real feud with Bibi, but she has been a staunch defender of Israel since her Senate days. Probably her very best supporters are Haim Saban, and Danny Abraham who would not be with her if she wasn’t totally committed to Israeli security.”

Incidentally, Podesta would much rather serve in Hillary Clinton’s cabinet as energy secretary, and was behind President Obama’s climate initiatives. The problem is that getting the job would require Senate confirmation, a road paved with months and months of hearings on those nasty Wikileak emails bearing his name and address. Apparently, not all of them were as sweet as his exchange with Megan…

JNi.Media

Trump Promising Netanyahu Jerusalem Embassy, Wants Advice on Building Fences

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

The Trump campaign press release following the meeting Sunday between Benjamin Netanyahu and the GOP presidential candidate stated that Trump told Netanyahu “a Trump administration would finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” The statement also said Trump “agreed that the military assistance provided to Israel and missile defense cooperation with Israel are an excellent investment for America,” and “there will be extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries,” should Trump be elected.

Trump emphasized that Israel is a “vital partner of the United States in the global war against radical Islamic terrorism.” According to the statement, the nuclear deal with Iran and ways to defeat ISIS were also discussed, as well as “Israel’s successful experience with a security fence that helped secure its borders.”

A short while before Sunday’s meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump, the GOP presidential candidate and indefatigable tweeter tweeted: “Looking forward to my meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu in Trump Tower at 10:00 AM.” The meeting lasted an hour and twenty minutes behind closed doors, and the two did not speak to the press before or after.

The Prime Minister’s office released a laconic statement saying, “Netanyahu presented to Trump Israel’s positions on regional issues related to its security and discussed with him Israel’s efforts to achieve peace and stability in our region.” The PM’s office also said that Netanyahu thanked Trump for his friendship and support for Israel. The meeting included Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and Trump’s son-in-law, Jewish businessman, investor and political operative Jared Kushner.

Netanyahu was scheduled to meet next with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who has already committed to inviting the Israeli PM to her White House as soon as she’s sworn in. Clinton is on the record as supporting the nuclear deal with Iran, but repeats her commitment to Israel’s security. In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV, Clinton said “Trump should worry every Israeli, regardless of his positions on Israel.”

The two meetings were arranged when a senior Netanyahu official told reporters after his meeting with President Obama that he hadn’t been approached by either candidate for a meeting while he’s in the US, but should they invite him he’d be delighted to accept. A day later the invite came from the Trump campaign, followed by one from Hillary.

Monday night the world will follow with bated breath the first presidential debate between the two candidates. Many Israelis have reported setting their alarm clocks (or apps) to wake them up at 4 AM Tuesday, to watch the Monday at 9 PM match.

David Israel

Obama: US Must Lead Fight Against Rising Anti-Semitism

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama told a gathering at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC on Wednesday that America has an obligation to lead the fight against rising anti-Semitism.

“We are all Jews,” Obama said. “All of us have a responsibility.”Obama’s presence at the embassy signaled a thaw in relations between the White House and Jerusalem. Or at least, an effort by the president to win back Jewish voters before they go to the polls in November.

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Speaking at a ceremony to present Righteous Among the Nations awards marking International Holocaust Day, Obama said the rise in anti-Semitism is “undeniable.” It is the first time that this event has ever been held at the Israeli embassy as well.

The families of Walery and Maryla Zbijewski of Poland, teacher Lois Gunden and Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds came to accept the honors for their deceased, heroic loved ones. They were presented with the “Righteous Among the Nations” awards by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center in Israel on behalf of the Jewish People for risking their lives to save Jews from the Nazis.

Without fanfare, the U.S. president entered the room together with Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, who was clearly, deeply appreciative of the honor granted him. “This is the first time a sitting president has ever spoken to our embassy,” Dermer said in his introduction.

Obama himself turned to the issue of the rising anti-Semitism around the globe, and in the United States as well.

“We must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise. We cannot deny it,” the president said. “When we see some Jews leaving major European cities where their families have lived for generations, because they no longer feel safe; when Jewish centers are targeted from Mumbai to Overland Park, Kansas; when swastikas appear on college campuses – when we see all that and more, we must not be silent,” he continued.

“As president, I’ve made sure that the United States is leading the global fight against anti-Semitism. And it’s why, with Israel and countries around the world, we organized the first United Nations General Assembly meeting on anti-Semitism. It’s why we’ve urged other nations to dedicate a special envoy this threat, as we have.”

Obama also spoke of his own family experience with the Holocaust, a memory of his grandmother’s narration. He spoke of how his great uncle returned home from helping to liberate Buchenwald so shaken by what he had seen that “he did not speak to anyone for six months, just went up in his attic, couldn’t fully absorb the horror that he had witnessed.”

The U.S. president also took his own family to Buchenwald, to see for himself the place where his great uncle had been so traumatized, and where he had helped save so many lives. He also brought his two daughters to the Holocaust Museum “because our children must know this chapter of our history and must never repeat it.”

He underlined the difference between criticizing Israeli policies, and denying Israel’s right to exist, and said “when Israel faces terrorism we stand up forcefully and proudly in defense of our ally, in defense of our friend, in defense of the Jewish State of Israel.

“America’s commitment to Israel’s security remains, now and forever, unshakeable,” Obama said. “It would be a fundamental moral failing if America broke that bond.”

Hana Levi Julian

US not Only Spying on Israel, but on U.S. Pro-Israel Legislators and Groups

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

The publication of several news stories in the Wall Street Journal late Tuesday, Dec. 29, produced a subterranean tremor in the crowd that closely monitors U.S.-Israel relations. The articles, on the surface, revealed information that was not all that astonishing: The Israelis spied to obtain information on the U.S. and the U.S. spied on Israel regarding the recent Nuclear Iran Deal negotiations. Big news for naifs, but not so for close and constant observers.

But just below the words looms a much bigger story, one not quite completely spelled out by the Journal reporters, Adam Entous and Danny Yadron. But that story may well, or at least should, lead to a whole new political firestorm harkening back to the furor that led to the Church Committee hearings in the 1970’s.

Because, really, who did not already know that U.S. President Barack Obama and his team were furious with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to the Nuclear Iran Deal? And wasn’t it already known that the Israelis received information about the presumably “secret” back-door negotiations between U.S. intermediaries and Iran about a nuclear deal? And why would anyone be surprised that such tensions between two traditionally rock-solid allies would create or further encourage less than desirable activity to reveal what the other was doing?

But the interesting revelation was that the sharing of information between the NSA and the White House included, apparently, not only communications by senior level Israeli officials, but also communications between those officials and members of Congress, as well as between members of Congress and U.S. pro-Israel organizations.

A clue that this matters, is that the Journal published an entirely separate article laying out the law and practice regulating eavesdropping by the executive branch on federal legislators.

That article, Cold War-Era Rules Designed to Protect U.S. Lawmakers’ Communications, one of the three articles date-lined Tuesday on the topic, is probably the one over which most readers’ eyes glazed, but it was placed there for a reason.

This article explains the evolution of various safeguards on the identities of sitting members of Congress in the course of American eavesdropping by the National Security Agency. That practice, formalized during the Cold War, required the identity of lawmakers, and even of mere U.S. private citizens, be obscured, when acquired by the NSA while the security agency fishes for information to protect the homeland from, for example, terrorism.

In the 1990’s, the Journal article explains intelligence agencies were “required to notify congressional leaders of intelligence committees whenever a lawmaker’s identity was revealed to an executive branch official.” But the article reveals that this “requirement” has not been scrupulously followed in recent years.

A declassified 2011 NSA directive required analysts to destroy intercepted communications between foreign targets and U.S. officers or employees, such as legislators, unless the NSA director issued a waiver on the grounds of “significant foreign intelligence.”

The expanding network of intelligence gathering gained substantial steam after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but were reportedly dramatically curtailed after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden publicly revealed the vast width and breadth of surveillance gathering engaged in by the U.S.

In the wake of the Snowden disclosure, President Obama promised the country to curtail spying on U.S. allies. Except that a loophole remained – and a sensible sounding loophole it is –  that permitted snooping when “there was a compelling national security purpose” motivating the eavesdropping.

And here the picture comes together.

You see, the Obama administration was dead-set on reaching a nuclear weapons deal with Iran. And the Israeli people and government, and many U.S. legislators, and many American citizens, were dead-set against it. That created, apparently, what the Obama administration considered a “national security” reason for continuing to eavesdrop on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and anyone the government of Israel was talking to, and anyone who agreed with them who was speaking with American legislators.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

WJS: NSA Taps Guided Obama’s Win over Netanyahu on Iran

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

See also: US not Only Spying on Israel, but on U.S. Pro-Israel Legislators and Groups

(JNi.media) In 2011 and 2012, according to a Wall Street Journal revelation Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama were in sharp conflict over what to do about Iran’s emerging nuclear program. Netanyahu was preparing to take a page out of his predecessor, Menachem Begin’s play book on the Iraqi nuclear plant–although striking in Iran would have been far more formidable–while Obama was engaged in secret talks with the Iranians, and by secret we mean without letting Israel know.

According to the WSJ report, the White House was petrified that Netanyahu would blitz Iran without alerting the Americans, thus bringing down the house on the negotiations that were still at their most tender phase. And so US spy agencies enhanced their surveillance of Israeli political targets, for which they had approval from congressional intelligence committees.

After a few years of this, the NSA was fairly certain there was not going to be a repeat of the 1981 Operation Opera, that took out the Osirak reactor in Iraq. Except that by then the American Administration had a new reason to keep tapping Bibi: they wanted to make sure Israel was not aware of the secret talks with the Iranians, because if those became known to the Israelis, they would have sounded the alarm and the fragile negotiations could go bust. So they kept on tapping.

According to the WSJ report, after the Edward Snowden scandal had erupted and it turned out the NSA was tapping all of America’s friends, including heads of state, when President Obama promised to behave better and stop tapping everyone, that’s not what he really meant. The NSA hadn’t spent decades bugging phone and Internet networks around the world to just cut them off all of a sudden. How would they spy on everyone in the future if they needed to? So, instead, they just stopped eavesdropping. The taps stayed in place, but silent.

Except for one particular trouble spot, right around wherever Bibi happened to be at the moment. Apparently, not tapping our friendliest nation, Israel, didn’t enter anyone’s mind over at the NSA. “Going dark on Bibi? Of course we wouldn’t do that,” a senior US official told the WSJ.

And so, the NSA was certain last year that Israel was spying on the Iran negotiations in Europe, and by late 2014 they knew Mr. Netanyahu wanted to block the nuclear deal but didn’t have a strategy yet. On January 8 this year, the strategy was hatched by then Republican House Speaker John Boehner and the new Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: they invited Netanyahu to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress. They contacted Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, who told Bibi, who grabbed the offer.

At which point, the NSA started yet another one of their famous walks on legal thin ice, because, according to US law, there’s a huge difference between tapping foreigners, even very friendly ones, like Netanyahu, and tapping US elected officials without their knowledge. If you’re going to tap Speaker Boehner chatting with PM Netanyahu, you must disclose this to the appropriate Congressional committees. Also, an NSA directive dating back to 2011 says that direct communications between foreign intelligence targets and members of Congress should be destroyed when they are intercepted, and only the NSA director can decide otherwise regarding “significant foreign intelligence.”

The NSA is allowed to tap communications between US lawmakers after, as an example, an ambassador tells his government back home about a meeting with said lawmakers. So this is how the NSA, working for the Democrat in the White House, could spy on the conversations of the Congressional leadership, that happened to be Republican.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/wjs-nsa-taps-guided-obamas-win-over-netanyahu-on-iran/2015/12/30/

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