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August 26, 2016 / 22 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Reagan’

Cruz at AIPAC: ‘Peace Through Strength’ [video]

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) spoke to AIPAC’s policy conference on Monday evening, March 21. He followed a raucous presentation by Donald Cruz, and one given earlier in the day by Hillary Clinton.

Cruz started his talk by correcting without naming Donald Trump. He said, “Let me say at the outset, perhaps to the surprise of the previous speaker, Palestine has not existed since 1948.” Point Cruz.

He continued by invoking the story of Purim, mentioning that Jews the world over will soon be reading the Megillah (Esther). He recounted that the evil Persian Haman described the Jews as “scattered and spread out.” The Talmud teaches us, Cruz explained, that when the forces for good are divided, evil can prevail. But when forces for good come together in unity, they can defeat tyrants. Do you see where this is going?

Cruz likened the time of Haman to the time in which we live. But he promised a near future in which Americans will come together,  within the Republican party and across America.

Aware that he has a reputation as a divisive personality, Cruz hit hard on that issue of unity, unity within America and then, after November, between America and Israel. “America will stand with Israel and defeat radical Islamic terrorists,” Cruz told the crowd.

He also mentioned that his colleague, Senator Lindsey Graham, had hosted an event for him earlier in the day, “which should allay the doubts of anyone here that the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can still do miracles,” eliciting a big guffaw.

As did both Clinton and Trump, Cruz mentioned the brutal murder of American Christian Taylor Force who was recently stabbed to death in Jaffa by a Palestinian Arab terrorist. Force was from Lubbock, Texas, so it was no surprise that Cruz mentioned him.

He used the tragedy to remind the audience that America and Israel are in the fight together against radical Islam. Sadly, not one of the candidates mentioned another American recently murdered in Israel, Ezra Schwartz. Schwartz was a Jewish teenager from Boston.

In his four years in the Senate, Cruz has initiated efforts to support Israel in various ways, and he mentioned several of them during his speech on Monday. One, a critical effort, was when he stood up to the U.S. State Department when it shut down Ben Gurion Airport during Operation Cast Lead, after a rocket from Gaza landed – harmlessly – a mile away.

Cruz had immediately called on the U.S. government to explain why it had imposed what he called an economic boycott on Israel, pointing out that the U.S. had not shut down the airspace in other hot war zones such as Pakistan, Afghanistan or even in the Ukraine, where a passenger airline had just been shot down by Russia.

When Cruz demanded that the Obama administration answer the question, the response he got was that his suggestion was ridiculous. Cruz then informed them that he would shut down every nomination to the State Dept. until it answered his question.

The closure of Israeli airspace was lifted within 36 hours, thanks at least in part to the action taken by Cruz.

Cruz pointed out that on one of his three trips to Israel, he visited a hospital in the north, where “Israel has treated more than a thousand Syrians, free of charge.”

He quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Israelis use missile defense system to protect our citizens, while Hamas uses its citizens to protect its missiles to launch into his one mention of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Clinton had sought to justify Hamas keeping its missiles in schools and hospitals by explaining that Gaza is very small and crowded.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Jerry Lewis Praises Trump and Rejects Obama for not Wiping Out ISIS [video]

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Jerry Lewis, one of the icons of Jewish comedians who drew millions to TV screens  in the 1950s , said in an interview that Donald Trump is “great” while Obama “never was prepared” to deal with the Islamic State (ISIS).

Speaking in an interview with Raymond Arroyo on “World Over,” Lewis sounded light years away from the days when he was a Democrat who supported John Kennedy and who raised millions of dollars for charity through TV telethons.

Lewis put a red line on being liberal when it comes to accepting Syrian refugees, which President Barack Obama has made into a platform while Trump doesn’t want them in the country.

Lewis is with Trump all the way on the refugee issue and said:

Refugees should stay where the hell they are. Hey, no one has worked harder for the human condition than I have, but they’re not part of the human condition. If 11 guys in the group of 10,000 are ISIS—how can I take that chance?

He decline to “knock” President Obama and suggested that the President simply was “never prepared” for ISIS, but that his uncertainty shows he is not a leader. “We’re not stopping them [ISIS], We are just reporting what they are doing. That is ridiculous,” Lewis added.

Trump is certain. Like Lewis in his hey-day, he also is an entertainer, and that scores well for Lewis, who said of Trump:

I think he’s great. He’s a showman and we’ve never had a showman in the president’s chair.

Arroyo reminded Lewis that Ronald Reagan also was a showman, but Lewis insisted, “Well, that’s different. You can’t make do a comparison on Ronald Reagan because I can do three hours on him with just praise, he was so good.”

There is bigger difference between Reagan and Trump The former President entered the White House after having been in politics as governor of California, or as wacky comedian Tom Lehrer once sang. “We finally have a President who can do a song and dance.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

On Anniversary of Iran’s US Embassy Seizure, ‘Death to America’ Still Heard

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy in Iran’s seizure by fervent student revolutionaries. As happens every year, demonstrators marched outside the former embassy in Tehran chanting “Death to America.” “Death to Israel” and “Death to Britain” were also heard, because to hate one of those countries usually means to hate all three.

This year the crowd was particularly large – several thousand strong – because the anniversary coincided with the Muslim holiday of Ashura, one of the holiest days for Shiite Muslims.

On Nov. 4, 1979, student supporters of the Muslim cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had returned from exile in Paris just months before, seized the U.S. Embassy. The Ayatollah had declared Iran an Islamic Republic in April of that year.

Anger at the U.S. for hosting the hated but seriously ill Shah, albeit begrudgingly, was added to the mix and a fear that the revolution might be betrayed by insiders colluding with Americans set the fire burning. The students demanded that the Shah be extradited.

The Shah never returned to Iran. He left the U.S. and took up refuge in Egypt, where he remained until his death on July 27, 1980, at age 60.

The takeover lasted 444 days, ending on Jan. 20, 1981, the same day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as U.S. president.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Robert Strauss, Democratic Kingmaker and Ambassador, Dies At 95

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Robert Strauss, the son of small-town Texas shopkeepers who became an adviser to presidents of both parties, died Wednesday at the age of 95.

He helped found in 1945 Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, the energy law firm that pioneered powerhouse lobbying after its 1971 move to Washington.

Strauss, whose parents ran a general store in a small town in Texas, forged his first important political ties at the University of Texas working on the congressional campaign of Lyndon Johnson and the student body campaign of John Connally, who later became governor.

Connally’s sponsorship decades later led to Strauss becoming chairman of the Democratic National Committee after the party’s presidential candidate, George McGovern, suffered a crushing defeat in 1972.

Strauss led the rebuilding of the party and started advocating on behalf of the little-known governor of Georgia as a possible candidate — a bet that paid off in 1976 with Jimmy Carter’s election as president.

Carter made Strauss a trade envoy and later named him a special ambassador so he could help negotiate the emerging Egypt-Israel peace agreement. Strauss was among Carter’s advisers who successfully counseled the president to resist bringing the Palestine Liberation Organization into the process until it recognized Israel.

Strauss also endeavored to smooth relations between the Jewish and black communities after Carter fired Andrew Young, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, for meeting with PLO officials.

Strauss, like so many top Jewish officials before and after him, was his administration’s unofficial liaison to the Jewish community — a role he did not appear to always relish, storming out of one particularly testy meeting with Jewish leaders over Carter’s peace process policies in 1980.

After Carter’s inauguration in 1977 and his naming Strauss as a trade envoy, JTA asked Strauss whether Carter would preserve Jackson-Vanik, the legislation linking human rights performance to trade status that was considered critical to liberalizing exits for Jews from the Soviet Union.

The Nixon and Ford administrations had fiercely resisted the legislation — Henry Kissinger, the Jewish secretary of state, was especially contemptuous of it — but Carter would go on to embrace it, one of the rare high points in his relationship with the Jewish community.

However, Strauss was noncommittal and felt it necessary to explain to JTA how being in government necessarily changed his perspective.

“I could have emotional and historical views and the prejudices from that,” he said. “Now, with my present responsibilities, I must be absolutely certain that I am looking at it [Jackson-Vanik] from the standpoint of the whole America. I will take a purely critical and analytical look and I will speak out when I have the authority.”

Strauss said he suffered little anti-Semitism growing up in Texas, saying that he only thought about being Jewish when his parents kept him home on Yom Kippur.

He joined the Baptist Young People’s Union to meet girls, he told the Dallas Morning News in a 1981 interview, and was elected its president.

“Of course, the preacher had to put a stop to that because I wasn’t a member of that church,” Strauss said.

Within weeks of Carter’s defeat in 1980, Strauss — who had chaired Carter’s campaign — began to meet routinely with President-elect Ronald Reagan and became an adviser to him.

Reagan awarded Strauss the Medal of Freedom in 1981, and his vice president and successor, President George H. W. Bush, named him ambassador to the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991, which led to Strauss becoming the first U.S. envoy to the post-Soviet Russia.

Once it became clear in the 1980s — with credible female and African-American runs for the president and vice president – that presidents no longer had to be white, Christian and male, pundits often would turn to Strauss and ask him to name the first likely Jewish president. He invariably would offer himself.

The self-promotion ostensibly was in jest — Strauss liked to remind people that his mother expected him to become the first Jewish governor of Texas — until it wasn’t. Jack Germond, the political columnist, once recalled trying to talk Strauss out of a presidential run in 1983.

“He was a Jew from Texas and a lawyer and businessman who had made a lot of money in ways that might have to be defended,” Germond said in a 2005 Washingtonian magazine article cited in Strauss’ Washington Post obituary. “Above all, he had a wise mouth that no candidacy could survive in this age of political correctness.”

President Obama in a statement lauded Strauss’ appeal across the spectrum.

“Bob was one of the greatest leaders the Democratic Party ever had, yet presidents of both parties relied on his advice, his instincts, and his passion for public service — not to mention his well-honed sense of humor,” he said.

Strauss’ wife, Helen, died in 2006. Strauss is survived by two sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

JTA

Israel Sort-Of Honors Mandela

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Some funerals are diplomatic events.

Mrs Thatcher, Yitzhak Rabin, Ronald Reagan….

These are events which feature on the international diplomatic calendar, even though the dates are not known in advance (unless you believe the conspiracy theorists).

Literally dozens of world leaders attend, and there are opportunities for favorable international PR, as well as behind the scene deals and covert discussions.

Much like a G20 summit meeting, the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, or a UN General Session in New York.

Nelson Mandela’s funeral today was such an occasion.

90 heads of state were in attendance from every country imaginable. All these people, by definition, have packed schedules of important commitments, and yet they were able to clear their diaries, arrange logistics, and turn up in Jo’berg for the funeral spectacular.

Not Israel.

President Peres reportedly had a bout of the flu – which at 90 is nothing to be sneezed at; and Prime Minister Netanyahu had run out of his international funeral budget. There were apparently additional concerns about security – although other world leaders, who probably value their own lives, seemed to deal with that one.

We all know that Mandela was pro-Palestinian – although that really was not the reason the whole world admired his statesmanship and revolutionary achievements in South Africa.

In a moment of fumbling – a motley crew of MK’s was assembled and dispatched from Jerusalem to South Africa, consisting of Yuli Edelstein (Speaker), Pnina Tamnu-Shata (Yesh Atid),  Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), Gila Gamliel (Likud Beytenu) and Hilik Bar (Labor).

Its hard to work out what diplomatic assets could come out of what looked like, to the untrained eye, a national snub.

I guess if the concern really was security, then the clutch of cheerful looking MK’s on a rare international jaunt, must have met the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s criteria of being, in a worst case scenario, dispensable.

Visit Tzedek-Tzedek.

David Morris

Obama’s Foreign Fiasco

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

It’s a privilege to be an American who works on foreign policy, as I have done since the late 1970s, participating in a small way in the grand project of finding my country’s place in the world. But now, under Barack Obama, decisions made in Washington have dramatically shrunk in importance. It’s unsettling and dismaying. And no longer a privilege.

Whether during the structured Cold War or the chaotic two decades that followed, America’s economic size, technological edge, military prowess, and basic decency meant that even in its inactivity, the U.S. government counted as much or more in world developments than any other state. Sniffles in Washington translated into influenza elsewhere.

Weak and largely indifferent presidents like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton mattered despite themselves, for example in the Iranian revolution of 1978-79 or the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1990s. Strong and active presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had greater impact yet, speeding up the Soviet collapse or invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

But now, with Barack Obama, the United States has slid into shocking irrelevance in the Middle East, the world’s most turbulent region. Inconstancy, incompetence, and inaction have rendered the Obama administration impotent. In the foreign policy arena, Obama acts as though he would rather be the prime minister of Belgium, a small country that usually copies the decisions of its larger neighbors when casting votes at the United Nations or preening morally about distant troubles. Belgians naturally “lead from behind,” to use the famed phrase emanating from Obama’s White House.

Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Qatar (with a national population of 225,000) has an arguably greater impact on current events than the 1,400-times-larger United States (population: 314 million). Note how Obama these days takes a back seat to the emirs of Doha: They take the lead supplying arms to the Libyan rebels, he follows. They actively help the rebels in Syria, he dithers. They provide billions to the new leadership in Egypt, he stumbles over himself. They unreservedly back Hamas in Gaza, he pursues delusions of an Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Toward this end, the U.S. secretary of state made six trips in four months to Israel and the Palestinian territories in pursuit of a diplomatic initiative that almost no one believes will end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of defense called Egyptian leader Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi 17 times in conversations lasting 60-90 minutes, yet failed in his pleas that Sisi desist from using force against the Muslim Brotherhood. More striking yet, Sisi apparently refused to take a phone call from Obama. The $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt suddenly looks paltry in comparison to the $12 billion from three Persian Gulf countries, with promises to make up for any Western cuts in aid. Both sides in Egypt’s deep political divide accuse Obama of favoring the other and execrate his name. As dozens of Coptic churches burned, he played six rounds of golf. Ironically, Egypt is where, four long years ago, Obama delivered a major speech repudiating George W. Bush policies with seeming triumph.

Obama’s ambitions lie elsewhere – in augmenting the role of government within the United States, as epitomized by Obamacare. Accordingly, he treats foreign policy as an afterthought, an unwelcome burden, and something to dispatch before returning to juicier matters. He oversees withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan with little concern for what follows. His unique foreign policy accomplishment, trumpeted ad nauseam, was the execution of Osama bin Laden.

So far, the price to American interests for Obama’s ineptitude has not been high. But that could change quickly. Most worrisome, Iran could soon achieve nuclear breakout and start to throw its newfound weight around, if not to deploy its brand-new weapons. The new regime in Egypt could revert to its earlier anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism; already, important elements in Egypt are calling for rejection of U.S. aid and termination of the peace treaty with Israel.

As an American who sees his country as a force for good, these developments are painful and scary. The world needs an active, thoughtful, and assertive United States. The historian Walter A. McDougall rightly states that “The creation of the United States of America is the central event of the past four hundred years” and its civilization “perturbs the trajectories of all other civilizations just by existing.” Well not so much perturbation these days; may the dismal present be brief in duration.

Daniel Pipes

Lapid Unintentionally Helps Right with Bid for ‘Interim PA Pact’

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Yair Lapid, Israel’s Finance Minister and head of Israel’s second largest political party, has unraveled U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to reincarnate the “peace process” before Kerry even packed his bags for another trip to Israel at the end of the week.

He told the Yediot Acharonot newspaper Sunday what everyone except Kerry and the European Union’s Catherine Ashton know – it is unrealistic even to think about a final stage peace agreement for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority as an independent country.

It is questionable if even Kerry’s boss, President Barack Obama, actually thinks an agreement is in the cards.

Maybe, just maybe, Obama has learned what Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush never seemed to grasp – the Palestinian Authority will make peace with Israel only when it is sure that the Jewish state’s future is doomed.

That is why PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas refuses to budge on the Arab world’s dream to import several million Arabs to Israel, based on their claim that Israel is their home because their parents, grandparents, great-great parents and their dogs lived here.

The Oslo Accords, Clinton’s time bomb that fulfilled his promise to create a new Middle East, although not exactly the way he envisioned, provided for interim borders for a Palestinian Authority state, with final borders to be negotiated.

Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in one of her many less enlightened moments, agreed that maybe it was best to simply skip over that little clause and go for broke.

And the “peace process’ since then indeed went broke.

Correctly perceiving that there was no need to concede anything except uncertainty, Abbas re-defined the word “negotiations” to mean “you give and I take,” with the only undecided issue being the date that Israel will supposedly sign its own death certificate.

The term “interim agreement” is no where in his lexicon. It is buried deep, deep under the “peace process,” and here comes Lapid, the last hope for the center-left to keep those pesky national religious Jews from getting too uppity, to the rescue of the right wing nationalists.

He also displayed remarkable honesty and lack of tact at the same by stating that Abbas “is still not psychologically ready for an agreement with Israel, either partial or full.”

That is the kind of statement that sounds like it is right out of the mouth of Avigdor Lieberman, who was foreign minister before he was indicted six months ago for breach of public trust.

It did not take long for Abbas, through an aide,  to react to Lapid’s statements, which reflect either amazing naïveté for a former journalist or just plain stupidity.

“We have heard this idea before and rejected it simply because we know the intention of Israel is to continue building on Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank,” stated Nimr Hamad, one of Abbas’ sages in Ramallah. Just in case Lapid does not understand, Hamad added that final borders are “the most important thing for us.”

With the United Nations General Assembly already having adopted a resolution recognizing the borders of a Palestinian Authority state exactly as Abbas wants them, talk of an interim agreement can only convince Abbas that Lapid is a nationalist is in disguise.

Lapid is part of an overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews who are not willing to hand over such areas as the Old City on Jerusalem to Abbas.

Abbas could save himself from virtually isolation by the Obama administration if he accepts the idea of interim borders, but to do so would be political suicide, if not a sign of a real-life death wish.

He has dug himself into a hole by promising and promising and promising the PA “street” that he will get everything he wants, lock, stock and barrel.

The joker in the cards is Lapid’s statement Sunday that President Obama could set a three-year time limit for defining final borders while carrying out Bush’s written promise to Israel that such as areas as Gush Etzion and Maaleh Adumim would remain part of Israel.

He also wants to put aside the issues of Jerusalem and the Arab demand for importing millions of foreign Arabs into Israel. Abbas has rejected that idea time and time again.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/lapid-unintentionally-helps-right-with-bid-for-interim-pa-pact/2013/05/20/

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