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December 2, 2016 / 2 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘secretary of state’

Wikileaks: DNC Strategy Was to Push Trump to Front of Republican Line

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

It appears that pushing into the limelight an esoteric, buffoonish, self-absorbed candidate so he would win the Republican presidential nomination — was the Democrats’ strategy from the start, their surefire way of propelling Hillary Clinton to the presidency.

“We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously,” states an April 7, 2015 email memo from the Democratic National Committee, exposed by Wikileaks. At the time, the “pied pipers” were Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson.

If you were wondering how come Donald Trump received so much free media exposure for months and months, why every comic in North America used him for fodder, and why he was consequently able to knock off his rivals so effectively — part of it, of course, had to do with his bombast personality and on-screen shenanigans, but part of it was supported by the opposition.

Under the heading “Our Goals and Strategy,” the memo stresses that “the goal of a potential HRC campaign and the DNC would be one-in-the-same: to make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to a majority of the electorate.”

“We don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party,” the memo recommends.

The memo outlines three strategies to make this happen: “1) Force all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election; 2) Undermine any credibility/trust Republican presidential candidates have to make inroads to our coalition or independents; 3) Muddy the waters on any potential attack lodged against HRC.”

It was a sound strategy, which most of us believed had worked as we all entered election day 11/9. “Most of the more-established candidates will want to focus on building a winning general election coalition,” says the strategy memo, suggesting that “more will need to be done on certain candidates to undermine their credibility among our coalition (communities of color, millennials, women) and independent voters.”

But while pointing out just how “outrageous” Trump, Cruz and Carson are as choices for the presidency, they also had to be mainstreamed, to help them gain the GOP primary votes. “In this regard,” says the memo, “the goal here would be to show that they are just the same as every other GOP candidate: extremely conservative on these issues.”

The DNC’s purpose in pushing up the most extreme, outrageous GOP candidate had to do with the party’s fears regarding Hillary Clinton’s own shortcomings. An email from Mandy Grunwald, a media advisor for the Democratic Party, that was forwarded to John Podesta, sums up the results of a focus group and lists Clinton’s vulnerabilities. Here’s the abridged version:

“Out of Touch – Should we add that HRC hasn’t driven a car in thirty-five years?

“Cronyism, foreign governments, I would name some of the countries, particularly those in the Middle East.

“Wall Street. ‘When HRC recently spoke to bankers at Goldman Sachs, instead of holding them accountable for their activities that crashed the economy, she told them that banker bashing was foolish and had to stop.’

“Obama’s Third Term. I would add ‘We need a new direction.’

“Ineffective. ‘Clinton flew all over the world, but she can’t name a single major accomplishment she made as Secretary of State.'”

To be able to win with so many strikes against her, Clinton’s people felt she had to go up against a rival who would make a fool of himself and become the brunt of a million jokes. The strategy worked, winning Clinton the popular vote in 2016 – but not the election.

David Israel

In Strongest Showing, Trump Fails to Bridge Gap with Women

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Had Donald Trump been as in command of his demeanor and of the debate subject matters in his previous bouts with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and had he been able to restrain his impulsive reactions to her skillful provocations, he would probably not be trailing her in the polls as badly as he is doing these days. The big story most media outlets have run with right after the third presidential debate in Las Vegas Wednesday night has been Trump’s refusal to commit to honoring the results of the November 8 elections—the first presidential candidate to have done so before the actual vote. But it’s doubtful that his coy response, that he’ll keep us in suspense, will actually hurt his numbers in the coming nineteen days. After all, he has done just that during the early primary debates, refused to commit to supporting the Republican nominee, no matter whom he or she would be — and his poll numbers increased. Trump’s devastating failure this third debate has been to move the needle on his appeal to American women.

A new CBS poll of 13 battleground states taken a couple of days before Wednesday night’s debate showed women voters favor Clinton by 15 points over Trump, compared with 5 points a month earlier. Regardless of how he got there, how unfair that hot mic recording of his uttering really vulgar words on the bus had been, how the media were ganging up on him and how the Clinton campaign was to blame for the ten or so women who came out to portray him as an abusive man — it worked, and it was Trump’s job to fix it.

He didn’t have to win over the swing state women, he just needed to bring their support back to what it had been — a +5 for his opponent, because he had the majority of male voters on his side. Making peace with women had to be his top priority, if he wanted a shot at winning Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, the must-win-2-out-of-3 states for Republican presidential candidates. He failed abysmally.

He didn’t even have to be contrite, he didn’t have to apologize, he didn’t have to make any of the PC gestures he—and many of the rest of us—despise so much. He just had to show empathy, take the high road, look and sound like a mensch. Instead, he willingly conceded the women’s corner to his opponent, and became entangled in a string of denials that focused attention on the accusations against him, rather than build him up as a human being. It wasn’t enough to repeat the line, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody,” which elicited one of the very few roars of laughter from the audience. He had to show respect, and he had a perfect opportunity right there and then, seeing as his opponent happens to be female. He couldn’t do what a number of better skilled American politicians have done with grace — including, most emphatically, presidential candidate Bill Clinton, who, during the 1992 campaign, was floored several times by very serious allegations of sexual misconduct. Bill Clinton showed the skill and smarts that were required to dig himself out of the hole every time some woman from Arkansas had stood up to remind him of their quality time together.

Instead, Trump went on the attack against his accusers, not understanding the fundamental rules of the complex game known as American politics: you can’t ever appear like the bully, you can’t ever express contempt towards people who are weaker and poorer than you, and you can’t ever, ever, tell a rape victim she’s a liar, even if she’s lying.

But when it came to hitting his opponent hard where she deserved to be hit, Trump was weak and unforcused. Hillary Clinton evaded the moderator’s hard-hitting questions with admirable facility, at one point turning Chris Wallace’s poignant question on the corrupt “pay to play” conduct of the Clinton Foundation into an infomercial on the good works of the same foundation, but Trump stood and watched, overmatched, as his rival was taking his lunch.

The media are congratulating Wallace on his strength and competence, and he certainly has been better than everyone before him, but look at this exchange, and notice how Trump was unable to deliver a devastating blow against his opponent, despite the enthusiastic support from the moderator on this issue:

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, during your 2009 Senate confirmation hearing you promised to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest with your dealing with the Clinton Foundation while you were secretary of state, but e-mails show that donors got special access to you, those seeking grants for Haiti relief separately from non-donors and some of those donors got contracts, government contracts, taxpayer money. Can you really say you’ve kept your pledge to that Senate committee and why isn’t what happened and what went on and between you and the Clinton Foundation […] what Mr. Trump calls pay-to-play?

Clinton: Well, everything I did as secretary of state was in furtherance of our country’s interests and our values. The state department has said that. I think that’s been proven, but I am happy — in fact, I’m thrilled to talk about the Clinton Foundation because it is a world-renowned charity and I’m so proud of the work that it does. I could talk for the rest of the debate. I know I don’t have the time to do that, but just briefly the Clinton Foundation made it possible for 11 million people around the world with HIV AIDS to afford treatment and that’s about half of all the people in the world that are getting treatment in partnership with the American health association.

Wallace then reminds Clinton, “The specific question is about pay to play —” and he asks Trump for his input.

Alas, Trump is unable to form a coherent, razor-sharp attack and resorts instead to anecdotal arguments. He is not in command of the facts in those Wikileaks, he can’t make the case, and falls flat instead, coming across yet again as grumpy Trump.

Trump: It’s a criminal enterprise. Saudi Arabia given $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries. You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off business, off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly and yet you take their money. So I’d like to ask you right now why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money? I think it would be a great gesture because she takes a tremendous amount of money. And you take a look at the people of Haiti. I was in Little Haiti the other day in Florida, and I want to tell you they hate the Clintons because what’s happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace. And you know it and they know it and everybody knows it.

There’s a reason why the vast majority of American politicians are Law School graduates. Law School is where you learn to think on your feet to form a counter argument quickly and convincingly, before a critical judge who isn’t interested in your trip to Little Haiti and how the folks down there hate Hillary. And while Trump was busy going nowhere, Hillary was preparing a massive counter attack. And, remember, she didn’t have to destroy her opponent, only to divert attention from the very real accusations made by Wallace against her conduct as Secretary of State, affording access to her foundation’s donors.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, very quickly, we at the Clinton Foundation spend 90%, 90%, of all the money that is donated on behalf of programs for people around the world and in our own country. I’m very proud of that. We have the highest rating from the watchdogs that follow foundations. And I would be happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald. I mean, who does that? I mean, it just was astonishing. But when it comes to Haiti, Haiti is the poorest country in our hemisphere. The earthquake and the hurricanes, it has devastated Haiti. Bill and I have been involved in trying to help Haiti for many years. The Clinton Foundation raised $30 million to help Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake and all of the terrible problems the people there had. We’ve done things to help small businesses, agriculture, and so much else. And we’re going to keep working to help Haiti because it is an important part of the American experience.

This is how it’s done.

Finally, close to the end, when most pundits were prepared to declare him the winner, at least by points, Trump shot himself in the foot and provided the opposition with a golden slogan. The topic of discussion was entitlement programs, including Social Security, that “third rail of American politics,” where countless Republicans have lost to countless Democrats who knew that any voter over age 50 doesn’t care about the program’s solvency, they just want to be reassured their checks will be in the mail for as long as they live once they retire. Which is what Hillary gave them, possibly without a shred of real figures to support her:

Clinton: Well, Chris, I am on the record as saying we need to put more money into Social Security Trust fund. That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it, but what we want to do is —”

And Donald Trump leaned into the mike and said hoarsely: “Such a nasty woman.”

Clinton either hadn’t heard him or chose to ignore him, but millions of women saw an angry man belittling and attacking one of their own. Expect T-shirts saying “I’m voting for the nasty woman,” very much like the Obama campaign’s T-shirts from 2008, with the slogan, “I’m voting for that one,” following Sen. John MacCain’s unfortunate reference to his debate opponent Sen. Barack Obama. And, as has been the theme of this post 3rd debate analysis, should he lose the election, Donald Trump will have mostly himself to blame for rigging it.

Finally, in the discussion of third-trimester abortions, Hillary Clinton presented the familiar, feminist argument about the woman’s right to make decisions about her body, with the support of her family, her doctor, and her spiritual adviser. Jewish law, which does not believe that we own our bodies, since they belong to the Creator, we are merely the custodians of our bodies, nevertheless sides with those who permit third-trimester abortion, for a completely different reason.

In a case where the birth of the fetus poses a threat to the life of the mother, before the birth has begun, as long as the fetus is completely in the womb, the fetus that threatens its mother’s life is considered a “rodef,” a person who wants to kill another person and should be killed first. In such a case, the midwife is permitted to even cut the fetus up and pull it out in pieces, to save the mother. In fact, Donald Trump described in great detail precisely what the halakha encourages the midwife to do should the fetus risk its mother’s life:

Trump: Well I think it is terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that is okay and Hillary can say that that is okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she is saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take a baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month. On the final day. And that’s not acceptable.

Had he asked his Orthodox Jewish daughter Yael, she would have told him that this is exactly how our tradition describes what is permitted in that tragic case where the mother’s life is at stake.

However, everything changes in our halakha when it comes to partial birth. If most of the baby is out of the womb, we’re no longer dealing with a fully realized life—the mother, versus a potential life—the fetus. Now we have two fully realized humans with equal rights to life. According to our laws, if the baby’s head has emerged completely (the maximalist view), or 51% of the baby’s body has emerged (the minimalists), we can no longer kill the baby.

Two of our major scholars, Maimonides and Rashi, hold different views on abortion for reasons other than the health of the mother. In a cases where the fetus is likely to be born deformed, Rashi, who holds it is not a realized human, would permit an abortion, Maimoides does not.

By the way, all Jewish authorities agrees that for the first 40 days of pregnancy a woman may terminate without any question, because the fetus only receives a soul on its 40th day.

But overall, Jewish law never views the killing of an unborn fetus as murder, at most it would be a case of manslaughter, but more likely a case of civil damages, if done against the woman’s will.

JNi.Media

As B’Tselem, Peace Now Attack Settlements, US Tells UNSC Israel Sabotages Two-State Solution

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

In a move that appears to confirm Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s worst nightmare, Deputy US Ambassador to the UN David Pressman told a session of the UN Security Council on Friday that the US is “deeply concerned and strongly opposes settlements which are corrosive to peace,” blaming Israeli settlement activities in Judea and Samaria for creating ” a one state reality on the ground.”

The council meeting, titled “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution,” was called by member states Egypt, Venezuela, Malaysia, Senegal and Angola. The meeting was pushed by the PA delegation, which earlier this year shelved an anti-settlement proposal in favor of a French-led peace initiative. Attendance was not mandatory and there was no vote, however, it was clearly a signal of things to come, with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry preparing to go after Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as soon as the Nov. 8 vote is cast.

Pressman pointed to the rise in the number of demolitions of illegally constructed Arab homes in Area C of Judea and Samaria as being of particular concern, and called on both sides to adopt policies that encourage rather than impede “implementing the two-state solution.” He also condemned Arab terrorism against Israelis, and argued that by inciting violence the PA is telling the world it isn’t interested in peace.

The Russian representative said the situation in the liberated territories is near “the moment of truth,” and insisted that “settlement construction must stop,” because it creates “Palestinian enclaves” which are disconnected from the world. “Israel needs security, but without the two-state solution, the threat to Israel will grow,”he threatened.

Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, and Lara Friedman, director of policy and government relations at the Americans for Peace Now, were the darlings of the special anti-Israel session. Friedman said that the Israeli investment in settlements shows the state is looking to thwart the two-state solution, and called on the UNSC countries to “send a message” to Israel.

Friedman told the council about an entire system inside and outside the Israeli government dedicated to constructing new settlements and expanding existing ones. She accused Netanyahu’s government of promoting the construction of 11,000 new settlement housing units between 2009 and 2015.

El-Ad complained that “Israel has systematically legalized human rights violations in the occupied territories through the establishment of permanent settlements, punitive home demolitions, a biased building and planning mechanism, taking over Palestinian land and much, much more.” He added that 2016 was the “worst” in terms of the number of illegal Arab structures that were demolished by Israel in Area C, which is under Israeli control according to the Oslo Accords.

Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg addressed the remarks by El-Ad, saying, “As we have said all along, the term foreign-agent does not do justice to the disgraceful activities of B’Tselem against Israel, which is enabled by funding from foreign governments and the New Israel Fund. History will not forgive those who, in exchange for money, are willing to sell out their country, people, and land.”

Peleg added: “We expect the government to announce that it will cease providing National Service positions to B’Tselem. The organization should be distanced from all contact and cooperation with the IDF and government offices.”

JNi.Media

Netanyahu Asking Kerry to Avoid UN 2-State Resolution

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night phoned Secretary of State John Kerry to tell him Israel expected the Obama Administration not to change its policy and promote or support a vote on the Israeli-PA conflict at the UN Security Council between the November 8 vote and the inauguration of the next US president in January, Ha’aretz reported citing an anonymous Israeli official.

According to the same source, Kerry responded by saying the Administration has not yet made its decision on this matter — which is probably what he would have said if he didn’t want an Obama anti-Israel move to hit the news before the election.

The chances for a hostile American move have increased following reports on the plan to relocate the Jewish residents of Amona in Judea and Samaria, which is slated for demolition on orders from the Israeli Supreme Court, to new homes that will be built for them in nearby Shilo, also in Judea and Samaria. This is because while the Supreme Court only objects to keeping Jewish residents on land whose ownership has been disputed by local Arabs, the US objects to any sign of new Jewish life in Judea and Samaria.

According to Ha’aretz, Netanyahu did not raise the issue of an anti-Israel US vote at the UNSC during his meeting with President Obama in New York in September. But following Netanyahu’s meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a few days later, the latter issued a statement saying she objects to any unilateral US move against Israel at the UN. Netanyahu is hoping that, should she win—which appears to be a certainty at this point—Clinton would restrain Obama during the transition period.

Pundit Eli Lake writing for Bloomberg suggested the mildest move on Obama’s part after November 8 would be a speech in favor of the two-state solution. This approach is similar to a speech Bill Clinton gave at the end of his presidency that laid out such parameters. Lake expects Obama to disclose in such a speech the concessions Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were willing to make in their negotiations that fell apart in 2014.

A second option, which Hillary Clinton has vowed to try and block, could be US support for a new Security Council resolution to replace resolution 242, which was drafted after the 1967 Israeli liberation of the territories occupied by Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1949. 242 does not mention a Palestinian State, but instead calls on Israel to return liberated territories to the Arab aggressors along its borders.

A third option would be for the Obama Administration to declare war on rightwing Israeli NGOs. Anti-Israel Jewish organizations such as J Street have suggested altering the US tax code to exclude rightwing Israeli NGOs which today frustrate Arab illegal settlement in Area C, placed under Israeli custody in the Oslo Accords. The NGO Regavim, for instance, has done an aggressive job compelling the Israeli Supreme Court as well as the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to act against illegal Arab squatters, enraging the EU and Us which have been paying for those illegal settlements.

Finally, the Obama Administration might declare its recognition of a Palestinian State in borders that include Area C, and issue an ultimatum for Israel to withdraw its military and civilians from the new state. It’s probably the least likely option, but it’s out there, being bandied about in think tanks in Washington DC and in Jerusalem.

JNi.Media

Trump in 2nd Debate: Aleppo Has Already Fallen

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Focusing, as we always do, on the Jewish-Israeli niche of presidential politics, we paid great attention Sunday night to the exchange between candidates Trump and Clinton on the situation in Syria. In general, both debaters agreed the situation was tough, and neither was eager to get into specific solutions. What stood out for us was the statement by Donald Trump that the battle of Aleppo between the US-backed rebels and the coalition of Assad, the Russians, Iran and Hezbollah will go to the pro-Assad forces.

Martha Raddatz (ABC News) asked Trump: “What do you think will happen if [Aleppo] falls?” Which Trump answered, “I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen.”

It should be noted that on Saturday in the UN Security Council Russia vetoed a French resolution calling for an immediate halt to its air strikes on east Aleppo, where reportedly hundreds of civilians are being killed, including many children. The Russian delegation, accusing the rest of the council of “Russophobia,” watched many council members walk off as the Russians were giving the floor to an envoy of the Assad regime. The Russians are fast running out of friends over this campaign — except, apparently, for Trump, who described Allepo as collateral damage of the effort to destroy the real enemy of the US in the Middle East — ISIS.

“I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump said during Sunday night’s debate. “Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.”

Raddatz pointed Trump’s attention to the fact that not only the entire Western world objects to what the Russians have been doing in Syria, but his own running mate, Mike Pence, had said a week ago, that the “provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.”

Trump, who had praised Pence’s debate performance, came right out and said, “OK, he and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.”

Raddatz: “You disagree with your running mate?”

Trump: “I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran, who [Clinton] made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly, very, very quickly.

“I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. And that was the line. And she didn’t.”

To delineate Trump’s foreign policy point on Aleppo from all of the above, the defeat of ISIS justifies permitting Russia, Iran, the Assad regime and its Hezbollah satellite to recapture all of Syria and turn it into their permanent base, with all the ramifications for Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and, of course, Israel.

A debate then ensued between Raddatz, who as her network’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent is probably familiar with the issue, and Trump, over the need for secrecy before attacking a target like the oil rich city of Mosul in Iraq. “The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul,” Trump argued. “They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul. So we have announcements coming out of Washington and coming out of Iraq, we will be attacking Mosul in three weeks or four weeks.”

“Well, all of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul,” he continued. “Why can’t they do it quietly? Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack, and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success? People leave. Why do they have to say we’re going to be attacking Mosul within the next four to six weeks, which is what they’re saying? How stupid is our country?”

Raddatz suggested, “There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.”

Trump retorted, “I can’t think of any. I can’t think of any. And I’m pretty good at it.”

Raddatz: “It might be to help get civilians out.”

Perhaps. Trump could also be correct in pointing out that the US campaign in Iraq has remained as undisciplined and as badly coordinated as it has been since the 2003 invasion, under two different administrations.

Hillary Clinton sounded as hapless as the Obama Administration when she said the Russians don’t care about ISIS, and are instead “interested in keeping Assad in power.” As remedy, she proposed: “…when I was secretary of state, I advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground.”

Of course, there’s no way the US and its allies would be able to enforce a no-fly zone on the Russian air force, short of starting WW3, which is why Clinton sounded hollow when she declared, “I’ve stood up to Russia. I’ve taken on Putin and others, and I would do that as president.” And she sounded even less realistic when she warned, “…I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.”

Hillary Clinton then committed a blunder that could haunt her in the future should she be elected president, when she suggested, “There are a lot of very important planning going on, and some of it is to signal to the Sunnis in the area, as well as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, that we all need to be in this. And that takes a lot of planning and preparation. … I would also consider arming the Kurds. The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria, as well as Iraq. And I know there’s a lot of concern about that in some circles, but I think they should have the equipment they need so that Kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principal way that we take Raqqa after pushing ISIS out of Iraq.”

That’s not something an American president should say if he or she wish to elicit Turkey’s support in the Syrian campaign. Proposing to arm the Kurds sounds about as bad to Ankara as the idea of the US arming Hamas would be received in Jerusalem. That would be one of those cases where Clinton would be well advised to have one policy for public consumption and another for insiders.

You probably noticed we did not deal at all with the Trump tapes or the Clinton emails, because everyone else in the media are offering a wealth of information on those. We only tried to point out that when it comes to one of Israel’s most burning issues, the escalation of the war north of its border, neither candidate has offered a particularly convincing formula, and Clinton actually declared she would definitely keep US ground troops out of the Syrian civil war.

We should note with satisfaction that Israel was not mentioned even once in the debate and neither was the two-state solution or Jewish settlements. Thankfully, both candidates are too clever to step on that landmine.

JNi.Media

Three Republicans Introduce Bill to Cut Funds to PA over Pay to Terrorist Murderers

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Taylor Force, 28, was a former US Army Officer and a student at Vanderbilt University, who was stabbed to death by an Arab from the Palestinian Authority in Jaffa, Israel last March 8. On Wednesday, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dan Coats (R-In), and Roy Blunt (R-Ms) introduced the Taylor Force Act, aimed at cutting funding for the Palestinian Authority if it continues to incite and reward acts of terrorism.

The new bill

• Requires the Secretary of State to certify to Congress the Palestinian Authority is taking credible steps to end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the attack on Taylor Force;

• Calls on the Palestinian Authority to publicly condemn such acts of violence and is taking steps to investigate and cooperate in investigations bringing perpetrators to justice; and

• Terminates payments for acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been imprisoned after being convicted of terrorist acts, to any individual who died committing a terrorist act, or to family members of such individuals.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Sen. Graham said, “To pursue peace, you have to reject killing. … This bill is not a result of animosity towards the Palestinian people. It’s pushback against state-sponsored terrorism.”

“This legislation shines a light on a very real problem,” Graham said, asking, “Why is the Palestinian Authority paying young Palestinians to commit acts of terror against innocent Americans like Taylor Force or Israelis? The Palestinians need to decide – do they condemn these horrible acts or do they reward them? You can’t be a partner in peace when you are paying people to commit terrorist acts. The choice the Palestinians make will determine the type of relationship they have with the United States in the years to come.”

Senator Coats said, “To provide American taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority so that it can treat terrorists as heroes or glorious martyrs is morally unacceptable. Our hope is that applying this budgetary pressure will end this immoral program of rewarding and encouraging terrorists.”

Senator Blunt said, “Israel is one of our closest allies and a stalwart of democracy in the Middle East. It would be absolutely unconscionable to allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to be used by the Palestinian Authority to reward convicted terrorists for acts of violence against Israel. I urge all of my colleagues to back this effort to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) voiced his opinion about the proposed legislation: “I’ve repeatedly demanded that President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority work to prevent Palestinian terrorist attacks and end all government-sponsored incitement of violence. It’s unacceptable that our taxpayer dollars are still being used by the Palestinian Authority to pay terrorists who have Israeli and American blood on their hands, and to brainwash young Palestinians with hatred for the Jewish people. The U.S. should condition assistance to the Palestinian Authority on it stopping these despicable practices.”

Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) said, “The United States should hold Palestinian leadership fully accountable for continuing to incite violence against Israeli and American citizens and provide financial support to terrorists and their families. This is a no-brainer that’s critical to encouraging the emergence of a credible partner for peace with Israel, a fellow democracy and our closest ally in the Middle East, yet this Administration refuses to do it.”

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) said, “This bill stands for a simple principle: U.S. taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund terror against our own citizens or our ally Israel. The American people and the Israelis believe in helping the Palestinians build a better and more prosperous society. But that better society will never be possible if Palestinian leaders continue to funnel cash to terrorists and their families. The Obama administration and future administrations should hold Palestinian leadership accountable on this issue and tell them that as long as they continue to fund terror, they should not expect another dollar of U.S. economic assistance.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “Earlier this year, Texas native Taylor Force was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv. Taylor’s murder is a grim reminder that the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism targets Americans and Israelis, Christians and Jews, indiscriminately. Our unshakable alliance with Israel will remain our strength as we face this threat together. The legislation introduced today will put the Palestinian Authority on notice that American taxpayers will not continue to fund them unless they take concrete steps to end the abhorrent practice of rewarding terrorists and their families. I’m proud to stand with Senators Graham and Coats as well as my other colleagues in solidarity against not only the terrorists attacking our citizens, but also all who fund and enable them.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement saying, “The American people would be appalled to learn their tax dollars have been subsidizing terrorist attacks on Israel – all the more so because Americans have frequently been the victims of these attacks, and their murderers are the ones benefiting from these U.S. subsidies. By conditioning future U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority on 1) the PA taking credible steps to suppress terrorism in the areas under its control, and 2) the PA ending payments to incarcerated terrorists and the families of dead terrorists, the Taylor Force Act would end this affront to American values.

“The RJC thanks Senator Graham for leading the charge to end this gross abuse of taxpayer dollars. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and we urge all Senators – Republicans, Democrats and Independents, to back this important legislation.”

JNi.Media

Clinton Aide Skips Subpoena, IT Specialists Cite Fifth Amendment at Clinton ‘Emailgate’ Hearing

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

A former State Department employee and two IT specialists from the company that maintained the private server for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State, all refused to testify Tuesday before a Congressional committee hearing on the matter of the former Secretary’s deleted emails.

Clinton aide Bryan Pagliano, who received a subpoena to appear before the House Oversight Committee, was actually a no-show at the hearing.

Lawmakers were amazed at the temerity of the former State Department employee who had been ordered to appear to testify on the deletion of some of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Pagliano was the one who had set up the Democratic presidential candidate’s private email server.

But the aide chose not to testify, and didn’t show up for the meeting, instead allegedly exercising his Fifth Amendment right under the Constitution, not to testify against himself.

The committee members argued about the matter, with their views split straight down party lines.

Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said, “He should be here. When you are served a subpoena by the United States Congress, that is not optional.”

That view was supported by Florida Republican Congressman John Mica, who suggested the committee consider ‘contempt of Congress’ as an option.

But committee member Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) argued the subpoena placed Pagliano under threat of criminal prosecution: Chaffetz had already asked the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to investigate deletions from the server, thus raising the possibility of a criminal probe. “It puts him in jeopardy coming before this committee while that criminal referral is in existence,” Lynch said. “He’s an American citizen. I know the Constitution gets in the way of this committee sometimes,” he added with heavy sarcasm.

Two employees of Platte River Networks, the Colorado-based company that maintained the server – Bill Thornton and Paul Combetta – were also subpoenaed to testify before the committee. Both arrived for their appearances but neither was willing to talk: each repeatedly exercised his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions.

Questioned on the security of the server and deletions of certain emails from it, Chaffetz was forced to excuse them both after endless repetitions of the same response: “On advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer and exert my Fifth Amendment right.”

Justin Cooper, an IT specialist and the Clinton advisers who set up the email address, did respond to questions from the lawmakers about cyberattacks on the server, as well as who had access and how it was protected.

With two more hearings to go, the Congress members have yet to see an unedited, unredacted copy of the “unclassified” material from the server, let alone a redacted copy of classified reports.

Democracy in action?

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/clinton-aide-skips-subpoena-it-specialists-cite-fifth-amendment-at-clinton-emailgate-hearing/2016/09/13/

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