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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Sen. Lindsey Graham’

Rubio’s ‘Poison Pill’ May Force Democrats to Get Off the Fence on Israel

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio’s insistence  on amending the proposed Senate bill for review of a deal with Iran by requiring  the Islamic Republic to recognize Israel is beginning to make Democrats squirm.

Iran has repeatedly stated that Israel should be wiped off the map. It is building Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and by all accounts, except Tehran’s, is not far from being able to obtain a nuclear warhead.

It doesn’t take an evangelist Republican to connect the dots despite Iran’s position that it would never never even dream of obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Iran never would accept Rubio’s proposal that it recognize Israel, at least not in Ayatollah Khamenei’s lifetime, and Rubio knows it.

So does President Barack Obama, who warned on Wednesday he would veto a Congressional bill if it makes negotiations with Iran impossible.

Democrats, especially the Jewish ones, also know that supporting the president and voting against the suggestion that a Muslim country recognize the Jewish state will be recorded in the history book on warped thinking, with the notion the way to peace is to allow an enemy to scheme to destroy an enemy instead of dismantling the scheme, admitting defeat and recognizing that the enemy is its own hallucinations.

Where is Shimon Peres when we need him? Peres has said dozens of times that “one makes peace with enemies, not with friends.” The cliché is more ridiculous than it is trite, but if that is his philosophy, why isn’t he out there backing Rubio?

The Senate began on Tuesday to debate the proposed law that any deal with Iran on its nuclear development must be submitted to Congress for review.

President Obama originally said he would veto such a law, but after Republic Sen. Bob Corker toned down its original language so that the legislation would have a veto-proof majority, he changed his mind.

That was until Rubio, who has announced he is running to be the GOP’s presidential nominee next year, came up with seven amendments,  known as the “poison pills” because there is no chance Obama and Iran would accept them.

Besides demanding that Iran recognize Israel, the Florida Republican wants Iran to release American it is holding. He also demands that sanctions having nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear development be retained on Tehran.

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, Jewish and strongly identified with Israel, blocked Rubio’s effort on Wednesday to bring the “recognize Israel” amendment to a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I appreciate the senator from Maryland’s passion,” Rubio said, “but I want a vote on the amendment,” and he intends to do so when the bill comes to the floor of the Senate.

Rubio has managed to scare Republicans as well as Democrats.

Several GOP Leaders are angry with Rubio because his “poison pill” amendments would destroy the bi-partisan support for a watered-down bill for Congressional review of a deal with Iran.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a strong backer of Israel, said he would vote against Rubio’s amendments.

Graham explained:

I don’t think anybody is going to accuse Lindsey Graham of being anti-Israel. I’ve been working for a year … to put this coalition together. And failure is not an option.\

Politico reported that “GOP leaders appear to siding with Rubio [and] so far, they have not moved to orchestrate Republicans to vote against problematic amendments.”

Rubio has the Democrats in a tight corner. He said, “Do Democrats not support Israel?”

The oddity is that Democrats are holding their collective breath for Corker, a Republican, to convince Rubio to back off or convince his colleagues to vote against the amendments.

Kerry Admits Obama’s Syria Policy Is Failing

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry has lost faith in his own administration’s Syria policy, he told fifteen U.S. Congressmen in a private, off-the-record meeting, according to two of the senators who were in the room, Josh Rogin reported for The Daily Beast.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who attended Kerry’s briefing, said that Kerry “acknowledged that the chemical weapons [plan] is being slow rolled, the Russians continue to supply arms, we are at a point now where we are going to have to change our strategy.”

“He openly talked about supporting arming the rebels. He openly talked about forming a coalition against al Qaeda because it’s a direct threat,” Graham continued.

Sens. Graham and John McCain told The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and Bloomberg they agreed with Kerry that the time had come for the United States to drastically alter its approach to the Syrian civil war.

McCain and Graham also said they share Kerry’s assessment that the U.S. must take steps to address the growing al Qaeda presence in Syria, which Clapper said now amounts to over 26,000 extremists on Syrian soil.

But Fred Hiatt, writing for the Washington Post, reported that Kerry’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Psaki, denied that her boss raised the prospect of lethal assistance for the rebels. “This is a case of members projecting what they want to hear and not stating the accurate facts of what was discussed,” she said.

Power’s Interventionism Thrills Pro-Israel Crowd Except on Israel

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Samantha Power brings to foreign policy an activist impulse that many in the pro-Israel community wish was more prevalent among American diplomats.

Except Power, a former White House national security council staffer nominated this week by President Obama to represent the United States at the United Nations, has at times directed her interventionist inclinations at Israel.

A former journalist and Harvard-educated lawyer known for her work on human rights and genocide, Power presents a rare and polarizing dilemma for the pro-Israel community: Enthusiastically embrace her proclivity for tough U.S. intervention and hope it never manifests in her dealings with Israel? Or block her?

Two conservative Jewish groups, the Zionist Organization of America and Emet, have taken the latter approach. In urging the Senate to kill Power’s nomination, they have cited a 2002 video in which Power appears to advocate transferring U.S. assistance from Israel to the Palestinians and deploying an interventionary force to protect the Palestinians, among other statements.

“The overwhelming evidence of her entire record causes us great fear and concern,” the ZOA said in a statement.

Meanwhile, an array of Jewish groups — including the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly — have endorsed her unreservedly.

The ADL and the Rabbinical Assembly, in separate releases, each used the phrase “champion of human rights” to describe Power, who first came to wide public attention with the publication of her 2002 book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” which considered American inaction in the face of various genocides.

Notably, two groups that maintain a regular U.N. presence, the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International, had no comment. B’nai B’rith’s said it was withholding approval of Power’s nomination until she addressed her earlier remarks under oath during Senate confirmation hearings.

“Israel has few real friends at the United Nations and at the top of the list is the United States, and it is really incumbent on the representative to be prepared, willing and able to rebuff and repel that kind of language,” said the group’s executive vice president, Daniel Mariaschin.

A similar dichotomy is playing out among Republican senators, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading critic of what he sees as Obama’s gun-shy foreign policy, saying he would support her, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a Tea Party favorite, expressing deep skepticism at the choice.

On Friday afternoon, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a pro-Israel leader in the body, strongly endorsed her on Twitter. “As United Nations Ambassador, Samantha Power will aggressively represent the United States interests in an increasingly hostile body,” he said on one Tweet, and then immediately: “Power will also be a strong supporter of our close friend and ally Israel.”

The difference was pronounced this week even among Republican Jews, with the Republican Jewish Coalition urging senators to ask Power hard questions about past statements and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whose failed candidacy last year for the U.S. House of Representatives was heavily touted by the RJC, singing her praises.

“I take my yarmulke off to President Obama for one of the most impressive actions of his presidency, namely, the nomination of Samantha Power to the post of American Ambassador to the United Nations,” Boteach wrote in the Huffington Post.

Power, 42, was born in Ireland, but moved to Pittsburgh as a child. Her coverage of the Balkan wars for a number of American media outlets in the 1990s led to an interest in human rights law. Her 2002 book drew strong reviews and attracted the attention of Barack Obama, who was then contemplating a Senate run. Power joined his 2008 presidential campaign as an adviser and later the Obama White House, where she worked on on multilateral organizations.

Central to critiques of Power is a chat she had with a University of California-Berkeley professor, Harry Kreisler, in 2002, when she headed Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights. Kreisler, hosting Power on his public access program, framed a question about U.S. intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a “thought experiment” and asked Power what she would do if “one party or another” seemed ready to commit genocide. At the time, Israelis and Palestinians were mired in the Second Intifada.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/powers-interventionism-thrills-pro-israel-crowd-except-on-israel/2013/06/08/

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