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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Senator Bob Menendez’

America’s Most Courageous Senator

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

A few weeks ago I wrote of sitting in the second row at the Davos lecture of President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. I related my revulsion at watching one of the world’s most skilled fabricators being given a hero’s welcome as a moderate, even as the Iranian government has publicly executed 600 people in the last twelve months alone, from religious leaders to political dissidents, mostly hanging them from cranes in public squares.

The world continues to give Rouhani a pass and the United States has already released $8 billion in previously frozen assets that will be used to prop up an evil regime that brutalizes its own people.

But amidst this ignoble capitulation which imperils the safety of the both the United States and Israel, there is one man who has almost singlehandedly stood up to Iran. He is Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

Menendez is that rare leader of courage, prepared to be castigated by the head of his own party who also happens to be the leader of the free world, in the pursuit of his convictions. Noone has shown the courage to stand up for Israel against the White House’s opposition to the new sanctions bill against Iran like Menendez and he has emerged as the single greatest supporter of Israel in the United States Senate. Period.

Watching Menendez stare down the White House for the past few months, I have been blown away by a leader seemingly made of steel, unbendable and indestructible. No matter how much President Obama has tried to break him on carrying forward with his Iran sanctions bill, Menendez has refused to yield.

Lately it’s been open season on Israel. The past few weeks have been a nasty display of anti-Israel diatribes on virtually every front with the permission to go after Israel coming passively from the Obama Administration. From Secretary of State John Kerry we have heard that if Israel doesn’t embrace a peace agreement that would have them cede East Jerusalem and all of the West Bank, there will be a second Intifada, new boycotts against Israel, and the Jewish state’s increased isolation. Talk about negotiating with a gun to your head!

From National Security Advisor Susan Rice – the American official who put party politics ahead of genocide prevention in Rwanda in 1994 – we have even heard that Israeli criticism of John Kerry is “unacceptable,” thereby denying a fellow democracy, not to mention an ally, the very freedom of speech. And all this has been child’s play compared to the avalanche of Israel hatred that has poured forth from academic boycotts like the ASA and Oxfam’s attempts to maligning a proud Jewish actress named Scarlett Johansson because she refused to abandon an Israeli company that employs nearly 1000 Palestinians in the West Bank.

Through all this Israel has had one stalwart public supporter who has bucked the trend, not only to put forth legislation, along with Senator Mark Kirk, that would stop the murderous mullahs from continuing uranium enrichment, but to stand with Israel against a President whom in the State of Union sounded like he was more concerned about Congress than Iran.

That man is Senator Robert Menendez.

I have heard from insiders that beyond what is know in the public sphere Menendez has been a bulldog for Israel behind the scenes as well. Ever since the White House’s full court press against the Senators, especially Democratic, who have co-sponsored the legislation to increase sanctions against Iran, a great many have gone silent. Not so Menendez who has fought back like a lion.

Last Thursday he made a strong argument as to why the White House’s policy on Iran is so misguided, stating, “Iran is insisting on keeping core elements of its programs – enrichment, the Arak heavy-water reactor, the underground Fordow facility, and the Parchin military complex. And, while they may be subject to safeguards — so they can satisfy the international community in the short-run – if they are allowed to retain their core infrastructure, they could quickly revive their program sometime in the future… Bottom line: They dismantle nothing. We gut the sanctions.”

Last November Menendez directly accused the White House of fear-mongering in their attempts to derail his anti-Iran legislation. “What I don’t appreciate is when I hear remarks out of the White House spokesman that … if we’re pursuing sanctions we’re marching the country off to war. I think that’s way over the top, I think that’s fear-mongering.

As for President Obama’s promise to veto any new legislation, Menendez said, “The legislation is not the problem. Congress is not the problem. Iran is the problem. We need to worry about Iran, not the Congress.”

It would seem surprising that a Democratic Senator would have to remind an American President that a regime whose leader recently called Jewish Zionists “rabid dogs” and who once again predicted Israel’s annihilation, is the enemy, rather than the US Congress. But this is the bizarre time in which we live, a time where the American Secretary of State goes to Israel on a near-weekly basis threatening the end of the world if Israel does not make peace with the Palestinians while not once visiting Damascus where 150,000 innocent people have already died.

In a time when Israel is facing renewed pressure and global calls for boycotts from an anti-Semitic BDS movement, it’s an incredible relief to know that Israel has stalwart friends. Menendez is the absolute best we have and the Jewish community ought to show its public and sincere gratitude.

Senators Introduce Sanctions Bill to Break Iran Deal

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties introduced a bill on Thursday that would toughen sanctions on Iran and effectively squash the interim deal between the major Western powers and Iran. The deal has been ridiculed by many as appeasement in return for a nuclear bomb.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois said the bill’s proposals for a worldwide boycott on Iranian oil exports and blacklisting the country’s mining industries are “an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception.”

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey said, “Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table.”

In the unlikely event that the Senate defies President Barack Obama and passes the bill, and the House of Representatives goes along for the ride, it would render the deal null and void because of the negotiators’ promise that no new sanctions would be introduced before the end of talks for a final deal in six months.

The bill also states, “If the government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States government should stand with Israel” with diplomatic, military and economic support.”

The 26 senators who introduced the deal basically made a stand against President Obama, and when the time comes that it is clear that the President and the leaders of the major powers were duped, the bill’s sponsors can say, “We told you so.”

But that won’t be of much help to Israel.

Kerry’s Failures: ‘Iran Deal’ in Geneva, Senate Sanctions Block?

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry left the Middle East for Geneva at the end of last week, he was flying high from a major smackdown of Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

It appears he ran out of gas, however, once he arrived in Geneva.

There was the deal with Iran that Kerry was trying to push through, that is until the French – the French! – had the fortitude to not just reject, but to publicly blast as a sucker’s deal.  That deal foundered, and eventually all the players rolled up their rugs and regrouped until the next head banging session, which will take place next week.

At the same time that Kerry was meeting with his colleagues in the P5+1 group (the other 4 permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, plus Germany) in Geneva, he was also spending time on the telephone in a concerted effort to persuade the relevant folks on the Senate banking committee to refrain from passing new sanctions against Iran. That committee’s House of Representatives counterpart had already passed such a measure during the summer.

In today’s State Department press conference, spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed that Kerry spoke with key senators Menendez, Graham , Levin, Schumer, and Reid last week, as part of his continuing efforts to block the Senate side of the Banking Committee from passing additional sanctions.

But as one of the journalists pointed out, on Monday, Senator Menendez (D-NJ), had an op-ed in USA Today, explaining exactly why increased sanctions at this time is the only way to ensure that Iran will recognize the seriousness with which the global community takes its responsibility to rid the world of an impending mortal threat.

Menendez is not only a member of the Senate Banking Committee, he is also chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He wrote:

Today, Iran has reluctantly arrived at the negotiating table because of tough sanctions imposed by the international community and the U.S. Congress — the same sanctions that critics long opposed.

Iran is on the ropes because of its intransigent policies and our collective will, and it would be imprudent to want an agreement more than the Iranians do.

Tougher sanctions will serve as an incentive for Iran to verifiably dismantle its nuclear weapons program. When Iran complies, sanctions can be unwound and economic relief will follow.

This approach is in concert with our diplomatic efforts and consistent with previous actions taken by the international community. It’s a necessary insurance policy, too. Should Iran fail to negotiate in good faith or abide by any agreement, the penalties will be severe.

Menendez acknowledged that it was appropriate for the world’s diplomats to be engaging in what they do best: diplomacy. But he also reminded everyone that Congress needs to do what it deems necessary so that “the Iranians know what awaits if it continues its to-date unabated pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.”

Kerry’s next step is a critical one.  While there is bipartisan support for a bill which increases sanctions against Iran – albeit with a trigger date that is not immediate, and which can be dialed back if Iran complies with terms deemed acceptable to the west, the banking committee has agreed it will not vote on the legislation until Kerry meets with them.  That meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.

This administration relentlessly pointed to its foreign policy cornerstone as the “biting sanctions” which brought Iran back to the negotiating table during last year’s campaign season. However, this administration now appears to be in a bigger rush to close a deal, even a “very, very bad deal,” to quote Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, than to ensure it has a verifiable and tightly-woven agreement with a very dangerous enemy.

To quote a Democrat, Bob Menendez, “Iran is on the ropes because of its intransigent policies and our collective will, and it would be imprudent to want an agreement more than the Iranians do.”

Kerry is likely to be joined by Vice President Joe Biden for the meeting with the Senate banking committee members.  That negotiation may be as tough as ones going on in Geneva. The signal from the White House is that members who insist on voting for stiff sanctions will be portrayed as warmongers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/kerrys-failures-iran-deal-in-geneva-senate-sanctions-block/2013/11/13/

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