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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘speech’

Obama Claims Netanyahu Offered ‘No Viable Alternative’ to Iran Deal

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama sat in the Oval Office surrounded by media, his body tense, prepared to rebut Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the Congress barely two hours after the event.

After a perfunctory acknowledgment of the points which America shares with Israel – the “unbreakable bond” between the two, etc. – Obama went straight to the point.

Netanyahu, he said, had “nothing new” to sell in his points about the Iranian nuclear threat.

“On the core issue, which is how do we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon which would make it far more dangerous … the prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives,” Obama told reporters crowded into the Oval Office as he met with newly appointed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

“We don’t yet have a deal,” he said. “It may be that Iran cannot say ‘yes’ to a good deal. I have repeatedly said that I would rather have no deal, than a bad deal.

“But if we are successful in negotiating, then in fact this will be the best deal possible to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“Nothing else comes close.”


Although the president said he “scanned” the transcript of the prime minister’s speech, one has to wonder whether he actually, really read it.  To claim that Netanyahu offered “no viable alternative” to the current agreement being negotiated was painting a swathe with a rather broad brush, to say the least.

Here’s the “viable alternative” that Israel’s prime minister came up with, and brought to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday:

“Nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A race car driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons. Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil….

“We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world… Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do. And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

“My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it. Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.”

Netanyahu added that the deal currently being negotiated could, in fact, even spark a nuclear arms race “in the most dangerous part of the planet. This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

“If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.”

Some Democrats Aim Venom, Charge Israeli Prime Minister with ‘Fear-Mongering’

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

In a stunning, nearly unbelievable attack by what has been a traditional base of support for the Jewish State, Democrats gathered Tuesday to attack Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following his speech to Congress.

A cluster of 56 Democrats boycotted the historic address to the legislators and it is unclear how many of those even bothered to watch a broadcast of the speech.

President Barack Obama himself said he personally was involved in a conference call with “European partners” but had scanned a transcript. No one at the White house watched the speech, according to reports.

None of that stopped a group of Democrats from gathering to launch a fierce media attack on the prime minister as soon as the speech was over.

Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday of “fear-mongering” and called Israel’s top leader a “child” in “Disneyland.”

Netanyahu was likened to “Dick Cheney” and told that Democrats “resented him sharing his views” in what they described as a “condescending manner.”

Reaction by Democrats and Republicans that followed in sites online, however, was swift and equally venomous.

“I wish we had such a leader here in America!” wrote one reader on The Gateway Pundit. “America stands with Israel!”

Another observed, “The oh so tolerant Democrats hate any views expressed that are not their own.”

It’s an odd position for Democrats to be in, particularly Jewish lawmakers who are in a double bind, opposing their commander-in-chief or their natural Jewish constituency.

An “unscientific” survey conducted by the American Jewish Congress over the past week determined that 72 percent of self-identified American Jews believe Netanyahu was right to come and speak to the Congress on Tuesday.

So Democratic lawmakers will also have to take that finding into account when they stump for votes in 2016 as well: most of those polled form their natural constituency.

Now the question is, how many Jewish Democrats have been offended by Democratic disrespect to Israel’s prime minister?

Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress on Iran to Bring ‘Substance, Not Politics’

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold told CNN on Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is intent on getting his message across about the danger facing Israel from Iran.

Basically, it’s the nuclear threat – not the Israeli elections or partisan issues or friction with America – that Netanyahu has come to the United States to talk about, media rumors and extraneous “other” comments notwithstanding.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told participants at the packed AIPAC convention Monday the U.S. “will not let Iran have a nuclear weapon, period.”

But it’s really not that simple, as Gold pointed out to CNN. To date, no nation has had any real control over Iranian activities, as has been patently obvious to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, as reflected in its annual reports, regardless of international inspections and agreements and understandings signed or not signed.

Israel, perhaps more than any other nation, is exquisitely aware of this, since it is Israel’s existence Iran has threatened to snuff out.

“When the prime minister speaks to Congress tomorrow, his speech will have substance no one has heard before,” Gold said, “and he will put it on the table. The political systems in both countries will discuss it. In democracies, that is not odd.”

As for the current difficulties between the United States and Israel, Gold appeared unruffled.

“Differences with allies is not new,” he said. “It happens between the U.S. and Britain… and now with Israel and the U.S.”

Despite the tensions caused by the prime minister’s decision to go ahead with his speech to Congress on Tuesday, said Gold, “We have to do it.

“Look for substance. Don’t look for politics. The substance is there.”

House Speaker Boehner Says Netanyahu Speech Won’t Harm US-Israel Relations

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Speaker of the House John Boehner hit back on Thursday at U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who characterized next week’s address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “destructive.”

Boehner challenged her remarks, saying that in fact, the situation was quite the opposite.

“The president’s national security adviser says it’s destructive for the prime minister of Israel to address the United States Congress,” Boehner told reporters on Thursday.

“I couldn’t disagree more. The American people and both parties in Congress have always stood with Israel and nothing, and no one, could get in the way,” Boehner said.

The invitation by the Speaker came directly, without a first pass by the White House or the State Department, which presidential staff members have censured as a breach of protocol.

The prime minister maintains that Iran’s skyrocketing nuclear development and the pending agreement being arranged by the United States and world leaders with Tehran presents Israel with a clear existential threat. As such, Netanyahu said he cannot afford to pass up an opportunity to directly discuss the danger to Israel with America’s lawmakers.

Rice said Tuesday the prime minister’s acceptance of the Speaker’s invitation to address the joint session of Congress on March 3 is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” between Israel and the United States.

“What has happened over the last several weeks, by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the Speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu on two weeks in advance of his election, is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship,” Rice said.

Boehner disagreed, saying, “What is destructive in my view is making a bad deal that paves the way for a nuclear Iran. That’s destructive.”

The Speaker insisted that it is important for the American people to hear what Israel’s prime minister has to say about the grave threats Israel faces.

“I’m glad that most of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, will be there” to hear it, Boehner said.

Both Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samatha Power, are expected to address the AIPAC annual convention which begins on Sunday, and where Netanyahu is also scheduled to appear.

Senior US Sen. Charles Schumer Urges Fellow Democrats to Attend Netanyahu Speech to Congress

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

New York’s senior Senator Charles Schumer called on fellow Democrats to put principles above politics this week and be in their seats March 3 when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu walks to the podium in Congress.

The U.S. has always maintained a “bipartisan policy” on its relationship with Israel, Schumer said during a radio interview in New York.

“Democrats and Republicans have always worked together on it; we ought to keep it that way.”

Vice President Joe Biden’s office announced that he will be “out of the country” when Israel’s leader addresses American lawmakers.

Schumer offered the opinion that House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu “could have been done in a different way.”

As the leader of an ally in the Middle East that is “helping us fight terrorism,” Schumer said, Netanyahu has “every right to come here and speak, but he ought to do it in a bipartisan manner.”

Both of New York’s Democratic senators and all but two of its Democratic representatives will attend the session.

Long-time Congress member Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) is one of the ‘won’t go’s.

“I am certain his motivation comes more from Israel than from his American friends,” Rangel told the New York Daily News — as if the Israeli prime minister should put America’s interests above those of his own nation’s citizens.

“I think that they would have to realize that this is not in the best interests of Israel, that he does this for his campaign,” he added. The remark leads one to wonder why a New York Congress member would suddenly make a reference to an Israeli national election when the address – and the topic – was arranged months earlier.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) also plans to be absent for the session, according to the report. Congress member Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) did not respond to a query by the Daily News about her plans; Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told the paper he is “consulting” with his constituents in Brooklyn before deciding. All other New York City Democrats plan to attend, the paper reported. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) commented that skipping the speech would be a political move. “I am not choosing to participate in those politics,” she said.

“I hope that things can be worked out to salve some of the legitimate wounds that people feel,” Schumer said. “I will go to the speech out of my respect and love for the State of Israel.”

Meanwhile, Iran continues to behave in the manner predicted by Israel, which deeply concerns its leadership over the likelihood Tehran will reach a nuclear threshold.

Iran is still not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters. The agency remains unable to clarify outstanding measures of explosives tests and other activity that could be used to create nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Data in both areas were to have been provided to the IAEA by August 2014.

But this is not new behavior; Tehran long ago mastered the technique of buying time for more nuclear development by stringing along Western leaders with promises of “new talks” and “negotiations” in return for delays on sanctions. The current P5+1 negotiations, slated to end in a “new agreement” by March 24, are just more of the same.

It is precisely the danger inherent in the repeated delays – and time granted to Iran that allows it to progress in its nuclear activities – that has finally prompted Netanyahu to turn to Congress directly.

ADL Joins Anti-Netanyahu Team, Says Cancel Speech to Congress

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Oooh, another bit of drama in the ‘Obama-Bombing-Bibi Soap Opera’ …

The White House has started bringing out the heavy artillery: The New York-based Anti-Defamation League is the latested to be recruited to pressure Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into canceling his address to the U.S. Congress on March 3.

Yes. It’s another round of messing with Israeli politics, cloaked in the guise of harassing a prime minister over a speech to Congress. But it’s really about trying to rally enough bad blood to make Netanyahu look bad to people who know he’s probably one of the few in Israel who actually knows how to lead, mistakes notwithstanding.

Ah — and lest we forget — it’s also about trying to distract the American public from that other thing: the Iranian nuclear threat that’s being carefully hidden away in a pretty package with a shiny pink bow. It’s about to be sealed in an agreement between Tehran and world powers led by President Barack Obama at the end of March. Obama’s not very happy that Netanyahu is planning to talk about that with Congressional lawmakers.

Somehow ADL national director Abraham Foxman was persuaded to tell The Jewish Daily Forward that the controversy over the address by Netanyahu – who was invited to deliver the speech by the Speaker of House, John Boehner, months ago – is “unhelpful.” Foxman was quoted as saying the Netanyahu should stay home, according to the Feb. 7 edition of the UK-based Huffington Post.

(Frankly, Harriet, how on earth did the UK get into this? Oh, right — they get into anything that has Netanyahu involved — forgot. Carry on…)

“One needs to restart, and it needs a mature adult statement that this was not what we intended,” Foxman said in the Forward interview published Friday. “It has been hijacked by politics. Now is a time to recalibrate, restart and find a new platform and new timing to take away the distractions.”

Foxman said he “stands with Israel” and its concerns over the rapidly closing U.S.-Iran deal on Tehran’s nuclear development activities. However, he said Netanyahu’s upcoming appearance before the Congress has become “a circus.” Instead, he suggested the prime minister postpone the speech until after Israel’s March 17 elections. Or make his case at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference, scheduled the same week as his address at Congress.

Of course, the scheduled date of the AIPAC conference was the reason Netanyahu moved the date of the speech back to March anyway, even though it was closer to elections. He only travels once that way.

This writer finds it interesting that the White House staff has been so successful at recruiting nearly every major American Jewish organization into trying to pressure the leader of the State of Israel on a matter seriously affecting Israel’s national security.

Were the situation reversed, one wonders how the American people would react if the Kremlin were to play the same games to stop President Barack Obama from addressing the United Nations Security Council at a special session, for instance, or even the Duma in Moscow on a matter of equal gravity affecting American national security?

Another question might be to consider which threats, if any, were implied or outright tossed to haul the ADL on to this bandwagon.

Most of the American Jewish organizations tangled up in this shameful campaign of harassment benefit from at least some government funding for community assistance programs. As such, they are enjoined to avoid any form of political involvement or they lose that funding instantly.

So many questions … so few answers … so little time …

Netanyahu Hedges Bets Over Speech to US Congress

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

It looks like Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is looking for a safety net to deal with the mounting controversy over his agreement to address the U.S. Congress on March 3.

“It appears that the Speaker of Congress made a move in which we trusted, but which it ultimately became clear was a one-sided move and not a move by both sides,” HaNegbi said. However, when asked whether Netanyahu should cancel or postpone his address, HaNegbi asked, “What would be the outcome then? The outcome would be that we forsake an arena in which there is going to be a very dramatic decision (meaning Iran).”

A Netanyahu spokesman declined to comment on HaNegbi’s comments on Friday. HaNegbi is a senior member of Netanyahu’s Likud party.

It is clear the Likud is doing what it can to diffuse any political fallout from the controversy. The White House is working very hard to prevent him from speaking to Congress or being re-elected; Netanyahu is apparently perceived as a threat to Pres. Barack Obama, though it is not clear how or why.

Israel Ambassador Ron Dermer arranged the date with GOP House Speaker John Boehner months ago, setting the address originally for Feb. 11, but changing it to March 3, the same week as the annual AIPAC conference.

The date was set without consulting the White House or anyone from the Democratic Party leadership, skipping the usual protocol – a move which infuriated both President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders.

But what’s upset the White House even more is the topic of the address: Netanyahu has been invited to address the Congress on the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat. The speech is to be delivered less than a month from the deadline for an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear development activities being discussed with Tehran by world powers.

Obama and his supporters are deeply concerned that Netanyahu could sabotage those talks and derail that agreement, which he has worked hard to achieve.

Netanyahu, for his part, is indeed hoping he can do just that. The Israeli prime minister has underscored in every public address he has made for months the gravity of the situation with Iran, and the existential threat its nuclear development program presents to Israel. Netanyahu is determined to do everything in his power to dial back that agreement, which he insists allows the Iranians to retain the ability to create an atomic weapon of mass destruction with very little additional effort.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-hedges-bets-over-speech-to-us-congress/2015/02/07/

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