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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘u.s. aid’

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.

Train Posters Citing Tutu, Urging End to US Aid to Israel

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

A display of fairly insulting posters along the platforms at 25 Metro-North train stations went up this week, calling for an end to “apartheid” by stopping U.S. aid to Israel, WABC News reported.

If you stayed home for Passover, you were spared these unsightly messages – but they’ll be there tomorrow morning, on your way to work, if you travel from suburban New York and Connecticut,.

A group called American Muslims for Palestine paid for the billboards, which are displayed at 25 Metro-North stations. But the true force behind the latest effort to soil Israel’s name is—you guessed it—all Jewish.

“The campaign against U.S. aid for Israel targets neither Jews nor Passover, but rather Israeli apartheid and injustice. And the best way to honor Passover, which celebrates Jewish liberation from ancient oppression, is to champion Palestinian human rights today,” said Michael Letwin of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, who spoke at Tuesday’s launch of the billboards at the Metro North Harlem station.

Naturally, they posted them in Harlem, where the big decisions about U.S. aid are made.

The ads call for the end of U.S. aid to Israel and call the treatment of Palestinians in the disputed territories “apartheid.”

A quote from Bishop Desmond Tutu is featured at the top of the billboard, where he says how distressed he has been since his visit to the Holy Land.

You can read the full article (Apartheid in the Holy Land), it truly comes across as the ramblings of a tired old man, regurgitating the cliches he has been fed, combining them with familiar resentments: “And how did it come about that Israel was collaborating with the apartheid government on security measures?” he wonders, betraying the sad fact that the realities of an embattled Israel in the early 1970s are still his measure of today’s realities.

There are no suicide bombers in Tutu’s view of history, no Jewish graves, no massacred families, only suffering Palestinians. He condemns Israel’s action in Judea and Samaria, following the massacre of the Park Hotel in Netanya on the seder night, April, 2002. Tutu writes: “The military action of recent days, I predict with certainty, will not provide the security and peace Israelis want; it will only intensify the hatred.”

Wrong. In 2002 the IDF, once and for all, broke down the terrorist infrastructure and either killed or threw most of the thugs in jail. What followed was a period of growing prosperity for Judea and Samaria Arabs, and a tight hold of the IDF on Arab terrorism.

The good bishop would have had Israel just lie there and turn the other cheek. In that he follows a long tradition of church leaders.

Antisemitism is such an ever shifting thing. They used to call for our heads because we were racially impure, now it turns out we’re the new racists.

The ads feature a disclaimer by the MTA stating the agency does not endorse the views expressed. That’s when the ads are in favor of killing Jews (or leaving them defenseless so someone else would do the killing). In cases when Jews try to fight back with their own, anti-Jihadist ads, as in the case of Pamela Geller, the same MTA fights them tooth and nail.

Friendly Reminder: Foreign Aid to the PA Funds Terror

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The role of money in perpetuating vile terrorism never seems to get enough attention.

On Monday in Washington, Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State, articulated in the clearest way where the U.S. administration stands on delivering gifts to the Mahmoud Abbas regime, the one that is in control of sections of the entity called by many the State of Palestine. She was addressing a daily press briefing:

[W]e think it’s very, very important that they remain effective in supporting the needs of the Palestinian people… So we’re continuing to work through this. I would simply say that the Secretary [of State, meaning John Kerry, in his second week in office] feels extremely strongly that it is time now to get this support to the Palestinian Authority.” Ms Nuland was speaking about the U.S. giving funds to the P.A., the body which officially renamed itself “the State of Palestine” a few weeks ago.

She had spoken about the value of handing money to the Abbas regime just a few days earlier as well – on the previous Friday, February 8 in that day’s press briefing:

We are working with Congress to ensure U.S. support for the Palestinians, including $495.7 million in F.Y. 2012 assistance that was notified in April 2012 and $200 million in F.Y. 2013 direct budget support that was notified last week. Our view remains that our assistance to the Palestinian people is an essential part of the U.S. commitment to a negotiated two-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis, promoting a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. It is in the interest not only of the Palestinians, but of Israel and the United States as well, to ensure these efforts continue as they help to build a more democratic, stable and secure region. We’re not well placed to speak about what’s good for the USA or for the Palestinians, though we don’t lack opinions. We also refrain from criticizing the government of our own country in relation to its sending money to Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies. (Ask us and we’ll explain why.)

The point of raising here, again, this issue of money being handed over to the Palestinian Arabs in their various configurations is to remind decent people of what is done with it in reality. It’s a murky and very disturbing picture. The facts are out there, but you might be surprised at how little they are known, and how little attention the politicians pay to them.

It’s a matter that has been on our minds for years. Look for instance at what we wrote in October 2006:

Don’t be offended. But if you’re a European who cares about what’s being done with the taxes you pay to your government, the Palestinians are playing you for a fool. Not just you alone, but also your government, your politicians and your public-sector watchdogs. There are some startling revelations there that, in most cases, are even truer now, though now the evidence is easier to see – for those who want to see it.

Thanks to our friends at Palestinian Media Watch and Love of the Land for alerting us to a revealing video clip from official PA Television that aired last March. The on-camera presenter is interviewing a released Palestinian Arab former-prisoner who is proud to talk openly about the acts of terrorism he executed. He’s open about this because he has money on his mind. Here’s the transcript (the P.A. television video clip itself can be seen here):

Host: “With us is Iyad Abu Khaizaran. Good evening.” [Iyad Abu Khaizaran was a member of Islamic Jihad when he was sentenced to a life term plus 25 years in 1991 for the murder by stabbing of a 76 year old Jewish man, Shlomo Yahya, in the Tel Aviv suburbs. He walked free in the Shalit Transaction in 2011, and recently married.] Iyad Abu Khaizaran: “Since the day we were released from prison, we have been given [only] half a salary… We killed Jews. I personally killed Jews. I killed settlers and I injured soldiers. My house was destroyed. I have 11 bullets in my body. I served 22 years in Israeli prisons.” Host: “Did you, like the other [prisoners], receive salaries in the prisons?” Abu Khaizaran: “Yes. Since around the year 2000, [the salaries] became organized.” Host: “In other words, from 2000, did all the organizations, without exception, whether it was Fatah or Hamas, supporters of Abbas or not supporters of Abbas, receive salaries or not? Tell the truth openly.” Abu Khaizaran:Yes, yes they did.” He feels those salaries were too small to start with. He complained bitterly to a pro-terrorism website last year:

“His salary from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, he said, doesn’t even cover the taxes levied on his family land in Tubas.” He demonstrates that money is a significant dimension to the kill-elderly-Jews experience. More people should listen to him.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/friendly-reminder-foreign-aid-to-the-pa-funds-terror/2013/02/14/

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