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June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘US’

U.S. Cuts Israel’s Military Aid by 5%

Friday, June 21st, 2013

The U.S. cut $175 million from the $3.1 billion dollars of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) it supplies Israel, as part of across the board cuts in international military aid, according to a report in Ma’ariv.

Ambassador Michael Oren said Israel would not be asking for an exemption from the cuts, and that Israel would carry its share of the burden.

Most of the US military aid must actually be spent in the US, with purchases from U.S. companies recognized by the Department of Defense as authorized military contractors.

Israel is one of the largest recipient of FMF funding.

Some in Israel believe that the FMF funding is not a good thing, and in fact limits and restricts Israel’s ability to develop and sell its own military projects, by restricting development and sales to projects that don’t significantly compete with U.S. military sales.

It’s not yet clear what purchases will be cut from the budget, but it may affect the purchase of the controversial F-35 stealth plane.

The cuts in general will negatively affect U.S. military activities overseas, as well as possibly reduce joint training exercises with Israel.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israel Did not Notify US of Bombing Mission in Syria

Monday, May 6th, 2013

An American intelligence official, speaking on the basis of anonymity, told Reuters that Israel did not notify the Obama administration before the two bombing missions last weekend that targeted Iranian missiles destined for the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

Israel informed the United States of the pre-emptive counterterrorist operation after the attacks.

Unlike many previous secret maneuvers in Lebanon and Syria, Israel has confirmed its planes flew over Lebanon and dropped the bombs that then honed in on their targets in Syria, without Israeli aircraft crossing into Syrian air space.

President Barack Obama gave Israel his full support Saturday, stating that Israel’s right to defend itself necessitates it to prevent Hezbollah getting its hands on the Iranian Fateh-110 missies that can reach deep into Israel from southern Lebanon.

Another unidentified intelligence official told Reuters, “Any sophisticated weaponry that finds its way there (Syria) that looks to be destined to fall in the hands of bad actors, I think there is a likelihood that those could be targets as well.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Obama Goofs Up on Hand-Over-Heart During Anthems

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

President Barack Obama began chatting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the Israeli Army band played The Star Spangled Banner at the welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport Wednesday before remembering to put his hand over his heart.

Netanyahu also turned to Obama with a few words beforehand, and it appeared that the two leaders would be gabbing with each other instead of standing quietly during the American National Anthem.

After Obama solemnly put his hand over his heart, he kept in there during the beginning of HaTikvah, a remarkable honor to a foreign country. However, after a few seconds, he remembered to remove his hand and stand at attention.

Afterwards, he shook hands with dozens of well-wishers, most of whom he probably does not even know, but his outgoing personality seemed to make everyone feel he was receiving a personal response.

The two chief Rabbis of Israel, Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, also welcomed President Obama.

President Shimon Peres told Obama, “Welcome home.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Iran Charges Israel with ‘Genocide’ at IAEA Meeting

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

U.S., Canadian and Australian officials stalked out of a meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog when the Iranian envoy accused Israel of genocide on Wednesday.

Joseph Macmanus, the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, stormed out of the meeting in Vienna on Wednesday after Ali Asghar Soltaneh made the accusation, Reuters reported, as did Canadian and Australian officials.

Macmanus earlier had accused Iran of “deception, defiance and delay” in its dealing with the agency.

The meeting Wednesday comes weeks ahead of a renewed effort at talks in Istanbul by major powers, led by the United States, to negotiate terms with Iran to make more transparent its nuclear program.

Western powers and Israel believe Iran is close to being able to manufacture a nuclear weapon. Iran denies this, and Soltaneh repeated these denials on Wednesday, calling the accusations “baseless.”

JTA

Erdogan: Zionism ‘Crime against Humanity’ (Video)

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan chose none other than the UN Alliance of Civilizations” on Wednesday to declare that Israel and Islamophobia both are a “crime against humanity.”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sat non-responsively behind Erdogan as he spoke in Vienna.

In a chilling reminder of the United Nations’ “Zionism is Racism” Resolution passed by the United Nations in 1975 and revoked 16 years later, Erdogan stated, “Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it becomes unavoidable that Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity.”

His speech was the keynote address at the 5th Global forum sponsored by the UN.

“We witness on a frequent basis, the shutting out and despisal [sic] of the other, whereas understanding the beliefs, culture and feelings of the other is what should be done. It has become inevitable for Islamophobia to be seen as a crime against humanity, just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism,” he declared.

“None of the divine religions approves terror; and above all, Islam, which is a derivation of ‘silm,’ means peace. It is impossible for a religion of peace to encourage or approve of terrorism; we will never accept that. The Alliance of Civilizations is one of the most meaningful initiatives to remove prejudices and close the gap between sides.”

After his declaration that “understanding the beliefs, culture and feelings of the other” applies only to Islam and excludes Zionism, he mouthed off at the Western powers with a not-so-subtle swipe at the United States.

“We have to form an alliance between the permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is very difficult to reach a compromise at the Security Council. Whenever a member says no, the deal is done. This is something that needs to be addressed. Wasn’t the UN founded to maintain world peace? If so, the UN is in dire need of reforms.”

The United States, Britain, France, China and Russia are the five permanent members, and the United States has used its veto power, and the threat to veto, to block most anti-Israel resolutions.

His comments in Vienna came two days before he is to welcome U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Turkey on Friday.

Without Israel, without Iran, without Syria, maybe he wants to ditch the United States, also, and declare Turkey a diplomatic island.

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Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

The Unbreakable Alliance

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

“Unbreakable Alliance” doesn’t refer to the Lapid-Bennett pact that been a sticking point in Netanyahu’s coalition negotiations, but rather, its the operational name for the upcoming visit of President Obama to Israel before Passover.

As reported in the JewishPress.com a few days ago, Facebook fans of Prime Minister Netanyahu were being given the chance to vote on the official logo of the visit – and vote they did.

Winning over 68% of the vote, the logo above has now been selected as the official logo of Obama’s visit.

The Hebrew name for the visit is “Brit Amim”.

 

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Jack Abramoff: Americans Believe The System Is Rigged Against Them

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

In 2005 and 2006, Jack Abramoff’s name was all over the news – for the wrong reasons. A high-powered Capitol Hill lobbyist – and an Orthodox Jew to boot – Abramoff found himself at the center of a federal corruption investigation that ultimately landed him in jail. Among other things, Abramoff was accused of conspiracy, bribery, tax evasion, and attempting to defraud his clients of tens of millions of dollars.

Today, Abramoff is a free man. Out of prison since 2010, Abramoff today is committed to reforming the lobbying industry that he helped tarnish. In 2011, he wrote Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Corruption From America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist. The Jewish Press recently caught up with him.

The Jewish Press: What is Jack Abramoff doing today?

Abramoff: I have my own radio show Sundays evenings on XM radio, and I travel the country speaking about politics, what goes on in Washington, and my past.

I’m working on a book on gridlock in Washington. I’m also working on television programming on the lobbying business and am trying to move forward some motion picture projects – I used to be a movie producer. One film is sort of like “Lord of the Rings” and another one is an animated feature similar to “Shrek.” Both of them have biblical backgrounds and undertones.

Finally, I’m working on efforts to reform the political system and helping other good causes as well.

What’s wrong with the system as it’s currently constituted?

The system is basically set up in a way that people who come in with money can buy outcomes. I’m working with reform groups – groups I used to oppose – to come up with some solutions to solve this problem.

How do people “buy outcomes”?

By giving politicians campaign contributions, taking them out to dinner, taking them to a ballgame, etc. If I’m asking you to do something for me for money, that’s bribery – even if it’s [often] legal. Ninety-nine percent of what I did as a lobbyist was legal. It was only one percent, or even less, where I went over any legal line.

Your lobbying firm reportedly spent a million dollars a year buying congressmen tickets to various sporting events. Is this common practice in Washington?

No, I did things bigger than most people. But whether you’re giving away six tickets or 60 tickets, the essence is the same.

You have publicly stated that you were morally blind as a lobbyist. How do you account for that blindness?

I didn’t take the time to sit down and analyze the system. I just jumped in. I was into winning the fights I was in, and I felt the ends justified the means, so I went off track.

Incidentally, most people in the system today don’t consider it immoral. Most congressmen who take these contributions don’t feel they’re being bribed.

What goes through a congressman’s head when a lobbyist buys him a ticket to a sports game? Doesn’t he know the ticket comes with strings attached?

They think I’m their friend, and I thought I was their friend too. In other words, I was just taking my friend out. So, my friend happens to be a congressman and I happen to be asking my friend to help me out with something. Their attitude would be, “Well, if [the favor] is not something I would normally object to, what’s the problem?”

You think to yourself, “I’m his friend and I would do this anyway.” There are all sorts of excuses you come up with to convince yourself it’s not a bad thing. In fact, you [tell yourself], it’s a good thing because you’re going after worthy goals that would otherwise not happen if it weren’t for your relationship with this congressman.

What worthy goals are you referring to?

I thought the clients I represented had worthy causes. I only took clients if I agreed with their cause.

How many lobbyists are there on Capitol Hill?

It varies. You get a count anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000. The top tier is under 100.

In your book, you offer a number of proposals to reform the lobbying industry. Can you detail some of them?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, removing the ability of lobbyists and special interests to use money in the political system is one of them.

Elliot Resnick

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/americans-believe-the-system-is-rigged-against-them-an-interview-with-former-lobbyist-jack-abramoff/2013/01/03/

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