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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘vote’

Rice’s Work At UN Wins Plaudits From Jewish Communal Leaders

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

WASHINGTON – Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who is widely seen as a leading candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has garnered plaudits from Jewish communal leaders for her work at the world body.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Rice routinely meets with Jewish groups. “We had a meeting right before the General Assembly, and we covered the wide range of prospects,” Hoenlein said. “I can’t say there were big areas of disagreement – and where there might have been, she’s always been forthright and honest.”

“She has proven herself as an ardent defender of major Israeli positions in an unfriendly forum,” said Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director. “And I’m more comfortable with the person I know than the person I don’t know. She is close to the president and that’s important in that position if you have someone you can relate to and understands us.”

Jewish groups see Rice’s trajectory at the United Nations – from tussles over Israel’s settlements and membership on the Human Rights Council at the outset of her term four years ago to close cooperation more recently – as reflective of the Obama administration’s evolving approach to Israel.

“One thing important to point out is that the votes have reflected administration policy,” said Daniel Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith International’s executive vice president. By contrast, he said, a secretary of state is more a shaper of policy than just its messenger.

Still, Mariaschin said, Rice as UN ambassador has demonstrated an understanding of Israel’s difficulties in the international arena.

“There are ways of explaining your vote and ways of explaining your vote,” he said. Mariaschin noted that Rice’s explanation of the U.S. “no” vote last week when the UN General Assembly elevated Palestine to non-member state status incorporated many of the talking points conveyed to her by pro-Israel groups.

“She made kind of a good end to an otherwise disappointing day,” Mariaschin said. Rice in her post-vote explanation was dismissive of whatever hopes that the lopsided vote – 138 for, 9 against and 41 abstentions – might have engendered for the Palestinians.

“Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade,” she said, “and the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded.”

Some Jewish conservatives, however, have warned against Rice being elevated to secretary of state, citing disagreements related to Israel from the first part of Obama’s first term.

They have criticized Rice over the U.S. decision to join the UN Human Rights Council, a body that has disproportionately targeted Israel for criticism, and over her criticism of Israel’s settlements in explanatory remarks after the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution in February 2011 that would have condemned Israel for its settlement policy.

A Nov. 29 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by Anne Bayefsky, who directs Touro College’s Institute of Human Rights and the Holocaust, and Michael Mukasey, who served as attorney general under President George W. Bush, noted two issues, among others, in questioning her “moral fitness” for the job of secretary of state.

“Though the president, not the UN ambassador, makes foreign policy, one is entitled to ask how a Secretary Rice would view the acts and omissions of Ambassador Rice,” they wrote.

Foxman was furious with the Bayefsky-Mukasey article, saying it was an unseemly attempt to drag the Jewish community into a political fight.

“People may differ about the effectiveness of certain tactics or, as we have often done, even seriously question whether bodies like the UN Human Rights Council will ever give Israel a fair hearing,” he wrote in a letter to the Journal that it has not published.

“But no one should use the UN’s anti-Israel record to cast aspersions on Ambassador Rice. She has earned her reputation as a fighter for Israel’s equality in a hostile forum where an automatic majority reflexively expresses its bias against Israel.” David Harris, the American Jewish Committee’s executive director, said he had come around to the idea that joining the Human Rights Council was a reasonable decision after having earlier opposed the move.

UN General Assembly Votes in Favor of Palestine

Friday, November 30th, 2012

With a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of nonmember state status for “Palestine” on Thursday.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has pointed out that the UNGA does not actually have the ability to recognize states, which is a power vested only in the UN Security Council, which rejected the PLO’s effort for upgrade last year.

So regardless of the UNGA vote, Palestine will still not be a state.

In fact, “The UN General Assembly does not have the power or the authority to establish states. Any such General Assembly resolution upgrading the Palestinian delegation would be no different from any other non-binding, recommendatory resolution of the General Assembly, and would have no legally binding status.”

Of course it does give them something. It will allow the Palestinian delegation to sit in the General Assembly hall, between Panama and Pakistan.

The following countries voted against the nonmember status change:

  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Israel
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • United States

Fighting in the Name of G-d and Engaging a Higher Consciousness

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai and Malkah kick off by discussing a letter received from a listener and how the threat of rocket attacks across Israel is still a real one.  They move on to talk about the threat presented to Israel by Hizbullah in Lebanon and how the world is turning a blind eye to the civil war that is raging in Syria.  They also discuss the mobilization of IDF reserve soldiers and how it should be a goal for the Jewish People to look for a higher consciousness in life by practicing schmita and visiting Jerusalem three times yearly.  They end the segment by presenting an interview with Moshe Feiglin following his  good showing during Likud primaries this week and also discussing the results of the Likud primaries.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Life with Tzipi: Likud Gaining in Wednesday’s Poll, Labor Down

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

It appears that the net effect of Tzipi Livni’s announcement that she’s running as the head of a new movement named after her (The Movement Led by Tzipi Livni is the official name, which probably limits the possibility of competition for chairmanship there at this time) has been to drive the Likud-Beiteinu list up a little bit at the expense of both the right and the center. And, as was to be expected, Livni’s votes are siphoned off of Labor’s and Kadima’s. One winner on the left: Meretz, which continues a slow rise from its current 3 seats. Finally: Torah Judaism will definitely increase its power from 5 to 6 seats in the next Knesset, based on sheer demographics alone.

The Meretz rise, according to Haaretz which published the poll, is that leftist voters have given up on Labor’s chances to actually form a coalition government, and so they choose to vote their heart rather than compromise needlessly.

And a similar sentiment is emerging on the right, as voters, secure in a Likud-headed government, seek to bolster its right-wing flank with a vote for Power to Israel (MKs Eldad and Ben-Ari).

So here are the numbers as of this morning, Wednesday, Nov. 28:

Likud-Beiteinu: 39 (was 35, current Knesset mandate 42)

Labor: 18 (was 23, current Knesset mandate 13)

Shas: 11 (was 14, current Knesset mandate 11)

Yair Lapid: 8 (was 13, current Knesset mandate 0)

Jewish Home (NRP): 8 (was 9, current Knesset mandate 7)

Tzipi Livni: 7 (was 0, current Knesset mandate 0)

Torah Judaism: 6 (was 6, current Knesset mandate 5)

Meretz: 5 (was 4, current Knesset mandate 3)

Rabbi Amsalem: (was 3, current Knesset mandate 1)

Kadima: 2 (was 5, current Knesset mandate 28)

Eldad & Ben-Ari: 2 (was 0, current Knesset mandate 2)

Good Morning, We’re Having a Palestinian State and Israel Kind of Approves

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

In yesterday’s State Department press conference, Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed that the U.S. will be voting “no” on the effort by Mahmoud Abbas to raise the United Nations status of the Palestinian Authority so that “Palestine” will move from being merely an “observer” to what is known as a non-member observer state.

At this time, the only official U.N. non-member observer state is the Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, which is the representative of the Vatican.

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas landed in New York last night.  The Resolution endorsing the change is expected to be voted upon in the U.N. General Assembly this Thursday, Nov 29.

The government of Israel is adamantly opposed to the change in status for the Arab Palestinians, and is hoping that other countries will support its position.

But, in a surprise announcement, a top diplomatic Israeli official in Jerusalem told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday that Israel no longer intends to dismantle the Oslo Accords if Abbas goes through with his UN gambit.  Technically, such a move negates the Oslo process, and Israel has long threatened to consider the Oslo Accords fully abrogated if the Arab Palestinians attempt to achieve results outside of negotiations.

It was not readily apparent what response, if any, the government of Israel will have to a change in status for “Palestine” at the U.N. But the announcement made Tuesday was in conflict with statements made over the past few weeks by Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in which he threatened that the Oslo process would be cancelled if Abbas went forward with his effort at the U.N.

Thus far only the U.S. has officially declared its intention to vote against the Palestinian statehood resolution.  Nuland explained the U.S. position to reporters yesterday, Nov 27:

We’re focused on a policy objective on the ground for the Palestinian people, for the people of Israel, which is to end up with two states that can live peacefully next to each other. Nothing in this action at the UN is going to take the Palestinians any closer to that. So yes, we’re going to oppose it because we think it is the wrong move. We think it makes other steps that might improve the lives of Palestinians and Israelis harder. Other countries will make their own decision. This is not a new issue. We’ve been talking about it for more than a year, and so we’re just going to have to see what happens later on in the week.

It is anticipated that Canada will vote against the Resolution, and Germany may abstain, but already both France and Britain have publicly stated they are committed to voting in favor of the resolution.  Switzerland and Portugal are also expected to support the measure.  No doubt the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will all vote in favor of the measure.

Unlike a Resolution in the Security Council, in the General Assembly there is no such thing as a veto.  A simple majority vote is all that is necessary for the measure to pass. Full member status can only be obtained through a vote at the Security Council. Last year Abbas went to the Security Council to seek full member status for “Palestine.” The United States, however, made clear its intention to veto the measure, and the effort was withdrawn.

After some badgering by reporters over whether the change in status would have any impact on the peace process, Ms. Nuland said, categorically, “We oppose any move in the General Assembly. We think it’s going to make the situation harder.”

And Abbas is going to the UN with the support from an unexpected source – longtime political rival leadership of Hamas is now supporting the U.N. bid.  No clear explanations have been offered for this about-face.  However, there are those who suspect Hamas anticipates victory over Abbas’s Fatah as the sole representative of the Arab Palestinian people.  If so, then they will be the representative party at the United Nations.

It is widely expected that the U.N. Resolution will pass, but even if it does “Palestine” will not be a full member of the UN.

A draft copy of the Resolution, dated 26 Nov 2012,  was obtained by The Jewish Press.  The Resolution reiterates all of the demands the Arab Palestinians have made, with no concessionary language whatsoever, and includes demands for the release of prisoners, the “right of return,” the cessation of all Israeli “settlement” activities, including in “East Jerusalem,” that the capital of “Palestine” will be “East Jerusalem,” and,

the attainment of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and fulfills the vision of two States, an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel, on the basis of the pr-1967 borders.

The Resolution also calls on the Security Council to favorably consider the application submitted last year to the United Nations for full membership for “Palestine.”

UPDATED: Likud Primaries Extended to Monday

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Due to computer glitches that have prevented many Likud members from voting, Likud primary elections which were originally extended until midnight on Sunday, have now been extended to 9 PM on Monday.

Only 16% of Likud members were able to vote by 4 PM on Sunday and only 40% succeeded by 9 PM. Some Likud MKs have demanded this primary election be called off and rescheduled.

Likud Primaries a Mess as Members Wait Hours to Vote

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

“They don’t know how to run a war, they don’t know how to run an election, what DOES the Likud know how to do?” muttered one cold Likud member, 45 minutes into her wait to reach the Likud primaries ballot boxes Sunday morning.

Voting got off to a sluggish start when technical difficulties – which some are attributing to hacking – brought almost all the computerized voting stations across Israel to a grinding halt Sunday, forcing many voters to wait upwards of 2 and a half hours to cast their ballots. At Jerusalem’s Binyanei HaUma convention center, patient and apologetic staff members told crowds they did not know when the voting booths would be open, bringing out a few chairs for elderly voters who found standing in the cold difficult.

Ethiopian candidate Avraham Negusie

Ethiopian candidate Avraham Negusie

Meanwhile, enthusiastic representatives of the 60 candidates vying for the 12 highest spots on the Likud party list handed out pamphlets, cards and stickers explaining the policies and opinions of the voters.  Candidates Avraham Negusie (hopeful representative for the Ethiopian sector) and Daniel Tauber (head of Likud Anglos), were on hand in person to meet and talk to voters.

As voters waited, they discussed current events, politics, and the cold weather.  One voter from Samaria, Yechiel, expressed his disapproval of the Prime Minister – and current Likud party chairman – Benjamin Netanyahu.  “I am disappointed in the ceasefire.  I think it will just end up being something that buys time for Hamas to refuel, maybe at best a pause in fighting,”  Yechiel said.  “I wish I could vote Netanyahu out today.  I don’t think I’ll even vote for Likud in the real national elections.”

Others expressed their support of Netanyahu, who stands to be re-elected as head of the party.  “I think the same as before the war,” Mordechai from East Jerusalem said.  “I think Bibi should be re-elected.  He is the best option by far, proven over time.  I hope he will continue to prove it over the next four years.”

When groups of voters finally started to be admitted, they were treated to a simple explanation of the procedure of voting at several mock voting booths set up on and staffed along the sides of the entrance.

At noon, voters who had arrived around 10am were brought to a new indoor line, where they were told that only 3 of the  80 voting computers were working, causing the line to inch forward slowly.  More chairs were brought to accommodate the elderly, as well as teary-eyed children who had been dragged along for an Israeli democratic experience.  Another staff member came by to apologize again, saying rumors were circulating that the booths would be held open until 2am to accommodate all the voters who had arrived to vote and been discouraged by the long wait times (in the end, the elections committee decided to extend voting for two hours until midnight).

JewishPress.com reporter Malkah Fleisher voting.

JewishPress.com reporter Malkah Fleisher voting.

At 12:50 PM, the author of this article was called into a voting booth, and got to the end of her turn to vote when she realized she had been assigned to the wrong geographic voting area.  Asking for assistance from the polite and attentive clerks in front of her booth, an election day attorney was called.

Without asking the permission of the voter (me) or the elections staff, the attorney proceeded to push touch-screen buttons, erasing the voter’s choices in an attempt to restart the process (even as the voter protested that it was very clear to her how to vote, and that she had done everything correctly).  “Let’s see what this does”, the attorney said, as she wiped out my votes.

The screen promptly froze.  The clerks expressed their disapproval for the unilateral action on the part of the attorney, and called for a technician to come and fix the problem.  A technician, who was on his cell phone, looked at the screen, and told the clerks to attempt an action they said they could not do, due to the freezing of the screen and subsequently their own computers, and rushed off.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/stumbling-likud-primaries-underway-as-members-wait-hours-to-vote/2012/11/25/

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