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May 3, 2016 / 25 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘White House’

Supporting Trump Should Be A No-Brainer For Jews

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

In 1980, New York City decided to renovate Central Park’s ice skating rink. The cost of the two-year project was estimated at $9 million. Six years and $13 million later, the renovations were nowhere near complete. Enter Donald Trump. He asked then-Mayor Ed Koch if he could take over the job. Six months later the rink was ready.

Trump is a man who gets things done. He is a man who strives for excellence. He is a man who before 9/11 wanted to build the tallest building in the world. Ivanka Trump recalls that her father used to tell her as a child, “You’re going to be thinking anyway. Might as well think big.” In short, Trump is a man who values greatness and seeks the same for his country.

Trump’s critics pounce on his every mistake over a business career of 50 years. But they’re ignoring the larger picture: Trump is a multi-billionaire with flourishing enterprises all over the world. To conclude that Trump is a terrible businessman because not all his endeavors succeed is like concluding that Benjamin Cardozo was a terrible lawyer because he occasionally lost a case. Both inferences are sheer lunacy.

Trump’s critics also like to attack him for being unhinged. But think for a moment: Can anyone succeed in Manhattan’s real estate market – with all its regulations and zoning laws – by being unhinged? By embracing an attitude of “my way or the highway”?

In fact, those who know Trump best testify that he is a “reflective, gentlemanly, decent” man (in the words of longtime friend Rudy Giuliani). When Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was asked why she supports Trump for president, she said, “I see a different Donald Trump, I think, than a lot of people see. I see the way he interacts with his kids…. He’s a great dad. His employees adore him. I think they would jump off a cliff for him, and I think that’s speaks a lot about a person.”

Indeed, it does. As do Trump’s numerous quiet acts of kindness over the decades. Just two weeks ago, for example, a former Miss Wisconsin tearfully recounted the moment she received a handwritten note from Trump as she lay in a hospital bed fighting for her life. “He is the kindest man I have ever met,” she told FOX News. “I think he has a heart of gold.”

What about Ted Cruz’s reputation? In a word, it’s terrible. He helped win the White House for George W. Bush in 2001, but virtually everyone on the campaign team – including Bush – “couldn’t stand him,” a prominent Bush aide recalls. “People wouldn’t go to a meeting if they knew he would be there,” he said.

Cruz’s freshman roommate at Princeton University remembers him as “a nightmare of a human being.” Another Princeton acquaintance remembers him as an “arrogant jerk.” Yet another remembers Cruz speaking to her in such a “vicious” supercilious fashion that she literally broke down in tears.

Cruz’s reputation in Congress isn’t much better: “Everybody who knows him in the Senate hates him. And I think hate is not an exaggeration,” political pundit Charles Krauthammer recently said.

Is character everything? No. But when so many colleagues and acquaintances find you – not your ideas – detestable, something is wrong.

How do the candidates rate on policy? Cruz isn’t bad, but Trump approaches problems with a certain clarity and straightforwardness that Cruz simply doesn’t possess. Thus, while Cruz hems and haws about water-boarding terrorists, Trump approvingly repeats the story of General “Black Jack” Pershing allegedly executing 49 Muslim terrorists in the Philippines with bullets dipped in pig’s blood. He also dares suggest that allowing hundreds of thousands of Muslims into this country at a time of worldwide jihad may – just may – not be wise.

This straightforward thinking – unmarred by the obfuscations of politically correctness – will likely benefit Israel too. For the question isn’t whether this or that candidate likes Israel. The real question is: What will the next president say when Saudi Arabia threatens to desolve its friendship with the U.S. if it doesn’t pressure Israel into making concessions? For that is precisely the threat made to George W. Bush, as Elliott Abrams recounts in his book Tested by Zion. As a result, Bush – who was about as instinctively pro-Israel as they come – supported a Palestinian state, condemned Israel’s anti-terror campaign in the West Bank, and pushed for negotiations with the Palestinians. Why should we believe Cruz will act any differently?

Trump, however, might. As a non-politician, he harbors no instinctive reaction to cave to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, he has publicly attacked the oil-rich country. It’s true that two months ago Trump talked of acting neutral while negotiating a Middle East peace deal – a deal Netanyahu has publicly begged for, incidentally – but since then he has stated several times that a peace deal is impossible unless the Palestinians stop teaching their children to kill Jews.

And Trump doesn’t play games. He isn’t a politician. He is a businessman who has made a career out of reading people. If he perceives that the Palestinians are inveterate liars – which they are when it comes to making peace with Israel – he will walk. Will Cruz?

Judaism teaches us not to put faith in any human being. God runs the world, not man. But when I look at Cruz and Trump, I see a politician on one side (have you ever heard Cruz utter a natural-sounding sentence?) and, a smart, clear-thinking, politically-incorrect patriot with an enormously successful business career on the other side. To me, the choice is a no-brainer.

Elliot Resnick

U.S. Condemns Istanbul Attack, Cites 2 American Victims

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

The White House issued a statement Saturday night condemning the Istanbul terror attack that killed two dual American-Israeli citizens earlier in the day.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey. Two American citizens were among those killed in this heinous attack,” National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured.”

A third Israeli and an Iranian citizen were both killed in the attack, along with the suicide bomber, Savaz Yildiz, 33, a resident of the Turkish city of Adana who was reportedly known to the authorities.

Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said the explosion occurred outside a local government office on Istiklal Street, where numerous foreign consulates are located. The area is also dotted with many cafes and restaurants.

The U.S. State Department also condemned the attack in a statement released by spokesperson John Kirby.

“The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack today on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded,” the statement read.

“We will remain in close touch with Turkish authorities during the investigation. The United States stands in solidarity with our NATO Ally Turkey in combating the common threat of terrorism. This vicious attack is the latest in a series of indefensible violence targeting innocent people throughout Turkey – Turkish citizens and international visitors alike. These acts of terrorism only reinforce our determination to support all those across the region working to promote peace and reconciliation,” the statement said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the attack in a written statement saying there can be no justification for terrorism. He said, “NATO allies stand united with Turkey, determined to fight against terrorism.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault also condemned the attack. “I strongly condemn this despicable and cowardly act that has caused the death of several people,” Ayrault said in a statement, adding Paris stands in solidarity with Turkey.

This past Wednesday Germany had closed its consulate and school in Istanbul due to credible security threats.

Hana Levi Julian

Will Israel be ‘Trumped’ by the US Presidential Elections?

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

There is a great deal at stake for Americans voting in this year’s U.S. presidential elections — but at least as much is riding on the results for the State of Israel.

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has been one of the few candidates in the race to insist he would maintain neutrality when dealing with Israel and the Palestinian Authority from the White House.

Israeli Jews surveyed so far have nevertheless expressed more faith in his ability to deal fairly with Israel than any of the other candidates.

This may be due to Trump’s blunt, “in your face” style – the very characteristic that so alienates some of his American audiences – but which is similar to a large percentage of Israelis in the Jewish State.

It is far easier to deal with a person who is “up front” about their intentions, one might say, than a smiling politician who hides the weapon. Moreover, Trump pulls no punches about dealing with tough situations in a like manner – a necessary Middle Eastern attitude.

But probably the biggest factor in his popularity has to do with his willingness to simply say he will be neutral in dealing with both sides.

At an MSNBC town hall meeting in South Carolina on Feb. 17, Trump described a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as “probably the toughest deal in the world right now to make.” What he did promise was that if he were elected president, he would “give it one hell of a shot.” This was a deal in which he would act as “sort of a neutral guy,” he said. Wisely, when asked whose fault it was that no agreement had been reached so far, he deflected the question – and did not blame either side.

That is the mark of a real negotiator, one who has the seasoned skills of someone who has been at the table for a very long time. It gives the lie to those who claim Trump lacks foreign policy experience; they forget that Trump has been dealing with political leaders around the world for years while cutting deals in nations on different continents for his various business interests.

Israelis have too often heard American politicians claim their undying support of Israel only to throw the Jewish State under the bus as they try to “bring peace” to the Middle East.

However, at a Republican debate held on CNN, Trump did comment at one point: “It doesn’t help if I start saying, ‘I am very pro-Israel, very pro, more than anybody on this stage… With that being said, I am totally pro-Israel.” But he was unwilling to go farther, and made no promises whatsoever. Certainly no promise to ‘bring peace to the Middle East.’

Nearly every single U.S. presidential candidate has vowed to move the American embassy to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem – and not one has done it once taking office.

Every American president swears up and down about the “unbreakable bond” between the two countries – but that didn’t stop President Barack Obama from freezing the supply of basic military equipment and ordnance in the middle of Israel’s defensive counter terrorist war with Hamas in the summer of 2014.

Promises are one thing and action is quite another, and if Israelis have learned anything, it is to know not to depend on fancy promises. So when a guy like Trump says he will be neutral, after flowery vows of endless support – that gets the attention of Israelis who are really sick of making that run for the bomb shelters.

Trump’s style and substance is straightforward, simple and different. He’s making no promises and no pretensions to expertise. He is an executive who says he’ll run the country pretty much the same way – by hiring top experts to do what they do best, in the areas of their specialization.

Hana Levi Julian

White House Upset After Learning of Netanyahu’s Cancellation from Media Reports

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has decided to cancel his upcoming visit to the US, where he was supposed to speak at the AIPAC conference, as well as possibly meet with President Obama in the White House. Netanyahu will instead address the conference by satellite on March 20.

Among the reasons that Netanyahu cancelled his visit, was that it coincided with US President Obama’s visit to Cuba, and therefore the two would have been unable to meet during his time in the US. The AIPAC conference is from March 20 to 22, and Obama is to be in Cuba from March 21 to 22. The White House claims they offered to meet Netanyahu on March 18.

The Prime Minister’s office explained the cancellation, saying Netanyahu did not want to “travel to Washington at the height of the US election season.”

Netanyahu would like to avoid meeting US presidential candidates before the elections, so as not to appear as if he is interfering in the US elections. His presence at AIPAC would have been a magnet for the candidates.

And finally there is speculation that since the ongoing discussions on the “Memorandum of Understanding” – the military aid package and US-Israel military cooperation agreement – haven’t yet been concluded, there would have been nothing concrete to announce at any Netanyahu-Obama meeting.

Apparently though, the White House only learned of Netanyahu’s cancellation from the media, and are upset they found out that way.

Ned Price, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said they had been looking forward to hosting Netanyahu on March 18, and were surprised to learn from media reports that the meeting was cancelled, according to Reuters.

Price wrote in an email, “Reports that we were not able to accommodate the prime minister’s schedule are false.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

WikiLeaks Reveals American NSA Snooping on Netanyahu-Berlusconi Talks

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

In 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placed a phone call to Italy’s President Silvio Berlusconi to ask for help in dealing with U.S. President Barack Obama over tensions regarding housing plans in Jerusalem. While Jerusalem’s line was secure, it is suspected that Netanyahu knew that the Italian’s line wasn’t secure and the Americans were probably listening in.

The call happened at one of the times when PM Netanyahu was receiving the silent treatment from President Obama and it appears Netanyahu used the tapped line to get his message across to the White House. which was otherwise refusing to communicate with him at all at that point.

On Monday night, the WikiLeaks website revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency was tapping the line and listening in to the entire conversation.

As a matter of fact, the NSA listened in on calls with three Italian officials, including the national security adviser and the president’s personal adviser.

“Netanyahu pleaded with Berlusconi to help him deal with Obama,” according to the website. The intercepted communication showed “Berlusconi promised to assist helping Israel in mending damaged relationship with the U.S.”

Here’s the original NSA text, unabridged, in the document released on the WikiLeaks website: (bold added for emphasis)

Italy Would Help Israel Mend Relations With U.S. (TS//SI//OC/REL TO USA, FVEY)

(TS//SI//OC/REL TO USA, FVEY) Israel has reached out to Europe, including Italy, for help in smoothing out the current rift in its relations with the United States, according to Italian diplomatic reporting of 13 March. Speaking with Italian Prime Minister (PM) Silvio Berlusconi, Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu insisted that the trigger for the dispute–Israel’s decision to build 1,600 homes in contested East Jerusalem–was totally in keeping with national policy dating back to the administration of Golda Meir, and blamed this mishandling on a government official with poor political sensitivity. The objective now, Netanyahu said, is to keep the Palestinians from using this issue as a pretext to block a resumption of talks or to advance unrealistic claims that could risk sinking the peace negotiations altogether. Continuing, he asserted that the tension has only been heightened by the absence of direct contact between himself and the U.S. President. In response, Berlusconi promised to put Italy at Israel’s disposal in helping mend the latter’s ties with Washington. Other Israeli officials, meanwhile, believed that this tiff goes far beyond merely the question of the construction plans, marking instead the lowest point in U.S.-Israeli relations in memory.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi Hosted at White House, State Dept. [video]

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Israel Joint Arab List MK Ahmed Tibi was hosted for meetings over the past several days in Washington DC by officials at the White House and State Department.

Tibi met with U.S. President Barak Obama’s chief adviser to the Middle East, Robert Malley, and other senior officials at the White House.

The Israeli Arab lawmaker met with U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Frank Lowenstein, and Christopher Henzel, director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs, at the State Department as well.

“Simultaneously with our struggle within Israel, the Knesset and outside it, it is necessary to spread the word regarding the Arab public’s situation and distress to the international community, including the United States,” Tibi told journalists at a news conference.

He spoke about the “institutionalized discrimination against Arab citizens in all walks of life, including the demolition of homes, the lack of employment and racist legislation.

“Once again I found a lack of knowledge on our social and political situation, and this requires all of us to increase our efforts in the important international forum,” Tibi said.

“There is not a single member of the current Israeli government, including [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, who publicly supports the vision of the two states and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state; whereas all the Palestinian ministers support that vision,” he added.

It is especially important for readers to understand exactly who MK Tibi is, and which “struggle” he refers to when he appears in the White House and the State Department to lobby for “his people.”

Tibi — who is currently Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and paid generously with Israeli taxpayer money – was seen at a September 2011 Palestinian Authority event carried on PA TV openly praising Arab terrorists with the symbol of the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat (the black-and-white keffiyeh) around his neck. The footage is provided and his remarks are translated by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) monitoring organization.

“Nothing is more exalted than those whom Israel dubs ‘terrorists-shahids,’” he said. In local Arab culture, the word – which literally translates as “martyrs” – is used to refer to those who die while trying to murder Israelis. “In the history and struggles of nations, the shahid is the ultimate glory,” Tibi told his audience at that time. “There is no value more August than the Shahada (the act of dying for Allah.) The shahid is the trailblazer, drawing with his blood the path to freedom and liberation. The shahid is the symbol of the homeland.”

While Tibi has been visiting with U.S. officials his party colleagues in Israel were visiting with the families of Arabs who were killed while carrying out terror attacks against Israelis.

This past weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit weigh the possibility of taking legal steps against Israeli Arab MKs Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas of the Joint Arab List in connection with their visit last Tuesday to the families of several Arab terrorists.

Hana Levi Julian

White House: Hanukkah Lights Flicker for Saving Syrian Refuges

Monday, December 7th, 2015

The Obama administration has followed up on exploiting Passover for its political agenda by coming out with a new interpretation of Hanukkah, whose lights supposedly are to enlighten Jews to back the President’s program to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said at the annual lighting of the National Hanukkah Menorah:

So this is a joyous occasion, and yet as we heard earlier we are mindful that even as we gather here tonight, that while the light of freedom burns brightly for us and for our generation, it flickers for others.

Refugees fleeing religious intolerance and oppression. People targeted for their faith, people whose faith is perverted by others.

He suddenly dropped the Jewish angle and switched to speaking for all Americans, saying:

We are Americans, and as Americans we do not turn our backs on those who seek sanctuary. Nor do we stay quiet in the face of bigotry or intolerance. We stand up for those persecuted around the world.

McDonough then switched back to express his ignorance of Judaism and continued:

We remember this season that we too were once strangers, that our inheritance gives an obligation to remain true to our values, that as Jewish tradition teaches, by saving one life, we save the world.

He seems to be getting Passover, when Jews recall being “strangers in a strange land,” with Hanukkah, the celebration of twin miracles of the victory of a small number of Jews over Greek invaders of Jerusalem and of a one-day’s supply of pure olive oil burning for eight days after the holy Menorah was relit.

It is no wonder he got confused because Passover also has been used by President Barack Obama to promote his political agenda. This past year, as in previous years, the President acted as a would-be Torah sage to declare that Jews must drive into their minds that Arabs deserve their freedom just like Jews won their freedom with the help of God.

He meant freedom for Arabs in Judea and Samaria, where their main lack of freedom is to kill Jews at will, and not in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and other Muslim countries where freedom is a strange word in a strange land.

Chabad Rabbi Levi Shemtov expressed a different political interpretation on whose lack of freedom should be remembered.

After declaring his sorrow for the victims of the terror attack in San Bernardino, he said:

They, their families, their loved ones that are mourning are with us in our prayers and in our celebration today. So are the families of all those innocent souls in Paris. … We must remember them as we celebrate our freedom.
Because even though we and France are two free countries, freedom is not free, and when it is disrupted, we must pause and remember those who give their lives in that cause.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/white-house-hanukkah-lights-flicker-for-saving-syrian-refuges/2015/12/07/

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