Over his 30-year political career, Kerry has long been knocked for
delivering more talk than results. Achieving a nuclear deal he first
began pursuing even before he became secretary of state could redefine
his place in history.
And that, Republican critics, foreign officials, and even
some ex-administration officials say, is a big problem. Kerry’s
eagerness for a deal, they argue, risks that the Iranians will seduce
him into a bad one.
“I don’t know how anyone who has
observed Kerry over the past two years would think differently,” says a
former administration official who worked on Iran issues.
The concern is that, in search of a historic accomplishment with his
name on it, Kerry might succumb to wishful thinking. As a senator, Kerry
was dogged by the critique that he authored few major bills over his
30-year career. He won the Democratic nomination in 2004 but lost his
bid for the presidency. And since arriving at Foggy Bottom he has been
frustrated in his efforts to contain Vladimir Putin in Ukraine and,
above all, in his so-far fruitless quest for Middle East peace.
say the conventional wisdom sells short his Senate and Foggy Bottom
record, including his recent role brokering a peaceful resolution to
Afghanistan’s disputed presidential election amid fears of a civil war.
Of course, many critics of the talks fret that Obama faces much the
same pressure as Kerry for a legacy-making achievement, especially in
the realm of foreign policy, where Obama has faced an unrelenting string
of crises in recent months. A new article in the conservative Weekly Standard
attacking Obama’s “capitulation” to Iran notes that Deputy National
Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has likened an Iran deal to Obamacare in its
importance to the administration.
Obama challenged the idea that he is overeager for a nuclear deal in an interview last month with The Atlantic’s
Jeffrey Goldberg. “Twenty years from now … [if] Iran has a nuclear
weapon, it’s my name on this,” Obama said, adding: “I have a personal
interest in locking this down.”
Kerry’s own investment is also huge. He has pursued a nuclear deal since
he was a senator, well before the administration’s direct diplomacy got
underway: As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry
secretly flew to Muscat in November 2011, where he asked the Sultan of
Oman to help broker talks between Washington and Tehran. That set the
stage for the administration’s first direct contacts with Iranian
officials on the nuclear question.
Striking a deal
in Vienna this summer will require persuading Iran’s supreme leader to
backtrack on his own stated red lines, including on the pace of
sanctions relief and access of inspectors to Iranian military sites and
It's unlikely that Iran will back down on any or all of those points - it's far more likely that the US will cave on them. And 20 years from now, Obama will be happily retired at US government expense and Kerry will likely have gone on to greener pastures (or to a much hotter place). They won't care about their 'legacy.'
Dennis Ross got it right:
Dennis Ross, another former senior Middle East aide under Obama with
long experience in diplomatic negotiations said the key to effective
deal making is “being able to show you have a genuine interest in a deal
but can live without one.”
“We should show little
interest in a deadline and focus exclusively on our essential needs,”
Ross added. If Iran won’t meet those needs, Ross said, then Kerry should
“suggest a pause — but with the proviso that we will also reassess
where we are, with the understanding that our positions are likely to
This administration doesn't know how to ignore deadlines. It's just one of the many things they don't get about the Middle East bazaar. They have the same problems in 'negotiations' about a 'Palestinian state.'
'Surely you got lost and meant to help the Syrians being butchered'
Prime Minister Netanyahu has penned a very tongue-in-cheek letter to be delivered to the fools who are on their way to Gaza as part of the 'flotilla.'
The Prime Minister’s Office penned a letter to be given to the some 50
people on the boats expected to be towed into Ashdod, sarcastically
welcoming them to Israel and saying that they apparently got lost.
“Perhaps you meant to set sail for a place not far from here – Syria,” the letter reads.
“There the Assad regime is slaughtering its own people every day with the support of the murderous regime in Iran.”
By contrast, the letter reads, Israel is dealing with a reality whereby
terrorist organizations like Hamas try to attack innocent civilians.
“Against these efforts we are defending Israeli citizens in accordance to international law,” according to the letter.
letter spelled out the number of trucks, and tons of aid and material
that go into Gaza each day, saying it adds up to about 500,000 times
the number of boats in the flotilla. At the same time, he said, Israel
is not willing to allow the smuggling of arms to the Gaza Strip via the
sea, which has been done repeatedly in the past.
No, they're not lost. This is not about humanitarian aid. It's about Jew hatred, pure and simple.
American Orthodox Jews fearful of 'gay marriage' decision
Maybe this will be an impetus for American Orthodox Jews to make aliya. There's some real fear going around about the future implications of last week's US Supreme Court decision forcing the states to allow 'gay marriage' and how that might impact Orthodox Jewish institutions.
[T]he Orthodox Jewish community has a different view. This was voiced
by, among others, the Orthodox Union and the Agudath Israel of America.
The latter, in a statement Friday, warned
that its members faced “moral opprobrium” and were in danger of
“tangible negative consequences” if “they refuse to transgress their
To judge by recent events, they are understating the
case. The whole campaign for same sex marriage, however high-minded its
ideals and however real — and all too often violent — the injustices
endured by same-sex couples, has been levied at the expense of religious
Jews and Christians. The U.S. Supreme Court majority knows that full
well. But it dodged the issue, with Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of
the majority opinion, giving the fears of religious Americans less than a
that “religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may
continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine
precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” He noted that the
First Amendment, part of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, “ensures
that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as
they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central
to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue
the family structure they have long revered.”
That was a reference to the free speech part of the
First Amendment. But it was startling — shocking even — that the
majority gave no mention at all of the Constitution’s second principle
of religious protection, the right to the “free exercise” of religion.
That is where the battle lines are being drawn by liberal and left-wing
factions in America seeking to force religious individuals to embrace
In recent months, Americans have been reading about a
Christian baker who has been the subject of an enforcement action in
Colorado for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding,
a husband-and-wife clerical team that reportedly may have to close
their for-profit wedding chapel because they won’t hold same-sex
nuptials in it, and a New York family that is tangled in a legal
proceeding for refusing to rent out their home for a same-sex wedding
reception. A Catholic adoption agency that would not work with same-sex
couples has been forced out of its charitable work.
“In all likelihood, many of these rear-guard actions
against marriage equality will soon fall of their own weight,” Jeffrey
Toobin, who covers the Constitution for the New Yorker, wrote
after the Supreme Court spoke. “Like so many of their fellow-Americans,
wedding photographers and the like will make their peace with the new
rules that guarantee their neighbors an equal chance at happiness.
(Besides, they need the business.)” Maybe, but I’m not so sure things
will go as smoothly as he imagines in the Orthodox Jewish world.
“The issue here is not whether all human beings are
created in the Divine Image, or whether they have inherent human
dignity. Of course they are, of course they do,” the Agudah said in a
statement after Obergefell vs. Hodges was handed down. But it went on to
assert that “the truths of Torah are eternal, and stand as our beacon
even in the face of shifting social mores.” At some point this is going
to come to a head in a way that will test George Washington’s promise to
the Jews to a degree that we haven’t yet seen.
I'll shut the comments on this post if I have to, but I can tell you that I would not want my children taught by someone who is openly gay. No way. I want my children to be able to look up at their teachers as religious role models. Then again, since I live in Israel, it's unlikely that any of my children's schools (except for the children in university, which is a different category) could be forced to hire gay teachers.
It's come to this: Belfast pastor faces prison for 'defaming Islam'
A 78-year old Belfast pastor is facing prison time for 'defaming Islam.'
James McConnell, 78, is facing up to six months in prison for
delivering a sermon in which he described Islam as "heathen" and
"satanic." The message was streamed live on the Internet, and a Muslim
group called the police to complain.
According to Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS), McConnell violated
the 2003 Communications Act by "sending, or causing to be sent, by
means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other
matter that was grossly offensive."
Observers say that McConnell's prosecution is one of a growing number of examples in which British authorities — who routinely ignore incendiary speech by Muslim extremists — are using hate speech laws to silence Christians.
McConnell, who turned down an offer to avoid a trial, says the issue
of Christians being singled out for persecution in Britain must be
confronted, and that he intends to turn his case into a milestone trial
"in defense of freedom of speech and freedom of religion."
"The God who we worship and serve this evening is not
Allah. The Muslim God, Allah, is a heathen deity. Allah is a cruel
deity. Allah is a demon deity. A deity that this foolish government of
ours ... pays homage to, and subscribes financial inducements to curry
their favor to keep them happy....
"While in Muslim lands Christians are persecuted for their faith;
their homes burned, their churches destroyed, and hundreds of them
literally have given their lives for Christ in martyrdom. A lovely young
[Sudanese] woman by the name of Miriam, 27 years-of-age, because she
has accepted Christ as her Savior, will be flogged publicly and hanged
publicly. These fanatical worshippers are worshippers of the god called
Allah. Ladies and gentlemen, that is a fact and it cannot be denied and
it cannot be refuted.
"I know the time will come in this land ... and in this nation to say
such things will be an offense to the law. It would be reckoned
erroneous, unpatriotic. But I am in good company, the company of
[Protestant Reformers] Luther and Knox and Calvin and Tyndale and
Latimer and Cranmer and Wesley and Spurgeon and such like him.
"The Muslim religion was created many hundreds of years after Christ.
Mohammed, was born in 570. But Muslims believe that Islam is the true
religion, dating back to Adam, and that the biblical Patriarchs were all
Muslims, including Noah and Abraham and Moses, and even our Lord Jesus
"To judge by some of what I have heard in the past few months, you
would think that Islam was little more than a variation of Christianity
and Judaism. Not so. Islam's ideas about God, about humanity, about
salvation are vastly different from the teachings of the Holy
Scriptures. Islam is heathen. Islam is satanic. Islam is a doctrine
spawned in Hell."
McConnell's comments about Islam comprised less than ten minutes of a 35-minute sermon that focused on Christian theology.
Some day, historians will marvel at the way Western society destroyed itself. Or maybe they won't. By then, the Caliphate may not look kindly on such 'nostalgia' and history will have become too politically correct to discuss it.
Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called the flotilla of fools currently heading for Gaza 'not helpful.'
“[Secretary General Ban Ki-moon] continues to
believe that a flotilla will not help to address the dire situation in
Gaza and reiterates his calls on the government of Israel to lift all
closures, with due consideration of Israel’s legitimate security
concerns,” Undersecretary General Jeffrey Feltman said at a Security
“The international community must send an
unambiguous message to the organizers and participants of these
provocations that such initiatives only serve to raise tensions in our
region,” Prosor wrote. “This attempt to challenge Israel’s naval
blockade of Gaza holds the potential for dangerous consequences The
flotilla’s sole purpose is to create provocations that pose security
risks, and constitute a breach of international law.”
Feltman said Ban was “closely following media reports” about the flotilla.
Ban is also 'deeply concerned' with the health of terrorists.
Feltman also said Ban was “deeply concerned”
about Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel, naming Islamic Jihad
detainee Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike for nearly two
months to protest his detainment under administrative detention, which
allows Israel to hold prisoners without charging them.
The Red Cross on Tuesday said Adnan faced “immediate risk of death.”
He wouldn't be facing an immediate threat of death if he weren't starving himself. Maybe he should consider breaking his fast.... /Just sayin'....
In any event, it is truly amazing how much time Ban has to devote to Gaza given the true suffering going on in Syria, Iran, Iraq and many other countries that are living under truly repressive regimes. Oh wait... Gaza is also living under a truly repressive regime... Hamas... It would be nice to see Ban criticize them once in a while too.
By the way, if the name "Jeffrey Feltman" rings a bill, it's because it should. He's a former State Department diplomat....
"We are now witnessing a clear withdrawal from the red lines set by
the powers for themselves recently and publicly," Netanyahu told
ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu added that there was no reason to hurry to
sign the deal with Iran, which he said was "getting worse by the day."
He said that it was still not too late to insist on the demands that
would prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear weapon and gain
mass sums of money which he claimed would help it expand its regional
Netanyahu told ministers that in a U.S. State Department report
released a few days ago, Iran was listed at the top of the world's human
rights violators. "All claims made within the international community
about how [Hassan] Rohani's election [as president] changed the
character of the Iranian regime are firmly answered by this report,"
He added that another State Department report, also
released a few days ago, proved that Iran was escalating its involvement
in terror activities. "Despite these reports, the talks are continuing
as usual," Netanyahu said. "There are no demands being made by the
powers to change Iran's behavior, and they are completely ignoring its
Obama is determined to have a foreign policy legacy even if it is one that will - God Forbid - someday lead to disaster. Anything to hurt Israel.... Netanyahu must feel like Chicken Little - no one will listen to him.
Boker Tov Eliyahu: US authorities wake up to terror threat
Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.
It's been nearly 14 years since the 9/11 attacks in the United States (where I am currently visiting), and it seems that people are finally realizing that it could happen again.
Federal authorities have warned local law enforcement officials
across the country about a heightened concern involving possible terror
attacks targeting the July 4th holiday, a U.S. law enforcement official
While there was no specific or credible threat of attack,
the official said the intelligence bulletin prepared by the Department
of Homeland Security and the FBI alerted local colleagues to the ongoing
threats posed by the Islamic State and other homegrown extremists. The
official was not authorized to comment publicly.
The warning comes as federal investigators have worked to disrupt a
number of Islamic State-inspired plots, including a planned assault
earlier this month on police officers in Boston. In that case,
authorities fatally shot Usaamah Rahim as he allegedly planned to attack
police with military-style knives.
Also this month, a New York
suspect in a Islamic State-related terror investigation was arrested
after attacking an FBI agent with a kitchen knife during a search of his
Fareed Mumuni, 21, was charged with attempted murder, after
he emerged as a suspect in alleged plots to use pressure-cooker
explosives and knives to attack police.
In a statement Friday
following attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait, DHS Secretary Jeh
Johnson said local law enforcement was being encouraged to be "vigilant
and prepared'' in preparation for July 4th celebrations.
I have been writing for years that what most concerns me about security in the United States is the delusion that it could never happen here. Unfortunately, it could.
Vatican signs treaty with imaginary state of 'Palestine'
And you thought the German Pope was going to be a problem? Argentinean-born Pope Francis I's Vatican has signed a 'treaty' with the 'state' of 'Palestine.'
signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" on Friday, calling
for "courageous decisions" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and
backing a two-state solution.
treaty, which made official the Vatican's de facto recognition of
Palestine since 2012, angered Israel, which called it "a hasty step
(that) damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement".
Israel also said it could have implications on its future diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
accord, which concerns the Catholic Church's activities in areas
controlled by the Palestinian Authority, also confirmed the Vatican's
increasingly proactive role in foreign policy under Pope Francis. Last
year, it brokered the historic resumption of ties between the United
States and Cuba.
Gallagher, the Vatican's foreign minister, said at the signing that he
hoped it could be a "stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the
long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause
suffering for both parties".
called for peace negotiations held directly between Israelis and
Palestinians to resume and lead to a two-state solution. "This certainly
requires courageous decisions, but it will also offer a major
contribution to peace and stability in the region," he said.
To date, the 'Palestinians' have yet to make any 'courageous decisions' or to drop any of their demands. There is no compromising with them. They continue to seek the destruction of the world's only Jewish State, which happens to be the only state in the Middle East where Christians - including Catholics - are safe, and where their population has grown. Note this disingenuous statement from the article:
There are about 100,000 Catholics of the Roman
and Greek Melkite rites in Israel and the Palestinian territories, most
of them Palestinians.
Terror attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait kill dozens, no attackers were Amish
Three terror attacks - on a chemical plant in Lyon, France (one dead), on a beachfront hotel in Sousse, Tunisia (at least 27 dead - later reports say 37 dead and 36 wounded) and on a mosque in Kuwait City, Kuwait (at least 24 dead) - have left dozens of people dead on Friday. In each case, the attackers were Muslims (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). None of the attacks seemed to have anything to do with the US Supreme Court rulings upholding gay marriage and Obamacare.
attackers stormed an American-owned industrial chemical plant near
Lyon, decapitated one person and tried unsuccessfully to blow up the
gunmen opened fire at a beach resort, killing at least 27 people,
officials said. At least one of the attackers was killed by security
the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in one
of the largest Shiite mosques in Kuwait City during Friday prayers. The
bomb filled the hall with smoke and left dead and wounded scattered on
the carpet, according to witnesses and videos posted online.
Local news reports said at least 24 people had been killed and wounded
in the assault, which was extraordinary for Kuwait and appeared to be a
deliberate attempt to incite strife between Shiites and Sunnis.
In a message circulating on social media, the Islamic State called the suicide bomber “one of the knights of the Sunni people.”
There was no immediate indication that the attacks had been coordinated.
But the three strikes came at roughly the same time, and just days
after the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL, called for such operations during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Kuwait terror attack is the first carried out by ISIS in a Gulf State and is sure to concern other Gulf States.
The Tunisia attack seems like another attack on the 'infidels' with sources confirming that most of the guests at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel were from the UK or Central Europe (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Many of those killed were lounging in beach chairs.
The French prosecutor has given a press conference, providing details of the incident:
Four suspected accomplices are being held in the attack on the
factory in France. They have been arrested and are in interrogation.
The suspect, his wife and sister are part of those arrested
The victim was the suspect’s employer
Part of the factory hangar was blown apart
43 people were in the factory at the time of the attack. 13 employees are still in a state of shock
There were no more injuries so far
The body of the victim was found near the suspect’s vehicle, where a knife was also found
The severed head of the victim, was found hooked onto a railing with two flags with arabic inscription
More details provided on the victim:
The victim was a 54-year-old man
He was the head of a transport company, from the Lyon area and had been a salaried employee of the company since March 2015
More details on the suspect:
Yassin Salhi was named as the main suspect
He was born on 25 March 1980
He had been working at that same company as the victim
He’s the father of three children and has been married for about 10 years
He had not been found guilty of any previous crimes
He has been under surveillance for “radical islamic activities” since 2006.
Between 2011 and 2014, French security services had been investigating him for connections to salafist groups in the Lyon area
The inquiry has been given to the central direction of the judicial
police and to the anti-terrorist unit, and the internal security
services, the French prosecutor said.
But let's keep fooling ourselves that Islam is a 'religion of peace.' Let's keep kissing up to the Islamists, treating their cult as a quaint religion with exotic things like iftar dinners (oops - let's not mention that the President of the United States hosted anti-Israel 'activists' at his). And eventually, they'll stop trying to murder us, right?
"Whatever happens, Israel will always defend itself, and the Air Force plays a major role in this," Haaretz daily quoted Netanyahu as saying at a pilots' course graduation ceremony.
Netanyahu again expressed concern over the agreement and the
concessions the world is prepared to do in order for Iran to sign the
"These concessions are increasing Iran's appetite and every day it
raises the bar, with the intention of extorting more concessions," he
"In recent days Iran ruler Ali Khamenei rejected even the most basic
conditions in the bad agreement drafted in Lausanne," Netanyahu added.
"He said no to the restrictions on the nuclear program in the coming
decade, no to conditioning the sanctions' revocation on Iran's keeping
the agreement, no to [supervisors'] access to military sites. Even if
Iran waives some of these demands in a few days, the powers' basic
concession will be huge and it will be a clear withdrawal from red lines
the powers had publicly set earlier."
Netanyahu said the supervision method the powers are discussing with
Iran is "full of holes" and will enable the Iranians to create a nuclear
bomb less than 10 years after the agreement's signature.
The agreement will bring a flow of billions of dollars to the Iranian
economy, enabling Iran to increase its subversion in the Middle East,
"It's still not too late [for the powers] to come to their senses, to
insist on a good agreement and it's certainly not too late not to
advance a bad agreement," he added.
"As world leaders always say, no agreement is better than a bad agreement."
Meanwhile, the P 5+1 admit that next week's June 30 deadline for an agreement 'might slip.' And Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khameni continues to list the many things Iran won't give up.
Amid unease in Iran's conservative-dominated parliament that Tehran
is giving too much away, Khamenei, on Tuesday appeared to throw several
spanners in the works.
Western powers have stressed sanctions will not be lifted until the
IAEA has confirmed that Iran has carried out key steps under the accord.
But Khamenei, who will have the last word for Iran in the talks, said
banking and economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the US
must be lifted immediately after the agreement is signed.
"Other sanctions can be removed gradually by a reasonable timetable," Khamenei said.
He also reiterated that Iran would not permit the IAEA to visit
military sites or conduct "unconventional inspections" at other
Khamenei also took issue with the length of time that some of the restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities would be in place.
In a further sign that Iran remains at odds with the West, Kerry
unveiled a highly critical annual rights report slamming Iran for
continuing to "severely restrict" civil liberties.
One cannot help but be suspicious that even if a deal is reached, Iran will violate and the West will do nothing in response.
Seven Turks detained at Ben Gurion, deported to Turkey, barred for ten years
A reminder to all of you that I am currently in Boston where the Sabbath does not start for several more hours.
Nine Turkish citizens who arrived in Israel on Turkish Airlines on Thursday were interrogated for several hours at Ben Gurion Airport, and seven of them were sent back to Turkey and banned for ten years according to a report in Turkey's pro-government Today's Zaman (Hat Tip: Joshua I). According to the newspaper, the group was made up of 'journalists and activists' who were heading to Jerusalem for a 'charity event.'
Nine Turkish citizens, including pro-government Star daily columnist
Halime Kökçe, Ülke TV Editor-in-Chief Hasan Öztürk, head of the Turkish
charity Sadakataşı and several activists, were detained at the airport.
Kökçe said seven people from the group were deported while a cameraman
and a reporter from state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation
(TRT) were allowed to enter the country.
On her personal Twitter account, Kökçe posted, “We were interrogated for six hours. We were searched for two hours.”
After coming back to İstanbul on Friday, Sadakataşı President Kemal
Özdal, who was among those detained in Israel, said the group was on its
way to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for iftar (the evening meal to break
the Ramadan fast) when they were stopped by the Israelis.
He said as soon as they arrived in Ben Gurion Airport by a Turkish
Airlines flight, Israeli security officials accompanied the Turkish
group and at passport control the group was detained by Israeli
intelligence officials. Özdal said their passports and phones were taken
and the group went through a long interrogation by the Israelis.
According to Özdal, after the questioning they were deported and banned
from entering Israel for the next 10 years. He also said President Recep
Tayyip Erdoğan, interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Foreign
Ministry officials tried to help the group.
Öztürk from Ülke TV also made a statement at Atatürk Airport in
İstanbul, saying he was in Israel only two months ago and he doesn't
understand why this time he was deported without a valid reason. “Israel
acts arbitrarily and it is an anti-democratic state. Others criticize
Turkey for press freedoms. Go and tell this to the Israelis,” he said.
Kökçe said she hoped to see Al-Aqsa Mosque, Ramallah and Gaza but instead she was met with “Israel's real face.”
Here's a hint that there might be more to it:
Civil Servants' Trade Union (Memur-Sen) Vice President Levent Uslu also
said that the group had expected to be treated badly by Israel, but he
didn't elaborate as to why. Uslu complained that they were asked odd
questions such as the names of their grandfathers or which party they
voted for in the last election.
Haaretz reports that they were banned because of Hamas ties. The Hebrew version of the article, which can be accessed in full here, doesn't say any more except to add that the Israeli ambassador to Turkey was summoned on Friday morning to 'explain' why the group was barred from entering.
Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
feels confident enough, only a few days before June 30 (the deadline
for a final-status nuclear deal with world powers), to thumb his nose at
the international community, including the American government, and
declare Iran's three noes: no to freezing its nuclear program, no to
international oversight at its nuclear facilities, no to a phased
lifting of sanctions (as proposed by the French). In other words,
Khamenei is telling the world: Dear superpowers -- bite me.
Meanwhile, almost simultaneously, we have
received an Associated Press report from Vienna that the U.S. and its
partners conducting the negotiations with Iran are prepared -- for the
sake of reaching a deal -- to even provide the Iranians with advanced
nuclear reactors and equipment. This isn't a joke.
It's possible, perhaps, to imagine Khamenei
rejecting this generous offer outright because the Americans aren't also
including ballistic missiles in the package. If you're going to be
generous, then you might as well go all the way.
Truth be told, this entire business to this
point seems quite like a joke. The problem is that it's coming at our
expense. And it's also not that funny.
In November 2013, as a
reminder, we were just several days before the interim agreement. I
remember how the Iranian and Western delegations leaked information
about the many difficulties in the negotiations, but that in the end, in
the middle of the night, the deal was born (how shocking). Eventually,
we saw virtually the same scenario unfold in Lausanne this past March --
the numerous problems were made public, the deadline was extended by a
few days, and finally on April 2 we received the framework deal.
We can assume that in the coming days we will
get to see "the best show in town," at the end of which, in contrast to
the previous rounds, we can expect a final status deal with an Iran that
is not only slated to become a nuclear power but a stabilizing force in
our crumbling Middle East.
Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06), co-chair of the
House Republican Israel Caucus, released the following statement after
House and Senate passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation,
which includes bipartisan language Roskam authored to combat the
Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. These
provisions, which were originally introduced as Roskam’s H.R. 825, the
U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, were unanimously
adopted into the House and Senate versions of TPA in April.
“Today, for the first time in nearly four decades, Congress sent
legislation to the President’s desk to combat efforts to isolate and
delegitimize the State of Israel. The recent wave of boycotts
originating in Europe, including French telecom company Orange’s
decision this month to sever ties with Israel, demands a robust response
from the United States. This is that response. The bipartisan TPA
provisions I authored are simple: if you want free trade with the United
States, you can’t boycott Israel. After today, discouraging economic
warfare against Israel will be central to our free trade negotiations
with the European Union. Congress will not be complicit in the
marginalization of our ally Israel by watching these attacks from the
sidelines. Instead, we have decided to fight back against the BDS
movement and ensure the continued strength of the U.S.-Israel
Those trade provisions, however, did not just happen.
The Jerusalem Post
accurately traces the passage today of trade legislation with strong
anti-boycott language directly to the ASA boycott (emphasis added):
“Four decades have passed since Congress last agreed on a
law pushing back against boycotts of Israel worldwide. That streak was
broken by the Senate Wednesday, at a moment perhaps prescient, as
European capitals consider new measures to highlight and punish Israel’s
continued “occupation” of the West Bank….
TPA, which passed through the Senate and landed on the president’s
desk, includes roughly 150 trade negotiating objectives – requirements
of the president, as mandated by Congress, to raise specific US
priorities in its negotiations.
One of those objectives is to push back against efforts within the EU
to sponsor the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement
The process began
with a December 2013 op-ed in Politico Magazine written by Michael Oren,
then Israel’s ambassador to the United States, which challenged
Congress to respond to the American Studies Association’s decision to
boycott Israel – by no means the first protest of its kind, but an early sign of what was to come from similar organizations based in Europe.
A letter of support circulated around Capitol Hill, signatures were
collected, and a bill was ultimately passed reinforcing Congress’s
commitment to academic freedom. But the concern lay in the tactic.
What if measures taken by ASA were used by other organizations
against Israel as a form of economic warfare? Several congressmen,
including Roskam, made note that the first free trade agreement signed
by the US was with Israel. They sought a legislative solution with
teeth: a bill that would establish any future trade pact with foreign
nations boycotting Israel as being in direct contravention of the
existing US-Israel Free Trade Agreement.
That’s right folks, the ASA boycott may not have hurt Israel much,
but it led directly to the trade legislation which has dealt a damaging
blow to the BDS movement.
Suspects arrested in Druze attack on ambulances in Golan Heights
Nine Druze from Israel and the Golan Heights have been arrested and charged with the Monday lynching of two wounded Syrians, who were being brought to Israel by ambulance for treatment, in the Golan Heights near the Syrian border.
Inflamed by media reports suggesting some of
the hundreds of wounded Syrians who have been admitted to Israel for
medical care belong to jihadi rebel groups fighting the Druze in Syria,
the crowds of Druze blocked two army ambulances for inspection.
ambulance managed to escape with crew and patients unharmed. In the
other, a Syrian casualty was killed and another seriously wounded in
what Israeli officials described as a lynching. Two troops accompanying
them were also injured.
Islamists see the Druze, whose religion is an offshoot of Islam, as
apostates to be combated. Druze in Syria and many in the Golan Heights,
which Israel captured from Syria in 1967, have long been loyal to
President Bashar al-Assad.
news agency SANA on Tuesday described those behind the lethal ambulance
attack as "heroic Syrian young men" and alleged they had targeted
wounded insurgents from the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
Israel's stated policy is to offer medical treatment to Syrians regardless of possible affiliation to armed groups.
Druze communal and spiritual leaders from Israel
and the Golan mobilized to stem further flare-ups, issuing an edict on
Tuesday warning any Druze engaging in such violence that they risked
ostracism from the close-knit sect.
The West has never understood how much of the Middle East is tribal and clan-based. The 'countries' in the Middle East were creations of the era following World War I, and to this day, most of these peoples' loyalty is to their tribes and clans and not to the countries in which they nominally live. The Druze support Assad because they are a minority like him (Assad is an Alawite) and because they fear the Islamists (who consider them apostates) even more.
'Palestinians' to turn to International Criminal Court on Thursday
It's a travel day, so greetings to all of you from the airline lounge in Paris (France, not Texas).
There is supposed to be WiFi on my next flight, and if there is and I stay awake, there may be a few posts today.
The 'Palestinian Authority' (the state that claims it needs a state) is planning to take advantage of the incredibly biased 'investigation' into last summer's Gaza war that was released by the United Nations 'human rights council' on Tuesday by filing a complaint against Israel in the International Criminal Court on Thursday.
According to a senior Palestinian official, Palestinian Foreign
Minister Riyad al-Amliki will present the documents concerning the
results of the fighting in Gaza along with data on the damage caused by
the war, and the damage to the civilian population. He will
additionially provide information on settlement construction over the
past year, as well as the issue of the Palestinian prisoners held in
Israel, with an emphasis on administrative detention.
Since the signing of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court and Palestine's joining
the ICC in April, the Palestinian National Council has prepared
materials on a number of matters with the goal of presenting them to the
ICC, said the senior Palestinian official.
Last month, Fatah central committee member Mohammed Ashtayya told Haaretz that the Palestinian reports were comprehensive and detailed accounts of
Israel's contravention of international law and were intended to
provide the court with a sufficient basis on which to decide whether to
The reports were compiled by a special committee
established at the beginning of the year to collate all the material
destined for the court. The committee was assisted by international
jurists and advisers.
The Palestinian position has received renewed
support as a result of the release of the Gaza report this week; and PA
officials have said they are being aided by lawyers who specialize in
international law, in order to prepare the documents for the ICC in
expectation that this will speed up the court's decision to open an
investigation against Israel.
We can thank all the anti-Semitic European governments for funding the NGO's that issued this report.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the report's release, the 'Palestinians' have been directing their celebratory gunfire from Gaza at Israel....
Two senior administration officials confirmed to us that U.S.
soldiers and Shiite militia groups are both using the Taqqadum military
base in Anbar, the same Iraqi base where President Obama is sending
an additional 450 U.S. military personnel to help train the local
forces fighting against the Islamic State. Some of the Iran-backed
Shiite militias at the base have killed American soldiers in the past.
Some inside the Obama administration fear that sharing the base puts
U.S. soldiers at risk. The U.S. intelligence community has reported back
to Washington that representatives of some of the more extreme militias
have been spying on U.S. operations at Taqqadum, one senior
administration official told us. That could be calamitous if the fragile
relationship between the U.S. military and the Shiite militias comes
apart and Iran-backed forces decide to again target U.S. troops.
American critics of this growing cooperation between the U.S.
military and the Iranian-backed militias call it a betrayal of the U.S.
personnel who fought against the militias during the 10-year U.S.
occupation of Iraq.
“It’s an insult to the families of the American soldiers that were
wounded and killed in battles in which the Shia militias were the
enemy,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain told us. “Now,
providing arms to them and supporting them, it’s very hard for those
families to understand.”
The U.S. is not directly training Shiite units of what are known as
the Popular Mobilization Forces, which include tens of thousands of
Iraqis who have volunteered to fight against the Islamic State as well
as thousands of hardened militants who ultimately answer to militia
leaders loyal to Tehran. But the U.S. is flying close air support
missions for those forces.
The U.S. gives weapons directly only to the Iraqi government and the
Iraqi Security Forces, but the lines between them and the militias are blurry. U.S. weapons often fall into the hands
of militias like Iraqi Hezbollah. Sometimes the military cooperation is
even more explicit. Commanders of some of the hardline militias sit in
on U.S. military briefings on operations that were meant for the
government-controlled Iraqi Security Forces, a senior administration
In an email, Omri Ceren of The Israel Project adds:
A parade of horribles. From a political perspective, the U.S. is sharing a base with Iran-backed Shiite militias that killed American troops, which will be toxic publicly and on the Hill. From a military perspective, the U.S. is allowing itself to be spied on by groups that could use that intelligence if they're unleashed on American troops by Iran, which may deter the Obama administration from pressuring Tehran. And from a diplomatic perspective, the scoop will confirm fears across the region that the U.S. is realigning with Iran – or that, at the very least, Washington is literally and figuratively providing fuel for Iran's expansionist campaign across the region:
The U.S. is not directly training Shiite units of what are known as the Popular Mobilization Forces... but the U.S. is flying close air support missions for those forces. The U.S. gives weapons directly only to the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Security Forces, but the lines between them and the militias are blurry. U.S. weapons often fall into the hands of militias like Iraqi Hezbollah. Sometimes the military cooperation is even more explicit. Commanders of some of the hardline militias sit in on U.S. military briefings on operations that were meant for the government-controlled Iraqi Security Forces, a senior administration official said... “There’s no real command and control from the central government,” one senior administration official said. “Even if these guys don’t attack us... Iran is ushering in a new Hezbollah era in Iraq, and we will have aided and abetted it.”
The fears have straightforward implications for the viability of any nuclear agreement with Iran.
Everything - everything - relies on Saudi Arabia not nuclearizing in the aftermath of an agreement later this month. If the Saudis take a pass, then maybe a deal can hold for a time. If they purchase a weapon from Pakistan or build a bomb over the medium term, then no force in the world short of a military campaign could prevent the IRGC from matching their capabilities. No one pretends that the Iranians will sit on the sidelines while the Saudis go nuclear. That scenario then becomes the worst of all worlds: the administration will have seeded a polynuclear Middle East, detonated Washington's alliances with its traditional allies, and shredded the sanctions regime - and it won't even have a denuclearized Iran to show for it.
The Saudis have been very clear about their decision calculus: they'll go nuclear not when Iran goes nuclear, but when Riyadh concludes that it's inevitable that the Iranians will go nuclear. They're not going to wait.
The Obama administration has rolled out three arguments for why that's not going to happen, at the risk of losing the ability to rationalize the JCPOA. The first is that the Saudis are too poor to go nuclear, which is difficult to square with the existence of the North Korean program. The second is that the Saudis are too afraid of an international oil embargo to go nuclear, which is an argument that - generously - does not immediately strike analysts as in line with geopolitics as it works in our reality.
The third is that American security assurances to the Gulf - specifically, that Washington will continue to push back against Iranian regional expansionism - will sufficiently reassure that Arab states that they don't have to chart their own course. But those security assurances can't survive revelations that we're aiding Iran in creating the “Hezbollah era in Iran [I think that should be "Hezbollah era in Iraq. CiJ].” And when they do fail the Saudis will go nuclear and the Iranians will back out of the JCPOA to match. Instead of a status quo of no deal and no nukes, it'll be a Middle East of no deal and lots of nukes - and in the meantime, the U.S. will have squandered decades-old alliances and the painstakingly-built international sanctions regime against Iran.
It will be interesting to see if, by tomorrow, the administration has settled on how its intends to address the scenario.
The website reported on Monday that the pair last met prior to Blair stepping down from his post as the representative of the Quartet of Middle East power brokers in May.
It was reported that they discussed ways to end the Gaza siege,
including the possibility of a rolling ceasefire, and that Blair's
negotiations were being supported by the UK, the United States and the
European Union. Two Arab states and Israel were also reportedly aware of
Though Blair has stepped down from his post with the Quartet, the discussions are reportedly continuing.
Neither the recognition of Israel, nor the decommissioning of Hamas'
arsenal, would be a requirement for any potential deal, the website
Wonder which two Arab states? I'd bet on Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Michael Oren: 'Non-Orthodox' intermarried Jews in Obama administration don't understand Israeli character
Michael Oren continues to pound away at Barack Obama and his administration.
In an appearance at New York City's uber-Leftist 92nd Street Y on Sunday, Oren explained that his book was directed at American Jews (and here I thought it was directed at Israelis who still don't get that Obama is not our friend) and that he pushed to have it published now because of the critical juncture of the Iran negotiations.
Former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren
says he pressured Random House to publish his controversial new book
“Ally” now, rather than during book season in September or October,
because “Israel is at a fateful juncture” before the deadline of the
Iran talks and the vote on the French initiative on Palestine in the
Security Council. He said that one of his main objectives was to
“motivate, animate and inspire my readers” in advance of these
challenges “to do more than just stand there”.
“It’s about saying no” to an Iran deal that
“everybody in the Knesset agrees is emphatically bad,” Oren said. He
compared “this critical moment” to the Holocaust era, when American Jews
had an opportunity to “intercede and perhaps save millions of Jews”.
Oren received a surprisingly warm reception from the 92nd Street Y, where he made remarks that might be read by some as an indictment of American Jewry.
Oren discussed what he described as the unprecedented predominance of
American Jews in the Obama administration – “there were discussions in
the White House in which there were six Jews – 3 Americans and 3
Israelis, discussing a Palestinian state - and the only non-Jewish
person in the room was the President or the Vice President.” He said
that the non-Orthodox and the intermarried American Jews in the
administration – “have a hard time understanding the Israeli character.”
Well, yes, but that's not just the administration. That's true of American Jews in general. For years now, there's been a split between American Jewry and Israeli Jewry, but that split has been virtually non-existent among Orthodox Jews. Orthodox Jews also consistently vote Republican (or have since Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980), and the more Orthodox, the more consistent they are about that. And Orthodox Jews and most Israelis would disagree with Oren's statement that Obama is not anti-Israel. He most definitely is anti-Israel. As I said once before:
Oren doesn't go far enough. His claim that Obama was 'never anti-Israel' doesn't square with the facts that we knew long before Obama was elected President.
The fact that the one example Oren gives of 'significantly strengthened
security cooperation' under Obama relates to a natural disaster and not
to a military action is telling.
And Oren ties the Obama White House in with the anti-Israel bent of American academia.
Recounting his academic experience in America, Oren said that “1968
revolutionaries” had taken over the Middle East and international
relations departments of American universities and that unless one
published their “neo-Marxist ideas”, one would not get tenured or
published. When he came to Washington in 2009, he encountered the same
ideas in his talks with Obama administration officials in the White
House and the State Department: “I could tell what professors they had.”
Oren went on to claim that the term “Israel Lobby”,
which was condemned when it was used by Professor Stephen Walt and John
Mearsheimer, is now an accepted term in Washington discourse.
On Sunday, I reported that 'Israeli Arab' MK Basel Ghattas plans to join the flotilla of fools that hopes to run the Gaza 'blockade' later this week and establish a sea route for Hamas weapons.
Senior Likud MK Zeev Elkin says that Ghattas learned that there is no treason that is unacceptable for an 'Israeli Arab' MK from Hanin Zoabi, who joined the Mavi Marmara in 2010, and has not lost her Knesset seat, despite an elections committee decision that she be barred from running.
Now, Zoabi wants to do it again. After all, it just wouldn't be the same without her. But she's not coming along anyway.
The Marianne av Göteborg, is set to depart within the next few days. Three or four other ships have plans to join the Gaza flotilla, but only the Marianne av Göteborg is currently approaching Israel.
penned a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense
Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and made it clear that she wants to join the
flotilla, however she has decided not to do so because she felt that the
last flotilla was not completely effective, stating "unfortunately the Mavi Marmara did not end the blockade in Gaza."
She said that the Mavi Marmara did not succeed 100 percent, and therefore there is a need for more and more flotillas.
to Israel, Zoabi said there will be "a need to prosecute those
responsible politically and militarily for the situation in Gaza" if the
blockade remains in place.
"Israel is in control of the
situation, and is responsible according to international law. Those in
Israel cannot expect to live a normal life when the occupation and the
siege goes on in Gaza."
Maybe she's afraid her Knesset immunity won't protect her from IDF responses to an act of war.
President Hussein Obama must be wondering what hit him. Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren continues to hammer away at the President, publishing two more op-ed pieces in the US media on Friday, one of which really gets into Obama's kishkes.
In Foreign Policy, Oren took Obama to task for not joining the
solidarity march in France after the attack on Charlie Hebdo or the
kosher supermarket earlier this year, nor for sending two senior
officials who were in Paris at the time to the march. He also took the
president to task for not admitting that the attack on the kosher
market was directed a Jews, but rather an act perpetrated by “vicious
zealots who... randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli.”
boycotting of the memorial in Paris, like his refusal to acknowledge
the identity of the perpetrators, the victims, or even the location of
the market massacre, provides a broad window into his thinking on Islam
and the Middle East. Simply put: The president could not participate
in a protest against Muslim radicals whose motivations he sees as a
distortion, rather than a radical interpretation, of Islam,” he wrote.
“And if there are no terrorists spurred by Islam, there can be no
purposely selected Jewish shop or intended Jewish victims, only a deli
and randomly present folks."
During his first year in office,
Obama, Oren argued, offered in essence “a new deal in which the United
States would respect popularly chosen Muslim leaders who were
authentically rooted in their traditions and willing to engage with the
attributed this orientation to the intellectual milieu in which Obama
grew up, as well as his personal history. “I could imagine how a child
raised by a Christian mother might see himself as a natural bridge
between her two Muslim husbands. I could also speculate how that
child’s abandonment by those men could lead him, many years later, to
seek acceptance by their co-religionists.”
The tragedy, he said, was that Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world was rejected.
will likely look back at Obama’s policy toward Islam with a
combination of curiosity and incredulousness,” he wrote. “While some
may credit the president for his good intentions, others might fault him
for being naïve and detached from a complex and increasingly lethal
In the LA Times piece, headlined “Why Obama is
wrong about Iran being 'rational' on nukes,” Oren quoted Obama’s
comment in a recent interview that being anti-Semitic, or racist,
doesn't preclude one from from being interested in survival, and that
just because Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei is anti-Semitic
“doesn't mean that this overrides all of his other considerations.”
wrote that the dispute whether Iran was a rational or irrational actor
was “ever-present” in the discussions between the US and Israel when
he was ambassador. While the American view the Iranians as logical
actors, Israel could not rule out the idea that “the Iranians would be
willing to sacrifice half of their people as martyrs in a war intended
to ‘wipe Israel off the map.’”
“Obama would never say that
anti-black racists are rational,” Oren argued. “And he would certainly
not trust them with the means – however monitored – to reach their
racist goals. That was the message Israeli officials and I conveyed in
our discreet talks with the administration. The response was not, to
our mind, reasonable."
Oren, while he served in Washington, was
considered very cautious and diplomatic, and rarely caught flack for
comments deemed “undiplomatic.”
Oren has been blasted by opposition MK's Tzipi Livni (goes without saying), Avigdor Liberman and Yair Lapid (the latter also goes without saying). But Lee Smith wrote some similar things in Tablet Magazine last week, but from a slightly different angle.
Whether Obama is an honorary Jew or not, the evidence suggests that
he keenly understands certain peculiarities of the Jewish communal
psyche—survival strategies that distinguish the Jews from other American
minority groups. The president’s use of Jewish aides and organizations
to advance his policies with the Jewish community shows that Obama is
correct in believing that Jewish politics are often motivated by fear,
which can range from the existential fear of mass extermination to the
more prosaic fear of looking shabby in front of the goyim. And Obama
isn’t using his energy and inspiring leadership skills to help these
people rise above their fear; he is instead capitalizing on
it—masterfully, ruthlessly—by manipulating American Jews in ways that
other minority groups would find unbelievably insulting.
Consider recent statements from Jewish aides to the president.
Netanyahu is the kind of politician, said David Axelrod, “who run[s] for
public office because they want to be somebody.” Israel doesn’t know
what’s best for it, Obama’s former envoy to the Palestinian-Israeli
peace process Martin Indyk told Israeli media last week. “You are an
emotional nation, not a rational nation,” he sniffed. “You work from
your gut and not your mind.”
It’s very hard to imagine Catholic policymakers helping a U.S.
president undermine and insult the Vatican and then defending the
president when he says that he understands what the church stands for
better than the pope does. During the darkest moments of the AIDS
crisis, there were no gay organizations that encouraged U.S.
policymakers to cut funding for a cure. There are no transgender
activists who argue that the real threat to the community comes not from
people who fear and hate transgendered people, but from within the
transgender community itself. Eric Holder doesn’t scold people of color
that they’re an emotional, not a rational, people, or imply that black
officeholders get into politics because they “want to be somebody.”
The issue in America today is clearly not that pro-Obama people or
organizations are leading the American Jewish community to destruction.
Yet at the same time, it is also clear that two millennia of diasporic
dependence and insecurity have left a deep and probably permanent
imprint on the Jewish communal psyche. Even in America, a free country
in which Jews have never been subject to European-style mass oppression
or persecutions, the role performed by “court Jews’ still makes
structural and emotional sense to people who like to think of themselves
as independent thinkers. Otherwise, it would be hard to explain why
Obama still has the support of the majority of the Jewish community for
policies that from any rational perspective—the perspective of any other
minority group—cannot be seen as anything other than detrimental to the
In other words, Oren is right about Obama's bad treatment of Jews as compared with any other ethnic group. Obama isn't playing any other ethnic group - only Jews. And according to Smith, Obama is playing the Jews like a master.
But what about the Jews who speak for the administration? None of
several former high-ranking Jewish officials was willing to speak on the
record on this subject, but every single one of them agreed that this
moment was an extraordinary one. “No administration will always do what
the Jewish community wants or what Jews think best for Israel, just as
none will ever always do what Catholics want or Greek Americans or
farmers,” said a former Jewish American policymaker who served in
high-level positions in several administrations. “When you are in an
administration you know this is coming. If the variance is in the
particular area you cover, it can be painful. If it gets repeated, you
need to change jobs or leave the government. That’s normal.”
But: “The Obama situation is not normal,” he continued, “due to the
length and depth of the confrontation with Israel and the harm that’s
being done. It should give rise to soul searching by Jewish appointees.
In my view they’ve become enablers, in the worst sense of that word.
That not one single Jew has left in protest is remarkable considering
that relations have not been worse in a long, long time.”
By not resigning in protest, Obama’s Jewish aides have arguably not
only harmed their community; they weakened their own position—which was,
in a sense, ultimately far more detrimental. In a town where the
appearance of power is power, Obama’s Jewish defenders had no idea which
way the president was actually going. They got played, and now everyone
knows it. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wasn’t in the room when Obama was
making Iran policy with Ben Rhodes and Valerie Jarrett. Martin Indyk
didn’t know that a central part of Obama’s Middle East policy—without
which the Iran deal would be impossible—was to weaken AIPAC,
the cornerstone of the pro-Israel community. AIPAC, in turn, didn’t see
itself as a target of the Obama Administration. Instead, it kept
telling itself that bipartisan support for Israel was the very premise
of its power. Had these actors actually participated in helping the
president pull a fast one on the Jewish community, at least they’d have
showed they had connections to power. The biggest problem with the Jews
around Obama is not that they spoke up on behalf of policies that may
very well turn out to be harmful to the Jewish state; it’s that they
were so clearly out of the loop—a status quo they will now bequeath to
In this regard, even AIPAC’s ostensible rival J Street got played. As
one senior official in the pro-Israel community told me, he believes
that “their standing has diminished a lot. The administration used J
Street and included them, and went to their conferences, because they
believed they would be a useful tool.” But J Street is weakened not, as
the pro-Israel official believes, because it plowed its own field
recklessly. If you describe yourself as a pro-Israel organization then
your power is directly proportional to how important a role Israel plays
in American foreign policy. If your actions, like J Street’s,
contribute to making Israel about as important to American foreign
policy as Malaysia is, then you aren’t very important either.
Oren is an historian and he has an historian's perspective. I'm sure he sees everything that Smith sees and has many more facts and data points to prove what Smith is saying. Unfortunately, Oren is getting no support here in Israel, other than Netanyahu's refusal to disown him.... Yet Oren disowned Netanyahu by running for the Knesset with Kahlon's party. Perhaps there's a lesson there for the historian too.
In the meantime, my copy of Oren's book is on order. Can't wait to read this one.
'Israeli Arab' MK Basel Ghattas has announced that he will join the flotilla of fools attempting to reach Gaza from Greece this week. Ghattas is a member of the 'joint list' of the 'Israeli Arab' Knesset parties.
MK Basel Ghattas from the Joint (Arab) List will join pro-Palestinian
activists on a three-vessel flotilla headed for Gaza’s shores over the
next few days in a bid to break the blockade imposed by Israel and
In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister
Moshe Ya’alon, Ghattas writes that he intends to be part of the
flotilla and does not fear the consequences of such an act, according to
In the missive, Ghattas reportedly warns Netanyahu and Ya’alon to
instruct security forces to let the flotilla through and not intercept
it lest Israel get involved “in yet another international diplomatic
crisis that you and your government will have been responsible for.”
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-five years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 12 to 33 years and eight grandchildren. Three of our children are married and a fourth is engaged! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com