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The Israelis prove they are no different from the rest of the world – indulge in their own “entitlements” (freebies), while they enable their own self-destruction, refusing to acknowledge that their only hope of survival is their military strength.

The freebies they get from ISIS or Iran or Saudi Arabia when its own crisis is over, will not quite approach what they get in their own country and … may G-d have mercy on their souls. Over two thousand years of exile has taught them nothing. 

Jerome S. Kaufman

Netanyahu Slips in Polls Days Before Israeli Elections

Labor Party Leader Herzog Benefits from Perception That Prime Minister is Not Focused on Economy

By Joshua Mitnick
The Wall Street Journal
March 11, 2015

TEL AVIV—Less than a week before Israel’s general elections, the party of incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu has begun to fall behind an opponent who promises to restart talks with Palestinians and smooth the prime minister’s notoriously rocky relations with the White House.

Two polls on Wednesday put Isaac Herzog, leader of the dovish Labor Party, slightly ahead and suggest that support for Mr. Netanyahu and his Likud party among working-class Jews has eroded because of their widespread perception that he has focused on nuclear threats from Iran and extremist Muslims at the expense of economic problems.
“He’s talking about something that isn’t relevant—Iran and ISIS,’’ (Not relevant! How stupid can you get?)  said Avi Biton, owner of a snack bar and a Likud voter in previous elections. “Today my kids don’t have the ability to settle down and buy a house. If they can’t do that, this country has no reason to exist.”

Polls by Israel Army Radio and the daily Haaretz released on Wednesday showed Mr. Herzog’s Zionist Union, a new, center-left alliance of the Labor Party with another political faction, winning 24 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, or parliament, to 21 for Likud party. A survey on Tuesday by Channel 2 television showed Zionist Union picking up 25 seats to Likud’s 21.

The polls show Mr. Netanyahu, who is seeking a fourth term as prime minister, lost support after his speech to Congress last week warning against the terms of a nuclear deal being negotiated between six world powers and Iran. The speech, cheered by Republicans in Congress, angered President Barack Obama. At home, former supporters of the prime minister said they were concerned more about the threat of rising housing prices than the threat of a nuclear Iran. Some retired generals  criticized Mr. Netanyahu for alienating Israel’s most important ally.

On March 3, the day of the congressional speech, Labor had a narrower lead over Likud. In early February, polls showed Likud slightly ahead in a race that has always been close. The trend appears to have raised alarm bells within Likud.

“If in the coming days we don’t close the gap between Likud and Labor, there is a genuine risk that Tzipi Livni and Herzog will be the next prime ministers of Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu told a gathering of supporters according to the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon. Ms. Livni heads the Ha’tnuah party that joined forces with Labor in the alliance. Mr. Herzog agreed to rotate the prime ministry with her after two years if they win.

If Labor does come out ahead, it would almost certainly offer Mr. Herzog the major advantage of being given the presidential mandate to form a governing coalition supported by a parliamentary majority. Mr. Netanyahu may still be in a better position to form a coalition, while Mr. Herzog would be faced with the difficult task of putting together a majority coalition among many parties that normally clash. At the very least, a result mirroring the current polls could weaken Mr. Netanyahu politically and he would be forced to wait to see if his opponent fails to cobble together a majority.

According to a Channel 2 poll on Tuesday night, Likud and hard-line allies would still control the largest bloc of seats in the parliament, with 44 seats. Labor and one other leftist party would have 30, centrist parties would control 20, and ultra-orthodox and Arab parties each control 13 seats.

A scion of one of Israel’s most prominent political families, Mr. Herzog is promising to reset Israeli-U.S. ties and deal more discreetly with their differences over the Iran nuclear deal. He also pledges to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and make housing prices more affordable. The latter point speaks to what Israelis say is the most important election issue this time around—the high cost of living and other socioeconomic problems.

If Mr. Herzog succeeds in forming a coalition, it would make him the first Israeli leader in 16 years to hail from the Labor Party, which dominated for the first three decades of Israel’s existence and spearheaded peace talks with the Palestinians in the 1990s.
The 54-year-old partner at one of Israel’s leading law firms is the grandson of Israel’s first chief Ashkenazi rabbi. His father Chaim Herzog was a general in Israel’s military and served as Israel’s president and its ambassador to the U.N. His uncle, Abba Eban, was Israel’s foreign minister.

Still, to most Israelis he lacks Mr. Netanyahu’s stage presence, combat history and experience handling national-security issues. Mr. Herzog still faces the daunting challenge of persuading undecided Israeli voters he should be the beneficiary of their dissatisfaction with Mr. Netanyahu. Even for longtime Labor Party supporters such as 63-year-old Nava Rosenberg, this election remains a referendum on Mr. Netanyahu.

Herzog hasn’t inspired the enthusiasm enjoyed by previous leaders of his party such as Yitzhak Rabin or the country’s revered founder, David Ben-Gurion, even among his supporters. He is battling an image as stiff and timid. But he has been aided considerably by joining forces in December with Ms. Livni, a former peace negotiator. Their alliance has helped unite centrist and left-wing Israelis and invigorated Labor’s platform for the first time in years.

“Herzog isn’t strong, he’s not decisive, he doesn’t have the personality to lead the Israeli people to big decisions,’’ she said. “But I hate Bibi, so I’m voting for Herzog. It isn’t because I love Herzog. There is nobody else.  (Huh?)

 

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By  AMBASSADOR JOHN BOLTON

II Video: Political analyst Dinesh D’Souza weighs in on President Obama’s difficult relationship with Israel and Hillary’s latest gaff

March 3, 2015

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10858

The Wall Street Journal,

February 18, 2015

With the supposed cease-fire in eastern Ukraine a mirage, the White House can soon be expected to return to its public pondering of whether to supply Kiev’s military with lethal aid to fend off the Russian-backed insurgency. If President Obama finally does decide to send antitank weapons and other hardware the Ukrainians have pleaded for, it will be only the latest example of the administration’s too-little-too-late temporizing.

Indecisiveness is the predominant characteristic of how Mr. Obama executes U.S. national-security policy. Undoubtedly there are other influences: ideological blinders; mistrust of America’s presence in the world; inadequate interest, knowledge, focus and resolve. But in implementing his policies, good or bad, the president has shown that equivocating is what he does best.

Mr. Obama’s approach is the polar opposite of the “energy in the executive” that Alexander Hamilton advocated in Federalist No. 70, especially in foreign policy. The unitary presidency, not Congress, possesses “decision, activity, secrecy and dispatch” so necessary for high statecraft. This president’s record of dithering is long and depressing.

In June 2009 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ’s rigged presidential election in Iran spurred massive, peaceful protests. For several days Mr. Obama declined to address the ayatollahs’ unleashing of the Basiji militia against innocent civilians, prompting dissenters to make signs asking, “Are you with us or against us?” The Revolutionary Guards were certainly against them—and the Green Movement was brutally repressed. By the time Mr. Obama finally spoke out, haltingly, the moment had passed, and the Islamic Revolution had stabilized.

Similar hesitation applies to Mr. Obama’s handling of Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program. He has relied on negotiations and sanctions to transform Iran’s weapons infrastructure into a “peaceful” program, but this approach has consistently failed. To be effective, sanctions must be comprehensive (targeting only named individuals or firms is easily circumvented); universally accepted (not true here, as China and Russia repeatedly demonstrate); and vigorously enforced. The Obama administration’s episodic, negligently enforced Iran sanctions meet none of these tests.

President Obama chronically disregards the integral relationship between diplomacy and force. His foreign-policy mantra that “all options are on the table” regarding Iran proves the point. What from some presidents might sound ominous, from Mr. Obama sounds pro forma.

Colin Powell as secretary of state once advised British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that “if you want to bring the Iranians around, you have to hold an ax over their heads.” Instead, Mr. Obama is holding a selfie stick over his own. The U.S. has done too little on Iran, and now we are nearly too late to stop the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, Mr. Obama hasn’t acted at all. Pyongyang has had six years to advance its nuclear program and ballistic-missile efforts. In recent months U.S. and South Korean commanders have voiced fears that North Korea is near to miniaturizing its weapons and mounting them on ICBMs capable of reaching the U.S. West Coast.

In Syria, whatever slim chance there was of empowering a “moderate” anti-Assad opposition when the civil war began four years ago disappeared while Mr. Obama dithered. His declaration of a “red line” regarding Bashar Assad ’s use of chemical weapons in Syria might have been a sign of forceful policy; it quickly faded.

In Iraq, the president’s inability or unwillingness to reach a “status of forces” agreement resulted in the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. forces, thereby leading directly to increased Iranian influence in Baghdad. The Islamic State terrorist hordes rose almost inexorably from the ashes of al Qaeda in Iraq, and its increasing control over vast portions of Syria and Iraq followed. Today, Mr. Obama’s feeble proposed authorization for military force against Islamic State should top the list of prime too-little-too-late exhibits.

Libya’s collapse after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi and the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi further show Mr. Obama’s unwillingness to see the growing radical-Islamist threat. He didn’t handle the threat adequately before the consulate attack, didn’t act decisively during the attack and, most egregiously, failed to retaliate or exact retribution afterward. Yemen’s current disintegration is a tragic reprise of the Libya debacle.

Mr. Obama’s sanctions-focused response to Russian aggression in Ukraine has been similarly piecemeal and ineffective. Authoritarian regimes are not impressed by hardships imposed on mere citizens; the real peril to Vladimir Putin comes from collapsing global oil prices. If the U.S. had supplied weapons to Ukraine early, it might have deterred Moscow’s aggressiveness, preventing or minimizing the conflict, thereby avoiding the slow-motion partition of Ukraine now under way. Today is too late.

Note also that the leader of the West has been absent from negotiations over Ukraine’s fate. Instead, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has the initiative—ruling out military aid, seeking a deal with Russia—largely because she assesses accurately that Mr. Obama will do nothing consequential to constrain Moscow.

Nowhere is Ukraine more closely watched than in Beijing, where Mr. Obama’s weakness and irresolution are empowering China to make ever-broader territorial claims in the East and South Seas, to suppress dissent in Hong Kong and to turn a covetous eye on Taiwan. Beijing is surely calculating that as U.S. leadership falters in Europe, so it will in the Pacific.

Why is Mr. Obama unwilling to act swiftly and decisively in foreign affairs? The most basic reason is his deterministic view of an “arc of history” bending inevitably to outcomes he finds ideologically desirable. And since a critical element of his ideology is that America’s presence in the world contributes to problems as much as solving them, the president’s policy of withdrawal and passivity is no surprise.

Failing to act when it could make a difference only feeds the appetites of aggressors. Europe acquiesced as Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland, undertook Anschluss with Austria, annexed the Sudetenland and subsequently destroyed Czechoslovakia. When Poland’s turn came, these prior hesitations had convinced Hitler that he enjoyed impunity. He told his generals weeks before invading: “Our enemies are little worms. I saw them at Munich.” Imagine what our adversaries today think of us.

Mr. Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad” (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

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I   The Arab Challenge

II Netanyahu’s Challenge by the Wall Street Journal Editorial (below)

I  The Arab Challenge

Al-Arabiya’s English edition editor-in-chief Faisal J. Abbas wrote a surprising op-ed on Tuesday, calling on US President Barack Obama to listen to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after the latter addressed Congress on the dangers of an Iran nuclear deal being formulated.

Abbas, whose paper is openly anti-Israel and Saudi-owned, began by scornfully conceding “it is extremely rare for any reasonable person to ever agree with anything Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says or does. However, one must admit, Bibi did get it right, at least when it came to dealing with Iran.”

The editor backed Netanyahu’s recent comment that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing creating a void being filled by “terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran,” in an op-ed following an article by a Saudi columnist columnist similarly supporting Netanyahu’s appraisal.

“What is absurd, however, is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayottallah Ali Khamenei,” Abbas wrote.

Criticizing Obama for his mismanagement of the region, Abbas continued by saying the president rid Syria of its chemical weapons but left the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in place to continue “to slaughter their own people.”

Using this example of Iran’s ally Assad, he opined “the real Iranian threat is not JUST the regime’s nuclear ambitions, but its expansionist approach and state-sponsored terrorism activities which are still ongoing.”

Iran today is no longer plotting its “terror activities in secret,” he wrote, instead documenting openly how Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ covert operations Al-Quds Force and formerly a very secretive person, is actively managing the fighting in Iraq and being photographed while doing so.

“Among his many handlings, Soleimani is the godfather of Iraq’s infamous ‘Asaa’ib Ahl Al-Haq’ (AAS) brigade, a Shiite paramilitary terrorist group responsible for dozens of atrocious attacks and murdering of both Iraqis and Americans,” wrote Abbas.

“Not only is Iran responsible for sponsoring Shiite terrorist groups, but Sunni ones too,” he added. “In fact, according to the U.S.’s own State Department, Tehran was home to a number of Al-Qaeda facilitators and high ranking financiers. These accusations are also backed by findings of the U.S. Treasury Department as well.”

Defending Saudi Arabia, which as noted is a key owner of his paper, Abbas said some would argue other Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia should not be left out of the equation in blaming most regional problems on Iran.

“On the contrary, it would be biased and/or naïve NOT to blame Iran for such problems,” he said. “After all, yes there are terrorists in Saudi Arabia and there are people who financed terrorism, but these are officially outlaws, who are either in jail, being hunted down or are hiding in the caves of Tora Bora or some other remote area.”

“The same, sadly, doesn’t apply to the terrorists of Iran; these are in uniform, hold government positions and are not bothering to hide their evil plots anymore!” concluded the editor.

Abbas’s op-ed comes as Netanyahu warned in Congress that Iran’s regional expansionism threatens Arab states as well as Israel, and if unchecked will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East

II  Netanyahu’s Challenge

The Wall Street Journal March 3, 2015

President Obama thought so little of Benjamin Netanyahu ’s speech to Congress Tuesday that he made clear he hadn’t watched it and said the text didn’t “offer any viable alternatives” to the Administration’s pending nuclear deal with Iran. We’ll take that presidential passive-aggression as evidence that the Israeli Prime Minister’s critique was as powerful as Mr. Obama feared.

For all the White House’s fretting beforehand about the speech’s potential damage to U.S.-Israel relations, Mr. Netanyahu was both bipartisan and gracious to Mr. Obama for all he “has done for Israel,” citing examples previously not publicly known. But the power of the speech—the reason the Israeli leader was willing to risk breaking diplomatic china to give it—was its systematic case against the looming nuclear deal.

Point by point, he dismantled the emerging details and assumptions of what he called a “very bad deal.” The heart of his critique concerned the nature of the Iranian regime as a terror sponsor of long-standing that has threatened to “annihilate” Israel and is bent on regional domination.

The Administration argues that a nuclear accord will help move the revolutionary regime toward moderation. But Mr. Netanyahu spent some 15 minutes laying out the regime’s historical record. Since Hasan Rouhani became president in 2013, Iran’s internal repression has become worse than in the days of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad . Iran has doubled down on its military support for Bashar Assad in Syria, gained control of north Yemen through its Houthi militia proxies, and continued to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and Shiite militias in Iraq.

Mr. Netanyahu noted that the pending deal would lift the economic sanctions that have driven Iran to the negotiating table. “Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger?” Mr. Netanyahu asked. “Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both worlds: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?” These are good questions that the Administration should be obliged to answer.

The Prime Minister also rightly raised doubts about whether even an intrusive inspections regime could guarantee enough notice if Iran seeks to divert its nuclear capabilities to build a bomb. North Korea agreed to inspectors in a deal with the Clinton Administration, he noted, only to oust them years later and build its nuclear arsenal: “Here’s the problem: You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.”

He also zeroed in on the deal’s acceptance of Iran’s already robust nuclear infrastructure, coupled with a 10-year sunset provision after which Iran could enrich as much uranium in as many centrifuges as it likes. To appreciate the scope of this concession, recall that the Administration and U.N. Security Council demanded that Iran “halt all enrichment activities” in a resolution adopted in 2010.

The Administration now says that it can’t plausibly forbid Iran from having some enrichment capability. But the only alternative to zero enrichment isn’t the major capacity the White House is now prepared to concede to Tehran. Such a capability makes it easier for Iran to cheat on any agreement it signs. The sunset provision also means that Iran can simply bide its time to build an even larger nuclear capacity.

“Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal,” Mr. Netanyahu said, and it could also “get to a bomb by keeping the deal.”

Mr. Netanyahu was especially effective in rebutting the Administration’s claim that the only alternatives at the current moment are Mr. Obama’s deal—or war. This is the familiar false choice—his way or disaster—that has become a hallmark of the President’s political argumentation.

But Mr. Netanyahu said there is a third choice—negotiate a better deal. He pointed out that sanctions had driven Iran to the negotiating table when oil was $100 a barrel and it would be under greater pressure now when oil is closer to $50. For all of its fanaticism and ambition, Iran is still a relatively weak country under great economic pressure. The U.S. has leverage to drive a harder bargain if it is willing to use it.

Mr. Netanyahu hinted that he could still accept some kind of agreement, despite attempts to portray him as opposed to any concessions. But the Prime Minister made clear in particular that any sunset provision would only be acceptable if it hinged on a change in Iran’s behavior.

“If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires,” he said to a standing ovation.

Given Mr. Obama’s reaction, the Prime Minister knows his real audience is Congress and the American people. His speech raised serious doubts about an accord that has been negotiated in secret and which Mr. Obama wants Americans to accept without a vote in Congress. Now maybe we can have a debate worthy of the high nuclear stakes.

 

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By the brilliant, erudite retired ambassador Yoram Ettinger

Purim guide for the perplexed, 2015 (excerpts)

1. Purim’s Scroll of Esther represents fundamental tenets of Judaism:

*Faith in God, in contrast to idolatry and cynicism;

*Faith in mankind’s capabilities, as God reduces direct involvement (from Genesis and Exodus to Esther Scroll – which does not mention God’s name – Ezra and Nehemiah);

*Value/principle-driven realism, in contrast to opportunism and wishful-thinking;

*Attachment to roots (religious, cultural, historical), in contrast to detachment and assimilation;

*Liberty – the core of personal/national existence (just like Sukkot/Tabernacles, Chanukah and Passover);

*Community/national-driven responsibility, in contrast to selfishness (Queen Esther assumed responsibility, while risking her life and convenience);

*The ingathering of Jews to the Land of Israel (opposed by Haman and advanced by Mordechai);

*Optimism, confidence and courage, in contrast to pessimism, despair and fear;

*Tenacious defiance of enormous adversity, in contrast to defeatism, submission and accommodation. Problems = opportunities in disguise.

2. Purim’s Clash of Civilizations exemplifies an early edition of the war between right and wrong, liberty and tyranny, justice and evil, truth and lies, as were/are Adam/Eve VS. the Snake, Abel VS. Cain, Abraham VS. Sodom & Gomorrah, Jacob VS. Esau (grandfather of Amalek), the Maccabees VS. the Assyrians, the Allies VS. the Nazis, the West VS. the Communist Bloc and Western democracies VS. Islamic rogue and terrorist regimes.

3. “Purimfest 1946” yelled Julius Streicher, the Nazi propaganda chief, as he approached the hanging gallows (Newsweek, October 28, 1946, page 46). On October 16, 1946 (in the Jewish year 5707), ten convicted Nazi war criminals were hanged in Nuremberg. An 11th Nazi criminal, Hermann Goering, committed suicide in his cell. Julius Streicher’s library, in his ranch, documented his interest in Purim and its relevance to the enemies of the Jewish people.

According to the Scroll of Esther, King Ahasuerus allowed the Jews to defend themselves and hang Haman and his ten sons. The Talmud (Megillah tractate, 16a) claims that Haman had an 11th child, a daughter, who committed suicide following her father’s demise.

4. Purim is celebrated on the 14th/15th days of the Jewish month of Adar. Adar (אדר) is the root of the Hebrew adjective Adir (- (אדיר glorious, awesome, exalted, magnificent. It is, also, a derivative of the Akkadian word Adura (heroism). In Jewish tradition (Babylonian Talmud) Adar is featured as a month of happiness, singing and dancing. The zodiac of Adar is Pisces (fish), which is a symbol of demographic multiplication.

Hence, Adar is the only Jewish month, which doubles itself during the 7 leap years, in each 19 year cycle. Purim is celebrated on the 14th day in non-walled towns and in Jerusalem on the 15th day of Adar, commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish People from the jaws of a holocaust in Persia. It also commemorates the 161 BC victory of Judah the Maccabee over Nikanor, the Assyrian commander. Moses – who delivered the Jewish People from a holocaust in Egypt and whose burial site is unknown – was born and died (1273 BC) on the 7th day of Adar, which is Israel’s Memorial Day for soldiers, whose burial sites are unknown.

(PS  My father, obm, passed away on the first day of Adar II, the leap year – the doubled month to which Ambassador Ettinger refers)

5. Purim’s (פורים) Hebrew root is fate/destiny (פור), as well as “lottery” (commemorating Haman’s lottery which determined the designated day for the planned annihilation of the Jewish People), “to frustrate,” “to annul” (להפר), “to crumble” and “to shutter” (לפורר), reflecting the demise of Haman.

6. Mordechai, the hero of Purim and one of Ezra’s deputies, was a role model of principle-driven optimism in defiance of colossal odds, in the face of a super power and in defiance of the Jewish establishment. He fought Jewish assimilation and urged Jews to sustain their roots and return to their Homeland.

Mordechai was a politically-incorrect, out-of-the-box thinking leader and a retired military commander, who preferred a disproportionate pre-emptive offensive to retaliation, appeasement and defense. The first three Hebrew letters of Mordechai (מרדכי) spell the Hebrew word “rebellion” (מרד). Mordechai did not bow to Haman, the second most powerful person in the Persian Empire. He was a member of the tribe of Benjamin, the only son of Jacob who did not bow to Esau. The name Mordechai is also a derivative of Mordouch, the chief Babylonian god.

7. Mordechai was a descendant of King Saul, who defied a clear commandment to eradicate the Amalekites, sparing the life of Agag, the Amalekite king, thus precipitating further calamities upon the Jewish People. Consequently, Saul lost his royal position and his life. Mordechai learned from Saul’s error, destroying Haman, a descendant of Agag the Amalekite, thus sparing the Jewish People a major disaster.

8. The Persian King appointed Mordechai to be his top advisor, overruling Haman’s intent to prevent the resettling of Jews in Zion, the reconstruction of the Temple and the restoration of the wall around Jerusalem. The king prospered as a result of his change of heart and escaped assassination. That was also the case with Pharaoh, who escaped national collapse and starvation and rose in global prominence after he appointed Joseph to be his deputy.

9. Queen Esther, the heroine of Purim’s Scroll of Esther, was Mordechai’s niece. Esther demonstrated the centrality of women in Judaism, shaping the future of the Jewish People, as did Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Miriam, Batyah, Deborah, Hannah and Yael. Sarah was the first – and Esther the last – Jewish women mentioned in the Bible. Sarah lived 127 years and Esther ruled over 127 countries. The name Esther (אסתר) is a derivative of the Hebrew word הסתר , “to conceal” – reflective of her initial concealment of her Jewish identity, while the Hebrew word for “scroll,” מגילה, derives from מגלה – “to reveal.” God is concealed in the scroll of Esther, which is the only Biblical book that does not mention God. The Purim custom of wearing costumes highlights the transition from concealment to revelation of identity.

Purim’s four commandments:

*Reading/studying the Scroll of Esther within the family, emphasizes the centrality of the family, education, memory and youth as the foundation of a solid future.

*Gifts to relatives, friends and strangers emphasize the importance of family, community and collective responsibility.

*Charity (at least the value of a meal) reflects compassion and communal responsibility. According to Maimonides, “there is no greater or more glorious joy than bringing joy to the poor.” Purim is celebrated when Jews study the portion of the Torah, תרומה (charity, donation in Hebrew), which highlights giving and contributing to others as a means of enhancing solidarity and reducing egotism. According to the Torah, contributions benefit the contributor more than the recipient.

*Celebration and Happiness sustain optimism and faith – the backbone of individuals and nations.

 

Wishing you Happy Purim and a rewarding week,

Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, “Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative”

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FROM: TO PRAY AS A JEW (or anyone else)

By Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin
Library of Congress 1980

(Some used copies may still be available at abebooks.com.  Well worth the study.)

Page 4    We live in an age when it is not fashionable to pray. Even among those who join synagogues, only a small percentage pray daily or even weekly. Those who do not worship regularly put on an air that they are somehow beyond that stage, that they do not need to pray. Their reason for affiliating with a synagogue is to identify with the Jewish people and the Jewish community, and perhaps even with the Jewish faith. But not for the purpose of prayer.

Some consider the spiritual arrogance of contemporary man to be a stumbling block to prayer. Since prayer requires the capacity to be in awe and to feel thankful, the immodest and arrogant personality simply cannot pray because he has no sense of awe or gratitude. He puts too much faith in his own ability to do wonders and ascribes all achievements to his own powers. He lacks the necessary measure of humility.

While this may be true for some individuals, it is perhaps skepticism and doubt that make it difficult for other people to engage God in conversation. It is not that they are atheists or even agnostics; it is simply that they waver between faith and doubt. Even of Noah, who is described in the Bible as a “righteous man” who “walked with God,” it is said that “he believed and didn’t believe,” for he lacked the faith to move immediately into the ark that he was commanded to build, and did not move in until the very last moment (Rashi, Gen. 7:7).

Our generation, too, often appears to be precariously balanced between believing and not believing, sometimes leaning in one direction, sometimes in the other. Or perhaps the reason for the unfashionability of prayer is simply that most people don’t know how to pray. They were never properly taught. Yet prayer is more commonplace than most people realize if  we do not think of it as taking place only within a structured religious service and only through the medium of prescribed and sanctioned words.

“Dear God, Please make her well” is as simple and classic a prayer as there can be. Moses said this prayer for his sister Miriam when she was stricken with Leprosy  (Numbers 12:13. In one form or another this prayer is recited by countless mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, children, friends, and lovers.

Or consider the sigh of relief, “Thank God!” that comes after going through a period of intense anxiety in the wake of a serious accident or a dangerous illness or a fateful mission, or when loved ones seem suspended between life and death or between success and ruin. This, too, is a prayer and is just as likely to be said by people who think that they never pray as by those who pray with deliberate and conscious regularity.

Or consider the feeling of awe and admiration that wells up in one’s heart when coming upon great natural scenes: vast oceans, breathtaking mountains, stunning deserts. King David summed it up saying, “Oh Lord, how great are Thy works!” Is this not a prayer, even though it may come out simply as “Magnificent!” by those with less poetic talent than the author of the Book of Psalms? But if they believe these phenomena to be God’s handiwork and mean to praise Him, then this word, too, constitutes a prayer.

Or consider the person who has qualms of conscience about some wrongdoing and in the privacy of his own thoughts says, “How truly sorry I am!” This, too, is a prayer, especially if the words “forgive me” are added.

These examples are universal and herein  lies a clue to the real purpose for engaging in prayer. Whether we petition God to give us what we need, or thank Him for whatever good was granted, or extol Him for His awesome attributes, all prayer is intended to help  make us into better human beings.

 

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Forward from the booklet Jabotinsky … The Man and the Vision

By William Mehlman

A publication of Americans for a Safe Israel   (and a Safe America)

www.afsi.org;        afsi@ren.cem

Seven decades have passed since the death of Ze’ev Jabotinsky. In that time great and terrible events have transpired to reshape Jewish life and thought: A third of our people perished in the camps and crematoria of Eastern and Central Europe; a Jewish state was , reborn and has fought seven wars for its continued existence, and an ingathering into  Israel of the exiles began that has already reclaimed more than two million Jews, including nearly one million from the former Soviet Union, once thought to be beyond the reach of Zion.

Amidst such events, most figures of the distant Jewish past would rate at best a sentimental footnote. Jabotinsky is an exception. Like Theodor Herzl before him, he was a man not merely of his own time but for all time. He defined Jewish statehood at a period when the very term “Jewish State” was considered a provocation. He established a doctrine of Jewish self-defense when the idea of a Jew defending himself was still regarded as ludicrous or dangerous.

He was the “old” Jew – a throwback to the Maccabees and Bar Kochba – who heralded the coming of the “new” Jew, fiercely proud of his ancient culture, free of the dark fears and inferiorities of the ghetto, fully capable of meeting the non-Jew on equal terms. Having been born in the future, the future has finally caught up with Jabotinsky. He was better understood in his own day by the youth than by his contemporaries, and at its zenith, there were close to 80,000 young people around the world gathered under the  banner of “Betar,” the passionately Zionist youth movement he created and headed.

Not since Biblical times has any Jewish leader had so massive a personal following. One has the feeling that Jabotinsky would again be better understood by the national Zionist youth of this day than by their fathers and uncles, a youth angered and sickened by the spectacle of incremental appeasement masquerading as “moderation,” longing for a clear, courageous unequivocal stand on matters critical to Jewish national existence. Jabotinsky was a man who had no fear of saying no and meaning it, surely a man for this day when every no and every yes has been prostituted by a but. The question “What would Jabotinsky have done?” is heard more and more frequently from a generation awed by the incomparable leadership he provided while he lived.

His writings and speeches on virtually every subject of national concern have weathered time and circumstance. If they do not provide sure solutions to our present dilemma, they at least point us in the right direction. It is time to reopen the book on Jabotinsky. It’s astonishing that it should ever have been closed. His neglect is an appalling comment on Jewish values and sense of history. With Herzl, he stands as one of two seminal figures of modem Zionism, the greatest purely Jewish intellectual of the 20th Century, the ideological bedrock upon which Israel’s ruling political party rests, the creator of the World War I “Jewish Legion, Betar and Haganah,” the Israel Defense Force. Yet millions of Jewish children – and their parents – are barely familiar with his name. It would be comparable to an Englishman not knowing who Winston Churchill was.

In reintroducing a new generation to Ze’ev Jabotinsky, it is hoped that readers will be drawn toward a more intensive exploration of this remarkable visionary and his writings An excellent way to pursue that quest is with a reading of Lone Wolf, the brilliant two- volume biography by his last secretary, historian Shmuel Katz (available through afsi@ren.com). Jabotinsky was conspicuously free of Messianic pretentious. Yet, history has shown repeatedly over the years since his passing that the circumference of his personal vision was wide enough to encompass us all. He knew us well. Our need to know him at this critical juncture in Jewish history couldn’t be more compelling.

Jerusalem, January 2010

 

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His proposed authorization for use of military force might do lasting damage to the separation of powers.

(Which is exactly what he has in mind!)

By MICHAEL B. MUKASEY And DAVID B. RIVKIN JR.

The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 20, 2015

President Obama last week sent to Congress a draft resolution regarding an authorization for use of military force, or AUMF, against the terrorist group Islamic State. Although presidents have constitutional power to defend American national-security interests, seeking an AUMF is both constitutional and sound. The measure enables Congress to show its support for military efforts and encourages public approval of them. From the nation’s founding, dozens of AUMFs have been enacted. The 2001 resolution authorizing war against al Qaeda and its affiliates and the 2002 authorization of the Iraq war are only the most recent.

AUMFs also have legal significance. They buttress the president’s powers and, consistent with Supreme Court precedent, provide legal support when such aspects of war-fighting as electronic surveillance, detention of enemy combatants and use of deadly force against American nationals who have joined the enemy are challenged in court.

One can argue whether Congress’s constitutional power to declare war serves principally to distinguish formally among enemies, friends and neutrals, or has broader effect. However, AUMFs have become particularly important in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, as federal courts have involved themselves to an unprecedented degree in scrutinizing such activities. The relevant judicial decisions often cite the existence of an AUMF.

Despite the benefits of traditional AUMFs, President Obama’s proposal is fundamentally flawed. Attempting to obtain political cover for his strategy to fight Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, he has asked Congress to ban “enduring offensive ground operations” and to terminate the authorization after three years.

Congress cannot restrain the president’s core constitutional authority to wage war, even when congressionally imposed restrictions are minor—as was true with 2001 legislation that purported to limit the president’s authority to place U.S. armed forces under the command of foreign officers as part of U.N. peacekeeping missions. Congress did not bar the president from placing U.S. troops under foreign command, but merely required that certain procedures be followed in such cases. Even so, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel correctly concluded that “it is unconstitutional for Congress to place conditions, whether substantive or procedural, on the president’s exercise of his constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief.”

Every president from Richard Nixon on has maintained that the 1973 War Powers Resolution, requiring that the president notify Congress within 60 days of committing U.S. troops abroad, is unconstitutional. Yet each president also has—voluntarily—complied with it. Except President Obama, who directed U.S. military intervention in Libya and claimed that the 1973 law did not apply because the effort was too limited to be called a “war.” Yet now the Obama AUMF purports to impose major constraints on the president’s commander-in-chief authority—both his own, and his successors’.

The Founders were careful to vest responsibility for waging war in a unitary executive, rather than in a multimember legislature. They made the decision based on their historical knowledge that the unity of command is the prerequisite for military success, and on their own experience during the Revolutionary War—which had been managed by committees of the Continental Congress. James Wilson, among the most learned lawyers of the Founding generation, reasoned that, with a unitary executive “[w]e secure vigor. We well know what numerous executives are. We know there is neither vigor, decision nor responsibility in them.”

The Founders also trusted in the power of political accountability, which is why they decisively rejected an executive branch composed of a president and executive council in favor of the unitary executive branch we now enjoy. In Federalist No. 70, Alexander Hamilton observed that political accountability can exist only if the president cannot shift responsibility for his actions onto others: “It often becomes impossible, amid mutual accusations, to determine on whom the blame of punishment of pernicious measures, ought really to fall.” The public, he concluded, would be “left in suspense about the real author” of bad policy.

If Congress were to limit President Obama’s commander-in-chief power by banning what his resolution calls “enduring offensive combat operations”—whatever that means—Congress would effectively operate as an executive council to Mr. Obama, allowing him to evade accountability for his halfhearted prosecution of war against ISIS. It is bad enough that legislation to tie a president’s hands is being proposed by a president. That it is proposed by this president, who has been so willing to exceed his constitutional authority in domestic affairs—by rewriting immigration laws, anti-narcotics laws, ObamaCare and so on—underscores the administration’s cynicism and its disdain for the Constitution.

If Congress buys into this presidential plan it will set a dangerous precedent that might do lasting damage to the separation of powers. With the two political branches seemingly in accord on joint responsibility for waging war, the federal courts might bless this arrangement, handicapping future presidents.

In recent years, congressional Democrats have been content to accommodate President Obama, whether he chose to enlarge the president’s constitutional prerogatives or diminish them. Congressional Republicans, having chosen to litigate against President Obama when he invaded Congress’s lawmaking authority by rewriting ObamaCare, should display the same principled determination to uphold the president’s constitutional prerogatives. No AUMF is better than one that is constitutionally flawed.

Mr. Mukasey served as U.S. attorney general (2007-09) and as a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York (1988-2006). Mr. Rivkin is a constitutional litigator and served in the Justice Department and White House Counsel’s Office in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

(Let us hope that the Congress has enough good sense to understand that this is just another Obama power grab. In this case the power grab has a very specific intent – Obama wants to re-enforce or diminish his powers to wage war as he choses against ISIS – the most diabolical, destructive, anti-Christian, Anti-Israel, anti-Western civilization we may have ever seen. And, what Obama wants to do against them is exactly what he has done for the last couple of years — virtually nothing. He apparently wants to give ISIS free reign to do as much damage as possible to the free world and enlarge their power to the point that they have, in fact, regained their ambition of an Islamic world-wide Caliphate demanding and enforcing  world submission to the most awful aspects of Sharia Law. 

And … What Congress’s “good sense” will decide remains very much to be seen) jsk

PS If you happen to think the above is an absurd estimation of Barack Obama and his foreign policy, you might like to see the video of Rudy Guiliani giving  his recent views on Mr. Obama and his presidency. 

Raging Rudy Giuliani Destroys Obama’s Policies on Islamism and Iran

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10872

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The Dangerous Lie That ‘Bush Lied’

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10779

Some journalists still peddle this canard as if it were fact. This is defamatory and could end up hurting the country.

By LAURENCE H. SILBERMAN
The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 9, 2015

In recent weeks, I have heard former Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier on Fox News twice asserting, quite offhandedly, that President George W. Bush “lied us into war in Iraq.”

I found this shocking. I took a leave of absence from the bench in 2004-05 to serve as co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction—a bipartisan body, sometimes referred to as the Robb-Silberman Commission. It was directed in 2004 to evaluate the intelligence community’s determination that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD—I am, therefore, keenly aware of both the intelligence provided to President Bush and his reliance on that intelligence as his primary casus belli. It is astonishing to see the “Bush lied” allegation evolve from antiwar slogan to journalistic fact.

The intelligence community’s 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) stated, in a formal presentation to President Bush and to Congress, its view that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction—a belief in which the NIE said it held a 90% level of confidence. That is about as certain as the intelligence community gets on any subject.

Recall that the head of the intelligence community, Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet, famously told the president that the proposition that Iraq possessed WMD was “a slam dunk.” Our WMD commission carefully examined the interrelationships between the Bush administration and the intelligence community and found no indication that anyone in the administration sought to pressure the intelligence community into its findings. As our commission reported, presidential daily briefs from the CIA dating back to the Clinton administration were, if anything, more alarmist about Iraq’s WMD than the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.

Saddam had manifested sharp hostility toward America, including firing at U.S. planes patrolling the no-fly zone set up by the armistice agreement ending the first Iraq war. Saddam had also attempted to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush —a car-bombing plot was foiled—during Mr. Bush’s visit to Kuwait in 1993. But President George W. Bush based his decision to go to war on information about Saddam’s WMD. Accordingly, when Secretary of State Colin Powell formally presented the U.S. case to the United Nations, Mr. Powell relied entirely on that aspect of the threat from Iraq.

Our WMD commission ultimately determined that the intelligence community was “dead wrong” about Saddam’s weapons. But as I recall, no one in Washington political circles offered significant disagreement with the intelligence community before the invasion. The National Intelligence Estimate was persuasive—to the president, to Congress and to the media.

Granted, there were those who disagreed with waging war against Saddam even if he did possess WMD. Some in Congress joined Brent Scowcroft, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and former national security adviser, in publicly doubting the wisdom of invading Iraq. It is worth noting, however, that when Saddam was captured and interrogated, he told his interrogators that he had intended to seek revenge on Kuwait for its cooperation with the U.S. by invading again at a propitious time. This leads me to speculate that if the Bush administration had not gone to war in 2003 and Saddam had remained in power, the U.S. might have felt compelled to do so once Iraq again invaded Kuwait.

In any event, it is one thing to assert, then or now, that the Iraq war was ill-advised. It is quite another to make the horrendous charge that President Bush lied to or deceived the American people about the threat from Saddam.

I recently wrote to Ron Fournier protesting his accusation. His response, in an email, was to reiterate that “an objective reading of the events leads to only one conclusion: the administration . . . misinterpreted, distorted and in some cases lied about intelligence.” Although Mr. Fournier referred to “evidence” supporting his view, he did not cite any—and I do not believe there is any.

He did say correctly that “intelligence is never dispositive; it requires analysis and judgment, with the final call and responsibility resting with the president.” It is thus certainly possible to criticize President Bush for having believed what the CIA told him, although it seems to me that any president would have credited such confident assertions by the intelligence community. But to accuse the president of lying us into war must be seen as not only false, but as dangerously defamatory.

The charge is dangerous because it can take on the air of historical fact—with potentially dire consequences. I am reminded of a similarly baseless accusation that helped the Nazis come to power in Germany: that the German army had not really lost World War I, that the soldiers instead had been “stabbed in the back” by politicians.

Sometime in the future, perhaps long after most of us are gone, an American president may need to rely publicly on intelligence reports to support military action. It would be tragic if, at such a critical moment, the president’s credibility were undermined by memories of a false charge peddled by the likes of Ron Fournier.

 

Mr. Silberman, a senior federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

 

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I  Barack Obama, Empire Builder — But, Not Ours

Redacted from an article by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

(A brilliant, terrifying summation of the world scene thanks to the diabolical maneuvers of Barack Hussein Obama)

Not since the 1930s and early 1940s have we seen so many malevolent empires on the rise.

Empires can rise and fall quickly. After World War I, the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian Empires abruptly collapsed amid military defeat, rising nationalism, and revolution.

Yet on the eve of World War II four new empires suddenly grew out the wreckage of old Europe and Asia. A weak Italy under Fascist Benito Mussolini in just a few years grabbed much of East and North Africa, as well as the Dalmatian coast. Hitler’s so-called “Third Empire” carved off Austria and strips of Eastern Europe — and planned to go to war for more. The Soviet Union absorbed the Baltic states and southern Finland. Japan declared first Manchuria, and then Southeast Asia, part of its new “Co-Prosperity Sphere.”

But by the war’s end in 1945, the Japanese and Italian empires had collapsed. So did the Third Reich — and soon the British Empire as well. The Soviet implosion in 1991 was expected by very few.
We are now in an equally turbulent age of rising empires — mostly due to a new American indifference and passivity. Or, to put it more exactly, President Obama believes that his own legacy rests with avoiding all confrontations overseas, withdrawing as many troops as he can, and cutting the defense budget as much as Congress will allow so as to use the funds to address supposed inequality at home. If chaos results abroad, he can either blame his predecessor, George W. Bush, or assume that his successor will have to deal with what he wrought — or both. Obama is running out the clock of his presidency on the premise of Après moi, le déluge.

The Iranian theocracy fancies itself the reincarnation of the ancient Persian Empire of Cyrus and Xerxes. A soon-to-be nuclear Iran, through its operatives, now controls portions of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and, soon, Yemen — and dreams of overturning the Sunni sheikhdoms in the Gulf. If you assert that administration talking points come right out of Tehran — as Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey recently did — Obama will characterize such objections not as principled differences, but as cynical attempts to please “donors” — a veiled reference to rich Jews whose money, Obama apparently believes, distorts policy. I think the administration’s policy toward the new Iranian Empire is something like, “They probably won’t get the bomb until 2017.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin has added parts of Ukraine to his earlier land conquests in Georgia and Crimea. He dreams of updating 19th-century Czarist Russia. Putin’s next target will probably be half of Estonia, a NATO country, whose implosion would render the postwar alliance null and void. Putin is dangerous not just because he runs an autocratic nuclear state and has dreams of restoring 19th-century imperial Russia under Orthodoxy and a new czardom, but also because he has developed a perverse delight in gratuitously humiliating Barack Obama, by exposing his sermonizing platitudes as both hypocritical and impotent.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan dreams of reviving the Ottoman Empire. He flexes Turkey’s new muscles in both the Arab and the Mediterranean worlds, as he slowly strangles Turkish democracy. Erdogan’s foreign policy is based on a pathological hatred of Israel and claims of a special multicultural relationship with Barack Obama. Erdogan certainly rejects the secularized vision of the founder of the modern Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and he seems to wish to see pro-Western Arab dictatorships replaced by more revolutionary Islamist governments that will look to Turkey for spiritual guidance.

The new terrorist Islamic State has grandiose schemes of recreating the medieval pan-Arab caliphate. After carving off much of Syria and Iraq for their new theocracy, the jihadists plan to topple the rich Gulf sheikhdoms and grab the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The Islamic State grew out of two laxities. First, no Western power tried to organize a non-Islamist alternative to the bloody pro-Iranian, pro-Hezbollah Syrian dictatorship of Bashar Assad, which was on the verge of falling during the Arab Spring four years ago; instead, Western nations may well have ended up arming and abetting ISIS thugs. Second, for the price of a cheap 2012 reelection talking point, the U.S. fled from Iraq in 2011, after enormous sacrifices in blood and treasure had achieved, in the words of Barack Obama, a relatively stable and secure Iraq that might have been, in the words of Joe Biden, the administration’s greatest achievement. Supporters of Obama claim the Iraq War created ISIS; in fact, the disintegration of Syria and the abrupt U.S. withdrawal from Iraq did.

China has terrified almost all of its Westernized neighbors — Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. It is trying to recreate its own version of the imperial Japanese Co-Prosperity Sphere through cash, mercantilism, threats, and the overstepping of borders. Its defense build-up and new aggressive foreign policy reflect a hunch that America’s old Pacific and Asian allies are no longer securely beneath the American defensive umbrella, that they recognize their vulnerability, and that Chinese money and threats are more relevant than U.S. platitudes and indifference.

There are several common denominators to the grandiose visions of these five would-be empires. All are anti-democratic. They are certainly anti-American. They are bullies who pick fights only with entities deemed smaller and weaker than themselves. And they have all been empowered by the recessional of the lead-from-behind United States from the world stage. In other words, they believe their aggrandizement is either ignored by an Obama administration that feels deterring them is too costly and unpopular, or tactically condoned as the inherent right of countries to adjudicate politics in their own spheres of influence, without an intrusive American global cop sticking its post-colonial, imperialist nose where it has no business.

There used to be a dominant American-led West that sought to encourage abroad constitutional government, market capitalism, and human rights. The so-called New World Order that followed the Cold War was backed by U.S. economic muscle, an overpowering military, and advocacy for freedom. America showed a fierce loyalty to its longtime friends in Europe and the Middle East and no tolerance for outlaws like Manuel Noriega, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, and the Iranian theocracy. It had a special concern for the proverbial small and vulnerable countries and peoples such as Israel, the Kurds, Taiwan, and Greece. Now, Iran, Russia, Turkey, the Islamic State, and China have taken note that this is no longer the case.

Obama is abetting five new empires that believe their reactionary autocracy, anti-Americanism, and growing military power should earn them greater material rewards and global influence. To paraphrase the Roman historian Tacitus, where Obama has helped to create chaos, he calls it peace.

We are witnessing empire-building unlike anything seen since the 1930s and early 1940s. What is different this time around is not just the older themes of American isolationism, indifference, and appeasement, but also a new, bizarre twist. The Obama administration feels almost as if these rising suzerainties have a more legitimate right to carve out regional empires than the United States has to stop them.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals.

II  Pursuing A Legacy At Israel’s Expense?

By: Editorial Board, The Jewish Press
Published: February 4th, 2015

From the outset, it was difficult to understand the confrontation between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the latter’s accepting, without prior consultation with the White House, an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner to speak to Congress on the Iranian nuclear crisis.

After all, contrary to an early inaccurate report, later corrected, from The New York Times, Mr. Netanyahu accepted the invitation only after the administration had been informed of it. And Mr. Netanyahu had to know the negative fallout would be intense, not only because he was vulnerable to the charge of having publicly disrespected the president but also, given the sharp disagreement he and House Republicans have had with the president on the issue, he could also easily be portrayed as seeking to undermine the president’s policy on Iran, even as negotiations were being pursued.

Last week we cautioned that the always tense relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu should not be allowed to obscure the real issue here – namely, what kind of deal would emerge from the talks.

Developments since then have only served to underscore that warning while shedding some light on Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to address Congress even at the risk of further alienating the president.

Israeli Army Radio reported on Tuesday that Israeli officials had been told in recent days that the United States and Iran were closing in on an agreement that would lift the current economic sanctions regime and require certain monitoring mechanisms. But it would also permit Iran to retain a significantly large number of centrifuges – close to the number Iran insisted it had to keep and nowhere near what the U.S. had originally sought. Iran will also obligate itself to rein in terrorism and unrest in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

For a president bent on burnishing his legacy, the purported agreement raises the possibility that the Middle East will be considerably quieter than it is now (except perhaps on the Israeli-Palestinian front) during his final two years in office, even if the lull will eventually prove illusory, since even Mr. Obama cannot really believe Iran will honor its commitments.

It is also noteworthy that several days ago the Obama administration hotly denied an Israeli television report that the U.S. had agreed to 80 percent of Iran’s demands, characterizing it as “complete nonsense.”

Yet the apparent level of U.S. concessions strongly points in the opposite direction, and would certainly explain why the White House would kick up such a fuss about an Israeli prime minister going before Congress and challenging, by implication, the president and his negotiating positions.

It also explains why Mr. Netanyahu was willing to risk a serious break with the president and why he would consider that risk not only warranted, but an Israeli national security imperative.

Last November, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama secretly wrote to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, purportedly – “according to people briefed on the correspondence” – linking Iran’s cooperation in fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria with a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s future nuclear program.

When questioned about this, Secretary of State John Kerry refused to confirm or deny the existence of the letter though he insisted that “No conversation, no agreement, no exchange, nothing has created any deal or agreement with respect to any of the events that are at stake in the Middle East…. There is no linkage whatsoever of the nuclear discussions with any other issue. And I want to make that absolutely clear. The nuclear negotiations are on heir own. They’re standing separate from anything else. And no discussion has ever taken place bout linking one thing to another.”

Be that as it may, Iran has somehow gone from a supplicant seeking to end crippling economic sanctions and forestall possible military action to a full negotiating partner able to extract concessions from the U.S.

Plainly, the Iranians have something President Obama desperately wants, apparently even at the expense of permitting Iran to eventually emerge as a nuclear military power.

So what is in play here is a clash between Benjamin Netanyahu’s concern for Israel’s future and Barack Obama’s quest for a legacy of peace, even one of fleeting duration.

We hope Mr. Netanyahu succeeds in rousing Congress, which is, after all, a co-equal branch of government with the presidency. This is hardly a time for Israeli sacrifices on the altar of Mr. Obama’s vainglory.

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SAVE OUR INTERNET FREEDOM. CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSMAN. VOTE IS ON FEB. 26!

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10823

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is circulating a petition calling for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to scrap its proposed takeover of the Internet, a plan it will vote on Feb. 26.

Feb  09, 2015
By Nick Sanchez

“An unregulated Internet has been the single greatest catalyst in history for individual liberty and free markets on the planet. It has created the greatest revolution since Henry Ford invented the Model T,” Paul said in a Monday email sponsored by the petitioning organization, Protect Internet Freedom.

“Let’s get this straight — technology has progressed because it has been driven by a free and open Internet — not because of DC bureaucrats. This latest attempt to regulate the web threatens to interrupt that positive innovation, set the market back, and kill jobs.”

Paul has long decried the FCC’s attempts to impose so-called “net neutrality” by regulating the business of Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast and AT&T.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the FCC’s previous attempt to create net neutrality was thwarted by a federal judge in 2010. If passed, the new plan will also be challenged in court by ISPs.

“A barrage of litigation which could well wind up in the Supreme Court is sure to follow,” Peter Karanjia, a former deputy general counsel at the FCC, told The Journal.

In its previous attempt, the FCC’s rule making relied on Congress’ 1996 overhaul of the Communications Act of 1934, whereas the current plan relies on the agency’s Title II authority for its legal underpinnings.

The new plan would classify the Internet as a public utility like railroads or water, however FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said he won’t enact strict provisions like price controls.

“These attempts to regulate the Internet are a direct attack on the freedom of information and an innovative market. The government needs to stay out of the way,” Paul wrote Monday in response.

The Great Internet Power Grab

By L. GORDON CROVITZ

The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 8, 2015

Last week Washington abandoned open innovation when the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission yielded to President Obama ’s demands and moved to regulate the freewheeling Internet under the same laws that applied to the Ma Bell monopoly. Unless these reactionary regulations are stopped, they spell the end of the permissionless innovation that built today’s Internet.

Until now, anyone could launch new websites, apps and mobile devices without having to lobby a regulator for permission. That was thanks to a Clinton-era bipartisan consensus that the Internet shouldn’t be treated as a public utility. Congress and the White House under both parties kept the FCC from applying the hoary regulations that micromanaged the phone system, which would have frozen innovation online.

Last week’s announcement from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler rejects 20 years of open innovation by submitting the Internet to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Once Mr. Wheeler and the commission’s Democratic majority vote this month to apply Title II, the regulations will give them staggering control. Any Internet “charges” and “practices” that the bureaucrats find “unjust or unreasonable is declared to be unlawful.”

This is an open invitation to entrenched companies challenged by new technologies. The Internet has been a source of creative destruction, upending industries from music, movies and newspapers to retail, travel and banking. History teaches that companies threatened by competition will hire as many lawyers as necessary to get regulators to protect them.

Under Title II, regulators will have the power to invalidate many Internet practices that deliver enormous value to consumers. Today, Amazon has a deal with Sprint enabling Kindle’s rapid downloads of e-books, which competing e-book sellers could claim was “unjust.” The WhatsApp messaging system acquired by Facebook lets people text for free, which traditional mobile phone companies might well consider “unreasonable.” Netflix will regret lobbying for Title II if its competitors object to its special deals that enable its smooth delivery of bandwidth-intensive video.

Under Title II, almost all Web operations will be subject to bureaucratic control. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court warned that if the FCC treated the Internet as a telecommunications service, it “would subject to mandatory common carrier regulation all information service providers that use telecommunications as an input to provide information service to the public”—in other words, almost all websites and apps would be subject to regulation.

This means the FCC will be able to decide the “reasonableness” of many websites and services: Regulators could micromanage Google search results on the ground that the company uses “telecommunications” to link to other sites. The FCC could oversee news publishers that link to other news sites or have online advertisements connecting to advertiser websites. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter involve telecommunication services, as do email services from Google and Yahoo .

In anticipation of Title II, BlackBerry is already lobbying the FCC to force Netflix and Apple to offer apps for its phones, which have a small market share.

Mr. Wheeler has promised to “forbear” from some regulations, but once regulators get power, they use it. And if there is any forbearance, there will be litigation from companies seeking to burden their competitors with regulation.

President Obama claims that Title II would boost broadband, but the opposite is true. Today, Google Fiber is the main threat to the phone and cable broadband duopoly. Under Title II, cable and telecom lawyers will be able to press the FCC to declare Google’s business model “unjust or unreasonable.” They can object to Google serving only certain areas. They can say it’s unfair that Google can charge consumers less because it benefits from advertising.

The FCC claims that it is supporting “net neutrality,” but Title II was not designed to keep the Internet free of content discrimination. It actually enforces non-neutrality and fast lanes so long as bureaucrats deem them “reasonable.”

It likely will take the courts into the next presidency to litigate the enormity of this FCC power grab, but the sooner we return to the national consensus against heavy regulation, the better. The culture of American innovation and the freedom of the Internet hang in the balance.

PS Louis Gordon Crovitz is an American media executive and advisor to media and technology companies. He is a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal who also served as executive vice-president of Dow Jones and launched the company’s Consumer Media Group. Crovitz is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Chicago. He received a law degree as a Rhodes Scholar from Wadham College of Oxford University and later a law degree from Yale Law School.

Excerpted from: Why Download Europe’s Lousy Broadband Policy?

Treating the Internet like a utility has been tried, with deleterious effects on innovation and costs.

By RICK BOUCHER And FRED CAMPBELL
Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2015

Europe has been experimenting with heavy-handed Internet regulation since 2002, and the results are a warning of what the U.S. can expect.

That is the conclusion of a new study by our organization, the Internet Innovation Alliance, a coalition of businesses and nonprofits. Over the past two decades, the U.S. has benefited from a bipartisan, light-touch broadband regulatory regime that has spurred more capital investment, more competition and—perhaps most important—more broadband capacity than in the European Union, which has a larger population and similar economy.

Consider capital investment, without which broadband networks do not exist and cannot be modernized. Fixed-broadband operators in the U.S. invested $137 billion in 2011 and 2012, more than four times Europe’s $31 billion over the same time period. U.S. mobile operators, at $55 billion, invested twice as much as their European counterparts’ $29 billion. Even when the comparison is made as a percentage of industry revenue, the U.S. investment advantage persists.

Europe’s “wholesale-access” regulatory regime, under which fixed operators must make their networks available to competitors at a regulated price, was ostensibly designed to promote competition. Yet in Europe, powerful incumbent carriers hold 65% of the local telephone market, while in the U.S. 59% of the local telephone market is served by new competitors. More than 90% of U.S. households can choose from among 10 or more providers.

The study’s analysis of mobile networks also illustrates how the U.S. offers greater access than Europe to the highest-speed, so-called LTE networks. In 2012 only 30% of European households had access to LTE, while 79% of American households did.

So where does this leave us? Net-neutrality proponents assume that the impact of common-carrier regulations will be minimal and that the U.S. will maintain its technology lead forever, but the European regulatory example suggests that such an outcome is far from certain. It is more likely that imposing regulations crafted for last century’s monopoly telephone service will have a crippling and chilling effect on broadband investment. Investment drives innovation: As the Internet Innovation Alliance study demonstrates, Europe has fallen badly behind the U.S.

Mr. Boucher, a former Democratic congressman from Virginia, is a partner at Sidley Austin LLP and honorary chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance. Mr. Campbell, formerly chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Bureau, is the author of the study discussed in this op-ed.

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II  Zionist Org. of America – Commentary on impending  Netanyahu address

III   Obama – The Anti-Israel President – video with David Horowitz

From: David Horowitz

I Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Tuesday, 10 February 2015), issued the following statement:

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10802

“First, on behalf of the people of Israel, I wish to send condolences to President Obama, the American people and the family of Kayla Mueller. We stand with you.

Israel’s survival is not a partisan issue, not in Israel nor in the United States.

This doesn’t mean that from time to time Israeli governments have not had serious disagreements with American administrations over the best way to achieve the security of Israel.

Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared Israel’s independence in the face of strong opposition from US Secretary of State George Marshall. Likewise, Prime Minister Eshkol’s decisions at the start of the Six Day War, Prime Minister Begin’s decision regarding the nuclear reactor in Iraq, and Prime Minister Sharon’s decisions to press ahead with Operation Defensive Shield; these were all strongly opposed at the time by American administrations.

Disagreements over Israel’s security have occurred between prime ministers in Israel from the left and from the right and American presidents from both parties.

None of these disagreements led to a rupture in the relationship between Israel and the United States.

In fact, over time, our relationship grew stronger.

But we do have today a profound disagreement with the United States administration and the rest of the P5+1 over the offer that has been made to Iran.

This offer would enable Iran to threaten Israel’s survival.

This is a regime, Iran, that is openly committed to Israel’s destruction. It would be able, under this deal, to break out to a nuclear weapon in a short time, and within a few years, to have the industrial capability to produce many nuclear bombs for the goal of our destruction.

This is not a personal disagreement between President Obama and me. I deeply appreciate all that he has done for Israel in many fields. Equally, I know that the President appreciates my responsibility, my foremost responsibility, to protect and defend the security of Israel.

I am going to the United States not because I seek a confrontation with the President, but because I must fulfill my obligation to speak up on a matter that affects the very survival of my country.

I intend to speak about this issue before the March 24th deadline and I intend to speak in the US Congress because Congress might have an important role on a nuclear deal with Iran.

Thank you.”

II  Op-Ed: Netanyahu Must Absolutely Make that Speech

By Morton Klein and Daniel Mandel
February 6, 2015

Last week, 10 Senate Democrats who had persistently expressed concern over President Barack Obama’s concessionary policy to Iran over its nuclear weapons program, announced via a letter to the President that they would desist from seeking to pass new legislation to reimpose sanctions in the event of a failure in nuclear talks. Under reportedly enormous pressure from the White House, the senators said that they would await the March 24 deadline for a negotiated framework for an agreement with Tehran, despite their doubts that any such agreement would be forthcoming.

This delay is a serious mistake, because one of the few things that might induce Tehran to agree to terminating its nuclear weapons program would be the certainty of renewed tough sanctions if it didn’t. Now such pressure is absent and the chances of Iran agreeing correspondingly reduced.

But this is only the latest blow to diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear threshold power. The fact is that President Obama has a six year record of indulging and conceding to Iran, without having achieved anything to prevent it becoming a nuclear power, which he’s repeatedly and publicly proclaimed he would do “everything, everything” to prevent.

Obama has a disturbing record on Iran sanctions. For over a year after entering office, he prohibited a Congressional vote on new sanctions. Moreover, the 2010 UN Security Council sanctions regime he eventually supported included huge exemptions for numerous countries, like China, which has huge contracts in Iran’s energy sector developing oil refineries, and Russia, which supplies S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran.

In 2011, Obama sought to torpedo or weaken new and stronger Congressional sanctions on Iran, even after these had been softened at his request, leading Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to publicly and angrily criticize the Administration.

In 2013, Obama quietly lifted financial pressure on Tehran, stopping the blacklisting of entities and individuals assisting Iran’s evasion of international sanctions. He also damagingly publicized Israeli preparations to deal militarily with Iran, including Israeli use of Azerbaijan airfields.

Then came the biggest subversion of the cause of keeping Iran nuclear weapon-free: the Geneva Interim Agreement with Iran, which gave Tehran vital sanctions relief totaling some $20 billion (not the $6-7 billion originally conceded by the Administration) while permitting Iran to retain intact all the essential elements of its nuclear weapons program:

Continued construction of its Arak plutonium plant

Continued uranium enrichment to 5% (which, with 19,000 centrifuges, can enable swift enrichment to weapons-grade level, allowing Iran to become a break-out nuclear state in a matter of months)

Continued research and massive upgrading of centrifuges, enabling Iran to achieve a nuclear breakout in a mere two months

Continued nuclear research at military installations like Parchin, which remain off-limits to inspectors
Continued intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) programs, whose only purpose is carrying nuclear warheads and which, according to U.S. intelligence, will enable Iran to strike the U.S. itself by 2015

Iranian aggression is also met with silence. Tehran’s Syrian ally, Bashar Assad, continues to murder and maim across Syria in a conflict that has already claimed 200,000 lives. Iran continues funding of the radical Islamic terror group, Hezbollah, which helps keep Assad in power. Iranian-supported rebels have just toppled Yemen’s pro-American government. Iran has increasing hold in large swathes of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Silence.

So, too, with Iranian threats to the U.S. and Israel. Statements continue to be made by Khamenei and other senior Iranian figures, publicly calling for destruction of U.S., the “Great Satan,” — like the Iranian Defense Ministry recently declaring that “the Iranian nation still sees the U.S. as the No. 1 enemy.”

Iran has been quietly expanding its reach in Latin America, courtesy of friendly regimes. Silence.

Instead, Obama fights proposed sanctions, which will only be imposed if there’s no nuclear deal, and is outraged that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts an invitation to address the Congress on the subject, a record which even led Senator Menendez to declare, “the more I hear from the Administration … the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.

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Video:   Newt Gingrich reveals Radical Islam in the US

I  Militant Muslims run the White House

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10746

By  Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center

3 February 2015

IS THIS A MUSLIM PRESIDENT?

Is it not incredibly ironic that President Barack Obama who was voted into office by – among others – a large majority of women voters, many of them feminists, may become a threat to the very liberties they have fought for because of his love for the world of ISLAM.

Nowhere in this sad world today are women as discriminated against by their leaders and governments as where they are still under the rule of ISLAM. Is it not strange and astonishing, then, how those liberal outlets and spokespersons in the United States most committed to the liberties and equality of women have been so pro an ISLAMIC-oriented President? What is the reason for this ISLAMIC love affair conducted by President Obama before our very eyes, not only refusing to personally call the many massacres and terrorism inspired by jihadi ISLAM, but even forbidding his administration officials from doing so?

We know Barack Hussein Obama was brought up as a Muslim in Indonesia and that in times of being interviewed even as president – especially during interviews with Muslims – has referred to himself as still being a Muslim.

His main, most influential and ever-present advisor, Valerie Jarrett, was born in Iran and apparently, like her boss, loves the ISLAMIC world, so much so she even opposed him going after Osama bin Laden, and fortunately was later overruled by Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates.

We know that among many in African American circles there are strong sympathies and flirtations with ISLAM, as seen with Louis Farrakhan and his mainly black Nation of ISLAM. Thus not only America’s more leftist leaning women, but many African Americans voted for this Muslim oriented president.

These trends came together in the Trinity Church in Chicago under the tutelage of Jeremy Wright, where for 20 years Obama chose to attend with his family. This pastor who was not only a revolutionary anti-American but also a Farrakhan sympathizer, so much so that Muslim- oriented people felt welcome in his congregation. No wonder, then, that Barack Hussein Obama felt he fit so well in the midst of this congregation. If anything, this shows that in the Trinity Church Obama chose to attend, the difference between what constituted being a Christian or Muslim was virtually nonexistent.

Which would all serve to explain why today’s Muslim (?) US President, named by some the most anti-Christian president in American history, seems more at ease with black or Muslim advisors and Muslim leaders like Erdogan and Morsi – to name just a few – than with those Americans who still base their values upon the Judeo-Christian foundation that made America unique and special!

Is it then any wonder that the majority of today’s American representatives, both in the Senate as well as in the US Congress, led today by John Boehner, want to invite and hear what the Prime Minister of Israel has to say concerning this vital matter of national security both for Israel and the United States rather than just blindly trust their Islam oriented President?

 II  Did you know that we now have a Muslim government?

America needs to wake up……or it will be your head that goes next

Its a shock to see the extent of this.

When you read this you will understand why Obama refuses to say the words “radical Islam .”..

I didn’t originate this, but it checked out with Google and Snopes … There are accompanying links corroborating each Muslim identity shown below.

John Brennan, current head of the CIA converted to Islam while stationed in Saudi Arabia .

http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/shock-claim-obama-picks-muslim-for-cia-chief/

Obama’s top advisor, Valerie Jarrett, is a Muslim who was born in Iran where her parents still live .

http://www.teaparty.org/valerie-jarrett-obamas-heinrich-himmler-sites-american-patriots-finger-trigger-35412/

Hillary Clinton’s top advisor, Huma Abedin is a Muslim, whose mother and brother are involved in the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

http://godfatherpolitics.com/5866/hillary-clintons-connection-muslim-brotherhood/

Assistant Secretary for Policy Development for Homeland Security, Arif Aikhan, is a Muslim .

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/dhs.asp

Homeland Security Advisor, Mohammed Elibiary, is a Muslim .

http://unitedwithisrael.org/homeland-security-advisor-quits-after-inevitable-return-of-caliphate-tweet/

Obama advisor and founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Salam al-Marayati, is a Muslim

http://www.mpac.org/about/staff-board/salam-al-marayati.php

Obama’s Sharia Czar, Imam Mohamed Magid , of the Islamic Society of North America is a Muslim .

http://www.isna.net/mohamed-magid.html

Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships, Eboo Patel, is a Muslim .

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2565

And last but not least, our closet Muslim himself, Barack Hussein Obama. He was raised as a Muslim .

http://downtrend.com/jrc410/a-look-inside-the-regime-advisers-of-our-first-islamic-president/

http://constitutionclub.ning.com/forum/topics/obama-s-temper-tantrum

https://www.facebook.com/ingrahamangle/posts/10152733927044726

http://www.loadmastervideos.com/forums/forums/viewtopic.php?p=23232&sid=5874b3f5ce1273a14118ba92554c6ef8

It’s questionable if Obama ever officially took the oath of office when he was sworn in. He didn’t repeat the oath properly to defend our nation and our Constitution. Later the Democrats claimed he was given the oath again in private?

CIA director John Brennan took his oath on a copy of the Constitution, not a Bible.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/08/john-brennan-takes-oath-on-draft-constitution-without-the-bill-of-rights/

Congressman, Keith Ellison took his oath on a copy of the Qur’an.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/ellison.asp

Congresswoman Michele Bachman was vilified and almost tarred and feathered by Democrats when she voiced her concern about Muslims taking over our government.

Considering all these appointments, it would explain why Obama and his minions are systematically destroying our nation, supporting radical Muslim groups worldwide, opening our southern border, and turning a blind eye to the genocide being perpetrated on Christians all over Africa and the Middle East.

The more damage Obama does , the more arrogant he’s become!

Our nation and our government has been infiltrated by people who want to destroy us. It can only get worse!

Please pass this along. Most people still have no idea.

(PS  In deference to some legitimate complaints, I added the word “Militant” in the front of the Muslim title)  jsk

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From the Torah portion of the week

The Second Book of Moses (The Hebrew Bible), Shemos (Exodus)

Parsha (Chapter) Yisro (The Midianite, The Father-in-law of Moses)

GOD  CHOOSES  THE JEWISH  PEOPLE  AS  HIS  OWN

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10764

19.3   Moshe ascended to God (on the second day of the month, early in the morning). God called to him from the mountain, saying, “You should say the following to the house of Yaacov (i.e. the women) and tell the same thing in a more explicit manner, stressing the punishment and fine details) to the sons of Israel (i.e. the men):

4   ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I gathered you together in a short period of time, and I protected you through the angel of God, as if you were carried on eagles’ wings, and brought you to My service.

5  Now, if you listen to Me and keep My covenant (through observing Torah), you will be a precious treasure to me among all the peoples, for the whole earth is mine and  the other nations are like nothing to Me.

6  You shall be to Me a kingdom of ministers and a holy nation

“These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel, (no more and no less).” |

7  Moshe returned and summoned the elders of Israel and placed before them all these words that God had commanded him.

8  All the people replied in unison and said, “Everything that God has said we shall do!

(On the third day) Moshe (ascended the mountain once again and) conveyed the words of the people back to God

9  God said to Moshe, “Look!  I  am going to come (down) to you in a fog (within its deepest part) order that the people hear when I speak to you, and they will also believe in you (and the prophets will follow you) forever.”

Moshe returned to relay God’s words and, on the fourth day, he ascended to relay the people’s reply to God (that they did not wish merely to overhear God speaking to Moshe, but they wanted to hear God directly).

20:1      THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

God spoke all the Ten Commandments in one single utterance. He then went back and spoke each one individually.

The Jewish people responded  “Yes” to the positive commands and “No” to the prohibitions

2  “I am God, the God of everyone of you. Who took you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage”

3  “You shall not possess an idol of other deities (so long as I exist).

4  “You shall not make to yourself a sculptured image or any picture of that which is in the heavens above, which is on earth below, or which is in the water beneath the earth.”

5  “You shall not bow down nor worship them, for I, God, your God, am a God Who is zealous to enact punishment visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons, upon the third and the fourth generation of those who continue in their fathers’ ways to hate Me.”

6  “But I act kindly to those who love those who keep My commandments for two thousand generations.”

7  “You shall not take the name of God, your God, in vain, for God will not absolve anyone who takes His name in vain.”

8  “Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.”

9   “Six days may you work and perform all”

10  “But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. You shall perform no labor, nor your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your convert who is within your gates.”

11  For in six days God made the heaven, the earth and the sea and all that is within them — and he rested on the seventh day and sanctified it by not bringing the manna to fall on Friday.

12. “Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days will be lengthened on the land that God, your God, is giving you.

 13   “You shall not murder.”

“You shaft not commit adultery.”

“You shall not steal people  ( i.e. kidnap).”

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

14  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,  his manservant,  his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbor.”

15  All the people could see the sounds (which God spoke), the torches, the sound of the shofar and  the smoking mountain. The people saw and they trembled.

16  They said to Moshe, “You speak to us, and we will listen, but do not let God speak to us lest we die!”

17  Moshe said to the people, “Fear not for God has come in order to promote your reputation throughout the world and in order that having seen His awe, you will know there is no other than Him, so you will not sin.”

18  The people remained a long way off. Moshe drew near first through  the darkness then through  the clouds and deeper still to the fog where God was.

 

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By Naftali Bennett

http://youtu.be/n1oFOEY_6lM

Is Annexation a Near Term Option?

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10749

By Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis). 5 February 2015

On February 3, 2015, Bayit Yehudit (Israeli political party)  distributed a short video describing Naftali Bennett’s plan to annex Area C, the area where Jewish communities are located, while leaving the remainder as a Palestinian autonomy with Israel making great efforts to facilitate improved conditions in the autonomy. Palestinians in Area C would each have the choice of full Israeli citizenship or permanent resident status.

Minister Bennett’s Facebook page introduced the video with the line “Give us 20 mandates”

The end of the video has the line ”Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria today”.

The clip didn’t get much media attention or discussion.

And Bayit Yehudi  itself doesn’t seem to have initiated any follow up (at least as of now).

I hope it does. Because annexation deserves serious consideration. And not just for some far off time.

First a technical note:

Ordinance Law and Administration, 1948
… 11B The law, jurisdiction and administration of the State shall apply to any area of the Land of Israel that the Government sets in an order. That’s right. All it takes is a vote of the Cabinet.

Why later?

1. We are in the process of shifting exports to markets that don’t mix business with politics. The longer we wait the less significant sanctions against Israel for annexing Area C will be.

2. The world will be more accepting if Israel can cite a “casus belli” for the move so we should wait for the Palestinians to do something that justifies annexation.
3. It is always better when facing a problem to kick the can down the road.

Why now?
1. The move now will not spur a war involving our neighbors. They are all involved in other pressing matters.

2. The outcome of the nuclear talks with Iran are being driven by considerations having absolutely nothing to do with Israeli-Palestinian matters.

3. Iran today doesn’t yet have nukes to threaten to use against us for the move.

4. Current oil prices are such that if they do respond for some unforeseen reason to the move its impact on the world will be marginal.

5. The Palestinian leadership is currently fractured with an exhausted street that could very well welcome the relief the program would provide.

6. While the Palestinian presence in Area C today is minuscule, the Palestinian leadership and their supporters around the world are focusing development efforts in Area C with the goal of increasing the number of Palestinian residents to the point that Israel would be deterred from annexing the area.

There are certainly other matters to consider as well.

The important thing is that the concept be considered. Not as something for implementing a decade from now but instead after the upcoming elections.

(I daresay that its basically a debate between the kick the can down-the-road frightened herd and those prepared to  face the obvious unpopular necessity of annexation that should have been completed immediately after the Six Day War in  1967) jsk

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70% of Jewish Israelis do not trust Obama to safeguard their nation’s vital interests in negotiations with the Palestinians.

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10699

II Obama Approval Rating Dives In Israel (see below)

I  Netanyahu demands injunction against U.S.-linked group trying to swing Israeli election

Sunday, February 1, 2015

By AARON KLEIN

World Net Daily Exclusive

EILAT, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party hit back Sunday at a U.S.-linked organization staffed with former Obama campaigners now working to defeat Netanyahu in an upcoming general election. Victory 2015, or V15, attracted U.S. media attention after it hired 270 Strategies, a consulting firm whose senior leadership is comprised mostly of former top staffers for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

During a press conference Sunday, the Likud Party officially accused V15 and other related nonprofits of being supported “through millions of dollars funneled from Europe, the U.S. and the New Israel Fund and international factors interested in bringing down Prime Minister Netanyahu” who think “that all means are appropriate.”

The Likud further called for Israel’s Central Elections Committee to outlaw V15′s activities to “ensure the integrity of the election.” The party today will be filing an official complaint with the Committee seeking an injunction against V15, Likud sources said.

Reacting to the developments, Uri Wollman, V15′s spokesman, told WND his organization will not stop its campaign to ensure a center-left coalition forms the next government in Israel. Wollman accused Netanyahu and the Likud of “fabricating” a relationship between V15 and the Obama administration. “We have no relation to any U.S. political party, the White House or the State Department,” Wollman told WND.

Confirming the official Likud complaint, the contents of which were shared with WND, Wollman conceded the V15 effort against Netanyahu is funded primarily by three private philanthropists, two of whom are American:

S. Daniel Abraham, the billionaire founder of the Slim Fast food line. Abraham is a major donor to the Democratic Party and the Clinton Foundation (And, as pathologically dead Left as it is possible to be)

Daniel Lubetzky, a social entrepreneur whose OneVoice Movement is partnered with V15

Alon Kastiel, a Tel Aviv-based businessman and owner of multiple local venues, including bars, clubs and hotels.

WND previously visited V15′s Tel Aviv headquarters and interviewed the group’s founder, Nimrod Dweck, who explained the ultimate goal of his campaign was to ensure “center and left parties will form the next coalition.”

V15′s headquarters is actually the offices of a U.S.-U.K. group calling itself OneVoice. OneVoice bills itself as an “international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians.” It has a clearly leftist tone.

OneVoice is reportedly sponsored by scores of nonprofits and received two grants in the past year from the U.S. State Department. The US State Department is also listed as a partner of OneVoice on the group’s website. (Huh?  Since when is the US State Department authorized to go into partnership with political organizations?)

OneVoice development and grants officer Christina Taler told the Washington Free Beacon that “no government funding” has gone toward the V15 voter mobilization effort. V15′s complete takeover of OneVoice’s Tel Aviv offices, however, may raise some questions not only about the grant usage, but also about the State Department’s current partnership with OneVoice.

Indeed, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has called for an investigation into the State Department’s ties to OneVoice and the group’s anti-Netanyahu effort.

Aside from the State Department, OneVoice is also openly partnered with Google, the U.K. Labour Party and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. For its anti-Netanyahu campaign, OneVoice and V15 recently hired 270 Strategies, whose founder is ex-Obama campaign staffer Jeremy Bird. Bird served as a data analyst and a deputy director for Obama’s 2008 campaign and was the national field director for the president’s massive re-election machine.

Dweck told WND that Bird’s organizing skills are central to designing the evolving V15 battle plan. “Israelis don’t know how to run field (operations) as Americans [do], and that was the major contribution of Jeremy’s team,” he said. Bird has provided “very professional help about how to organize, manage people, how to go door-to-door, how to talk to people on the street,” Dweck said.

270 Strategies’ team of 45 staffers includes 16 members who worked directly for Obama’s campaigns. Most of the former Obama staffers hold senior posts at the firm. Others worked for the Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee or grassroots groups involved in progressive efforts, including a group to enroll Americans in Obamacare.

The involvement of Bird’s team has ignited reports in some conservative media outlets that Obama or his surrogate are attempting to influence the Israeli elections. Dweck dismissed those claims as “bullsh-t.” “It’s a matter of finding the right professionals,” he continued. “And if I need to pick the best professional in the world for the job, [Bird] knows what he is doing. 270 [Strategies] is a great company.” Besides the initial work to organize the group’s efforts, Dweck said he and V15 continue to consult with Bird and his firm on a regular basis.

The conservative blogosphere is largely focusing on the involvement of Bird in the V15 campaign.

A closer look at Bird’s consulting firm as well as its working relationship with the Israeli groups finds he is just one of scores of former senior Obama election campaign staffers now working on the anti-Netanyahu effort.

II  Obama Approval Rating Dives In Israel

By Karl Vick @karl_vick Feb. 7, 2014

WORLD ISRAEL

Less than a year after President Obama left Israel to the sound of loud cheering after he assured Israelis in Hebrew that they “are not alone,” a new poll has found that 70% of Jewish Israelis do not trust Obama to safeguard their nation’s vital interests in negotiations with the Palestinians.

The latest in a string of recent polls demonstrating a precipitous fall in the confidence Obama appeared to have restored during his three-day visit last March. On Jan. 26, a Times of Israel poll found only one in five Israelis trust Obama to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, as he has vowed to do. The same survey reported just one in three Israelis has a favorable opinion of Obama. Last May, in the afterglow of his state visit, 61 percent in a Pew poll expressed “confidence” in Obama.

What’s happened since? The answer is: two negotiations, and a lot of tart exchanges.

The first negotiation was with Iran: In November, the United States and five other world powers made an temporary pact with Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried as a “a historic mistake.” Some prominent Israelis were less critical about the pact, which merely froze for six months a nuclear program that Israel wants to see dismantled, but Netanyahu’s ministers echoed his rhetoric, casting Obama as a sucker for an Iranian charm offensive.

The other negotiation was the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians that Secretary of State John Kerry has relentlessly pursued. The talks, intended to last for nine months, showed so little progress around the half-way point that Kerry has begun assembling a “framework” that would justify an extension. The effort pushed the most contentious elements of any deal into public view as politicians were forced to float possible compromises.

It also made Kerry an object of increasing resentment. Last month Netanyahu’s Defense Minister, Moshe “Bugie” Ya’alon, was forced to apologize publicly after the State Department objected to his referring to Kerry as “obsessive and messianic.” Then Israeli officials lambasted Kerry for warning Feb. 1 of the downside for Israel if the talks fail, including “talk of boycotts.” The reference was to an incipient international movement aimed at pressuring Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories using the kind of economic pressure brought to bear on South Africa when it enforced apartheid.

But Netanyahu’s government seized on the warning as a threat. Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Kerry’s remarks were “hurtful..unfair…intolerable” and amounted to asking Israel to negotiate “with a gun to its head.” Netanyahu said “attempts to impose a boycott on the state of Israel are immoral and unjust.” The State Department read Netanyahu’s statement as a conflation of Kerry with the hazard he was flagging, and issued a statement of its own admonishing “all parties to accurately portray his record and statements.” On Monday night National Security Advisor Susan Rice joined in, posting on Twitter: “Personal attacks in Israel directed at Sec Kerry totally unfounded and unacceptable.”

But in Israel, at least, the damage was done. Friday’s Israel Hayom daily carried yet another poll, this one showing only 21% of Israeli Jews thought Kerry was speaking out of “concern for Israel.” Sixty percent, the survey said, took his warning as a threat.

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