Savvy multibillionaire Saudi Arabian Prince’s analysis of Obama, US Politics and the Iran Nuclear Fiasco

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=8014

Why are we feeding Palestinian terrorism? Iran Is Playing Obama, Says Savvy Saudi Prince

Jeffrey Goldberg – Bloomberg News Service
November 22, 2013

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi royal who seems to own most everything there is to own — a chunk of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, a piece of Twitter, all of Paris’s George V Hotel, the Savoy in London, and a Boeing 747 for his personal use — was sitting in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago the other evening (he and Bill Gates own most of Four Seasons Holdings), offering up the view — the view of an experienced negotiator from the Middle East — that U.S. President Barack Obama is outmatched by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

(By the way, this the same Arab Prince whose 10 million dollar attempted bribe donation to NYC following the September 11, 2001 Twin Towers bombing Mayor Rudy Giuliani refused. The Mayor was well aware that 11 of the 15 terrorists on the suicide mission drove 3 planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were Saudi Arabians and was not in the mood to accept this attempted whitewash of this awful Arab terrorist act that killed near 6000 innocent civilians. In response to the Major’s refusal this same prince accused Giuliani of being a Jew and a tool of the Jewish lobby. Reporter Jeffrey Goldberg seems to have forgotten this part of bin Talal’s history.)jsk

Be that as it may, the Prince seems to be on a more rational tack in the present discussion:

“There’s no confidence in the Obama administration doing the right thing with Iran,” he told me, with a directness that would make Benjamin Netanyahu blush. “We’re really concerned — Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East countries — about this.”

It is quite something for a Saudi royal to state baldly that his country is part of a tacit alliance with Israel, but Saudi leaders, like Israel’s leaders, are frantic with worry that an overeager Obama will accede to Iran’s desire to become a threshold state, one whose nuclear program is so advanced that it would only need several weeks to assemble a deliverable weapon. Alwaleed, like Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, believes that Iran, in its ongoing negotiations with the world’s major powers, will pocket whatever sanctions relief it gets without committing to ending its nuclear program. “Why are they offering relief?” he asked. “Keep the pressure on. Sanctions are what brought about the negotiations to begin with! Why not keep the pressure up?”

Obama, Alwaleed says, is a man who is in desperate political straits and needs a victory — any victory — to right his presidency. “Obama is in so much of a rush to have a deal with Iran,” he said. “He wants anything. He’s so wounded. It’s very scary. Look, the 2014 elections are going to begin. Within two months they’re going to start campaigning. Thirty-nine members of his own party in the House have already moved away from him on Obamacare. That’s scary for him.”

Alwaleed believes a stronger president would have the willpower to say no to a flawed deal with Iran. Like the Israelis, the Saudis believe a flawed deal is one in which Iran isn’t forced to put its nuclear program in reverse, by shuttering facilities and mothballing centrifuges. (Alwaleed is not a Saudi government official, but he often floats trial balloons on behalf of the members of his family who rule his country, and they consider him free to make impolitic statements they believe but cannot publicly endorse.)

“This has been going on for 30 years plus, since the Iranian revolution in 1979,” he continued. “And his people bragged about the first call between President Obama and President Rouhani. But what does a call mean? It’s nothing.” He went on to condemn Obama for folding when confronted with proof that Syria, Iran’s proxy, used chemical weapons against civilians. Obama had previously warned Syria not to cross the red line he drew on the deployment of chemical weapons.

If the negotiations don’t succeed — and clearly, Alwaleed sees no chance of success — then what? Anti-proliferation by force? I asked him if he thought the Arab states would actually back an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, if this terrible option should come to pass. “Publicly, they would be against it,” he said. “Privately, they would love it.”

What about at the level of the so-called Arab Street? “The Sunnis will love it,” he said, referring to the dominant branch of Islam, to which most Arab Muslims adhere. “The Sunni Muslim is very much anti-Shiite, and very much anti-, anti-, anti-Iran,” he said.

You’re sure they loathe Iran more than they loathe Israel?

“Look, Iran is a huge threat, historically speaking,” he said. “The Persian empire was always against the Muslim Arab empire, especially against the Sunnis. The threat is from Persia, not from Israel. This was a great empire ruling the whole neighborhood. I’ll tell you something — they are in Bahrain, they are in Iraq, they are in Syria, they are with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas, which is Sunni, in Gaza. They are intruding into these areas. King Abdullah of Jordan had a good statement on this — he said that a Shiite crescent begins from Iran, through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and goes down to Palestine, to Hamas.”

Alwaleed, who spent much of our time together criticizing Obama, also reserved some criticism for Saudi Arabia’s Jewish ally. He said that if Netanyahu would make advances in the peace process with Palestinians, he would help marginalize Iran. “If you want to weaken Iran’s position in the Arab world, you should have peace with the Palestinians. This would help move Iran away from this issue. This is the heart of it. Hezbollah will not go away, but they will be weakened.”

“This last piece of analysis made good sense to me” (Jeffrey Goldberg).

(And, that’s where Jeffrey Goldberg lost me and all credibility as a political analyst by ignoring Alaweed’s previous political position vis-a-vis Jews and Israel. Any political analyst, without some “liberal” agenda of his own, knows that the Israeli/PA dispute has absolutely nothing to do with Iran’s frantic efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. This Arab, Alwaleed, is just another Arab taking a shot at Israel that will forever, please G-d, act as a thorn in their throats. The Arabs know very well that Israel is the major obstruction to Islam’s goal to rule the Middle East now and the rest of us as soon as possible – no matter how many centuries it may take. And, if Jeffrey Goldberg does not understand that and evidently he does not, he is nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is and I had some doubts of my own, even before this outrageous aside “made good sense” to him.)

Jerome S. Kaufman

Obama/Kerry/Neville Chamberlain – Birds of a feather – And my Heaven help the US, Israel and World

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=7996

Israeli Ministers Line Up to Lambast Iran Nuclear Deal; Choice Was Between ‘Plague and Cholera’ Says MK Lapid

Iran, World Powers Reach Interim Deal on Nuclear Program

NOVEMBER 24, 2013 2:26 AM

Author: Dovid Efune
The Algemeiner

As news broke in the wee hours of the morning of an interim deal reached between Iran and world powers over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, Israeli ministers and political figures from across the political spectrum took to the airwaves with sharp critique.

According to various reports, the deal calls for Iran to halt key parts of its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief said to be valued at approximately $7 billion dollars.

In an interview on Israel Defense Forces radio, Israel’s Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, widely believed to be the second most influential politician in the country, sounded a bitter tone.

“We had a choice here between the plague and cholera. We were left alone explaining the truth, and all of our options were bad,” he said. “I don’t understand how the French Foreign Minister can call an agreement that doesn’t involve the dismantling of one centrifuge a ‘victory.’ I can’t understand the world’s failure to notice the nineteen thousand Iranian centrifuges.”

“Obviously a deal is better than a war, but not this deal,” he said. “Netanyahu did everything he could and we all stand behind him on this.”

Describing it as “the biggest diplomatic victory Iran has known in recent years,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that “the State of Israel will have to think things over.” “This brings us to a new reality in the whole Middle East,” he told Israel Radio.

“We awoke this morning to a new reality. A reality in which a bad deal was signed with Iran. A very bad deal,” said Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. He painted a bleak picture of what may come to pass as a result of the arrangement. “If a nuclear suitcase blows up five years from now in New York or Madrid, it will be because of the deal that was signed this morning,” he said. “It is important that the world knows: Israel will not be committed to a deal that endangers its very existence,” Bennett added.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, the country’s Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau said that “Iran has zero credibility but has been treated as an equal partner.” “When the West comes to the table with intent to get a deal at any cost, it is obvious that the deal will be bad,” he lamented. “Western leaders were influenced by their internal economic interests.”

Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz also sharply criticized the deal, saying that it is reminiscent of the “bad deal with North Korea.” Asked about the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran, Steinitz said, “We have never surrendered our right to self defense to anyone, including the United States.” According to the Associated Press, Steinitz also referred to the deal as being based on “Iranian deception and self-delusion.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin said that although Israel considers the agreement to be bad, it still could have been worse. “The final text of the agreement while still bad, is better than the first draft,” he said. Elkin also said that while the relief from sanctions offered to Iran in the deal may appear to be relatively limited, its impact will in reality be far more significant. “Those who claim that the agreement freezes the status quo are not telling the truth. The Western readiness to ease the sanctions will cause the global sanctions regime to start crumbling,” he predicted. “Israel must maintain its military readiness and work to apply diplomatic pressure to influence the final deal with Iran,” Elkin added.

“This is an excellent deal for Iran, but unfortunately this agreement is extremely dangerous for the free world,” Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said in an email to The Algemeiner. “The centrifuges are staying in place while the sanctions regime is dismantled. This is exactly the opposite result that peace-loving people had been hoping for. It goes without saying that all options remain on the table and that Israel has the capability — and the responsibility — to defend itself using any means necessary.”

Channel 2 reported that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to address the deal in a statement at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting in a couple of hours. Jerusalem believes that the deal, while marginally better than the first draft, is still bad, and could get worse if the controls stipulated in the agreement aren’t rigorously implemented, the channel said.

“The agreement provides for Iran both a significant easing of sanctions and the ability to maintain a significant portion of its nuclear program. The agreement allows Iran to continue enriching uranium, leaves it with all its centrifuges that enable it to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons, and also does not provide for the dismantling of the reactor in Arak,” officials in the Prime Minister’s office said.

A Knesset source who declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak on the matter, told The Algemeiner that Israel is disappointed and feels betrayed, and that chances of any great concessions in a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority are now slim.

Amos Yadlin the former head of Israeli military intelligence said that Israel “Will know in a few months if this was a new Munich agreement wherein Nazi Germany was allowed to annex parts of Czechoslovakia which will lead us to war, or a new Camp David which can lead to peace.”

Uzi Rabi, Director of the Dayan Center for Middle East studies at Tel Aviv University was even more direct. “Iran has prevailed,” he said, “Rouhani has achieved his internal goals.”

“This deal sacrifices the long term interests of the West in exchange for the short term gain of getting Iran to agree not to cross the nuclear threshold for a few months,” he said. (Even that much gain is total conjecture)

What Michael Reagan, Ronald’s son, thought of “The Butler”

What Michael Reagan, Ronald’s son, thought of “The Butler”

By Michael Reagan
Aug 22, 2013

There you go again, Hollywood.

You’ve taken a great story about a real person and real events and twisted it into a bunch of lies.

You took the true story of Eugene Allen, the White House butler who served eight presidents from 1952 to 1986, and turned it into a clichéd “message movie”

“Lee Daniels, The Butler, stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a fictional character supposedly based on Eugene Allen’s real life.

But let’s compare the two White House butlers.

Guess which one grew up in segregated Virginia, got a job at the White House and rose to become maître d’hôtel, the highest position in White House service?

Guess which one had a happy, quiet life and was married to the same woman for 65 years? And who had one son who served honorably in Vietnam and never made a peep of protest through the pre and post civil rights era?

Now guess which butler grew up on a Georgia farm, watched the boss rape his mother and then, when his father protested the rape, watched the boss put a bullet through his father’s head?

Guess which butler feels the pain of America’s racial injustices so deeply that he quits his White House job and joins his son in a protest movement?

And guess which butler has a wife (Oprah Winfrey) who becomes an alcoholic and has a cheap affair with the guy next door? (I’m surprised it wasn’t the vice president.)

After comparing Hollywood’s absurd version of Eugene Allen’s life story with the truth, you wonder why the producers didn’t just call it “The Butler from Another Planet.”

Screenwriter Danny Strong says he was trying to present a “backstage kind of view of the White House” that portrayed presidents and first ladies as they really were in everyday life.

Well, I was backstage at the White House — a few hundred times. I met and knew the real butler, Mr. Allen, and I knew a little about my father.

Portraying Ronald Reagan as a racist because he was in favor of lifting economic sanctions against South Africa is simplistic and dishonest.

If you knew my father, you’d know he was the last person on Earth you would call a racist.

If Strong had gotten his “facts” from the Reagan biographies, he’d have learned that when my father was playing football at Eureka College one of his best friends was a black teammate.

Strong also would have learned that my father invited black players home for dinner and once, when two players were not allowed to stay in the local hotel, he invited them to stay overnight at his house.

Screenwriter Strong also might have found out that when my father was governor of California he appointed more blacks to positions of power than any of predecessors — combined.

It’s appalling to me that someone is trying to imply my father was a racist. He and Nancy and the rest of the Reagan family treated Mr. Allen with the utmost respect.

It was Nancy Reagan who invited the butler to dinner – not to work but as guest. And it was my father who promoted Mr. Allen to maître d’hôtel.

The real story of the White House butler doesn’t imply racism at all. It’s simply Hollywood liberals wanting to believe something about my father that was never there.

My father’s position on lifting the South African sanctions in the ‘80s had nothing to do with the narrow issue of race. It had to do with the geopolitics of the Cold War.

But facts don’t matter to Hollywood’s creative propagandists. Truth is too complicated and not dramatic enough for scriptwriters, who think in minute terms, not the big picture, when it comes to a conservative.

Despite what Hollywood’s liberal hacks believe, my father didn’t see people in colors. He saw them as individual Americans. If the liberals in Hollywood — and Washington — ever start looking at people the way he did, the country will be a lot better off.

PS I just saw The Butler and came to the same conclusions as Michael Reagan. The tip off as to the intent of the film is how the producers made Ronald Reagan look like an ugly man with a distorted face. As you all know, Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood leading man and looked and acted the part. But, anything to distort the facts and present a pathetic political agenda that unfortunately, most viewers will swallow. Jsk

As Christians Stampede out the Exits in Arab Lands …

As Christians Stampede out the Exits in Arab Lands …

Motherland Lost
By Samuel Tadros

Review by Michael J. Totten
Wall Street Journal August 12, 2013

For hundreds of years, Copts made up roughly 15% of Egypt’s population. Since the Arab Spring, more than 100,000 have left.
The Middle East is tough on minorities. After millennia of Jewish presence throughout the Arab and Persian lands, almost every country in the region—save for Israel, of course, was emptied of Jews in the last century.

Today it’s the Middle East’s Christians who are streaming out. In Lebanon, Christians made up a slight majority a couple of decades ago, but today they’re down to barely a third of the population. Hundreds of thousands of Christians fled sectarian fighting in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and they’re a minority now in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem — the birthplace of Jesus. But the most dramatic Christian exodus is out of Egypt. Since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, the rise of Islamists and mob attacks have driven more than 100,000 Christian Copts out of the country.

Samuel Tadros’s book, “Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity,” is a scholarly yet riveting account of this tragedy. The author takes us on a grim tour through the modern history of Egypt, chronicling the rise and fall of its Coptic minority, the country’s largest Christian community. Along the way, Mr. Tadros offers a trenchant analysis of Egypt’s struggle, and that of the Copts, to overcome backwardness and obscurantism.

The Copts are indigenous inhabitants of the Nile delta, children of its ancient Pharaonic civilization. They have been Christians for as long as Christianity has existed. (Egypt is part of the greater Holy Land, and St. Mark, one of the disciples of Jesus, spread the gospel there and founded the Church of Alexandria, which today belongs to the Copts.) The Copts have their own Eastern Orthodox rite, their own pope and for hundreds of years they’ve made up roughly 15% of Egypt’s population.

Mr. Tadros, an Egyptian Copt who immigrated to the U.S. in 2009, makes it clear that the story of Egypt’s Christians isn’t one of relentless abuse. Copts have received both good and bad treatment at the hands of the region’s succession of reigning powers. But mostly it’s been bad. They were persecuted by the Roman and Byzantine empires long before the Islamic conquest in A.D. 639, after which they were cast as second-class citizens subject to additional regulations and taxes. Isolation from Christendom and survival in the face of adversity are etched into their soul. “Coptic history has been an endless story of decline and despair,” Mr. Tadros writes, “but it has also been a story of survival.”

A respite came when, after centuries of Mamluk rule (under Ottoman suzerainty), Egypt’s Albanian governor, Muhammad Ali, rebelled against the Porte in 1805. Ali’s rule was kinder to Copts than anything that had preceded it. In 1863 came the relatively enlightened rule of Ali’s grandson, Khedive Ismail, during which the Copts flourished. Ismail appointed Coptic judges to Egyptian courts and awarded them political rights and representation in government.

Britain invaded, reluctantly, when in 1882 a nationalist uprising threatened European interests, including the then newly built Suez Canal. British occupation would last 40 years, during which time London resolved that Egypt had to be governed by Muslims. Thus Lord Cromer, the head of its occupation, appointed only Muslims to the highest positions. “A policy favoring Muslims,” Mr. Tadros writes, “would ensure the country’s tranquility,” since London “viewed Muslims as fanatics and had little faith in their tolerance should the British appoint Copts to higher positions.” In 1911, more than a thousand Copts convened a conference in Asyut in central Egypt and drew up a list of demands. They wanted Sundays off work, anti-discrimination laws in the public sector, minority representation in government, equal access to education. All were denied.

Things took a turn for the worse when Gamal Abdel Nasser and his self-styled Free Officers seized power in 1952. Nasser declared Egypt an Arab country for the first time in its history, evicted Europeans, nationalized property and industry, and hitched Egypt to the Soviet Union. Nasser wasn’t overtly bigoted against Christians. Even so, the Copts paid the heaviest price for his socialist policies. Confiscated land was disproportionately Christian, for instance, and almost all of it was redistributed to Muslims.

His successor, Anwar Sadat, junked socialism, aligned Cairo with Washington and signed a peace treaty with Israel, but he also sicked the Muslim Brotherhood—the Islamist organization founded by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt in 1928—on his leftist opposition. Sadat unwittingly unleashed an Islamist insurgency that triggered a wave of Christian immigration to the U.S. and Europe in the 1970s, and the Islamists have remained intermittently off their leash ever since. Where Egypt finds itself now, wedged between the theocrats of the Brotherhood and the secular authoritarians of the military, can be traced back to that fateful decision.

The author has no brief for Egypt’s next ruler, Hosni Mubarak. The former president was, after all, the civilian face of a military regime that maltreated everyone. Yet there’s no getting around the fact that Christians have fared even worse since Mr. Mubarak’s removal, and not only because Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood regime was both sectarian and theocratic. The army, Mr. Morsi’s main opponent, also committed acts of mass violence against Copts in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. In October 2011, for instance, soldiers opened fire on Copts protesting the demolition of a church in upper Egypt, killing 23 and wounding more than 200.

Most worrisome is the dramatic upswing in anti-Christian violence by average Muslims who have often known their victims as neighbors their entire lives. Churches have been burned; Christians have been expelled from villages; and Copts have been imprisoned on charges of blaspheming Islam.

Mr. Tadros’s conclusion is bleak: After two millennia, the Copts, like the Jews before them, are stampeding to the exits. “The feeling of sadness and distress,” Mr. Tadros writes, “is impossible to overcome as I watch the faces of the new immigrants in my church in Virginia. A church that has withstood diverse and tremendous challenges is now threatened in its very existence.”

Mr. Totten, a contributing editor of World Affairs and City Journal, is the author of four books, including “The Road to Fatima Gate.”

Read the small print of Netanyahu’s public referendum as he prepares to give away the heart and soul of the Jewish people

Read the small print of Netanyahu’s public referendum as he prepares to give away the heart and soul of the Jewish people

I News item from The Jewish Press, August 2, 2013, Week in Review by Jason Maoz, Editor

II Commentary below news item by Jerome S. Kaufman, Editor, Israel Commentary

III Historical Revisionism by Former Ambassador Alan Baker. Link below

I LAND WITHDRAWAL REFERENDUM PASSES CABINET
By Jason Maoz

The Israeli Cabinet approved a measure that would require a public referendum or vote on any peace agreement that involves withdrawing from land Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

The legislation was to be brought to a vote of the full Knesset by midweek for a first reading.

“It is important that every citizen have a direct vote on what will determine the future of the state,” Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet before the vote.

But, the legislation only refers to land under Israel’s sovereign control, meaning a referendum will not have to be held in order to give away areas of the West Bank to the Palestinians. Any peace deal that requires giving away parts of Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, or land swaps, will have to be put to a popular vote.

II Commentary by Jerome S. Kaufman

But, what about the so-called West Bank, a misnomer deliberately created by the British and adopted by an anti-Semitic world and a totally naive unaware and arrogant Israeli government that has refused to recognize the lethal effect of this terminology obscuring the irrefutable truth?

The West Bank is rightfully called Judea and Samaria and was supposed to have been part of the Jewish Homeland in the first place. The ownership dates to numerous references and declarations, by G-d himself, in the Hebrew Bible (The Torah) and far less significantly — endorsed by the San Remo Conference of 1920, the League of Nations and the obligatory assumption by the United Nations of the binding resolutions of the League of Nations.

The biblical Jewish Homeland was designated originally to extend all the way to the Euphrates River in present day Iraq! The League of Nations initially designated a similar area and gave it to the British as a temporary mandate as part of the spoils of World War I from the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. France was given the mandate over Syria and Lebanon.

Britain, under then Secretary Winston Churchill, almost immediately ripped off 78% of the Mandate in 1922 and created a separate entity they named Transjordan. As titular head they appointed Abdullah I, the grandfather of Jordan’s present ruler, Abdullah II.

Emir Abdullah soon succeeded in loosening the British mandate over Transjordan with an Anglo-Transjordanian treaty. On May 15, 1923, Britain formally recognized the Emirate of Transjordan as a state under the leadership of Emir Abdullah. This angered the Zionists, as it effectively severed Transjordan from Palestine and so reduced the area of any future Jewish national home in the region. The treaty stipulated that Transjordan would be prepared for independence under the general supervision of the British high commissioner in Jerusalem, and recognized Emir Abdullah as head of state.

Judea and Samaria (West Bank) were thus never part of the ripped off territory of Jordan. When Israel finally declared an independent nation after the British were driven out in 1948, Five Arab armies — Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt immediately attacked with one goal in mind — to extinguish completely the re-born Jewish State.

They partially succeeded with Jordan occupying Judea and Samaria and 1/2 of Jerusalem. So, in fact it was Jordan that became the “Occupying Force” on “Occupied Territories.” This state of affairs continued from 1948 to 1967 with nary a word about a Palestinian Arab people or a Palestinian State. The Palestinian people and nation, as Newt Gingrich so accurately described, is indeed an “Invented People.”

In the Six Day War of 1967, Israel again defeated invading Arab armies, regained Judea and Samaria and re-united Jerusalem from Jordan, all of which should have been Israel’s in the first place. It is this hard earned, G-d given territory that Netanyahu, under the pressure of Obama, appears to be giving up despite all history, logic, religious observance, geo-politics and military due diligence, to the contrary.

Unfortunately this whole indisputable narrative has never been properly presented to the world or for that matter to the Israeli public. Israel has cursed itself with any number of far left Members of the Knesset (MKs) who have been given the supremely important portfolio of National education. These appointees have taken full advantage of the position, denigrating their own glorious Jewish faith, obscuring their biblical and temporal claim to all of the Jewish Homeland and doing whatever they could to eliminate the G-d given glory of Jewish exceptionalism!

Does that sound familiar to Americans, who may finally understand what Barack Obama has been doing? He has been waging a singularly dedicated and sickeningly successful campaign to eliminate our own American exceptionalism. And, where has that got us and where will this self-immolation, ably assisted by Benjamin Netanyahu, get Israel?

May the Israeli people and the Members of the Knesset beware — Read the small print and do not be a party to passing further readings of this atrocious bill and thus become an enabler to Netanyahu’s perfidy.

Jerome S. Kaufman

III Historical Revisionism by Former Ambassador Alan Baker
Copy and paste to your browser: http://israel-commentary.org/?p=6203

Is Netanyahu a New Ariel Sharon in Disguise? Is Bibi now Sharon Number Two Committing National Suicide?

BIBI THE PEACENIK?

Is Netanyahu a New Ariel Sharon in Disguise? Is Bibi now Sharon Number Two Committing National Suicide?

By Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
The Jewish Press
August 2nd, 2013

Sharon turned on backers and expelled Jews from Gaza. Bibi frees terrorists and chases surrender. A new poll shows his star soaring and Lapid’s dropping. Bibi the “peacenik?” A new poll has surprised observers and shows that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has soared past its current strength while Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party has taken a nosedive in popularity. Labor also is suddenly more popular.

The Smith surveying company carried out the poll for the Globes business newspaper, which reported, “The resumption of the peace talks with the Palestinians is benefiting the Likud, restoring its political fortunes after a long slide.” Polls themselves can be inaccurate, (Let us pray) cause and effect are not necessarily obvious, and the public, especially the Israeli public, can be very fickle.

But the bottom line is that Netanyahu is solidly up front, perhaps reflecting the public’s feeling of less uncertainty in the short term, regardless of the incredible gamble Netanyahu has taken for the long term. No one knew what was going on inside Ariel Sharon’s mind when he flabbergasted the public and turned traitor to the Likud’s own policy platform by carrying out the removal of all Israeli civilians and soldiers from Gaza, even at the expense of bolting the Likud and forming the Kadima party.

Critics assume that he did so to make a bundle for him and a friend by establishing a casino in northern Gaza, which never got off the drawing boards. However, when people get older, especially when they are in a position of power, their egos do strange things to the brain. Perhaps they want their place in history, or perhaps they think they have one last chance in life to save the world. The same may not be true for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who will be 64 in October, but the fact is that in the past three years, he has turned from Mr. Hawk to almost Mr. Dove, constantly caving in to pressure from President Obama.

Whether the White House is offering him something in return concerning Iran is conjecture, but Netanyahu’s capitulation — freeing terrorists and chasing surrender — is reminiscent of Yitzchak Rabin’s. He once promised he would never shake the hand of Yasser Arafat, but Rabin ended up signing a peace agreement with him. Globes noted that Netanyahu sat twice this week in the Knesset cafeteria, where journalists and Cabinet ministers mingle, after appearing there only once in the previous four years.

Apparently, the man feels more comfortable with journalists now that he has indicated he is willing to toy with the left-wing media’s agenda. It would take an earthquake or two to make a Netanyahu a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, but for the time being, he would be happy to settle for a more comfortable position in the coalition government. The latest poll proves that Netanyahu has made mincemeat out of Lapid and left Bennett with just about the same support he had.

The national religious crowd, like Shas, always goes to bat for its own leader, but the team never is able to fill the empty bleacher seats with more enthusiasts. On the surface, the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was the major event this week that might have changed the Likud’s and Yesh Atid’s fortunes in the poll.

Lapid is increasingly being seen by his supporters as having reneged on his promises to help the middle class and is being throwing into the same ”capitalist” class as Netanyahu. That would explain why respondents in the poll dumped Lapid and gave Labor, headed by Shelly Yachimovich, a whopping 18 seats, five more than it holds in the current Knesset.

Rounding out the list, Meretz continues to gain strength adding one more projected seat to come up 10 Knesset members, four more than now, Shas is making a comeback to its present strength of 11 seats, Naftalli Bennett’s Jewish Home party picks up one more for 13 mandates, and Tzipi Livni is languishing with three seats, half her party’s current strength. She is not getting any Brownie points for being Netanyahu’s errand girl. Last is the polls is Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima, which would go into its well-deserved political graveyard and be shut out of the next Knesset.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.

Evidently, Obama wants the Muslim Brotherhood back in power?

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=7097

I U.S., in Sign of Displeasure, Halts F-16 Delivery to Egypt
II Egyptian Commanding General al-Sissi Criticizes Obama Government

By MARK LANDLER and THOM SHANKER
July 24, 2013

WASHINGTON — President Obama, in his first punitive response to the ouster of Mohamed Morsi as president of Egypt, has halted the delivery of four F-16 fighter planes to the Egyptian Air Force.

Mr. Obama, administration officials said, wanted to send Egypt’s military-led government a signal of American displeasure with the chaotic situation there, which has been marked by continued violence, the detention of Mr. Morsi and other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a transition that has not included the Brotherhood.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel relayed the decision to Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the head of Egypt’s military, a senior official said, and did not say when the Pentagon might reschedule the delivery.

“Given the current situation in Egypt, we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s,” the Pentagon press secretary, George Little, said Wednesday. He did not cite any specific actions by the Egyptian military.

The White House emphasized that the decision did not have implications for $1.5 billion in American aid to Egypt, which it has said it does not want to cut off for now. The administration is reviewing that aid but has scrupulously avoided referring to Mr. Morsi’s ouster as a coup d’état, which could force its suspension on legal grounds.

In the immediate aftermath of Mr. Morsi’s ouster, the administration said it did not plan to halt the F-16 shipment. But officials said they were disturbed by how events have unfolded since then. Holding up planes is a modest, but unmistakable, symbol of that concern — “an inside fastball to the military,” in the words of a Pentagon official.

“We’ve been very clear with the military: we understand this is a difficult situation but we want things to get back on track,” said a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the diplomatic sensitivities of the decision. “Trying to break the neck of the Brotherhood is not going to be good for Egypt or for the region.”

The warplanes are part of a deal the United States and Egypt reached in 2009 for the delivery of 20 F-16 C/D fighters during 2013. The first batch of aircraft was delivered in January, with more scheduled for this summer and another delivery late this year.

The summer delivery already had been delayed once, for logistical reasons, when it was determined that the American pilots who would ferry the F-16s to Egypt might have difficulty leaving the country on commercial carriers because of the mushrooming political unrest.

The decision was described by some Pentagon officials as carefully calibrated to signal American displeasure but not go so far as to rupture the relationship or put Egypt’s security at risk.

The jet fighters have little role in Egypt’s domestic unrest, and Egypt is not facing an imminent external threat that would require adding four more warplanes to its security forces, said one Pentagon official. The greatest blow might be to the pride of the Egyptian military.

“This is like throwing an inside fastball to brush a batter back from the plate — just a warning that you can ‘bring the heat’ if you have to,” another Pentagon official said. If the political transition within Egypt moves ahead, the shipment of warplanes could be rescheduled.

Pentagon officials also noted that while the F-16 shipment was halted, other military-to-military cooperation remained. For example, American planning for a major, annual joint military exercise with Egypt, called “Bright Star,” would continue.

“We remain committed to the U.S.-Egypt defense relationship as it remains a foundation of our broader strategic partnership with Egypt and serves as pillar for regional stability,” said Mr. Little, the Pentagon spokesman.

II Rare interview with Egyptian Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi

By Lally Weymouth, E-mail the writer

CAIRO — In his first interview since the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi last month, Egypt’s commanding general sharply criticized the U.S. response, accusing the Obama administration of disregarding the Egyptian popular will and of providing insufficient support amid threats of a civil war.

“You left the Egyptians. You turned your back on the Egyptians, and they won’t forget that,” said an indignant Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, speaking of the U.S. government. “Now you want to continue turning your backs on Egyptians?”

Excerpts from rare interview with Egyptian Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi

Egyptian general criticizes U.S. in first interview since coup
Excerpts of interview with Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi

Sissi is widely considered the most powerful man in Egypt, wielding more control than anyone over the country’s direction after a tumultuous 21 / 2 years in which the military has shoved aside two presidents following popular uprisings. He denied interest in running for president but did not rule it out.

Although Sissi gives occasional speeches, he rarely sits down for interviews. But over the course of two hours in an ornate reception room in Cairo’s Defense Ministry on Thursday, he provided his most detailed explanation yet of why he decided to oust Morsi, the nation’s first democratically elected president. Sissi also expressed deep disappointment that the United States has not been more eager to embrace his rationale.

Sissi’s comments are a measure of just how thoroughly the Obama administration has alienated both sides in a profoundly polarized and unsettled Egypt, all while trying to remain neutral. Morsi’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood regularly accuse the United States of acquiescing to a military coup.

Sissi spoke on the same day that Secretary of State John F. Kerry made the administration’s most supportive comments to date, saying that Egypt’s army was “restoring democracy.”

“The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people,” Kerry said during a visit to Pakistan. “The military did not take over, to the best of our judgment — so far.”

The U.S. government is required by law to halt non-humanitarian assistance when a democratically elected government is forced from office in a military coup. But the Obama administration appears determined to avoid using that term and to prevent a cutoff of the $1.3 billion that the U.S. government sends to Egypt annually. Much of that aid goes to the military.

Since Morsi’s July 3 ouster, U.S. officials have cautioned Sissi and other generals to show restraint in their dealings with protesters, at least 140 of whom have been killed in clashes with security forces. The Obama administration has also encouraged the military to reconcile with the Muslim Brotherhood.

That prospect appears distant, with authorities promising a fresh crackdown on Islamist protests and Morsi continuing to be detained in an undisclosed location, unable to communicate with even his family.

Still, the furthest Washington has been willing to go in penalizing the military is to postpone the sale of four F-16 fighters. Most analysts say the delay is purely symbolic.

Sissi bristled at the move. “This is not the way to deal with a patriotic military,” he said.

Netanyahu makes an inexplicable self-destructive gesture to a non-existent peace partner while his Hamas neighbors meet with Iran!

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=7108

By Steven Emerson, Executive Director
Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)
July 29, 2013

Hamas Holds Secret Meeting With Iran

By John Rossomando • Jul 29, 2013

Hamas, Hizballah and Iran held secret talks last month in Lebanon in an effort to smooth over strained relations stemming from their rival stances on Syria, according to the London-based Asharq al-Awsat.

Hamas has supported Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime and individual Hamas members have unofficially joined in the rebellion. But arms and fighters supplied by Tehran and its Lebanese proxy Hizballah have helped Assad rebuff rebel advances. Iran has retaliated against Hamas by dramatically cutting funding to the Palestinian terrorist group.

That, combined the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Cairo, has put Hamas in a difficult bind. The Egyptian army has destroyed dozens of smuggling tunnels that fueled the economy in Hamas-run Gaza.

Mousa Abu Marzook and Muhammad Nasr, who belong to Hamas’s political bureau, represented the terrorist group at the recent meeting. Hamas leaders remain hopeful that Iran’s support will return to past levels.

“We have not lost allies; on the contrary, we are keeping all our friends, but there are issues that led to some apathy in the relationship, and we as a movement and government are eager to keep our fraternal relations with all the countries of region, which have a degree of cooperation, coordination, and support because Palestine is the cause of the [Muslim world] and not only the cause of the Palestinians. Therefore, we are eager to iron out all the differences in the interest of our people and cause,” Hamas spokesman Ahmad Yusuf said in a statement.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Arghachi said that Hamas and Iran are close to resolving their differences and misunderstandings over Syria. (Good luck!)

Will Blacks finally wake up to their own Race Hustlers?

Will Blacks finally wake up to their own Race Hustlers?

The Decline of the Civil Rights Establishment
By Shelby Steele
Wall Street Journal July 22, 2013

By SHELBY STEELE

The verdict that declared George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin was a traumatic event for America’s civil-rights establishment, and for many black elites across the media, government and academia. When you have grown used to American institutions being so intimidated by the prospect of black wrath that they invent mushy ideas like “diversity” and “inclusiveness” simply to escape that wrath, then the crisp reading of the law that the Zimmerman jury displayed comes as a shock.

On television in recent weeks you could see black leaders from every background congealing into a chorus of umbrage and complaint. But they weren’t so much outraged at a horrible injustice as they were affronted by the disregard of their own authority. The jury effectively said to them, “You won’t call the tune here. We will work within the law.”

Today’s black leadership pretty much lives off the fumes of moral authority that linger from its glory days in the 1950s and ’60s. The Zimmerman verdict lets us see this and feel a little embarrassed for them. Consider the pathos of a leadership that once transformed the nation now lusting for the conviction of the contrite and mortified George Zimmerman, as if a stint in prison for him would somehow assure more peace and security for black teenagers everywhere. This, despite the fact that nearly one black teenager a day is shot dead on the South Side of Chicago—to name only one city—by another black teenager.

This would not be the first time that a movement begun in profound moral clarity, and that achieved greatness, waned away into a parody of itself—not because it was wrong but because it was successful. Today’s civil-rights leaders have missed the obvious: The success of their forbearers in achieving social transformation denied to them the heroism that was inescapable for a Martin Luther King Jr. or a James Farmer or a Nelson Mandela. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton cannot write a timeless letter to us from a Birmingham jail or walk, as John Lewis did in 1965, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., into a maelstrom of police dogs and billy clubs. That America is no longer here (which is not to say that every trace of it is gone).

The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton have been consigned to a hard fate: They can never be more than redundancies, echoes of the great men they emulate because America has changed. Hard to be a King or Mandela today when your monstrous enemy is no more than the cherubic George Zimmerman.

Why did the civil-rights leadership use its greatly depleted moral authority to support Trayvon Martin? This young man was, after all, no Rosa Parks — a figure of indisputable human dignity set upon by the rank evil of white supremacy. Trayvon threw the first punch and then continued pummeling the much smaller Zimmerman. Yes, Trayvon was a kid, but he was also something of a menace. The larger tragedy is that his death will come to very little. There was no important principle or coherent protest implied in that first nose-breaking punch. It was just dumb bravado, a tough-guy punch.

The civil-rights leadership rallied to Trayvon’s cause (and not to the cause of those hundreds of black kids slain in America’s inner cities this very year) to keep alive a certain cultural “truth” that is the sole source of the leadership’s dwindling power. Put bluntly, this leadership rather easily tolerates black kids killing other black kids. But it cannot abide a white person (and Mr. Zimmerman, with his Hispanic background, was pushed into a white identity by the media over his objections) getting away with killing a black person without undermining the leadership’s very reason for being.

The purpose of today’s civil-rights establishment is not to seek justice, but to seek power for blacks in American life based on the presumption that they are still, in a thousand subtle ways, victimized by white racism. This idea of victimization is an example of what I call a “poetic truth.” Like poetic license, it bends the actual truth in order to put forward a larger and more essential truth—one that, of course, serves one’s cause. Poetic truths succeed by casting themselves as perfectly obvious: “America is a racist nation”; “the immigration debate is driven by racism”; “Zimmerman racially stereotyped Trayvon.” And we say, “Yes, of course,” lest we seem to be racist. Poetic truths work by moral intimidation, not reason.

In the Zimmerman/Martin case the civil-rights establishment is fighting for the poetic truth that white animus toward blacks is still such that a black teenager—Skittles and ice tea in hand—can be shot dead simply for walking home. But actually this establishment is fighting to maintain its authority to wield poetic truth—the authority to tell the larger society how it must think about blacks, how it must respond to them, what it owes them and, then, to brook no argument.

The Zimmerman/Martin tragedy has been explosive because it triggered a fight over authority. Who gets to say what things mean—the supporters of George Zimmerman, who say he acted in self-defense, or the civil-rights establishment that says he profiled and murdered a black child? Here we are. And where is the authority to resolve this? The six-person Florida jury, looking carefully at the evidence, decided that Mr. Zimmerman pulled the trigger in self-defense and not in a fury of racial hatred.

And here, precisely at the point of this verdict, is where all of America begins to see this hollowed-out civil-rights establishment slip into pathos. Almost everyone saw this verdict coming. It is impossible to see how this jury could have applied the actual law to this body of evidence and come up with a different conclusion. The civil-rights establishment’s mistake was to get ahead of itself, to be seduced by its own poetic truth even when there was no evidence to support it. And even now its leaders call for a Justice Department investigation, and they long for civil lawsuits to be filed—hoping against hope that some leaf of actual racial victimization will be turned over for all to see. This is how a once-great social movement looks when it becomes infested with obsolescence.

One wants to scream at all those outraged at the Zimmerman verdict: Where is your outrage over the collapse of the black family? Today’s civil-rights leaders swat at mosquitoes like Zimmerman when they have gorillas on their back. Seventy-three percent of all black children are born without fathers married to their mothers. And you want to bring the nation to a standstill over George Zimmerman?

There are vast career opportunities, money and political power to be gleaned from the specter of Mr. Zimmerman as a racial profiler/murderer; but there is only hard and selfless work to be done in tackling an illegitimacy rate that threatens to consign blacks to something like permanent inferiority. If there is anything good to be drawn from the Zimmerman/Martin tragedy, it is only the further revelation of the corruption and irrelevance of today’s civil-rights leadership.

Mr. Steele is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Among his books is “White Guilt” (HarperCollins 2007).

Israeli Deputy Minister Slams Possible Involvement of Martin Indyk in Peace Talks, Calls for ‘Honest Broker’

Israeli Deputy Minister Slams Possible Involvement of Martin Indyk in Peace Talks, Calls for ‘Honest Broker’

JULY 22, 2013

Algemeiner Staff

Media reports that former United States Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk has been selected by the Obama administration to lead new negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority announced Friday, have elicited strong opposition, including from an Israeli deputy minister, The Algemeiner has learned.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon penned a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposing a scenario whereby Indyk would take on the pivotal role in the talks, citing the veteran politician’s chairmanship at the New Israel Fund, an organization which has been criticized for supporting organizations that seek to harm the Jewish State.

“The former ambassador, Mr. Martin Indyk, is the Chair of the International Council of the New Israel Fund which provides funding to anti-Zionist organizations that accuse Israel of war crimes,” wrote Danon in the letter.

“I request that you ask the American administration for an honest broker for these negotiations,” he demanded.

“The fact that he it is a board member of the New Israel Fund makes him an inappropriate person to be the point man of the United States for the peace talks,” said Ronen Shoval, Founder and Chairman of Im Tirtzu, a major Israeli Zionist organization that has been active in opposing the work of the NIF, “being as he (Indyk) is known to the Israeli public as someone that is related to the New Israel Fund which supports anti-Israeli organizations.”

“We call on this administration to appoint someone who is not known to have a relationship with an organization that is known as an anti Israeli organization,” he requested, adding, ”We are sure that there are plenty of worthy candidates that are not connected to the New Israel Fund.”

Shoval explained why his organization has opposed the NIF saying, “They supported organizations that falsely blamed Israel for war crimes in the Goldstone report. They are funding organizations that are trying to get Israeli soldiers and officials arrested in certain countries, and they are supporting organizations that are active in the BDS movement and Israel apartheid week.”

“We also call on other organizations that are deeply worried about the future of middle east peace to call on the administration to replace Martin Indyk,” Shoval concluded.

Earlier today State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki “denied that any decision on negotiators or envoys has been made,” reported The Times of Israel. “Psaki said that Secretary of State John Kerry is still ‘putting together the right combination of players,’ but denied that any decision on negotiators or envoys has been made,” the paper wrote.

Reached on the phone by The Algemeiner, Gail Chalef, Director of Communications for the Brookings Institute where Indyk is currently vice president and director, foreign policy declined to comment, saying that Indyk’s involvement or lack thereof had yet to be determined.

On Friday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of direct-negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and said the two sides would meet in Washington in the coming weeks.

The last round of direct peace talks between Israel and the PA broke down in 2010.

I The European Union tests Israel’s resolve and desire to survive II Israel/US Letting their Guard Down

I The European Union tests Israel’s resolve and desire to survive II Israel/US Letting their Guard Down

I European Sanctions Against Israel

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

“Israel Hayom” (Israel’s most widely read daily paper)
July 19, 2013,

There are no free lunches in personal and national struggles, especially when it comes to the Jewish people, and certainly not in the Middle East.

Successful struggles require defiance of pressure, which has been an integral part of the Jewish people and the Jewish State from time immemorial. In fact, defiance of pressure has ensured the survival of Judaism and the Jewish people.

During the last 65 years, Israel benefitted significantly by resisting pressure, stronger than that imposed by the European Union: the effective US military embargo and the threat of economic embargo in 1948, suspension of the transfer of advanced US military systems and joint military exercises, etc.

It was Israel’s defiance of pressure which facilitated the establishment of Israel in 1948; the annexation of western Jerusalem and parts of Tel Aviv, the Galilee and the Negev in 1949; the reunification of Jerusalem and construction of Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem in 1967; the destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981; the application of Israeli law in the Golan Heights in 1981; the settlement of 375,000 Jews in Judea & Samaria and 250,000 Jews in eastern Jerusalem since 1967; etc.

Resisting pressure has secured the survival of the Jewish State, the bolstering of Israel’s posture of deterrence, the enhancement of Israel’s role as a unique strategic ally of the US, which can be trusted on a rainy day.

From 1948 through 1992, Israeli Prime Ministers, usually, fended off US pressure to make “painful concession,” and therefore enhanced respect toward Israel, dramatically expanding US-Israel strategic cooperation. Sixty-five years of independence have demonstrated that numerous forms of pressure on Israel have just been hurdles on the road to globally unprecedented growth: economically, militarily, technologically, scientifically and demographically.

A government that sacrifices strategic goals in order to avoid pressure strays away from the legacy of Israel’s Founding Fathers. A government which fails to defy pressure and assume a tactical, short-term, limited cost, required to retain independence of political/diplomatic action and to advance strategic, long-term, essential goals, forfeits the trust of its citizenry and the respect of its allies and the international community.

Succumbing to European pressure would radicalize the Palestinian position, generate further pressure and reduce the slim chance for peace. This would ignore the post World War II European precedent of Land-for-Peace, with belligerent Germany being punished by transferring land to its victims: France, Poland and Czechoslovakia. In 2013, Europe is eager to punish the intended victim, Israel, by transferring land to the belligerent Arabs, hence rewarding and encouraging belligerence.

Giving in to European pressure would reward “Better Red than Dead” Europe, which violates economic sanctions against Iran, while imposing sanctions on Israel, the only democratic, capable, reliable and unconditional ally of the Free World.

Retreat in the face of European pressure would ignore the implications of the stormy, chaotic Arab winter, and overlook the unprecedented surge in hate-education, terrorism and non-compliance since the conclusion of the 1993 Oslo Accords. This retreat would transform Jerusalem into an enclave connected to the coastal plain by a 2-4 mile wide corridor. It would reduce Israel to a 9-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean, over-towered by the Judea & Samaria mountain ridges, which dominate Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport and 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructure.

It would relegate Israel from a national security producer to a national security consumer, depriving the US of Israel’s unique national security contributions.

Shabbat Shalom and have a pleasant weekend,

II Israel Is Letting Its Guard Down

Wall Street Journal, JULY 19, 2013

By MARK HELPRIN

If finally compelled to do so, Israel is able to destroy the Iranian nuclear-weapons program, even if at breathtaking risk. Whether or not Israel succeeds on that front, it faces yet another existential military problem, less immediate and on a different register, in regard to which it has made the wrong choice.

Though history may never repeat itself exactly, it does have affection for certain themes. One of these is that of a nation suicidally disarming because it rests upon the laurels of the past, or believes in the satisfying delusion that by intellectual formulation it can safely predict the future intentions and capabilities of rivals and enemies. (Not unlike the US) jsk

Prior to the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Israel was so intoxicated by its brilliant victories in 1967 that (substituting excessive confidence for military prudence) it was very nearly destroyed. After shattering Israel’s defenses, the Egyptian army halted only because of Israel’s nuclear deterrent, after which the tide of war turned only because of an extraordinary American resupply effort authorized by President Nixon, something that would hardly have been a certainty with a President Obama.

Because Israel is understandably tired of war and wants to tend its vineyards, and because its military, like America’s, has come down with a potentially fatal case of think-tankitis, the government believes that, as recently expressed by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, “Wars of military versus military—in the format we last met 40 years ago in the Yom Kippur War—are becoming less and less relevant.” Accordingly, Israel plans to cut its already diminished defense budget by more than one dollar in 20; release a large proportion of career officers; and reduce further the numbers of its planes, tanks and warships. The military will be shaped to fight Hamas, Hezbollah, and intifadas rather than the armies of Egypt, Syria, and whoever might join them.

The fallacy of this course is that, despite persistent internal troubles and external conflicts, the Arab confrontation states have coalesced at unlikely times and in unlikely circumstances. In 1948, obsessed with throwing off European domination and asserting independence, they nonetheless combined to make war on a nascent Israel, nearly wiping it out. In 1967, war hysteria from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf reached such a frenzy of self-actualization that virtually no observers were confident that Israel would prevail—until it did. In 1973, against nearly all expectations, Egypt (always at the verge of bankruptcy) and Syria (always engaged in repression) nearly put an end to the Jewish state.

Although the divisions and travails of the Arab world retard coordinated action against Israel, the Arab world at times addresses these very problems by going to war against Israel. Egypt’s army is now preoccupied, but hardly exhausted or depleted. If the Syrian regime holds, its army will be lean, habituated to action and endowed with advanced Russian weapons. And other Arab and Islamic states, their militaries swelling and at rest, cannot be excluded from the strategical calculus.

Were Turkey to become sufficiently Islamist, which it may, its vast and modernizing armed forces would be a nightmare for now overconfident Israeli planners. Saudi Arabia’s air force (soon 380 combat aircraft, primarily F-15s) is rapidly gaining on Israel (441 combat aircraft) in quantity and quality. Were the Saudis to take a Muslim-solidarity time-out with Iran and join Egypt, Syria and perhaps even Turkey to defeat Israel in an air war, it would mean Israel’s death?

Yes, Israel’s adversaries know of its nuclear weapons. But if the Iranian nuclear program succeeds? If Saudi Arabia, in reaction, develops its own nuclear weapons? Or if jihadists take over Pakistan and its substantial nuclear arsenal? Then, having stalemated Israel’s nuclear deterrent, the confrontation states—if they could achieve air superiority—would need only gnaw on Israel with ground forces for as long as it might take. Is it therefore time for Israel to slow the growth and development of its air force?

The diminution of Israel’s tanks is nothing new. Ten years ago it had 4,000 in active inventory, now 480. Supposedly, nowadays only retrograde armies have them. Britain and France, for example, have token forces of 227 and 254 respectively, whereas Syria has 5,000. This is because “smart” weapons carried by infantrymen, light vehicles and aircraft can make quick work of tanks. However, with air dominance, such weapons cannot be launched at one’s tanks by enemy planes. With appropriate heavy artillery, also much out of fashion, and tanks equipped with anti-personnel ammunition, infantry is similarly disempowered. Thus freed, the tank is an agile combination of mobile artillery, armored fighting vehicle and personnel carrier able to execute the broad strategic movements that win conventional wars. This is especially true in the deserts of the Middle East or on the plains of Central Europe, where the field of maneuver is hospitable to quick and decisive strokes.

Israel’s leadership is canny, as the country’s survival attests, but it doesn’t always know best. Prior to the near-defeat of 1973, a number of Israeli analysts had strong indications of impending catastrophe. Among those who refused to heed correct and timely advice were David Elazar, the Israeli military’s chief of staff at the time, Moshe Dayan, minister of defense, and Golda Meir, the prime minister.

After the war, Elazar was forced to resign, Dayan suffered a nervous breakdown, and Meir’s government fell, because so nearly did Israel. In relying upon beliefs of the moment and conceptualizing away the threat, they had foresworn the extra margin of safety that was their duty to uphold. Forty years later, Israel must not make the same mistake.

Mr. Helprin, novelist, senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, and graduate of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, served in the Israeli infantry and air force. His latest novel is “In Sunlight and In Shadow” (Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).

Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial honors our unsung, as usual, departed heros

A huge thank you to Illinois Valley Cellular Telephone Company for establishing this memorial.

Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial honors our unsung, as usual, departed heros

On June 19th, 2004 a Granite Memorial Wall was dedicated commemorating the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in worldwide conflicts since 1979. The project was conceived by Jerry Kuczera and Tony Cutrano and built with donated material and labor and is the first of its kind, in the History of the United States, to give honor to our fallen by name while a conflict is ongoing. It took 20 years to Honor our Vietnam Veterans. Almost 60 years to Honor our World War II Veterans. The names on the wall represent our fallen heroes from such diverse locations as Panama, Lebanon, the Balkans, Grenada, Somalia, Haiti, USS Cole, USS Stark, Terrorist attacks in Italy, Greece, Scotland, and the current conflicts in the Middle East.
The Wall is located at 200 Riverfront Drive in Marseilles, Illinois.

The Purpose of the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run is to show our brave Servicemen and Women, and their Families, that we support them, and to Honor Fallen Heroes. The route is lined with Americans waving American Flags and paying tribute. In the past we have had 10′s of thousands of participants. The money raised through you generous donations is used to update and maintain the Memorial, and to put this wonderful event together.

The first Memorial we erected was in the small town of St Anne Illinois. the hometown of Capt. Ryan A. Beaupre, one of Illinois first casualties in the war against terror. We have donated Memorials to all of the Veteran Homes and Hospitals in The State of Illinois in Honor of all our Veterans , Past and Present. We Have assisted many of our Fallen Heroes Children, with funds for their education, in hopes that through education, they will learn to diplomatically resolve their problems.

With parade, pomp and patriotism, the Marseilles community — helped by La Salle County area families and friends — wrapped their arms around nearly 60 soldiers who returned home from Afghanistan to a hero’s welcome Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of people lined both sides of the yellow ribbon-decorated Main Street with flags, signs and salutes for the troops from Company A of the 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. The soldiers exited their buses to walk in formation through town as crowds cheered.

Escorted by screaming police cars and fire engines, the parade was short, yet felt long by anxious relatives waiting to personally greet their returning loved ones. Names were shouted from the crowd as the soldiers marched by proud and tall.”There’s Uncle Mike!” screamed four-year-old Aiden Schneider with his younger brother Jaxon as Staff Sgt. Mike Filipiak of La Salle came into view. The boys’ mother, Kristie Schneider of La Salle, beamed as she saw her brother in the formation. Filipiak had been deployed for 11 months.

Tears welled in the eyes of Rosemary Therriault as she caught sight of her son, Adam Therriault, of Wedron, as he passed down the street. The Yorkville mother said she was “excited, happy and very relieved” to know her son was home safe after his second deployment overseas. She said Adam had previously told her he wanted “a big fat burger” after he got home and she was going to see that he got one. Adam was employed as a painter for the family business, LeCuyer Painting and Decorating in Sandwich, before his mission began last winter.

Bobby Kaminski of BoominDJ of Marseilles played loud patriotic music as the parade moved south. Climbing back aboard the buses, the troops were followed by a procession of vehicles to a brief ceremony at the Marseilles Illinois National Guard Armory.
“The Illinois National Guard is proud of these soldiers and the state of Illinois should be proud of these men and women as well,” said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, adjutant general for the Illinois National Guard.

Prayers were given for the nine soldiers within the battalion, which included Sgt. Chester W. Hosford who last lived in Ottawa, who were killed in Afghanistan.

Company A was one of several troop units from from the 33rd Battalion to return to Illinois over the weekend. Other units arrived in Litchfield, Machesney Park and Marion. Remaining soldiers from the combat team are expected to return stateside during the next few weeks.The battalion of 700 soldiers was the largest overseas deployment of the Illinois National Guard since World War II. Their missions throughout Afghanistan included security operations, police mentoring duties and embedded training team missions to instruct local Afghan troops.

When asked if there were any other Marseilles area relatives in the crowd waiting for returning family members, Patti Smith, Illinois River Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said, “Today, in a way, we’re all relatives.”

Video of Wall:

Critique of the Judge at the Zimmerman trial

Judge Presiding Over Zimmerman Trial Repeatedly Put Thumb On Scales

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=6998

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
July 12, 2013

Injustice: There are biased judges, and then there’s Debra Nelson, who’s presided over what can only be called a kangaroo court in the George Zimmerman trial.

The bias of Nelson, Florida Circuit Court judge and a lifelong Democrat, in favor of the prosecution and its efforts to railroad Zimmerman as a racist murderer has been palpable throughout the case. Her actions, which have actively aided the state, could poison jurors and factor into future litigation.

Her shameful rulings and behavior, therefore, are worth cataloging, and include:

•Suppressing exculpatory evidence recovered from the (double-password-protected) cell phone of Trayvon Martin that reveal deleted texts of the 17-year-old bragging about street-fighting with friends and relatives and photos showing him brandishing guns, gangsta-style. This evidence supports Zimmerman’s claim he feared Martin and shot in self-defense.

•Disallowing Martin’s criminal background, including arrests by Miami-Dade school district police for drugs, theft, graffiti and other delinquent behavior. (Martin, in fact, had been suspended from school the week he jumped Zimmerman inside his gated townhouse complex, after police found stolen jewelry and burglary tools inside his backpack.)

•Excluding any testimony from audio experts who could definitively ID Zimmerman’s voice screaming for help on 911 calls as Martin bashed his head against a concrete sidewalk.

•Allowing, conversely, the last-minute request of plainly desperate prosecutors to have jurors consider an alternative lesser charge of manslaughter to try to secure some kind of conviction, any kind of punishment, in the complete absence of a sound murder case.

•Never sanctioning the prosecution despite Zimmerman’s lawyers justifiably filing no fewer than six formal complaints against the state for withholding exculpatory and other evidence from them in violation of discovery rules.

•Yet repeatedly overruling — at times even reprimanding — Zimmerman’s lawyers when they objected to the underhanded tactics of the prosecution.

•And even, in one of the most bizarre interventions by a judge many court watchers have ever observed in a criminal case, directly grilling defendant Zimmerman not once, but three times about his intentions to personally testify — while scolding his lawyers not to counsel him in what seemed to many to be an attempt by the court to bully him into taking the stand.

Seeing prosecutors losing the case, Nelson jumped into the ring to give them a direct shot at Zimmerman in a last-ditch attempt to make him look guilty in front of the jury.

Even former prosecutors slammed Nelson for her obnoxious impartiality. Andrew C. McCarthy, a former U.S. attorney who has prosecuted major criminal cases, called the trumped-up Zimmerman case a “travesty” of justice from start to finish. Any other judge would have thrown the case out as the garbage it was.

“In presiding over the trial of George Zimmerman, Judge Debra Nelson has made some awful rulings — none worse than failing to direct a verdict of acquittal on the preposterous second-degree ‘depraved mind’ murder charge,” McCarthy wrote.

“The state’s evidence that Zimmerman had the necessary criminal intent is non-existent, much less sufficient to meet the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard,” he explained. “Compelling evidence, moreover, establishes that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, a claim the state has not come close to refuting.”

Yet Nelson prevented jurors from hearing all that evidence. Over and over again, she ruled as inadmissible key facts and data that could have reinforced Zimmerman’s plea of self-defense.

PS “The reason that Trayvon was not in school at that time was because he was suspended for robbery: he had jewelry and, I believe, a computer which were stolen. The reason that he was not arrested was that the administrator in charge of the investigation wanted to prove to the public that the number of robberies committed by students was down. Therefore, he or she described his crime as a disciplinary action instead.”
Eddie (Auberg@aol.com)

Finally, Evidently, Nelson has higher ambitions, having twice applied for open seats on Florida’s supreme court. Let’s hope for the sake of impartial justice the governor continues to pass her over. She really has no business sitting on any bench.

William Kristol’s (Editor, Weekly Standard) evaluation of our State of the Union, July 4, 2013

William Kristol’s (Editor, Weekly Standard) evaluation of our State of the Union, July 4, 2013

The Spirit of ’76
BY WILLIAM KRISTOL
The Weekly Standard, JUL 8, 2013

“For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”

So wrote Thomas Jefferson, in what turned out to be the last words he set to paper, in a June 24, 1826, letter to Washington, D.C., mayor Roger Weightman. Jefferson was regretfully declining an invitation to travel to the nation’s capital to celebrate the 50th anniversary of American independence with the District’s citizens as well as with “the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword.” Jefferson explained he couldn’t travel because of “circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control.” He died at home a few days later—on July 4.

Jefferson had been 33 when he served as the principal author of the Declaration. His fellow member of the drafting committee, John Adams, also died on July 4, 1826. He had been 40 in 1776. The man who was at different times Jefferson’s and Adams’s adversary, arguably the greatest of the Founders, Alexander Hamilton, as a 20-year-old in 1775, admonished his countrymen that “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records.” He then while in his early 20s served as General George Washington’s chief of staff during the Revolution, was at age 33 one of the two primary authors of the Federalist Papers, and at age 34 became secretary of the Treasury.

The Founders were young. That doesn’t mean they weren’t respectful of the wisdom of the ages. “Experience must be our only guide,” John Dickinson instructed his fellow delegates to the Continental Congress. And today, too, as the 237th annual return of Independence Day refreshes our recollection of our rights and an undiminished devotion to them, experience has its claims. Experience, after all, teaches the price of weakness abroad and of bloated government at home. Experience also provides guidance for remedying these problems. The lessons of Reagan and Thatcher aren’t so distant as to be inaccessible nor so difficult as to be inapplicable.

But sober experience won’t be enough to remedy our ills. We’ve never been so weak while facing such dangerous circumstances abroad. We’ve never run up this kind of debt except when engaged in a world war. We’ve never had to repeal and replace a program like Obamacare. We’ve never had to deal with the near-dissolution of the family among sectors of our society. We’ve rarely had elites so out of touch with middle America and, in some ways, with reality.

So the remedies can’t simply be based on experience. They will have to be bold and will necessarily be doubtful. They will have to be of the kind characteristically chanced by the young. This includes the young in spirit, of course. Chronology is not destiny. In 1980 the 69-year-old Ronald Reagan was more youthful in attitude than all the earnest 30-year-old establishment wannabes. In 1940 the 65-year-old Winston Churchill was more youthful in spirit than all the world-weary appeasers born decades after him.

In the 2014 elections, the fading appeal and dogmatic rigidity of reactionary liberalism will be nicely embodied by the Democrats’ congressional leaders, the septuagenarians Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Within the executive branch, a septuagenarian vice president and sexagenarian secretaries of defense and state are fronted by a young president with old ideas, tired views stubbornly impervious to change, and an increasingly cranky temperament.

Liberalism’s standard-bearer in 2016 will most likely be Hillary Clinton, who has maneuvered through four decades in American public life manifesting that characteristic combination of today’s liberalism—a keen attention to personal grasping and advancement along with the profession of glittering generalities and the adoption of fine-sounding policies regardless of actual real-world consequences. About these Bourbons of elite liberalism, one can only echo Talleyrand: They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

Against them will stand the American people, resisting as best they can the depredations of modern liberalism, led by whom? With all due respect to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, theirs can’t be the spirit of 2014. And the spirit of 2016 can’t be the spirit of the recent presidential nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney. The animating Republican spirit in these crucial elections has to be more like that of the young Jefferson of the Declaration and the young Hamilton of The Federalist. And of the 23-year-old Abraham Lincoln, who, in his first run for elective office, wrote to his fellow citizens that he had no ambition so great “as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.”

So, to the young and ambitious who are stirred by the admonition that, “It is better to be impetuous than cautious, because fortune is a woman. And one sees that she lets herself be won more by the impetuous than by those who proceed coldly. And so always, like a woman, she is the friend of the young, because they are less cautious .  .  . and command her with more audacity”—to the young in either body or spirit, we say: Run, baby, run.

The Founding Fathers dedication to Moses and the Jewish Holiday of Passover

Revised from an Israel Commentary article of April 2012

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=3171

Published in “Israel Hayom” (Most read daily newspaper in Israel)

March 30, 2012

Passover, and especially the legacy of Moses and the Exodus, has been part of the American story since the seventeenth century, inspiring the American pursuit of liberty, justice and morality.

The special role played by Passover – and the Bible – in shaping the American state of mind constitutes the foundation of the unique relations between the American People and the Jewish State. As important as are the current mutual threats and interests between the US and Israel, the bedrock of the unbreakable US-Israel alliance are permanent values, principles and legacies, such as Passover.

In 1620 and 1630, William Bradford and John Winthrop delivered sermons on the “Mayflower” and “Arbella,” referring to the deliverance from “modern day Egypt and Pharaoh,” to “the crossing of the modern day Red Sea” and to New Zion/Canaan as the destination of the Pilgrims on board.

In 1776, Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense (which cemented public support for the revolution), referred to King George as the “hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh.”  Upon declaration of independence, Benjamin Franklin, the most secular Founding Father, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second third American Presidents, proposed a Passover theme for the official US seal: the Pillar of Fire leading Moses and the Israelites through the Red Sea, while Pharaoh’s chariots drown in the Sea. The inscription on the seal was supposed to be: “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” framing the rebellion against the British monarchy as principle-driven. The lessons of the Jewish deliverance from Egyptian bondage reverberated thunderously among the Rebels, who considered the thirteen colonies to be “the modern day Twelve Tribes.”

The 19th century Abolitionists, and the Civil Rights movement from the 1940s to the 1970s, were inspired by the ethos of the Exodus and by the Bible’s opposition to slavery. In the 1830s, the Liberty Bell, an icon of American independence, was adopted by the Abolitionists, due to its Exodus-inspired inscription: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10).  Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), and her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe (“The Little Rabbi”) were scholars of the Bible and the Exodus.  Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery in 1849 and freed Black slaves on the Underground Railroad, earned the name “Moses.” The 1879/80 Black slaves who ran away to Kansas were called “the Exodusters.”  The most famous spiritual, “Go Down, Moses” was considered the National Anthem of Black slaves.

In 1865, following the murder of President Lincoln, most eulogies compared him to Moses.  Just like Moses, Lincoln liberated slaves, but was stopped short of the Promised Land. France paid tribute to the martyred Lincoln by erecting the Statue of Liberty, featuring rays of sun and a tablet, just like the glaring Moses descending from Mount Sinai with the Two Tablets of the Ten Commandments.

In 1954, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. compared the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools to the parting of the Red Sea.  In 1964, upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King proclaimed: “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. The Bible tells the thrilling story of how Moses stood in Pharaoh’s court centuries ago and cried, ‘Let my people go.’”

President Reagan mentioned (Reagan at Westminster, 2010) Exodus as the first incident in a long line of Western resistance to tyranny: “Since the exodus from Egypt, historians have written of those who sacrificed and struggled for freedom – the stand at Thermopylae, the revolt of Spartacus, the storming of the Bastille, the Warsaw uprising in World War II.”

In July, 2003, President Bush stated, in Senegal, “In America, enslaved Africans learned the story of the exodus from Egypt, and set their own hearts on a promised land of freedom.”

In March, 2007, President Obama said in Selma, Alabama that the civil rights pioneers were the “Moses generation” and he was part of the “Joshua generation” that would “find our way across the river.”

(What Chutzpa!  Obama as Joshua! More confirmation of Obama’s classic narcissism and grandiose posturing) jsk

In 2012, the statue of Moses stares at the Speaker of the House, another statue of Moses towers above the seats of the Supreme Court Justices, a Ten Commandment monument sits on the ground of the Texas State Capitol and a similar monument will be shortly erected on the ground of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

In 2012, the leader of the Free World and its sole soul ally in the Mid-East, Israel, are facing the most lethal threat to liberty since 1945 – conventional and non-conventional Islamic terrorism. Adherence to the legacy of Passover, marshaling the conviction-driven leadership of Moses, and demonstrating the Joshua and Caleb courage and defiance of odds, will once again facilitate the victory of liberty over tyranny.

 

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative”

Addendum Comments:

On Apr 1, 2012, at 12:12 PM, cody flecker wrote:

Actually Uriah P Levy was the first Commodore in the US Navy serving in the war of 1812. His nephew was Jefferson Monroe Levy, and it was he who bought the run down home and estate of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello) at an auction. Jefferson Monroe Levy while not a religious Jew was at best an observant Jew. He was one of the founders of the American Jewish Congress, after the pogroms started in Russia in the latter part of the 19th century. The Admiral that you are referring to was Admiral Rickover who was the father of the modern nuclear fleet.

Also, Your article failed to mention that Judah P Benjamin was the highest elected Jew in the Confederacy 100 years before those honors were again bestowed upon a Jew (Henry Kissinger)

Regards,

Cody Flecker

Thanks and …  How about Benjamin Cardoza, Supreme Court Justice (Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (May 24, 1870 – July 9, 1938) was a well-known American lawyer and associate Supreme Court Justice and actually the first Hispanic  on the Court well ahead of the present Far Left Justice Sonia Sotomayer  that erroneously declared for that honor. 

Haym Solomon was the guy that financed George Washington through the American Revolution. Admiral Hyman RICKOVER, FATHER OF US NUCLEAR NAVY, developed nuclear powered submarine, died 1986

And, I am sure that are hundreds if not thousands of others of whom we can all be very proud.