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September 3, 2015: One Messy Affair

I am referring, of course, to the whole business of the votes in Congress on the Iran deal.
Netanyahu has come out with a statement, echoing what I and others said yesterday, that things can still change, and we must keep fighting.
Those who oppose the deal have already achieved a major goal in publicizing its various faults and weaknesses – its dangers.  At this point, the majority of the American people understands those dangers and is opposed to the deal.
As there seems some confusion, I want to clarify once again: there are two votes anticipated. The first on whether to accept the deal.  In that case, a simple majority of members of Congress suffices., as it will be couched in the negative: we do not accept.  And if that vote is taken, those opposed to the deal should hold sway – it should be rejected.
It is with regard to this vote that I wrote yesterday about the “moral majority” – the more reject the deal, the greater the moral and political impact.  Whatever happens subsequently, a majority of Congress will be on record as having declared against the deal.
Remember this, and use it: If Obama wins, it will not be because a majority of the Congress was with him.  It will be because of the games that have been played,  games that make it possible for Obama to win with a minority of the Congress voting with him.
For a better understanding of this, see Andrew McCarthy on the Corker Bill, which set the current process in place:
There is talk that the acceptance of the deal might never come to a vote – because a filibuster might be instituted: The rules of the Senate permit members to speak for indefinite lengths of time, thus preventing a vote from being called.  I say there is “talk” about this, but it is not at all clear that it will happen.  Senate rules require at least 2/3 of its members – or 60 Senators – to vote for cloture, to close debate.  Reversing the numbers, that means Obama would need 41 Senators to vote against cloture, so the filibuster could continue.  He does not have nearly that number now.  
If the deal is rejected by a vote of Congress, the president will veto it.  And this is where Mikulski’s declaration in support comes in: it means that – right now - the opposition does not have the necessary number to override the veto. 
We will continue to work, in hopes of a change in this situation.
It was my dear friend Sharmaine who advanced the most important suggestion in this regard, one I am remiss for not having mentioned sooner:
“...the timing for the vote is perfect after Rosh Hashana...We need to pray ..... For heavenly intervention on the vote!”
Amen on this.  Please!
There have been a good many other suggestions as well that have been sent to me, broadly in line with the McCarthy piece from July, cited above. There are multiple suggestions that this deal is really a treaty, and illegal or unconstitutional as currently structured.  There is the suggestion (advanced in American Thinker by Skloroff and Bender) that the Senate must sue the executive, “triggering a confrontation between the judicial [Supreme Court] and the executive branches.”
I do not intend to consider these various thoughts – which have merit – in any detail, however.  This is because it is my perception that there are a good many wimps among the Republican in the Senate. They failed the nation in the first place, when they agreed to the current configuration for voting, which puts the onus on those who are opposed to the deal, rather than the other way around.  And I simply do not believe that they are about to take on Obama in any seriously confrontational fashion.
In the exceedingly unlikely event that they would do so, it has to be because some Republicans of courage in the Senate have considered various legal ramifications and have decided to move forward.  It must come from within the Republican ranks of the Senate.  It SHOULD come from their ranks, but...
What I do see as a possibility is that a scheme may be devised by the Republicans that is less confrontational. but has the effect of at least partially blocking what Obama intends to advance.  For example, there may be a push for reinstatement of sanctions.
I speak of Republican wimps, and I would like to use this opportunity to enlarge on this comment.  Many of us celebrated when Republicans gained control of the Congress. Today, many of us mourn the way in which that Republican majority has failed the nation.  I am not saying that there are no Republicans in Congress who have courage and integrity; I am saying the Republican majority bloc has not moved with determination and strength – in pursuit of a clear-eyed vision for the nation.
Just as there was unconscionable game-playing with regard to how the vote on the Iran deal would be structured, so have there been multiple other instances in which Obama has secured the upper hand when he should not have been permitted to.  Now I hear that the deal should have been a treaty, and that what Obama has done is not legal. But the Republicans agreed to it!  Just as they acquiesced in a dozen other instances in which the president has played fast and loose with the rules.
Is it that the president has the nation in his thrall?  Or that he plays such hardball that there is hesitation to move against him?  One matter is very clear: he plays the race card, which makes opponents uneasy about taking him on, lest they be charged with racism.
What we see again and again is that the president has no compunction about dancing around the truth, and evading direct promises that have been made.  All politicians do this to some extent, but he is an all time master.  We’ve seen this with “absolute” assurances he offered on the Iran deal, which have turned out to be no assurances at all.  Yet somehow, he has managed to get away with it, when Congress should have called a halt.
Add to this the telling of bold-faced lies.  I mention this here because only days ago, he did a webcast for the American Jewish community.  “We’re all pro-Israel,” he declared.  “We’re all family.”
Can anyone really believe this, after seeing that he agreed to a situation for Iran that will increase terrorism against Israel by Iran’s proxies? 
“Nothing in this agreement prevents us from continuing to push back forcefully against terrorist activity,” he offered reassuringly.
Right... give Iran access to increased numbers of conventional weapons and huge sums of money, all of which will serve to bolster Iran’s terror proxies such as Hezbollah, and then provide assurance that there will be action against terrorism.
I am not sure how he says all of this with a straight face.  But he does, and manages without eliciting wholesale outrage.  I have not read of anyone who asked him, “What do you take me for, a fool?” 
This tells me that America is in a very bad place.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 11:26AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 2, 2015: WE KEEP GOING

Obama has now secured the support of 34 Senate Democrats for the nuclear deal with Iran. This means that as matters stand he has sufficient backing to sustain his veto of  legislation aimed at blocking the agreement. That is because today Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the 34th Senator to announce support for the deal.
It hurts. It enrages.  It elicits cries of “Heaven help us.”
But what I come to say in this short posting today is that we should, we absolutely must, keep going. We should redouble our efforts.
It feels like a “victory” for Obama and other Democrats who support the horrendous deal with Iran.  But keep in mind that this contingent is totally devoid of moral authority. The win, such as it is at this point, is largely a function of cronyism and narrow self-serving perspective, as well as incredible pressure by the president - who utilizes a fierce carrot and stick approach.  It represents party before nation, and putting what is safe before what is good.
Ours is the moral high ground.  And so, we hold up our heads, and we keep going.
I must point out, first of all, that the fat lady has not sung yet. That is, it is not over.  There is a process still to be walked through: the debate on the issue in Congress, starting in a week. And then the vote, on the 17th. That is, if there is no filibuster – which would further complicate the dynamics.  And then, if Congress votes against the deal, there is the formality of Obama’s veto, and then yet another vote.
Milkulski’s declaration today was very bad news, without a doubt. But it did not carve the end result into stone
There is much that may yet happen in the course of the process between now and then.  It may not be likely, but it is possible that something will be said in the course of the debate that will have an impact on a Democrat senator who had declared for the deal and suddenly has second thoughts.  With everything horrendous that has already been revealed about the deal, perhaps just one more fact will surface that will be the proverbial straw – the ultimate fact that cannot be tolerated or ignored for expediency.   Suppose there is exposure of a very major terror attack against the US, being planned and underwritten by Iran, and it makes many senators start to worry.  Really worry.  Suppose deeply compromising information about a Senator surfaces, which causes him to reverse his position.  Suppose many, many things...
All this “supposing” provides a certain perspective.
And so what do we do? We continue to make the case against the deal in every possible venue. We write against it in letters to the editor and Internet talkbacks. and on our Facebook pages.  We let our elected Representatives in Congress and our Senators know that how we vote will be affected by how they vote, and that we are watching.  We let them know how vile we believe the current situation is.
And we attend rallies, so that it is very very clear to those in Congress how furious we are.  To this end, the rally in Washington DC on the 9th is critical. What would happen if the members of Congress realized that there were one million very angry voters on the lawn outside their chambers?  Would it give them pause?
But there is yet another reason for continuing in our effort.  Not everyone in Congress has declared one way or the other. There are those whose intentions are still unknown, and those still undecided.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for a “moral majority” against the deal.  He knew, coming into this situation, that it might not be possible in the end to override the veto. But he expressed the need for the greatest possible number that could be achieved voting against it in Congress.
The greater the number, the clearer is the message of disapproval. This is a statement, and there is weight to it, both moral and political. 
Remember - because of the pathetic way this situation has been constructed – for Obama to win, he does not need a majority of the votes in the Congress.  He simply needs 1/3 plus one vote, to prevent overriding of the veto (as 2/3 of the Senate is required for that).   
The vote of a moral majority provides support for members of Congress who are considering other ways of dealing with the situation.  It is clear that our friends in the Senate, such as Ted Cruz (TX) and Tom Cotton (AR), are already giving thought to procedures that might be put in place to block or lessen the implications of the deal, if it passes. 
And it makes it easier for Obama’s successor to turn around what Obama has done.
Thus, it remains our responsibility to carry on.
See this statement by Senator Cotton, made during a visit here that echoes what I’ve written above:
Until there are 34 votes — I don’t refer to 34 declared voters but to 34 votes, because a lot of things can happen even in the next two weeks — I for one will not stop fighting, because of the dangerous consequences of this deal for the United States, Israel and world peace.” (Emphasis added)

Credit: msnbc

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.  

If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 11:22AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 1, 2015: Don't Stop!

I cannot pretend it is looking good for the Congressional vote on the Iran deal.  But we must continue to make every possible effort to defeat it.  Congress convenes next week, on the 9th, after a summer recess, at which point debate on the issue begins.  Vote will be taken no later than September 17. 
Today there is a rally in New York City.  If you can get there, I urge you to do so, and to bring as many people with you as possible.  The roster of speakers is impressive, the need is for a large turnout:
5:30 pm at 980 Third Avenue, Manhattan.  This is in front of the office of Senator Kirsten Kirsten Gillibrand.
If you are in the Washington DC area, or can get yourself to the Washington DC area, note that Senator Ted Cruz (R–TX), presidential hopeful Donald Trump and broadcaster Glen Beck will be headlining a major rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol on September 9. I do not have a time yet but will keep you informed.  Sponsors include ZOA and the Center for Security Policy (Frank Gaffney).
Additional speakers are being planned and this particular event has the promise of being huge. You have advance notice – consider coming even if it means a commute, bringing family and friends with you. 
This is a chance for the American people to send a message (most Americans are against the deal), and it must be a message that Members of Congress cannot ignore – delivered on the day debate will begin. 
It is time for American citizens to reclaim their nation.
The pairing of Senator Cruz and Donald Trump is brilliant, I think.  With their vastly different styles, they are coming together out of a shared conviction that the deal must be stopped – and should draw a diverse and very large crowd.  Beck’s presence will add to this.
Former Vice President Dick Chaney, with his daughter Liz Chaney, has written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “Restoring American Exceptionalism” (emphasis added): 
In this piece, they “accused President Barak Obama of agreeing to a deal with Iran that will likely lead to ‘the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki’...

”The Cheneys implored the US Congress to reject the deal and to reimpose the sanctions that have been lifted from Iran.

“’It is possible to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, but only if the US negotiates from a position of strength, refuses to concede fundamental points and recognizes that the use of military force will be required if diplomacy fails to convince Iran to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons,’ they wrote.”


Article image

Credit: Nation of Change
Scary?  Be present on the Capitol lawn on the 9th.
If Cheney’s comments don’t motivate you to come out in protest, consider this:
Brig.-General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser and Ambassador Alan Baker have written a briefing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affair, “Vital Points on the Iran Deal.”
The summary (emphasis added):
“[] The nuclear agreement with the main world powers is set to enable Iran safely, legally, and without economic hardships or changes in its rogue policies, to overcome the main obstacles on its way to possessing a nuclear weapons arsenal and becoming a regional hegemonic power.
“[] The agreement will legally provide Iran with the capability to shorten the time required to produce such an arsenal within the next 10-15 years (including the production of fissile material, weaponization, acquiring delivery systems, and improved military capabilities to protect the military nuclear program), so that it would be practically impossible to stop it.
“[] This is in exchange for a questionable and barely verifiable Iranian commitment to avoid producing arms and some limited restrictions on its nuclear program for 10-15 years.
“[] Reliance on Iran’s open reaffirmation in the agreement that it will not seek, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons is untrustworthy and even naïve, given Iran’s past record of concealing its nuclear activities, its periodic declarations of hostility vis-à-vis the U.S. and Israel, and its regime’s messianic aspirations.
“[] In short, the agreement unilaterally and unconditionally grants Iran everything it has been seeking without any viable quid-pro-quo from Iran to the international community.
“[] Above all, it should be obvious that no possible sympathetic statement by the U.S. Administration, or even military or other compensation, could logically stand against paving the route to a nuclear arsenal by a state that repeatedly declares its commitment to obliterate Israel.”
I recommend that this entire briefing be read and shared broadly.  Here I note, from inside the body of the briefing:
“...Practically speaking, military force could have achieved a longer postponement [of Iranian nuclear capability]. The continued credible threat thereof, which served up to now to deter Iran from breaking out to become a nuclear power, will continue to prevent Iranian plans to break out when the anticipated result would be destruction of their nuclear weapons project.
The likelihood that non-approval of the agreement by the U.S. Congress might, as claimed by President Obama, cause an enhanced rush by Iran toward nuclear weaponry, and bring about war, is without any practical logic.
Iran’s need to remove the crippling sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other major states and prevent renewal of such sanctions, and its fear of military action, are considerations that would in any event drive Iran to cooperate for the achievement of a better agreement.
“Some very serious issues of principle stem from this agreement.
In its uncompromising intent to advance the agreement in spite of the very serious security problems that the agreement poses to Israel’s security, the U.S. Administration and its international colleagues would appear to underestimate and even to downgrade Israel’s accepted stature as a Western-oriented, liberal democracy and bastion against the Islamic radicalization in the world advocated and practiced by Iran.
Attempts to assuage Israel’s real and genuine concerns by offering compensation for the dangers posed by the agreement cannot seriously reduce the nature of the threat that will still exist from Iran.
“The agreement does not seek to change Iran’s continued support of, and involvement in, international terror and its declared intention to eliminate Israel. Above all, it should be patently obvious to all that no possible sympathetic statement by the U.S. Administration, or even military or other compensation, could logically stand against paving the route to a nuclear arsenal by a state that repeatedly declares its commitment to obliterate Israel.”
This is a straight, tell-it-like-it-is assessment of the sort I’ve come to expect in particular from Kuperwasser (pictured), especially now that he no longer works with the government, and from Baker. 

Credit: TIP

In no uncertain terms, it puts the lie to Obama’s assurances to Israel, and to his claims more generally.  For that reason I am likely to return to this, as I examine Obama’s recent statements in a coming post.
Note in particular that it is not so that the alternative to this agreement is war.  This is an argument Obama uses constantly, but it is without foundation and is designed simply to frighten people into accepting what he has put forth.
What is also highly significant is the role that the threat of military attack plays in keeping Iran from advancing its nuclear plans.  I remain convinced that in this respect Israel has played a highly significant role, and will continue to do so.
Lastly, take note of the fact that nothing, but nothing, that Obama is offering Israel can remotely compensate for the dangers to Israel he is setting loose with his much vaunted, exceedingly dangerous deal
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 09:20AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 26, 2015: More Light, in the Midst of Darkness

We here in Israel we speak a good deal these days about a world arrayed against us – a world ready to do business with Iran for self-serving reasons.  In doing my writing, I have been remiss in not mentioning Canada, under the leadership of Prime Minster Steven Harper (pictured below).  Israel has no better friend in the world.  What is more, Harper has come out against both Iran and Islamic State – refusing to lift sanction against the former, and sending troops against the latter.
See please, an article, below, by Dan Illouz, the Legal Ground Campaign Knesset strategist and a JPost columnist, who grew up in Canada.  “In the Middle East,” writes Dan, “Harper has led the world with moral clarity.”
This is a matter of some significance in this horrendous world, and I would have been remiss had I not called my readers’ attention to this.  

Credit: National Post
Just over a week ago, 340 putative rabbis signed a letter to Congress endorsing the Iran deal. Claiming to represent “all streams of Judaism,” they were, in fact, almost exclusively progressive and left wing radical. 
“We fully support this historic nuclear accord,” read the letter. “Fully.”  Not a touch of reservation.
Unable to take on everyone and everything that is inherently offensive, I had let news about this pass. Although even before now I should have strongly encouraged you to read the article – “Rabbis for Hamas, Obama, and Iran: - by Daniel Greenfield.  It describes some of the rabbis involved and provides context:
We are talking about rabbis who serve on the rabbinic cabinet of the anti-Israel JStreet, and rabbis who signed a letter demanding that Israel lift the blockade at sea of Hamas, rabbis who worked for Obama’s re-election, at least one who participated in the “Fast for Gaza,” and even one (may Heaven help us) who read the names of dead Hamas terrorists alongside names of Israeli casualties – from the pulpit.
Greenfield names names – Burton Visotzky, Elliott Dorff, Rachel Mikva, Chaim Seidler-Feller, and on and on.  It is instructive. And vastly shameful.
And now I have a different reason to write, a reason that is imbued with a touch of hope (emphasis in the original):
The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America are sponsoring a massive Rabbinical March on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to demand that Congress vote down the suicidal agreement with Iran. The march is set for [Wednesday] September 9th, just 4 days before Rosh HaShana, which is also marks the beginning of debate on the deal in Congress.”
Plans are moving ahead and hundreds of rabbis are scheduled to march.  May hundreds morph into thousands!  Let the country see where rabbis who are true to tradition and Jewish values stand.
“The Rabbis March will take place on September 9th and I would like to propose that countrywide demonstrations begin on Sunday, September 6th. These pre-DC demonstrations will keep the media focused and created a build up to the Rabbinical March on September 9th...
“The march will mirror a rabbinic march that took place back in 1943, when 400 Orthodox Rabbis marched on DC to demand action on behalf of what remained of European Jewry.”
Yosef Rabin, who wrote the blog in which this information appeared, is carrying the idea one step further:
I am calling upon Jews across the US to follow in the footsteps of these courageous Rabbis and organize demonstrations in cities throughout the US before the Rabbis march on DC. 
“The Rabbis March will take place on September 9th and I would like to propose that countrywide demonstrations begin on Sunday, September 6th. These pre-DC demonstrations will keep the media focused and created a build up to the Rabbinical March on September 9th.
See more, including specifics on how to proceed:
(Thanks Moshe D. for catching this.)
At the bottom of this posting, please see a list of rallies that are already independently scheduled.
While I am sharing material from the very prolific and sharp Daniel Greenfield, I want to include another (dynamite) article from him related to Iran - “Traitor Senators Took Money from Iran Lobby, Back Iran Nukes” (emphasis added):
Once again, Greenfield names names.  What he is talking about are – as the title of his article makes clear – Senators who received money from the Iran lobby, via one channel or another, and then declared support for the Iran deal or for Iran run by the mullahs more broadly.  When he refers to the “Iran Lobby,” he includes in different contexts the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), American Iranian Council, and the Iranian Muslim Association of North America.  He alludes to Housang Amirahmadi, founder of the American Iranian Council, and Hassan Nemazee, who was Hillary’s campaign finance director and is a member of the Iran Lobby.
Greenfield does not make idle charges: he provides links to background articles.  There is, for example, a link to a 2008 article by Ken Timmerman that states:
”...Kaveh Mohseni, a spokesman for the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, calls Biden ‘a great friend of the mullahs.’ He notes that Biden’s election campaigns ‘have been financed by Islamic charities of the Iranian regime based in California and by the Silicon Iran network,’ a loosely-knit group of wealthy Iranian-American businessmen and women seeking to end the U.S. trade embargo on Iran. ‘In exchange, the senator does his best to aid the mullahs,’ Mohseni argues. Biden's ties to pro-Tehran lobbying groups are no secret. But so far, the elite media has avoided even mentioning the subject.” (Emphasis added)
And from 2002, a Free Republic article on the “Kerry/Iran Connection”:
“This is an overview of the emerging campaign finance scandal involving the Kerry campaign and lobbyists for the terror-supporting regime in Iran.

“At the center of the controversy is one Hassan Nemazee, listed as a Vice-Chair by the Kerry campaign, and identified by CBS News as having raised more than $500,000 for the campaign.

“Nemazee has served on the Board of the American Iranian Council, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), and the Asia Society, all of which favor negotiations with the mullahs' regime and eventual normalization of relations with Iran. (emphasis added)
It is obvious that Greenfield (pictured below) does not paint every Iranian organization with the same brush – the groups he is referring to support the Tehran regime.
The number and status of persons within the US government who have been connected to the Iran Lobby in one way or another (primarily as recipients of donations, but also in more complex political relationships) quite literally makes one’s hair stand on end.   
Greenfield charges that those who have taken Iran Lobby money and then come out in support of Iran are treasonous.
Whether the links are solid enough to sustain this charge is not something that is clear to me. Perhaps there are readers who would want to pursue this further.
At the very least, this very damning evidence – which suggests betrayal of America – should be utilized as broadly as possible as we fight the fight against the deal, and then, subsequently, as the next election campaign goes into high gear.


Credit: Frontpage
This is almost, but not quite, funny. Actually, on second thought this attempt to cover for Iran isn’t funny at all:
“On Monday, Hammond [British foreign secretary, visiting in Tehran] said Iranian President Rouhani had indicated a ‘more nuanced approach’ to Israel, and that aggressive statements by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei should not necessarily be seen as representative of the country’s foreign policy.”
However, Iran denied British claims that it had indicated a ‘more nuanced approach’ to Israel, saying Tuesday that such discussions had not taken place and that its attitude toward the Jewish state remained unchanged.”
What this incident tells us, I suspect, is just how eager the Europeans (and Brits) are going to be to cover for Iran when it comes to violations.
It is reassuring, I think, to see that at least some Republicans in Congress are going to refuse to roll over and play dead if they cannot over-ride Obama’s veto.  Already they are thinking of other actions they can take.  See:
Other rallies that are already planned for the days ahead (not specifically in conjunction with the Rabbis March):
September 1, 5:30 PM, NYC
Outside Senator's Schumer's and Gillibrand's office 780 Third Avenue, NYC (at 49th street)
September 8, 12:30 PM - WASHINGTON, DC
Iran Deal Press Conference, featuring Members of Congress, Americans effected by Iranian terrorism
Sponsored by EMET - The Endowment for Middle East Truth
AFSI is a co-sponsor.
Washington DC: "West Grassy Area," facing the Ellipse, in front of the Capitol building
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 09:06AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 25, 2015: Seeking Rays of Light

However painfully overcast the current situation is, we should not see it as totally dark. Those “rays of light” must be sought, and nurtured, even as we see what is going on with clear eyes and face it with stiff spines. 
Turning back to the Iran situation and Congress, which is not exactly a situation bathed in light, I want to add just a couple of thoughts.
Following are names of key Democratic Senators who have not yet publicly declared their positions on the Iran vote.  If you live in one of the states they represent, please, let your Senator hear from you, and from family and friends in-state, with an urgent request that they vote against the deal.  We cannot give up:
Gary Peters, Michigan; Joe Manchin, West Virginia; Ben Cardin, Maryland; Bob Casey, Pennsylvania; Mark Warner, Virginia; Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut; and Cory Booker, New Jersey.
I left Booker for last because I have further thoughts about him.  I have written about his situation before, and (I would like to be wrong) what I am seeing is that he is under huge pressure from the administration – pressure that in the end may well trump his closeness to Jewish community.  I understand he has significant supporters among the ultra-Orthodox in Lakewood and, he is, of course, particularly close to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.  I just learned yesterday – if what I read is correct (with thanks to Chana G. for pointing it out) – that Hillary recently had a fundraiser in Long Island, and Booker was invited to attend. There is the suggestion that he is being cultivated – he is an up-and-coming in Democratic circles.  (His cultivation, I suspect, is enhanced by the current situation.)
So the challenge to him is whether he is prepared to put what is right first, even if it turns out to be politically inconvenient and impinges on his burgeoning career aspirations.  I have read descriptions from Rabbi Boteach of how Booker studied Torah and even taught Torah. All very nice, I suppose. But what does it mean in the end?  Senator Booker should be asked this question.  Especially by people in Lakewood.  Maybe he is quiet now, and yet will do what is right in the end.  But, if you are in NJ, help him on his way, please.  Were he to declare his stand against the deal soon, it would have considerable impact – which the administration clearly recognizes.  (202) 224-3224  (973) 639-8700
And then I mention this:
I have picked up a report that Prime Minister Netanyahu believes the opposition in Congress to the deal is growing. Certainly the more the facts of the deal are exposed, the greater the number of people likely to vote against it.  What is anticipated by the Israeli government is that there will be a sufficient number to defeat the deal on its first go-round, but quite possibly not enough to defeat Obama’s veto.  (Although perhaps this could change if even more that is horrendous is exposed.)
What Netanyahu says he is looking for is what he refers to as a “resounding moral majority,” which will provide Israel with greater legitimacy when it comes to exposing Iranian violations of the deal (and perhaps for other reasons as well).
This position helps explain why it is worth continuing to campaign with members of Congress even if the desired goal might not be reached.
Similar reasoning applies with regard to why it is worth pursuing this with Congress even though the UN has already voted to lift sanctions.  A certain moral weight, which should not be discounted, would hold sway if Congress did defeat Obama’s veto.  What is more, it is said that if the US sustained sanctions, it would have some dampening effect on those seeking to deal with Iran – who would then be penalized in dealings with the US.
Now here is something that is truly good, and has made me and my associates in the Legal Grounds Campaign very happy (emphasis added):
President Ruby Rivlin, speaking to heads of regional councils in Judea and Samaria at his Jerusalem residence yesterday, said that the Jewish right to the land of Israel is not up for “political debate.” 
It is a fundamental fact of modern Zionism. We must not let anyone have the feeling that we doubt our right to the land.”
“In the last few months, and especially in the last few days, the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria has been dealing with grave terror attacks.  Thus, in these days our meeting is especially important. As always, the pioneers walking ahead of the camp meet the toughest resistance, and pay, together with IDF soldiers, a heavy price.

“We have to cope. We have the ability to cope with the current wave of terror, to fight against it, and not to give anyone the power to disrupt daily life. We must be an iron wall, a strong shield against those who wish to rise against us.”
Right on! President Rivlin, for speaking straight. 

Credit: Jewish Exponent
You can email the president’s residence at:   I would like to suggest you thank him for his clear position on Judea and Samaria.  He might like to know that he is appreciated.
And then, using Ruby Rivlin as a model of the position that should be taken in the face of challenges to our rights to the land, I want to take a quick look at precisely what should not be done:
Just one week ago, head of the opposition Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Union), alarmed about increasing numbers of terrorist attacks, went to see Mahmoud Abbas of the PA in Ramallah.  Speaking to the press after the meeting (alone, Abbas did not join him), he said that the concern was to prevent a “third intifada.”  To that end: 
“...we must combat terror on the one hand aggressively, and on the other hand move toward a diplomatic process...We must ignite the process yet again and give it another effort...We must not miss this opportunity." 
Declaring that a peace agreement could be reached in two years time, he said he would continue "trying to convince the public in Israel of the need for a diplomatic process.",7340,L-4692065,00.html


This man is not only a colossal fool, he is dangerous.  And I would like to disabuse anyone who may have been attracted to what he said of the notion that there is wisdom in “igniting” [what an inappropriate word] the peace process.  There is NO “opportunity.”

Compare this to Rivlin’s remark about the need to be an iron wall against those who would rise up against us.  Herzog is conveying cowardice: The message he delivered is that he is afraid, and so, in the face of Arab violence he runs to give them part of our land.  This sort of appeasement backfires.  It is a signal to attack further for more concessions.

The entire idea of giving even part of Judea and Samaria to the Arabs at this point – important nationalist ideology aside – is suicidal.  Yesterday I wrote about Hezbollah working to recruit disgruntled members of Fatah in Judea and Samaria to attack Jews. 


As to Abbas, there are reports that he has resigned from his leadership position in the PLO – although some reports question whether he is serious in his intent. What is being said is that he is retaining only his position as president in the PA.

That makes me laugh. The world pretty much chooses to ignore the fact that his term of office ran out in January 2009. There have not been new elections, because of lack of political stability in the PA and fears that Hamas might win such elections.

Think for a moment, if you will, about what sort of “state” there would be if Israel negotiated its existence with the PA.  It would last perhaps two weeks. 

Abbas has no credibility, and there have been many fresh charges surfacing of enormous PA corruption that he has never addressed.

Of late, he keeps insisting that he is going to visit “sister Iran,” even though in Tehran they say they don’t want to see him. 

At almost 80, he is a worn-out, failed man who grabs at straws.  Wait until Obama and the EU start telling us again that he is our “peace partner.”

Credit: topnews


Hamas, I will table for a future posting.


Other news that we can consider encouraging at one level or another:

“Anwar Eshki, a retired major general in the Saudi armed forces, has made it his personal goal to strike peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

“A former top adviser to the Saudi government, Eshki raised eyebrows in June when he appeared alongside Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General and longtime confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Dore Gold at a conference held by the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC, espousing desires to build a Saudi-Israel peace, especially to counter the regionally destabilizing expansion of Iran.

“’The main project between me and Dore Gold is to bring peace between Arab countries and Israel,’ said Eshki (left, with Gold, in the picture below).

“The former general noted that while the initiative is ‘personal,’ Riyadh ‘knows about the project’ and ‘isn’t against it, because we need peace.’”

Credit: alalam

No “done deal,” but perhaps a start.  Our prime minister refers from time to time about possibilities of peace with our Arab neighbors.


If this is true, it is most interesting:

“Eshki said Israeli and Saudi plans for their shared principal enemy Iran do not completely align, especially regarding an Israeli strike against Iran. He added, however, that Israel would be interested in dealing first with the threat posed by Iran’s proxy in Lebanon and Syria, Hezbollah, before committing its military to countering the much larger and imposing threat of Iran.”

There is a certain logic to this, clearly, as it is anticipated that any hit on Iran would automatically generate a war with Hezbollah.  And there is much talk about the possible imminence of conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Saudis, who are not confronting Hezbollah as Israel is, are terrified about Iran directly across the Persian Gulf and eager to see the danger reduced if not eliminated.  For this they look to Israel.


News of action to defend our rights is always very welcome.

The residents of the community of Kfar Adumim, in the Judean dessert east of Jerusalem, in Area C – in cooperation with the organization Regavim – yesterday petitioned the High Court to order the Civil Administration to demolish 15 homes funded by the EU this year.  Built on state land, they are illegal.

”The petition comes as the international community, including the EU and the US, is pressuring Israel not to demolish illegal Palestinian buildings – modular structures with cement floors.

"’We had no choice but to turn to the High Court of Justice because the Defense Ministry and the Civil Administration failed to respond to us [on this matter],’ Regavim said in a statement. It noted that illegal building was a criminal offense. (Emphasis added here and following.)

By funding such construction, it said, the EU is acting unilaterally in Area C to help the Palestinian Authority annex that territory for its future state.

"’The criminal intervention of foreign governments in territory under the responsibility of another nation should not be tolerated,’ it added, explaining that such action is a breach of both the Oslo Accords and agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.’”

Illegal EU funded Palestinian structures in the area of Kfar Adumim.

Credit: Tova Lazarus


I’ve written about this situation before and you will be hearing a great deal more on it soon.  The Civil Administration, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense, is the administrative authority in Judea and Samaria.  Unfortunately, international pressure has an “inhibiting” effect on its readiness to act in cases such as this one. 

Big bad Israelis depriving poor Arabs of homes, goes the international charge, when in point of fact these Arabs are deliberately being moved from PA areas to Israeli-controlled Area C.

And so Bravo! to Regavim for the important work they do.


The Financial Times reports that in recent months Israel has imported three-quarters of its oil from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq. These purchases are accomplished via complex, secretive deals, as I understand it, through Turkey.

What the purchases do is give an important boost to the cash-strapped Kurds in their fight for full independence - a situation that should be encouraged.  As I am reading it, the Kurds - who would in the end be positively pre-disposed to Israel, and would constructively change the dynamics in the region – are at present feeling vulnerable and prefer to remain reticent about their ties with Israel.  Not an uncommon story. Until very recently it was true of the Saudis as well – with meetings kept quiet.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted. 

Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 03:02PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 24, 2015: Weary, and More Weary

I suspect most of my readers will understand where I am coming from, in selecting today’s subject title.  How can any thoughtful person consider the state of the world and not feel exhausted to the very bone?
Nothing, but nothing makes for more exhaustion than the Iran issue.  
According to the Fars News Agency, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jarad Zarif on Sunday said that Iran’s nuclear program is its “source of power” in the region: “...if we see the JCPOA [the nuclear deal] as an opportunity, it will...pave the ground for us in the region.” (emphasis added)
This follows an earlier quote by head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi (emphasis added):
“Recognition of Iran’s enrichment right and acquisition of the nuclear technology was imposed on the other side.  The JCPOA will disrupt the power balance in the region.”
How does anyone who cares about Israel – I mean really care, not “care” as Congressman Nadler talks about it – deal with this information without a wrenching in the gut? 
It’s not the Iranians. They are following their agenda. 
It’s Obama, who, of course is endorsing the Iranian agenda. And Kerry, his “loyal” assistant. 
And all of the members of Congress who - because of pressure from Obama or concern about being re-elected, or worry about being accused of not being a loyal Democrat, or anxiety about losing prime funding – will endorse the plan. 
And then all of the members of the electorate – including, Heaven help us, many Jews – who think what Obama is doing is just fine.  Who will not, choose not to, stand up and yell bloody murder.
Let me share just a small portion of what columnist and author Ruthie Blum had to say today (emphasis added):
“But as the debate heats up over whether the deal furthers or hinders Iran’s nuclear weapons’ capabilities, an equally serious issue keeps getting marginalized.  This is the more immediate and tangible danger posed by Iran’s terrorist proxies, and the sudden financial and ideological boost the deal is providing them.”
“The reason it is crucial to keep an eye on their activities is that they constitute Iran’s global army – the boots on the ground, so to speak – who perform the legwork necessary for the ultimate aim of regional and global jihadist hegemony.  Their role is to set the stage for that time in the not-so-far future when Iran’s power and reach is so extensive that its leaders won’t need to waste their nuclear warheads by firing them...
“Last month, the General Assembly of Islamic Resistance Ulema (scholars) held a weekend conference titled ‘Unity for Palestine.’
At the gathering, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said, ‘We believe with certainty that Israel, this cancerous tumor, is headed for extinction...”


Credit: Yisrael Hayom
Please, let us be very clear about this: The sanctions relief that the deal would provide to Iran makes it possible for Iran to infuse large sums of money into Hezbollah, and facilitates the acquisition of further weaponry.  The deal also legitimizes Iran in a manner that emboldens them.
A good many people in America may have a great deal to answer for.
Last Thursday afternoon, four rockets were fired from Syria into the Israeli Golan and the northern Galilee. 
In swift retaliation, Israel launched two attacks over Syrian territory, hitting over 15 different Syrian military sites, and in the end taking out the Islamic Jihad cell, consisting of at least four people, that had launched the attack. One of the dead was a high ranking Syrian officer, Mohsan Issa, who was at one of the military sites that was hit.
Prime Minister Netanyahu made a statement after the attacks were completed (emphasis added):
The countries that rush to embrace Iran need to know that an Iranian commander is the one who gave the cover and direction to the cell that fired on Israel.
“This is further clear indication of Iran's increasing involvement in attacks against Israel in particular and against regional targets in general...this attack shows clearly how Iran plans to act the moment after the international sanctions are removed."
Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to send letters to Western governments saying that:
Israel has "reliable information that this attack was carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, ordered directly by the Iranian terrorist Said Izadhi of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards."
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon added that:
“Representatives of the Revolutionary Guards are, in fact, waiting for the implementation of this bad deal with world powers, in order to bring more money to Hezbollah, more to other terror groups – in both the Golan Heights and the Palestinian arena.
As to “the Palestinian arena” (emphasis added):
Hezbollah is reportedly upping its attempts to recruit Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria to carry out attacks on its behalf...
“The Lebanon-based terrorist group is reportedly attempting to revive its terrorist network in the region by reaching out to disgruntled members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group that functions as the armed wing of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.
During the Second Intifada Hezbollah, under instruction from Iran, recruited extensively among Fatah members, training and arming them to attack Israeli targets. Those efforts reached their height in 2004-2005, with tens of thousands of dollars being doled-out to recruits as an incentive to carry out attacks.
“Since then the efforts largely petered out for a number of reasons..However, a PA security source told the Arabic Al-Masdar site Hezbollah recruitment attempts ‘never really disappeared,’ and in recent months had escalated significantly.
With Iran emboldened by the prospect of billions of dollars of sanctions is widely acknowledged even by supporters of the deal that Tehran will use some of these funds to increase support for its numerous terrorist proxies.

“ attempting to reestablish an operations base in Judea and Samaria, and recruit local Arabs carry out attacks against Israelis.”
We have been dealing with a good number of terrorist attacks in recent days – throwing of rocks (and boulders) and even firebombs at passing cars, knifing attempts, etc.  I want to return to this subject to deal with it in greater detail soon.  Here, I share one article:  “Highway 443, Outside Jerusalem, the New Terror Hotpoint,” which marks four new victims of attacks last Thursday night alone.
My readers will remember the arson in the Arab village in Duma, which resulted in the death of one baby, and, subsequently, his father.  Because Hebrew graffiti was found at the site, there was a “rush to judgment” with regard to “Jewish extremists” having committed the crime.  I was one of those who at the time documented the evidence mitigating against the likelihood that Jews did it – including the fact that the house that was set aflame was in the center of the village, while terrorists typically hit a house at the periphery of a village, so that quick escape is possible.
The location of the house suggested that the crime was committed by an Arab inside the village.  And, as it happens, there were reports of a clan feud in that village.  What I noted was that a second house, which was empty, was also set on fire that night – and it belonged to cousins of those hit in the lethal arson attack.
I deplored then, and continue to deplore, those Jewish apologists who – in a pathetic effort to show the world how “fair” they are - immediately began speaking about apprehending the Jews who committed the crime, when in fact the identity of the perpetrators was actually unknown. 
In the interim of the last three weeks, no Jewish suspects have been apprehended.  And now we have a sequel to the original arson, as another home in the village has burned. This time the PA is saying it was an electrical short that caused the fire. This explanation is exceedingly dubious, however, as it was the house of the brother of the man who perished in the first attack.  Three fires in three homes in the village within a month, and all homes were owned by members of the Dawabshe family.  No one can truly believe this is a coincidence.
MK Oren Hazan is absolutely on the mark in calling for an immediate investigation by Shabak (Israel Security Services) of the original arson, with quick answers provided.  Hazan says there is information about a conflict between hamulot (clans) in the village of Duma.
Let me close by citing two polls.
The first, by Gallup, indicates that only one in three Americans approves of the way Obama is handling the situation with Iran.
The second, by Anderson Robbins Research / Shaw & Company Research reflected very similar numbers.  Only 31% would approve the Iran deal, and 58% would reject it.
So, I ask, why the disconnect between these figures and the attitude of significant numbers of Democrats in Congress?  Do they take the pulse of their constituents – or act in self-serving fashion with regard to expectations of party loyalty? 
And that 2/3 of the electorate that allegedly is opposed to the deal – what are they doing to ensure that it is defeated? 
Are they, as I suspect, registering opinions on a telephone poll and then hanging up and going about their business without taking the responsibility that should be expected of them as members of a democracy?  Have they internalized the importance of what is going on? 
I seriously doubt it.  And it is terribly, terribly sad.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 02:49PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 22 2015: Unfolding Nightmare

Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)

On Friday, I wrote about the letter Obama wrote to Jerrold Nadler (D – NY 10th), in which he stated that he considers Israel’s security “sacrosanct” and intends to provide additional military assistance to Israel if the deal passes.
At that time I asked, rhetorically, if anyone imagined that we Israelis, in light of the Iran deal Obama has promoted, are so naïve as to believe Obama considers Israel’s security sacrosanct. 
After I had written on Friday, Congressman Nadler announced that he will support the Iran deal.  And so we see that the letter had its intended effect: Not to reassure Nadler, but to provide him with necessary cover for supporting the president.  (Going against Obama is tough, and requires considerable strength, when he’s leaning on you.)
Nadler said he made his decision “in large part” because of his support for Israel.
My observation: no one in Congress who opposes the deal says he or she is doing it because of support for Israel.  That would expose the legislator to charges of putting Israel ahead of the US (a charge to which Jewish members of Congress are particularly vulnerable). But to say he is taking his stance “for Israel” is safe for Nadler, since he’s supporting Obama.
I have one question for Congressman Nadler (one I wish several of his constituents in the upper West Side of NYC would ask please him): Since the prime minister of Israel, the Defense Minister, in fact all of the Cabinet, and the great majority of the Israeli people are all opposed to the deal and believe it is very bad for Israel, how does he have the chutzpah [audacity] to say he’s supporting it “for Israel”?   
As to the deal itself, I find myself continuously writing that we haven’t seen the end of it (the bad news) yet.  And here is a bit more:
Omri Ceren of The Israel Project has written that (bolding emphasis added):
“The IAEA has been trying to get access to the facility for years to figure out how far the Iranians got, as a prerequisite to setting up a verification regime preventing them from going further. The Obama administration told lawmakers throughout the Iran talks there could be no deal without the Iranians providing that access, but the AP yesterday published the text of a side deal between the IAEA and Iran indicating that the West had caved on that demand.
“...the side deal guts the JCPOA's verification regime for future violations, which the administration has put at the center of the Iran deal. Administration officials really had no choice: once they [the US administration] gave up on any demands that would physically preclude the Iranians from going nuclear - dismantling centrifuges, mothballing facilities, etc - verification was all they had left. But it's difficult to see how the pretense of verification can be sustained now that the Parchin side deal has been detailed
The side deal will become the precedent for future inspections of military sites
Ceren also says:
IAEA sign-off suggests the agency has bent to political pressure “  This is what Jonathan Tobin also claimed, in his article I cited Friday. “The Parchin arrangement is a humiliation for the IAEA...
“Amano's defense of the Parchin side deal comes amid speculation that the IAEA is being subject to overwhelming pressure by the Americans and the Iranians. On the American side, the leverage is straightforward: Amano is up for reelection next year, and he perennially relies on Western nations to provide him with slim majorities.” 
Iran has just unveiled a new Iranian-made surface to surface missile - The Fateh 313 ballistic missile, with a 500-kilometer (300 miles) range and featuring advanced sensors and technology.
Iranian president Rouhani (once promoted as a “moderate”) declared at the unveiling of the rocket: Iran's strategy is based on defense and deterrence. The first line is diplomats and the second line is generals. Diplomats should be backed by generals. If they fail, it is the generals' turn to come forward."  Translation: We will rely on war if we cannot succeed at the negotiating table.
And then this, with all else tabled until tomorrow:
“Dr. Ali Hosseini-Tash, currently the deputy secretary of Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs, is the signatory on behalf of Iran to the agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, revealed last week by the Associated Press.”
According to a dissident Iranian group located in Paris, the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), Hosseini-Tash is “a military commander who was tasked with militarizing Iran’s nuclear program.” 
According to a member of NCRI, “In this position, he [Hosseini-Tash] has been intimately involved in every detail of the bomb-making program and is fully aware of the program’s vulnerabilities and concealment tactics.”
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.



Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 02:41PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 21, 2015: Clarifications of Note

Activities today, before Shabbat, leave me with precious little time. And yet, once again, I feel I must write, this time to provide clarifications and follow-up on yesterday’s story...
After posting yesterday, I received an email from an astute reader who shared with me an article about the secret agreement between the AIEA and Iran, which will permit Iran to use its own investigators to provide information on the Parchin military site.  This article – written by Max Fisher on Vox - “explained” that it was not really as big a deal as was being claimed.  It involved only some past information, etc. etc.
“It’s hard to know what to believe,” wrote my reader.  She subsequently figured out for herself what to believe, but I realize that others may have seen the same article she saw, or a similar one, and that it is important to revisit the importance of the issue.  The Obama administration is out there big time, trying to debunk the AP story.
What I want to provide here is clarification on the issue, which truly has huge significance.  This is from Commentary Magazine editor Jonathan Tobin, a reliable journalist of integrity, in his article “Congress Cannot Accept Vague Promises About Nuclear Inspections” (emphasis added):
“But though the reports have provoked outrage from critics of the deal, the news didn’t seem to rattle the administration or shake up those who had already announced their support for the pact. To bolster their position, they now point to a statement issued by the IAEA that attempts to debunk the AP report about the details of the secret side deal it had signed with Iran. Like the State Department, the IAEA is claiming the AP article is ‘misleading.’ Though it doesn’t say what exactly is misleading about it, it also asserts that the agreement with Iran satisfied its needs as well as those of the Iranians. Citing secrecy requirements, the agency’s head, Yukio Amano, didn’t directly contradict the article about a draft of the document given Iran the responsibility to inspect the Parchin site and to then merely give its findings to the IAEA. But with the AP standing by its reporting, Amano’s word isn’t good enough. The stakes here are sufficiently high that Congress has a right to demand to know more about the bargain with Iran. Without that knowledge, any vote for the nuclear deal is an act of faith rather than a reasoned decision about what is good for the security of the U.S. and the world.

The discussion about the IAEA’s side deal with Iran about inspection of its military sites must be put in the context of Iran’s threats against inspectors as well as its consistent refusal to allow them into Parchin and other places that were used for research into possible military dimensions of the nuclear program (PMDs). It was only on Tuesday that reports were circulating that Iran had directly threatened Amano and warned of severe consequences if he were to reveal the contents of the agreements about nuclear inspections.

“Unlike some of his predecessor[s], Amano has a good record on Iran and has consistently pushed for complete access to Iranian facilities for inspections. But he is in an impossible position. The U.S. and the other P5+1 powers that negotiated the nuclear pact abandoned the positions they had previously staked out on uranium enrichment that Amano was bound to try to enforce. With President Obama making concession after concession in an attempt to get a deal with Iran at virtually any price. He cannot be expected to be tougher than the Americans. The message from Washington in recent months has been crystal clear. The U.S. believed that nothing, no matter how important it might be, should be allowed to interfere with its effort to craft a new détente with Iran...
The inspections controversy can’t be dismissed with personal assurances or blithe assertions that the IAEA knows what it is doing. In this case, the UN body is merely acting as an agent of [an] administration that seems willing to do or saying anything to get a deal and to have it squeak through Congress via a back door approval process. Despite the president’s appeals to partisanship to force Democrats to fall in lockstep with his appeasement policy, this is a moment where they must stand up to him. Insisting on a free and transparent verification process isn’t an appeal to war, as the White House seems to keep arguing. Rather, it is an appeal to common sense, a quality that America’s negotiators seem to have lacked."


A copy of the draft agreement between the IAEA and Iran has now surfaced. It completely vindicates the original reporting of the AP about Iran being allowed to inspect its own facilities and debunks the spin from the administration and its supporters that sought to minimize the impact of this revelation.”
The draft agreement can be found here:
My friends, this is a matter of utmost importance.  If there was ever a time to stand up for what is right, it is now.  Do not be fooled by the lies of the Obama administration.  The man in the White House is dangerous.
Obama is not, shall we say, a “good loser.”  He will fight like crazy to win this battle for approval of the Iran deal. But while he plays dirty, he also tries to provide a picture of himself as a “good guy,” who is doing everything right.
In a letter to Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), two days ago, he offered assurances that, "Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States — including the military option — will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond.”
Anyone who believes that Obama would utilize a military option against Iran needs serious help: This is blatant falsehood.  Whatever the president thinks might resonate with those in Congress are who undecided, he will say.
Obama also said that Israel’s security is “sacrosanct” (sacrosanct?!?) and that if the deal is passed he will increase defense assistance to Israel.
US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, has been singing the same song.  It’s time for Israel to accept the reality of the Iran deal, he said. and start working with the US for enhanced security.
What an insult to all Israelis, to imagine we are so foolish, so naïve so eager for American support, that we could believe at one and the same time that Obama is empowering Iran to increase terrorism against Israel and is yet deeply concerned with the security of Israel.  Please be assured, this is not the case.
Shapiro is eager to start talks with Israel on security arrangements for the next 10 years, and is expressing frustration that Israel is not on board for this.
In fact, it has been a point of pride for me, to see how Netanyahu has rebuffed all American outreach on such security deals – including when the Secretary of Defense was here not long ago.  There are two factors of concern.  One is that such assistance would be a sort of bribe, so that if we accepted it, it would be harder for us to then criticize the US policy.  And then, it would give Obama the opportunity to show the world how much he cares about Israel.
Nothing doing! says our prime minister. 
And on this note, I say Shabbat Shalom!
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 02:34PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 20, 2015: They're Joking, Right?

Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the UN agency that normally carries out such work...”
This? Surely a joke.  But it is not!
The above is according to a document seen by the Associated Press (AP) and exposed on Wednesday.
This is how low the situation has sunk.  Beyond anything even remotely rational, and making a total mockery of everything that is decent and ethical.  See more, continuing (emphasis added)
The agreement, for an investigation of the Parchin nuclear site by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is linked to persistent allegations that Iran has worked on atomic weapons. That investigation is part of the overarching nuclear-limits deal, the news agency said.
“The agreement was worked out between the IAEA and Iran. The United States and the five other world powers with whom Iran negotiated were not party to it but were briefed by the IAEA and endorsed it as part of the larger package, according to AP.
The agreement diverges from normal procedures by allowing Tehran to employ its own experts and equipment in the search for evidence of activities it has consistently denied – trying to develop nuclear weapons.
“The While House has repeatedly denied claims of a secret side deal favorable to Tehran.  IAEA chief Yukiya Amano told Republican senators last week that he was obligated to keep the document confidential, and Iran has declared that the Senate must not be allowed to review the agreement due to its secret nature.”
Got it?  Iran has been accused of having worked on developing nuclear weapons at its secret military compound at Parchin. 

And so, in a confidential side agreement worked out between the IAEA – which is responsible for monitoring possible nuclear weapons activity by Iran as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action –and Iran, Iran is going to be permitted to monitor itself.
The P5+1 nations were not privy to the negotiation of this agreement, but they were briefed on it, and and endorsed it.  This, in spite of the fact that the Obama administration has denied there are any secret side deals.
So, maybe this is a joke.  A very very sick joke levied at all of us.  For sure the Iranians are collapsing with laughter at what they have accomplished.
Run, my friends, do not walk. Run to the nearest telephone.
Place a call to every single one of your Congresspersons and Senators who has not declared publicly against the Iran deal.  Share the above information and demand that they take a stand to stop the deal, which is a cruel farce that will bring no good.
For your Congresspersons:

For your Senators:


According to one of my readers (thank you!  Fred E.), this critical information did not even make it into the NY Times.

And so, clearly, if the news is being buried, it falls to all of us to get it out.  Share this posting with everyone you can. Put it up on Facebook and on your website.  Share it with discussion lists. Write letters to the editor. Talkbacks on the Internet.  No need for anything extensive.  Simply cite the information above.


In a statement yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner referred to the briefings that have been provided as “totally insufficient.” " still isn't clear whether anyone at the White House has seen the final documents." he said.

My best guess is that the White House has not seen the documents.  I ran a video recently of a hearing in the Senate with Kerry testifying.  When asked if he had read certain documents connected to the deal, he hemmed, and hawed, and said no, he had not, but maybe someone on the negotiating team had – he wasn’t sure, maybe it was just a summary.

He wasn’t sure?


And in case the above is not enough, allow me to share more information about secret deals:

“Two leading U.S. senators are calling on the Obama administration to release secret letters to foreign governments assuring them that they will not be legally penalized for doing business with the Iranian government, according to a copy of a letter sent Wednesday to the State Department and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

“Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) disclosed in the letter to the State Department that U.S. lawmakers have been shown copies of several letters sent by the Obama administration to the Chinese, German, French, and British governments assuring them that companies doing business with Iran will not come under penalty.”

‘The Obama administration is purportedly promising the foreign governments that if Iran violates the parameters of a recently [concluded] nuclear accord, European companies will not be penalized, according to the secret letters.”
Guaranteed, we have not seen the end of this.  There’s a whole lot more that we do not know about yet, I am confident: Because it’s “secret.”
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 01:51PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 19, 2015: Spinning

It is, without question, to be considered good news that the earth is still spinning on its axis.  Things being what they are these days, one might begin to wonder.

Credit: 123RF
But the fact that my head is also spinning is not exactly cause for celebration.  Without a doubt, the record breaking heat we are experiencing here in Israel exacerbates this sensation, but there’s a whole lot more going on than high temperatures.  What happened to quiet August, when things slow down and everyone is on vacation?  This August, it’s difficult to keep track of everything that is going on from day to day.  And it’s not even just that a great deal is happening, but also that there’s a sense of the ground slipping out from under us.
It’s not possible to track everything, of course, and so I will focus on a handful of the most significant issues...
There is some good news with regard to Democratic members of Congress who are declaring opposition to the Iran deal.  It is not exactly a surprise, but welcome none-the-less, that Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of NJ – ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - has now officially come out strongly against the deal.


Credit: Time
In a lengthy speech at Seton Hall University in NJ yesterday, he made his position clear (emphasis added):

I have looked into my own soul and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it. It is for these reasons that I will vote to disapprove the agreement and, if called upon, would vote to override a veto.”


Bravo! A politician of integrity.  May others follow his example.

If you live in NJ, please contact the senator and express your appreciation, not just for his position, but for his integrity, his leadership, and his incisive thinking about the issues (see more below).


The Senator outlined the reasons for his opposition.

The sanctions relief, combined with a lifting of the arms and missile embargoes on Iran during the course of the next decade, will leave the U.S. in a "weak position," he said.

“...let’s remind ourselves of the stated purpose of our negotiations with Iran: Simply put, it was to dismantle all -- or significant parts -- of Iran's illicit nuclear infrastructure to ensure that it would not have nuclear weapons capability at any time.

We have now abandoned our long-held policy of preventing nuclear proliferation and are now embarked - not on preventing nuclear proliferation - but on managing or containing it, which leaves us with a far less desirable, less secure, and less certain world order...”

The agreement, he believes, will merely "kick today's problem down the road for 10 to 15 years."


What is important is that he did not just stand against the deal.  He has come forward with an alternative.  Rejecting the notion that to refuse to accept the current deal means war, he said, (emphasis added):

“We can disapprove this agreement, without rejecting the entire agreement.

We should direct the administration to re-negotiate by authorizing the continuation of negotiations and the Joint Plan of Action — including Iran’s $700 million-a-month lifeline, which to date have accrued to Iran’s benefit to the tune of $10 billion...

“A continuation of talks would allow the re-consideration of just a few, but a critical few issues, including:

First, immediate ratification by Iran of the Additional Protocol to ensure we have a permanent international arrangement with Iran for access to suspect sites.

Second, a ban on centrifuge R&D for the duration of the agreement to ensure that Iran won’t have the capacity to quickly break out...

“Third, close the Fordow enrichment facility. The sole purpose of Fordow was to harden Iran’s nuclear program to a military attack. We need to close the facility and foreclose Iran’s future ability to use this facility. If Iran has nothing to hide they shouldn’t need to put it under a mountain.

“Fourth, the full resolution of the ‘possible military dimensions’ of Iran’s program. We need an arrangement that isn’t set up to whitewash this issue...

“Fifth, extend the duration of the agreement. One of the single most concerning elements of the deal is its 10-15 year sunset of restrictions on Iran’s program...

“And sixth, we need agreement now about what penalties will be collectively imposed by the P5+1 for Iranian violations, both small and midsized...

“At the same time we should: Extend the authorization of the Iran Sanctions Act, which expires in 2016, to ensure that we have an effective snapback option...

The president should unequivocally affirm and Congress should formally endorse a Declaration of US Policy that we will use all means necessary to prevent Iran from producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, as well as building or buying one, both during and after any agreement.

We should authorize now the means for Israel to address the Iranian threat on their own in the event that Iran accelerates its program and to counter Iranian perceptions that our own threat to use force isn’t credible.

And we should make it absolutely clear that we want a deal, but we want the right deal — and that a deal that does nothing more than delay the inevitable isn’t a deal we will make.”


There are others, including Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who believe a better deal is possible.


If you live in NJ, please also contact Cory Booker, your junior Senator, a Democrat, and the first African American elected to the Senate from this state.  Calls are most effective.

Credit: US News

While there is reason to believe he may still come out in opposition to the Iran deal – he has extraordinarily strong ties with Jewish community and close friendship with Rabbi Shmuely Boteach, who is adamantly opposed to the deal – he has not yet declared his position.  (202) 224-3224  (973) 639-8700


And then I acknowledge with appreciation African American Congressman David Scott (D-GA 13th), who said:

“Many of our allies in the region fear that Iran will dominate the entire Middle East. The United States must continue to enforce sanctions fully until any Iran nuclear weapons option is completely eliminated.”

David Scott

Credit: cnn


Note: I am mentioning the African American identity of Senators and Congresspersons here – whereas I likely would not in other circumstances – because Obama incessantly plays the “race card,” calling on African Americans to support him for reasons of racial unity.  Extraordinary pressure is being placed upon them, which is why, in a case such as that of Booker, it is critical that he be contacted.


There is, however, no dearth of bad news with regard to putting a stop to the deal with Iran.

What has made the news in the last few days, in various permutations, is the suggestion (not sure if it is a “fact”) that even if Congress manages to over-ride Obama’s veto, Obama would have sufficient clout in the matter to take down sanctions against Iran.  Here I will just mention this situation, because I have not been able yet to zero in on it with any precision.   It is a vastly complex situation, with a whole regime of sanctions.

No matter how Congress votes, the president may or may not possess the ability to unilaterally lift various sanctions imposed on Iran, depending on the origin of those sanctions: Whether they were imposed via legislation or by executive order.  There seems to be no question that certain parts of the sanctions regime were imposed via the executive.
What I will simply say now is that members of Congress are keenly aware of this situation, and working to impose legislation or otherwise tighten the situation so that it is more effectively under Congressional control.  It is quite likely that I will come back to this.
What’s coming out from certain sources in Iran is interesting, although it’s difficult to know how much credence to give to what is being said.  But it seems to be the case that it may not be a done deal from their perspective either.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the end Iran rejected it?
There is, first, this:
”The Iranian legislators in a statement underlined that the implementation of a recent nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers would have no legal grounds if it does not receive the approval of the Parliament and the Guardian Council first.

“In their statement on Sunday, the lawmakers appreciated the Iranian team of nuclear negotiators for their efforts, but meantime, said that based on the Constitution, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) should be scrutinized by the parliament and all relevant bodies are required to present information and cooperate with the legislative body in this regard...”
This appeared to me not much more than a lot of talk, for Iran is not exactly a democracy.  “based on the Constitution”? Khamenei calls the shots. It did occur to me that this might be a face-saving device, should the US Congress actually succeed in voting it down.
But then there was this (emphasis added):
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has reservations about a landmark nuclear accord reached with world powers, a prominent journalist wrote on Saturday.

“Hussein Shariatmadari, editor of the daily newspaper Kayhan and a representative of Ayatollah Khamenei, made the comments in an editorial Saturday.

“Iran's parliament and the Supreme National Security Council will consider the agreement in the coming days...

“Shariatmadari said in the editorial that many parts of the deal threaten Iran's independence, security and ‘the sacred system of the Islamic republic of Iran’ and that it would be ‘disastrous’ if Tehran implements the accord.

“He also referred to a speech by Ayatollah Khamenei last month during which the Leader said, ‘Whether this text is approved or disapproved, no one will be allowed to harm the main principles of the (ruling) Islamic system.’

“The editorial noted: ‘Using the phrase ”whether this text is approved or disapproved” shows his lack of trust in the text of the deal. If His Excellency had a positive view, he would have not insisted on the need for the text to be scrutinized through legal channels ... It leaves no doubt that His Excellency is not satisfied with the text.’"
While the situation described above lacks clarity, what is crystal clear is that Iran is not in any way moderating its expressed attitude or behavior since the accord was announced. 
Steve Emerson, Director of the The Investigative Project on Terrorism, says, in fact, that Iranian officials have ratcheted up its genocidal rhetoric since the deal has been completed.
While some in the United States and among its Western allies may hope that a nuclear weapons deal with Iran might steer the Islamic Republic in a new, more responsible direction, hardliners draw new lines and issue new threats.”
Emerson does not explicitly say so, but, among those who hope the deal might steer Iran towards a more responsible direction, there is, of course, Obama.  Not so long ago, in an interview, he said:
“I think there are hard-liners inside of Iran that think it is the right thing to do to oppose us, to seek to destroy Israel, to cause havoc in places like Syria or Yemen or Lebanon. And then I think there are others inside Iran who think that this is counterproductive. And it is possible that if we sign this nuclear deal, we strengthen the hand of those more moderate forces inside of Iran.”
Poppycock. Do not be taken in by this, as all evidence points in the other direction: The deal will embolden Iran’s aggressiveness.
In addressing a post put out by Khamenei, Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segal, writing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, reflected the same perspective as Emerson (emphasis added):
“...the Iranian leadership with Supreme Leader Khamenei at the forefront has been affirming again and again that the deal has no connection with any other issue in the Middle East. They maintain that the antagonistic relationship between Iran and the United States will not change. Khamenei also keeps declaring that Iranian and U.S. interests, in the Middle East in particular and in the world in general, are completely opposed to each other. Iran, which continues to view the United States as an enemy and as the Great Satan, will keep fighting it even after the signing of the deal, and will keep helping its friends in the Middle East (Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas, etc.). Khamenei, along with the religious-political and military leadership, keeps emphasizing Iran’s expanding influence in the Middle East and asserting that this is a reality that cannot be changed.”
There is the possibility that members of Congress still sitting on the fence with regard to the Iran deal might be convinced to oppose it, on the basis of statements about Iran’s continued intransigence, arrogance and declarations of hostility to the West.  Please, if you have not yet contacted your elected representatives in Congress, do so, citing the sort of information that I have provided.
The “ghost” of negotiations for a “two state solution” lurks around several diplomatic corners.  It never goes away, and there will surely be attempts to bring it to life once again.  I will be tracking these efforts, which include such things as the threat by the PA to go to the UN Security Council.  Recently the French, who had indicated intention of doing just that, have reversed themselves. They are now talking about “recognizing Palestine.”
Here, I want to address just one factor in this on-going situation: a growing rapprochement between the PA/PLO and Iran.
Oh joy.
A little over a week ago, a senior PLO official, Ahmed Majdalani, traveled to Tehran for a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif.  While there, utilizing Zarif as conduit, Majdalani carried a letter from Mahmoud Abbas to Iranian president Rouhani.
Among the topics discussed in the letter: “Israeli assaults against our people and their holy sites...”
Of late, the Iranians, who have been significant supporters of Hamas, have been irritated with this group’s interaction with [arch-enemy] Saudi Arabia.  There seems little question but that the PLO is seeking to parlay this to its advantage.  This week Majdalani spoke about the possibility that the Iranian ambassador to Amman might also serve as “non-resident ambassador to Palestine.”
Abbas is also – no surprise – seeking funds from Iran, and has spoken about his hope that he can visit Tehran in November.
Whether the Iranians will, in the end, be receptive to this remains to be seen.  For there are signals that they are eager to patch up their relationship with the more radical Hamas.

My comment here: Those eager to promote “two states,” who have found our government decidedly resistant to considering this option, haven’t seen anything yet!  A state in Judea and Samaria with ties to Iran?  Ludicrous and unthinkable. 
But speaking of Judea and Samaria, I want to end on a high note:
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is here.  And he has done something that presidential candidates never do:  He visited Shilo, in the Shomron, yesterday, and he said, “I wish that every candidate, Republican or Democrat, would come to Israel to show solidarity with the country that most reflects the mirror image of the American spirit...If you are going to visit Israel, you should visit all of Israel and that would include Judea and Samaria.” (Emphasis added)
An aside here: I sought a URL to provide Huckabee’s quote.  Got it at the JPost, above, but what did the headline say?  “Huckabee: All presidential candidates should visit all of Israel, including W. Bank settlements.”  
But excuse me, that is not what he said.  He got it right, referring to Judea and Samaria. In fact, Shilo, where he held a fund-raising dinner, is not “just” a community in Judea and Samaria.  It is the biblical site where the ancient Tabernacle rested – indicating not only sanctity, but the tie of the Jewish people to the land.  Yesterday, Huckabee spoke about this sacred spot that has been preserved for people of faith. Mike Huckabee is an evangelical believer.
Herb Keinon, writing analysis in the same JPost, had this to say (emphasis added):
“What Huckabee, a strident critic of Obama’s Mideast doing with his Shiloh visit is saying that Obama had it dead wrong: that the settlements are not illegitimate, as the president and this administration like to say, nor is it the Mideast’s problem...
“ does matter what Huckabee has to say because he has a big voice and is on a huge stage.
“...the candidate will be asked...about the settlements.  His answers...will be different than those usually heard; he will paint a different picture of the settlements than the one generally pained in America’s public discourse.
“And since this is a campaign, his pro-settlement positions could push the needle on the issue among other Republican candidates...Huckabee’s forceful position on this matter may compel them to speak about the settlements in ways not generally heard in US political discourse.
“Today, most discussion on the settlement issue among US politicians starts from the premise that they are illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.  If some high-profile politicians inside the Republican Party begin to challenge that premise, and those arguments are heard by the American people, it is not a matter [de]void of significance.
“ could mean the anti-settlement Orthodoxy promulgated by the Obama administration will be challenged, and that the other side of the issue will get a wider haring by the American public.”

Mike Huckabee, Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor, takes part in a news conference near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Shiloh, August 18, 2015. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Credit: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun
And so, from the bottom of my heart, I say, Thank you, Mike!
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint
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