Current Postings

August 12, 2015: Sinking Low

It has been my practice, when writing about the Iran agreement, to deal as much as possible with facts.

But in some respects this is no longer possible, as the case being made by the Obama administration has sunk to a shameful and despicable low.  If you pay attention to Obama’s words, and those of his flunkies, what we hear is a position that maintains that the deal is so obviously good that anyone coming out against is, in one fashion or another, being disloyal to America.  There is less than no respect for the patriotism and the intellectual integrity of those who oppose the deal out of deep concern for America.

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We see that he is doing this with regard to Republicans, whom he claims are putting party politics ahead of the good of the nation, and – far worse! – making common cause with the hardliners in Iran.  He first leveled this charge in a speech last week.  Yesterday, he was challenged on it by Fareed Zakaria on CNN, and rather than back down said it is absolutely true.

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2015/08/11/obama-why-yesmy-republicans-are-like-iranian-hardliners-claim-is-absolutely-true-n2037065

A point being made by critics of the president is that since some Democrats are also against the deal, according to Obama’s logic, they must also be making common cause with the Iranian hardliners - although Obama neglects to address this.  The Democrats who are opposed certainly cannot be charged with being negative on the deal simply out of “party loyalty.” Those who have come out against the deal include:

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Members of Congress Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ted Deutsch (D-FL), Steve Israel (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Juan Vargas  (D-NY).
 
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But let us move on, as we are seeing behavior from the administration that is even more reprehensible.  An editorial in Tablet Magazine – “Crossing a Line to Sell a Deal” - describes what is going on (emphasis added):

“What we increasingly can’t stomach—and feel obliged to speak out about right now—is the use of Jew-baiting and other blatant and retrograde forms of racial and ethnic prejudice as tools to sell a political deal, or to smear those who oppose it. Accusing Senator Schumer of loyalty to a foreign government is bigotry, pure and simple. Accusing Senators and Congressmen whose misgivings about the Iran deal are shared by a majority of the U.S. electorate of being agents of a foreign power, or of selling their votes to shadowy lobbyists, or of acting contrary to the best interests of the United States, is the kind of naked appeal to bigotry and prejudice that would be familiar in the politics of the pre-Civil Rights Era South.

This use of anti-Jewish incitement as a political tool is a sickening new development in American political discourse, and we have heard too much of it lately—some coming, ominously, from our own White House and its representatives. Let’s not mince words: Murmuring about “money” and “lobbying” and “foreign interests” who seek to drag America into war is a direct attempt to play the dual-loyalty card. It’s the kind of dark, nasty stuff we might expect to hear at a white power rally, not from the President of the United States—and it’s gotten so blatant that even many of us who are generally sympathetic to the administration, and even this deal, have been shaken by it.

http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/192751/crossing-a-line-to-sell-a-deal

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Just as some on the editorial board of Tablet Magazine, who are “generally sympathetic to the administration, and even this deal...have been shaken by” the “anti-Jewish incitement that is being used as a political tool,” we must hope that members of Congress who might have been predisposed to the deal will begin to wonder if in the end there is any legitimate rationale for accepting it.  Why would the president have to resort to innuendo and slander against opponents, if he could make a strong case based on the agreement’s merits?

Perhaps Obama is overplaying his hand, and will end up defeating precisely what he imagines he is defending. 

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See further details on what is going on with regard to the old anti-Semitic canard of “dual loyalty”:

“...anti-Schumer campaigners refer to him repeatedly as a ‘traitor,’ suggest that his loyalty lies only with Israel and not the United States, and accuse him of receiving his ‘real paycheck’ from nefarious sources — which they characterize as Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) or other pro-Israel bodies.”
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-jewish-senator-faces-disloyalty-charge-over-opposition-to-iran-deal/

Those who make such blatantly prejudicial judgments are missing the point in several respect: 

They are positing that the deal is bad only for Israel, when in fact it is a disaster for the US.  What is more, an accord that threatens the only reliable ally the US has in the Middle East is bound to put America at a disadvantage. 
 
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It is a major issue, that the accord with Iran provides no brakes on Iran’s support of terrorism or on its aggressive hegemony in the Middle East.  Quite the contrary, that agreement is doing two things that will strengthen Iran’s ability to foment violence in our part of the world:

It is providing a fortune in sanctions relief that Iran will utilize in some part to strengthen terrorist elements.  And it is lifting sanctions against Iran’s acquisition of conventional weaponry, including, in time, ballistic missiles.

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Now, please, note what Kerry said yesterday, at a Reuters Newsmaker event.  If Iran violates the arms embargo, there will be no “snapback” of sanctions against Iran (emphasis added):

“The arms embargo is not tied to snapback...So they are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms piece of it."

But we should not worry, explained Kerry, because the US has "ample tools at our disposal" if Iran violates the arms embargo.

“There is a specific U.N. resolution outside of this agreement that prohibits them from sending weapons to Hezbollah. There is a separate and specific U.N. resolution that prohibits them from sending weapons to the Shia militia in Iraq."

That will do it, you think?

Myself, I think that even Kerry, who is dumb, is not that dumb.  I think the US does not care.

As Reuters reports:

“Iran's senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi made clear last month that Tehran had no intention of complying with the arms embargo and missile sanctions.

"’Whenever it’s needed to send arms to our allies in the region, we will do so,’ he said. ‘We are not ashamed of it.’”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/11/us-iran-nuclear-kerry-sanctions-idUSKCN0QG22M20150811

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I share here a video of Kerry testifying before an Armed Services Committee hearing, with Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) questioning.  I recommend the entire six minutes: very enlightening in terms of how the chief American diplomat conducts himself. But most pertinent here is the portion that begins at slightly past minute 4, as it addresses Iranian weaponry and what the US will do to prevent Iran from sharing it. 

Kerry speaks about US laws in place to block Iranian distribution of lethal weapons. But please keep in mind that he negotiated a deal that will make it easier for Iran to acquire and distribute such weaponry. Heaven help us all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS_vLTTIZL8

(With thanks to Moti G. on this.)

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About two weeks ago, Kerry was testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  He was questioned by Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA), who asked:

“Let’s say Congress doesn’t take your advice, we override a veto, and the law that is triggered then imposes certain sanctions. Will you follow the law even though you think this violates this agreement clearly, and even if you think it’s terrible policy?” 

Kerry: “I cannot begin to answer that at this point, without consulting with the president and determining what the circumstances are.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421698/john-kerry-iran-deal-obama-could-defy-law-congress

 

Credit: Olivier Douliery/Getty

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For those who might doubt the implications of the above exchange, there is this information from MEMRI (emphasis added):

”Iranian officials recently began to reveal details from the nuclear negotiations with the U.S. since their early stages. Their statements indicate that the U.S. initiated secret negotiations with Iran not after President Hassan Rohani, of the pragmatic camp, was elected in 2013, but rather in 2011-2012, in the era of radical president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The disclosures also indicate that, already at that time, Iran received from the U.S. administration a letter recognizing its right to enrich uranium on its own soil. Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam, an advisor to the Majlis speaker, specified that the letter had come from John Kerry, then a senator and head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Iranian vice president and top negotiator Ali Akbar Salehi said that Kerry, while still a senator, had been appointed by President Obama to handle the nuclear contacts with Iran.”


http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=68099

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United Against Nuclear Iran is an American organization that is seeking “to educate and inform the American public regarding the serious shortcomings” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. To that end, it is planning to run advertisements against the accord.

It is good news that former Senator Joe Lieberman has just accepted the position of chairman of this organization.  Senator Lieberman has solid name recognition and a reputation for integrity. Coupled with this, as CEO Mark D. Wallace has pointed out, is “Senator Lieberman’s foreign policy and national security expertise.” In the Senate he was on the Committee on Armed services and chaired the Committee on Homeland Security. 

 
 

 
Credit: Getty

It should be noted that, while the Senator identified as an “independent” at one point in his career, he was in the main associated with the Democratic party – and ran as the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000, on a ticket with Al Gore.  Also a plus in this context.

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The following key Democratic Senators are still undeclared with regard to the Iran deal, at least according to information I have. Some might be pre-disposed to opposing the deal, even if they haven’t declared their opposition formally yet. 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.); Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.); Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.); Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.); Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.); Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.); Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.); Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
 
If you are a constituent of one of the Senators, please, write to express your strong opposition to the agreement. If you know others who are their constituents, even if you are not, please urge them to do the same.  The votes of these Senators may be critical.

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© 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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/8/12/august-12-2015-sinking-low.html

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 03:46PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 9, 2015: Steadfast

No other way for us to be:  Heads up, eyes on what matters, resolve undiminished.

 


But oh, is it tough these days. 
 
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I want to return to Obama’s talk of last week, to consider a couple of additional matters. He does not simply provide a position, he attacks. And his attacks are crude, devious and low:
 
He implied, first, that on the issue of Iran, it was the whole world against Israel. His goal - to make Israelis feel isolated, to delegitimize what he chooses to represent at “the Israeli position” rather than as the position opposing the deal.
 
Consider:  “...because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support.”
 
Please note the qualifier “every nation in the world that has commented publicly...”  That is hugely different from saying the whole world is with him, but undoubtedly he is betting most people won’t notice. 
 
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It is regrettable in the extreme that the Sunni Arab nations, which to a one detest this Iran deal, have not been more forthright in speaking out. 
 
This is what commentator Yoram Ettinger has just written on the subject (emphasis added):
 
“Irrespective of Western attempts to portray Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt as supporters of the Iran nuclear deal, leaders of these countries, especially the House of Saud, consider the accord a colossal, lethal threat. They see it as a reckless, short-sighted and self-destructive policy, which will initially plague the Arab world and subsequently the Western one, including the US...

“While Saudi leaders are restrained in their official reaction to the Iran nuclear agreement, they voice their authentic concerns and assessments via the House of Saud-owned media, which has traditionally served as a convenient venue, providing the element of deniability, sparing diplomatic inconvenience.

“During a recent visit to Capitol Hill, I was told by legislators in both chambers, on both sides of the aisle: ‘While Israel is concerned about Iran's nuclearization, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are panicky.’

“Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, the House of Saud-appointed general manager of Al Arabiya TV and former editor-in-chief of the leading Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, dismissed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's assertion that ‘once fully implemented, the Iran deal will contribute to the region's long-term security.’

“According to the daily voice of the Saudi king, the ayatollah regime ‘is like a monster that was tied to a tree and has been set loose. We are on a threshold of a bloody era ... expecting the worst-case scenario. ... Tehran does not intend to drop its aims of regional dominance and destabilizing neighboring Arab countries. The lifting of sanctions will facilitate the transfer of funds and the purchase and shipment of arms [to terror organizations]. ... Tehran will become more dangerous.’”

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=13423

Consider using this, when you write to your representatives in Congress and do your letters to the editor and Internet talk-backs.

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But it is not just Israel that Obama tries to isolate and delegitimize.  He goes after Republicans in the same manner. As Caroline Glick pointed out in her latest column, he also said:

“It's those [Iranian] hardliners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They're making common cause with the Republican Caucus.”  An incredibly vile accusation.

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Please do read Glick’s entire column, for she also discusses other ways in which the Iran deal will generate a danger to the US (emphasis added):

The terrorist threat to the US emanating from Iran’s terrorist infrastructure in Latin America will rise steeply as a consequence of the nuclear deal.

”As The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote last month, the sanctions relief the deal provides to Iran will enable it to massively expand its already formidable operations in the US’s backyard. Over the past two decades, Iran and Hezbollah have built up major presences in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Iran’s presence in Latin America also constitutes a strategic threat to US national security..

Through its naval aggression in the Strait of Hormuz Iran threatens the global economy. While the US was negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran, the Revolutionary Guards unlawfully interdicted – that is hijacked – the Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris and held its crew hostage for weeks.

”Iran’s assault on the Tigris came just days after the US-flagged Maersk Kensington was surrounded and followed by Revolutionary Guards ships until it fled the strait.

”A rational take-home message the Iranians can draw from the nuclear deal is that piracy pays.

Their naval aggression in the Strait of Hormuz was not met by American military force, but by American strategic collapse at Vienna...
 
Then there is Iran’s 20-year partnership with Al-Qaeda...”

http://www.jpost.com/landedpages/printarticle.aspx?id=411390

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We are seeing a growing number of Democrats in Congress who are declaring that they will vote against the Iran deal, and yet it is still not clear that numbers are sufficient to overturn Obama’s veto. 

Of particular note are the declarations to stand against the deal of Congressman Eliot Engel (D- NY 16th), ranking minority member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Brad Sherman (D-CA 30th), second ranking Democratic of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), currently the third most powerful Democrat in the Senate, and widely anticipated to become Senate Minority Leader in 2017. 

It is because of the position of influence that Schumer has that his declaration against the deal was widely sought – the assumption was that he would bring other Senate Democrats along with him.  And so, his announcement is being widely celebrated. 

Credit: WashingtonPost

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But I must express my unease.  

Senator Schumer laid out his reasons for deciding to vote against the Iran agreement:

“Using the proponents’ overall standard — which is not whether the agreement is ideal, but whether we are better with or without it — it seems to me, when it comes to the nuclear aspects of the agreement within ten years, we might be slightly better off with it. However, when it comes to the nuclear aspects after ten years and the non-nuclear aspects, we would be better off without it.”

https://medium.com/@SenSchumer/my-position-on-the-iran-deal-e976b2f13478

But then he qualified the role he would play in working for the deal’s defeat (emphasis added):

“While I will certainly share my view and try to persuade them that the vote to disapprove is the right one, in my experience with matters of conscience and great consequence like this, each member ultimately comes to their own conclusion.” 

http://www.timesofisrael.com/two-top-jewish-democrats-say-they-will-oppose-iran-deal/

As an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily declared (emphasis added):

“Sorry, senator, not good enough. And those who support you because of your past support for Israel will know it's not good enough.”

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/080715-765718-chuck-schumer-isnt-fooling-his-pro-israel-supporters.htm
 
If he truly believes this is a bad deal – bad for America, and Israel and the Western world, and he knows he has influence, why would he not use it?
 
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I note the difference between Schumer’s qualified statement and that of David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee.  After explaining why it was decided that the deal is a bad one, Harris wrote: “Therefore, AJC opposes the deal and calls on Members of Congress to do the same.” (Emphasis added)
 
But, of course, David Harris does not have to contend with a disgruntled Obama in the same way Schumer does. The senator is balancing the need to keep his constituency happy so that he can be re-elected, against the need to avoid so enraging his party’s leaders that he risks his political future as the most powerful Democrat in the Senate.  Schumer’s position seems a qualified one of political expediency, and not a courageous one of determined conscience.
 
Yes, courageous decisions of conscience are rare in politics, but these are extraordinary times calling for extraordinary courage.
 
Mike DeBonis, writing in the Washington Post, observed that (emphasis added):
 
“...his decision came not in an impassioned floor speech, not in a private entreaty to his Democratic colleagues, not even in a YouTube video, but in an written statement posted online after the Senate has gone home for its month-long summer break...
 
“...there is little sign thus far that Schumer himself intends to participate in a broader public relations campaign against the deal, whether by lobbying against it on Sunday talk shows or holding town hall meetings or participating in rallies during the recess. If Schumer were dead-set on killing the deal, he would have made his intentions known weeks, if not months, ago.”
 
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I have heard the rumors: That Obama – who is making much, publicly, of Schumer’s declaration – had agreed to give him the nod to vote against the deal so that he could protect his Senate seat, as long as there seemed indication that the deal would pass in Congress without Schumer’s support.  I have heard other rumors indicating that Schumer will vote against the deal when the primary resolution comes before the Senate, but will not vote to override the veto of that resolution when the second, critical vote comes up.

Explanation: Congress, after consultations and deliberations for a period of 60 days, will bring forth a resolution regarding the deal.  It is understood widely that this resolution will be for rejection of the agreement (with 60 votes required in the Senate to override an anticipated filibuster).  But the president will veto it, and a 2/3 super-majority of the Congress will be required to override that veto.  It is this second vote that matters.

(I’ve seen reports that Schumer will vote to override the veto, but these come from spokesman Matt House – the senator himself was not clear on this in his own public statement.)

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Do I know with certainty that these rumors are true?  I do not. And normally I am reticent about citing unsubstantiated rumors.  But the senator’s tepid position gives pause. And the issue at hand is one of overwhelming significance. I am aware that there are other reports – that Obama deliberately announced Schumer’s decision before the senator could do so himself, to undercut him, and that Obama is very angry, etc.  Could be.  But politicians are not adverse to play-acting. 

I want to advise Schumer supporters, who have so eagerly thanked him for his declaration, to let the senator know that they are disappointed that he is not working energetically to bring other Senate Democrats along, and to make it clear that his opposition to the deal absolutely must include voting to override the veto and that they would appreciate a public statement to that effect.

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It is good news that two major donors to the Democratic party have now announced against the Iran deal. Most significant is Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban.  Money of the sort provided by the likes of Saban speaks very loudly.  Saban said it was a “very bad deal” and said “we still need to fight it.” Right on!

Credit: Saban.com
 
Billionaire Jack Rosen has also come out against the deal.  He chairs the American Jewish Congress, which has now announced against the deal as well.
 
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I appreciate a report on the Iran situation by Major General (res.) Ya’akov Amidror, who has served in significant roles that include director of the Intelligence Analysis Division in Military Intelligence, and National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu.  He is clear-eyed and realistic without being apocalyptic.
 
Amidror wrote his detailed paper for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, where he serves as a senior research fellow.  The Jerusalem Post has summarized main points (emphasis added):
 
“[The Vienna agreement signed between world powers and Iran will] likely and necessarily lead to the use of force against Iran, at some stage or another, in order to halt its race toward a nuclear weapons program...
 
"It is clear that the agreement was signed in order to delay the Iranian nuclear bomb program, not to end it. And thus, when the program rears its head again it will be a problem several times more serious and far harder to deal with....
 
“[However] there is no cause for hysteria. The agreement will not bring about Israel’s downfall, and in the best case scenario may even buy Israel some time to better prepare for confronting the Iranian challenge. Nevertheless, the map of reality should be read correctly, and not through rose-tinted glasses... The reality facing Israel (and the world) following the signing of the agreement is significantly more threatening than before...

“The Vienna agreement has made the situation more complex and dangerous, not less so. Even if Iran completely abides by the terms of the agreement, when restrictions and sanctions come to an end fifteen years hence, it will emerge much stronger, militarily and economically. This situation will almost assuredly lead to the use of force against Iran, because Iran undoubtedly will try to produce nuclear weapons; be much better able to withstand foreign pressures; and hold significant sway across the Middle East. The conflict that will ensue will take place in conditions far worse from a Western perspective than before the agreement, pitting the West (and/or Israel) against a much-stronger Iran...
 
“As a basis for discussion it is important to emphasize that the Iranian nuclear program has no civilian element, and no justification other than as a military program. This is the consensus of all the international experts, some of whom will only say so privately, but most of whom are explicit in this. There is no serious expert who thinks that Iran is developing its capabilities for civilian purposes.
 
“On the basis of this understanding, which was accepted by the American experts as well, American policy was initially clear: the agreement should dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities. This was the term used by the Americans themselves. But at some stage the US decided to move from a policy aimed at dismantling Iran’s nuclear capability, to a policy aimed at delaying Iran’s ability to achieve nuclear weapons by ten to fifteen years...
 
As soon as the US decided to make do with delaying Iran’s getting the bomb, by a fixed time period, then Israel was left on the outside – not because of the strained relations between the president and the prime minister, but because of significant differences of opinion. Subsequently, although the American negotiators did make use of Israeli experts, Israel was not involved in the central deliberations...
 
"The fact that the powers signed an agreement must not be allowed to paralyze Israel. The country’s security is at stake, and on this issue we should take the advice of the current president of the US:  'Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself;  even if the agreement makes this a more complex proposal."
 
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran/Iran-nuclear-agreement-likely-will-lead-to-use-of-force-Israeli-defense-expert-says-411343
 
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Amidror predicts that for a year or two Iran, eager for sanctions relief, will abide by the agreement.
 
“The removal of sanctions will allow Iran to rebuild and significantly strengthen its economy as billions will flow into Iran, even though a proportion will be lost to the dark abyss of entrenched Iranian corruption.
 
"The lifting of sanctions will also serve to release a great amount of Iran’s energy and money which can be redirected toward furthering its interests in the Middle East and beyond. Here, the beneficiaries will be Iran’s allies - Hezbollah, Hamas, the Alawites in Syria, and the Houthis in Yemen.”
 
Following this, the Iranians may decide to wait until the sunset clause kicks in after 10 – 15 years, in the meantime strengthening their knowledge or capabilities. 
 
Or, they may begin to cheat, "initially on peripheral issues, and then as they gain confidence, on more substantial issues."
 
At the same time, "the quality of intelligence about Iran will deteriorate. After a while, once it is seen that Iran is indeed keeping to the agreement, there will naturally be a slow but steady transferal of intelligence resources to other burning problems... 
 
"The result will be potentially disastrous for the agreement.
 
"It is clear that Iranian cheating will not take place at the declared facilities which are under IAEA inspection, but at sites unfamiliar to the international community, whose location can only be discovered through gathering high-quality intelligence. The combination of the American concession on surprise inspections of such sites, and the inevitable decline in intelligence quality, offers an excellent foundation for successful Iranian cheating.
 
"The IAEA, for its part, will be as unwilling as in the past to make use of external intelligence (even when presented with it) in order to conduct non-agreed inspections of sensitive facilities, out of fear of being accused of acting as an agent of Israel or the US. Hence it will need to invest a great deal of time and effort in order to build an independent dossier that will stand up to scrutiny, which will be sufficient for it to conduct more confrontational inspections at undeclared facilities. It is difficult to see how the IAEA might develop such capabilities."
 
For all of these reasons, Amidror is seriously dubious of the American claim that “a year will be sufficient in order to respond appropriately” to Iranian cheating.
 
"It is not difficult to imagine US intelligence staff presenting information about Iranian violations and being rebuffed by decision-makers, using learned explanations. This would continue until they provide the impossible 'smoking gun,' or until it is simply too late. In most similar cases intelligence services have needed more than a year from the moment at which a violation begins in order to identify it, understand it, and persuade the decision makers about it, and for these to then decide and act."
 
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The General talks straight and provides information and insights you likely have not seen before.  His words should be considered carefully and shared broadly. 

Credit: Jwire
 
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The good news for today has to do with medical developments.
 
A team of researchers from Tel Aviv University, Israel’s Technion, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Sheba Medical Center have discovered what causes melanoma cells to turn into aggressive tumors.  The scientists are convinced that it will soon lead to a breakthrough treatment.
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/melanoma-cure-may-be-within-reach-tel-aviv-u-study-shows/
__________
 
Dancing can treat Parkinson’s.  When Professor Rafi Eldor was told that he had Parkinson’s disease, seven years ago, he felt that the sky had fallen on him.  Two years later he took up dancing and now watch him dance to the theme tune of the movie “Skyfall”.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cBYGh2E6t4
 
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© 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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/8/9/august-9-2015-steadfast.html

 

Posted on Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 04:58PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 6, 2015: Running Scared

Perhaps to the casual observer President Obama appears cool and in control – confident of his positions and the success of his “diplomacy.”  But it doesn’t take an advanced degree in psychology to figure out that he’s worried – really, really worried – about what’s going to happen at the end of the day, when Congress votes on the Iran deal, and votes again after he vetoes the Congressional rejection of the accord.

He has never been one who was, shall we say, scrupulous in presenting matters with factual accuracy.  But now he has moved so far from the truth that I hope even his supporters are saying, “Wait a minute, that’s not how it is.”  Just possibly, in his attempt to paint a rosy picture he is overplaying his hand – distorting reality in a way that works against him.

Credit: Theblaze

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On Tuesday evening, he met with some 22 leaders of American Jewish organizations, in order to make his case.  In the course of his presentation, he said that if Congress rejected the Iran deal, the US might be forced to attack Iran militarily. But Iran would not respond military against the US, which has superior power. Instead: “That means more support for terrorism, more Hezbollah rockets falling on Tel Aviv.”

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/08/05/obama-rejecting-iran-deal-will-ensure-rockets-falling-on-tel-aviv/

There are a good number of things wrong with this scenario – in addition to the implied threat to Israel. The first is that it is an attempt to advance Obama’s position that it’s either acceptance of this deal with Iran or war, there are no other alternatives.  But this is absolutely not the case – which fact Prime Minister Netanyahu continually points out:

The alternative is not between this deal and war – it’s between this deal and another deal or another way of handling Iran.  What should be done if the deal is rejected, is that the US should not only keep current sanctions in place, it should increase them – tightening the economic screws.  It is hoped that this would bring Iran back to the table in time, as the Iranians are desperate for sanctions relief. (Remember, sanctions brought Iran to the table in the first place.) But if they do not return, they will have been rendered less able to advance their aggressive intentions – actually less able to advance their aggression than they would be with the deal.

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For him to talk about the US attacking Iran is a joke. For Obama has made it absolutely clear that he has no intention of attacking Iran.  How cheap scaremongering talk is.

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As to “more terrorism” and “more rockets from Hezbollah falling on Tel Aviv” as Iran’s way of responding indirectly to an attack by the US, this is also ludicrous.  I’d be laughing hard if this situation were not so serious.  Consider:

The accord was supposed to be about controlling Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons.  Obama rejected any suggestion that sanctions relief be tied to Iran reigning in its support for terrorist groups and its aggressive hegemony in the region.  That’s not what this deal is about, he responded.  Thus, Iran was essentially told, don’t worry about the terrorism – we don’t care. 

This, you will note, is how Obama has Israel’s back.

And then, it was agreed that there would be tremendous sanctions relief up front once the deal was in place, so that some millions if not billions - of the roughly $150 billion it is estimated Iran is likely to see – might be directed to groups such as Hezbollah.  This is not going to result in “more terrorism”?? 

Add to this the inclusion in the deal of a lifting, over time, of sanctions on conventional weapons for Iran.  It would enable Iran to acquire such goodies as ballistic missiles.  (THIS element, which is not about nuclear issues, Obama felt it was OK to put in the agreement.)

It is Obama’s deal that would render the Middle East a more dangerous region than it already is.

It is the opinion of Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, that the deal would have the effect of emboldening Iran with regard to striking Israel. 

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran/Iran-nuclear-deal-gives-it-confidence-to-strike-at-Israel-McCain-warns-411177


Credit: Businessinsider

~~~~~~~~~~

Two nights ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a webcast message that was designed to summarize his opposition to the deal for Americans.

Last night, in a direct counter, Obama gave a talk at American University.  Let’s try for key points:

He said: “In July, we reached a comprehensive of plan of action that meets our objectives. Under its terms, Iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon.” (emphasis added)
 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/05/text-obama-gives-a-speech-about-the-iran-nuclear-deal/

~~~~~~~~~~

But here is what the NYTimes (normally an Obama supporter) had to say on this issue recently:
“American officials said the core of the agreement... lies in the restrictions on the amount of nuclear fuel that Iran can keep for the next 15 years. The current stockpile of low enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent, most likely by shipping much of it to Russia.

“That limit, combined with a two-thirds reduction in the number of its centrifuges, would extend to a year the amount of time it would take Iran to make enough material for a single bomb should it abandon the accord and race for a weapon — what officials call ‘breakout time’...

“But American officials also acknowledged that after the first decade, the breakout time would begin to shrink. It was unclear how rapidly, because Iran’s longer-term plans to expand its enrichment capability will be kept confidential.

The concern that Iran’s breakout time could shrink sharply in the waning years of the restrictions has already been a contentious issue in Congress. Mr. Obama contributed to that in an interview with National Public Radio in April, when he said that in ‘year 13, 14, 15’ of the agreement, the breakout time might shrink ‘almost down to zero, as Iran is expected to develop and use advanced centrifuges then.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-deal-is-reached-after-long-negotiations.html?_r=0

~~~~~~~~~~

Obama also said:

“First, there're those who say the inspections are not strong enough, because inspectors can't go anywhere in Iran at any time with no notice.

“Well, here's the truth. Inspectors will be allowed daily access to Iran's key nuclear sites.

“If there is a reason for inspecting a suspicious undeclared site anywhere in Iran, inspectors will get that access even if Iran objects. This access can be with as little as 24 hours notice.

“And while the process for resolving a dispute about access can take up to 24 days, once we've identified a site that raises suspicion, we will be watching it continuously until inspectors get in.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/05/text-obama-gives-a-speech-about-the-iran-nuclear-deal/

~~~~~~~~~~

How simple and fool-proof he makes it sound.  While in point of fact that business about 24 days is huge.  Actually, on top of everything else, Iran will sit on the committee that makes a final decision about whether inspectors will be provided access to a disputed site.  

Please consider the following (emphasis added):

The U.S. intelligence community has informed Congress of evidence that Iran was sanitizing its suspected nuclear military site at Parchin, in broad daylight, days after agreeing to a nuclear deal with world powers.

“For senior lawmakers in both parties, the evidence calls into question Iran’s intention to fully account for the possible military dimensions of its current and past nuclear development. The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have a side agreement meant to resolve past suspicions about the Parchin site, and lawmakers' concerns about it has already become a flashpoint because they do not have access to its text.”

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-08-05/iran-already-sanitizing-parchin-nuclear-site-intel-warns

 

Credit: JPost

~~~~~~~~~~

And this (emphasis added):

“President Obama says his nuclear deal with Iran depends on verification, not trust. But what if Iran has a very different interpretation of what verification entails than does Mr. Obama?

“Take Ali Akar Velayati, a top adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who appeared on Al-Jazeera on July 31 and was asked about U.N. inspections of Iran’s military sites. Here’s how he replied, according to the Memri translation service:

’Regardless of how the P5+1 countries interpret the nuclear agreement, their entry into our military sites is absolutely forbidden. The entry of any foreigner, including IAEA inspectors or any other inspector, to the sensitive military sites of the Islamic Republic is forbidden, no matter what.’

“Interviewer: ‘That’s final?’

“Mr. Velayati: ‘Yes, final.’”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/no-military-site-inspections-1438642038

~~~~~~~~~~

And finally, the latest from Omri Ceren of The Israel Project (emphasis in the original):

“Administration spokespeople spent the last several years assuring lawmakers and the public that uncertainties related to Iran's past military-related nuclear work - the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran's nuclear program - would have to be resolved in any deal.

"’Access’ in the context of Iran PMDs is divided into access to information/documents, sites, and people. The WSJ revealed on July 26 that the administration had given up on forcing to provide the necessary information/documents detailing their past weaponization work. The AP revealed two days later that instead of the IAEA getting access to sites like Parchin, where they conducted experiments relevant to warhead detonations, the Iranians would be allowed to take their own samples and hand them over, which Congressional lawmakers believe will now be established as a precedent.

“And last night the WSJ confirmed that inspectors aren't getting access to the people they want either. IAEA director-general Amano is now hoping that maybe the Iranians will give the agency access to other people who might be able to clarify their concerns some other way...

That completes the trifecta: no access to information/documents, no access to sites, and no access to people.”

~~~~~~~~~~

So, the president lies and he misrepresents and he twists facts.  What else is new?

The final issue I will address here is the matter of Iran cheating – something that is a given in light of Iran’s history.

Michael Makovsky, writing recently in The Weekly Standard, said (emphasis added):

“...integral to Obama’s argument is his claim that this deal ‘provides the best possible defense against Iran’s ability to pursue a nuclear weapon in secret. .  .  . If Iran cheats, the world will know,’ and ‘If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it.’ But the promised inspections regime will not be intrusive enough to detect Iranian cheating or to thwart any breakout attempts in time...

Iran has a long and proud history of cheating on its international nuclear agreements. Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who once monitored Iran’s nuclear program, observed in 2013: ‘If there is no undeclared installation today .  .  . it will be the first time in 20 years that Iran doesn’t have one.’ Indeed, Iran’s main enrichment facility at Natanz was a covert facility that was only discovered in 2002, by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, an Iranian opposition group...

“’While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran,’ wrote Iran’s nuclear negotiator and now president Hassan Rouhani, ‘we were installing equipment in parts of the [uranium conversion] facility at Isfahan. .  .  . In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.’  In 2009, the world learned of yet another clandestine enrichment plant, under a mountain at Fordow, that Iran was trying to construct.”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/iran-s-cheating_914654.html#

~~~~~~~~~~

I reported recently that polls indicate that the more information members of the electorate have about the deal, the higher the percentage against it. And this, of course, is true as well inside Congress.  The fact that questions are being asked in Congress is an excellent sign, for those asking the questions are not likely to be pleased with the answers.

~~~~~~~~~~

We are receiving news of additional Democratic members of Congress who have come out against the deal, and of increasing pressure on Senator Schumer to announce his opposition. 

It is extremely good news that the influential American Jewish Committee has come out against the agreement and urges Members of Congress to do the same.  This is especially the case as AJC was at the Obama briefing I referred to above, and obviously not convinced by it.  Apparently, this information was released as Obama was speaking at American University.

Please see the statement by Executive Director David Harris (emphasis added):

“...until recently, we were told by P5+1 negotiators: ‘The alternative to a bad deal is no deal.’ What happened to that formulation, and why did it suddenly change?
 
“We understand that opposing this deal raises important questions about the future that no one can answer today with certainty...But we know with greater certainty that this deal raises still more ominous questions about the future.
 
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/08/05/iran-deal-american-jewish-committee-opposes/

~~~~~~~~~~

But it is not enough yet, my friends. What happens still depends on each of you.

Obama is making phone calls to supporters and asking them to got the word out to Congress. He has hardly given up and Pelosi is putting out statements indicating that they believe they will achieve the numbers they need.

There is a reasonable chance of defeating this horror.  Let this inspire you to step up the pressure.
 
Each of you needs to continue to contact your members of Congress and voice your strong opposition to the deal, while letting your elected representatives on the Hill know that the way they vote on this will affect how you vote the next time around

And please, call on others to do the same.

Continue your letters to the editor, your talk-backs on the Internet, your statements on FB and websites, your sharing on lists. Stay cool and reasoned, rely on facts. 

~~~~~~~~~~

© 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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/8/6/august-6-2015-running-scared.html

 

Posted on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 06:16PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 4, 2015: Rush to Judgment

In the early hours of last Friday morning, in the Arab village of Duma, in Samaria, a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a home, causing a fire that killed a  toddler, Ali Saad Dawabsha, and severely injured three members of his family.
 

In the early hours of last Friday morning, in the Arab village of Duma, in Samaria, a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a home, causing a fire that killed a  toddler, Ali Saad Dawabsha, and severely injured three members of his family. 

A man shows a picture of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha who died when his family house was set on fire by alleged Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Duma on July 31, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Credit: AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-Palestinian-baby-killed-in-suspected-W-Bank-Price-Tag-attack-410734
 
Graffiti spray-painted on the wall led to the wide-spread assumption – in some cases tentative and in others not so tentative - that it was an attack by Jews: the graffiti consisted of a Jewish star and the Hebrew word nekama, which means “revenge.” 

A Star of David and the Hebrew word 'Revenge' are spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Credit: Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights
 
Elsewhere on the wall was written, “Long live King Messiach” (HaMelech HaMoshiach):   

The Hebrew phrase 'Long live the king messiah' is spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Credit: Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights
 
Author and academic Daniel Gordis, whom I quote here only by way of demonstrating a particular perspective, wrote, “it is almost universally assumed that the attack was the work of right-wing Jewish nationalist extremists.”  Certainly Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon reflected this assumption when he declared, “We intend to fight Jewish terror with determination and without compromises.” But I would not call this assumption “almost universal” (more below on this). 
 
What has been widely suggested is that the perpetrators were “radical settlers” from a nearby Jewish community – with “settler,” in this context, a pejorative. The fact is, however, that there are as yet no suspects who have been identified.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The shock and horror that ran through Jews in Israel on receiving the news of this attack was multilayered.  The situation is complex and should not be viewed simplistically.
 
There was, first, a stunned sorrow, on learning that a baby had been destroyed, that a family had been attacked in their home.  This simply should not happen.  No matter the circumstances.  No matter the perpetrator.
 
But then there was the difficulty of taking in the fact that it may have been Jews who did this.  Jews are not supposed to behave thus.  It felt – a gut reaction - as if such an act demeaned us as a people, shamed us.  The question that haunts: Is this what we have been reduced to?  
 
The answer, of course, is no, for “we” collectively, “we” who mourn and condemn such acts, know that this is not the way we are as a people.  This is not what we condone. 
 
I think Prime Minister Netanyahu set a proper tone after the news broke.  Without pointing a finger, he spoke of the “horrific, heinous” crime that is “a terror attack in every respect,” and declared that “the State of Israel deals forcefully with terror, regardless of who the perpetrators are.”  The meaning here was clear.  The Israeli government, he said, was “unified in its fierce opposition to these awful, base acts.” 
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-condemns-terrible-heinous-terror-attack-on-palestinians/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Subsequently, the prime minister went to visit members of the Dawabsha family in Tel HaShomer Hospital.  There were demonstrations to register opposition to terrorism; rabbis who spoke out forcefully against use of violence for resolving societal problems; editorials that decried what our society was in danger of becoming and demanded communal soul-searching.
 
And so, there was a way in which it was possible to say, you see!  We have demonstrated that this is not what what we are!  We have demonstrated among ourselves and before the world that we are different.  We stand against violence.
 
And yet there was a point at which all of this ceased to resonate positively with me. There was too much breast-beating, a tone that echoed a sort of communal guilt that was not appropriate.  Because, damn it, we ARE different, and should be secure in that knowledge.  Condemning the terrorism implicit in burning a baby, whether done by Jews or not, is one thing. Assuming that our whole society is on the verge of condoning terrorism – or is generating a terrorist mentality - is something else.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
For me, the heart of the difference between our Jewish Israeli society and that of the Palestinian Arab society lies in the different responses to suffering in the face of violence.  The Arabs call for vengeance – more violence (and I will come back to that), while we come together to pray and speak about building in the name of the murdered victim.  (And for this we are roundly criticized, are we not?).  This difference is evident on the face of things, for all those with eyes to see.
 
~~~~~~~~~~

In another context, columnist and author Ruthie Blum commented today, with considerable clarity, that when Palestinian Arabs commit terrorist attacks, they are being called “lone wolves,” but when a Jew is a terrorist – or commits acts of great violence – it is somehow said to be the fault of the whole society.     
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
There are Jewish victims of Arab terrorism who were also deeply unsettled by what was they saw happening.  Why the official rush to attend to the Arab victims of a terror attack? they ask. Was our suffering any less important?  Any less worthy of attention?  
 
“Adva Biton, whose daughter Adelle was murdered in a terror attack, told Arutz Sheva Sunday that the government’s concern for the murder of a one-and-a half-year old baby in the Arab village of Duma last week was touching, but perhaps a bit hypocritical.
 
“’I don’t recall President Rivlin, whom I have great respect for, visiting my daughter in the hospital after she was struck  by a rock.  I don’t recall him calling for a public protest when Adelle was attacked.  Something is wrong here.’  Neither, she said, did Prime Minister Netanyahu visit her in the hospital...
 
“’Daily we see incidents, many of them serious, in which Jews are attacked in Judea and Samaria,’ said Adva Biton. ‘We never hear about these things in the media.  I truly regret the attack last week, obviously it was a terrible thing. But what about us?  Here they are blaming all the religious Zionists for this murder, but I am the victim of a murder too.’” 
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198927#.VcDE7psVjIU
 

 
Adele Biton

Courtesy Biton Family
 
Adva is precisely correct.  We have gone through a horrendous year, with a large number of attacks by Arabs, little noted by the world. While I, living in western Jerusalem, bought a pepper spray, in case. This is the classic man-bites-dog vs. dog-bites-man scenario.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Add to this the way in which our political adversaries and enemies chose to use the terror act in Duma to attack Israel.  And in which leftist Israelis sought to use this as a weapon against “religious Zionists,” “nationalists” – representing them as violent crazies who must be restrained.
 
The so-called “Rabbis for Human Rights” (which is shorthand for Rabbis for Arab Human Rights only) irked me greatly.  You may have noted that the pictures of the graffiti were put out by this group.  A field worker for them, the very same one who took the photos, said that this ‘terrorist action” was “one of the more heinous ones that has occurred in the West Bank.” 
 
Really? I thought. What about what was done four years ago to five members of the Fogel family, murdered by Arabs while they slept in their home.  The perpetrators – monsters! - declared themselves proud of what they had done, which included mutilating the body of the Fogel’s two-month old baby.  (Which fact gave me nightmares.) Don’t remember Rabbis for Human Rights speaking out on this most horrendous attack – but then, the Fogels were “settlers” of a religious orientation.
 
And the murder of the three boys - Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel - by Arabs last year was not heinous?  They were shot in cold blood.  Just because.  But they too were religious, and studying in Judea.
 
What about Shalhevet Pass, ten months old, who took a fatal bullet to her head some years ago, when an Arab sniper deliberately aimed at her.  Her religious family was in Hevron.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
As for the EU, I know full well that we can expect no fairness from them. And still, their response to this incident was vile:
 
“The Israeli authorities should … take resolute measures to protect the local population. We call for full accountability, effective law enforcement and zero tolerance for settler violence,” declared a spokesperson for Federica Mogherini, head of foreign policy for the EU, in a prepared statement.  
 
When, ever, did you hear an EU spokesperson say to Abbas or other PA leaders that it was time for them to take full accountability for the violence visited upon Jews by Arabs living in PA areas?  When did they demand zero tolerance for violence?  Rhetorical questions, truly.  The EU continues to defend the PA and its right to a state, even as the PA pays “salaries” to terrorists in Israeli prisons, and names streets after terrorists.  The EU does not see fit to predicate support for the PA on its accountability with regard to terrorism, never mind demanding “zero tolerance” for Arab violence.  And yet Mogherini’s spokesperson had the gall to speak about protecting the local Arab population.
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/eu-urges-israel-to-show-zero-tolerance-for-settler-violence/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Abbas, meanwhile, imagined he could utilize this situation to make political points and weaken Israel: He called for an ICC investigation into what happened.
 
And then there was Hamas: I alluded above to the fact that the Arab response to violence is revenge, with more violence. And this is precisely what we saw from Hamas, which declared that “Every Israeli is now a legitimate target.”
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hamas-Every-Israeli-is-now-a-legitimate-target-following-Duma-terror-attack-410746
 
If there was any protest against this attitude, either by the EU or Rabbis for Human Rights, I seem to have missed it.
 
And sure enough: There were Molotov cocktails thrown at a moving car near the Beit Hanina intersection in Jerusalem yesterday. The car was completely destroyed and a woman within the car was taken to the hospital with burns; two others that the car struck were also injured.
 
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=27335

 

Credit: AFP
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
And I come to the final issue: certain facts that I have encountered seem to cast doubt on the likelihood that it was Jews who killed Ali Saad Dawabsha. 
 
I take care to qualify my remarks: in the end it is still possible that it was Jews who committed this terrorism.  But what must be understood is that there is absolutely no reason to believe with any degree of certainty right now that this is the case.  A healthy dose of skepticism and an open mind are required here, if justice is to be done.
 
Consider this along with me:
 
Hillel Fendel wrote an article in Arutz7 yesterday, in which he describes a visit to pay a condolence call to the family in Duma.  With one exception, those who went to offer condolences are on the far left. The exception was Yonadav Tapuchim who wrote about it on Facebook:
 
“When we arrived at the village, we were surrounded by Arab photographers. We were informed that the original plan had been changed, and that before visiting the actual mourning family, we would first see the burnt houses.  Thus, a bunch of Jews with the heads held low were photographed near and in the burnt houses and the Hebrew graffiti there.  A representative of the family and the village then gave a short speech (‘the settlers should expect the worst!’ he warned).  We were then told that actually the village is quite up in arms and that it would not be convenient for us to actually comfort the mourning family, and that we had better leave fast.
 
“I and others felt that this whole thing was a media trick to get the ‘Yahud’  [Arabic for ‘the Jews’] to take part in a humiliating set of photos near the buildings, and that they had never planned to allow us to come in contact with the actual family.”
 
Fendel mentions (emphasis added) that “there have been reports of an ongoing, 18-year feud between two clans in Duma that might be related to the murderous arson.”  “Revenge” might well apply to a feud, might it not? With the Jewish star thrown in to redirect attention.
 
What Tapuchi did feel was that there was something suspicious about the nature of the alleged arson, with “curious aspects” in the story.
 
“I would start with the fact that the two houses [an empty one was also firebombed] are located in the center of the village, and that in order to get there we had to travel a number of minutes from the entrance. Duma is spread out over a gigantic area, and the houses are situated at the end of a winding road, among fences and yards.
 
“I would start with the fact that the two houses...[an empty one was also fire bombed] are located in the center of the village, and that in order to get there we had to travel a number of minutes from the entrance. Duma is spread out over a gigantic area, and the houses are situated at the end of a winding road, among fences and yards.
 
“According to the Duma version, the attackers burnt one house, then saw that it was empty, and so they went to set fire to the next house. The second house is enclosed by a fence, and the windows are covered by a dense lattice; a firebomb cannot be hurled through the windows, and in any event it is very hard to reach the windows behind the fence....”
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198961#.VcEQl5sVjIV
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Most of the time, when terrorists enter a village, they aim for attack on the houses close to its periphery.  Such attacks are random in nature – the Fogel family, for example, was, to the best of my understanding, just in the wrong place, not singled out specifically for attack.
 
The logical question here is why Jewish terrorists would have taken themselves way into the center of the Arab village, where the chances for being seen or apprehended were much greater, rather than staying on the periphery.  After all, presumably, the intent was to hit “a” family, not to target any particular family.
 
But if the terrorist belonged to a clan that is feuding with the Dawabsha clan, then there would indeed be a specific family that had been targeted.  And a specific reason for going so far inside the village.  What is more, if the terrorist belonged to a feuding Arab clan, then he was, according to the report shared by Fendel, already a resident of the village and not someone who had to make his way from the outside.
 
Food for thought.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Keeping this report in mind, let us then carry this one step further:
 
On the front page of today’s hard copy Jerusalem Post, there was a feature story about the family that owned the empty house that had been firebombed. They were supposed to be in the house that night, but were delayed in Nablus. And guess what? Their name is also Dawabsha – they are cousins to the family that was attacked.  How about that?
 
Was this truly random then?  An attack by Jews from the outside? Or an attack by people who knew and were after members of the Dawabsha clan specifically?  Reasonable questions. 
 
What was explained by Emam Dawabsha is that the arsonists “torched the backroom of their home where they typically slept on hot summer nights.” 
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/A-miracle-saved-my-five-boys-411062
 
So then, one last question: Was it simply a random act by Jewish terrorists, who happened to torch the room where this family would have been sleeping even though it was at the back of the  house?  Or was the attack by people who knew full well where the family was expected to be?
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
One final observation here, for now (although more may follow – there is so much to say!):  Some commentators have taken a close look a that “HaMelech HaMoshiach” graffiti.  Clearly, it suggests, or is deliberately designed to suggest, a “radical religious settler.”  However, this specific term is directly associated with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement today. (If you doubt it, Google it and you will see.)  But Chabad – probably the most open and moderate of hassidic groups – is really not likely to be associated with terrorism. Was this term written by a radical religious settler?  Or by an Arab who wrote Hebrew and got his religious groups just a tad mixed up?
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
With all this said, in the near future, there may be arrests of Jewish men, said to be suspected of being involved.  Of this I would not be surprised at all.  For there is pressure for this – a charge on the left that the government is “too lenient” with right wing religious nationalists.  In this way does the government seek “credibility.”  Perhaps I am wrong and the Jews will be charged and indicted.  Or, just perhaps there will be no definitive proof and they will be released.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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.

 

Credit: AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-Palestinian-baby-killed-in-suspected-W-Bank-Price-Tag-attack-410734
 
Graffiti spray-painted on the wall led to the wide-spread assumption – in some cases tentative and in others not so tentative - that it was an attack by Jews: the graffiti consisted of a Jewish star and the Hebrew word nekama, which means “revenge.”
 
A Star of David and the Hebrew word 'Revenge' are spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)
Credit: Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights
 
Elsewhere on the wall was written, “Long live King Messiach” (HaMelech HaMoshiach): 
 
The Hebrew phrase 'Long live the king messiah' is spray-painted on the walls of a Palestinian home which was burned down by arsonists on July 31, 2015 in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus (Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)
Credit: Zacharia Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights
 
Author and academic Daniel Gordis, whom I quote here only by way of demonstrating a particular perspective, wrote, “it is almost universally assumed that the attack was the work of right-wing Jewish nationalist extremists.”  Certainly Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon reflected this assumption when he declared, “We intend to fight Jewish terror with determination and without compromises.” But I would not call this assumption “almost universal” (more below on this). 
 
What has been widely suggested is that the perpetrators were “radical settlers” from a nearby Jewish community – with “settler,” in this context, a pejorative. The fact is, however, that there are as yet no suspects who have been identified.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The shock and horror that ran through Jews in Israel on receiving the news of this attack was multilayered.  The situation is complex and should not be viewed simplistically.
 
There was, first, a stunned sorrow, on learning that a baby had been destroyed, that a family had been attacked in their home.  This simply should not happen.  No matter the circumstances.  No matter the perpetrator.
 
But then there was the difficulty of taking in the fact that it may have been Jews who did this.  Jews are not supposed to behave thus.  It felt – a gut reaction - as if such an act demeaned us as a people, shamed us.  The question that haunts: Is this what we have been reduced to?  
 
The answer, of course, is no, for “we” collectively, “we” who mourn and condemn such acts, know that this is not the way we are as a people.  This is not what we condone. 
 
I think Prime Minister Netanyahu set a proper tone after the news broke.  Without pointing a finger, he spoke of the “horrific, heinous” crime that is “a terror attack in every respect,” and declared that “the State of Israel deals forcefully with terror, regardless of who the perpetrators are.”  The meaning here was clear.  The Israeli government, he said, was “unified in its fierce opposition to these awful, base acts.” 
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-condemns-terrible-heinous-terror-attack-on-palestinians/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Subsequently, the prime minister went to visit members of the Dawabsha family in Tel HaShomer Hospital.  There were demonstrations to register opposition to terrorism; rabbis who spoke out forcefully against use of violence for resolving societal problems; editorials that decried what our society was in danger of becoming and demanded communal soul-searching.
 
And so, there was a way in which it was possible to say, you see!  We have demonstrated that this is not what what we are!  We have demonstrated among ourselves and before the world that we are different.  We stand against violence.
 
And yet there was a point at which all of this ceased to resonate positively with me. There was too much breast-beating, a tone that echoed a sort of communal guilt that was not appropriate.  Because, damn it, we ARE different, and should be secure in that knowledge.  Condemning the terrorism implicit in burning a baby, whether done by Jews or not, is one thing. Assuming that our whole society is on the verge of condoning terrorism – or is generating a terrorist mentality - is something else.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
For me, the heart of the difference between our Jewish Israeli society and that of the Palestinian Arab society lies in the different responses to suffering in the face of violence.  The Arabs call for vengeance – more violence (and I will come back to that), while we come together to pray and speak about building in the name of the murdered victim.  (And for this we are roundly criticized, are we not?).  This difference is evident on the face of things, for all those with eyes to see.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
In another context, columnist and author Ruthie Blum commented today, with considerable clarity, that when Palestinian Arabs commit terrorist attacks, they are being called “lone wolves,” but when a Jew is a terrorist – or commits acts of great violence – it is somehow said to be the fault of the whole society.     
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
There are Jewish victims of Arab terrorism who were also deeply unsettled by what was they saw happening.  Why the official rush to attend to the Arab victims of a terror attack? they ask. Was our suffering any less important?  Any less worthy of attention?  
 
“Adva Biton, whose daughter Adelle was murdered in a terror attack, told Arutz Sheva Sunday that the government’s concern for the murder of a one-and-a half-year old baby in the Arab village of Duma last week was touching, but perhaps a bit hypocritical.
 
“’I don’t recall President Rivlin, whom I have great respect for, visiting my daughter in the hospital after she was struck  by a rock.  I don’t recall him calling for a public protest when Adelle was attacked.  Something is wrong here.’  Neither, she said, did Prime Minister Netanyahu visit her in the hospital...
 
“’Daily we see incidents, many of them serious, in which Jews are attacked in Judea and Samaria,’ said Adva Biton. ‘We never hear about these things in the media.  I truly regret the attack last week, obviously it was a terrible thing. But what about us?  Here they are blaming all the religious Zionists for this murder, but I am the victim of a murder too.’” 
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198927#.VcDE7psVjIU
 
Adele Biton
Courtesy Biton Family
 
Adva is precisely correct.  We have gone through a horrendous year, with a large number of attacks by Arabs, little noted by the world. While I, living in western Jerusalem, bought a pepper spray, in case. This is the classic man-bites-dog vs. dog-bites-man scenario.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Add to this the way in which our political adversaries and enemies chose to use the terror act in Duma to attack Israel.  And in which leftist Israelis sought to use this as a weapon against “religious Zionists,” “nationalists” – representing them as violent crazies who must be restrained.
 
The so-called “Rabbis for Human Rights” (which is shorthand for Rabbis for Arab Human Rights only) irked me greatly.  You may have noted that the pictures of the graffiti were put out by this group.  A field worker for them, the very same one who took the photos, said that this ‘terrorist action” was “one of the more heinous ones that has occurred in the West Bank.” 
 
Really? I thought. What about what was done four years ago to five members of the Fogel family, murdered by Arabs while they slept in their home.  The perpetrators – monsters! - declared themselves proud of what they had done, which included mutilating the body of the Fogel’s two-month old baby.  (Which fact gave me nightmares.) Don’t remember Rabbis for Human Rights speaking out on this most horrendous attack – but then, the Fogels were “settlers” of a religious orientation.
 
And the murder of the three boys - Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel - by Arabs last year was not heinous?  They were shot in cold blood.  Just because.  But they too were religious, and studying in Judea.
 
What about Shalhevet Pass, ten months old, who took a fatal bullet to her head some years ago, when an Arab sniper deliberately aimed at her.  Her religious family was in Hevron.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
As for the EU, I know full well that we can expect no fairness from them. And still, their response to this incident was vile:
 
“The Israeli authorities should … take resolute measures to protect the local population. We call for full accountability, effective law enforcement and zero tolerance for settler violence,” declared a spokesperson for Federica Mogherini, head of foreign policy for the EU, in a prepared statement.  
 
When, ever, did you hear an EU spokesperson say to Abbas or other PA leaders that it was time for them to take full accountability for the violence visited upon Jews by Arabs living in PA areas?  When did they demand zero tolerance for violence?  Rhetorical questions, truly.  The EU continues to defend the PA and its right to a state, even as the PA pays “salaries” to terrorists in Israeli prisons, and names streets after terrorists.  The EU does not see fit to predicate support for the PA on its accountability with regard to terrorism, never mind demanding “zero tolerance” for Arab violence.  And yet Mogherini’s spokesperson had the gall to speak about protecting the local Arab population.
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/eu-urges-israel-to-show-zero-tolerance-for-settler-violence/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Abbas, meanwhile, imagined he could utilize this situation to make political points and weaken Israel: He called for an ICC investigation into what happened.
 
And then there was Hamas: I alluded above to the fact that the Arab response to violence is revenge, with more violence. And this is precisely what we saw from Hamas, which declared that “Every Israeli is now a legitimate target.”
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hamas-Every-Israeli-is-now-a-legitimate-target-following-Duma-terror-attack-410746
 
If there was any protest against this attitude, either by the EU or Rabbis for Human Rights, I seem to have missed it.
 
And sure enough: There were Molotov cocktails thrown at a moving car near the Beit Hanina intersection in Jerusalem yesterday. The car was completely destroyed and a woman within the car was taken to the hospital with burns; two others that the car struck were also injured.
 
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=27335
 

Credit: AFP
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
And I come to the final issue: certain facts that I have encountered seem to cast doubt on the likelihood that it was Jews who killed Ali Saad Dawabsha. 
 
I take care to qualify my remarks: in the end it is still possible that it was Jews who committed this terrorism.  But what must be understood is that there is absolutely no reason to believe with any degree of certainty right now that this is the case.  A healthy dose of skepticism and an open mind are required here, if justice is to be done.
 
Consider this along with me:
 
Hillel Fendel wrote an article in Arutz7 yesterday, in which he describes a visit to pay a condolence call to the family in Duma.  With one exception, those who went to offer condolences are on the far left. The exception was Yonadav Tapuchim who wrote about it on Facebook:
 
“When we arrived at the village, we were surrounded by Arab photographers. We were informed that the original plan had been changed, and that before visiting the actual mourning family, we would first see the burnt houses.  Thus, a bunch of Jews with the heads held low were photographed near and in the burnt houses and the Hebrew graffiti there.  A representative of the family and the village then gave a short speech (‘the settlers should expect the worst!’ he warned).  We were then told that actually the village is quite up in arms and that it would not be convenient for us to actually comfort the mourning family, and that we had better leave fast.
 
“I and others felt that this whole thing was a media trick to get the ‘Yahud’  [Arabic for ‘the Jews’] to take part in a humiliating set of photos near the buildings, and that they had never planned to allow us to come in contact with the actual family.”
 
Fendel mentions (emphasis added) that “there have been reports of an ongoing, 18-year feud between two clans in Duma that might be related to the murderous arson.”  “Revenge” might well apply to a feud, might it not? With the Jewish star thrown in to redirect attention.
 
What Tapuchi did feel was that there was something suspicious about the nature of the alleged arson, with “curious aspects” in the story.
 
“I would start with the fact that the two houses [an empty one was also firebombed] are located in the center of the village, and that in order to get there we had to travel a number of minutes from the entrance. Duma is spread out over a gigantic area, and the houses are situated at the end of a winding road, among fences and yards.
 
“I would start with the fact that the two houses...[an empty one was also fire bombed] are located in the center of the village, and that in order to get there we had to travel a number of minutes from the entrance. Duma is spread out over a gigantic area, and the houses are situated at the end of a winding road, among fences and yards.
 
“According to the Duma version, the attackers burnt one house, then saw that it was empty, and so they went to set fire to the next house. The second house is enclosed by a fence, and the windows are covered by a dense lattice; a firebomb cannot be hurled through the windows, and in any event it is very hard to reach the windows behind the fence....”
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198961#.VcEQl5sVjIV
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Most of the time, when terrorists enter a village, they aim for attack on the houses close to its periphery.  Such attacks are random in nature – the Fogel family, for example, was, to the best of my understanding, just in the wrong place, not singled out specifically for attack.
 
The logical question here is why Jewish terrorists would have taken themselves way into the center of the Arab village, where the chances for being seen or apprehended were much greater, rather than staying on the periphery.  After all, presumably, the intent was to hit “a” family, not to target any particular family.
 
But if the terrorist belonged to a clan that is feuding with the Dawabsha clan, then there would indeed be a specific family that had been targeted.  And a specific reason for going so far inside the village.  What is more, if the terrorist belonged to a feuding Arab clan, then he was, according to the report shared by Fendel, already a resident of the village and not someone who had to make his way from the outside.
 
Food for thought.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Keeping this report in mind, let us then carry this one step further:
 
On the front page of today’s hard copy Jerusalem Post, there was a feature story about the family that owned the empty house that had been firebombed. They were supposed to be in the house that night, but were delayed in Nablus. And guess what? Their name is also Dawabsha – they are cousins to the family that was attacked.  How about that?
 
Was this truly random then?  An attack by Jews from the outside? Or an attack by people who knew and were after members of the Dawabsha clan specifically?  Reasonable questions. 
 
What was explained by Emam Dawabsha is that the arsonists “torched the backroom of their home where they typically slept on hot summer nights.” 
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/A-miracle-saved-my-five-boys-411062
 
So then, one last question: Was it simply a random act by Jewish terrorists, who happened to torch the room where this family would have been sleeping even though it was at the back of the  house?  Or was the attack by people who knew full well where the family was expected to be?
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
One final observation here, for now (although more may follow – there is so much to say!):  Some commentators have taken a close look a that “HaMelech HaMoshiach” graffiti.  Clearly, it suggests, or is deliberately designed to suggest, a “radical religious settler.”  However, this specific term is directly associated with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement today. (If you doubt it, Google it and you will see.)  But Chabad – probably the most open and moderate of hassidic groups – is really not likely to be associated with terrorism. Was this term written by a radical religious settler?  Or by an Arab who wrote Hebrew and got his religious groups just a tad mixed up?
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
With all this said, in the near future, there may be arrests of Jewish men, said to be suspected of being involved.  Of this I would not be surprised at all.  For there is pressure for this – a charge on the left that the government is “too lenient” with right wing religious nationalists.  In this way does the government seek “credibility.”  Perhaps I am wrong and the Jews will be charged and indicted.  Or, just perhaps there will be no definitive proof and they will be released.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/8/5/august-4-2015-rush-to-judgment.html

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 02:36AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

July 29, 2015: Hope Rising

No, were are not about to see a new day, filled only with promise and light.  And yet, there is light enough today to sustain us for the short term and then some.
 

Credit: smh
 
We have news, first – important news! - that Jonathan Pollard will be released from prison on parole on November 21 of this year.  He will have served 30 years to the day, of a sentence wildly excessive for the crime of which he was convicted: one count of passing classified information to an ally - Israel - without intent to harm the United States. The median sentence for such a crime is two to four years in prison..  The decision to release him was made by his parole board and was not political.  It comes at the 2/3 mark of a life sentence, which is calculated at 45 years – a point at which parole is possible.  You can see here a description of the legal battle, as described by his lawyers:
 
http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=67970
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Pollard will not be able to come home to Israel for five years – unless the president commutes the sentence to time served.  I trust that none of my readers will have expectations of Obama doing this, although it occurs to me that perhaps the next president might.  Obama is the vindictive and hateful president who refused to let Jonathan Pollard out to visit his dying father one last time, or to attend his funeral.
 
What also occurred to me, as I received this most welcome news, is that what he needs most right now is time for healing, both psychological and physical, after his long ordeal.  He has been in ill health and failing for a long time now.  He has been in isolation in prison, so that entering the normal world will be a jolt.  Let him garner strength, and then we can talk about his coming home to Israel.
 
Jonathan’s wife, Esther, in an emotional statement, said just this: Please, understand that we will need time alone, privacy and quiet.

"I am relieved and I'm happy that our ordeal is finally coming to an end.

"I can hardly wait. I am counting the days, the hours, the minutes, the seconds until I can take him into my arms."

Video: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198791#.Vbj99ZsVjIV

~~~~~~~~~~

There are suggestions that Pollard’s announced release might mitigate some of the enormous tension that currently exists between the US and Israel.  No way.  Pollard deserved to be paroled – and the process was bureaucratic. This was not an act by political leadership, behaving with compassion or out of a desire to express goodwill towards Israel.
 
The ill-will that exists now between Israel and the Obama administration far transcends this issue.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The second piece of good news has to do with polling trends in the US on the issue of the Iran agreement.  The poll that has garnered the most attention is one released by CNN yesterday, which indicates that 52% of those Americans polled say Congress should reject the deal, 44% say it should be approved.
 
Omri Ceren of The Israel Project tells us today that this poll confirms a trend, in which “the 'approve' numbers are cratering and the 'Congress should reject' numbers are spiking.” (Emphasis added here and following.)
 
“...The erosion tracks across all demographics...
 
“...The President is underwater on his handling of Iran by 15 points (!). It's by far his worst issue.

"There is very little good news for the administration anywhere in the poll. Asked whether the deal will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the split is 31/54. Voters are prepared to punish lawmakers and presidential candidates who support the agreement. None of the White House's messaging - including and especially ‘no alternative’ – i[s] getting traction. Throwing a veto into the mix and thereby raising the stakes doesn't make a difference. Arguments made by critics beat arguments made by the White House across the board, sometimes by 2 to 1 margins. And there are still 50 days to go until Congress votes.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Just perhaps, folks, we are approaching the tipping point: the moment of critical mass...according to author Malcolm Gladwell, “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

So hang in there, my friends.

[] Increase the pressure on your Senators and Congresspersons.  With proper courtesy and rational statements, express your distress about the dangers of the Iran agreement and let them know that how you vote next time will be directly affected by how they vote on this deal

[] Tell Democrats that Obama is way down down in the polls on this issue, and that if they opt to follow him out of party loyalty, they will be following someone who is losing traction.

[] Then go public with letters to the editor, talkbacks on the Internet, postings on Facebook.  We see that the more people know about the deal, the less they like it.  So it is our job to spread the facts

~~~~~~~~~~

You do not need to deal with enormously complex information to make the case against the Iran deal.  Basic information leaps out at us.

~~~~~~~~~~

Point out that the fact that Iran will be collecting its own soil samples at the military site at Parchin makes the entire agreement ludicrous:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421550/iran-nuclear-bombshell-Iran-police-itself

~~~~~~~~~~

Ask, as Charles Krauthammer did, why sanctions on conventional weapons should be lifted as part of what was supposed to be a nuclear agreement.  Or how it could be that Iran will be given 24 days before inspections can be instituted, and then, only Iran if agrees to them.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/worse-than-we-could-have-imagined/2015/07/16/aa320b42-2bf0-11e5-bd33-395c05608059_story.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Utilize points made by Martin Peretz, for almost 40 years editor of The New Republic, in his article, “The Democratic Party, on the Edge of the Abyss.”

One point he makes with regard to the sunset clause stands out: 

“...have these former Solons [former members of Congress, Obama, Kerry and Biden] stopped to wonder, “Why Iran negotiated in the first place when their leaders still insist on claiming they don’t want nuclear weapons? The entire process is built on lies. If the Iranians didn’t want nukes, then why would they want a time limit?” (emphasis added)
 
And Democratic Senators and Congresspersons should be apprised of Peretz’s main thesis: “How the party of FDR and JFK deals with the Iran agreement will determine its credibility on foreign policy for decades to come.”  How the Iran deal is resolved, says Peretz, will mostly likely “deeply affect...the trustworthiness of the Democrats in foreign policy for at least a generation.”

http://www.thetower.org/article/the-democratic-party-on-the-edge-of-the-abyss/

~~~~~~~~~~

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), I will add in closing, is now taking the very same approach with regard to calling on grassroots America to be involved in stopped the deal:

“The only hope that a sufficient number of Democrats are willing to stand up to the Obama White House…is if millions of Americans across this country light up the phones.”

http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/07/ted-cruz-calls-on-grassroots-to-help-him-nuke-the-iran-deal.html/

~~~~~~~~~~

© 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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/7/29/july-29-2015-hope-rising.html

 

Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 04:02PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

July 27, 2015: Revelations du Jour

As the news keeps coming with regard to the horrors of the Iran deal – and the horrors of how Obama and Kerry are conducting themselves – I have no choice but to continue to write on the subject. 
 
This issue remains number one in importance for Israel, and for the Western world.  It must be taken with dead seriousness, and yet the the unfolding of revelations has become something of a self-parody.  One is tempted to respond, “Nah, this cannot be happening...”  But it is.
 
Consider:
 
During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week, a mind-boggling issue was raised by Senator James Risch (R-Idaho) and then pursued by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The question at hand: Does Iran get to collect its own soil samples from the military site at Parchin for analysis by IAEA?  Senator Risch’s understanding was that the IAEA will be monitoring Iran’s soil collection by video. 
 
As Fred Fleitz, “a former intelligence analyst experienced in the collection of environmental samples for investigations of weapons of mass destruction,” explained in National Review (emphasis added):
 
“The revelation that Iran will collect samples concerning its own nuclear-weapons-related activity makes the whole agreement look like a dangerous farce. This is not just an absurd process; it also goes against years of IAEA practice and established rules about the chain of custody for collected physical samples.”
 
From where I sit, there could have been only one acceptable response by Kerry to these queries on process: “Of course Iran will not collect its own samples.”  But instead Kerry let it be known that this issue was covered in a side agreement and was confidential.  Would confidentiality be necessary if it were a straight up process structured with integrity and an eye to keeping Iran accountable?
 
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421550/iran-nuclear-bombshell-Iran-police-itself
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Kerry then followed up with a statement on Friday at the Council of Foreign Relations in NY that was a pathetic mix of attempted intimidation and postured self-pity (All emphasis following here added):
 
As to intimidation, he said: “[if Congress rejects the Iran agreement] our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated, and more blamed.”
 
MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) responded thus:
 
If American legislators reject the nuclear deal, they will do so exclusively on the basis of US interests. The threat of the secretary of state who, in the past, warned that Israel was in danger of becoming an apartheid state, cannot deter us from fulfilling our national duty to oppose this dangerous deal.” 

While Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) countered that:

Israel will make its views clear on the Iranian nuclear issue, which is relevant to its security and its existence, and no one has the authority to intimidate us.” What is more, Steinitz pointed out, objections are not coming exclusively from Israel: “Criticism of the agreement in the United States in general and Congress in particular is due to the serious flaws and loopholes displayed in the deal.” .
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-minister-rejects-kerrys-intimidation-on-iran-deal/
 
I have a strong aversion at this point to having Kerry refer to Israelis as “our friends in Israel.”  I think not. His statement is a follow-up to an earlier one - that any military action by Israel would be an “enormous mistake.”
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
But this argument by Kerry as to why Congress had to vote to accept the accord perhaps wins the prize for offensive and ludicrous positions (emphasis added):
 
“...it would be embarrassing to him and a blow to US credibility on the world stage if Congress rejects the deal.
 
“It would be a ‘repudiation of President Obama’s initiative and a statement that when the executive department negotiates, it doesn’t mean anything anymore because we have 535 secretaries of state.’
 
’I mean please. I would be embarrassed to try to go out. What am I going to say to people after this as secretary of state.’”
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Tears out your heart, does it not? The prospect that John Kerry might be embarrassed before the ayatollahs.

 

Credit: atlasinfo
 
For members of Congress not already angry, this statement should make them furious.  Kerry is negating the Congressional role mandated by the Constitution, and claiming unilateral prerogative to make earth-shaking agreements.  What would he say to people? That the US is a democracy, and has a due process by which he must abide. That it was understood when he got up from the negotiating table that agreements would not be final until after a Congressional review.
 
Kerry’s attitude here is a reflection of that of his boss.  Obama behaves in an autocratic fashion that is not consistent with the role of the president of a democracy.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
“A top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed Saturday that the Islamic Republic would deny International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors any access to the country’s military sites, contradicting remarks by US officials following the signing of a nuclear agreement with Tehran last week.

’The access of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency or from any other body to Iran’s military centers is forbidden,” Ali Akbar Velayati, Khamenei’s adviser for international affairs, said in an interview with Al-Jazeera satellite TV. Velayati further stressed that the directive will be enforced regardless of interpretations by the P5+1 world powers to the contrary.’”
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-says-inspectors-to-be-barred-from-military-sites/
 
Two points to make here: First, and most importantly, this signals the futility of striking an agreement with Iran – for Iran will not adhere by it in any event, as its leaders will do as they please.
 
And then, the refusal to allow inspectors into Iranian military centers rather confirms the charge that at Parchin Iran will be doing its own soil collection.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I want to share here a video of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).  The Senator was speaking at a rally against the Iran deal – and for the release of American hostages held by Iran - in front of the White House last week and was harassed by leftists calling themselves “Code Pink.”  The senator’s method of handling the hecklers is a pleasure to watch – a class act.  But I am sharing this because he responds rationally to their charges, and this is precisely what we need: rational answers when all sorts of off-the-mark charges are leveled against those battling the Iran accord. 
 
There is, to provide one example, the charge that those for the accord, which offers a “diplomatic resolution,” are for “peace,” while those against it are “for war.”  The critical point that the Senator makes is that peace comes with strength, and that the accord makes war more likely.  (More on this below.) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QCbpafD3Pw 

~~~~~~~~~~ 

What was left out of mainstream media coverage of this rally was background on who the Code Pink hecklers are.  Code Pink is an NGO led by women, which claims to be “pro-peace.”  

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, talks to a Code Pink member after the antiwar group interrupted his speech during a demonstration in Washington against the proposed Iran nuclear deal because it doesn't address Americans held in Iran, July 23, 2015.

Credit: AP

According to Gateway Pundit:

“Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans was an early fundraiser and bundler for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Evans has met with several times over the years with President Obama and his most trusted White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. Code Pink has acted as a messenger between terrorists and Obama.

“Code Pink travels to Iran as guests of the regime. Code Pink leaders are regulars on the Iranian government’s PressTV propaganda outlet. Code Pink did Iran’s bidding in an effort to undermine the government of U.S. ally Bahrain in 2012.”

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/07/code-pink-ties-to-obama-iran-not-reported-in-ted-cruz-debate-coverage/

This is information that ought be shared. 

~~~~~~~~~~ 

Let me close with this outrageous exchange between a journalist and White House spokesman Josh Earnest, held right after that rally (shared by The Gateway Pundit, with my emphasis added): 

Q Secondly, I wondered if you were aware that, just before the briefing, Senator Cruz was across the street at Lafayette Park. It was a protest against the nuclear deal. Among other things, he was very vocal about how, because of the sanctions being lifted eventually, that there would be so much money flowing into the country that the country would use the money to ‘kill Americans.’ Do you have any thoughts about that?

“MR. EARNEST: Well, Anita, I was aware that Senator Cruz was planning to hold a pro-war rally in front the White House today. I didn’t see actually how many people turned out for the rally, but it doesn’t sound like he said anything there that he hasn’t said anywhere else.

“Q Pro-war rally? Is that what you just called it?

“MR. EARNEST: I did.

“Q You have no other thoughts about it?

“MR. EARNEST: I think that pretty much says it all.”

Really low.  It is what happens when there is no good argument for a position one has embraced: Rely on insults and innuendoes. Senator Cruz’s rally was NOT “pro-war.”
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
David Greenfield, writing in FrontPage, described part of the exchange between Cruz and Code Pink - with regard to being “pro-war” – this way:
 
“One CODEPINK member responded to Cruz by saying that he does not like ‘war mongers’ and asking Cruz, ‘Why are you so aggressively violent?’

“’I recognize that the folks in CODEPINK like to hold up signs saying, “Peace with Iran.” You know who doesn’t reciprocate those views? Iran,’ Cruz said, to cheers.

“’In the midst of this negotiation, the Ayatollah Khamenei led thousands of Iranians in chanting death to America while they burned American flags and Israeli flag,’ Cruz continued to more applause. ‘Iran has stated its objective to murder as many Americans as possible. They are not seeking peace with us.’”

http://www.frontpagemag.com/point/259572/white-house-code-pink-attack-ted-cruz-rally-us-daniel-greenfield

~~~~~~~~~~

© 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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/7/27/july-27-2015-revelations-du-jour.html

 

Posted on Monday, July 27, 2015 at 11:55AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

July 26, 2015: Reflections on Tisha B'Av

 

Credit: rgbstock
 
Above we see stones that were thrown down from the Temple by the Romans at the time of the Destruction 2,000 years ago.  They have been left as a reminder - even as plazas and an archeological park have been built up around the supporting walls of the Temple Mount.
 
There are some who say we should not be mourning any longer, or should fast just half the day, for Jerusalem, which we are mourning, is in our hands again and rebuilt.  We have that archeological park, and the plazas, and an ever-growing and beautiful city. 

Credit: JulieWright
 
There is a truth to this, but also a great fallacy.  I believe it was Rabbi Shlomo Riskin who said we should substitute Har Habayit [the Temple Mount] for Jerusalem in our prayers today – and indeed this comes to the heart of the fallacy.
 
Jerusalem, the city, has been rebuilt magnificently.  But Har Habayit – the Mount on which the Temple stood, the place that is the holiest on earth because of the Jewish connection there with the Almighty – is not truly ours and cries out for our prayers.
 

 
File:Temple Mount (Aerial view, 2007) 02.jpg

Credit: Wikimedia
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Yes, we have nominal sovereignty over the Mount, and our police can enter there. But the Muslims consider it theirs, and harass Jews who ascend.  (Muslim women, paid by radical Islamists, wait to harass us.)
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Palestinian Media Watch reports:
 
”Today, on Tisha B'Av, Jews mourn the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem (586 BCE and 70 CE). However, the Palestinian Authority denies that there ever was a Temple, consistently referring to Solomon's Temple as ‘the alleged Temple.’ Moreover, the PA also teaches its people that there was never a Jewish history in Jerusalem.”
 
See documentation of what Palestinian Arab officials are saying, complete with videos, here:
 
http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=15297
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Jews, you must also understand, are not allowed to pray on the Mount.  The Israeli High Court has said they can, but that the police have the discretion to prevent this if there are security issues.  It’s a given that Muslims (who are ever-ready) will riot instantaneously if Jews come to pray... and so the Jews are prohibited from exercising their most essential religious rights in their holiest place, so as to not stir up matters.
 
I’m not speaking of a third Temple to be built on the Mount (something I believe we do not yet merit, for we have not yet learned to love each other) but essential religious rights.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I went to hear Rabbi Yehuda Glick recently, eager to honor him – for he recovered from the attack of a terrorist that by all logic should have killed him.  He believes that his recovery is a miracle and that his work on behalf of the Mount is not yet done. He warns us not to be satisfied with the Kotel – which is, after all no more than a retaining wall to support the Mount on which the Temple was built. He calls to us to yearn for, to pray for, and to visit Har Habayit.
 
Rabbi Glick is no radical.  He says we are taught that the Temple should be a House of God for all peoples, and he sees a place there for Muslims too.  He has no desire to banish them – he embraces an enormously idealistic and generous vision.  But he refuses to accept their attempts to banish us.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Today I attended a marvelous shiur (lesson) by Rabbi Ari Kahn.  What he taught is far too complex to repeat here, but his conclusion was enormously powerful.  There are actually two traditions regarding the coming of the Moshiach [Messiah] – Moshiach ben [son of/from the line of] David and Moshiach ben Yosef.  Most of the time, focus is exclusively on Moshiach ben David.  Tracing our history, he finds the spirit of Moshiach ben Yosef – which is focused on physicality – very much with us. This is why the physical city of Jerusalem is built again today  But the spirit of Moshiach ben David – which is focused on spirituality – is not yet with us.
 
We are lacking, there is reason yet to mourn.  Perhaps we will not achieve Moshiach be David until we love each other.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
And so, as this day draws to a close, let us meditate deeply on these lessons, and mourn what we should be mourned, and work to make us – the Jewish people - spiritually whole. 
 
In our spiritual wholeness can we best confront the evils of the world.  Enough to return tomorrow to discussion of those evils, which are ever with us and growing.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
A Tisha B’Av message from Rabbi Refael Rubin:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp6hZ6P2OZY
 
“Sinat chinam” is causeless hatred.  “Lashon hara” is gossip, evil talk about others.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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.

 http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/7/26/july-26-2015-reflections-on-tisha-bav.html

 

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 04:00PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

July 24, 2015: From All Sides

This is a posting that begs to be written, even as I do my Shabbat preparations.  Shabbat is actually Tisha B’Av – the ninth of Av, which commemorates a host of tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, most significantly the destruction of the Temples.  Because we do not mourn on Shabbat, the observance begins immediately after Shabbat into Sunday.
 
We must seek an especially meaningful fast this year – with a maximum in prayer and contemplation, for we are facing down so much that is dire.  

Credit: NJJewishnews

  

 

Credit: Levlalev
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
They seem to be coming at us from all sides. And so, while we battle the farcical accords with Iran, we have to stand our ground – literally and figuratively – in many other spheres at the same time.
 
I think perhaps there is a notion that they can kick us while we’re down. But you know what? We are not going down.
 
In coming posts I will share additional information on ways in which we are demonstrating strength.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Typical of what we are contending with is the issue of the illegal Arab village in Susiya.  Ari Briggs of Regavim has done an op-ed on this, “The Invention of the Village of Susiyah” (emphasis added):
 
”On July 16 the daily press briefing of the US State Department astonished legal circles in Israel.

”... State Department spokesperson John Kirby with a prepared statement pressured Israel not to enforce demolition orders against an illegal Arab encampment adjacent to the Jewish community of Susiya. The State Department took this stand despite the fact that these demolition orders had been confirmed by Israel’s High Court in May 2015 after decades of appeals.

The Israelis were astonished for two reasons. One, the State Department was apparently misinformed about basic facts of the case. Two, the statement appears to be an arrogant attempt to undermine the Israeli legal system, including its universally respected High Court.

”The High Court found that these assertions were demonstrably false, based on comprehensive objective historical and geographical accounts. Historical aerial photography, detailed mandatory maps, travelogues from the 18th and 19th centuries, and the population registry all established that their assertions were a fabrication. Fact: no such village ever existed. The High Court has ruled repeatedly against these false assertions (HC 7530/01, 430/12, 1556/12, 1420/14).

However, the Nawajah family’s ‘struggle’ has become a cause célèbre of the cadre of foreigners and foreign-funded NGOs intent on harming Israel and its standing worldwide through untruths, misrepresentations and outright lies.

”...apparently the State Department failed to realize that the High Court established that the Nawajah family members have permanent homes in Yata, a city in Area A, under full Palestinian Authority rule (HCJ 430/12 and HCJ 1556/12).

”Moreover, Regavim’s research has established that like other PA residents from Areas A & B, the Nawajah family are being encouraged by the PA in accordance with the Fayyad Plan (2009) and assisted by the EU (EU report “Area C and Palestinian State Building”– 2011) to illegally establish facts on the ground in Area C (under full Israeli authority, as per Oslo Accords)...”

 
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Comment-The-invention-of-the-village-of-Susiya-409861
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
It seemed important to me to inform my readers about this because of the huge press this is getting.  You need the facts, as the lie is advanced that Israel is in the wrong, mistreating poor, suffering Arabs once again and trampling on their “rights.”  It is astounding, the degree to which the world thinks it has a right to a say with regard to legal matters inside of Israel.  This hugely important fight against international claims is being fought by Regavim (http://www.regavim.org.il/en).
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Then see this report from UN Watch, yet another fine organization that is fighting the good fight:
 
“Israel was the only country in the world to be condemned at the ECOSOC [UN Economic and Social Council] annual session when a resolution adopted on Monday by 42 of 54 member states, including all EU members – with only Australia and the US opposed – excoriated the Jewish state for a litany of crimes including ‘the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.
 
The EU-backed resolution mentions Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PLO for a total of 0 times. (emphasis in the original)
http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1314451&ct=14743407

~~~~~~~~~~

That a UN agency behaves thus is hardly surprising.  But loud warning bells are sounded regarding the degree to which the EU is complicit.  Western Europe is lost.

For a hint as to how lost Europe is, consider this:

“French President Francois Hollande conferred with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani Thursday...

“’The two leaders also agreed to...step up bilateral cooperation in this new context,’ the presidency said in a statement.

Hollande ‘expressed the wish for Iran to contribute positively to the resolution of crises in the Middle East.’” (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/hollande-rouhani-discuss-iran-deal-implementation/

Come again??

I will follow with more regarding EU plans for BDS and intentions to pressure us into a “two state solution.” 

~~~~~~~~~~

Let me circle back now to a couple of items related to the Iran deal.

It has been exposed that the US had forged some secret annexes with Iran. Once again, ZOA has put out an informative release on the matter (emphasis added):

”...secret annexes to the nuclear agreement concluded by the P5+1 powers (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including the United States, plus Germany) and Iran that have emerged – about which neither the U.S. Congress nor the American public were told. These secret annexes concern Iran’s military base at Parchin which, like other Iranian military sites, are off-limits to nuclear inspectors under the agreement, and Iran’s failure to disclose its past nuclear-related military and procurement activities as was once demanded of it. The ZOA has called upon President Obama to fully disclose the nature of these aspects of the nuclear agreement, noting that President Obama committed to fully disclose the full agreement to Congressional scrutiny.

“The secret annexes were discovered by Senator Tom Cotton (R–AK) and Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R–KS) during a July 17 meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials in Vienna. Both legislators said:

“’According to the IAEA, the Iran agreement negotiators, including the Obama administration, agreed that the IAEA and Iran would forge separate arrangements to govern the inspection of the Parchin military complex — one of the most secretive military facilities in Iran — and how Iran would satisfy the IAEA’s outstanding questions regarding past weaponization work. Both arrangements will not be vetted by any organization other than Iran and the IAEA, and will not be released even to the nations that negotiated the JCPOA [Iran nuclear agreement]. This means that the secret arrangements have not been released for public scrutiny and have not been submitted to Congress as part of its legislatively mandated review of the Iran deal.’”

http://zoa.org/2015/07/10291332-pres-obama-must-disclose-iran-deal-secret-annexes/

~~~~~~~~~~
 
NY Assemblyman Dov Hikind participated with others, included Helen Freedman of AFSI, in a protest outside of the office of Senator Chuck Schumer yesterday, calling upon him to declare his intention to vote against the Iran deal. Schumer is a Democratic Senator of considerable clout in the party, and his refusal to date to make a definitive statement regarding his opposition to the deal is shameful.
 
Hikind and Freedman, along with others, were arrested in the course of the demonstration:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL0ODfbr4nY
 
“Shomer” means guardian in Hebrew.  Schumer is being called on to fulfill his role as a shomer.
 
If you live in NY, please, be in touch with Senator Schumer, preferably by phone:
 
New York:          
212-486-4430

Washington, D.C.: 
202-224-6542
 
~~~~~~~~~~


To the people of Israel, unity and strength.

Credit: Jewlicious

 

Credit: mymorningmeditations
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/7/26/july-24-2015-from-all-sides.html

 

 

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 03:46PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

July 22, 1015: An Endless Litany

I have been trying to provide you, my readers, with sufficient solid information on the Iran deal so that you can grasp its horrors – without overwhelming you with enormous technical minutiae, which can make the head spin.

However, every time I think I have provided enough, some other fact is exposed that simply must be written about.  And here we are again today.  Here, once more, we have Omri Ceren of The Israel Project, who cites BBC:

Zarif said that restriction on Iran's missile programme has been removed from Chapter 7 of UN Resolution 1929 and ‘has turned into a non-binding restriction.’”

And, says Ceren, “he's absolutely right about how the new United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR)...turns what used to be a total ban on ballistic missile development into a ‘non-binding restriction.’" (“Emphasis added here and following)

“Here is the now-outdated UNSCR 1929, which used mandatory language that ‘Iran shall not undertake’:

Decides that Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that States shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities;’

“Here is the new UNSCR 2231, which uses non-binding language that ‘Iran is called upon not to undertake’:

Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology, until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion, whichever is earlier.’”

Try to wrap your heads around this, my friends.  It was already a disaster that Obama went along with removing the UN sanctions against Iranian use of ballistic missiles. The point has been made repeatedly that this should not have been part of the deal at all, because the negotiations were about nuclear development not conventional weapons. In the end, Obama tried to soften this by representing it as a victory because there was an eight-year delay in Iran’s ability to use ballistic missiles.  But as it turns out, this is a lie. Iran just may have the leeway to start now.

~~~~~~~~~~

ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) picked up similarly hedged wording yesterday.  In a press release, ZOA asks, “Deal Repeatedly Refers to Iran’s ‘Voluntary Measures.’ Does Iran Have No Real Obligations?” (emphasis added):

”Virtually every treaty and agreement contains language clearly binding the parties to definitive terms, such as ‘the parties agree to the following terms.’  However, the Iran deal – formally called the ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ (or JCPOA) – is different.   Strangely, supposed obligations are merely called ‘voluntary measures.

It is frightening and of great concern that even the minimal supposed obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran in this disastrous, lopsided deal may not be binding on Iran

“Right at the outset, the introduction to the Iran deal’s provisions calls these provisions ‘voluntary measures.’  At the end of the introductory ‘Preamble and General Provisions,’ which is immediately prior to key Section A (entitled ‘Nuclear’), the JCPOA states:

“’Iran and E3/EU-3 [that is, P5 + 1] will take the following voluntary measures’ within the timeframe as detailed in this JCPOA and its Annexes. 

“The phrase ‘voluntary measures’ is also repeated elsewhere in the JCPOA.... 

“The JCPOA also uses the terms Iran’s ‘intention’ and ‘plan’ and ‘voluntary commitments’ in other key paragraphs.  ‘Intentions’ and ‘plans’ and “voluntary commitments” do not have the force of binding agreements.  For instance:

 “The very title of the deal, “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” – merely indicates a plan – not a binding agreement.   The term JCPOA is used throughout. 

http://zoa.org/2015/07/10291044-zoa-deal-repeatedly-refers-to-irans-voluntary-measures-does-iran-have-no-real-obligations/ 

~~~~~~~~~~

I have the feeling that this whole fiasco is imploding. What P5 + 1 has is not a “deal” with Iran, a binding accord, but a whole lot of words that sound technical but are merely cover to present to the world, while allowing Iran to do pretty much as it pleases.

And Iran is not even pretending to be conciliatory – not playing the game. Yesterday, for the first time, Kerry alluded to the hostile tone of the statements of Iranian leaders, and declared himself bewildered: 

“I don't know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that's his policy," he said, referring to a recent statement by Khaminei that "Even after this deal our policy towards the arrogant US will not change."

“It’s very disturbing,” admitted Kerry.

Well...hello?

~~~~~~~~~~

Then we have the comment yesterday by Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander of Iran's paramilitary Basij Force, that, “Any Iranian who reads the Vienna documents will hate the US 100 times more...All paragraphs of the resolution that the US proposed to the UNSC are full of enmity towards Iran and show the US deep grudge against the Iranian nation.” 
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/198456#.Va-IcZsVjIU

Obama and Kerry have shown endless readiness to make concessions to Iran, likely assuming that this would bring them closer to Iranian officials, in a spirit of goodwill.  But here is the lesson, writ bold: Concessions made in the Persian bazaar invite contempt, not gratitude.  Big concessions yield huge contempt.

Will Congress tolerate this attitude? The American people?

~~~~~~~~~~

I want to remind one and all to contact their elected members of Congress, if they have not done so yet, and to attend a “Stop Iran” rally, if possible.  More information follows below.

In speaking with your Congresspersons and Senators, or their aides, remind them that the Founders of the United States envisioned three branches to the government, so that there would be checks and balances.  If the elected officials on Capitol Hill merely cave to what the man in the White House wants, they are failing to fulfill their responsibilities as outlined in the Constitution.  If America is to stay strong, this cannot be allowed to happen.

~~~~~~~~~~

Carolyn Glick, in her column today, expresses the opinion that it may be possible for Congress to kill the Iran deal.  What she writes ties directly to the issues I’ve been raising (emphasis added):

”As far as the Obama administration is concerned, now that the UN Security Council has anchored the agreement in a binding resolution and so given the force of international law to a deal that guarantees Iran will receives the bomb and $150b., the deal is done. It cannot be walked back.

”But this is not necessarily true. Congress may have more power than it realizes to kill the deal before Iran gets the money and before its other provisions are implemented.

”Over the months leading up to the conclusion of negotiations last Tuesday, Obama refused to acknowledge that he was negotiating a treaty. Rather he said it was nothing more than an executive agreement.

”Consequently, he argued, the US Senate’s sole authority to ratify treaties by two-thirds majority would be inapplicable to the deal with Iran.

”Obama also said he would further sideline Congress by anchoring the deal in a binding UN Security Council resolution. This resolution would force Obama’s successor to uphold the deal after he leaves office.

”Obama mitigated his position slightly when Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, drafted the Corker-Cardin bill with veto-proof majorities in both houses. The bill, which Obama reluctantly signed into law, requires Obama to submit the deal to an up or down vote in both houses. If more than two thirds of Senators and Congressmen oppose it, then the US will not abrogate its unilateral sanctions against Iran.

”In other words, Obama agreed that if Congress turned the Constitution on its head by replacing the two-thirds Senate majority required to approve a treaty with a two-thirds bicameral majority necessary to disapprove his executive agreement – then he wouldn’t go to the Security Council until after Congress voted.

When Obama betrayed his pledge and went to the Security Council on Monday, he gave Congress an opening to reconsider its position, ditch the restrictive Corker-Cardin law and reassert the Senate’s treaty approving authority.

As former US federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argued in National Review last week, by among other things canceling the weapons and missile embargoes on Iran, the six-power deal with Iran went well beyond the scope of the Corker-Cardin law, which dealt only with nuclear sanctions relief. As a consequence, Congress can claim that there is no reason to invoke it.

Rather than invoke Corker-Cardin, Congress can pass a joint resolution determining that the deal with Iran is a treaty and announce that pursuant to the US Constitution, the Senate will schedule a vote on it within 30 days. Alternatively, Congress can condition the Iran deal’s legal stature on the passage of enabling legislation – that requires simple majorities in both houses.

”Dan Darling, foreign policy adviser to Republican Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul wrote Monday that senators can use Senate procedure to force the Foreign Relations Committee to act in this manner. Darling argued that House Speaker John Boehner can either refuse to consider the deal since it is a treaty, or insist on passing enabling legislation under normal legislative procedures.

”Monday Netanyahu explained that by keeping US sanctions in force, Congress can limit Iran’s capacity to move beyond the current sanctions regime even after it is canceled. Every state and firm considering business opportunities with Tehran will have to weigh them against the opportunity cost of being barred from doing business with the US.

”Iran for its part may walk away from the deal entirely if Congress acts in this manner. If it does, then the US will not be obligated by any of the deal’s requirements. The continued viability of the Security Council resolution will be something for the lawyers to argue over.

”The devil in Obama’s deal with Iran is not in the mind-numbing details, but in the big picture. The deal guarantees Iran will get the bomb. It gives the Iranian regime $150b.

”To secure these concessions, Obama has trampled congressional authority.

If the American people think this doesn’t advance their national interest, they should encourage their congressional representatives to ditch Corker-Cardin and use their full authority, as a co-equal branch of the government, to scupper it.”

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/How-and-why-to-kill-the-deal-409725

Caroline Glick

Credit: CarolineGlick

~~~~~~~~~~

I have asked New Yorkers to contact their Senator Chuck Schumer, and urge him to oppose the Iran deal.  Now I have acquired phone numbers, to simplify the process for you:

New York:          
212-486-4430

Washington, D.C.: 
202-224-6542

~~~~~~~~~~

There are two rallies scheduled in California for Sunday, which is Tisha B’Av:
 
Los Angeles:
July 26, 2015, 2:00-4:00 pm at the Federal Building (Veteran and Wilshire)

 
San Diego:
July 26, 2015, 2:00-4:00 pm at Balboa Park (Park Boulevard and President`s Way Lawn)
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I was particularly glad to share information today that had been put out by ZOA, for yesterday I mentioned EMET and AIPAC, which are both doing lobbying on the Hill with regard to the Iran deal, and inadvertently left out ZOA, which has been doing this work of lobbying on behalf of Israel longer than either of the other organizations.  For this omission  – startling because my co-chair in Legal Grounds Campaign is Jeff Daube, who heads the ZOA office in Israel – I sentenced myself to ten lashes with a wet noodle.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~
 
I close here with two items that are more upbeat in perspective:
 
Here we have Shabtai Shavit, who was director of the Mossad director from 1989 to 1996, voicing the opinion that the current situation brings with it the possibility of enhanced relationships with the Sunni Arab states of the region – notably Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt. 
 
“I believe that in the present time there is a widow of opportunity for Israel in order to try and pursue a new order in the Middle East.”
 
He’s not the only one saying this. Perhaps a glimpse of a silver lining in the morass we must currently contend with.
 
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-nuclear-deal-opens-window-for-Israel-to-join-new-Mideast-order-409462
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
And then, a most interesting perspective from Shoshana Bryen, who is currently Senior Director of the Israel Policy Center, and formerly served as Senior Director for Security Policy at JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs).   This is “Israel: Security Asset for the United States” (emphasis added):
 
“...there is a reason military-to-military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel has remained almost untouchable, and the American military proudly touts its relationship with Israel.
 
“With the President of the United States behaving as if Iran can be an ally and a pro-Western player, it might help to recall the ‘quick reference guide’ to the capabilities Israel brings to U.S.-Israel security cooperation, first published by JINSA in 1979...”
 
I am not going to reproduce the entire list here, but suggest you look at it.  It will boost your morale.  Included are such items as:


[] A secure location in a crucial part of the world

[] A well-developed military infrastructure

[] The ability to maintain, service, and repair U.S.-origin equipment

[] Multilingual capabilities, including facility in English, Arabic, French, Farsi and the languages of the (former) Soviet Union

[] Combat familiarity with Soviet/Russian style tactics and equipment

[] The ability to assist U.S. naval fleets, including common equipment

[] The ability to support American operations and to provide emergency air cover

Noting that “In 1996, R&D capabilities and intelligence cooperation were added. Post 9-11, urban counterterror training was added....Nothing has been deleted,” Bryen shares something she wrote in 20016:
 
In a volatile region so vital to the U.S., where other states cannot be relied upon, it would be foolish to disengage -- or denigrate -- an ally such as Israel. The war against terrorists and the states that harbor and support them will be long and hard, and success will depend in no small measure on the allies who stand with us and with whom we stand."
 
She says “the message is better yet in 2015.”
 
http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6178/israel-us-security-asset

Credit: steelonsteel
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/7/22/july-22-1015-an-endless-litany.html

 

Posted on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 12:30PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

July 21, 2015: THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE

It is Obama himself who has primary responsibility for having moved – traitorously - to empower a dangerous and radical terrorist entity (and more on this below).
 
But Obama doesn’t operate in a vacuum: Those members of Congress who truly know better, but hesitate to stand up to him (because as Democrats they believe they must ally themselves with a Democratic president or for other political reasons) certainly also have responsibility for the current situation. 
 
And lastly, there are those American citizens who also know better, but have been too busy with their own lives, or too apathetic, to stand up and make their voices heard.  The  United States is a democracy, and so the people must assume a measure of responsibility. There is much to be done – and no time to be lost!  Elected representatives in Congress must hear from their constituents, calling for a resolute stand against the accord with Iran. They must know that they will be held accountable for what transpires.
 
America, my friends, has lost her way.  I do not write this lightly.  I grieve.  Lose sleep.  But I face the reality.  And so must each of you.
 
The reality is that only the people of America can redeem the situation, which has gone beyond horrendous
 
Only the people can instill in hesitant members of Congress the motivation to act, when they are focused on what they perceive to be politically expedient.  They must understand what is expected of them – starting, but not ending, with a vote against the Iran accords.
 
As for those elected representatives who have had the courage to stand up, they must be supported and encouraged: They must be urged on to ever greater strength and acts of leadership.
 
~~~~~~~~~~ 
 
Please, share this with everyone you know, and in every possible venue – on FB, on websites, on discussion group lists.  Now. Because if you decide to do it later, you run the risk of forgetting to do it at all.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Contact your Senators.  You can locate them here:
 
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

 Contact your Congresspersons.  You can locate them here:

 http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Emails work.  Phone calls are much better. Go for it. Now. Because if you put it off for later, you may forget. 

Keep your communication short and polite, but deliver a message that is strong and clear. 

~~~~~~~~~~ 

I want to urge everyone living in New York to contact Senator Chuck Schumer:

http://www.schumer.senate.gov/

I have read several reports indicating that he may be waffling on his challenge to Obama.  Let him hear from you.

 ~~~~~~~~~~
 
Also for those in the NYC area and those prepared to travel to NYC tomorrow:
 
The STOP IRAN NOW RALLY -Times Square, 7th Avenue and 42 Street in Manhattan. Wednesday, July 22, 5:30 PM.
 
A huge turnout is needed and you are urged to do your best to make it.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
In conjunction with the NYC rally, there will be a rally in Broward County, Florida:
 
Federal Courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, corner of Broward Boulevard and 3rd. Avenue, Wednesday, July 22, 5:30 – 7:30 PM.

~~~~~~~~~~

Bring your signs to these rallies, please!

~~~~~~~~~~ 

In Phoenix, Arizona

An Emergency Meeting on the dangers of the Iran accord and what you can do to stop it.

Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus, Room 101-102, Wednesday, July 22, 6:30 PM.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
In Toronto, Canada:
 
A rally opposite the US Consulate, 360 University Avenue, Wednesday, July 22, Noon – 1:30 PM.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Additionally in NYC:
 
TODAY, Tuesday, July 21, 7:00 PM 

STOP IRAN FROM GOING NUCLEAR - Bipartisan Iran Education Campaign

Featured Speaker: Josh Block, President & CEO of The Israel Project

Community-Wide event at Lincoln Square Synagogue, 180 Amsterdam Ave., NYC

_______________

 
Wednesday, July 22, 1:00 – 2:30 PM. 

Analysis of the Iran Deal & Global Islamic Jihadism Featuring Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, sponsored by EMET.

Lunch (dietary restrictions observed) 

For more information and to register: dheffernan@emetonline.org . $10 entrance fee, bring an ID for security clearance.

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I have previously mentioned EMET, which is working hard at lobbying Congress.  Here I also want to note AIPAC, the largest lobby group for Israel – which is working overtime to deliver the message to Congress about the dangers of the Iran deal. 

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For clarity on some of the major issues regarding the accord, see this column by Charles Krauthammer, “Worse than we could have imagined” (emphasis added): 

“When you write a column, as did I two weeks ago, headlined ‘The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history,’ you don’t expect to revisit the issue. We had hit bottom. Or so I thought. Then on Tuesday the final terms of the Iranian nuclear deal were published. I was wrong.

Who would have imagined we would be giving up the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran? In nuclear negotiations?

“When asked Wednesday at his news conference why there is nothing in the deal about the American hostages being held by Iran, President Obama explained that this is a separate issue, not part of nuclear talks.

“Are conventional weapons not a separate issue? After all, conventional, by definition, means non-nuclear. Why are we giving up the embargoes?...

“Obama claimed in his news conference that it really doesn’t matter, because we can always intercept Iranian arms shipments to, say, Hezbollah.

“But wait. Obama has insisted throughout that we are pursuing this Iranian diplomacy to avoid the use of force, yet now blithely discards a previous diplomatic achievement — the arms embargo — by suggesting, no matter, we can just shoot our way to interdiction.

“Moreover, the most serious issue is not Iranian exports but Iranian imports — of sophisticated Russian and Chinese weapons. These are untouchable. We are not going to attack Russian and Chinese transports.

The net effect of this capitulation will be not only to endanger our Middle East allies now under threat from Iran and its proxies, but also to endanger our own naval forces in the Persian Gulf. Imagine how Iran’s acquisition of the most advanced anti-ship missiles would threaten our control over the gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways we have kept open for international commerce for a half-century.

The other major shock in the final deal is what happened to our insistence on ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections. Under the final agreement, Iran has the right to deny international inspectors access to any undeclared nuclear site. The denial is then adjudicated by a committee — on which Iran sits. It then goes through several other bodies, on all of which Iran sits. Even if the inspectors’ request prevails, the approval process can take 24 days.

And what do you think will be left to be found, left unscrubbed, after 24 days? The whole process is farcical.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/worse-than-we-could-have-imagined/2015/07/16/aa320b42-2bf0-11e5-bd33-395c05608059_story.html

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Krauthammer wrote this before the vote was taken on the accord in the UN Security Council. Anticipating the vote, he said: 

“Approval there [in the U.N.] will cancel all previous U.N. resolutions outlawing and sanctioning Iran’s nuclear activities.

“Meaning: Whatever Congress ultimately does, it won’t matter because the legal underpinning for the entire international sanctions regime against Iran will have been dismantled at the Security Council. Ten years of painstakingly constructed international sanctions will vanish overnight, irretrievably.

“Even if Congress rejects the agreement, do you think the Europeans, the Chinese or the Russians will reinstate sanctions? The result: The United States is left isolated while the rest of the world does thriving business with Iran.

Should Congress then give up? No. Congress needs to act in order to rob this deal of, at least, its domestic legitimacy. Rejection will make little difference on the ground. But it will make it easier for a successor president to legitimately reconsider an executive agreement (Obama dare not call it a treaty — it would be instantly rejected by the Senate) that garnered such pathetically little backing in either house of Congress.

It’s a future hope, but amid dire circumstances. By then, Iran will be flush with cash, legitimized as a normal international actor in good standing, recognized (as Obama once said) as ‘a very successful regional power.’ Stopping Iran from going nuclear at that point will be infinitely more difficult and risky.”

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Weep for this, my friends, and then let your elected representatives in Congress know that they must not give up.  That you expect better of them.

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You might also like to see Jennifer Rubin on 17 ridiculous things the president said at the Iran news conference.  Her counter to Obama’s major misrepresentations is helpful.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2015/07/15/17-ridiculous-things-the-president-said-at-the-iran-news-conference/

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There are matters I did not get to today, which will keep for yet another time.  I want to close here with analysis by Omri Ceren of The Israel Project. Along with Krauthammer’s column, what Ceren tells us is the stuff of nightmares (emphasis added):

“[The political debate] is about how dropping the arms embargo will enable Iran to push the U.S. out of the Gulf, about how giving the Iranians $150 billion will bolster their terror and military programs, about how putting Iran on a 10 year glidepath to zero breakout will trigger Sunni nuclear proliferation, about how coziness between the Obama administration and Iran has detonated American alliances in the region, about how an economically resurgent Iran will become a hostile regional hegemon, and so on. The criticism is that even if the deal successfully prevents Iran from building a nuclear weapon for 10 years, the Obama administration will be funding and boosting Iran's conventional military capabilities.

“The JCPOA introduces an additional wrinkle... The agreement commits the international community to actively helping Iran perfect its nuclear program over the life of the deal (!) On a policy level, it means Iran's breakout time will be constantly shrinking. On a political level, it means that the deal will be seen as accomplishing the exact opposite of what the Obama administration promised Congress: instead of rolling back Iran's nuclear program, it will commit the U.S. and its allies to funding and boosting it.”

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© 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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2015/7/21/july-21-2015-the-ultimate-challenge.html

 

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 12:20PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint