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March 7, 2015: Catching Up

Motzei Shabbat (after Shabbat)

A very splendid Purim – a healing Purim that brought laughter and a sense of hope – is over, as is Shabbat.  I want now to pick up on posting again by looking at some thoughts regarding PM Netanyahu’s speech in Congress last week.  So many of my readers sent op-eds and articles on the subject, that I acknowledge you here, collectively, but with special appreciation to Barbara O.
 
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When I wrote about the speech last week, I described the incredible standing ovation Bibi received on entering the Congressional Chambers.  I provided a link to a video of the talk, but commented that it left out those first stunning moments.  Well, an alert reader found a version of the video that includes it.  Some of you might want to see it, even if you have already viewed the speech, because it truly is a moving sight:
 
http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Netanyahus-Speech-in-Congress.html?s=feat
 
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There is one commentator I encountered – J.E. Dyer - who opined that the “robust” support exhibited by Congress was perhaps Netanyahu’s key victory: The cheers, the sustained applause and roughly 27 standing ovations. The affirmation from Congress, which was not simply ritual, is what the prime minister came for, “and what he had to take home.”
 
Far more accurately than anything Obama says, the Congress represents the people of the United States.  The people are with Israel.
 
Bibi’s grand slam: Boxing in Obama on Iran’s nukes
Credit: Getty
 
Read more at http://libertyunyielding.com/2015/03/03/the-two-key-aspects-of-netanyahus-speech-video/

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There are those who were eager to attack the prime minister’s speech and attempted to do so with a nonsensical approach.  They claimed he had given the speech only for campaign purposes.  Or that he didn’t say anything. 
 
One of the most ludicrous arguments I have read maintains that it is essential to strike a successful deal with Iran, because that is the only way the West can have any control over what happens.  If negotiators walk away with no deal in hand, Iran will just go ahead and make a bomb. (This is essentially a “bad deal is better than no deal” argument, which is the reverse of what Kerry has been saying consistently.)
 
All of those who suggest this are advised to get real.  If there were no deal struck, then it would be imperative to levy strangling sanctions against Iran. 
 
And then there are those who claim Netanyahu criticized without suggesting a better approach. This is simply not the case.  I outlined Bibi’s parameters in my last posting: tough sanctions that bring pressure on Iran as long as it is fostering terrorism world-wide, exhibiting aggression and takeovers aimed at hegemony in the Middle East, and threatening to destroy Israel.  Roll back Iran’s infrastructure (which means dismantling of centrifuges).
 
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The fact that we are seeing shallow thinking in response to the speech in certain quarters is most discouraging, but not terribly surprising. There is no desire to grapple with the true issues. 
 
 

Credit: Yisrael Medad

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John Podhoretz, writing in the NY Post, delivered some sharp observations about the situation (emphasis added):
 
Obama, he wrote, with his constant harping about the speech generated a result quite the reverse of what he had intended:
 
“For six weeks, the president and his team have been letting it be known just how angry they are that the leader of the House of Representatives invited the Israeli prime minister to speak about the threat from Iran.

“The enraged leaks and overt hostility toward the head of state of an ally have been unprecedented.

“The White House even tried to engineer a mass Democratic boycott of the speech...

“What did all of this do? It made the Netanyahu speech the most important political event of 2015 by far.

“It elevated Netanyahu’s powerful case against a nuclear deal with Iran to the highest level possible — so that the leader of a country of 8 million people roughly the size of New Jersey now possesses as much authority to discuss the issue as the leader of the free world.

“Netanyahu yesterday laid out, calmly and comprehensively, the reasons the deal is likely to be a bad one — and he had not only an audience of Americans vastly larger than he would’ve had if the president hadn’t had his hissy fit, but also the ear of the audience that matters most in this regard.

That audience is the United States Senate.

And his audience heard him.

Tuesday afternoon, after Netanyahu scored his success, Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc­Connell announced he’ll bring up a piece of legislation requiring Senate consideration of any Iran deal for 60 days...”

Podhoretz believes Bibi’s speech may have provided the impetus for a veto override, with sufficient number of Democrats joining the Republicans.

“Almost from the outset, I thought the speech was a bad political idea...

“Well, I was wrong.

“I forgot I was talking about Barack Obama here, whose own political smarts extend as far as his own brilliance in getting himself elected and no further.

“The president thought (and I thought) he could use the coming speech to set up a confrontation with Bibi that would make his job of selling the Iran deal easier.

“It might have worked if the speech had been a dud. You know, like Obama’s own State of the Union, delivered on the very same spot six weeks ago.

“But it wasn’t. It was a triumph — because, unlike Obama, Netanyahu had something of surpassing importance to say, and he said it with force, with strength, with conviction and with grace.”

http://nypost.com/2015/03/03/bibis-grand-slam-boxing-in-obama-on-irans-nukes/

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Jennifer Rubin, writing in the Washington Post, concurred with Podhoretz, that:

“...it is evident that had the president not thrown a fit, Netanyahu’s speech might not have garnered quite so much attention....

The speech was not aimed at the president, who is immune to reason, nor to the negotiators who suffer from a variation of Stockholm Syndrome, whereby they come to identify with their bargaining opponents more than the country they represent. It was aimed at American public opinion and uncertain Democrats on whose good judgment Netanyahu must rely to derail a disastrous deal. By flattering the president and Democrats, Netanyahu gave them an out to agree with him without crossing the president or appearing to give in to Republicans.”  (emphasis added)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2015/03/03/what-benjamin-netanyahu-just-did/?wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

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A day later, taking Netanyahu very seriously, the Washington Post released an editorial, “Obama needs to provide real answers to Netanyahu’s arguments.”
 
Of course, he won’t.  He cannot.
 
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The most startling echo of this Washington Post call came from Faisel J. Abbas, editor in chief of Al-Arabiya in English, who wrote: “President Obama, Listen to Netanyahu on Iran”:
 
”It is extremely rare for any reasonable person to ever agree with anything Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says or does.

“However, one must admit, Bibi did get it right, at least when it came to dealing with Iran.

“The Israeli PM managed to hit the nail right on the head when he said that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that ‘terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum’...

“What is absurd, however, is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayottallah Ali Khamenei. Although, the latter never seems to write back!.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2015/03/03/President-Obama-listen-to-Netanyahu-on-Iran.html
 
As Netanyahu frequently tells us, times are indeed changing.
 
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Even as I am eager to share thoughts here, I would say that the dust has not yet settled: that the full impact of what was said by Bibi cannot yet be measured.
 
What I wait for, with some considerable unease, is a resounding response from the Israeli electorate.  That Netanyahu must be returned to the office of prime minister is a given, with the notion of a Herzog-Livni win the stuff of nightmares.  Netanyahu’s resolute position, his brilliance in making his case, his leadership – these should translate into a strong majority of Israelis voting him back into office.  But the polls, which are infamously unreliable, are not yet reflecting this – at least with regard to their intention to vote Likud.  We are in the midst of an election that I am finding very ugly indeed.
 
More to come, on internal matters, the PA, and more, in posts later this week.
 
~~~~~~~~~~   
 
© 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/2015/3/8/march-7-2015-catching-up.html

 

 

Posted on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 03:40AM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

March 3, 2015: HOW PROUD WE ARE!

Credit: Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave the speech of his life today.  His speech was not merely good, it was, as one commentator here put it, perfect.
 
His pacing and his delivery were masterful; he managed to take the high road and deliver a powerful message at the same time.
 
But let me back up just a moment: before he spoke a word, he entered the chamber to a packed house and received a standing ovation that was overwhelming. It brought me and many others to tears, I will say.  Wow!
 
So much for the talk of boycotting the speech. Every seat was taken, and during that opening ovation, which went on and on, members of Congress cheered him, and reached out to shake his hand.  As I said (lacking a better term): Wow!
 
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I will include below both a full text of his talk and a full video. (If you haven’t seen the speech, I encourage you to watch – even though the video begins after that first standing ovation).
 
And so here I will simply touch upon his major points.
 
First, as to that high road.  He began by assuring everyone that he had no partisan intentions in coming to speak and said he understood that both Democrats and Republicans stand with Israel (which brought great applause). He thanked President Obama for all of the ways in which he has helped Israel: and he enumerated several ways.  Very gracious and non-confrontational.
 
Then too he refrained from revealing any secrets.  This was one of the major “concerns” voiced by Obama prior to the speech: we fear he will ruin negotiations by speaking of matters that should not be public.  Actually, what Bibi said was that the information he was sharing is available to anyone who Googles the Internet.  Took the wind right out of Obama’s sail, there.
 
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Bibi said he had a profound obligation to speak about Israel’s future, and Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. He referred to the Book of Esther, and the upcoming holiday of Purim – which refers to an ancient threat to the Jewish people by Haman, in Persia.  Today, he said, another potentate in Persia (Iran is ancient Persia) is threatening to destroy the Jewish people.
 
Iran, however, is not just a threat to Israel, but to the entire world, which point is of considerable significance. He then proceeded to describe the nature of the regime in Iran, the zealots who seek to fulfill an ideological mission of jihad, exporting revolution around the world. In the Middle East, states are collapsing and Iran is rushing in. In addition, Iran is promoting terrorism worldwide. We must stop this march of conquest, subjugation and terror.
 
These are exceedingly important points: It’s not “just” about Iran nuclear, Iran is a problem and source of unrest in the world now.  What is more, in spite of the sweet words of Iranian leaders two years ago, there has been no moderation of Iran –it is as radical as ever.
 
Then Bibi delivered a warning: Do not make the mistake of imagining that in the battle between Iran and ISIS, Iran can become a friend. (Obama has promoted this ludicrous scenario.) Iran and ISIS are simply competing for the crown of the militant Islamic empire. 
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The greatest danger to the world is Iran with nuclear weapons.  And, said Bibi, it could happen if the deal currently on the table is signed. 
 
There are two major concessions that are of greatest concern:
 
1) Iran will be permitted to retain a vast nuclear infrastructure, which will allow a short breakout time.  Not a single facility would be demolished, and thousands of centrifuges would keep spinning.  The breakout time might be a year, but might be much less.
 
2) Apparently restrictions are to expire in about ten years.  The Iranians have declared intention to have 190,000 centrifuges – which would permit a whole arsenal to be put together in a matter of weeks.
 
The deal, as structured, paves the way for Iran to get the bomb.
 
As to inspections, the major problem is that inspectors inspect, but do not stop anything from happening. In 2005,  2006, and 2010, Iran defied inspectors, sending them packing.
 
Iran can also play “hide and cheat.”  Just yesterday, the IAEA said Iran won’t come clean.  They could get to a bomb by violating the deal.
 
The question of development of ballistic missiles is not even on the table; in time they will reach the US.
 
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Bibi does not believe Iran will change, but will actually become more aggressive with a deal.  They will be aggressive abroad and have prosperity at home.  A nuclear tinderbox will be created, as Iran’s neighbors rush to get the bomb too.
 
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But there is another way to handle the situation:
 
Restrictions on Iran must be kept in place as long as it continues its aggression in the region, fosters terrorism around the world, and threatens to annihilate Israel.
 
It is argued that the clock cannot be rolled back, as Iran has the know-how. But know-how without infrastructure goes nowhere. Roll back Iran’s infrastructure.
 
And keep the pressure on. (That is, sanctions.)  If Iran threatens to walk, call their bluff.
 
This is a very bad deal. No deal is better.
 
It is not true that the only alternative to this deal is war, the alternative is a better deal.
 
This is a fateful crossroad in history: Do not sacrifice the future for the present
.
 
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NEVER AGAIN.  This, said Bibi, is the first time in 100 generations that the Jewish people are not powerless. We can defend ourselves.  Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. (The implication here is clear, and welcome on several levels.)
 
However, he knows that America stands with Israel. (This met with great applause.)
 
The story of Israel, he said, is the story of the human spirit that refuses to succumb to the world’s horrors.
 
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Bibi ended by citing Moses: “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them...”  This is Deuteronomy (D’varim) 31:6.  The completion of that phrase is, “for the Lord your God goes with you” - unspoken in Congress today, but, I am certain, clearly understood by our prime minister.
 
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This is the third time that Prime Minster Netanyahu has spoken before the Congress of the United States.  The only head of state to be similarly honored was Winston Churchill.  During the speech, there were some 24 standing ovations.
 
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Here you can find both video highlights of the speech, and, if you scroll down a bit more, the entire speech:
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/192082#.VPYWMJv9nIV
 
And here you have the complete transcript:
 
http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=66628
 
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There has been enormous critical praise for this speech, beginning from the moment it was over.  Except on the left, of course.  Obama is perhaps the biggest clown with his comments on the speech which he only read in transcript form, he said, and which he referred to as “theater.”  (“theater”? and he wasn’t watching?) There was “nothing new,” he said, “no viable alternative” was offered.” 
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/192093#.VPYZL5v9nIU


 
Barack Obama

Credit: Reuters
 
What nonsense.  Bibi was quite clear: do not allow the infrastructure for enriching uranium to stand, and keep the sanctions on in order to apply maximum pressure as long as Iran continues to display hegemonic intentions, export terrorism, and threaten Israel. (Because the price of oil is down, sanctions will do even more damage, and bring Iran to its knees if applied stringently.) Do not ally with Iran, reducing sanctions in the mistaken belief that a US-Iranian partnership against ISIS is possible.
 
I am certain that the Senators and Congresspersons present understood this quite well.  It now remains to be seen how much they will take this to heart.  There is betting that they will.
 
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Some Democrats are saying that this speech was just for political purposes, which is also nonsense.  Iran is a topic that has been of deep concern to Binyamin Netanyahu for many years.
 
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Of course, there are mindless comments coming from the left here in Israel as well. Take Zahava Gal-On, head of Meretz, for example. She called the speech “chutzpah” because Bibi told the US how to handle the negotiations with Iran. Oh, better he should have kept quiet and just watched Iran move towards the bomb?  This is called grasping at straws in an election season.
 
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In the end, it is still possible that negotiations will fall apart on their own.  Just today, Iran declared that the US demand for a ten-year freeze on certain nuclear activities was “unacceptable.”  They smell weakness, and push back against all restrictions.  Precisely how many backward steps will Obama take, especially now, with Congress watching ever so carefully?
 
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I would like to call your attention to a piece by Khaled abu Toameh – “Arab Joint Force”: A Vote of No Confidence in the West.” 
 
Egyptian President al-Sisi has proposed a joint Arab force to confront Iran and radical Islam, and has gone to Saudi Arabia to discuss it.  This indicates a lack of faith in the West, and abu Toameh suggests that it may be the start of a move towards the Arab states taking the lead in fighting the radicals.
 
http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5304/arab-joint-force
 
When Bibi spoke today about Iranian aggression in the area, it was against these states that he was referring.  There is reason to believe these states would likely provide backup for us, should it be necessary.
 
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Tomorrow night is Purim (Thursday night in Jerusalem, which was a walled city and celebrates Shushan Purim).  It is a joyous time, and I, for one, am eager for the celebrations.  Time with grandchildren, a family dinner (seuda) and more. I even have my costume. 
 
There will not be another posting, I suspect, until after Shabbat.  I will pick up then on responses from Congress and other pertinent issues.
 
Now I wish all who are celebrating a Purim Sameach! 

 

 
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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/2015/3/3/march-3-2015-how-proud-we-are.html

 

Posted on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 06:04PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

March 1, 2015: Zahor and Bibi's Mission

Yesterday was Shabbat Zahor – the Shabbat before Purim, which comes this week. Zahor means remember. After the regular Torah reading there is an additional reading – Deuteronomy (D’vorim) 25:17-19 - that all are obligated to listen to:
 
“Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt — 18 how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. 19 Therefore, when the Lord your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!” 
 
“Amalek” was a people (the Amalekites), seen as singularly evil because of the way they behaved. 
 
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Much discussion by Jewish thinkers is devoted to the paradox of how we wipe out Amalek’s memory and also do not forget. 
 
Sam Shore, one of the rabbis in my shul, addressed this with a powerful relevancy yesterday, which I want to share:
 
More than Amalek was a people, it was an ideology of evil. At one and the same time, we must work to defeat – wipe out - that ideology wherever we find it and we must remember what Amalek did so that we stay alert to what evil is possible in this world.
 
What is more, we Jews, having been commanded to remember, are charged with alerting others in the world about evil when we see it.
 
Netanyahu’s speech, he told me after his talk, is holy work.
 
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This is a very powerful reading of our current situation. The world does not want to remember.  People prefer to gloss over evil and pretend it is something else. They would rather believe that evil is too “judgmental” a term, and that it is more appropriate to think in terms of “understanding” the position of the other, and generating opportunities for inclusion and dialogue.  You know the routine.  This is Obama’s route to dealing with Iran. 
 
Of course, then, Bibi’s plan to speak is like a thorn in the sides of those who would deny evil – a provocation, as they see it.  And of course the response to him would be heated.  
 
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Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the UK, wrote a compelling article about this very issue – “The Face of Evil” - about a month ago, which I share here (emphasis added):
 
Rabbi Sacks alludes to the question asked after 9/11 – “Why do they hate us?” – and to books written by American thinker Lee Harris, who provided thought-provoking answers:
“...we in the West had forgotten the concept of an enemy. Liberal democratic politics and market economics create a certain kind of society, a specific way of thinking and a characteristic type of personality. At their heart is the concept of the rational actor, the person who judges acts by their consequences and chooses the maximal option. He or she believes that for every problem there is a solution, for every conflict a resolution. The way to achieve it is to sit down, negotiate, and do on balance what is best for all.

“In such a world there are no enemies, merely conflicts of interest. An enemy, says Harris, is simply ‘a friend we haven't done enough for yet.’ In the real world, however, not everyone is a liberal democrat. An enemy is ‘someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the enemy always hates us for a reason, it is his reason, not ours.’ He sees a different world from ours, and in that world we are the enemy. Why do they hate us? Answers Harris: ‘They hate us because we are their enemy.’

“...We can become mind-blind, thinking that the way we - our society, our culture, our civilization - see things is the only way, or at least that it is the way everyone would choose if given the chance. Only a complete failure to understand the history of ideas can explain this error, and it is a dangerous one...Not everyone sees the world the way we do, and, as Richard Weaver once said: ‘The trouble with humanity is that it forgets to read the minutes of the last meeting.’”
 
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Circling back to a discussion of the Amalekites, Rabbi Sacks cites Exodus (Shemot) 17:14-16 (emphasis added):
 
“Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.' Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. He said, 'The hand is on the Lord's throne. The Lord will be at war with Amalek for all generations.'”
                                                                                                 
Rabbi Sacks then compares the Egyptians – who did the Israelites, our ancestors, enormous harm over time - and the Amalekites, who attacked us just once, and asks why the Lord is not at war with Egypt for all time. The answer: the Egyptians were rational actors, trying to eliminate us because they feared they would be overpowered by the Israelites. While the Amalekites attacked us when we were “weary and worn out,” because we were weak.  “Causeless, baseless hate lasts forever.”

Writes Rabbi Sacks, “There comes a point at which rational actors understand that the pursuit of self-interest has become self-destructive, and they learn to co-operate.

“It is not so, however, with non-rational actors. Emil Fackenheim, one of the great post-Holocaust theologians, noted that towards the end of the Second World War the Germans diverted trains carrying supplies to their own army, in order to transport Jews to the extermination camps. So driven were they by hate that they were prepared to put their own victory at risk in order to carry out the systematic murder of the Jews of Europe. This was, he said, evil for evil's sake.

“The Amalekites function in Jewish memory as "the enemy" in Lee Harris's sense.”

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Rabbi Sacks explains that the Amalekites as a people can no longer be identified.  We are not bidden to try to destroy them physically.

However, “Amalek has become a symbol rather than a reality.

“...Judaism marks a clear distinction between an ancient enemy who no longer exists, and the evil that enemy embodied, which can break out again at any time in any place. It is easy at times of peace to forget the evil that lies just beneath the surface of the human heart. Never was this truer than in the past three centuries. The birth of Enlightenment, toleration, emancipation, liberalism and human rights persuaded many, Jews among them, that collective evil was as extinct as the Amalekites. Evil was then, not now. That age eventually begat... some of the [most] brutal tyrannies ever known, and the worst crime of man against man.

Today, the great danger is terror...

“...Evil never dies, and like liberty it demands constant vigilance. We are commanded to remember, not for the sake of the past but for the sake of the future, and not for revenge but the opposite: a world free of revenge and other forms of violence.

“Lee Harris began Civilization and its Enemies with the words, ‘The subject of this book is forgetfulness,’ and ends with a question: ‘Can the West overcome the forgetfulness that is the nemesis of every successful civilization?’ That is why we are commanded to remember and never forget Amalek, not because the historic people still exists, but because a society of rational actors can sometimes believe that the world is full of rational actors with whom one can negotiate peace. It is not always so.

“Rarely was a biblical message so relevant to the future of the West and of freedom itself. Peace is possible, implies Moses, even with an Egypt that enslaved and tried to destroy us. But peace is not possible with those who attack people they see as weak...Freedom depends on our ability to remember and whenever necessary confront ‘the eternal gang of ruthless men,’ the face of Amalek throughout history.”

http://www.aish.com/tp/i/sacks/289715121.html

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My friends, it has been in my mind to write about so many different subjects – what is happening with Egypt and Gaza, what Abbas is doing these days, etc. But as I see it, all of this is trumped by what I write about today. 

There is a horrendous disinclination in the Western culture to confront the reality of evil and the absolute implacability of our enemies – be they the mullahs in Iran or those heading ISIS and al-Qaeda.  This disinclination can lead to the demise of the West.

~~~~~~~~~~

What Binyamin Netanyahu is doing, then, has enormous import.  Let there be no misunderstanding about this: Speaking to the Congress is the most effective way of delivering his message so that the maximum number of people hear and attend to his words.  A speech in AIPAC would not substitute, nor would private meetings.

~~~~~~~~~~

I, of course, am not privy to what Bibi is going to say.

In the most basic terms only, what I can tell you – keeping in mind that Iran has sworn to eliminate Israel – is that available information on the prospective deal indicates:

There are no controls in place on Iran’s development of delivery systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Neither is the entire issue of Iran’s hegemonic behavior and sponsoring of terrorism addressed. (Remember that Iran is in process of placing Iranian proxy terrorist groups on several fronts to surround Israel and is the single biggest fomenter and funder of radical terrorism in the world.) 

Iran would be permitted to retain thousands of centrifuges, which would be available for uranium enrichment to 90%+ – for weaponry purposes – when the time was right.  The Iranians are patient, and know how to “play the game” until the time is right.  Originally, the West was committed to structuring a deal that would deprive Iran of this potential capacity, and that is now very far from what is emerging.

What is more, the IAEC has already reported that responses from Iran on its current situation are fuzzy and suggest the impossibility of tracking whether Iran is adhering to required stipulations. And this, in spite of the fact that an agreement is predicated upon IAEC monitoring.  The Iranians have a consistent record of cheating on prior agreements.  Extending them any sort of trust here is akin to suicidal insanity.

And then this latest bomb-shell: a “sunset clause” or “phased deal” seems to be developing in the US-Iranian talks.  According to this, over a period of perhaps ten years, if Iran has demonstrated “good behavior,” constraints on its uranium enrichment would be lifted.  By the end of this period – which is being referred to as “an on-ramp to developing a nuclear weapon” – the time period for completing that weapon would be very short indeed.

Enough said.

~~~~~~~~~~

On Friday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and ranking member Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), as well as Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) advanced a bill that would provide Congress with the opportunity to approve or disapprove any comprehensive deal Obama would strike with Iran.  Obama has already said he would veto any such legislation.

http://www.jpost.com/International/Obama-to-veto-new-Senate-legislation-ensuring-vote-on-Iran-deal-392509

Corker, in response, has now slammed the president’s position, and we have not heard the end of this.

~~~~~~~~~

On Friday, Caroline Glick wrote a column addressing these issues and Netanyahu’s determination to confront them (emphasis added):

It is hard to get your arms around the stubborn determination of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. For most of the nine years he has served as Israel’s leader, first from 1996 to 1999 and now since 2009, Netanyahu shied away from confrontations or buckled under pressure...

“For his part, for the past six years Obama has undermined Israel’s national security. He has publicly humiliated Netanyahu repeatedly...

 
“He has delegitimized Israel’s very existence...
 
“But Netanyahu said nothing publicly in criticism of Obama’s destructive, dangerous policy.

”He held his tongue in the hopes of winning Obama over through quiet diplomacy.

”He held his tongue, because he believed that the damage Obama was causing Israel was not irreversible in most cases. And it was better to maintain the guise of good relations, in the hopes of actually achieving them, than to expose the fractures in US-Israel ties caused by Obama’s enormous hostility toward Israel and by his strategic myopia that endangered both Israel and the US’s other regional allies.

And yet, today Netanyahu, the serial accommodator, is putting everything on the line. He will not accommodate. He will not be bullied. He will not be threatened, even as all the powers that have grown used to bringing him to his knees – the Obama administration, the American Jewish Left, the Israeli media, and the Labor party -grow ever more shrill and threatening in their attacks against him.
 
“As he has made clear in daily statements, Netanyahu is convinced that we have reached a juncture in our relations with the Obama administration where accommodation is no longer possible.

Obama’s one policy that Netanyahu has never acquiesced to either publicly or privately is his policy of accommodating Iran.

”Since Obama’s earliest days in office, Netanyahu has warned openly and behind closed doors that Obama’s plan to forge a nuclear deal with Iran is dangerous. And as the years have passed, and the lengths Obama is willing to go to appease Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been left their marks on the region, Netanyahu’s warnings have grown stronger and more urgent.

”Netanyahu has been clear since his first tenure in office in the 1990s, that Iran’s nuclear program – as well as its ballistic missile program – constitutes a threat to Israel’s very existence. He has never wavered from his position that Israel cannot accept an Iran armed with nuclear weapons...
 
“But now we are seeing that far from being an opportunist, Netanyahu is a leader of historical dimensions...
 
“Whereas Israel can survive Obama on the Palestinian front by stalling, waiting him out and placating him where possible, and can even survive his support for Hamas by making common cause with the Egyptian military and the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, the damage Obama’s intended deal with Iran will cause Israel will be irreversible.
 
”For his efforts to prevent irreparable harm to Israel Netanyahu is being subjected to the most brutal and vicious attacks any Israeli leader has ever been subjected to by an American administration and its political allies. They are being assisted in their efforts by a shameless Israeli opposition that is willing to endanger the future of the country in order to seize political power.

”Every day brings another serving of abuse...
 
Netanyahu is not coming to Washington next Tuesday to warn Congress against Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, because he seeks a fight with Obama. Netanyahu has devoted the last six years to avoiding a fight with Obama, often at great cost to Israel’s national security and to his own political position.

Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week because Obama has left him no choice. And all decent people of good will should support him, and those who do not, and those who are silent, should be called out for their treachery and cowardice.”

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Column-One-In-Israels-hour-of-need-392348
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Last night, Prime Minister Netanyahu visited the Kotel.
 
 
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touches the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, during a visit in Jerusalem's Old City February 28, 2015. REUTERS/Marc Sellem/Pool

Credit: Reuters/Marc Sellem

As I write this, he is in the air, on his way to the US.  This morning, before departing, he said:

"A few days before the Fast of Esther [immediately prior and connected to Purim], I'm going to Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission. I'm going on behalf of every citizen of Israel and the entire Jewish people, including those who do not agree with me. I feel deep and sincere concern for the security of every Israeli citizen and the fate of our country and our people. I will do everything I can to ensure our future."

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=23835

~~~~~~~~~~

What I request of each of you is that you pray for the success of this mission. 

~~~~~~~~~~

 
© 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/2015/3/1/march-1-2015-zahor-and-bibis-mission.html


 

Posted on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 01:41PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

February 24, 2015: Lies, Threats and Politics

The situation surrounding the negotiations with Iran and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress daily grows more ominous, more convoluted, and more contentious.
 
I would like to begin with the latest “scoop” – which is supposed to put the lie to Bibi’s charge in 2012 in the UN (complete with that famous chart) that Iran was on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power.
 
As Arutz Sheva described the situation yesterday:
 
“Al Jazeera began publishing Monday night several documents allegedly leaked from the Israeli Mossad – via the Spy Cables database shared with the British Guardian.
 
One of the documents alleged that, just a few weeks after the famous speech Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave in 2012 assessing Iran as being about one year away from building a nuclear weapon, the Mossad sent a confidential report to South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) stating that, in their estimation, ‘Iran does not engage in the necessary activities required for the production of weapons of mass destruction.’  (Emphasis added)
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191748#.VOyL4pv9nIV
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Ah ha! went the cries of those opposed to Bibi’s speech – See, he exaggerated, he misrepresented, he’s not to be trusted. 
 
No so, my friends.  And please do not take my word for this. 
 
Today I contacted Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, until recently the director-general of the Ministry of Security Affairs.  There is no contradiction between the alleged Mossad report and what Bibi said, Kuperwasser explained:
 
The Mossad was talking about weaponization. And it’s true that in 2012 Iran was not involved in the weaponization process – they had already done this before 2003.  (I note that by 1998 Iran was domestically producing the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2, and by 2003 the Shahab-3 – ballistic missiles being one part of the weaponization.)
 
What the prime minister was talking about, said Kuperwasser, was the enrichment process: Iran had stocks of uranium enriched to 20%, and were in the position of being able to follow through to do enrichment to 90+%, which is what is needed for weapons purposes.
 
What must be made clear, however, is that in bringing the uranium to 20%, 90% of the enrichment effort has already been expended. That is, the hard part is getting it to 20%.  To move it from 20% to 90+% – which is weapons grade uranium – is a relatively quick and simple process. This is the danger Netanyahu was warning the world about in 2012.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
But there is even more, which I ask you to note as well, from Yossi Melman, intelligence correspondent, writing in the JPost (emphasis added):
 
“After promising to release a bombshell of leaked secret Mossad cables, Al Jazeera’s publication of documents later Monday fell short of that mark...Al Jazeera did not obtain an original and authenticated document from the Mossad...
 
“What they published was a South Africa Sate Security Agency (SSA document that is based on a briefing given to them by the Mossad.  The document from 2013 contains no secrets and any reader, or follower of public reports on Iran’s nuclear program, especially the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is familiar with the facts written in that document.
 
“The Mossad provided details in its briefing, such as the quantities of Iran’s enriched uranium at its two levels – 3.5% and 20% – about the development of Iran’s nuclear reactor at Arak, and its statement that Iran is ‘not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.’
 
“That assessment was correct – it isn’t possible to utilize fissile material for a bomb only with 20% enriched uranium – an enrichment of 93% is required – and Iran did not have it at the time of the document’s writing, and doesn’t have it now.  Certainly it doesn’t present any evidence of a wedge between the Mossad and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with regard to Iran’s nuclear program...
 
Israeli intelligence estimates are that Iran is working to be a nuclear power – a few months way from the ability to assemble the bomb – but not capable of building it now.
 
More than anything, Iran wants the international community to lift the economic sanctions.
 
Israeli intelligence researchers know that Iran is already on the verge of becoming a nuclear threshold state.  It has the know-how, technology and materials to construct the bomb in a matter of a few months or perhaps a year, if and when the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives the order.”
 
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Al-Jazeeras-release-of-Mossad-cables-falls-short-391976
 
And so please, my friends, do not believe everything you read and hear in the current effort to discredit Netanyahu.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Please see, as well, yet another piece – “Now we know who to believe on Iran,” by David Horovitz, editor of Time of Israel (emphasis added):
 
“The Obama administration claimed Israel was misrepresenting its deal with the ayatollahs.  Reports from Geneva indicate Israel’s concerns were all too accurate...
 
“After anonymous sources in Jerusalem leaked to Israeli reporters in recent weeks the ostensible terms of the deal being hammered out, various spokespeople for the Obama administration contended that the Netanyahu government was misrepresenting the specifics for narrow political ends. They sneered that Israel didn’t actually know what the terms were. And they made the acknowledgement — the astounding acknowledgement for a United States whose key regional ally is directly and relentlessly threatened with destruction by Iran — that the Obama administration is consequently no longer sharing with Jerusalem all sensitive details of the Iran talks.

And yet among the terms of the deal being reported by the Associated Press from Geneva on Monday are precisely those that were asserted in recent weeks by the Israeli sources, precisely those that were scoffed at by the Administration. Centrally, Iran is to be allowed to keep 6,500 centrifuges spinning, and there will be a sunset clause providing for an end to intrusive inspections in some 10-15 years. If anything, indeed, some of the terms reported by the AP are even more worrying than those that were leaked in Jerusalem: ‘The idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement,’ the AP said, ‘gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment program and slowly easing economic sanctions.’ There is also no indication of restrictions on Iran’s missile development — its potential delivery systems...

It goes without saying that this weekend’s developments in Geneva have only bolstered Netanyahu’s determination to sound the alarm before Congress next Tuesday. It’s also still clearer today why the Obama administration has been so anxious to query his motives and seek to discredit his concerns.”


http://www.timesofisrael.com/now-we-know-who-to-believe-on-iran/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
“It is also still clearer today why the Obama administration has been so anxious to query [Netanyahu’s] motives and seek to discredit his concerns.”
 
Keep this in mind, please, as you read the hysterical accusations against Bibi. And I ask that you do something else.  Speak out with the facts.  You know the routine: do talkbacks on the Internet, letters to the editor, call-ins on talk-shows, put this information on your FB pages and websites, put it up on group discussion lists, etc. etc. Here is an opportunity to help Israel.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Yet another charge that is being leveled at Netanyahu is that the unrest he is “causing,” the tension he is generating politically in the US, will result in a reduction of American support for Israel.
 
The only problem with this charge is that it’s not true. A Gallup poll conducted between February 8 and February 11 indicates that seven in 10 Americans continue to view Israel favorably, and there has been no significant change in that number from a year ago.

“According to Gallup’s explanation of the results, these numbers suggest that neither the friction between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama nor last summer’s conflict in Gaza significantly impacted on the US public’s perceptions toward Israel or the Palestinians.”
 
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Gallup-poll-US-public-support-for-Israel-not-hurt-by-Iran-flap-391934
 
~~~~~~~~~~~
 
And then this piece of news:
 
Two Democratic Senators, Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California), have written a letter to PM Netanyahu, inviting him to meet with Democratic lawmakers while he is in Washington next week. Their intention is to “maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties in Congress.”


http://www.timesofisrael.com/democratic-senators-invite-netanyahu-to-meet-in-washington/
 
I have no more information at this point, but this seems a positive turn of events.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The negotiations in Geneva?  Terrifying. Rushing at break-neck speed to something disastrous.  News about how the deal is shaping up, and other indications that it might not come together.
 
I will be writing about this in up-coming posts, needless to say, but hope also to touch some other bases.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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/2015/3/1/february-24-2015-lies-threats-and-politics.html

 

 

Posted on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 01:32PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

February 26, 2015: Wearisome

My friends, how long can we monitor the current political situation without feeling weary to the bone – no, even more, revolted – because of what is taking place.

Here in Israel, the left is using Bibi’s upcoming speech in the Congress as a weapon with which to attack him.  For shame.  Buji Herzog declares that he is as much against a nuclear Iran as our prime minister is, but he would handle matters differently: He would cancel the talk in Congress and meet privately with Obama. 

Given this information, we must ask: Is he enormously naïve and self-deluded?  That is, does he really think he might sway the president in the slightest? Or is he a poseur – knowing the reality well enough but pretending in order to lend the impression that he could handle the relationship with the US in a manner that would reduce current tensions and still achieve our essential security goals?

Labor Party chairman MK Isaac Herzog leads a party meeting in the Knesset on February 03, 2014 (photo credit: Flash90)
Credit: Flash 90
 
~~~~~~~~~~

Part of what makes me crazy is that, according to the polls, there is some percentage of the Israeli electorate that actually sees him as the best candidate for running the country.  Well less than 50%, it is true. But still...

And there is something else that makes me crazy.  According to those very same polls, the percentage of the electorate that would want him to be prime minister is smaller than the percentage that says it would vote for Labor...I mean, the Zionist Camp.

But hey, guys, if Labor/the Zionist Camp gets the most mandates (Heaven forbid!) and is able to put together a coalition, Buji would BE prime minister.  Is this not clear to the people answering the polls? 

Here we have a picture of Tzipi Livni, Buji’s running mate in the Zionist Camp campaign, listening to him speak. She is definitely not one of the swiftest of the candidates, but here I begin to wonder if she’s on to something:

Livni missed out on the chance of a lifetime to become prime minister because she stayed away from deals. Herzog was not afraid to get his hands dirty and emerge with an achievement (Photo: EPA)

Credit: EPA

~~~~~~~~~~

It was suggested in several quarters that, in order to show a united Israeli front to the world, Buji accompany Bibi to Congress.  Buji declined.  Then he announced that he had been scheduled to speak at the AIPAC convention next week, but was cancelling. He can speak out against a nuclear Iran, he declared, but can do it quite well from here in Israel.  This was supposed to convey the impression that he was more statesman-like than Bibi.  But I think he made a tactical error.  That’s fine.

~~~~~~~~~~

The prime minister has made it crystal clear that he will not be backing down and will indeed speak in Congress on March 3rd, as scheduled.

He has turned down the offer I wrote about in my last posting, to address Democrats privately.  This, he said, would be interpreted as a partisan action, and he intends to do nothing but address the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and radical Islam – to both parties in Congress. There will be nothing partisan in his statements or his actions in Washington.

Last night, at a Likud meeting, he said:

”From the agreement that is forming, it appears that they (world powers) have given up on that commitment (to thwart Iran) and are accepting that Iran will gradually, within a few years, develop capabilities to produce material for many nuclear weapons.  They might accept this but I am not willing to accept this.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-world-has-given-up-in-iran-nuke-talks/
 
~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, as would have been expected, Obama and his team of flunkies are doing everything in their power to tear the Israeli prime minister apart.

Let me remind one and all that it is the president who is responsible for the internal party tensions, not Bibi.  All Obama had to do was announce that he felt confident that his negotiating team was taking the correct path with Iran, but Prime Minister Netanyahu was certainly welcome to come and speak on such a significant subject.  Instead, he is sending his team, like attack dogs, to go after our prime minister.

I would further point out, again, that our prime minister was invited by the speaker of the Congress, who had a legitimate right to extend that invitation, and that Congress has a role to play in this critical matter – and thus a right to be as well-informed as possible – even if Obama wishes to circumvent the legislative branch of the government.

~~~~~~~~~~

Former US Secretary of Defense (from 2001 to 2006) Donald Rumsfeld declared today in a statement to Israel Hayom:

"I find it stunning to see the comments out of the White House on this issue. It is more than a distraction, it is unfortunate. It plays into the hands of those people who are not in favor of the relationship [between Israel and the U.S.], who are not in favor of Israel or who are in favor of Iran, and the idea that people are saying what they are saying I find most unfortunate."

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=23775

~~~~~~~~~~

On Tuesday, we had Susan Rice, National Security Advisor, saying that Netanyahu’s intention to speak to Congress is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” between the US and Israel.

A day later, Secretary of State Kerry was saying not only that Netanyahu was “uninformed,” he was just plain “wrong.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/obama-administration-offensive-against-netanyahu-115517.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz responded quickly (emphasis added):

Kerry, he said, “might not know everything we know.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/02/25/senior-israeli-minister-responds-to-kerrys-criticism-of-netanyahu-he-might-not-know-what-we-know/

Love it.

Steinitz explained that, “We know all that we need to know, and we have an excellent picture of the negotiations.”

He explained that Israel is in touch with French negotiators (by choice, the US is apparently out of this loop) who are dealing directly with Iran, and are thus well-versed in the details of the negotiations.

What is more, it is the information that has reach Israeli officials so far that has generated the greatest concern.  Steinitz acknowledged that the friendship with the US is a strategic asset, but “when it comes to the security of the State, we are also ready to fight.”

Steinitz is on the right in this picture, with Yossi Kuperwasser.

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz (r) and Yossi Kuperwasser attend a session of the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee at the Knesset, October 16, 2013 (photo credit: Flash90)

Credit: Flash 90

~~~~~~~~~~

I wrote last about my conversation with Yossi Kuperwasser, and here I present an important new paper he has done for BESA, “The Struggle over the Iranian Nuclear Program”:

It is incumbent on Israel to use all the diplomatic and political tools at its disposal to halt the signing of an accord with Iran that leaves Teheran with the capability to produce nuclear weapons...

“Thus Iran: continues to develop its arsenal of missiles; avoids providing information about its weapons activity and achievements; continues to enrich uranium using around 9,000 centrifuges of a relatively low-yield model, including at the Qom facility; maintains around 10,000 additional centrifuges that have been installed but are not yet active, most of them of the same type, but some more advanced; continues to develop different types of more advanced centrifuges, which it will be able to make operational should it need to do so; and continues to hold some 7.5 tons of enriched uranium to a level of 3.5% (which represents around half the investment in enrichment required for military-grade material). Once brought up to a 90% enrichment level, this would be sufficient fissionable material to make four or five atomic bombs...

It is possible to say that the fact that Iran has not yet developed nuclear weapons, in spite of the 27 years in which it has been trying to do so, is due in no small part to Israel’s efforts...Thus the claims made that Iran’s success in proceeding towards the attainment of nuclear weapons represent an Israeli failure, are themselves worthy of ridicule. Without Israel’s actions, Iran would have obtained nuclear weapons several years ago, and moreover, it is thanks to Israel’s actions that Iran is unlikely to obtain nuclear weapons for many years to come, even if an agreement is reached that does not meet Israeli expectations... (Emphasis here and below added.)

Western leaders, with Obama at their forefront, believe in the almost exclusive use of dialogue as a means to address disagreement. They believe that Muslim perspectives in general, and Iranian perspectives in particular, of the West as a historical oppressor that has wrought great harm to the region, contain an element of truth that needs to be acknowledged. They are convinced that the burden of proof as to the good intentions of the parties to the current negotiations falls first and foremost on the West, and in accordance with their liberal outlook, believe that all people share essentially similar and equally worthy values and aspirations.

On the other hand, the leaders of Iran, who are driven by a sense of mission that is both Islamic and revolutionary Iranian-nationalist, believe that it is their duty to bring about a wholesale change in the world order, using a combination of cunning, force, and daring, and making the most of the freedom of action afforded to them by the reined-in West. They are convinced that the West has no values whatsoever, and is unworthy of its current preferred status in international affairs.

As a result, the talks between the powers and Iran are not conducted in a manner reflecting the true balance of power between them, but rather the exact opposite. It is Iran that dictates the agenda, while America and the West attempt to placate the other side, and are hesitant about bringing up issues that they fear Iran will refuse to discuss, lest they be accused by Iran of lacking serious intent in the negotiations...

http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=7e381afc91d1b09aec08b492b&id=267a1ae9af&e=b64dce4bd6

~~~~~~~~~~

I end with an amazing video, showing who we are, in several different respects (with thanks to Chana G.):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZzQLxN-pTQ&feature=youtu.be

(I am recommending this video only, having not reviewed what follows automatically.)

~~~~~~~~~~

© 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/2015/2/26/february-26-2015-wearisome.html

Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 02:42PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

February 22, 2015: How Ugly Can It Get?

Before I get to the ugly stuff, let me begin with a lovely scene: Jerusalem in the snow. 
 
The snow fell this past Thursday night, accumulating to the better part of a foot and enfolding our beautiful city in a mantle of white.   It is gone now because of heavy rains over Shabbat.


 

Credit: thejc.com
 
The windmill you see in this picture is a Jerusalem landmark.  Built in the Mishkenot Sha'ananim neighborhood – the first Jewish neighborhood outside the walls of the Old City - in 1857, it was restored to working order a couple of years ago.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
From the sublime – the beauty of Jerusalem in the snow – to the ridiculous.  Because ridiculous is how I see the current political hoopla, which, yes, is also very, very ugly.
 
The issue is the scheduled talk by Prime Minister Netanyahu on March 3 in the Congress, on the subject of the negotiations with Iran. Should he go?  Is he damaging Israel’s relationship with the US by doing this?  Has the focus on Iran been lost because of the politics?  Is this a partisan issue in the US, pitting Democrats against Republicans? And on and on and on... 
 
Now it has been announced that Obama and Biden and Kerry may boycott the AIPAC conference, which is being held at the time Netanyahu will be in Washington.
 
And I doubt we’ve seen the end of this yet.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I am not going to belabor every step of this on-going maneuvering.  It would be a waste of my time and yours.
 
For all who have eyes to see, the situation that underlies this is quite clear: Obama is seeking to throw up a political smokescreen.  He wants to make things difficult for Netanyahu – to make him look small and less competent, to seem to be a trouble maker - because he desperately does not want the Congress or the American people to give credence to what our prime minister is going to say.  For what Bibi intends to say stands a reasonable chance of undercutting the negotiations.
 
This is not about personal animosity between Obama and Netanyahu, it is about an existential issue
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
It is not really a partisan issue, dividing Democrats and Republicans, either.  A piece written in Algemeiner last week estimated that 98% of the Senate and 95% of the House of Representatives will attend.  “Despite two weeks of intense anti-Netanyahu leaks, insults, and pressure, the White House has so far succeeded in persuading only a handful of Democratic members of Congress to stay away from the speech.”
 
http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/02/18/obamas-boycott-of-netanyahu-is-collapsing/
 
I would say it is more an issue that divides the Congress from the White House.  Which is why Congress should be given the courtesy of having Netanyahu share directly the information he has.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
As to damaging our relationship with the US...  In the end, what is being damaged is our relationship with one particular president, not our relationship with the US. Both Congress and the American people are with us.  Note that just today Israel announced the purchase of 14 additional next-generation US-made F-35 fighter jets, to be delivered in 2016.
 
Were Israel to adhere to whatever Obama wanted of us now, it would be suicidal.  In Hebrew we say, ein breira – no choice.  Obama has to be challenged. Netanyahu has made the point repeatedly now that we have displeased American presidents several times over the years, and yet have sustained a solid relationship with the US.  It started, our prime minister reminds us, with Ben Gurion, who flouted President Truman’s wish that he not announce Israeli independence when he did.
 
I am one of those who believes Netanyahu absolutely must not back down now – rescheduling his talk or changing the venue. There can be no backing down at this point.  There has been so much talk about how politicized this issue has become. But for Bibi to decline to speak to Congress as scheduled would also be a political act, because of how the situation has been framed.  He would be seen as weak, and Obama as the winner. And he would be letting down those who have spoken out for him to come.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Senator Marc Rubio (R-FL) makes yet another point: it is exceedingly important for Israel’s enemies to see that the Congress stands with Israel, for if they believe Congress is not with Israel as strongly as was once the case, they will be emboldened.  He implores all members of Congress to be present, to provide the support that Israel deserves.  They must not be distracted, he says, by the minor issues such as the way Boehner extended the invitation. Israel has been the most loyal of allies, and is in trouble now – and the members of Congress must provide public backing with their presence.
 
Please, see and then widely share Senator Rubio’s extraordinary speech:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODjcm7U4lo0#t=148
 
It has been a tough year for Florida Senator Marco Rubio. 2014 will be a big key how bright his future really is.

Credit: Newstalkflorida
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The public figure who most recently voiced support for what Netanyahu is doing is former NY City mayor, Rudy Guiliani.  In an interview with Israel Hayom, he said (emphasis added):
 
"Netanyahu's speech is absolutely essential. If I had been in his position, and the third most important person in the U.S. [the speaker of the House of Representatives] invited me to speak before Congress to explain the danger of a nuclear Iran -- of course I'd accept the invitation and come. You have to understand that I, as an American, fear a nuclear Iran no less than the prime minister of Israel and no less than the people of Israel. Think for a moment -- a bad agreement with Iran would give a group of irrational and insane people nuclear capability. If I were Netanyahu, I would go to the ends of the earth to discuss Iran's nuclear program -- on any stage I was given and in every situation. In our case, it's the Congress....
 
"I met with Bibi privately on two occasions two weeks ago. I told him I would be doing the exact same thing if I were him. I told him that the American people respect him and agree with him, even if Obama and his administration are trying to paint a different picture. Netanyahu is doing exactly what he needs to do: to come and speak out against a bad agreement, even if the government doesn't like it. Most Americans agree with Netanyahu on the Iranian issue."
 
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=23673

 

Credit: AP
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
In the course of this on-going political melodrama, we have just learned that Netanyahu has been accused of “leaking” information about the negotiations.  In fact, Obama has now admitted that he has been withholding information about the negotiations from Israel. 
 
http://www.frontpagemag.com/2015/ari-lieberman/obama-withholds-iran-negotiation-info-from-israel-1/
 
Obama’s claim is that Netanyahu would “cherry pick” the information he wished to leak without placing it “in context.”  He claims that Israel does not know the full context of negotiations, and thus is in no position to critique what’s going on.  But truth lies elsewhere: Obama does not want anyone to know how bad the deal is. 
 
As to not having full context, there are certain elements of what is going on that have been made public and are clear: that the infrastructure for enriching uranium would be left in place, that there are no restrictions on building of the missiles that would deliver a nuclear warhead, etc.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Key here is the matter of a confidential report from the IAEA, which has been obtained by AP and Reuters.  Any deal with Iran that lifted all sanctions is supposed to be predicated on the ability of the IAEA to monitor its program. But, says, the IAEA, Iran is being “evasive and ambiguous” as it tries to do a full assessment of the Iranian nuclear program. 
 
In the face of this evidence of the unreliability of Iran, world powers should not be wooing Iran for a deal, declared Netanyahu.
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/pm-stop-courting-an-iran-thats-refusing-to-come-clean-on-its-nuke-program/
 
Not exactly “cherry picking,” is it?
 
~~~~~~~~~~ 
 
I note with more than passing interest that Sunni Arab states have been voicing concern to the US about the impending deal with Iran.
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/arab-nations-said-deeply-concerned-over-nuclear-agreement/
 
What I wonder is whether these states would be speaking out if Netanyahu had not done so first. 
 
Of course, they are not saying explicitly that they agree with the Israeli prime minister.  Perish the thought.  But this is implicit in what’s happening.  And as I see it, it shifts the dynamic.  While Obama is prepared to come out swinging when the critic is Netanyahu, his tone is more deferential with the Arabs.
 
In fact, we’re hearing something now that we haven’t heard in a while.  For some time Obama has been saying that a deal is close, is possible.  But yesterday, Kerry declared that there were “significant gaps” and that the US was prepared to walk away if terms were not satisfactory.  Doesn’t mean they don’t still intend to push ahead (they do), but this is a different tone.
 
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4629230,00.html
 
That the US is pushing ahead was made evident as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry were meeting today for “intensive talks.”
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I end with this piece, “Divided over that speech, not over a lousy deal with Iran,” by David Horovitz, editor of The Times of Israel (emphasis added):
 
“It is time to reframe the dispute. We are not witnessing what is being widely depicted as a battle between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government over the timing, content and ostensible partisan implications of the prime minister’s scheduled March 3 address to Congress over Iran. We are, rather, watching the collapse of trust between the two leaderships over the critical issue of thwarting Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
 
“The looming deal is similarly inexplicable to the political rivals of Netanyahu who are campaigning to oust him in general elections on March 17...
 
”Where [Zionist camp head Bujie] Herzog and other Israeli party leaders differ with Netanyahu is over his handling of the crisis. Like Herzog, centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid does not underestimate the Iranian threat. They just both think that Netanyahu is acting counterproductively and for domestic political reasons by preparing to lobby publicly against Obama in Congress, when they say he ought to be working to shift the administration more discreetly, behind the scenes.
 
“Of course, party leaders like Herzog and Lapid have to publicly criticize and castigate the prime minister; we’re less than a month from elections, and their entire domestic political goal is to undermine Israeli public confidence in his leadership so as to unseat him...”
 
No, no.  There is no “of course” here!  Horovitz elaborates on this point:
 
”In truth, it can hardly be doubted that Netanyahu has tried to impact the president’s stance in years of one-on-one conversations and in the endless top-level contacts between his officials and the Obama administration. The nature of the imminent deal — whose terms cannot be independently verified, but are profoundly troubling to such diplomatic veterans as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz — would indicate that private argument and entreaty have failed...

 
In these final weeks of the election campaign, the face-off with Obama has become one more issue for the challengers to use against Netanyahu...
 
”Three years ago at a graveside in Jerusalem, the prime minister eulogized his father, historian Benzion Netanyahu, for having ‘taught me, Father, to look at reality head-on, to understand what it holds and to come to the necessary conclusions.’


“The prime minister says it would have been unthinkable to turn down the invitation to set out his concerns in the world’s most resonant parliamentary forum. 

Israel and those who care for Israel should not be blindsided by the battling between Netanyahu and Obama, or between Netanyahu and his domestic rivals, over the Congressional speech.

They should be sounding the alarm to prevent a deal that would allow Iran to maintain an enrichment capability and other core aspects of its nuclear program.

Those who care for Israel, in short, should look at reality head-on, understand what it holds, and come to the necessary conclusions...”


http://www.timesofisrael.com/divided-over-that-speech-not-over-a-lousy-deal-with-iran/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
This, then, is part of the picture of how ugly it can get, and writing about this embarrasses me even as it infuriates me.  The existential issues of a nuclear Iran transcend political election issues.  Or should. Yes, yes, I know about campaigning.  But it seems to me nonetheless that a maximum show of public support for the prime minister as he does battle for the sake of Israel would be in order.  I would suggest that the very fact of how self-serving these candidates – Bujie, Livni, Lapid, et al - are needs to be factored into assessments of their qualifications for office.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
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Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 03:02PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

February 24, 2015: Lies, Threats and Politics

The situation surrounding the negotiations with Iran and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress daily grows more ominous, more convoluted, and more contentious.

I would like to begin with the latest “scoop” – which is supposed to put the lie to Bibi’s charge in 2012 in the UN (complete with that famous chart) that Iran was on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power.

As Arutz Sheva described the situation yesterday:

“Al Jazeera began publishing Monday night several documents allegedly leaked from the Israeli Mossad – via the Spy Cables database shared with the British Guardian.

One of the documents alleged that, just a few weeks after the famous speech Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave in 2012 assessing Iran as being about one year away from building a nuclear weapon, the Mossad sent a confidential report to South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) stating that, in their estimation, ‘Iran does not engage in the necessary activities required for the production of weapons of mass destruction.’  (Emphasis added)

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191748#.VOyL4pv9nIV

~~~~~~~~~~

Ah ha! went the cries of those opposed to Bibi’s speech – See, he exaggerated, he misrepresented, he’s not to be trusted. 

No so, my friends.  And please do not take my word for this. 

Today I contacted Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, until recently the director-general of the Ministry of Security Affairs.  There is no contradiction between the alleged Mossad report and what Bibi said, Kuperwasser explained:

The Mossad was talking about weaponization. And it’s true that in 2012 Iran was not involved in the weaponization process – they had already done this before 2003.  (I note that by 1998 Iran was domestically producing the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2, and by 2003 the Shahab-3 – ballistic missiles being one part of the weaponization.)
 
What the prime minister was talking about, said Kuperwasser, was the enrichment process: Iran had stocks of uranium enriched to 20%, and were in the position of being able to follow through to do enrichment to 90+%, which is what is needed for weapons purposes.

What must be made clear, however, is that in bringing the uranium to 20%, 90% of the enrichment effort has already been expended. That is, the hard part is getting it to 20%.  To move it from 20% to 90+% – which is weapons grade uranium – is a relatively quick and simple process. This is the danger Netanyahu was warning the world about in 2012.

~~~~~~~~~~

But there is even more, which I ask you to note as well, from Yossi Melman, intelligence correspondent, writing in the JPost (emphasis added):

“After promising to release a bombshell of leaked secret Mossad cables, Al Jazeera’s publication of documents later Monday fell short of that mark...Al Jazeera did not obtain an original and authenticated document from the Mossad...

“What they published was a South Africa Sate Security Agency (SSA document that is based on a briefing given to them by the Mossad.  The document from 2013 contains no secrets and any reader, or follower of public reports on Iran’s nuclear program, especially the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is familiar with the facts written in that document.

“The Mossad provided details in its briefing, such as the quantities of Iran’s enriched uranium at its two levels – 3.5% and 20% – about the development of Iran’s nuclear reactor at Arak, and its statement that Iran is ‘not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.’

“That assessment was correct – it isn’t possible to utilize fissile material for a bomb only with 20% enriched uranium – an enrichment of 93% is required – and Iran did not have it at the time of the document’s writing, and doesn’t have it now.  Certainly it doesn’t present any evidence of a wedge between the Mossad and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with regard to Iran’s nuclear program...

Israeli intelligence estimates are that Iran is working to be a nuclear power – a few months way from the ability to assemble the bomb – but not capable of building it now.

More than anything, Iran wants the international community to lift the economic sanctions.

Israeli intelligence researchers know that Iran is already on the verge of becoming a nuclear threshold state.  It has the know-how, technology and materials to construct the bomb in a matter of a few months or perhaps a year, if and when the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives the order.”

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Al-Jazeeras-release-of-Mossad-cables-falls-short-391976

And so please, my friends, do not believe everything you read and hear in the current effort to discredit Netanyahu.

~~~~~~~~~~

Please see, as well, yet another piece – “Now we know who to believe on Iran,” by David Horovitz, editor of Time of Israel (emphasis added):

“The Obama administration claimed Israel was misrepresenting its deal with the ayatollahs.  Reports from Geneva indicate Israel’s concerns were all too accurate...

“After anonymous sources in Jerusalem leaked to Israeli reporters in recent weeks the ostensible terms of the deal being hammered out, various spokespeople for the Obama administration contended that the Netanyahu government was misrepresenting the specifics for narrow political ends. They sneered that Israel didn’t actually know what the terms were. And they made the acknowledgement — the astounding acknowledgement for a United States whose key regional ally is directly and relentlessly threatened with destruction by Iran — that the Obama administration is consequently no longer sharing with Jerusalem all sensitive details of the Iran talks.

And yet among the terms of the deal being reported by the Associated Press from Geneva on Monday are precisely those that were asserted in recent weeks by the Israeli sources, precisely those that were scoffed at by the Administration. Centrally, Iran is to be allowed to keep 6,500 centrifuges spinning, and there will be a sunset clause providing for an end to intrusive inspections in some 10-15 years. If anything, indeed, some of the terms reported by the AP are even more worrying than those that were leaked in Jerusalem: ‘The idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement,’ the AP said, ‘gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment program and slowly easing economic sanctions.’ There is also no indication of restrictions on Iran’s missile development — its potential delivery systems...

It goes without saying that this weekend’s developments in Geneva have only bolstered Netanyahu’s determination to sound the alarm before Congress next Tuesday. It’s also still clearer today why the Obama administration has been so anxious to query his motives and seek to discredit his concerns.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/now-we-know-who-to-believe-on-iran/
 
~~~~~~~~~~

“It is also still clearer today why the Obama administration has been so anxious to query [Netanyahu’s] motives and seek to discredit his concerns.”

Keep this in mind, please, as you read the hysterical accusations against Bibi. And I ask that you do something else.  Speak out with the facts.  You know the routine: do talkbacks on the Internet, letters to the editor, call-ins on talk-shows, put this information on your FB pages and websites, put it up on group discussion lists, etc. etc. Here is an opportunity to help Israel.

~~~~~~~~~~

Yet another charge that is being leveled at Netanyahu is that the unrest he is “causing,” the tension he is generating politically in the US, will result in a reduction of American support for Israel.

The only problem with this charge is that it’s not true. A Gallup poll conducted between February 8 and February 11 indicates that seven in 10 Americans continue to view Israel favorably, and there has been no significant change in that number from a year ago.

“According to Gallup’s explanation of the results, these numbers suggest that neither the friction between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama nor last summer’s conflict in Gaza significantly impacted on the US public’s perceptions toward Israel or the Palestinians.”
 
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Gallup-poll-US-public-support-for-Israel-not-hurt-by-Iran-flap-391934

~~~~~~~~~~~

And then this piece of news:

Two Democratic Senators, Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California), have written a letter to PM Netanyahu, inviting him to meet with Democratic lawmakers while he is in Washington next week. Their intention is to “maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties in Congress.”


http://www.timesofisrael.com/democratic-senators-invite-netanyahu-to-meet-in-washington/
 
I have no more information at this point, but this seems a positive turn of events.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The negotiations in Geneva?  Terrifying. Rushing at break-neck speed to something disastrous.  News about how the deal is shaping up, and other indications that it might not come together.

I will be writing about this in up-coming posts, needless to say, but hope also to touch some other bases.

~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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.

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Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 02:48PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

February 17, 2015: The Stuff of Heartbreak

It is just short of two years ago that Adelle Biton, then two years of age, was driving in the Shomron with her mother and two older sisters, when Arabs threw rocks at their car, causing it to spin out of control and collide with an oncoming truck.  Her mother and sisters were moderately injured. Adelle, however, incurred severe brain injury.  She spent a long time in a hospital and then time in a rehab center, before she was brought home, still severely disabled, to continue therapies. 
 
Adva, her mother, was remarkable for her constant devotion and her optimism. 
 
Adva and Adelle Biton

Credit: Yoni Kempinsky
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Today, Adelle Biton succumbed to pneumonia.
 
On learning the news, I cried.  Such a painful and unnecessary loss of tender young life.  Such anguish for the family.
 
And so, Baruch Dayan HaEmet.  The Almighty has taken Adelle.  May He grant healing for the hearts of Adva and her husband, Rafi, and other members of the family.
 
As to those who throw such stones (or firebombs or firecrackers), may He allow them no peace. 
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
An occurrence such as this brings us upright, and sharpens our perspective.  There are issues that truly, truly matter. And others that are imbued with nonsense and pettiness and self-interest.  And I say honestly today that I have precious little patience for the constant flow of nonsense and pettiness and self-interest that passes for “news” these days. 
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Sadly, there is yet one more death I must report: Minister Uri Ohrbach, 54, passed away yesterday after a battle with an unnamed blood disease.  He had worked as a journalist and author for years, before joining a new Habayit Hayehudi and entering the Knesset.
 
He is being widely saluted as a man of exceptional sincerity, gentleness and wit. What is clear is that this was a man who was greatly loved.
 
Orbach in the Knesset (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

Credit: Alex Kolomoisky
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
So, let us look at some of the news that does matter (if only people would pay attention):
 
Just a week ago, the IDF and the Shin Bet launched raids in the area southwest of Jenin, uncovering large quantities of firearms, ammunition and knives – sufficient to "strengthen [Hamas’s] grip on the territory."  Hamas does not intend to stop trying, folks.  Let us not forget this.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The IDF has warned the government that the PA could collapse at any time.
 
“In one of the scenarios that the IDF presented, a small localized security incident, like an altercation between settlers and Palestinians, or the throwing of a Molotov cocktail could quickly escalate to rioting in the Galilee and the Triangle area. With the weakened Palestinian Authority a situation like this is liable to lead to terrorist organizations taking control of the West Bank.” 
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/IDF-security-assessment-The-Palestinian-Authority-can-collapse-at-any-moment-390934
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Repeatedly, it has been the case that rumors spread by Palestinian Authority “leaders” regarding alleged Israeli threats to the Al Aqsa Mosque have served as incitement – whipping up the populace to fury and violence.
 
Now we learn from the Palestinian Media Watch that the PA is renewing this incitement:
 
For example, on February 5, the PA Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is warned that since January, Israel has made "over a hundred attacks and incidents of desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Ibrahimi Mosque (i.e., Cave of the Patriarchs)" and that "the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in grave and direct danger and that with every sunrise. this danger grows."
 
Similar statements are being made by others.
 
http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=14016
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Defense Minister Bogie Ya’alon, for his part, has leveled another sort of charge at the PA. In a taped address to the annual conference of the INSS - the Institute for National Security Studies, he said:
 
“We tried after [Operation] Protective Edge, with Egyptian agreement, to facilitate the entry of the PA into the Strip, but they didn’t want it,”


“...it was clear that the only way to allow the more open transfer of goods and people in and out of Gaza to Israel and Egypt would be through the stationing of PA troops at the border crossings.

“We created a three-way mechanism – the [Israeli] Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Palestinian prime minister, and the UN representative Robert Serry. What’s left of that today?  The coordinator and Robert Serry. The Palestinians ran away!  They are good at accusing us at the UN and the Security Council and the ICC. But when it comes time to take responsibility, they are nowhere, and this was not the first time.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/yaalon-lambastes-pa-for-bailing-out-on-plan-to-ease-gaza-blockade/

~~~~~~~~~~

In sharing this accusation by Ya’alon, I am not endorsing the idea of PA officers at the Gaza crossing.  My intent, rather, is to point a finger directly at the PA and to be certain that people understand precisely what we are dealing with.  With the focus on Iran, I hadn’t mentioned Abbas or the PA for several days.

Martin Indyk, who consistently works against Israel’s best interests, has just made a statement regarding what’s going to happen after the elections. There will be increased pressure on Israel to go back to negotiations, he warned, including via a Security Council resolution.

And my inclination is to tell him, and all of his ilk, to stuff it. We are supposed to make “peace” with these guys?  They are going to administer a secure and responsible and peaceful state?  Of course neither Martin or others who think as he does believe a peaceful “two-state solution” is really around the corner. But hey, if Israel can be weakened...

The lesson.  We have to be on our guard in all quarters.

~~~~~~~~~~

Of course, there is also the occasional politician on the far left here in Israel who says it’s time for us to withdraw unilaterally from Judea and Samaria since negotiations don’t work.  Great idea!  I believe they have oatmeal between their ears in place of brains.

~~~~~~~~~~

Yesterday, Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot was sworn in as IDF Chief of Staff, replacing Benny Gantz.  Eisenkot is described as “cool and calculated, someone who will strike hard and fast – but only if he has to.”  He served in the vaunted Golani Brigade.

We can only pray for General Eisenkot’s wisdom and bravery and cool head, as he faces incredible challenges in the weeks and months ahead.

Credit: Israel Defense

~~~~~~~~~~
 
The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations is meeting here in Jerusalem this week.  I close today by sharing a video of the remarks of Prime Minister Netanyahu to this group.  His focus, of course, was his up-coming speech in the Congress on Iran.  Worth a listen.
 
http://www.voiceofisrael.com/netanyahu-conference-presidents-sacred-duty-make-israels-case/?utm_source=ZohoCampaigns&utm_campaign=Feb+16%2C+2015_2015-02-16&utm_medium=email
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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/2015/2/22/february-17-2015-the-stuff-of-heartbreak.html

 

Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 04:34AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

February 15, 2015: The Good Guys

The good guys give hope and promise for the possibility of better days coming.
 
Many spirits were buoyed on Friday, when the news broke that Elie Wiesel had announced that he would be attending Netanyahu’s March 3rd address in Congress "on the catastrophic danger of a nuclear Iran."
 
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a close associate of Wiesel’s, announced that he would be placing full page ads in the NY Times and the Washington Post that would declare Wiesel’s intention of coming to Congress to hear Netanyahu, and would broadcast his invitation to Obama and others: "Will you join me in hearing the case for keeping weapons from those who preach death to Israel and America?"
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191326#.VOC4opv9nIU
 

credit: failedmessiah

~~~~~~~~~~

All I am aware of at this point is that the NY Times ad did appear yesterday.  You can see it here (with my thanks to Cheryl L.):

http://thisworld.us/2015/02/13/nobelist-elie-wiesel-to-attend-netanyahu-speech/

~~~~~~~~~~

In a situation that has become shamefully politicized and partisan, Wiesel brings attention back to the real issue – the dangers of Iran.  Speaking as he has for decades on the horrors of the Holocaust, he is able to draw a direct line to what we face today.  And, very importantly, he does it with a stature that is non-partisan.

Do I imagine that Obama is going to rush to join Wiesel in Congress to hear Bibi?  Of course not.  But I do have hope that this public action will take some of the wind out of the the president’s political sails.  It is clear that Obama has been going on about “protocol” and “elections campaigns” in order to distract from his major concern: Netanyahu’s challenge to the deal with Iran that is currently in the works.  When it is pointed out by someone such as Wiesel that we are confronting a situation that is terrifying, hopefully it becomes just a tad more difficult for Obama to continue with the same obfuscation.

~~~~~~~~~~

Governor Mike Huckabee and his wife are in town now; they will be leading a mission of some 250 people – many coming for the first time – who will be touring the country to learn about Israel’s heritage.

This morning, Governor Huckabee held a press conference.  He has not yet announced that he will be running for president, but there is considerable reason to believe that this will be the case.  And I see this to the good.  As he addressed subjects of major concern for journalists today, he was very much on the mark:

We are, said the governor, in the midst of a crucial historical time, as we face the threat of radical Islam. This is a threat not just to Israel.  Israel is the canary in the coal mine, but is not Iran’s ultimate target – a nuclear Iran would be a huge threat to the US and other nations.

We are not looking at a personal conflict between Obama and Netanyahu, but rather at the question of whether we trust Iran.  The strategy of loosening sanctions is counterintuitive – there should be pressure put upon Iran now to bring it to the breaking point.

It is stupid to declare in advance what we are not going to do. Everything must be on the table. The government of Iran has no credibility – it’s like negotiating with a snake. America’s leading from behind has had disastrous consequences.

~~~~~~~~~~

 
Governor Huckabee absolutely believes Netanyahu should speak in Congress. Speeches of power can have a great impact.  And Netanyahu may be uniquely qualified to deliver that speech.
 
We should remain assured that there is strong Democratic support for Israel in Congress.  Much of the partisan tension we are seeing now is anti-Boehner not anti-Israel.

 

Credit: The Guardian
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Please see here another very cogent argument regarding the need to counter Obama as vigorously as possible with regard to Iran. This article – “Worse Than No Strategy” - is written by Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (emphasis added):
 
“It seems like only yesterday that President Obama was being criticized for having no strategy to counter the jihadi threat...
 
“Since then, a different perception has been taking root: Mr. Obama does indeed have a strategy – a ‘secret strategy,’ one that is alarmingly misguided.
 
According to this theory, he believes that fighting terrorism requires accommodating the regime long recognized by the U.S. government as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism: the Islamic Republic of Iran.
 
“He may also see the Islamic Republic not as a rival to the Islamic State but as a more moderate alternative -- despite the fact that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly declared hostility toward America the foundation of the Islamic revolution. The president appears to believe that Sunni jihadis can be countered by Shia jihadis...
 
“Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, has not just speculated about Mr. Obama’s ‘secret strategy.’ He has painstakingly combed through the record and produced a 9,000-word report persuasively establishing that Mr. Obama, since early in his presidency, has been in pursuit of a ‘comprehensive agreement’ that would allow Iran to become what the president has called ‘a very successful regional power.’
 
Understand what that means: Iran would be the hegemon of the Middle East....”
 
http://defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/may-clifford-d-worse-than-no-strategy/
 
Is it any wonder that Binyamin Netanyahu has refused to be dissuaded in his determination to address the US Congress on the issue of Iran?
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
You might also want to see “Anatomy of a Bad Iran Deal: A Preliminary Assessment,” by Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (emphasis added).
 
A key factor of concern here, as elsewhere is the number of centrifuges that Iran would be permitted to maintain. 
 
“The numbers are important. In a scenario of ‘breakout,’ in which the Iranians race to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for their first atomic bomb, the number of centrifuges largely determines the amount of time the Iranians will need to accomplish this goal...
 
“Iran currently has 19,000 centrifuges, 9,000 of which are running and 10,000 that are installed but not operating. Israel’s position is that Iran should have zero centrifuges. The reason is that if Iran truly needs enriched uranium for civilian purposes, it could import enriched uranium as do roughly 15 other countries, such as Canada, Mexico, and Spain. The Israeli position is in line with six UN Security Council resolutions that were adopted between 2006 and 2010, with the support of Russia and China. 
 
“...at the beginning of the current round of negotiations, the United States was demanding that Iran significantly reduce its stock of centrifuges to 1,500, but in doing so dropped the longstanding U.S. policy that Iran eliminate its centrifuges completely.
 
“...According to multiple press reports, Western negotiators have raised the ceiling for the number of centrifuges that Iran will be allowed to have: they have gone from 1,500 to 4,500, and they now appear to be ready to let the Iranians have 6,000 centrifuges.”
 
When other factors - such as the amount of enriched uranium Iran would be permitted to retain – Iran’s breakout time for producing enough weapons-grade uranium for an atomic bomb would be six months and possibly considerably less.
 
http://jcpa.org/anatomy-of-a-bad-iran-deal/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Last time it was Paris. This time Copenhagen.  Terrifying, but not unexpected.
 
Early yesterday, a gunman shot into a café where a Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad was speaking. Vilks body guards successfully whisked him away and he hid in a freezer (shades of Paris). Someone else inside the café - Finn Norgaard, 55, a film director, took a bullet and was killed.
 
Today, Dan Uzan, 37, a longtime security guard. and a Jew, was shot dead.  Uzan was guarding a synagogue where a Bat Mitzvah celebration was taking place.  According to reports, he was brought in after the café shooting.
 
The police have pursued and killed someone whom they say they believe was the perpetrator of both attacks. There has been official reluctance to identify him, but Danish media sources are saying it was Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, a man known by authorities and possessing a record of violence.  He had been released from prison two weeks ago.
 
Could it possibly be, by any remote chance, that a politically correct aversion to fingering a Muslim is behind the police reluctance to officially reveal the terrorist’s identity?
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
The Danish are deeply distressed that this terrorism has come to their door. They are eager to express their horror, and their readiness to protect all citizens and keep life normal.  Here you see pictures of flowers brought to the synagogue where the shooting took place. 
 

 

Credit:US News

 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Yet, the questions must be asked:  Where next?  And, what normal?
 
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that this attacks would continue and that the Jews should come home to Israel.  One Danish leader of the Jewish community criticized this, saying that anti-Semitism is not a reason to leave.
 
It’s not?  Not even when the handwriting is on the wall? Note the Israeli flag hung on the synagogue over the flowers.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I close here, then, with a piece on this issue – “After Copenhagen, What Next for Europe?” - written by David Harris, president of the American Jewish Committee. Says Harris (emphasis added):
“...after 15 years of engaging with European leaders to get their attention, help them understand what stares them in the face, and press for sustained action, I'm not quite ready to bet the family farm that the day after tomorrow will be all that different than the day before yesterday.

“Even so, I desperately want to believe that Europe, with all its dazzling achievements since the end of World War II, can still strengthen its resolve, stiffen its spine, and fully understand the stakes involved, however late in the day it is.”

A bit of wishful thinking, given present realities, but what he would wish for is instructive and worth noting.  He calls for the following now:

[] ...”quickly organize a high-level conference to discuss the rise in anti-Semitism...discuss and adopt a comprehensive plan of action, and then implement and monitor it. 

[]  “European leaders must understand, as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has, that anti-Semitism is not only an attack on Jews, but also an assault on Europe and its values. The two cannot be separated

[] “call a spade a spade. For many Europeans, there is no hesitation in identifying the source of anti-Semitism when it emanates from right-wing extremists. But when anti-Semitism, including deadly violence, springs from within a segment of the Muslim population, verbal acrobatics all too often come into play. If you can't name the adversary, how can you effectively fight it? 

[] “stop tying anti-Semitism to Islamophobia, as if the two are Siamese twins. AJC's Brussels office has been trying for months to encourage a European Parliament hearing on anti-Semitism, only to be met with insistence that any such meeting include Islamophobia. Why this demand to join the two together, when the majority of incidents occurs against Jews, when Europe has a particularly ugly history of anti-Semitism, and when the principal attackers of Jews invoke their Islamic faith?

[] “recognize that we confront both a short- and long-term menace that won't be overcome by even the most eloquent of speeches and the most symbolic of acts. Rather, it requires a full-court, sustained effort by individual governments (and, of course, by the EU) using the resources they have the capacity to mobilize, joined by the determined efforts of civil society.
 
[] “connect the lessons of the Holocaust to the present-day threat to the Jews. I've witnessed too many Holocaust-related events where murdered Jews are mourned -- Jews who, tragically, cannot be brought back to life -- but that totally ignore the current dangers to living Jews. A refusal to connect the two quite frankly empties these commemorations of much of their meaning and sincerity.
 
[] don't apologize for European values of democracy, human dignity, openness, and pluralism....It's high time to stand up in defense of these noble values and do everything possible to ensure that newcomers embrace them as well.
 
[] “it is important to understand that the jihadist barbarism which Europe is experiencing first-hand is not much different from what Israel has been facing for decades. Why, then, does Europe continue to try drawing a distinction, when, in reality none exists? The same jihadists who hate Europe detest Israel, and the same jihadists who wish for Israel's annihilation aspire to no less for Europe as we know it.”
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-harris/after-copenhagen-what-nex_b_6688370.html
 
Right on!  This is a reasonably comprehensive list of what’s wrong in Europe today, regarding anti-Semitism and radical Islam.  Now...if only.
 
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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/2015/2/16/february-15-2015-the-good-guys.html

 

 

Posted on Monday, February 16, 2015 at 04:40AM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

February 11, 2015: Crystal Clear

In case you still had doubts about Obama’s positions regarding jihadi terrorism, I provide here just one more instance that makes it clear how eager he is to deny what is in front of all our faces.
 
Two days ago, in the course of an interview with Matthew Yglesias of Vox.com, the president referred to the Islamic jihadis who shot up the kosher store in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attack as “vicious zealots” who “randomly” shot “a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”
 
The “vicious zealots” are not identified as Islamists.  (They never are so identified by Obama, are they?)  As he sees it, the choice of a kosher deli was just a coincidence.  And the shooting victims were merely “a bunch of folks,” and not Jews, specifically.
 
Mind blowing, really. 
 
You can see the video in which he says this, here: 
 
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/02/09/obama_legitimate_for_americans_to_be_concerned_about_violent_zealots_who_randomly_shoot_people_in_paris_deli.html
 
~~~~~~~~~
 
Ah, but there is more that illustrates how Obama perceives matters – or purports to perceive them at any rate.  It is “legitimate,” he says, to be concerned about these vicious zealots and to devote resources to dealing with them, just as a big city mayor acts to cut crime.
 
This too indicates an obfuscation of the genuine underlying problem that we are confronting: that problem being the ideology of radical Islam.  Dealing with street criminals is not parallel at all. This analogy serves to underplay the seriousness of what is threatening the free world right now.
 
Lastly, I mention this, more for a laugh than anything else.  Obama says it is good to allocate resources to dealing with these “zealots,” but it is important to also devote attention to “future threats” such as “global warming.”
 
Is this man for real?  I am certain that all of my readers across the east coast of the US have spent inordinate amounts of time this winter worrying about the imminent threat of global warming.  (Actually, satellite data indicates there has been no global warming for about 20 years.)
 
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A great deal of energy was expended following these remarks by Obama, in attempts to justify what he meant. 
 
White House press secretary Josh Earnest, for example, explained that: “the individuals who were killed in the terrible tragic incident were killed not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be."
 
This is pathetic sophistry.  No, the victims of the massacre were not singled out by individual identity.  But does anyone imagine that the terrorists’ selection of an establishment where kosher food is sold, on a Friday afternoon when Jews would be shopping for Shabbat preparations, was just random?  Is there anyone even half-way honest who truly believes that the fact that it was Jews who were killed was purely a random happening?
 
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki also dealt with this. She was asked the question: “Does the administration believe that this was...an attack on the Jewish community in France?”
 
She replied: I don’t think we’re going to speak on behalf of French authorities and what they believe was the situation at play here...”
 
The questioner persisted: “But if a guy goes into a kosher market and starts shooting it up, he’s not looking for Buddhists, is he?  Who does the administration expect shops at a kosher (store)? ...I’m not sure I can understand how it is that you can’t say this was a targeted attack.”
 
Her response:  “I don’t have more for you...it’s an issue for the French government to address.”
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191210#.VNtbBpv9nIU
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
After the attack at Hyper-Cache, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, “How can we accept that in France, we still hear about the death of Jews? How can we accept that people are killed because they are Jewish?"
 
What I ask is how we deal with this: that the French prime minister was able to accept an ugly reality, while the American president and those who speak for his administration dance around it?
 
I see this state of affairs as alarming.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Meanwhile, Prime Minster Netanyahu continues to make it clear that he intends to speak to Congress and the American people about a matter that is existential for Israel.  He will speak in Congress, because the Congressional role may be important, and he will speak before March 24th. (He has clarified this in response to suggestions that the venue of the talk or its timing be changed.)
 
You can see a short video of his statement here (all emphasis following is added):
 
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=23451
 
At a time when there are those who are dealing with protocol and politics, a bad deal is being put together in Munich that will endanger Israel’s existence.”
 
Israel’s survival is not a partisan issue.  Not in Israel, nor in the United States...
 
"I am going to the United States not because I seek a confrontation with [U.S. President Barack Obama], but because I must fulfill my obligation to speak up on a matter that affects the very survival of my country."
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
"Disagreements over Israel's security have occurred between prime ministers in Israel from the Left and from the Right and American presidents from both parties.

"None of these disagreements led to a rupture in the relationship between Israel and the United States. In fact, over time, our relationship grew stronger.

[He refers here to some major US-Israel disagreements over time.]


"But we do have today a profound disagreement with the United States administration and the rest of the P5+1 over the offer that has been made to Iran. This offer would enable Iran to threaten Israel's survival. This is a regime, Iran, that is openly committed to Israel's destruction. It would be able, under this deal, to break out to a nuclear weapon in a short time, and within a few years, to have the industrial capability to produce many nuclear bombs for the goal of our destruction.


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

~~~~~~~~~~
 
Bibi is diligently seeking to separate out the political accusations from genuine security concerns. And yet, those opposed to what he has to say (read, those supporting the Obama administration) continue to try to delegitimize his efforts to speak out on Iran by accusing him of playing politics, making the matter partisan, etc.
 
Once again, I urge that if you are in the US, you contact your elected representatives in Congress. Tell them that Iran’s threat to Israel is not a partisan matter.  Encourage them to listen to what Israel’s prime minister will be saying on March 3.  And most especially, urge them to support the Kirk-Menendez bill.
 
For your Congresspersons: 

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

For your Senators: 

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm 

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One of the accusations made early on, regarding the Netanyahu talk in Congress, is that it was planned without (it was claimed) prior notification to the White House. This was said to be a serious lapse of protocol.  Well...I thought I’d take a minute to look at how Obama observed protocol when he was here here in Israel. 

As Aaron Lerner of IMRA describes the situation: 

”Back on 21 March 2013 President Barack Obama declined to address the democratically elected Knesset and instead chose to speak to a crowd that was screened by the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to preclude Israelis who did not share Mr. Obama's outlook on Arab-Israeli affairs. The White House termed this selected group ‘the People of Israel.’”
 
Ruby Rivlin, who was then Speaker of the Knesset, called the situation “worrying”:
 
”Three American presidents have spoken on the Knesset stage, as well as [Egyptian president Anwar] Sadat and leaders from Europe.  President Obama should speak to the people of Israel through its elected representatives.”
 
http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Rivlin-slams-Obama-for-not-visiting-Knesset-307083
 
Obama only focuses on protocol when it suits him. 
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Zahava Gal-On, head of the far left Meretz, had hoped to prevent the broadcasting of Bibi’s speech here in Israel, on the grounds that it constituted electioneering, two weeks before the March 17th election. 

Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has said, however, that there is no reason to block Israeli media outlets from carrying the speech, which “has a very clear news value...;” is “substantially related to the prime minister’s work, so that one cannot say it enters the realm of electioneering;” and “will deal with important matters relating to Israel’s foreign policy and which hold interest for the public.”


~~~~~~~~~~
 
As to what is going on regarding the negotiations with Iran, let’s take a look at the latest:
 
John Hannah, of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, writes (emphasis added):
 
Iran appears to be working systematically to advance all three of the elements essential to its nuclear weapons program: 1) the ability to enrich uranium to weapons-grade (by developing more powerful centrifuges); 2) a nuclear explosive device...; and 3) a delivery vehicle (the ballistic missile program). The Iranians have been using the breathing space provided by the interim deal to improve parts of their weapons program that aren't yet quite up to snuff. In terms of sheer technical capability, Iran will be in a better position to breakout to a bomb in the aftermath of the interim deal than before it took effect.
   
The pretense that this process was about compelling a rabidly anti-American theocracy that has been at war with America for four decades to surrender permanently its nuclear weapons ambitions is now out the window. In its place, what remains is the quixotic pursuit of some form of grand bargain, a rapprochement that - while leaving the bulk of Iran's nuclear infrastructure in place - will somehow work over time to tame the Islamic Republic.

We see today an Iran on the march throughout the region, plotting terror attacks in the Western Hemisphere, and actively seeking to advance key elements of its nuclear program in the middle of a negotiation whose very purpose is to end that program.”
 
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/10/how-congress-became-the-fall-guy-for-obamas-iran-deal/
 
This title presents its own commentary.  Read it, my friends, and weep, or, far better stand up and scream bloody murder.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the following comment after emerging from a closed-door briefing on the status of negotiations with Iran (emphasis added):

"It's evident that these negotiations are really not P5+1 negotiations anymore.  It's really more of a bilateral negotiation between the United States and Iran."

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191195#.VNtxp5v9nIV
 
This has been obvious for some time to anyone who has been watching closely. But now it’s being said publicly.  And this is scary as hell.  Do you realize how much power this gives Obama?  And how critical it is that Netanyahu address the Congress?
 
The way I see it, those P5 + 1 powers that are not actively participating in negotiations have abdicated their solemn responsibility to be involved.  I know that France, at least – and perhaps others as well - has been discontent with the Obama position, which is seen as too lenient.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
And let’s see just how lenient the US is.  As Omri Ceren provided a review of the situation two days ago:
 
“As always there are two things at stake: process and substance. Process is about the technicalities of the next few months: when are scheduled talks, what are deadlines for various agreements, etc. Substance is about what will ultimately be acceptable to the parties: the structure of the deal, centrifuge capacity, plutonium-production capability, etc.

“The American stance on process is that there's a March deadline for a political agreement and a June deadline for a technical agreement. The stance on substance is that the West will trade phased sanctions relief for Iran meeting confidence building benchmarks.”

On Sunday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had given a speech laying out the conditions he would consider acceptable in negotiations. It took a bit of time for careful translation to proceed.  This is the heart of what Ceren reports regarding the Ayatollah’s positions:

(1) Process - rejects political agreement - "I do not favor remarks that we should agree on some principles and later on details. I dislike it when they say that there should be a deal on general principles at one stage and then we can talk about details. Given our experience with the other side, they will use this as a tool for repeatedly making excuses regarding details. If they want a deal, they should cover both generalities and details in a single session, instead of leaving details for later and separating generalities which are vague and leave room for different interpretations. This is not logical."

(2) Substance - rejects phased lifting of sanctions - "[T]hese are all meant for taking away the weapon of sanctions from the hands of the enemy. It is good if they can do this. However, the sanctions must literally be taken away from the hands of the enemy. The sanctions must be lifted. This kind of a deal [is favored]. Otherwise, if they achieve no success in this regard, the Iranian nation, statesmen, the honorable government and others have numerous ways and they must certainly take this path in order to nullify the weapon of sanctions."

“So,” writes Ceren, “while it's technically true Khamenei pressed for ‘progress,’ what that actually means is he rejected the US's understanding of how talks should move forward. And while it's technically true he embraced a ‘fair’ deal, what that actually means is he rejected the US's understanding of how a deal should be structured.”

Khameni has been widely quoted as saying no deal is better than a bad deal, and that for him, a good deal means one that is good for his nation.  In other words, he is not predisposed to compromises. He wants what he wants.

~~~~~~~~~~

Fast forward one day.  When Jen Psaki, our good old State Department spokesperson, was asked about the March deadline, she responded:

“Yes it is a goal, it remains a goal, but the secretary has been very vocal about that.  We’ve never called it a deadline.  We’ve called it a goal of when we want to achieve the political framework.”

The problem with this is that the date has been consistently called a deadline by US spokespersons.  For example, on January 28th, White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said, “...the president has made clear the importance of the end-of-March deadline...”

What we see, then, is that while Iran may be inflexible, Obama’s desire to seal an agreement is so strong that he will be unendingly flexible.

~~~~~~~~~~

I’m going to end here with a good news story of no particular consequence except for the fact that it is charming, and, I think, says something heart-warming about how we operate.
 
Last week, a mobile intensive care unit of Magen David Adom was driving from Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem when something hit the vehicle’s windshield and fell to the ground.  Paramedic Nati Haron got out to investigate and found a baby fruit bat that had been knocked unconscious by the impact. He fed her sugar water and she regained consciousness.
 
“I looked at her, and she looked back at me. I tried to release her twice in the Ma’aleh Adumim area, but I saw she couldn’t fly. I took her home and called the zoo.”
 
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo took her in, and she is being cared for until she recovers, at which time she will be released back into the wild.
 
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Health/Israeli-paramedic-saves-life-of-baby-fruit-bat-after-painful-windshield-collision-390668
 
Baby fruit bat saved by Magen David Adom paramedics

Credit: Magen David Adom

 

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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/2015/2/12/february-11-2015-crystal-clear.html

 

 

Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 01:33PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint