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February 4, 2010: Focusing on the Positive

May 11, 2010

With all of the garbage, with all that we face that causes anger, and angst, there are also good things happening.  And I thought I would begin with these.
 
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi spent three days here this week. Yesterday, he addressed the Knesset in special session (convened to honor him), offering words of support. He strongly criticized the Goldstone Report, saying it attempted to “incriminate Israel for its legitimate response.”  And he stated forthrightly that the world “cannot accept” a nuclear Iran.
 
He told those assembled:  “We, the free and liberal people across the world, thank you [Israel] for your very existence.”   Now we haven’t heard this from the leader of another nation very often (if ever).
 
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The emotional tenor of this event was heightened by the statement made by Prime Minister Netanyahu following Berlusconi’s talk:
 
He told the story of a pregnant Italian woman who had the courage to confront a German officer during the Holocaust and, at great risk to her own life, managed to persuade him to release a Jewish woman who had been arrested.

“[This woman] saved the life of the Jewish woman and cast, if only for a brief moment, a scintilla of humanity and courage upon the great darkness that enveloped the whole of Europe at that time.

“That courageous woman’s name was Rosa. And one of her children is called Silvio Berlusconi, today the prime minister of Italy.”

Netanyahu then addressed Berlusconi, telling him that, “We appreciate you. We embrace you. We love you.”

When the two men then embraced, the Italian premier had tears in his eyes. 

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We have another visitor, still here, who is a great friend: Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas; he has brought a very large contingent of people, many visiting for the first time.  This, too, is heartening.
 
The governor ran in the Republican primaries before the last presidential election, and is thinking of trying again.  See here an interview with Huckabee:
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/135853
 
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A follow-up to my report yesterday on the Im Tirtzu report on New Israel Fund (NIF) support for NGOs that provided information for the Goldstone Report:
 
MK Otniel Schneller has now said that he is pushing for government authorization to create a parliamentary investigative committee to review the fund and activities of NIF, the organizations it supports, and other Israeli NGOs.  Schneller believes that the allegations surrounding NIF “made it clear that red lines need to be identified.”
 
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Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon gave a speech at the Herzliya conference yesterday and addressed the issue of Iran:
 
“I think that despite the precious time wasted on diplomatic efforts, the nuclearization of Iran can still be prevented.  The Iranian regime must be told to choose between the bomb and survival…
 
“Iran’s extremist regime must be made aware that all options are still on the table and ignoring the international community’s demands would likely end in bitter tears for Iran.”
 
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On the subject of Iran:
 
Yesterday, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said that:
 
“The Iranian government has not wanted to accept our offer of dialogue. It has instead rushed forward headlong. So the moment has come to act.”
 
By “act” he means institute serious sanctions. He says he will be bringing this to the UN — something we shouldn’t expect to yield significant results, but is more than Obama has said he would do.  And he expects the EU to assume responsibility as well.
 
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Then we have Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, providing advice on “How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran.”
 
He makes a very good case for how it could be done, and why:
 
http://www.danielpipes.org:80/7921/bomb-iran-save-obama-presidency
 
The question, I think, is whether he’s interested in “saving” his presidency, or is so much of an ideologue that he’s frozen in his path. (Please, do not write to me about this. I am familiar with all the arguments.)
 
Those of you who feel inclined might want to send the URL for Pipe’s article and a comment about how the president can help himself and the country at the same time, via:
 
 Fax: 202-456-2461 (best) or E-mail link:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ 

 
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Tensions with Syria… 
 
Predictions as to whether there will be “peace negotiations”…
 
A Fatah attempt to push ahead “reconciliation” with Hamas…
 
All of this, and more, will still be with us after Shabbat. Time, I think, to take a deep breath.
 
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