This one’s a two-fer. During the time this thread up, Israel will begin to Vote.
But first, did YOU have your Pancakes today to commemorate St. Pancake Day?!
Then, voting for the Israeli Knesset begins at 0700 hours Israel Standard Time, and continues until 2200. Let us hope and pray Israel makes the Right decision.
Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’
Filed under Gaza, Hamas, History, IDF, Israel, OOT, Palestinians at March 16th, 2015 - 10:00 pm
This one’s a two-fer. During the time this thread up, Israel will begin to Vote.
Filed under Anti-semitism, Iran, Israel, Judaism, Terrorism at March 3rd, 2015 - 8:00 pm
Here’s the Transcript (Thanks lobo!).
And here’s the speech!
WE STAND WITH ISRAEL!
Filed under Barack Obama, Chechnya, Headlines, Iran, Israel, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Russia, Ukraine at April 28th, 2014 - 7:13 pm
Israel should keep out of it!
The source of the article is Haaretz, a left-wing paper in Israel that tries to play up “crises” with the US in order to undermine Netanyahu.
So its credibility in this case is weak.
Still Israel is probably not too enthusiastic about jumping in on the conflict, considering that Kerry just blamed Israel for the collapse of peace talk, the history of the Holocaust and its general lack of escalating foreign geopolitical conflicts. Or to put it another way, Israel isn’t a world power and isn’t trying to be one.
In this respect, the present dilemma is reminiscent of the last, at the end of the 1990s, when Washington naturally expected support from client states like Israel for its anti-Serbian Balkans policy – and found the Israeli foreign minister, Ariel Sharon, much less than enthusiastic. This happened despite Prime Minister Netanyahu’s repeated urgings that Israel broadcast its support for its patron.
Considering that Clinton was working to overthrow Netanyahu, and eventually succeeded, a lack of enthusiasm was not surprising. Sharon was somewhat blunter about it.
You can’t expect support from a government that you’re busy undermining.
Israeli policy is driven by its own security interests and does not need to be identical to that of the U.S., a senior defense official said Sunday in response to Haaretz’s report that White House and State Department officials in Washington have built up a great deal of anger over Jerusalem’s “neutrality” regarding Russia’s invasion of the Crimean Peninsula.
Obama Inc. has been building up a great deal of anger over Israel long before it was even in office.
White House and State Department officials in Washington have built up a great deal of anger over Jerusalem’s “neutrality” regarding Russia’s invasion of the Crimean Peninsula.
The Israeli government does not. But unfortunately both sets of relations are basically hostile.
This follows multiple paragraphs claiming that Israel abstained from the UN vote on Crimea due to its support for
Russia when in fact its diplomats were on strike.
(Yes, that happens in Israel.)
According to the Israeli official, in response to U.S. inquiries Israel attributed its absence at the vote to the strike by the Foreign Ministry’s employees. The White House and the State Department found the explanation wanting, especially in light of the lack of advanced notice from Jerusalem.
If the State Department had been paying attention to events in Israel not involving new housing, it wouldn’t have needed advanced notice for a major story. Does no one at Foggy Bottom read the Jerusalem Post?
Adding more fuel to the flames in Washington were public remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in which they maintained their “neutrality” and failed to back up the United States.
“We have good and trusting relations with the Americans and the Russians, and our experience has been very positive with both sides. So I don’t understand the idea that Israel has to get mired in this,” Lieberman told Israel’s Channel 9 television when asked about the Ukraine crisis.
When White House and State Department officials read these comments, they nearly went crazy. They were particularly incensed by Lieberman’s mentioning Israel’s relations with the United States and with Russia in the same breath, giving them equal weight.
Tellingly, Haaretz does not quote the supposed Netanyahu neutrality statement. Lieberman has extensive connections in Russia and his party depends on a Russian vote so his views are not terribly surprising.
They also don’t particularly matter. It’s like getting angry about something that Biden says.
So yes, Israel is making a show of cutting ties. Probably more of one than D.C. is.
Israel’s relations with Russia have consisted largely of empty diplomatic gestures and appeasement, surrendering territory to Russia. Israel certainly hasn’t gotten anything out of it and unlike China, there’s no point to the relationship. Russia is going to keep on backing Iran and assorted terrorists because it’s playing a larger war game with the West. Israel has no way of opting out of that game.
But neither does Israel have any incentive for tagging along on foreign policy after Obama has given the green light to Iran’s nuclear program and after Kerry blamed Israel for the collapse of the peace process.
Read the rest – Obama angry over lack of Israeli support on Ukraine
Filed under Al Qaeda, Anti-semitism, Gaza, Hamas, Iran, Islamists, Israel, Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey at February 21st, 2014 - 7:00 am
Appeasing the unappeasable is a fool’s errand. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Semitsm has little to do with what Israel does but the fact that it exists as a Jewish nation. The fact is that Jew haters need no rational reason to hate Jews, it is just in their nature.
by Caroline Glick
Last Thursday, two Turkish businessmen stopped for lunch in a fish restaurant during a business trip to Edirne in the Babaeski region.
At some point during their meal, the restaurant owner figured out that they were Jews.
Rather than show them the hospitality Turkey is renowned for, he said he won’t serve Jews, and began cursing them and the Torah. He then took a long knife off the counter and threatened to kill them.
The men ran for their lives.
Anti-Semitic attacks have become regular events in Turkey. In December, after leaving an anti-corruption rally in Istanbul, a young woman was attacked by 10 to 15 supporters of Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan who had just left a support rally for the premier.
They accused her of being a Jew, as they beat her up.
In an interview with The Times of Israel, Turkish opposition MP Ayken Kerdemir said that Erdogan has cultivated Turkish anti-Semitism. “He is not only capitalizing on the existing sentiments, Kerdemir explained. Erdogan is “fueling some of that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic feeling… with his rhetoric, conspiracy theories, campaign slogans and actions.”
Kerdemir explained that Erdogan’s cultivation of anti-Semitism in Turkish society will continue to affect Turkey’s behavior and social values long after he is gone. […..]
Once you let that genie out of the bottle, it is very hard to stuff it back inside.
Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is not opportunistic. He isn’t simply exploiting a popular prejudice for his own benefit. He is an anti-Semite. And his anti-Semitism informs his behavior toward Israel.
In Kerdemir’s view, Erdogan’s uncontrollable hatred of Jews makes it impossible for him to agree to reconcile Turkey’s relations with Israel.
As he put it, “Erdogan’s core values vis-à-vis Jews and Israel prevent him from dealing with this issue in a tolerant, embracing and sustainable way.”
Against this backdrop it should surprise no one that this week Erdogan sunk prospects for a renewal of Turkish ties with Israel.
Immediately after he took office 10 years ago, Erdogan began systematically downgrading Turkey’s strategic alliance with Israel. This process, which began gradually and accelerated after Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections, reached its peak in 2010.
In May 2010, Erdogan sponsored the pro-Hamas flotilla to Gaza whose aim was to undermine Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of the terrorist-controlled Gaza coast. The flotilla’s flagship, the Mavi Marmara, was controlled by the al-Qaida-aligned IHH organization. Its passengers included terrorists who, armed with iron bars, knives and other weaponry tried to kill IDF naval commandos when they boarded the Gaza-bound ship to enforce the blockade. […..]
Erdogan used the incident on the Mavi Marmara as a means of ending what remained of Turkey’s ties to Israel. For three years, he insisted that he would only restore full diplomatic relations if Israel ended its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, apologized for its forces’ actions on board the Mavi Marmara, and paid reparations to the families of the IHH terrorists killed in their assault on the IDF commandos.
In March 2013, Erdogan relented in his demand that Israel end the blockade and acceded to a reconciliation deal offered by US President Barack Obama in a three-way telephone call with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that took place during Obama’s visit to Israel.
Following the phone call, Netanyahu apologized for “operational errors,” by IDF sailors aboard the Mavi Marmara and offered to compensate the families.
But just after Netanyahu made his required gesture of appeasement, Erdogan began delaying the talks, while continuing his anti-Semitic assaults.
Talks eventually did start. And according to Israeli sources, they were about to conclude this week.
Netanyahu was beginning to build political support for his decision to agree to Turkey’s demand for a massive $20 million settlement of claims against Israel by the dead terrorists’ families.
But then Erdogan walked away.
On Tuesday, Erdogan reinstated his initial demand that Israel must end its lawful naval blockade of terrorist-controlled Gaza before he restores ties to the Jewish state.
In many quarters of the Israeli media, Erdogan’s action was met with surprise. Reporters who for years have insisted that Israel can make the problem go away by bowing to Erdogan’s demands are stumped by his behavior.
It isn’t simply that Erdogan cannot reconcile with Israel because he hates Jews. As is almost always the case with anti-Semites, Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is part of his general authoritarian outlook informed by a paranoid mindset.
Erdogan sees a Jewish conspiracy behind every independent power base in Turkey. And his rejection of Israel is an integral part of his rejection of all forces in Turkey that are not dependent on his good offices.
Over the past 10 years, and with ever increasing brutality, paranoia and intensity, Erdogan has sought to destroy all independent power bases in the country. He purged the military by placing hundreds of generals in prison in his delusional Ergenekon conspiracy in which they were accused of seeking to overthrow his Islamist government.
He has destroyed most of the independent media in the country and sent hundreds of journalists and editors to prison.
The same is the case with independent businessmen.
This week, 17 people were sentenced to two years each in prison for “deliberately insulting the premier and not regretting their actions,” during a small demonstration in 2012 protesting the government’s health policy.
Also this week, Erdogan acknowledged that he calls television broadcasters in the middle of news shows and orders them to stop the broadcast of information he doesn’t want the public to know.
This has included ending the live broadcast of a speech in parliament by the opposition leader, ending coverage of the mass anti-government demonstrations last summer, and removing a news ticker that reported on the corruption scandals surrounding Erdogan and his cronies. [……]
To maintain the public’s support for his burgeoning dictatorship, Erdogan has adopted populist economic policies that have sunk the Turkish economy. To buy the public’s allegiance, Erdogan has borrowed heavily internationally and artificially lowered Turkey’s interest rates, even as the local currency dropped in value in international markets and Turkey’s current accounts deficits outpaced Greece’s on the eve of its economic meltdown.
As David Goldman explained last week in a financial analysis of Turkey’s incipient economic meltdown in The Asia Times, rather than raise consumer interests rates, Erdogan has blamed the Jews by railing against “the interest rate lobby.”
Indeed, since he first invoked the term during the anti-government demonstrations last August, Erdogan has taken to blaming the interest rate cabal for all of Turkey’s woes.
Goldman argues that part of Turkey’s credit crisis owes to its apparent reliance on interbank loans from Saudi Arabia. In part due to their anger at Erdogan for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis have apparently stopped loaning to Turkish banks.
The Saudis’ action has pushed Erdogan into the waiting arms of Iran’s ayatollahs. In an interview with Business Insider, Australia, terror financing expert Jonathan Schanzer said Turkey and Iran were able to minimize the impact of the international sanctions on Iran’s energy sector. […….]
Erdogan’s hatred of Jews, his authoritarian mindset and his Islamist ideology informed his decision to transform Turkey into one of the leading sponsors of terrorism. In addition to its massive support for Hamas, beginning in the 2006 First Lebanon War Turkey began providing assistance to Hezbollah.
Then there is al-Qaida. Turkey has long harbored al-Qaida financiers. And according to IDF Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Turkey hosts three al-Qaida bases on its territory that enable terrorists to transit between Europe and Syria.
Erdogan’s ideological underpinning directs his embrace of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaida. But his decimation of Turkey’s economy has made him view Iran as Turkey’s economic savior. And that in turn pushes Turkey even deeper into the jihadist camp.
Obviously in this situation, the chances that Turkey will agree to reconcile with Israel, at any price, is inconceivable.
The surprise that many Israeli journalists have expressed over Erdogan’s seeming about-face on the reconciliation deal brings us to the larger lesson of his transformation of Turkey.
These journalists believe that Israel’s bilateral relations with other countries are based on tit for tat. If I do something to upset you, you will get upset. If I apologize and try to make things right, then you will be satisfied and everything will go back to normal.
This simplistic view of the world is attractive because it places Israel in a position of power. If the only reason that Turkey is mad at Israel is that Israel will not apologize for its response to Turkey’s illegal aggression, then Israel should apologize and pay whatever damages Erdogan demands.
Moreover, Israel should make Erdogan believe the sincerity of its apology by maintaining faith with the myth that he is a responsible actor on the world stage, rather than a prominent sponsor of terrorism and the hangman of Turkish democracy and economic prosperity.
Appeasement is a seductive policy because it is gives its purveyors a sense of empowerment. And at times, when faced with a simple, limited dispute it can work.
But Turkey’s rejection of Israel is not a linear response to a specific Israeli action. It is a consequence of the nature of Erdogan’s regime, and due to his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement, it is increasingly a consequence of the nature of Turkish society.
Kerdemir argued that Turkish anti-Semitism does not necessitate a rejection of Jews and Israel. And that’s true.
The problem is that when anti-Semitism is tied to several other political and economic pathologies, as it is in the case of Turkey, it is impossible as a practical matter for any accommodation to be reached.
THE SWORD-WIELDING restaurateur who responded to the mere presence of Jewish diners in his establishment with murderous rage is no more exceptional than lynch mobs in Ramallah. And as Erdogan’s economic plight worsens and his embrace of Iran and jihadist groups tightens, Turkey’s behavior will only become more extreme, unappeasable and dangerous.
Read the rest- Why Turkey is gone for good
Filed under Barack Obama, Iran, Israel, John Kerry, Palestinians at November 8th, 2013 - 7:00 am
In dealing with Obama (regarding Obamacare or unseemly pressure on Israel) the best mode to adopt is to hinder, delay, and slow down until he is no longer president.
by Caroline Glick
US President Barack Obama views lies as legitimate political tools. He uses lies strategically to accomplish through mendacity what he could never achieve through honest means.
Obama lies in both domestic and foreign policy.
On the domestic front, despite Obama’s repeated promises that Obamacare would not threaten anyone’s existing health insurance policies, over the past two weeks, millions Americans have received notices from their health insurance companies that their policies have been canceled because they don’t abide by Obamacare’s requirements.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board explained that Obama’s repetition of this lie was not an oversight. It was a deliberate means of lulling into complacency these Americans who opted to buy their insurance themselves on the open market, in order to stick them with the burden of underwriting Obamacare.
In the editorialist’s words, “The [healthcare] exchanges need these customers [whose private policies are being canceled] to finance Obamacare’s balance sheet and stabilize its risk pools. On the exchanges, individuals earning more than $46,000 or a family of four above $94,000 don’t qualify for subsidies and must buy overpriced insurance. If these middle-class Obamacare losers can be forced into the exchanges, they become financiers of the new pay-as-yougo entitlement.”
Sure there is an outcry now about Obama’s dishonesty and the way he has used lying to take away from an unwilling public a right it would never have knowingly surrendered, but it is too late. There is no chance of revoking the law until at 2017, when Obama leaves office.
And by then, everyone will have been forced to accept what they consider unacceptable or be fined and lose all health coverage.
Obama’s mendacity is not limited to domestic policy. It operates in foreign affairs as well. Several commentators this week recalled Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez’s angry response to the Obama administration’s attempt to block Senate passage of sanctions against Iran in December 2011. Expressing disgust at the administration’s bad faith to the Senate, Menendez noted that before the White House tried to defeat the legislation, it first forced senators to water it down, making them believe that the White House would support a weaker bill. In the end, despite the White House’s opposition, the Senate and House passed the watered-down sanctions bills with veto-proof majorities. Obama reluctantly signed the bill into law and then bragged about having passed “crippling sanctions” on Iran.
The mendacity at the heart of Obama’s political playbook is something that Israel needs to understand if it to survive his presidency without major damage to its strategic viability. The events of the past week make clear that the stakes in understanding and exposing his game couldn’t be higher.
Three major developments occurred this week.
On Sunday, PLO officials leaked to the media a position paper that Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat presented to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni outlining the PLO’s position on a finalpeace settlement. In a nutshell, the paper requires Israel to destroy itself demographically, democratically, militarily, legally and politically and that it relinquish its water supply. Six months after it does all these things, the Palestinians will agree to sign a peace treaty with it.
The Palestinian document claims not only all of Judea and Samaria, (except for 1.9 percent of the territory that Israel can keep in exchange for money and more land within sovereign Israel), and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem. It demands the northern Negev, the Hula Valley, Latrun and the Elah Valley. And it demands them all free of all Jewish presence.
They demand that Israel relinquish its rights under international law to Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem by agreeing that they are “occupied.”
They demand full control over the airspace over Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem, and over the waters off the Gaza coast. They demand an end of air force overflights of those areas.
They demand control over all the underground aquifiers, and over the electromagnetic spectrum.
Moreover, the Palestinians are demanding that Israel allow 5 million foreign-born Arabs the right to freely immigrate to its remaining territory.
They refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist and claim they have sovereign rights over all of Israel.
The Palestinian document reveals that there is no chance whatsoever that the current negotiations will lead to peace. PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies don’t want peace. They want to destroy Israel.
Then there is Iran. Just as it did in 2011, before the US Senate and House passed veto-proof sanctions bills, the administration is aggressively fighting to block lawmakers from passing new sanctions against Iran. To this end, Obama’s national security advisers summoned American Jewish leaders to the White House to demand that they stop speaking in favor of intensified sanctions.
Also this week, US Secretary of State John Kerry took a swipe at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for daring to question the administration’s total commitment to negotiating with Iran. Kerry indignantly insisted, “We will not succumb to fear tactics” against holding talks with Iran.
The same day that Kerry decried Israel for supposedly sowing fear unnecessarily about the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Olli Heinonen, the former deputy head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that the Iranians may have already passed the breakout phase and have the capacity to build an atomic weapons within two weeks.
But in accordance with the Obama administration’s wishes, Democrats in the Senate are now suggesting a four-month pause in sanctions deliberations to give Obama a chance to reach a deal.
Rather than post the Palestinians’ position paper on his Facebook page and instruct Israeli diplomats worldwide to publicize it as proof of the Palestinians’ continued commitment to Israel’s destruction and bad faith at the negotiating table, Netanyahu remained mum on its leaked contents. Netanyahu didn’t use the paper or Abbas’s open support for recent terror attacks, and leadership of the global movement, to destroy Israel’s economy through trade wars and commercial boycotts, as ample justification for keeping the Palestinian murderers in prison.
Since Obama first entered the White House, Netanyahu and his colleagues have used the term “strategic interests” as a euphemism for American pressure. By using the term in the context of the freeing of murderers, Netanyahu and Ya’alon made clear that the US has blackmailed Israel into keeping up concessions to the PLO despite the fact that the concessions demoralize the country, destabilize the government, embolden terrorists determined to murder still more Jews, and encourage Abbas to escalate his support for terrorism and his diplomatic war against Israel.
The question is, what are Obama and his colleagues threatening to do to us? What is the “or else” that follows the American demand for Israel to capitulate to Palestinian demands? The media claim that Netanyahu continues with the phony peace talks because he doesn’t want to be blamed when they fail in April. But even if Netanyahu were to break with his party and form a new government with Livni and the Labor Party, the Arabs and Meretz, and offered Abbas Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and some symbolic right of immigration for a few foreign Arabs to the rump Jewish state, Abbas would reject his offer, just as he rejected Ehud Olmert’s offer and just as Arafat rejected Ehud Barak’s offer.
And just as Obama has blamed Israel for Palestinian intransigence and radicalism for the past five-and-a-half years, so he will blame Israel for the failure of the current talks. So as unpleasant as it will be to be blamed, the best thing Israel can do is expose Palestinian bad faith to minimize the price it will pay when it is blamed.
The thing is, Netanyahu must know that Obama will blame Israel no matter what the Palestinians say or do. So perhaps the “strategic interests” he is threatening are more strategic than simply blaming Israel for scuttling phony peace talks. Maybe Obama is telling Netanyahu that if he fails to keep faith with the fake talks, Obama will tip Iran off to an impending Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities.
Here, too, Obama has a track record. According to former national security adviser Giora Eiland, Netanyahu was poised to attack Iran’s nuclear installations in the fall of 2012, but Obama pressured him into standing down. It is hard to believe that Obama’s was a soft sell.
Then there is the issue of military sales. Government officials have whispered periodically that Obama is threatening to curtail weapons sales to Israel. Such a move could quickly paralyze the air force.
There is an argument to be made for keeping silent on the nature of Obama’s blackmail.
Exposing it would also expose the growing fissure between the US and Israel, and much of Israel’s deterrent posture is based on a widespread assessment that Israel’s strategic alliance with the US is unbreakable. But then again, Obama’s weakening of the US alliance with Israel – and with Saudi Arabia and Egypt – is well-known. The damage has already been done.
Given this, the argument for exposing the nature of Obama’s threats becomes more compelling by the day. Congress still plays a supervisory role in foreign policy. And the American public supports Israel deeply. There is a strong probability that if the nature of Obama’s threats is revealed, he will be forced to rescind them before Israel becomes the foreign corollary to the Americans whose health insurance Obama canceled.
Read the rest – Obamacare victims and Israel
Obama issued a non apology apology for his you can keep you plan lie. He claims he never meant to lie and did not know that people would lose their health plans. He apologizes, but it is clearly an insincere apology.
President Barack Obama offered an apology Thursday to those Americans who have been told they’re losing their health insurance plans, contrary to his promise that no one would be forced off a plan they wanted to keep.
“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” the president said in a Thursday interview with NBC News, offering his first mea culpa for an issue that’s generated negative headlines for the White House for the past two weeks.
Obama is liar and a fraud.
Filed under Barack Obama, Europe, Fatah, Hamas, Hezballah, IDF, Israel, John Kerry, Palestinians, Syria at November 6th, 2013 - 9:00 am
As long as Barack Obama is president with his foreign policy/national secuity team a collection of left-wing misfits, Israel needs to play “rope-a-dope” until the administration is in its final days.
by Caroline Glick
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apparently believes the greatest threat the country now faces is an escalated European trade war. He’s wrong. The greatest threat we are now facing is a national leadership that cannot get its arms around changing strategic realities.
Over the weekend, Yediot Aharonot reported that during Secretary of State John Kerry’s seven-hour meeting in Rome last week with Netanyahu, Kerry warned that the price for walking away from the talks with the PLO will be European economic strangulation of Israel.
According to the newspaper, “[T]he secretary of state told the prime minister that he heard from his European friends… that if the negotiations fail, Israel can forget about participating in the European research and development program ‘Horizon 2020.’ “And that will only be the beginning.
More and far weightier actions to boycott Israel will follow. They are already being prepared. This will cause incalculable damage to the Israeli economy.”
On Sunday, outgoing National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror warned the cabinet that Israel’s diplomatic standing and ability to avert a European economic war is dependent on continuing the negotiations with the PLO.
In other words, the viability of our economy is dependent on the PLO’s willingness to sit at a table with us.
Actually, according to Amidror, the PLO’s sufferance of our leaders is only half the story. The other half is President Barack Obama. As he sees it, Israel’s international position is directly related to Obama’s position.
“Everyone hoping for Obama to be weakened needs to [understand that]…
Israel will also be weakened. There is a connection between these things.”
Apparently based on fear of angering Europe or weakening Obama, Netanyahu has reportedly agreed that early next year the Obama administration will put forward a bridging proposal in the talks. The proposal will have two parts. First, it will contain the details of a new interim arrangement. Second, it will contain the details of a final settlement.
From Obama’s prior statements and consistent policies that castigate the Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria and united Jerusalem as “illegitimate,” it is fairly clear that Obama and Kerry expect Israel to relinquish its legal claims to Judea, Samaria and united Jerusalem in the framework of a final peace.
As to the interim deal, from American and European projects on the ground today in Judea and Samaria it is apparent that the plan will require Israel to cede to the PLO its control of planning and zoning in Area C.
Such a move will enable the Palestinians, Europeans and Americans to strangle the Israeli communities in the region and render it practically impossible for the IDF to operate in Judea and Samaria without PLO permission.
THE PROBLEM with the government’s behavior is not simply that it is maintaining allegiance to a policy paradigm that works to our extreme strategic disadvantage.
That’s old news.
The problem is that we are maintaining allegiance to a policy paradigm that is based on inaccurate strategic assumptions.
Amidror spelled them out.
Israel is operating under the assumption that there is a cause and effect relationship between our actions and Europe’s. To wit, if we ditch the phony peace talks, they will destroy our economy.
But there is no cause and effect relationship between Israeli actions and European actions. Europe made hostility toward Israel the centerpiece of its unified foreign policy without connection to Israeli actions. So undertaking strategically damaging talks with the Palestinians to appease Brussels is a fool’s errand.
Then there is Amidror’s assertion that Israel has an interest in strengthening Obama, because if he is weakened, we are weakened.
Certainly such an argument could have been made with regard to Obama’s predecessors in office. But can it be made today? Last week The New York Times revealed Obama’s foreign policy goals for his second term. They are: “negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, brokering peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians and mitigating the strife in Syria.”
Will the achievement of these goals – that is, the success of Obama’s second term foreign policy – be helpful to Israel? Consider Syria. Obama negotiated a deal with Russia regarding Syria’s chemical weapons that leaves Iran’s Syrian proxy Bashar Assad in power, and according to chemical weapons inspectors, likely in possession of parts of his chemical arsenal.
So a key part of Obama’s Syria policy involves exacting a huge, unexpected cost for every strike Israel has undertaken to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring weapons systems that will imperil Israel.
Then too, Monday Kuwait’s al Anbaa newspaper reported that the State Department is carrying out talks with Hezbollah in Lebanon. According to Lebanese sources quoted in the article, US Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale has told Lebanese leaders that “a cabinet cannot be formed without Hezbollah participation.”
Israel is a victim, not a partner in the US’s Syria policy. Israel is weakened by Obama’s success.
Finally, our experience has shown us that peace is not a possible outcome of Obama’s pro-Palestinian policy. The only beneficiaries of administration’s use of European economic blackmail to force Israel to make strategically suicidal concessions to the PLO are the PLO and Hamas, and the anti-Semitic forces in Europe.
All of these parties reject Israel’s right to exist. Weakening Israel in the manner Obama has laid out will increase their appetite for aggression.
SO HERE we are, three for three. All of Obama’s second term foreign policy goals are harmful to Israel. Everything that is good for Obama is necessarily bad for Israel.
It is easy to understand why our leaders insist on holding on to strategic assumptions that are no longer valid. The region is in a state of flux. In stormy seas, our natural inclination is to go back to what has always worked. Since 1968, the conviction that a strong Israel is consonant with US global interests has guided US policy in the Middle East. It’s hard to accept that this is no longer the case.
But we have to accept it. By clinging to our now outdated strategic assumptions, not only are we engaging in dangerous behavior. We are blinding ourselves to new strategic opportunities presented by the chaos in neighboring countries.
True, the new opportunities cannot replace our lost alliance with the US or Europe as a trading partner. But they will get us through the storm in one piece.
Read the rest – It’s time to reassess Israel’s strategic assumptions
Filed under Holocaust, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, World War II at October 24th, 2013 - 7:00 am
By ratting out Iranians who were working for Mossad, the Turks have shown themselves to be one of more despicable governments in the world. I wish we had a POTUS who would not be reluctant to call them out for their treachery and who would work to kick them out of NATO.
by Eli Lake
Last week, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius revealed that in early 2012, Turkey gave sensitive information about Israel’s spy operations to Iran—specifically, the names of up to ten Iranians who had been meeting with Israeli intelligence officers in Turkey.
To many people in the intelligence community, the news was seen as a grave betrayal. “The fact those ten spies were burned by the Turks by purposely informing the Iranians is not only a despicable act, it is an act that brings the Turkish intelligence organization to a position where I assume no one will ever trust it again,” said Danny Yatom, a former chief of Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad, in an interview.
A retired senior CIA officer who spoke to The Daily Beast compared the incident to the betrayal of the Cambridge Five, a network of Soviet moles that provided highly sensitive intelligence to Moscow at the dawn of the Cold War.
All of which makes it especially surprising to some that Israel appeared to move on from the incident so quickly. This is evidenced by the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a diplomatic outreach to Turkey to restore ties even after he learned about the alleged security breach. (While U.S. officials confirm the details revealed by Ignatius, the Turkish government has denied them.)
Israel believes Iran is determined to build a nuclear weapon, and it has justified its intelligence activities inside the country as crucial to delaying and sabotaging its enemy’s nuclear program. In January 2012, before the Turks informed Iran about the Israeli spy network, a magnetic bomb killed Mostafa Ahmadi Rohsan, an Iranian official in charge of procurement for the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. It was believed to have been carried out by the Mossad. And one U.S. official said Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was furious about the assassination.
Yatom, who did not confirm whether the Mossad had anything to do with Rohsan’s death, said the agency has traditionally informed its Turkish counterparts about meetings with its spies on Turkish soil. He said if Turkey were to give Iran any details about these meetings, it would compromise Israel’s intelligence operations against Iran
Nonetheless, Netanyahu in 2012 continued to try to mend diplomatic ties between the two countries. For example, Israeli and Turkish envoys continued to participate in a group of Syria’s neighbors to plan how to secure that country’s chemical weapons if the regime collapsed. Beginning in 2012, Israel also made arrangements with Turkey for trade shipments to Jordan and other countries in the Arabian Peninsula to travel through Israel and not Syria, where the civil war had worsened, according to Israeli diplomats familiar with the situation.
Netanyahu also later in 2012 instructed Joseph Ciechanover, an Israeli diplomat, to continue to probe for areas in which Turkey and Israel could cooperate. Ciechanover represented Israel on the U.N. panel known as the Palmer Commission that examined a 2010 incident when Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara, a flotilla that was attempting to break the embargo of Gaza. Nine activists on the ship were killed. Erdogan expelled Israel’s ambassador from Ankara in September 2011 after the report was released.
But the two countries’ relations weren’t severed altogether. “There were always contacts between the Turkish and Israeli side as part of the Palmer Report process and after this process. […….]
One Israeli diplomat familiar with the Israeli and Turkish diplomacy in 2012 said no real high level breakthroughs between the two sides happened until late August of that year. [……]
The diplomacy in Geneva put in motion Netanyahu’s public apology to Erdogan at the end of President Obama’s visit to Israel in March 2013, according to Israeli diplomats. At the time, Netanyahu said on his Facebook page that he made the gesture in part because of the deteriorating situation in Syria. Turkey has provided support for the rebels in Syria, while the Assad regime is supported by Iran.
Another factor for Netanyahu in his diplomacy with Turkey has been his desire to stay on good terms with Obama, according to some observers. Elliott Abrams, who served under President George W. Bush as a senior director at the National Security Council for the Near East and North Africa, said, “I cannot believe that Netanyahu thought this effort with Turkey would work. I think like the current negotiations with the Palestinians, his main motivation is to remain very close to President Obama and the U.S. government.”
Despite Netanyahu’s apology in March, Turkey has not accepted a new Israeli ambassador in Ankara. The Turks have asked Israel for more compensation for the victims of families killed in the Mavi Marmara incident. Meanwhile, U.S. and Israeli officials say the Mossad will never trust their Turkish counterparts again.
Read the rest – Inside Israel’s Frenemy Diplomacy With Turkey
The U.S. government will always go out of its way to appease the Arabs. Those archives belong to the exiled former Jewish communities of Iraq.
by Caroline Glick
If you happen to be in Washington, DC, between now and January, you can see a piece of Jewish history that was never supposed to see the light of day. The National Archives is now exhibiting restored holy books and communal documents that belonged to the Jewish community of Iraq.
In 1940, the Iraqi Jewish community numbered 137,000 people. Jews made up more than a quarter of the population of Baghdad. A 2,500-year-old community, Iraq had for centuries been a major center of Jewish learning. The Babylonian Talmud was written there.
The yeshivot in Karbala and Baghdad were considered among the greatest in the world.
According to Dhiaa Kasim Kashi, a Shi’ite Muslim interviewed in the 2008 book Iraq’s Last Jews, by the 1930s, the Jews of Iraq had become leaders in every field. “All of Iraq’s famous musicians and composers were Jewish,” he said.
“Jews,” he continued, “were so central to commercial life in Iraq that business across the country used to shut down on Saturdays because it was the Jewish Shabbat. They were the most prominent members of every elite profession – bankers, doctors, lawyers, professors, engineers, etc.”
All of this began to end with the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s. Due to rampant Islamic Jew hatred, Arab leaders were drawn to the Nazis. For their part, the Nazis were quick to capitalize on their popularity. The German ambassador to Iraq, Fritz Grobba, cultivated Nazi sympathizers in the Iraqi military and organized a pro-Nazi military coup in April 1941.
On June 1, 1941, as Jews celebrated the festival of Shavuot, the pro-Nazi government carried out a massive pogrom. Estimates place the number of Jews murdered at anywhere between 180 and 900. Nine hundred Jewish homes were destroyed. Hundreds of Jewish shops and businesses were looted and burned.
The pogrom, which came to be known as the Farhud, or “violent dispossession,” marked the beginning of the end of the Iraqi Jewish community.
Iraq was one of the five Arab states that invaded Israel on May 15, 1948.
The immediate victims of Iraq’s unyielding rejection of Jewish national liberation were the Jews of Iraq. In 1950, the exodus began. By the end of 1952, when the government shut the remaining Jews in, 124,000 Jews had fled Iraq, mainly to Israel. Forced to abandon their private and communal property, their possessions became hostage to the regime.
The few thousand Jews left in Iraq lived in utter terror. But even in their reduced state, they tried to protect the property of their phantom community.
In Baghdad, only one synagogue remained in operation. The Jews brought all the communal documents and holy books there for storage.
But as Harold Rhode, a recently retired US Defense Department cultural expert, reported in August at PJM Media, in 1985 Saddam Hussein sent his henchmen to the synagogue with several trucks. They stole the documentary history of the community in broad daylight.
Rhode explained that Saddam ordered the theft of the Jewish community’s property both to humiliate the Jews and Israel and to impress his fellow Arabs. As he put it, from a local cultural perspective, “Humiliation – i.e., shaming another’s personal reputation – is more important and more powerful than physical cruelty.
“By capturing the Jewish archives, Saddam was humiliating the Jewish people. He was showing how powerless the Jews were to stop him.”
Rhode was deployed to Iraq shortly after the US-led overthrow of Saddam’s regime. By the time he arrived in May 2003, there were only a dozen Jews still living in Iraq.
Rhode was the first American official informed of the existence of the archive. It was stored in the cellar of the headquarters of Saddam’s mukhabarat, or secret police. When Rhode arrived at the building with a small detail of soldiers and New York Times reporter Judith Miller, the building had just been flooded by an unexploded shell that had punctured the water main.
When he realized the dimensions of the archive, now largely underwater, Rhode moved heaven and earth to save it. Due to Rhode’s action, and the support he received from Iraqi leader Ahmed Chalabi, vice president Dick Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the archive – which included everything from school records to 500- year-old copies of the Bible – was saved on Shavuot 2003 and sent to the US.
Once the archive was safely in the US, the State Department spent $3 million restoring the 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents. In the meantime, back in Iraq, there are still hundreds of Torah scrolls languishing in a government cellar, inaccessible to the public, and in a horrible state of disrepair.
The fact that the archive was rescued from Saddam’s vault and is now being shown to the public is a miracle.
But if nothing changes, on Shavuot 2014, the miracle will come to a tragic and scandalous end. In an act of cultural aggression, the US government has promised to return the Jewish communal archive – stolen from the Iraqi Jewish community by the Iraqi government – to the Iraqi government by June 2014.
The State Department insists that the archive is Iraqi government property, since it was found in an Iraqi government building. But if that is true, then all the Jewish property stored in the Gestapo’s dungeons should have remained German government property after World War II. And even the comparison to the Nazis is too facile.
The difference between Jewish property stolen by the Nazis and Jewish property stolen by Arab regimes is political. It is politically acceptable to acknowledge that the Nazis were criminals. But the Arabs have never had to pay a price for their persecution and eventual destruction of their Jewish communities. No one wishes to recognize the fact that it is anti-Semitism that drives the Islamic quest to destroy the Jewish state.
The only lawful owners of the Iraqi Jewish archive that is being shown in Washington are the Iraqi Jews and their descendants, who are now overwhelmingly Israelis. The only place the archive should be sent is the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or Yehuda, the only museum in the world dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the 2,500-year-old Jewish community of Iraq.
Yet for the American foreign policy establishment, besotted by a quasi-religious belief that the establishment of a Jew-free Palestinian state on Israeli land will cure everything from Islamic jihad to the common cold, recognizing this simple truth is a bridge too far. Restoring the Iraqi Jewish archive to its Israeli owners would be tantamount to recognizing that the cause of the Arab world’s conflict with Israel is Arab anti-Semitism.
A petition is now circulating demanding that the US government return the archive to its rightful owners in Israel.
At this point, it would be a great miracle if they would just agree to keep it safe in Washington until an American government comes along that decides to base its Middle East policies on the truth.
Read the rest – A miracle and an outrage in Washington
Filed under Barack Obama, Iran, Israel, Turkey at October 8th, 2013 - 12:00 pm
The obsessive American attempts to find “moderates” in the most odious of organizations such as Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s U.S.S.R., the Baathists, Hamas, the P.L.O., the Taliban, Hezbollah and Iran has always – not just most of the time – but has always been a failure. New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins is rapidly following in the footsteps of Walter Duranty and Herbert Matthews.
by Caroline Glick
In his speech on Tuesday before the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to get the Americans to stop their collective swooning at the sight of an Iranian president who smiled in their general direction.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the premier warned, “I wish I could believe [President Hassan] Rouhani, but I don’t because facts are stubborn things. And the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.”
He might have saved his breath. The Americans weren’t interested.
Two days after Netanyahu’s speech, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a rejoinder to Netanyahu. “I have never believed that foreign policy is a zero-sum game,” Hagel said.
Well, maybe he hasn’t. But the Iranians have.
And they still do view diplomacy – as all their dealings with their sworn enemies – as a zerosum game.
As a curtain raiser for Rouhani’s visit, veteran New York Times war correspondent Dexter Filkins wrote a long profile of Iran’s real strongman for The New Yorker. Qassem Suleimani is the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. It is the most powerful organ of the Iranian regime, and Suleimani is Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s closest confidante and adviser.
Rouhani doesn’t hold a candle to Suleimani.
Filkin’s profile is detailed, but deeply deceptive.
The clear sense he wishes to impart on his readers is that Suleimani is a storied war veteran and a pragmatist. He is an Iranian patriot who cares about his soldiers. He’s been willing to cut deals with the Americans in the past when he believed it served Iran’s interests. And given Suleimani’s record, it is reasonable to assume that Rouhani – who is far more moderate than he – is in a position to make a deal and will make one.
The problem with Filkin’s portrayal of Suleimani as a pragmatist, and a commander who cares about the lives of his soldiers – and so, presumably cares about the lives of Iranians – is that it is belied by the stories Filkins reported in the article.
As the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Suleimani commands the Syrian military and the foreign forces from Iran, Hezbollah and Iraq that have been deployed to Syria to keep Basher Assad in power.
Filkins quotes an Iraqi politician who claimed that in a conversation with Suleimani last year that the Iranian called the Syrian military “worthless.”
He then went on to say, “Give me one brigade of the Basij, and I could conquer the whole country.”
Filkins notes that it was the Basij that crushed the anti-Islamist Green Revolution in Iran in 2009. But for a man whose formative experience was serving as a Revolutionary Guards commander in the Iran-Iraq War, Suleimani’s view of the Basij as a war-fighting unit owes to what it did in its glory days, in that war, not on the streets of Tehran in 2009.
As Matthias Kuntzel reported in 2006, the Revolutionary Guards formed the Basij during the Iran-Iraq War to serve as cannon fodder. Basij units were made up of boys as young as 12.
They were given light doses of military training and heavy doses of indoctrination in which they were brainwashed to reject life and martyr themselves for the revolution.
As these children were being recruited from Iran’s poorest villages, Ayatollah Khomeini purchased a half million small plastic keys from Taiwan.
They were given to the boys before they were sent to battle and told that they were the keys to paradise. The children were then sent into minefields to die and deployed as human waves in frontal assaults against superior Iraqi forces.
By the end of the war some 100,000 of these young boys became the child sacrifices of the regime.
Filkins did not invent his romanticized version of what makes Suleimani tick. It is a view that has been cultivated for years by senior US officials.
Former US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker spoke at length with Filkins about his indirect dealings with Suleimani through Iranian negotiators who answered to him, and through Iraqi politicians whom he controlled.
Crocker attests that secretary of state Colin Powell dispatched him to Geneva in the weeks before the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to negotiate with the Iranians. [………]
Bush labeled Iran as a member of the “Axis of Evil,” in his State of the Union address. Supposedly in a rage, Suleimani pulled the plug on cooperation with the Americans. As Crocker put it, “We were just that close. One word in one speech changed history.”
Crocker told of his attempt to make it up to the wounded Suleimani in the aftermath of the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in 2003. Crocker was in Baghdad at the time setting up the Iraqi Governing Council. He used Iraqi intermediaries to clear all the Shi’ite candidates with Suleimani. In other words, the US government gave the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards control over the Iraqi government immediately after the US military toppled Saddam’s regime.
Far from convincing Suleimani to pursue a rapproachment with the US, Crocker’s actions convinced him that the US was weak. And so, shortly after he oversaw the formation of the governing council, Suleimani instigated the insurgency whose aim was to eject the US from Iraq and to transform it into an Iranian satrapy.
The main take-away lesson from the Filkins profile of Suleimani is that US officials – and journalists – like to romanticize the world’s most psychopathic, evil men. Doing so helps them to justify and defend their desire to appease, rather than confront, let alone defeat, them.
Suleimani and his colleagues are more than willing to play along with the Americans, to the extent that doing so advances their aims of defeating the US.
There were two main reasons that Bush did not want to confront Iran despite its central role in organizing, directing and financing the insurgency in Iraq. First, Bush decided shortly after the US invasion of Iraq that the US would not expand the war to Iran or Syria. Even as both countries’ central role in fomenting the insurgency became inarguable, Bush maintained his commitment to fighting what quickly devolved into a proxy war with Iran, on the battlefield of Iran’s choosing.
The second reason that Bush failed to confront Iran, and that his advisers maintained faith with the delusion that it was worth cutting a deal with the likes of Suleimani, was that they preferred the sense of accomplishment a deal brought them to the nasty business of actually admitting the threat Iran posed to American interests – and to American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Expanding on Bush’s aversion to fighting Iran, and preference for romanticizing its leaders rather than acknowledging their barbarism, upon entering office Barack Obama embraced a strategy whose sole goal is engagement. For the past five years, the US policy toward Iran is to negotiate. Neither the terms of negotiation nor the content of potential agreements is important.
It’s possible that Obama believes that these negotiations will transform Iran into a quasi-US ally like the Islamist regime in Turkey. That regime remains a member of NATO despite the fact that it threatens its neighbors with war, it represses its own citizens, and it refuses to support major US initiatives while undermining NATO operations.
Obama will never call Turkey out for its behavior or make Prime Minister Recep Erdogan pay a price for his bad faith. The myth of the US-Turkish alliance is more important to Obama than the substance of Turkey’s relationship with the United States.
A deal with Iran would be horrible for America and its allies. Whatever else it says it will do, the effect of any US-Iranian agreement would be to commit the US to do nothing to defend its interests or its allies in the Middle East.
While this would be dangerous for the US, it is apparently precisely the end Obama seeks. His address to the UN General Assembly can reasonably be read as a declaration that the US is abandoning its position as world leader. The US is tired of being nitpicked by its allies and its enemies for everything it does, he said. [………]
Like his predecessors in the Bush administration, Obama doesn’t care that Iran is evil and that its leaders are fanatical psychopaths. He has romanticized them based on nothing.
Although presented by the media as a new policy of outreach toward Tehran, Obama’s current commitment to negotiating with Rouhani is consistent with his policy toward Iran since entering office. Nothing has changed.
From Obama’s perspective, US policy is not threatened by Iranian bad faith. It is threatened only by those who refuse to embrace his fantasy world where all deals are good and all negotiations are therefore good.
What this means is that the prospect of Iran becoming a nuclear power does not faze Obama. The only threat he has identified is the one coming from Jerusalem. Israel the party pooper is Obama’s greatest foe, because it insists on basing its strategic assessments and goals on the nature of things even though this means facing down evil.
Read the rest – America and the good psychopaths
Filed under Barack Obama, Egypt, IDF, Iran, Israel, Joe Biden, Palestinians, Syria, United Nations at September 27th, 2013 - 2:00 pm
Obama still does not get it – Americans and their representatives support Israel not because they feel intiimdated by AIPAC, but because they feel it is right to support that nation in its struggles against a genocidal opponent.
by Caroline Glick
US President Barack Obama’s rapidly changing positions on Syria have produced many odd spectacles.
One of odder ones was the sight of hundreds of lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee fanning out on Capitol Hill to lobby members of the House and Senate to support Obama’s plan to launch what Secretary of State John Kerry called “unbelievably small” air strikes against empty regime controlled buildings in Syria.
AIPAC officials claimed they were doing this because the air strikes would help Israel.
But this claim was easily undone. Obama and Kerry insisted nothing the US would do would have any impact on the outcome of the Syrian civil war. This was supposed to be the strikes’ selling point. But by launching worthless strikes, Obama was poised to wreck America’s deterrent posture, transforming the world’s superpower into an international joke.
In harming America’s deterrent capabilities by speaking loudly and carrying an “unbelievably small” stick, Kerry and Obama also harmed Israel’s deterrent posture.
Israel’s deterrence relies in no small measure on its strategic alliance with the US.
Once the US is no longer feared, a key part of Israeli deterrence is removed.
Obama did not announce his intention to bomb empty buildings in Syria in order to impact the deterrent posture of either the US or Israel. He probably gave them little thought. The only one who stood to gain from those strikes – aside from Syrian President Bashar Assad who would earn bragging rights for standing down the US military – was Obama himself.
So if the strikes were going to harm the US and Israel, why did AIPAC dispatch its lobbyists to Capitol Hill to lobby in favor of them? Because Obama made them.
Obama ordered AIPAC to go to Capitol Hill to lobby for the Syria strikes. He did so knowing that its involvement would weaken public support for AIPAC and Israel. Both would be widely perceived as pushing the US to send military forces into harm’s way to defend Israel.
Then, with hundreds of AIPAC lobbyist racing from one Congressional office to the next, Obama left them in a lurch. He announced he was cutting a deal with Russia and had decided not to attack Syria after all.
What did AIPAC get for its self-defeating efforts on Obama’s behalf? Obama is now courting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the hopes of making a deal that Iran will use as cover for completing its nuclear weapons program.
Such a deal may well involve ending sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and its central bank – sanctions that AIPAC expended years of effort getting Congress to pass.
And that’s not all. Monday, as Obama meets with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly in New York, Vice President Joe Biden will become the highest ranking administration official to date to address the J Street conference.
Sending Biden to headline at the J Street conference is an act of aggression against AIPAC. It also signals that Obama remains committed to strengthening the anti-Israel voices at the margins of the American Jewish community at the expense of the pro- Israel majority.
The question is why is AIPAC cooperating with Obama as he abuses it? Why didn’t they just say no? Because they couldn’t.
AIPAC is not strong enough to stand up to the president of the United States, particularly one as hostile as Obama.
Not only would it have suffered direct retaliation for its refusal, Obama would have also punished Israel for its friend’s recalcitrance.
In a recent interview with The Times of Israel, Eitan Haber, late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s closest aide, made the case that Israel is powerless in the face of White House pressure. Haber claimed that only when a person becomes prime minister does he understand “to what extent the State of Israel is dependent on America. For absolutely everything… we are dependent on America.”
Haber noted that the US can collapse every aspect of Israel. From this he concluded that no Israeli leader can stand up to Washington.
Haber recalled a menacing conversation Rabin had with then-US secretary of state James Baker during which Baker became angry at Rabin.
“America is right even when it is wrong,” Baker admonished the Israeli leader.
Haber warned that Israel cannot stand up to the US even when the US is behaving in a manner that endangers Israel. “It’s possible that they don’t understand the region and that they are naïve and stupid,” he said, “But they are America.”
Haber said rightly that that the White House can destroy Israel’s economy, defenses and diplomatic position any time it wishes. In the past administration threats of economic sanctions or delays in sending spare parts for weapons platforms have been sufficient to make Israeli leaders fall into line.
For the past five and a half years Obama has dangled US diplomatic support at the UN Security Council over Israel’s head like the Sword of Damocles.
The timing of the EU announcement that it was barring EU entities from forging ties with Israelis that operate beyond the 1949 armistice lines was revealing in this context. The EU announced its economic sanctions the day Kerry announced the start of negotiations between Israel and the PLO. The message to Israel was absolutely clear: Do what we order you to or you will face economic sanctions far more damaging.
Obama’s appointment of Samantha Power to serve as US ambassador to the UN was another signal of ill intent. Power became the object of fear and fury for Israel supporters after YouTube videos of a 2002 interview she gave went viral during the 2008 elections. In that interview Power called for the US to send “a mammoth protection force” to Israel to protect the Palestinians from “genocide” that Israel would commit. [……..]
And just after his reelection, Obama sent Power to the epicenter of international blood libels and attempts to outlaw the Jewish state.
Obama’s deal with Russia President Vladimir Putin was also a signal of aggression, if not an act of aggression in and of itself. The ink had barely dried on their unenforceable agreement that leaves Iran’s Arab client in power, when Putin turned his guns on Israel. As Putin put it, Syria only developed its chemical arsenal “as an alternative to the nuclear weapons of Israel.”
The Obama administration itself has a track record in putting Israel’s presumptive nuclear arsenal on the international diplomatic chopping block. In 2010 Netanyahu was compelled to cancel his participation in Obama’s nuclear weapons conference when he learned that Egypt and Turkey intended to use Obama’s conference to demand that Israel sign the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty.
Obama’s behavior demonstrates his bad intentions. So Israelis and our American supporters need to ask whether Haber is right. Is Israel powerless in the face of a hostile US administration? Let’s reconsider Obama’s decision to turn to AIPAC for support on Syria.
Why did he do that? Why did he turn to an organization he wishes to harm and order it to go to the mattresses for him? Obama turned to AIPAC primarily because AIPAC could help him. AIPAC hold sway on Capitol Hill.
Where does that power come from? Does AIPAC wield influence because it frightens members into submission? No.
AIPAC is powerful because it serves as a mouthpiece for the overwhelming majority of Americans. The American people support Israel. If something will help Israel, then most Americans will support it. Obama wanted Congressional support. He couldn’t win it on the merits of his feckless plan. So he sent in AIPAC to pretend that his strikes would benefit Israel.
Obama’s demand that AIPAC help him is reality’s response to Haber’s protestations of Israeli powerlessness.
Israel’s alliance with the US, upon which it is so dependent, was not built with America’s political or foreign policy elites. Saudi Arabia’s alliance with the US was built on such ties.
Israel’s alliance with the US is built on the American public’s support for Israel. And although Obama himself doesn’t need to face American voters again, his Democratic colleagues do. Moreover, even lame duck presidents cannot veer too far away from the national consensus.
It is because of this consensus that Obama has to send signals to Israel – like the EU sanctions, and Power’s appointment to the UN – rather than openly part ways with Jerusalem.
Obama is powerful. And he threatens Israel. But Israel is not as powerless as Haber believes. Israel can make its case to the American public.
And assuming the American people support Israel’s case, Obama’s freedom of action can be constrained.
For instance, on the Palestinian issue, Haber said Israel has to accept whatever Obama says. But that isn’t true. Netanyahu can set out the international legal basis for Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and explain why Israel’s rights are stronger than the Palestinians’.
The government can expose the fact that the demographic doomsday scenario that forms the basis of support for the two-state formula is grounded on falsified data concocted by the PLO.
Demography, like international law, is actually one of Israel’s strategic assets.
Then there is Iran.
Were Netanyahu to defy Obama and order the IDF to attack Iran’s nuclear installations, he would be pushing the boundaries of the US political consensus less than Menachem Begin did when he ordered the air force to destroy Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981. He would also be pushing the US consensus less than Rabin did when he embraced Yasser Arafat in 1993.
No, Israel cannot say no to everything that Obama wishes to do in the Middle East.
And yes, it needs to make concessions where it can to placate the White House.
AIPAC’s decision to take a bullet for Obama on Syria may have been the better part of wisdom.
Israel has three-and-a-half more years with Obama.
They won’t be easy. And there is no telling who will succeed him. But this needn’t be a catastrophe. Our cards are limited. But we have cards. And if we play them wisely, we will be fine.
Read the rest – Obama’s power and it’s limitations
The US government condemns Turkey’s blaming Israel for the coup in Egypt, and The New York Times blames Israel and AIPAC for prolonging Egypt’s agonyby Speranza ( 98 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Egypt, Israel, Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey at August 21st, 2013 - 11:00 am
by Michael Wilner
The United States on Tuesday said it “strongly condemns” comments from Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan blaming Israel for the military coup and ensuing crisis gripping Egypt.
“We strongly condemn the statements that were made by Prime Minister Erdogan today. Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf on reiterated the comments and said the Turkish leader’s comments harmed the diplomatic process going forward.
Erdogan told provincial leaders of his AK Party on Tuesday that his government had evidence Israel had a hand in events that led to the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, from Egypt’s presidency.
In the wake of the violence in Egypt last week— which led to the deaths of thousands of demonstrating civilians and the wounding of thousands more— Turkey called the incident a “massacre” at the hands of the Egyptian military.
Erdogan’s rant was not worthy of a response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Tuesday.
“This is a statement well worth not commenting on,” Palmor said. Another Israeli officials said he had a one word response for Erdogan: “Nonsense.”
The Turkish premier, who has a history of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic remarks, blamed Israel on Tuesday for the events that brought about Morsi’s ouster.
“Who is behind [the ouster]? There is Israel,” Erdoğan said at a meeting of his AK Party in Ankara. “We have [a] document in our hands.”
The document, it emerged, was a video of a discussion held at Tel Aviv University on the Arab Spring in June 2011 between Tzipi Livni, then the head of the opposition and today the Justice Minister, and French Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy.
Levy, during the symposium, said, “If the Muslim Brotherhood arrives in Egypt, I will not say democracy wants it, so let democracy progress. [……..]”
Levi said Hamas’ takeover of Gaza “was [a] putsch, a coup; a democratic coup, but a coup. Hitler in 1933 was a coup; a democratic coup, but a coup.”
Asked by the moderator, former New York Times Jerusalem correspondent Ethan Bronner, whether he would urge Egypt’s military to intervene against the Muslim Brotherhood if they would win a legitimate election, Levy said: “I will urge the prevention of them coming to power, but by all sort of means.”
Citing this discussion, Erdogan said, ‘The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections, because democracy is not the ballot box.’ This is what they said at that time.”
Erdogan’s comments come just a few weeks after he blamed unrest in his own country on an “interest rate lobby,” widely believed to be a metaphor for western Jewish businessmen. […….]
Even Turkey’s Hurrityet Daily News seems to be tiring somewhat of Erdogan’s anti-Israel rants and conspiracy theories. The lead to an article on Erdogan’s comments Tuesday that appeared on the paper’s website began with the words, “Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went back on the warpath August 20, accusing one of Ankara’s most prominent bogeymen, Israel, of complicity in overthrowing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.”
Erdogan’s comment Tuesday came some five months after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – at the behest of US President Barack Obama – phoned the Turkish prime minister and apologized for operational errors that may have led to loss of life on the Mavi Marmara ship that tired to break the naval blockade of Gaza in 2010.
While that apology was supposed to have paved the way for an Israeli-Turkish reconciliation, talks for compensation payments quickly bogged down as the Turks added that they now wanted an Israeli admission that the compensation payments was the result of a wrongful act. Expectations that the apology would lead relatively quickly to the exchange of ambassadors failed to materialize.
What the apology did do, one Israeli official said Tuesday, was remove US pressure on Israel to reconcile with Turkey, since in the eyes of the US, Netanyahu did what he needed to do.
Read the rest – US slams Turkish PM Erdogan for blaming Egypt crisis on Israel
by Leo Rennert
It’s the lead story on the Sunday front page of the New York Times — a lengthy piece on how frantic, behind-the-scenes efforts by U.S. and European diplomats supposedly came close to building a path toward ending the bloody conflict in Egypt between the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and the military-backed interim government.
In the end, as we all know, external prodding failed. But in allotting blame for why diplomacy didn’t succeed, the Times gratuitously points an accusing finger at Israel and AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, for allegedly siding with the Egyptian military and undermining U.S. diplomacy (“How a U.S. Push to Defuse Egypt Ended in Failure – Barrage of Diplomacy — Despite 17 Calls from Hagel, Cairo Chose Confrontation” by David Kirkpatrick, Peter Baker and Michael Gordon).
Yet length doesn’t guarantee accurate reporting. In fact, the Times dispatch is built on a deeply flawed premise that outside pressures somehow might have been able to bring Egypt’s agony to an end, especially if President Obama had shown more backbone and cut off $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid to Cairo. [……..] Suspension of U.S. military aid would be more than offset by more generous military aid from Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Arab oil states.
But in pursuit of external meddlers aligned against Washington diplomacy, the Times prefers to build a case against Israel and AIPAC. Here’s how Kirkpatrick, Baker, and Gordon put it:
“The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the (military) takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.
“Israeli officials deny having reassured Egypt about the aid, but acknowledge having lobbied Washington to protect it.
“When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it ‘could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israel ally.’ Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.”
There’s more here than a whiff of Jewish conspiracy theories that fueled medieval anti-Semitism. Notice that AIPAC is tagged as an “influential” pressure group presumably capable of swaying the U.S. Senate. AIPAC cracks the whip, purportedly, and 83 senators jump to Israel’s tune. It apparently doesn’t occur to the Times that 83 U.S. senators are capable of voting based on their own agendas and beliefs — without a need of “influential” external lobbying to make up their own minds.
As for Israel’s supposed role in taking sides against the Muslim Brotherhood, the authors of the article never bother to identify their sources. Never mind that Israeli officials from Prime Minister Netanyahu on down are on record as having decided that Israel will avoid involvement in Egypt’s conflict. So why rely on dubious, unattributed sources like “the Israelis” and “Western diplomats ” and “the diplomats believed,” and General Sisi “appeared to be” etc.? Could it be that on-the-record
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