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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Obama 'reflects,' sees himself as perfect

If I didn't know he was arrogant, I might think he was naive. From Barack Obama's 'reflections' while meeting with rabbis before the Jewish New Year.
As Rabbi Matanky noted, Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection, and I'm not exempt from that. So, looking back on the last eight years, I'm both proud of what we've accomplished together, but also mindful of the work we have before us.
When it comes to the unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, we've taken a clear stand, and the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding constitutes the single largest pledge of military assistance in U.S. history to any country, totaling $38 billion over 10 years.
I made a commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and because of our principled diplomacy, every pathway to a nuclear weapon is now closed off. Iran has dismantled two-thirds of its installed centrifuges, shipped out 98 percent of its enriched uranium, rendered its plutonium reactor core unusable, and adopted the most comprehensive nuclear inspection ever.
On the global fight against anti-Semitism, we've worked in partnership with Israel and other countries to take a lead role in organizing the first ever U.N. General Assembly meeting to combat anti-Semitism last year.
And so on these issues and many others we have worked incredibly closely with many of you, allocating millions in assistance for Holocaust survivors, and ensuring that the U.N. finally recognized Yom Kippur as an official holiday, and more broadly, working to rebuild a sinking economy -- so that we've cut the unemployment rate by more than half, provided health care to 20 million people who didn’t have it before, ramped up our production of clean energy, signed a historic Paris agreement that hopefully will curb the accelerating speed at which our planet is warming and could threaten the future of our children and our grandchildren.
Of course, we've still got a lot of work to do -- on the refugee crisis, on criminal justice reform, reducing violence, and creating a political culture in this country that’s a little more functional. But a new year brings new hope, and the community represented on this phone call has always known what it means to stand up for the less fortunate, the stranger, the immigrant, the refugee. And so I'm confident that we can stand together and make sure that as we pass the baton to the next administration that we're going to be able to build on the enormous progress that we've already made.
I don't have time to begin answering, but he is arrogance personified. 

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Shimon Peres z"l

Greetings from Paris - Charles DeGaulle where once again Every Landing Always Late. They've admitted to two hours and fifteen minutes so far. And to think that I ran like crazy thinking I had only an hour and fifteen minutes to make a connection (American left more than two hours late from Charlotte last night, but made up much of that time on the way).

That's okay, because I will have some time to work after I finish this post (and maybe another one) and Paris may be one of the most appropriate places in the world to talk about Shimon Peres, who passed away this morning at the age of 93, because he was fluent in French and because in his later years he so emulated the French.

Israel owes a lot to Shimon Peres, especially our alleged nuclear capability, which was his doing in the early 1960's. I saw a Facebook post this morning that claimed that Peres 'saved' the country from hyperinflation in the 1980's, but the person who wrote it was a child at the time, and I was an adult. I don't believe that's accurate.

There was much that Peres did in his later years with which I disagreed. Oslo (which was done behind Yitzchak Rabin's back). His treatment of Jonathan Pollard. His playing fast and easy with Jewish lives to achieve his goals. His undercutting of Begin on the Osirak attack. In fact, his undercutting of Israeli governments generally in his later years, including during his term as President (a position he turned from an honorary position into a political one). And he was reviled by many in Israel.

But most distressingly, Peres never seriously protested the kind of myths promoted by the New York Times in its obituary of Peres. 

Honest Reporting proves conclusively that the assertion that Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount set off the intifada - a longstanding myth never protested by Peres - is false.
Palestinian Communications Minister Imad Al-Faluji, Al-Safir, 3 March 2001. (Translated by MEMRI):
Whoever  thinks that the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is  wrong.. . . This Intifada was planned in advance, ever since President  Arafat’s return from the Camp David  negotiations, where he turned the table upside down on President  Clinton.
Yasser Arafat’s wife Suha (pictured above) said the following (from Palestinian Media Watch):
On the personal level, I miss him very, very much. [Our daughter] Zahwa also misses him, you can’t imagine. She didn’t know him. She knows that Arafat sent us away before the [Israeli] invasion of Ramallah. He said: ‘You have to leave Palestine, because I want to carry out an Intifada, and I’m not prepared to shield myself behind my wife and little girl.’ Everyone said: ‘Suha abandoned him,’ but I didn’t abandon him. He ordered me to leave him because he had already decided to carry out an Intifada after the Oslo Accords and after the failure of Camp David [July 2000].
Imad Faluji, PA Minister of Communications:
Whoever thinks that the Intifada started because of the hated Sharon’s visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque is mistaken. That was only the straw breaking the Palestinian people’s patience. This Intifada was already planned since [Arafat] the President returned from the recent talks at Camp David [July 2000].” [Private filming of speech by Faluji, Dec. 5, 2000]
The Israel Project notes that American diplomat Dennis Ross recounts in his book The Missing Peace how the Israelis called Washington with proof that the Palestinians were “planning massive, violent demonstrations throughout the West Bank and the next morning, ostensibly a response to the Sharon visit.” Washington pressured Arafat to dampen the violence, but the Palestinian leader – again per Ross – “did not lift a finger to stop the demonstrations, which produced the second Intifada.

Who was Shimon Peres. Some interesting quotes are here. He did some good for the State of Israel, but he took many actions, especially in his later years, that were based on delusions of grandeur that harmed many people.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It's come to this: Saudi editorial blasts Abu Mazen for not responding positively to Netanyahu invitation

It's finally happened. A major Sunni Arab country has told Abu Bluff where to get off. And it's a big one: It's 'our friends, the Saudis.'
The editorial, published Sunday in the Saudi Gazette, a daily published in Jeddah that has a woman editor-in-chief, seemed to depart in tone from the widely-held position in the Arab world that Israel is responsible for the impasse with the Palestinians. It likened Netanyahu’s proposal that the two leaders address each other’s parliaments, to Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s 1977 invitation to Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to visit Israel, and implied it could also lead to a breakthrough. Begin made the invitation “and the rest is history,’’ the editorial said.

“For all its shortcomings, Camp David demonstrated that negotiations with Israel were possible and that progress could be made through sustained efforts at communication and cooperation,’’ it added.

As another example of how “official visits can bend the arc of history’’ the paper cited then-US President Bill Clinton’s 1998 visit to the Gaza Strip to address the Palestinian National Council on the day it deleted clauses calling for the destruction of Israel from the PLO charter.
Well, except that deletion had not legal effect, but let's leave that for now.
The editorial said that Palestinians had rejected overtures from Netanyahu with the explanation that his hard-line position on all core issues made dialogue impossible.

“But the Palestinians should note that at that time, Egypt and Israel were mortal enemies having fought three wars.’’

The editorial went on to second guess the Arab world for rejecting Camp David, saying “in hindsight if the provisions had been carried out, Israel and the Palestinians might not be in the impasse they are at present.’’ Saudi Arabia was a leader of the Arab opposition to Camp David.
'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen sent 'Palestinian' Christian mouthpiece Hanan Ashrawi out to respond.
‘’Whoever wrote this editorial is totally unaware of the reality of this so-called invitation,’’ said PLO spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi. “It is a very obvious public relations trick that’s been overused. If Netanyahu wants peace, let him abide by the requirements of international law, the two-state solution and the 1967 boundaries.’’ 
...
Ashrawi took issue with the analogy to Egyptian-Israeli peacemaking. “It’s not a question of Egypt and Israel, two countries that wanted to make peace, it’s a question of an occupying force that is destroying the other state and it’s about people under occupation who have no right and no power.’’
Funny. I don't recall Begin or Sadat imposing any preconditions... and I am old enough to remember.
Ashrawi said she thinks that “below the surface there are contacts [between Israel and Saudi Arabia] and all sorts of security considerations and Israel is positioning itself to be a regional power.’’ But she added: “No matter what happens, they won’t recognize or normalize with Israel because it hasn’t respected Palestinian rights and international law. Once the Palestinian issue is resolved things can move. Before that they might have secret contacts, but they can’t afford to lose their own constituency.’’
Except that the 'Palestinians' have made the 'Palestinian issue' impossible to resolve by rejecting any form of compromise. 

Here's betting that Abu Mazen and Ashrawi go to their graves without seeing any kind of compromise or 'Palestinian state.'

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Tweet #ThanksPapi and watch a Papi emoji pop up

If you tweet #ThanksPapi on Twitter, a Papi (David Ortiz) emoji pops up.

#ThanksPapi

One of the all time greats! Go Red Sox!

(And yeah, it's a travel day and I'm at Newark Airport, and maybe if you're lucky I'll tell you all where I'm going).

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Federal Judge slams Facebook and its legal counsel for not taking terrorism seriously

Greetings from New York City, where I have been since Thursday evening and where I have been totally tied up with work. I have a few minutes now before a conference call - not enough to work but enough to post something.

On Thursday, a Federal Judge in Brooklyn told a shocked lawyer from Chicago's Kirkland & Ellis that the lawyer's client, Facebook, isn't doing enough to deter terrorists from using its site. And then the judge laid into the firm for sending a first-year associate (someone about four months out of law school at this time of year) alone to the hearing.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, New York, also accused Facebook’s lawyers -- by sending a first-year associate to a hearing -- of not taking seriously lawsuits with implications of international terrorism and the murder of innocent people.
“I think it is outrageous, irresponsible and insulting,” Garaufis told the attorney Thursday. The judge ordered Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the law firm representing Facebook, to send a more senior lawyer to the next hearing on Sept. 28 because he wanted to “talk to someone who talks to senior management at Facebook.”
Garaufis is overseeing two lawsuits in which more than 20,000 victims of attacks and their families accused Facebook of helping groups in the Middle East such as Hamas.
The judge noted similar suits haven’t been successful under U.S. law which insulates publishers from liability for the speech of others. But he said that doesn’t mean Facebook shouldn’t take it seriously and try to address the issue.
Isn’t the social media platform “basically putting together people who’d like to be involved in terrorism with people are are terrorists?” the judge asked. “Doesn’t Facebook have some moral obligation to help cabin the kinds of communications that appear on it?”
The judge didn’t stop there.
"Let’s put the law aside and talk about reality,” Garaufis said, less than a week after a bomb rattled the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, injuring 29 people. “The reality is that people are communicating through social media and the outcome of these inquiries, be it Google or Facebook, has the potential of hooking people up to do very dangerous, bad and harmful things in terms of international and domestic terror."
Federal judges have limited ability to address terrorism and don’t usually get involved in such cases until someone is arrested and charged with a crime, Garaufis said.
"Don’t you have a social responsibility as citizens of the world without having these plaintiffs come to me in Brooklyn?" he asked. “There are things you could do that don’t involve the courts or the judicial system."
Facebook said it’s committed to making people feel safe using the social network.
“Our Community Standards make clear that there is no place on Facebook for groups that engage in terrorist activity or for content that expresses support for such activity, and we take swift action to remove this content when it’s reported to us,” the company said in a statement. “We sympathize with the victims of these horrible crimes.”
A Kirkland & Ellis spokeswoman didn’t have an immediate comment on the judge’s remarks.
The page pictured above was deemed not to violate Facebook's community standards. But Twitter last week briefly suspended Professor Glenn Reynolds (known as Instapundit on social media) for making a sarcastic comment that didn't threaten anyone. Some 'community standards.'

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

88 US Senators sign letter to Obama opposing UN-imposed 'solutions' in the Middle East, 2 of Israel's best friends don't sign

Greetings from Boston's Logan Airport where I am having a travel evening. I'm headed to... Chicago.

88 United States Senators have signed an AIPAC-drafted letter urging President Obama to oppose UN attempts to impose a 'solution' to the Israeli-'Palestinian' conflict. Two of Israel's best friends in the Senate - Marco Rubio (R-Fl) and Ted Cruz (R-Tx) did not sign the letter. Here's why. The letter says
The only way to resolve the conflicts between the two is through direct negotiations that lead to a sustainable two-state solution with a future state of Palestine living in peace and security with Israel. This outcome would provide Israel with greater security and strengthen regional stability. We remain optimistic that, under the right circumstances, Israel and Palestinians can successfully resume productive negotiations toward this goal.
My guess is that Rubio and Cruz don't agree with two-state anymore. I wonder why. 

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Terror in New York City

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

I've been warning about this for years. There have been two attempted terror attacks in New York City this evening. The first was in Chelsea, on 23rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, around 8:30 pm.
And the second nearby on West 27th Street.
Earlier Saturday, there was an explosion at a 5-kilometer charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey.

More here.

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