Saturday, November 30, 2013
Obama and Mooch to Iran? Will Mooch have to cover up?wants to visit Iran according to a report in a Kuwaiti newspaper. Here's a Google translation of the report.
Al-Jarida has learned from a U.S. diplomat that President Barack Obama is seeking to visit Tehran in the middle of next year. The source said that the desire to visit is shared, and that Tehran and Washington are waiting for the conclusion of the arrangements prior to Iranian President Hassan Rohani issuing an official invitation to his American counterpart to visit Tehran.
He pointed out that the most important detail that is outstanding regarding the meeting is the question of a meeting with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the possibility of not holding the meeting.
The source said that Obama was waiting for the invitation to devote his new administration's policy in the region based on the principle of non-military involvement and balance. He wants to be the first U.S. president to visit Iran since the Khomeini revolution in order to show that he is an advocate of peace and dialogue even with those who chant death to America.I'm not sure Mooch will want to go along on this trip.
And I doubt that most Americans will be happy about their President going either.
French court fines BDS'ersfined a group of BDS'ers who invaded supermarkets in France in 2009 and 2010.
A French court imposed a $1,300 fine on members of an anti-Israel group who called on supermarket shoppers to boycott Israeli products.I believe that one of the incidents in question is in the video I posted here. There's video of a 2011 incident here.
The Court of Appeals of Colmar near Strasbourg fined each of the group’s 12 members individually on Wednesday for their participation in a pro-boycott activity in 2009-2010, which the court qualified as “provocation to discrimination.” The court also gave the activists a suspended jail sentence, according to a report by the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities.
The ruling reversed a 2012 verdict by the Correctional Tribunal of Mulhouse, which found the defendants not guilty. Prosecutors filed the appeal, CRIF said in a statement.
The actions for which the defendants were sentenced took place in 2009 in a supermarket in Mulhouse and again in 2010. Some of the defendants received a double fine for each action, CRIF reported.
The perpetrators were sentenced in accordance with strict anti-discrimination laws, including one passed by the French parliament in 2003 known as the Lellouche Law, after the lawmaker who drafted it, Pierre Lellouche.
In September, seven activists were given a $650 fine for a similar action in 2010 in a supermarket in Alençon.
US freed Iranian scientist who tried to acquire nuclear equipment
As part of its back channel talks with Iran, the United States freed an Iranian scientist in April, who had been arrested in California for trying to acquire nuclear equipment for Iran (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
American and Iranian officials have been meeting secretly in Oman on and off for years, according to a respected Israeli intelligence analyst, Ronen Solomon. And in the past three years as a consequence of those talks, Iran released three American prisoners, all via Oman, and the US responded in kind. Then, most critically, in April, when the back channel was reactivated in advance of the Geneva P5+1 meetings, the US released a fourth Iranian prisoner, high-ranking Iranian scientist Atarodi, who was arrested in California on charges that remain sealed but relate to his attempt to acquire what are known as dual-use technologies, or equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs. Iran has not reciprocated for that latest release.
Solomon, an independent intelligence analyst (who in 2009 revealed the crucial role played by German Federal Intelligence Service officer Gerhard Conrad in the negotiations that led to the 2011 Gilad Shalit Israel-Hamas prisoner deal), has been following the US-Iran meetings in Oman for years. Detailing what he termed the “unwritten prisoner exchange deals” agreed over the years in Oman by the US and Iran, Solomon told The Times of Israel that “It’s clear what the Iranians got” with the release of top scientist Atarodi in April. “What’s unclear is what the US got.”
The history of these deals, though, he said, would suggest that in the coming months Iran will release at least one of three US citizens who are currently believed to be in Iranian custody. One of these three is former FBI agent Robert Levinson.
The facts of his case are still shrouded. On December 7, 2011, Atarodi, a faculty member at the prestigious Sharif University of Technology (SUT) in Tehran — a US-educated electrical engineer with a heart condition, a green card and a brother living in the US — arrived at LAX and was arrested by US federal officials.
He appeared twice in US federal court in San Francisco and was incarcerated at a federal facility in Dublin, California and then kept under house arrest. The US government cloaked the contents of his indictment and released no statement upon his release. His lawyer, Matthew David Kohn, told The Times of Israel he would like to discuss the case further but that first he had to “make some inquiries” to see what he was allowed to reveal.
In January, shortly after Atarodi’s arrest, his colleagues wrote a letter to the journal Nature, protesting his detention. “We believe holding a distinguished 55-year-old professor in custody is a historical mistake and not commensurate with the image that America strives to extend throughout the world as a bastion of free scientific exchange among schools and academic institutions,” they said.
Solomon, who compiled a profile of Atarodi, believes that the scientist, prior to his arrest, played an important role in Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. Atarodi, he said, has co-authored more than 30 technical articles, mostly related to micro-electric engineering and, in 2011, won the Khwarizmi award for the design of a microchip receiver for digital photos. “That same technology,” he said, “can be used for missile guidance and the analysis of nuclear tests.”
Solomon further noted that the then-Iranian defense minister and former commander of the revolutionary guards, Ahmad Vahidi, attended the prize ceremony and that Professor Massoud Ali-Mahmoudi, an Iranian physics professor who was assassinated in 2010, was an earlier recipient of the prize.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Atarodi came to the US at the behest of the logistics wing of the IRGC [the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps],” Solomon said.
On April 26 Atarodi was flown from the US to Seeb military airbase in Oman, where he met with Ismaily, and onward to Iran. “The release of someone who holds that sort of information and has advanced strategic projects in Iran is a prize,” Solomon said. The US, said Solomon, must have already received something in return or will do so in the future.
Read the whole thing. So glad to hear that we're not the only country with an early release program for political expediency.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Light one candleMore light and then even more - that's the theme of Chanukah. Never stop growing, never stop brightening, don't let the light go out. The flame of Judaism is in your heart and in your hands. Use it to light one candle. And tomorrow, light another one.
Enjoy this new video and single, a Chanukah gift from Benny Friedman.
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Zvi S).
Shabbat Shalom and a Freilichen (Happy) Chanuka to everyone!
Only among Jews would this even have to be saidfilm festival.'
Britain and Germany block 'Palestinian' membership in International Olive Councilmember state.'
In April, as part of the peace talks with Israel, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas promised not to take unilateral action in joining international bodies.
Just recently Nabil Shaath, a senior official in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), threatened that his organization was ready to join international organizations as the talks have failed to deliver results in the course of 5 months. On Friday Shaath emphasized that the PA is only remaining in the talks to free all 104 terrorists whose release was promised as a "gesture."
European diplomatic sources told Haaretz that German and British representatives blocked the application, noting that if the PA were to join the international organization it could threaten the peace talks. US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to return to Israel next week to keep pushing peace talks.
Jews in Judea and Samaria have long argued that Arabs in the region use the olive harvest as a pretext to prepare attacks on the Jewish communities. Often PA Arabs insist on entering Jewish communities to pick olives under IDF protection.
PA residents often prey on the ignorance of Western journalists, who do not know that hacking off olive trees' branches is a token part of the harvesting process. As such, olive harvest season has become a breeding ground for false claims of vandalism.
Video footage from October showed Arabs gathering near Itamar to ostensibly gather olives, but secretly filming Jewish homes, while one Arab man made a threatening throat-cutting gesture with his machete.
In March Itamar was the site of a massacre in which two Arabs snuck into a home and violently murdered 5 members of the Fogel family, including a 2 month old baby.And we're supposed to trust the 'Palestinians' benign intentions?
Oh my: WaPo says Obama lying about Iran deal, even 'permanent' deal may expire in 3-5 yearsaccusing Obama of telling half the truth.
What the White House didn’t report is that the text of the accord makes several major concessions to Tehran on the terms of a planned second-stage agreement. Though White House officials and Secretary of State John F. Kerry repeatedly said that Iran’s assertion of a “right to enrich” uranium would not be recognized in an interim deal, the text says the “comprehensive solution” will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program with mutually agreed parameters.” In other words, the United States and its partners have already agreed that Iranian enrichment activity will continue indefinitely. In contrast, a long-standing U.S. demand that an underground enrichment facility be closed is not mentioned.
Mr. Obama and other U.S. officials have spoken about a six-month time frame for completing negotiations, but the agreement says the six-month arrangement can be renewed “by mutual consent” and that “the parties aim to conclude negotiating and commence implementing [in] no more than one year.” It also states that “there would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final step,” including “addressing the U.N. Security Council resolutions.” Those resolutions order Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, but the agreement does not say whether those demands will be enforced.
The most troubling part of the document provides for what amounts to a sunset clause in the comprehensive agreement. It says the final deal will “have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon,” and that once that time period is complete, “the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party” to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran thus could look forward to a time when there would be no sanctions and no special restrictions on its nuclear capacity; it could install an unlimited number of centrifuges and produce plutonium without violating any international accord.
Administration officials say they regard Iran’s agreement to the words “long-term” in the sunset clause as a significant concession. In theory, this might mean 15 to 20 years. Iran, however, has proposed a far shorter period; we are told it was three to five years. Whatever the final compromise, it would be dangerous to allow this Iranian regime to have an unrestricted nuclear program at any time — and it surely would be unacceptable to Israel and Iran’s Arab neighbors. The United States should retain the ability to block the expiration of controls with its veto in the U.N. Security Council.What could go wrong?
The more the government tries to push Haredim into the army, the more the Haredim fleethe more the government tries to force Haredim to enlist, the more the Haredim will resist.
Rabbi Avraham Brown’s former jobs include working to integrate hareidi men in the IDF and heading the Hesder yeshiva [Torah academy] network. He spoke to Arutz Sheva about the planned law to mandate hareidi-religious enlistment.
“This law will torpedo the enlistment of thousands of hareidi men in the upcoming years,” he warned. “[Even] hareidi men who aren’t learning in yeshiva and were planning to enlist” will not enlist if the law passes, he said.
“It’s a law that will hurt the economy, that will prevent thousands of hareidi men under the age of 26 from working legally. It will also hurt the Torah world, because they’re treating yeshivas like academic departments, like the number of students can be cut,” he argued.
The Shaked Committee (Equal Burden of Service Committee), which is discussing the various options regarding hareidi enlistment, has not even invited hareidi experts to come speak, he said. “They didn’t invite Rabbi Rabad, who established ‘Shachar Kachol’ in the air force, or me,” he related.
The two met privately with committee head MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), he revealed.
“We sat with her at home and explained that those who have dropped out and who aren’t learning in yeshivas could be enlisted, that there is a hareidi consensus there, but unfortunately they still have not discussed that proposal,” he said.
The depth of the mistake will soon come to light, he warned, “The enlistment law will lead to conflict, and it will hurt the army… There are enough [yeshiva] dropouts who could join technological units and enlist later. All this debate just put a stop to everything.”
The rabbi’s warning follows a similar warning from Rabbi Yoel Shwartz, who established the Netzach Yehuda (Nachal Hareidi) Brigade for hareidi-religious soldiers. Rabbi Shwartz warned that if plans to require hareidi men to enlist move forward, “nobody will enlist… Nobody will dare to enlist.”Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, who was forced out as IDF chief rabbi because he distributed religious materials to soldiers and quoted Torah to them, also says that repealing the Tal Law, which set up a system for deferring enlistment for boys studying in yeshiva, was a mistake.
Former Chief Rabbi of the IDF and Rosh Yeshiva of the Itamar hesder yeshiva (Torah academy) program Rabbi Avihai Rontzki stated to Arutz Sheva Thursday that the canceling of the Tal Law and the government's decision to implement the Equal Burden law was a mistake from the very beginning.
"This is already a situation that is ex post facto, there is no going back, because the legal process involved is complicated and the current government is pushing the issue," he stated.
"There was no reason to cancel the Tal Law, which enabled hundreds of religious soldiers to serve [of their own volition]. The whole process of eliminating the Tal Law, the involvement of Senior government officials in the hareidi draft, and the desire to make this a national mission was a mistake."
The Tal Law allowed full-time Torah students to defer military service. Critics of the law were outraged at the fact that large sectors of the hareidi-religious community were using the edict to permanently dodge the draft and stay in yeshiva [Torah academies], causing a number of potential economic and sociological problems; the Law was eventually declared unconstitutional in 2012 by the High Court on grounds of promoting inequality.
According to R' Rontzki, the current government does not have a clear understanding of the importance of Torah study for the Jewish people. "Thousands of people who learn Torah bring tremendous blessing to the Jewish people," he stated. "The problem is that the hareidi-religious community refuses to engage in the same national service that the rest of the country does, and it's an anathema to many."Suffice it to say that the Haredi community is circling the wagons on this. There are horror stories floating around, mainly about a small group of boys who were summoned to the IDF during the first weeks after the Tal Law expired, and who signed enlistment papers without realizing what they were signing (since then, the boys have been told to give only 'name and identification number'). Those boys are now deemed AWOL, and the army has been aggressively searching their parents' homes in the middle of the night. I heard at least one story today of a boy who has been jailed.
Despite disagreeing with the law in principle, Rontzki emphasizes that Shaked is pushing to prevent the punishment for draft-dodgers from becoming a criminal offense. Instead, Shaked, following the Jewish Home party stance, supports economic sanctions on draft refusers.
Ironically, under the Tal Law, the boys were required to report to the IDF every six months where they were registered in yeshiva, as well as reporting whenever they transferred yeshivas. Today, the boys are no longer required to report, and the IDF is looking for needles in the haystack - hence the raids on the boys' homes. The boys are hiding out in their yeshivas and no one knows anymore who is where.
What a wasteful use of IDF resources....
UN declares 'international year of solidarity' with the 'Palestinian people'Palestinian people.' To 'celebrate' their obsession, the UN added six more anti-Israel resolutions.
The UN General Assembly passed six more resolutions concerning Israel on Monday, including one that called for Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria.It's long past time to close the United Nations....
Of the six resolutions one said Israel should cease imposing its jurisdiction on Jerusalem and another one, labeled 68/L.12, declared 2014 the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”
This resolution calls on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to “organize activities to be held during the year.”
Of the other three resolutions, one praised the Secretariat’s Division of Palestinian Rights for its role in “raising international awareness of the question of Palestine;” the second called for a peaceful settlement to the conflict and said that Israel, as “the Occupying Power,” must “comply strictly with its obligations under international law,” and the third advocated for the “dissemination of information on all the activities of the United Nations system relating to the question of Palestine and the peace process.”
You have changed my mourning to joyHere's Avraham Fried with Hafachta Mispedi, You have changed my mourning to joy. This song comes from Psalm 30, which is said every day after mourning prayers during Chanuka (abroad - in Israel it is only said on five or six of the eight days and not on the day(s) that coincide with the Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh).
Let's go to the videotape.
Maccabees - the story of ChanukaI suspect that many of you think Chanuka is a story of a military victory and it's partly that.
But it's important to realize that the war of Chanuka was a spiritual war more than anything else. Unlike the story of Purim, where the Jewish people were threatened with physical annihilation, on Chanuka the story is spiritual. Had the Jews abandoned their religion, the Greeks would have left them alone. That's why on Purim the main celebration is food (yes, I know there is also a megilla to be read), while on Chanuka, the main celebration is praising God (Hallel v'Hodaa).
I cannot vouch 100% for the accuracy of this video, but it seems pretty close. I have no idea who did it.
Let's go to the videotape.
Former national security adviser blasts P 5+1 agreement with Iranblasted the P 5+1 agreement with Iran in an op-ed in the New York Times.
Iran will not only get to keep its existing 18,000 centrifuges; it will also be allowed to continue developing the next generation of centrifuges, provided it does not install them in uranium-enrichment facilities. Which is to say: Its uranium-enrichment capability is no weaker.
Under the deal Iran is supposed to convert its nearly 200 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity — a short step away from bomb-grade material — into material that cannot be used for a weapon. In practice, this concession is almost completely meaningless.
The agreement does not require Iran to reduce its stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent, not even by one gram. Transforming unprocessed uranium into 3.5 percent-enriched uranium accounts for more than two-thirds of the time needed to transform unprocessed uranium into weapons-grade material. And given the thousands of centrifuges Iran has, the regime can enrich its stock of low-level uranium to weapons-grade quality in a matter of months. Iran already has enough of this material to make four bombs.
The Geneva deal, in short, did not address the nuclear threat at all. This was Iran’s great accomplishment. No wonder Mr. Rouhani boasted that the world had recognized Iran’s nuclear rights.
There is no reason to think that the six powers will have more leverage in the future than they had before the Geneva agreement. On the contrary, they just gave that leverage away. After years of disingenuous negotiations, Iran is now just a few months away from a bomb.
The West has surrendered its most effective diplomatic tool in exchange for baseless promises of goodwill. I pray its gamble pays off, for if it does not there will be only one tool left to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. The Geneva agreement has made the world a more dangerous place. It did not have to be this way.
Read the whole thing. And he doesn't even mention the plutonium reactor....
The Thanksgivukkah Medley (Simple Gifts and Hava Narima)Although tonight is only the second night of Chanuka - six more to go - today is the only day of Thanksgivukkah for the next 78,000 years or so. In other words, post all the Thanksgivukkah stuff today.
Let's go to the videotape.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Hanukkah 2013 Maoz Tzur Technion Students IsraelJust in time for candle lighting in the US....
Happy Hanukkah from Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Direct from the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, talented Technion students perform their version of Maoz Tzur, (Rock of Ages) created in the lab.
Student performers: Amir Gabay, Renana Gershoni Poranne, Dudu Halfon, Ido Shavit and Meni Sonino
Thanks to Schulich Faculty of Chemistry Dean Prof. Alon Hoffman and Yuriy Gelman, Gabriele Halevi and Adina Ilan.
Let's go to the videotape.
Thanksgivukkah turkeyidea for your turkey today.
After 22 years here, we don't ordinarily have turkey on Thanksgiving. It's an ordinary school and work day (the two younger boys had a half day of school today because of Chanuka).
Israel's masochistic leftvictim of a 'Palestinian' rock attack in Jerusalem last Saturday. J.M. Mens wonders whether Seidemann lost his mind in the attack.
Daniel Seidemann, a leftist Israeli activist, was hit by a rock on Saturday and required stitches in his head. He wrote a ‘sentitive response’ on social media that was republished by 972MAG in a sympathetic way. Please read below and tell me if you find Daniel’s reflection on being hit by a rock as courageous, or extraordinarily delusional.As a 16 year old with my whole life ahead of me, I did not want to be confrontational or controvertial with what I write on this blog. I should not make enemies. But in light of what I read, I have to ask; did the rock to the head affect Mr. Seidemann’s sanity, or if he was of such a submissive disposition before it hit his head? In any case, the dross that you just read in the last paragraph is not a fabrication. It is a genuine, sad example of leftist submission and self-dehumanisation.The rock that hit me yesterday was not directed at me, personally. Most likely, it was hurled because I am an Israeli – the occupier. It’s also possible that it’s because I am a Jew, irrespective of the occupation. We will never know. But the wonderful people who visited me today are living under occupation. My occupation. I deserve no special dispensation for my “good behavior.” They owe me no apologies.As long as the occupation exists, events like this will happen and no one is exempt from them. I don’t romanticize the prick that cracked my head open. But I don’t find it particularly important if he is or is not apprehended. (OK – I do fear that he might have just been practicing on me, and that more deadly violence can be expected of him in the future). But this ends not when Palestinians behave better, or when our Shin Bet becomes more efficient. It ends when occupation ends. Until then, I remain a symbol of that occupation, and not without reason. And no good deeds, as it were, will redeem me or protect me.
The “Uncle Tomer” attitude of this submissive Israeli is openly admitted. Seidemann says “there is I deserve no special dispensation for my ‘good behavior’.” Good behaviour being a synonym for submission, and as having full acceptance of the Arab ‘pure victim’ narrative. The Arabs are the victims, even when they attack, assumes Seidemann. They would, sadly, be victims in Mr Seidemann’s eyes if the rock blinded him, deafened him, or anything to that effect. Such is the naivité of someone with this viewpoint.
His statement also has a roaring spark of disingenuity. The statement “I don’t find it particularly important if he is or is not apprehended” may present a typical peacenik “turn the other cheek” image. That is, until the hypocrisy of the statement is exposed immediately as he follows up his comment with “OK – I do fear that he might have just been practicing on me, and that more deadly violence can be expected of him in the future”. He admits the hatred and the murderous intent, and then goes on to justify it. He admits that the same hatred that propelled an arm to throw a rock at his head is the same hatred that fuels the rockets that hit Israeli towns like Sderot and Ashkelon, and then accepts it.Read the whole thing.
Obama wilting under heat from Netanyahucool the criticism of the P 5+1 deal with Iran.
A wild card in these negotiations is Israel. Obama has asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take a breather from his clamorous criticism and send to Washington a team that can explore with U.S. officials a sound end-state strategy. Perhaps the United States and Israel need a back channel, outside the bombastic pressure campaign by Israeli advocates.That team was already sent to the US earlier this week. The problem is that the Israelis don't trust Obama - and with good reason. And we're not the only ones.
Israel is not the only country in the region seeking assurances on Iran.
Bahrain's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah al-Khalifa has asked that the P5+1 states "clarify to the leaders and people of the region that the agreement that has been reached serves to achieve regional security stability."
Addressing the start of a regular meeting of Gulf Arab interior ministers in Bahrain, he said Gulf Arab states wanted to be certain that the accord "would not be at the expense of the security of any member of the (Gulf Cooperation) Council".
"It is not a secret that we in Bahrain have felt [threats that] affect our security, with all foreign-related links to that."
Bahrain, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet as a strategic bulwark against Iran across the Gulf, has suffered frequent unrest since 2011 when its Shi'ite Muslim majority took to the streets demanding reforms and a bigger say in government.
The Sunni Muslim monarchy in Bahrain and in neighboring Saudi Arabia have regularly accused Shi'ite Iran of fomenting the unrest. The Islamic Republic denies such accusations.I don't believe they will ever reach a final agreement - at least not on terms that meaningfully restrict Iran. The only question in my mind is whether or not Iran will develop a weapon before the six months are up.
Breaking: 2-year old seriously injured when 'Palestinians' pelt car with rocks in Jerusalem
A 2-year old girl is in serious condition tonight after 'Palestinian' terrorists pelted the car in which she was a passenger at the entrance to the Armon HaNetziv neighborhood in southern Jerusalem.
A Magen David Adom team gave the baby initial medical care and took her to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. She suffered a serious head injury.
Security forces are combing the area in search of the terrorists.
Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) reacted to the attack and said that it joins a long list of similar serious incidents. "I strengthen the prime minister's hands," he said, "[in the hope] for a determined, quick action to put an end to the Stone Age."
Ten residents of Jerusalem's Issawiya neighborhood, aged 15-17, were arrested earlier this week on suspicion that they threw firebombs and rocks at an IDF base on Mount Scopus, at Hebrew University buildings and at police vehicles.
At least two of the teenaged terrorists are linked to the DFLP terror organization.'Peace' is at hand... not....
UPDATE 7:08 PM
Magen David Adom EMS treated the girl at the scene on Rakevet Street and transported her to hospital at Hadassah University Medical Center in the city.
MDA said that the toddler was in moderate to serious condition and that she was not fully conscious when they arrived at the scene but that her condition improved on the way to the hospital.
The girl was riding in the back seat of her family's car with her two brothers when the attack occurred.Refuah Shleima - a full and speedy recovery....
Munich and Geneva
Democrat Menendez slams Obama on Iran sanctionsopposition to new sanctions against Iran.
Menendez said he appreciated President Barack Obama’s ultimate goal to find a diplomatic solution with Iran. But he will keep pressing for fresh sanctions that take effect if the country stops cooperating with Western powers, seeking to increase pressure on Iran to reach a permanent nuclear deal.
And Menendez (D-N.J.) made it clear he did not look kindly on White House press secretary Jay Carney’s recent description of the continued push for congressional sanctions as a “march to war.”
“What I don’t appreciate is when I hear remarks out of the White House spokesman that say … if we’re pursuing sanctions we’re marching the country off to war. I think that’s way over the top, I think that’s fear-mongering,” Menendez said on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
Menendez didn’t dispute that he and other senators might be playing “bad cop” to the Obama administration’s “good cop,” pushing for the Senate to enact a fresh round of penalties on Iran while Obama warns against “tough talk and bluster.”
“We consistently hear about how we have to worry about the hard-liners in Iran. And it seems that the Iranians get to play good cop-bad cop, [Iranian President] Rouhani as the good cop, the hard-liners as the bad cop,” Menendez said.
He described a dual-track diplomacy with the White House that would say to Iran: “‘Hey look. This is what’s coming if you don’t strike a deal.’ And at the same time the administration would say, ‘But if we strike a deal those sanctions will never go into effect.’”
Menendez and other powerful Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) have not been shy with their criticism of an interim deal struck by Secretary of State John Kerry that temporarily rolls back sanctions on Iran in return for a slowdown of the country’s nuclear program. They are vowing to work with Republicans on a fresh wave of sanctions when the Senate returns on Dec. 9, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he will “take a look” at.I would love to see Menendez and Schumer start standing up to Obama. But given the last five years, it's hard to believe that's really going to happen.
US okays Iran continuing to build Arak plutonium reactorUnited States has okayed Iran continuing to build the plutonium reactor at Arak.
Israeli experts have estimated that Tehran's schedule for nuclear enrichment has only been delayed for up to two weeks, according to the report, less than one week after a deal has been reached between Western powers and the Iranian government regarding the nuclear program.
The estimate may confirm Netanyahu's condemnation of the deal - which is an interim agreement which lifts economic sanctions for a slowing, but not stopping, of Iran's nuclear production - as a "historic mistake."
The concern in Israel is that Iran will wait for an international crisis, or an internal crisis in the United States, as a prime opportunity to drop a nuclear bomb on its enemies. The deal provides international support for Iran's nuclear program by allowing it to continue in any capacity - thus making the global community powerless to stop a nuclear Iran on legal grounds.
The report states that Iran is likely to fire up their 18,000 centrifuges and produce a nuclear bomb in the event that the Islamic Republic sees the golden opportunity to use nuclear warfare - deal or no deal. A nuclear warhead would then be ready in as little as 36 days.
Meanwhile, the US has declared their support for the Iranian to "continue building" their nuclear reactor in Arak. The support is based on terms which prevent Tehran from producing nuclear fuel, or using the heavy water reactor; however, these cannot be constantly monitored, experts claim.The report also says that Iran does not have the capability of reducing the enrichment level of its already enriched uranium.
What could go wrong?
Who says Americans favor Iran deal?Americans favoring their country's deal with Iran by a 2-1 margin. Not so says Rasmussen.
Voters are almost evenly divided over a treaty the United States has reached with Iran to slow that country’s nuclear weapons program and tend to think the arrangement is likely to make things worse in the Middle East.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% favor the short-term deal than ends some economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for verifiable cutbacks in the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Forty-three percent (43%) oppose that deal. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)Hmmm.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 25-26, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
I am unworthyHere's Yonatan Razel with Katonti (I am unworthy). The words come from the Torah portion of two weeks ago.
Let's go to the videotape.
Lady Arroganceshe's in charge.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel's chief negotiator in the current round of peace talks with the Palestinians, says substantial progress is being made, in spite of recent skepticism displayed by her Palestinian counterparts.Let's see. The second in command of the 'Palestinian' negotiating team resigned due to lack of progress. Saeb Erekat agreed to stay on because Abu Mazen begged him to stay - and Saeb made clear that's why he's staying. Nabil Abu Rudeineh was on Israel Radio saying that no progress has been made and that nothing has moved since the negotiations started. Sounds like 'progress' to me.
In an interview with Esti Perez on Israel Radio's program Midday, Livni told listeners that preventing failure in current negotiations will be difficult and will require her "experience and expertise," and added that she first and foremost intends to protect Israel's best interest.So what's her next move? Threaten to resign? Take her party out of the coalition but insist on remaining in charge of 'negotiations'? This woman's arrogance and hubris are seemingly limitless.
At a peace conference in the Knesset on Monday, Livni suggested that Israel should stop being unhappy about the deal with Iran, and focus on peace with Palestinians.
Like the 'Palestinians' will matter if we get nuked.... And by the way, it's going to be more than six months, because even the Europeans admitted today that the six months don't start until the inspectors get there, and the inspectors aren't getting there until after the first of the year.
She also pointed out that the six months in which countries will be negotiating a permanent accord with Iran are, not coincidentally, the same period left in the nine months US Secretary of State John Kerry allocated for talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
She said that rather than complain about the interim deal reached with Iran in Geneva, Israel can help get a better deal by doing its part in the peace talks.Doesn't the government reject the idea of 'linkage' between Iran and the 'Palestinians'? Oh wait, Livni does whatever she wants anyway....
There has only been one politician as arrogant as Livni in the history of the State of Israel: Her old boss Ehud Olmert.
Livni needs to be removed from any position of responsibility. Unbelievable.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
'Palestinians' destroying priceless archaeological site from Hasmonean timesarchaeological dig at the remains of an ancient Hasmonean fortress.
News of PA digs at the site is particularly of concern given the organization's penchant for rewriting history. In 2011, amid renewed PA digs in Shechem, which the Bible records was bought by Jacob (Yaakov), Hamdan Taha, director of the PA's Department of Antiquities, said the dig would help in “writing or rewriting the history of Palestine.”
The Field School guides discovered the archaeological digging during a trip taken in advance of a walking tour planned for December 6 during Hanukkah. The Field School said Israeli groups have not traveled the area in roughly 20 years.
Given the lack of a mandate for rule and for IDF involvement in Area A, the School said "all that's left is to hope that the findings will be dealt with according to the great importance the site has to the Jewish people."
The Hasmoneans successfully forced the occupying Greek Empire out of Israel and established their own dynasty over 2,000 years ago. Their revolt, sparked by Greek decrees outlawing Judaism, lead to the purification and rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Regarding the site, representatives from the School explained that Judah Maccabee, a key leader in the uprising, died three years after the Temple was purified. Following his death "the Hellenist Jews together with the Greek army returned to rule over Judea and the gains accomplished by the Hasmonean revolt nearly fell completely. The recovery from this hard setback happened in the Judean desert between Bethlehem and Tekoa at the hill named Beit Betzi."
At the ruins remains of a magnificent fortress from the Hasmonean and Early Roman period were found. According to Dr. David Amit's research in the 1980s the site played a critical role in the Hasmonean struggle against Greek forces.'Tis the season to try maintain a truthful narrative....
Labels: Chanuka gelt
Great news: London mediating indirect talks between Obama and Hezbullah...
No, really. The United States of Obama is using London to negotiate with Hezbullah to fight jointly against al-Qaeda. My enemy's enemy is my friend or something like that. You can't make this stuff up....
The US and Hezbollah are in secret indirect talks managed by London in order to deal with the fight against al-Qaida, regional stability, and other Lebanese political issues.
The ongoing negotiations with Iran have led to a change of perception, and opened the door to dialogue with Hezbollah and Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani.
Rouhani spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron last week, pushing London to re-open the channel with Hezbollah.
According to senior diplomatic sources quoted in the report in the Kuwait newspaper al-Rai on Wednesday, British diplomats are holding discussions with leaders of the Lebanese organization and transferring the information to the Americans.
Because the US recognizes both the political and military wings of the party as a terrorist organization and refuses to distinguish between them, unlike the British, American officials cannot legally meet with any member of the organization.What could go wrong?
But according to the sources, the US are willing to hear the views of the party and “warm up to a direct relationship in the future.”
Maybe I should have been an Arik Einstein fan
That's not because I had anything against him. It's because over the years I listen to less and less secular music, and because I've never really been into Israeli secular culture. (Most of the secular music I post here is in English and it's stuff I remember from 40 years ago).
Some of you may have heard that Einstein passed away last night at the age of 74, which is considered quite young today. Two things about the aftermath of his death caught my eye.
One was one of my Israel Haredi Facebook friends (yes, there are some) who has friends across the spectrum, who posted that many Haredim were following what was happening with Einstein with baited breath. She wrote (in Hebrew) that she didn't understand why, until Uri Zohar (a popular entertainer who became religious many years ago) eulogized Einstein today as "a mentch."
The other is the photo above. It's a quote of Einstein's on Prime Minister Netanyahu, and I will translate it for you.
I didn't vote for Netanyahu. My views are far from his, and he made mistakes, but with that, I believe that they are acting unjustly toward him. They are attacking him, and I am disgusted by the intensity of the scorn and hatred that they are displaying toward him. How much can they squeeze his blood with armed slander and with such an appetite. It's disgusting!The Prime Minister was one of those who paid his respects to Einstein as the latter's body lay in state in Tel Aviv this afternoon.
And so, I should post at least one Einstein song. Let's go to the videotape.
May his memory be blessed.
Labels: Israeli culture
A day of historic firsts
But in addition to that historic first, here is a post listing all of President Hussein Obama's historic firsts. It's the longest list I've ever seen on the blogosphere other than the list of people who have been banned from Chuckles the Clown's Little Green Footballs.
Laughing all the way to the bank: Make that $12.6 billion... to Iranalready received $8 billion despite the fact that the agreement with the P 5+1 has not yet come into effect. Actually, it's more than that. Much more. Iran has already received $12.6 billion.
First, there are oil revenues.
Spokesman for the Majlis Foreign Policy Commission Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said on Tuesday that about 4.6 billion dollars of Iranˈs blocked oil revenues would be freed.And then there are frozen assets.
Hosseini quoted member of Iranˈs nuclear negotiating team Abbass Araghchi as saying that per the Geneva deal, no more sanctions will be imposed and oil sale will be kept intact under present conditions.
Government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nowbakht confirmed the release of dlrs 8 billion of Iran’s blocked assets by the US administration.What will they now do if Iran doesn't fulfill its end of the deal? What's that you say? Iran is already trying to change the terms?
He made the remarks here Monday while talking to reporters on the sideline of a local gathering.
Nowbakht noted that the recent nuclear agreement will have significant impact on the Iranian economy.
What could go wrong?
A freilichen (happy) Chanuka to all!Heh.
And yes, I'm a good American and I wait until it's dark out to light rather than lighting at sundown like most of the Israelis do.... That's why this post is going up now.
אקדומי פורענותא לא מקדמינן?
In Jewish law, when certain fast days fall on Saturday, we put them off to Sunday. The exception to this is the Fast of Esther, which is advanced to Thursday. The reason? Because the other fast days that are put off relate to tragedies and we don't advance the observance of tragedies. The Fast of Esther (just before Purim), on the other hand, is related to the war in which the Jews routed the Persians, and does not recall a tragedy. If it falls on Saturday, we advance it to Thursday (which is good because Purim in such a case would come out on Sunday except in certain cities in Israel where it would come out on Monday).
Now that I have confused you totally, I'm sure you all understand why I used a four-word Hebrew phrase to title this post.
I would have thought that much of the United Nations would consider the partition of 'Palestine' into Jewish and Arab states in 1947 - accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Arabs who went to war over it - a tragedy. Therefore, if the date on which that 'tragedy' is observed - November 29 - falls on Black Friday, as is the case this year, it ought to have been pushed off to Saturday, Sunday or Monday.... Instead, the United Nations advanced it to Monday. Maybe they were afraid the media would take the weekend off?
Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor slammed the U.N. for its conduct regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Anti-Israel bias pervades the U.N. system all year round," Prosor said. "In 2012, [the U.N. General Assembly] found the time to pass 22 resolutions condemning Israel -- compared with only four that single out other nations," Prosor said. "The worst human rights abusers receive a fraction of the condemnation that Israel -- the only democracy in the Middle East -- receives. These irresponsible actions have irreversible consequences. The states that rubberstamp the anti-Israel resolutions every year, have given the Palestinians a false sense of reality and fed their culture of victimhood."
"All those who claim to advance peace must remind the Palestinians that there are no shortcuts," Prosor said. "Peace is not achieved by changing your nameplate at the U.N.; it isn't achieved by unilateral actions or by passing a string of anti-Israel resolutions; and it won't be achieved in Manhattan, Midtown east, but rather in the Middle East. So long as the Palestinian leadership chooses symbolism over pragmatism, it will be harder to achieve peace."
Prosor said that U.N. General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel "have no relationship to the facts on the ground."
"Just last week the U.N. adopted nine resolutions condemning Israel," Prosor said. "One of these resolutions condemned Israel's treatment of the Syrian people. Condemned Israel's treatment of the Syrian people? It is inconceivable that while Israeli hospitals are treating the Syrians who escaped [Syrian President Bashar] Assad's massacre, the U.N. is denouncing Israel's treatment of the Syrians."
Aren't you glad that your country belongs to the UN and that your taxes support it?
"If that weren't enough, the GA will soon vote on another resolution calling on Israel to hand over the Golan Heights and its residents to Syria. It is nothing short of absurd for the U.N. to demand that even more civilians be subject to Assad's brutality."
'Like I said, all options are on the table'Hebrew caption).
Why is the P 5+1 agreement with Iran like Obamacare?no one read it until after it was signed. And that's the benign reading....
Iran said it would not make "any further advances of its activities" on the Arak reactor, according to text of the agreement.
"The capacity at the Arak site is not going to increase. It means no new nuclear fuel will be produced and no new installations will be installed, but construction will continue there," Zarif told parliament in translated comments broadcast on Iran's Press TV.
But experts have said an apparent gap in the text could allow Tehran to build components off-site to install later in the nuclear reactor. It was not immediately clear if Zarif was referring to this or other construction activity.Just like when the Obama administration couldn't wait for a vote for long enough to have Congress read the bill.
'Just pass the damn bill.'
'Just sign the damn agreement.'
What could go wrong?
'Peace in our time'
'Worse than Munich'most given away for the least by the many and the strong.
Consider: Britain and France came to Munich as military weaklings. The U.S. and its allies face Iran from a position of overwhelming strength. Britain and France won time to rearm. The U.S. and its allies have given Iran more time to stockpile uranium and develop its nuclear infrastructure. Britain and France had overwhelming domestic constituencies in favor of any deal that would avoid war. The Obama administration is defying broad bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress for the sake of a deal.
As for the Vietnam parallels, the U.S. showed military resolve in the run-up to the Paris Accords with a massive bombing and mining campaign of the North that demonstrated presidential resolve and forced Hanoi to sign the deal. The administration comes to Geneva fresh from worming its way out of its own threat to use force to punish Syria's Bashar Assad for his use of chemical weapons against his own people.
The Nixon administration also exited Vietnam in the context of a durable opening to Beijing that helped tilt the global balance of power against Moscow. Now the U.S. is attempting a fleeting opening with Tehran at the expense of a durable alliance of values with Israel and interests with Saudi Arabia. "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" is the title of a hilarious memoir by British author Toby Young —but it could equally be the history of Barack Obama's foreign policy.
That's where the differences end between Geneva and the previous accords. What they have in common is that each deal was a betrayal of small countries—Czechoslovakia, South Vietnam, Israel—that had relied on Western security guarantees. Each was a victory for the dictatorships: "No matter the world wants it or not," Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said Sunday, "this path will, God willingly, continue to the peak that has been considered by the martyred nuclear scientists." Each deal increased the contempt of the dictatorships for the democracies: "If ever that silly old man comes interfering here again with his umbrella," Hitler is reported to have said of Chamberlain after Munich, "I'll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach."
And each deal was a prelude to worse. After Munich came the conquest of Czechoslovakia, the Nazi-Soviet pact and World War II. After Paris came the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh and the humiliating exit from the embassy rooftop. After Geneva there will come a new, chaotic Mideast reality in which the United States will lose leverage over enemies and friends alike.
Read the whole thing. Sadly, he's spot on.
Sorry, but we look like babies throwing a tantrumLevy Report?
The Levy Report asserted that Israeli construction in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria is legal, and that Israel ought to legalize the 'illegal outposts.' When it came out, the media went ballistic, and Prime Minister Netanyahu was urged by 'American Jewish leaders,' to bury it in order to appease the Obama administration. And in fact, that's what happened: the report was quietly buried.
resurrect the Levy Report.
A political campaign to push the government to adopt the report petered out after Netanyahu was elected to a third term as prime minister in January 2013.
“It’s our duty to ensure that Justice Levy’s report is adopted by the government,” Rotem said on Tuesday.
He added that its passage would repair the damage that had resulted from private attorney Talia Sasson’s initial government commission report on West Bank outposts, which the government received in March 2005.
Her report focused on the creation of illegal outposts and argued for their removal.
In contrast, the Levy report seeks to authorize them and normalize the treatment of land issues in the West Bank as much as possible.
The Constitution, Law and Justice Committee debate may be able to shine a political spotlight on the report, but cannot advance it legally.
New legislation on settlement building would need Netanyahu’s support and the initial approval of the Ministerial Legislative Committee.
Since entering office, Netanyahu has rejected the option of dealing with issues of Jewish building in the West Bank through Knesset legislation, preferring instead to use existing mechanisms.First, it could be advanced as a private member's bill, but that's almost beside the point.
Look, I love the Levy report (if you read the links at the top of this post, I think that comes through loud and clear), and I think it should have been adopted over a year ago when it first came out. But pushing it now, like all the housing announcements for Judea and Samaria this week (which I didn't bother to post because I didn't have the time and I don't believe they will ever happen), makes us look like a bunch of spoiled children throwing a tantrum because we didn't get our way on Iran. If you want to push the Levy Report, please, go ahead and push it, but don't drop it like a hot potato when and if (which is admittedly unlikely) Obama gives up on an arrangement with Iran.
And the same goes for all the housing announcements. Do it because it's the right thing to do and not because of Iran. As Teddy Roosevelt said, "speak softly and carry a big stick."
The Brits favored Chamberlain's Czech policy in 1938 tooAmericans favor the P 5+1 agreement with Iran by a 2-1 margin.
According to the Reuters/Ipsos survey, 44 percent of Americans support the interim deal reached between Iran and six world powers in Geneva, and 22 percent oppose it.
While indicating little trust among Americans toward Iranian intentions, the survey also underscored a strong desire to avoid new US military entanglements after long, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even if the Iran deal fails, 49 percent want the United States to increase sanctions and 31 percent think it should launch further diplomacy. But only 20 percent want US military force to be used against Iran.
The survey's results suggest that a US public weary of war could help bolster Obama's push to keep Congress from approving new sanctions that would complicate the next round of negotiations for a final agreement with Iran.The poll's conclusions are startlingly similar to British polls taken around the time of Neville Chamberlain's September 1938 agreement with Adolph Hitler over Czechoslovakia.
Public opinion in 1938 seemed reasonably in favour of Neville Chamberlain and what was later to be termed appeasement when he returned with "peace in our time" after the September 1938 Munich Agreement. Opinion polls appear to show that the majority of the nation was in support of the stance taken by Chamberlain.On March 16, 1939, Hitler invaded the half of Czechoslovakia that was not ceded to him. That (finally) changed British public opinion:
"Should Britain promise assistance to Czechoslovakia if Germany acts as it did towards Austria?" (Asked March 1938)
No opinion: 24%
"Hitler says that he has no more territorial ambitions in Europe. Do you believe him?" (Asked October 1938)
"Which of these views comes closest to your views of Chamberlain's policy of appeasement?" (Asked February 1939)
1. It is a policy that will ultimately lead to a lasting peace in Europe: 28%
2. It will keep us out of war until we have time to rearm: 46%
3. It is bringing war nearer by whetting the appetite of the dictators: 24%
4. No opinion: 2%
Is the British government right in following a policy giving guarantees to preserve the independence of small European states? (Asked April 1939)Here in Israel we have no delusions (from the first link).
In Israel, a Channel 2 poll conducted Tuesday night showed that a majority of Israelis backed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent criticism of the Obama administration’s Iranian policy, with 58% saying the criticism was justified, and 28% saying it was not.
In addition, most Israelis – 60% – said that the agreement endangered Israel, while 25% said it did not.What could go wrong?
Daddy come homeHere's the Yeshiva Boys Choir with Daddy Come Home.
Let's go to the videotape.
It's tomorrow night folks....
"Thanksgivukkah Pie", Holiday Tribute by Benji LovittI have so many Thanksgivukah posts lined that I figured I'd better start posting them or you'll miss out. But first, a word of explanation.
Thanksgiving is set as the fourth Thursday in November, meaning the latest it can be is 11/28. 11/28 is also the earliest Chanukah can be.
The Jewish calendar repeats on a 19-year cycle, and Thanksgiving repeats on a 7-year cycle. You would therefore expect them to coincide roughly every 19x7 = 133 years. Looking back, this is approximately correct – the last time it would have happened is 1861. However, Thanksgiving was only formally established by President Lincoln in 1863. So, it has never happened before.
Why won't it ever happen again?
The reason is because the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000 years. This means that while presently Chanukah can be as early as 11/28, over the years the calendar will drift forward, such that the earliest Chanukah can be is 11/29. The next time Chanukah falls on 11/28 is the year 2146, which is a Monday. Therefore, 2013 is the only time Chanukah will ever overlap with Thanksgiving.
Of course, if the Jewish calendar is never modified in any way, then it will slowly move forward through the Gregorian calendar, until it loops all the way back to where it is now.
So, Chanukah would again fall on Thursday, 11/28...in the year 79,811.
It has never happened before, and it will never happen again.
Here's "Thanksgivukkah Pie", Holiday Tribute by Benji Lovitt.
Let's go to the videotape.
Chanuka starts Wednesday night, and if you want to send me some Chanuka gelt (money), I'd be thrilled.... Just click the PayPal on the side.
So Obama lied... what else is new?story I ran earlier: Iran says that the Obama administration is lying about what's in the P 5+1 agreement with Iran (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
“What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action, and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told the Iranian press on Tuesday.
Afkham and officials said that the White House has “modified” key details of the deal and released their own version of the agreement.
Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, is fully recognized under the draft released by Tehran.
“This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein,” the agreement reads, according to a copy released to Iranian state-run media.
“This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the programme,” the Iranian draft reads. “This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Iran’s objection to the deal raises new concerns about final stage talks meant to ensure that the deal is implemented in the next few weeks.What could go wrong?