Video: Rabbi Shlomo CarlebachThis ought to keep you here for a while. It's a rare video of a Shlomo Carlebach concert!
Let's go to the videotape.
Shabbat Shalom everyone!
For 17 years, the Left has been relying on a falsified 1997 Palestinian census that exaggerated the Palestinian population by 50 percent, as a means of scaring Israelis into going along with its phony peace process.Read the whole thing.
Still today, Kerry, Livni, Lapid and their fellow travelers seek to intimidate us by constantly telling us that continued Israeli control over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem will bring about Israel’s demographic demise.
But the lie at the heart of their argument is no longer possible to ignore.
As demographic expert Yoram Ettinger wrote last week in Yisrael Hayom, Jewish Israeli fertility rates are higher than Palestinian fertility rates in Judea and Samaria. In 2013, the Palestinian fertility rate was 2.91 children per woman and the Israeli Jewish fertility rate was 3.04 children per woman.
Today Jews make up 62-66 percent of the population in Judea, Samaria and sovereign Israel. With a two to one majority, a higher birthrate, and positive immigration rates, far from being a strategic threat to Israel’s national viability, demographics are one of Israel’s strategic assets.
The only threat to Israel’s demographic stability is the two-state formula. A Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem would permit the unlimited immigration of millions of foreign Arabs into its territory. Rather than securing Israel’s Jewish majority, a Palestinian state would place millions of hostile Arabs on the outskirts of a rump Israel’s major cities.
With their threat of demographic ruin losing its traction with the public, purveyors of the two-state plan now raise the threat of economic strangulation and ruin at every opportunity.
They understand that given the public’s refusal to be drawn into their fantasies about “peace dividends,” the only path before them is a mix of intimidation and political subversion. They hope that together these two tactics can force Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to submit to Kerry’s dictates for Israeli territorial surrenders.
Amid reports that anti-Semitism is continuously on the rise in France - as is the number of those leaving the country to make aliyah - a chilling video taken on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day captures a protest attended by some 17,000 Parisians, chanting disturbingly anti-Semitic statements.
"Jews, France is not yours!" "Jews out of France" and "The story of the gas chambers is bull***!" were all among what protesters yelled as they chanted in unison. At one point they simply yelled "Jew, Jew, Jew."
Let's go to the videotape.
Many of the protesters also demonstrate the infamous quenelle symbol, which continues to make headlines since it was popularized by anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala.
Labels: French anti-Semitism
Bayit Yehudi sources continued to insist that Economy Minister Naftali Bennett did not apologize to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following the latter’s ultimatum, as the party got a five-seat boost in polls on Thursday.This article has a lot of references to Likud ministers criticizing Netanyahu on the same grounds as Bennett did, but the truth is that with the notable exception of Moshe Feiglin, criticism of Netanyahu within his own party has been subdued. There's a lesson here for those Likud MK's - who comprise a majority of the Knesset faction - who are not happy with where Netanyahu is trying to take the country with the 'peace process.' Speak up and you will be rewarded.
“The ultimatum [apologize or be fired from the cabinet] did not influence Bennett. He just didn’t want to insult Netanyahu.
His goal was not to disrespect the prime minister, and he fixed things responsibly,” Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked said.
Meanwhile, a Knesset Channel- Panels poll – conducted in part before and in part after Bennett said he did not mean to offend Netanyahu – showed Bayit Yehudi jumping from 12 to 17 Knesset seats (out of 120) if an election were held now.
Likud Beytenu dropped one seat in the poll, to 30, followed by Labor going from 15 to 19.
Yesh Atid would drop from 19 to 12 seats, Meretz would gain five seats for a total of 11, Shas would go down to seven, and United Torah Judaism stayed as-is with seven. Hatnua, Hadash and Balad each got four seats, followed by the United Arab List- Ta’al at three and Kadima staying at its current two.
Kerry is mulling the option of delivering a speech directly to the Israeli public which would be similar to a "state of the union" address. The secretary has instructed officials in the American embassy to begin examining the logistical and practical aspects of a Kerry speech.In other words, if we don't 'move ahead,' he will try to convince us that the United States (where almost as few people - as a percentage - support this 'process' as is the case here) is going to rain fire and brimstone on us from the sky. He will try to convince us that the Europeans - who are threatening us with sanctions at his behest - will impose sanctions on us at his behest if we don't 'move ahead.' For this we should agree to commit suicide?
The idea of a speech is being examined in concert with Israeli officials, for the Americans have made it clear that they have no intention of "going over the head" of the government in Jerusalem. Instead, the goal of the speech would be to help Netanyahu gain more support from the Israeli public as the secretary puts the finishing touches on the framework agreement that is due to serve as the basis for further negotiations between Israel and the PA.
If Kerry does go forward with the speech, it would be along the lines of remarks he delivered to the Saban Forum this past December. Many in attendance at the event said that the secretary of state's remarks were akin to "an almost religious sermon." Kerry is likely to emphasize to the Israeli public the cost of refusing to move forward in the peace process and the destructive repercussions that would befall Israel in the event that talks with Ramallah collapse.
Kerry is now trying to create linkage between a Palestinian demand that east Jerusalem be mentioned as the future capital of Palestine and Israel's demand for Palestinian recognition of it as a Jewish state. He is hard at work in trying to lobby Arab governments to apply pressure on PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who has suddenly got a case of cold feet and is hesitating.And who is the one who cut Mubarak loose, leading to his downfall, in the first place? Who was the first 'world leader' to call on Mubarak to resign?
This is where the absence of Hosni Mubarak is most felt. It was Mubarak who would intervene on behalf of Washington in moments like these. Right now, there is no responsible adult in Egypt who can avail himself to apply diplomatic pressure on the Palestinian Authority. That is a shame.
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposals are Israeli ideas that the Palestinian Authority cannot accept, PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said on Thursday.
Abed Rabbo said he cannot accept the proposals mainly because it remains unclear when Israel would pull out of the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Kerry’s proposals offer the Palestinians “general and vague” formulas about the fate of Jerusalem, Abed Rabbo said in a broadcast on the Voice of Palestine radio station.
The proposals also call for “slicing” parts of the Jordan Valley and making them part of Israel, and scrapping the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, the PLO official said.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, denied reports that the PA leadership had agreed to a gradual Israeli withdrawal over a period of three years.
These reports were untrue and hurt the higher interests of the Palestinians, Ashrawi said.
Tawfik Tirawi, a top Fatah official and former PA security commander, said that Kerry’s proposals were completely unacceptable to the Palestinians.
“We don’t want framework agreements, but a final solution,” Tirawi told reporters in Ramallah.
He criticized Kerry for offering the Palestinians a capital in the villages of Abu Dis and al-Ram, and not in Jerusalem.
Tirawi said that Kerrry’s proposals do not offer a solution to the issue of the refugees.
“This means that we cannot accept these ideas,” he said. “We will pay a heavy price.”At what point will Kerry figure out that the only thing that's acceptable to the 'Palestinians' is for Israel to dismantle itself?
US Secretary of State John Kerry is not a fair mediator in peace talks because he has "anti-Israel roots," MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) said Thursday.
"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is acting under Kerry's obsessive pressure, which may have anti-Semitic undertones," Yogev told Israel Radio. "Kerry is not here to reach a compromise. He wants to decrease the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel and create a Palestinian state."
According to Yogev, most senior Likud officials agree with him.
The Bayit Yehudi MK also pointed out that Kerry ate hummus with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the past and called him a good friend.
At the same time, Yogev said that the US is a "strategic anchor" and is important to Israeli security.Hmmm.
A massive gathering brought thousands together at the Kotel (Western Wall) Thursday night, in prayers beseeching G-d to "cancel the decrees" of US Secretary of State John Kerry, whose peace plans would create an Arab capital in Jerusalem.
The prayer rally, which was held under the title "prayer for the redemption of the people of Israel and their portion," was attended by Jewish Home coalition members including Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, Deputy Religious Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, MK Orit Struk and MK Moti Yogev.
Rabbi Chaim Druckman, head of the Bnei Akiva yeshivas, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior and Chief Rabbi of Tzfat Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu led the prayers, asking G-d to "give strength, courage, truth and faith to our leaders. Give them fear and great awe of You, that they will fear greatly to harm our holy land."
Ariel commented that "thousands of people came to prayer for the people of Israel, to strengthen the government and the one who stands at its head, that he may be able to stand firm against the different pressures coming from the other side of the ocean," reports Mako.There are many more pictures at the first link.
Johansson stepped down after the charity had expressed its disapproval of the actress's new role as spokesperson for SodaStream.
"Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down after eight years as a Global Ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions," a statement on the Oxfam International website said.
"While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador."
Johansson responded to pressure from Oxfam in a statement released to The Huffington Post on Sunday.
“While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air,” she said.
”I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’aleh Adumim factory every working day.”
Oxfam has previously stated its staunch opposition to all trade with Israeli settlements, which it considers illegal under international law.Now, if only all those Jews who claim that they support Israel would stop donating money to Oxfam.....
Anat Kam is suing Israeli newspaper Haaretz for 2.6 million shekel on charges of leaking her identity through the IDF documents she submitted to journalist Uri Blau.
Kam was released earlier this week, after serving just two thirds of her prison sentence for espionage. Kam was convicted of stealing the documents during the period of 2005-2007, when she served in the IDF as a secretary in the IDF's Central Command headquarters. She copied thousands of sensitive documents to a disk-on-key (USB drive) which she proceeded to hand over to reporter Uri Blau of the left-wing Haaretz.
Blau published some of the information in the documents, but he claimed that the information he used was not classified or damaging to the country's security.
Kam was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for her theft. The sentence was later reduced by one year, after an appeal by Kam's lawyers that the sentence was unnecessarily harsh.
Now, she and lawyer Ilan Bombach are suing the daily for revealing her identity - after it was promised to her that her safety would not be compromised and her identity would be kept secret throughout the media leak.I would say that lawsuit ought to be thrown out as against public policy, but hey... this is Israel.
"In recent days there has been a lot of discussion about the idea of the Palestinian Authority (PA) retaining sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and certain people from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) have tried to turn an existential conversation into personal attacks [on the PM] that were never there," Bennett stated to the press.
Bennett formally apologized to the Prime Minister, stating, "if the Prime Minister was hurt [by my remarks] - that was never my intention."
The Minister stressed that he respects Netanyahu's leadership under "not-so-simple conditions."
"I see the Prime Minister and his Cabinet and in the government and I acknowledge that he is under immense pressure," Bennett stated.
However, Bennett also stated that while he is apologizing for his remarks, he maintains the right to criticize, saying: "I support the Prime Minister like I have to and I criticize him like I have to. It is my obligation."
The apology-of-sorts resembled a similar one issued by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, after coming under fire for branding US Secretary of State John Kerry "obsessive and messianic" in his pursuit of a political deal between Israel and the PA. After immense pressure, Ya'alon apologized for any personal offense to Kerry over his comments, but notably did not retract his views.
But the Jewish Home head noted that his criticism had succeeded in "shooting down" the idea of abandoning Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.The report goes on to say that tensions between Netanyahu and Bennett were stoked by a 'senior aide' to Netanyahu who had it in for Bennett. I didn't know that Sara Netanyahu was billing herself a 'senior aide.' Maybe she's learning from Mooch who went along on one of President Obama's Africa trips by calling herself and her daughters senior aides.
In response, Peres opined Wednesday morning at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) that Jews would be "safe" living under PA rule.
"What's this fear that's struck us suddenly? They'll kill Jews? Today?" commented the doubtful Peres. "The fear should have been in 1948 when we didn't have a cannon, tank or plane against seven armies."
Despite Peres's appraisal that having a cannon means no Jews will be killed, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) figures note that terrorist attacks skyrocketed in 2013, jumping to 1,271 from 578 the year prior. Of those attacks, 1,042 took place in Judea and 229 took place in Samaria, the areas Peres claims can be abandoned safely.
Ironically, the same day that Peres opined "today they won't kill Jews," an Arab terrorist opened fire on an IDF guard post next to the Samaria community of Ateret, which lies near Ramallah. Soldiers returned fire, eliminating the terrorist.
Peres steadfastly supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of the country, even as the PA refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
"If we want to be a Jewish people we need a Jewish state, and all other reasoning has to bend to that need," said Peres Tuesday.
In the past Peres has said the PA recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is "unnecessary."Peres should be sent to live among the 'Palestinians' to see if they really will murder Jews.
The scenario poll question was phrased thus: "if the Likud prevents Netanyahu from reaching an agreement that involves giving up territory and elections were tomorrow – whom would you vote for?"
The poll predicted that 18 seats would go to Netanyahu's new party, making it the Knesset's largest. Likud would drop from 20 to 17, followed by Labor and Jewish Home at 16 each. Far-left Meretz would shoot up from 6 to 11 seats.
Analyst Jeremy Saltan (aka Knesset Jeremy) spoke to Arutz Sheva to make sense of all the figures, noting that the most surprising aspect of the poll is that Netanyahu's seats would mostly come from voters who currently support parties other than Likud. About 46% of those seats would come from current Yisrael Beytenu supporters, and most of the rest would come from center-left parties.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party would fall hard, dropping from 19 to 10 seats. Similarly, Yisrael Beytenu and Shas both would drop from 11 to 5. Hatnua would drop to 4 seats and Kadima would not make it in.
"In my opinion, 18 seats is not strong enough for Netanyahu to break off from Likud," assessed Saltan. "Even if it would be the biggest party, the numbers don't merit a breakaway."Saltan also has some more warnings for Netanyahu.
Saltan warns that one must be cautious in interpreting scenario polls, as other factors - such as which MKs would follow Netanyahu into a new party, and which MK would take over the Likud - could highly influence the outcome.
The analyst notes that prior to Sharon's breakaway from Likud, voters didn't foresee that Kadima would be a mix-match of "refugee MKs" from various parties.
In response to the question of what Netanyahu should do if the Likud opposes a peace deal, 51% said he should accept the Likud's decision, while only 25% responded that he should create a new party.
Saltan remarks that this response may show that while the poll indicates Netanyahu would retain the largest party, this doesn't mean the majority of the Israeli public supports him breaking off to push through land withdrawals.Feiglin for Likud leader anyone? That would probably drain enough votes from Jewish Home to make Likud the largest party....
The “Kerry Plan,” likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims, following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (based on the 1967 lines), with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley. The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory. It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will not include any right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper.
For this we're negotiating? This sounds remarkably like 'what everyone knows' the solution is supposed to be, and if we've proven nothing else going back to the Clinton parameters from the end of 2000, it's that everyone doesn't know.Kerry expects and hopes that both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will declare that despite their reservations about one or another element in the U.S. framework, they will use it as the basis of further negotiations.
This is where things will get interesting. U.S. and Israeli officials in close contact with Netanyahu describe him as torn, clearly understanding that some kind of two-state solution is necessary for Israel’s integrity as a Jewish democratic state, with the healthy ties to Europe and the West that are vital for Israel’s economy. But he remains deeply skeptical about Palestinian intentions — or as Netanyahu said here Tuesday: “I do not want a binational state. But we also don’t want another state that will start attacking us.” His political base, though, which he nurtured, does not want Netanyahu making a U-turn.
Well, yeah, the coalition would fall apart. But Netanyahu is not going to make that U-turn, because at this point, if he does, he will have no base in the Likud. And while Netanyahu saying no (which he will at least hopefully be smart enough to hold off doing until the 'Palestinians' inevitably say no - something that Friedman ignores) may precipitate Yesh Atid leaving the coalition, Netanyahu's alternative is to run behind Yair Lapid as Yesh Atid's number 2... and that's not going to happen.Which is why — although Netanyahu has started to prepare the ground here for the U.S. plan — if he proceeds on its basis, even with reservations, his coalition will likely collapse. He will lose a major part of his own Likud Party and all his other right-wing allies. In short, for Netanyahu to move forward, he will have to build a new political base around centrist parties. To do that, Netanyahu would have to become, to some degree, a new leader — overcoming his own innate ambivalence about any deal with the Palestinians to become Israel’s most vocal and enthusiastic salesman for a two-state deal, otherwise it would never pass.
In essence what Kerry is daring to test is a question everyone has wanted to avoid: Is the situation between Israelis and Palestinians at five minutes to midnight or five minutes after midnight, or even 1 a.m. (beyond diplomacy)?
Yes, Tom, read the polls here. Most Israelis believe it's beyond diplomacy. Some of us have believed that for the last 20 years (at least).That is, has Israel become so much more powerful than its neighbors that a symmetrical negotiation is impossible, especially when the Palestinians do not seem willing or able to mount another intifada that might force Israel to withdraw? Has the neighborhood around Israel become so much more unstable that any Israeli withdrawal from anywhere is unthinkable? Has the number of Israeli Jews now living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank become so much larger — more than 540,000 — that they are immovable? And has the Palestinian rhetoric on the right of return become so deeply embedded in Palestinian politics? So when you add them all up, it becomes a fantasy to expect any Israeli or Palestinian leader to have the strength to make the huge concessions needed for a two-state solution?
The incident began as dozens of Jews who went to the Temple Mount Tuesday morning were ordered by an officer to enter his office one by one, and were there ordered to undress to make sure they weren't "smuggling" Jewish symbols onto the site. Those banned symbols included dried fruit on Tu B'ishvat.
Moti Gabai, the officer tasked with the gate to the Temple Mount, told Jewish visitors he was instructed to prevent all Jewish or Israeli symbols from being brought onto the site. Temple Mount Deputy Commander Daniel Sarga oversaw the scandalous strip searches personally, according to reports.
Two of the Jews were found to be in possession of a banned object - the flag of Israel.
The two young Jews were immediately arrested by police. A third who was filming the events at the entrance and on the Temple Mount was reportedly hit by an officer, and arrested as well as he continued to film.
A fourth Jew that was wearing tefillin (phylacteries) under his shirtsleeves was expelled from the site by officers, and forbidden from entering.The Temple Mount is in our hands? Really?
Bennett's criticism of Netanyahu's proposal on Sunday to leave Jews in Judea and Samaria under Palestinian Authority (PA) rule reportedly has Netanyahu livid.
In response, sources in Netanyahu's office said "no one will teach Netanyahu what the love of the land of Israel is," and further called Bennett's conduct "impudent." They say his behavior and "irresponsible style won't pass in silence. This behavior of Bennett's harms the interests of the settlements."
The sources threatened that "if (Bennett) won't apologize," he risks the dissolution of the current coalition government. "Netanyahu has enough alternatives. A government without Bennett will continue to concern itself with the security of Israeli citizens just like" the former government.
Knesset Council Chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud Beytenu) joined the barrage against Bennett, suggesting that if "Bennett is unable to lie to himself, and can't give the prime minister backing, he should retire from his position."Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, who has come to Netanyahu's defense before, is trying to play the peacemaker once again.
Bennett's party colleague Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, who is generally very understated, acknowledged that that there was currently a political "crisis."
Ariel said that the substantive disagreements that exist between Bennett and his party and Netanyahu do not have to become personal. "If someone was insulted, I think this is not good, and if it was me I would apologize."
Ariel said that he was working on the issue and encouraging the sides to talk. "Talk generally is good for both sides," he said. He expressed regret that this disagreement was taking place via the microphones.
It's a Bayit Yehudi blitz: Half of the party's MKs are sending messages saying @naftalibennett won't apologize #jpost
— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) January 29, 2014
Meanwhile, @naftalibennett won't comment on his beef with BB, but his party is speaking for him. This is obviously coordinated. #jpost2. Making sure that if Netanyahu tries to bring in Labor (probably the only option that is outside the coalition right now), it will precipitate enough of a split in the Likud to leave Netanyahu without a majority.
— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) January 29, 2014
The National Omnibus Poll, conducted by McLaughlin Associates and published on January 17, 2014, surveyed a large, nationwide cross-section of 1000 Americans, consisting of Protestants (46%), Catholics (30%), Jews (3.6%), African Americans (13%), Hispanics (12%), Asians (3%) and Whites (70%). Politically, the respondents were 42% Democratic supporters and 41% Republican supporters.The numbers for American Jews are probably much more pro-Obama. But the real silver lining in the cloud for Obama is this: He doesn't have to stand for reelection.
The poll found that:
To the question, “Do you think that if a Palestinian Arab state were established, it would live peacefully with Israel or would it be hostile to Israel and support terrorism?,” 58% of Americans reply that a future Palestinian state would be hostile and support terrorism, whereas only 17% think it would live in peace with Israel.
To the question, “Iran continues to call for Israel’s destruction and calls America the Great Satan. Do you believe that President Obama has done all he can to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons?,” a majority of 51% of Americans believe that President Obama has not done all he can to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons, as opposed to a mere 28% who believe that he has (almost a 2 ––1 ratio).
To the question, “Should the United States pass stronger sanctions against Iran or should they weaken sanctions in order to convince Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons?,” a large majority of 59% of Americans reply that the U.S. should impose stronger sanctions, as opposed to a mere 17% who believe the U.S. should weaken sanctions on Iran (almost a 3.5 –– 1 ratio).
To the question, “Do you believe that Israeli Jews should have the right to live in settlements in the West Bank, in part to self-defend Israel’s borders, or should only Palestinian Arabs have the right to live there?,” 47% of Americans believe that Israeli Jews should have the right to live
there, whereas only 14% of Americans believe only Palestinian Arabs should have the right to live there (over a 3 –– 1 ratio).
To the question, “Do you support President Obama’s plan to give the Palestinian Authority $440 in American taxpayer dollars in financial aid?,” an overwhelming majority of 72% Americans oppose President Obama’s planned funding to the Palestinian Authority, as opposed to a mere 15% who are in favor of it (almost a 5 –– 1 ratio).
To the question, “Do you believe that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel?,” a clear majority of 55% of Americans reply that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel, as opposed to a mere 13% who believe it should not (over a 4 –– 1 ratio).
To the question, “As part of the current negotiations, should the Palestinian Authority publicly recognize that Israel is the sovereign state of the Jewish people?,” a large majority 63% of Americans believe that the PA should, whereas only 11% believe it should not (almost a 6 –– 1 ratio).
To the question, “Do you believe that President Obama is a close and reliable friend of Israel?,” only 31% of Americans believe that he is a close and reliable friend, whereas 38% believe that he is not. (This is a surprising result, given that the U.S. has always been known as Israel’s
closest and most reliable friend).
"Let me be clear," Obama said: "If this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it."
The speech marked the first time Obama personally threatened to veto sanctions legislation against Iran. Senior White House aides have issued similar veto threats since the end of December, when Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat, introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013.
The bill— which would trigger new sanctions tools against Iran should negotiations fail to reach a comprehensive agreement in twelve months time— has since garnered 59 public cosponsors in the upper chamber across party lines. The bill also has the aggressive backing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the largest pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
"For the sake of our national security," Obama said Tuesday night, in his State of the Union address, "we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed."
The president noted in his speech that negotiations toward a treaty over Iran's nuclear program, now a decade old, would be difficult and "may not succeed." In prior remarks, Obama has put the odds of success in negotiations with Iran at less than 50 percent.
"If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon," Obama continued. "But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war."So it will take 100-0 vote in the Senate like in 2011? Senator Mark Kirk (R-Il) - one of the two main co-sponsors - is ready.
"The American people – Democrats and Republicans alike – overwhelmingly want Iran held accountable during any negotiations," Kirk said in a statement. Polls show that while most Americans don't prioritize foreign policy matters, they view Iran with deep distrust, and support more sanctions over less.
"While the president promises to veto any new Iran sanctions legislation, the Iranians have already vetoed any dismantlement of their nuclear infrastructure," Kirk added, calling his bill an "insurance policy" for Congress.I wouldn't take Obama too seriously. Get a load of this:
CNN noted that Obama failed to get any of his top 2013 State of the Union priorities -- a jobs program, gun control and sweeping immigration reform -- through Congress. He went into this year’s speech with only a 43% job-approval rating.True. But the sanctions may be all that Congress can do. They cannot force the President to go to war.
Mahmoud Abbas and other PA leaders have called all the released terrorist murderers "heroes," on numerous occasions. Palestinian Media Watch recently reported that released murderer Asrar Samrin, who was released with Abd Rabbo, told PA TV that none of the prisoners regret their actions: "There is no Palestinian who did something for the homeland and his nation who will regret it. We don't regret what we did and we will not regret what we did."Read the whole thing.
“There are those in this country who are disappointed that there is no partner [for peace] on the Palestinian side,” Livni, who heads the Israeli negotiating team, with the Palestinian Authority, said at a conference at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “The point is not to expose the other side’s face, but to reach an agreement with them.”
Hatnua party leader Livni, a dovish member of Netanyahu’s largely right-wing cabinet, was implying that, rather than pursue a peace agreement in earnest, some Israeli officials have been baiting the Palestinians so as to elicit responses that could be construed as rejectionist.
During her speech on Monday, Livni also directly addressed the Israeli right’s rejection of Palestinian aspirations to statehood.
“I’ve heard in recent days various sources in Israel who said that Jews didn’t dream for 2,000 years in order to give away part of their land,” she said, referring to Jewish Home leader and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett’s criticism of the Netanyahu settlers-in-Palestine idea. ”They also didn’t dream of an isolated state that rules over others. There’s a price for arriving at an agreement, but the price of not arriving at an agreement is much higher.”
I don't think Livni needs to blame Netanyahu for the 'talks' failure in order to save her political career. Given that she survived her total failure at the end of the Second Lebanon War and her failed attempt at Annapolis to give the 'Palestinians' even more than they are being offered now, Livni's continued presence on the political scene is proof positive that the average Israeli voter and the Prime Ministers (who continue to take Livni into their governments) whom they elect have the vision of an ostrich and the memory of an amoeba. Unfortunately, we probably have not seen the last of Livni in government.Peace negotiations are “something we need to do because I believe it’s the new vision of Zionism,” Livni said.
Regarding Iran, a recent poll shows that Israelis align with Netanyahu in distrusting the current round of Western engagement and talks with Iran, figures that are in line with a November poll finding broad skepticism regarding the then-ongoing Geneva talks.
Some 52.5% support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position regarding tensions with the U.S. over Iran. A new survey has found that the majority of Jewish Israelis believes the government’s hard-line position regarding the Iranian threat is justified and that if need be, Israel is capable of mounting a unilateral strike on the Islamic republic’s nuclear facilities.
Sounds like Obama is enjoying great success.... Heh....More than half of those interviewed — 52.5% — said they supported Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position against the U.S. over the Iranian nuclear negotiations. The prime minister’s policy garnered support from participants across the political spectrum, and in all age groups and income brackets, with significant support noted especially in the religious sector (84.4%). Some 57.6% of those defining themselves as ultra-Orthodox said the supported Netanyahu’s policy on Iran as well.Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a recent poll found overwhelming support for maintaining a security presence along the border with Jordan in the context of a final comprehensive agreement. A report published last week by the Daily Beast disclosed that the Obama administration has established something of a lobbying presence inside Israel to “prepare the Israeli public” to make compromises to the Palestinians. The article specifically outlined efforts by the administration to mobilize support for an agreement that would exclude an Israeli security presence from around the Jordanian border.
“Today the international community remembers the victims of the Holocaust,” the EU’s top diplomat said. “We honor every one of those brutally murdered in the darkest period of European history. We also want to pay a special tribute to all those who acted with courage and sacrifice to protect their fellow citizens against persecution.”
“On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we must keep alive the memory of this tragedy. It is an occasion to remind us all of the need to continue fighting prejudice and racism in our own time. We must remain vigilant against the dangers of hate speech and redouble our commitment to prevent any form of intolerance. The respect of human rights and diversity lies at the heart of what the European Union stands for.”Astounding. And this woman wants a role in 'peace making' in the Middle East? She should be shown the door.
Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said he had come to conclude—after years of thinking otherwise—that Pollard’s continued imprisonment does imply prejudice at work:
When the Jonathan Pollard affair surfaced 28 years ago, there were claims by some that the sentencing of Pollard, life imprisonment, was tinged with anti-Semitism. We at the Anti-Defamation League took that charge seriously, made our own investigation, and concluded there was no basis for such an accusation.
I bring that up now because as the years pass and the world has changed many times over, and with more and more prominent Americans, including individuals from the intelligence community, saying “enough already,” Pollard remains in prison.
Pleas for his parole are raised on a regular basis, but go unheeded. The whole thing at this late date makes no sense. There surely is no information that Pollard possesses after all these years that can be harmful to American interests. The fact that Pollard shared information with an ally—Israel—was no reason for him not to be punished. But after this long imprisonment, the fact that it was such a close ally who received his information should have influenced a positive response when the subject of parole arose.
I am not one to equate what Pollard did, to betray his country, to the recent revelations that the United States has been spying on top Israeli leaders. Here too, however, these revelations add further context to the absurdity of the ongoing vendetta against this one man.
Yes, I use that word because that’s what it seems like at this point. If it were only a vendetta against one individual it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American Jewish community.
In effect, the continuing imprisonment of this person long after he should have been paroled on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States.
In other words, the underlying concept which fuels the ongoing Pollard incarceration is the notion that he is only the tip of the iceberg in the community. So Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.
I come to this conclusion with much sorrow and, as noted, as someone who resisted efforts early on to connect the Pollard affair to anti-Semitism. It is harder and harder to do so any longer.I don't think Foxman could have written that even a year ago. And I don't think he has ever written anything truer. If only his fellow mainstream leaders - who were invited to but did not respond to Tablet's editorial calling for Pollard's release - would follow his lead.
For someone like Livni to have gone public on what are supposed to be closed-door negotiations, we can assume that her back must really be against the wall this time. With just three months to go before the current round of negotiations are due to expire, it seems that everyone, even the talks’ most enthusiastic supporters, are now preparing for the fallout from negotiations collapsing. And clearly Livni, too, is looking for a position from which to weather the storm.
Speaking over the weekend, Livni openly condemned what she referred to as Abbas’s “unacceptable positions” in the negotiations. We are told that Abbas is demanding all of east Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital, including the Old City and its holy sites, that he has refused to recognize the Jewish state, and in contradiction to what many believed to be his position in the past, Abbas is insisting that the millions of descendants of the Palestinian refugees return, not to a future Palestinian state, but to the very Jewish state that he refuses to recognize.
None of these demands are that surprising; Abbas knows full well that these are things that Israel will never be able to concede. But then Abbas also knows that his own political survival depends on not reaching an agreement with Israel, just as Livni’s political survival always depended on these talks yielding some modicum of success.
Clearly Livni is now facing up to seeing what most people saw long ago. Indeed, a recent poll showed that 87 percent of Israelis do not expect these negotiations to go anywhere. Even President Obama has said that he now believes these talks have a less than 50 percent chance of success, a remarkable statement at this late stage given the way his administration has spent the past five years strong-arming the two sides into talks that clearly neither felt particularly enthusiastic about.
Livni has staked her political career on the two-state proposal and a negotiated settlement. She was a protégée of Ariel Sharon and has sought to pickup where prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak left off. Yet, like the two Ehud’s she now finds herself trading incriminations with the Palestinians as they appear set to walk away from yet another Israeli offer. This is what always ends up happening. Now that we’re back to this stage in the cycle once again it would be so easy, and indeed politically tempting, for her to attempt to lay the blame on her old rival, Prime Minister Netanyahu, by making the claim that he set her up with a negotiating position bound to fail. Instead, Livni has placed the blame where it’s due, with Abbas.Wilson implies that Livni has an option of blaming Netanyahu. She does not. There are two reasons for that. One is that most Israelis are much closer to Netanyahu's position in these 'negotiations' than they are to Livni's. That was true at the outset, and it's even more true today.
Mahmoud Abbas is now entering his tenth year of a four-year presidential term. He is all but devoid of legitimacy and has a proven track record of doing everything in his power to avoid negotiations with Israel, and to avoid agreeing to anything in the event that he is forced to take part in them. But if Secretary of State John Kerry should have seen this coming–and he really should have–then all the more so for Livni.Yes, they should have. But these negotiations are the raison d'etre of both Livni and Kerry. Without them, Livni has no role to play in Israel's foreign policy establishment, and Kerry has no accomplishments on which to base a future Presidential run and/or a place in history.
"As things stand, we won't have a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip even 20 years from now. Therefore, we should consider resuming the path of armed resistance. Maybe that will bring about change," Tirawi told the Lebanese news channel Al-Mayadeen.
Tirawi, the PA's former intelligence chief, stressed that the Palestinian will not agree to the outline currently promoted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and warned that both the Palestinians and Israel should prepare for the security escalation that is sure to follow.
"All Palestinian factions agree that we must reject Kerry's plan. We cannot accept any of the principles detailed in it … We have to work towards an agreement that would include all of the [Palestinian] factions -- those under the PLO's leadership and those external to it," he said, referring to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
Asked whether resuming violence does not counter the principles set by Abbas himself following the Second Intifada, Tirawi noted that the Palestinians "have never forsaken the path of diplomacy, just like we have never forsaken the path of armed resistance, which is an inseparable part of how we work."
A new violent intifada is probably the inevitable result of the inevitable failure of the current 'negotiations.' But at least John FN Kerry got to spend some time in the limelight.
Fatah, he noted, "does not dismiss any path that may help us realize the Palestinian vision of having an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital."
AIPAC’s initial letter on the controversy, which circulated two weeks ago, urged Wasserman Schultz’s constituents to “respectfully ask” that she clarify her position on the congressional measures and issue a statement supporting them.
However, on Jan. 24, AIPAC’s Southeastern states director Mark Kleinman issued a second letter, this one defending Wasserman Schultz.
Some pro-Israel activists in South Florida are not happy about AIPAC reversing course to defend Wasserman Schultz, who continues to stand in opposition to the group’s own legislative efforts.
“Friends, I wanted to forward a statement issued by AIPAC national board member Ike Fisher after the Huffington Post released an inaccurate article regarding AIPAC and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz,” Kleinman wrote in the letter sent on AIPAC letterhead, a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
“Thank you and Shabbat Shalom,” Kleinman added before attaching a statement from board member Fisher.
“Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has a strong record of support for the U.S.-Israel relationship,” read Fisher’s statement. “She is a good friend of Israel and a close friend of AIPAC, and we look forward to our continued work together for many years to come.”
The letter did not state why AIPAC considers the Huffington Post report to be inaccurate.
When asked about the controversy on Twitter, Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery said that no one at AIPAC ever “contacted me with any problems.”
“Sounds like they just need an excuse to flip,” Bendery said on Twitter.Fisher, by the way, is the guy who told Florida Jews in 2008 that Barack Hussein Obama is a genuine supporter of Israel. A lot he knows....
Jewish activists in Washington and South Florida say that AIPAC’s flip-flop is unusual for an organization that typically exercises great restraint and discipline.
“This is clearly a problem for them,” said another pro-Israel activist for has worked with AIPAC. “One of these letters shows their incompetence; we’re just not sure which one it is.”
Others said that the contradictory letters are a sign of deeper trouble at AIPAC.
“This is only the beginning,” said Steve Rosen, a former top AIPAC official. “At the center of AIPAC is bipartisanship and the day it breaks with either of two parties is the day it ceases to exist—and they’re pretty close to this.”
AIPAC is facing a “terrible dilemma because [Wasserman Schultz] is not going to change her position,” Rosen said.And you thought that J Street would support the Democrats and AIPAC would end up supporting the Republicans, didn't you?
While in Sanaa, Yemein in 2010, President Barack Obama’s brother Malik Obama was at an event billed as the Orphans Development Fund (ODF) Conference. It’s quite the ironic title considering a group photo Malik is in that he has posted to his website. In the photo, he can be seen wearing a Hamas scarf (keffiyeh) that bears a well-known Palestinian slogan – ‘Jerusalem is ours – WE ARE COMING!’ It also includes a map of Palestine that says, ‘From the River to the Sea!’ In other words, Malik is saying, THERE IS NO ISRAEL.
Malik reads and speaks fluent Arabic as do many in his family, like cousin Musa Ismail Obama and uncle Sayyid, who’ve been to at least one prominent Wahhabist university in Saudi Arabia. Barack recited the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer with a ‘first-rate accent’ according to the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof.
The keffiyeh (or scarf) doesn’t just say, ‘Al Aqsa is ours and is not their temple’. It also says ‘Innana Qadimun’, which translates to mean ‘We are marching forward’. This famous battle command which is a reference to the prophecy that some day the Muslim world will march on Jerusalem and then the trees and stones will cry out, ‘here is a Jew hiding behind me… come O Muslim, come and kill him’.
Those who see this as a matter of guilt by association run into some major problems. President Barack Obama and Malik are much closer than is being admitted publicly. In an interview published in GQ Magazine last July, Malik took offense at the characterization of him and the president as being merely ‘half’ brothers:
“Everyone’s referring to us as half, quarter,…step, things like that,” he says, displeased even by the taste of those words. “I think that’s like weights and measures. This didn’t even occur to us until he became president, until he gained prominence. And now we’re sort of like celebrities.
Read the whole thing. Anyone still need more proof that Barack Hussein Obama sympathizes (at least) with Islamic terrorists?“But this is a streak of ignorance,” he adds. “Here in Africa we don’t think of each other as ‘half’ this or that. In an extended family, someone is your brother even if he is just in your clan. So I…am Obama.”A photo of Malik as best man at Barack’s wedding tends to back up the claim:
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum accused Fox of rejecting the commercial "because they're afraid of Coke and Pepsi," USA Today reported.SodaStream had the same problem last year.
Nevertheless, the commercial is likely to be aired, because Birnbaum said he had little choice but to cut the offending line. "If I could get my money back, I'd be happy to be out of that deal," he added.
"What are they afraid of?" asked Birnbaum. "Which advertiser in America doesn't mention a competitor? This is the kind of stuff that happens in China. I'm disappointed as an American."
The two soft-drink giants, longtime spenders on Super Bowl ads, are back in the game this year, and Pepsi also is sponsoring the halftime show.
Fox executives declined to comment. So did executives from PepsiCo. Coca-Cola spokeswoman Lauren Thompson said: "I can confirm we did not pressure Fox. Other than that, we don't comment on our competitors' efforts."
With the chances of success in the Israeli-Palestinian talks "very small," and as the Palestinians have a detailed Plan B for when the talks fail, Israel needs to be proactive and consider a "coordinated unilateral" withdrawal to lines it deems suitable, Amos Yadlin said Monday.
Yadlin, a former chief of Military Intelligence who today heads the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said that although unilateralism got a "bad name" in Israel because of the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and the 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon, "it is not necessarily a bad strategy" if done right.
Yadlin, speaking at a briefing marking his think tank's publication of its 2013-2014 Strategic Survey for Israel, and a day prior to the organization's annual two-day international conference, said that a unilateral step in the West Bank would not be Israel's first option, and that it would prefer an agreement. But if that is not possible, Israel should consider withdrawing to the security barrier, leaving some 15 percent of the West Bank – including the Jordan Valley – in its hands.
He said that one of the lessons learned from the Gaza withdrawal was that it was a mistake to withdraw from 100 percent of the territory, because then there is no incentive for the other side to continue to negotiate.Why would we unilaterally give up territory that everyone agrees has strategic value? What would we accomplish by doing this aside from worsening our position and endangering our lives? How would people in the Jordan Valley get back and forth to any other part of the country if the IDF is not there to protect them? And if we give the 'Palestinians' 85% of the territory for free, why wouldn't they just wait for the rest?
Hassan Farooq is a a “senior member” of the Newham Dawah Team, an East London-based organisation which attempts to spread the message of Islam. Newham Dawah Team is part of the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) Network, and its officials regularly liaise with iERA officials such as Abdurraheem Green. The iERA is an extremist Salafi group, some of whose officials have been banned from the UK. Abdurraheem Green talks of a Jewish “stench” and advocates the killing of homosexuals.Here are some choice tweets from Mr. Farooq's Twitter account.