Saturday, January 31, 2015

The negative review of  JODI RUDOREN'S journalistic qualifications and integrity which had been prepared by Joel Brinkley has been removed because, due to Joel Brinkley's untimely passing, his documentation to support his statements and evaluations is not available for public review.

President Obama and ‘Naked, Blind Anti-Semitism’
Last week, pro-Palestinian protestors disrupted a New York City Council meeting yelling slogans and brandishing a Palestinian flag. The demonstration was particularly offensive given that it occurred as council members were voting on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
In an impassioned response, Councilman David Greenfield observed that every Middle East country — except Israel — is not democratic and persecutes people of other faiths, gays, women, and those with opinions inconsistent with those of their governments.  He concluded, “What you saw here today was naked, blind anti-Semitism.”

Greenfield’s point is critical.  Those who attack and demonize Israel for its imperfections in the face of the atrocities committed by its Arab neighbors are not just hypocrites.  There is only one explanation for their irrational condemnations: hatred of Jews. And there is no difference between protests by pro-Palestinians and protests that regularly emanate from the White House.
Incomprehensibly, while Israel is unquestionably our most strategic ally in the region, the administration is taking great strides to fundamentally transform the Middle East.  By aligning itself with Iran in its undeclared war against Sunni jihadists, Obama has distanced America from traditional allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. Obama is empowering Iran under the auspices of shared interests and green lighting its development of military infrastructure on Israel’s borders — through which threats and attacks have already begun.
If Obama were only injecting a bit of daylight into our relationship with Israel, perhaps the worrisome situation would not be so dire. Unfortunately, he has sought to remove the U.S. from the Mideast, resulting in a formerly stable region devolving into chaos and violence with the vacuum filled by Iran and jihadists.  He has ostracized, admonished, bullied, and isolated Israel in unprecedented fashion, dangerously galvanizing her enemies. And it is difficult not to look at the administration’s policies and conclude that “good old-fashioned anti-Semitism” motivates its actions.
How else to explain why Obama consistently lambasts Netanyahu for disagreeing with him, issuing building permits for construction on Israeli land, and acting to ensure the survival of the country the prime minister was elected to protect?  How else to explain the name-calling and abuse bestowed upon an ally for whom Obama only exhibits disdain?  How else can one explain Obama’s passivity and disregard for the actions of the leaders of Mideast countries with abysmal records of human rights abuses, government sanctioned torture and murder, and who are leading sponsors of international terrorism?
When Biden was in Israel and housing permits were announced, the uproar from the White House was disproportionately obnoxious. Yet when Obama was in Saudi Arabia this week and three people were beheaded, he said nothing.  In fact, his laissez faire attitude about Saudi human rights abuses is on full display in his recent interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria
How does one explain the White House’s outrage at Netanyahu every time he attempts to work with the U.S. to stop Iran from going nuclear? And yet, just as Obama agrees to another extension of the negotiations with Iran and the mullahs announce the construction of two new nuclear reactors and a law permitting an increase in uranium enrichment, a true “spat in the face” to Obama, all we hear is radio silence from the administration? (Actually, the administration admitted it was aware of Iran’s nuclear endeavors but is opting to ignore those in its quixotic pursuit of any agreement that it can label an historic achievement.)
How does one explain Obama’s description of Abbas, Rouhani, and the Muslim Brotherhood as moderates while his administration’s choice of words for Netanyahu include chickensh*t, coward, recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and aspergery?
The administration is now apoplectic over Netanyahu accepting Speaker Boehner’s invitation to speak before Congress. It is lobbing a myriad of threats including that Kerry’s interest in defending Israel will diminish and that there will be “a price to pay” because this is something “you simply don’t do.”  What you actually don’t do is send a delegation to a foreign country and finance an opposition group to help oust a sitting Prime Minister.  And yet this is exactly what the Obama administration is doing in Israel.
Why would Obama become so integrally involved in Israel’s elections? It is not because Obama despises Netanyahu (which he does).  It is because Obama is hoping that a weak leader will replace Netanyahu and remain quiet while Obama allows Iran to go nuclear. But any Israeli Prime Minister who does not capitulate to Obama’s demands will be the subject of his vitriol and abuse.
What motivates Obama is not our national security but his own self-interest in avoiding war at all costs. He pulled our troops out of Iraq prematurely and Iran filled the vacuum.  He surrendered on his red lines with Syria and now a quarter of a million are dead and ISIS is flourishing.  He refused to militarily intervene in Libya (aside from briefly leading from behind) and we have four dead Americas and a county in chaos.  He promised that Yemen was a success and we just evacuated our embassy as the Houthi terrorists took over.
Obama accedes to every Iranian demand in a desperate attempt to thwart a confrontation despite it leading to a nuclear-armed, nihilistic terrorist regime. And the people he attacks the most are not the dictators and terrorists but the Israelis who are on the front lines facing our enemies daily and American Jews, accused of dual loyalties and self-regard.
What motivates Netanyahu is protecting the Holy Land and ensuring that Jewish people survive the 21st century.  Instead of understanding why Israel might be a bit concerned as it watches its borders break down, jihadists run rampant, and Iran play Obama like a cheap violin, the lame duck administration throws out threats historically saved for a nation’s enemies.
Every time Netanyahu disagrees with Obama, someone from the administration attempts to intimidate and silence him.  From Kerry’s warnings that the BDSers will find success or that Israel will become further isolated to the latest grotesque threat that there will be a price to pay for Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, there is only one explanation for this ugliness. The administration’s blatant anti-Zionist policies are a direct result of its anti-Semitic ideology. As Dr Phyllis Chesler, author of The New Anti-Semitism, recognized years ago, “anti-Zionism [is], indeed, a core part of the ‘new’ anti-Semitism.”
The hypocrisy and hollowness of Obama’s words on Holocaust Remembrance Day promising “never again” are offensive. But we have come to expect empty rhetoric from the Liar-in-Chief — Iran is no exception. While Netanyahu struggles to ensure that the mullahcracy that has consistently promised to annihilate the Jewish homeland does not obtain nuclear capability, Obama bashes and threatens him in typical Chicago-style.  As Netanyahu understands the veracity of Iran’s latest promise to hit Israel with “devastating thunderbolts” to cause “the collapse of the Zionist regime,” Obama adds fuel to the fire with his own threats of Israel’s price to pay. And Iran’s threats to “the Zionist regime” were communicated to Israel through U.S officials!  No word yet on Obama promising Iran there would be a price to pay for threatening an ally.
The State Department met this week with Muslim Brotherhood leaders to discuss efforts to oust the current Egyptian government, which has been friendly to Israel and the West. This is abominable. As Iran sets up shop on Israel’s Syrian and Lebanese borders, Obama throws the Shiite terrorists another bone to help them retake control of Egypt on Israel’s southern border. The optics of this, coupled with Obama ceding Syria, Iraq and Yemen to Iran, do not look good.
After Israel struck a convoy of senior Iranian and Hezb’allah commanders in the Golan Heights last week, Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Tony Badran explained:
To understand Israeli behavior, we must take into account three key factors: Iranian influence in the Levant is expanding rapidly, it is doing so with American consent; and, moreover, no one in the Middle East actually believes that the Obama administration will stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. With the real prospect of a nuclear Iran on the horizon, no Israeli government can afford to have the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) set up base in the Golan. Ultimately, this was the point Israel wanted to make — not just to Tehran, but to Washington as well.
This is complicated military gamesmanship and Obama knows exactly what he is doing. Destroying Israel in the process is a price he is willing to pay in order to achieve his goals. The U.S. is now working with Iran — either passively or actively, directly or through its proxies, but certainly behind Israel’s (and the American peoples’) back. And Iran’s influence is expanding.
The U.S./Israel alliance, once based on mutual respect, values, and interests, is devolving into a bitter divide. Iran and Obama, on the other hand, are now aligned through mutual threats to Israel, mutual efforts to build an Iranian hegemon in the region, and imminent mutual nuclear capabilities.
America has historically been Israel’s one reliable partner that she could turn to for international support and protection. No longer. We now have a president taking affirmative and aggressive steps that are harming her ability to survive in an ever-threatening neighborhood. In embracing the world’s largest sponsor of international terrorism, Obama has disavowed any responsibility to prevent another Holocaust.
In 1980, Iran prevented an American military incursion by releasing the hostages the day that Carter left office.  Ironically, they may successfully do so again the day that Obama leaves the White House.  It will not be out of fear of his successor this time but rather because Iran will announce that it has obtained nuclear arms. And the Anti-Semite in chief, who embraced Wright, Khalidi, Ayers, Sharpton, Erdogan, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Mullahs, will be fully responsible for hammering the nails into Israel’s coffin.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Israel has begun to take action against Iran, Obama be damned
By Caroline B. Glick
Published Jan. 30, 2015

Israel’s reported strike January 18 on a joint Iranian-Hezbollah convoy driving on the Syrian Golan Heights was one of the most strategically significant events to have occurred in Israel’s neighborhood in recent months. Its significance lies both in what it accomplished operationally and what it exposed.

From what been published to date about the identities of those killed in the strike, it is clear that in one fell swoop the air force decapitated the Iranian and Hezbollah operational command in Syria.

The head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, the head of its liaison with Iran, and Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s longtime operational commander Imad Mughniyeh who was killed by Israel in Damascus in 2008, were killed. The younger Mughniyeh reportedly served as commander of Hezbollah forces along the Syrian-Israeli border.

According to a report by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shimon Shapira, a Hezbollah expert from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Iranian losses included three generals. Brig.- Gen. Mohammed Alladadi was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps liaison officer to Hezbollah and to Syrian intelligence. He was also in charge of weapons shipments from Iran to Hezbollah. Gen. Ali Tabatabai was the IRGC commander in the Golan Heights and, according to Shapira, an additional general, known only as Assadi, “was, in all likelihood, the commander of Iranian expeditionary forces in Lebanon.”

The fact that the men were willing to risk exposure by traveling together along the border with Israel indicates how critical the front is for the regime in Tehran. It also indicates that in all likelihood, they were planning an imminent attack against Israel.

According to Ehud Yaari, Channel 2’s Arab Affairs commentator, Iran and Hezbollah seek to widen Hezbollah’s front against Israel from Lebanon to Syria. They wish to establish missile bases on the northern Hermon, and are expanding Hezbollah’s strategic depth from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to the outskirts of Damascus.

On Wednesday night, Yaari reported that the Syrian military has ceased to function south of Damascus. In areas not held by the al-Qaida-aligned Nusra Front and other regime opponents, the IRGC and Hezbollah have taken control, using the Syrian militia they have trained since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

The effectiveness of Hezbollah’s control of its expanded front was on display on Wednesday morning. Almost at the same time that Hezbollah forces shot at least five advanced Kornet antitank missiles at an IDF convoy along Mount Dov, killing two soldiers and wounding seven, Hezbollah forces on the Golan shot off mortars at the Hermon area.

While these forces are effective, they are also vulnerable. Yaari noted that today, three-quarters of Hezbollah’s total forces are fighting in Syria. Their twofold task is to defend the Assad regime and to build the Iranian-controlled front against Israel along the Golan Heights. Most of the forces are in known, unfortified, above ground positions, vulnerable to Israeli air strikes.

THE IDENTITIES of the Iranian and Lebanese personnel killed in the Israeli strike indicate the high value Iran and Hezbollah place on developing a new front against Israel in Syria.

The fact that they are in control over large swathes of the border area and are willing to risk exposure in order to ready the front for operations exposes Iran’s strategic goal of encircling Israel on the ground and the risks it is willing to take to achieve that goal.

But Iran’s willingness to expose its forces and Hezbollah forces also indicates something else. It indicates that they believe that there is a force deterring Israel from attacking them.

And this brings us to another strategic revelation exposed by the January 18 operation.

Earlier this week, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdolahian told Iran’s IRNA news agency that the regime had told its American interlocutors to tell Israel that it intended to strike Israel in retribution for the attack. The State Department did not deny that Iran had communicated the message, although it claims that it never relayed the message.

While the Obama administration did perhaps refuse to serve as Iran’s messenger, it has worked to deter Israel from striking Hezbollah and Iranian targets in Syria. Whereas Israel has a policy of never acknowledging responsibility for its military operations in Syria, in order to give President Bashar Assad an excuse to not retaliate, the US administration has repeatedly informed the media of Israeli attacks and so increased the risk that such Israeli operations will lead to counterattacks against Israel.

The US has also refused to acknowledge Iran’s control over the Syrian regime, and so denied the basic fact that through its proxies, Iran is developing a conventional threat against Israel. For instance, earlier this month, Der Spiegel reported that Iran has been building a secret nuclear facility in Syria. When questioned about the report, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf sought to downplay its significance. When a reporter asked if the administration would raise the report in its nuclear negotiations with Iran, Harf replied, “No, the upcoming talks are about the Iranian nuclear program.”

Until this month, the White House continued to pay lip service to the strategic goal of removing Assad – and by inference Iran, which controls and protects him – from power in Syria. Lip service aside, it has been clear at least since September 2013, when President Barack Obama refused to enforce his own redline and take action against the Assad regime after it used chemical weapons against its opponents, that he had no intention of forcing Assad from power. But this month the administration crossed a new Rubicon when Secretary of State John Kerry failed to call for Assad to be removed to power in talks with the UN envoy in Syria Staffan de Mistura. Right before he met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Kerry told Mistura, “It is time for President Assad, the Assad regime, to put their people first and to think about the consequences of their actions, which are attracting more and more terrorists to Syria, basically because of their efforts to remove Assad.”

IRAN’S PRESENCE on the Golan Heights is of course just one of the many strategic advances it has made in expanding its territorial reach. Over the past two weeks, Iranian-controlled Houthi militias have consolidated their control over Yemen, with their overthrow of the US-allied government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Rather than defend the elected government that has fought side-by-side with US special forces in their Yemen-based operations against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the administration is pretending that little has changed. It pretends it will still be able to gather the intelligence necessary to carry out drone strikes against al-Qaida terrorists even though its allies have now lost power.

The post-Houthi-conquest goal of the administration’s policy in Yemen is to seek a national dialogue that will include everyone from Iran’s proxy government to al-Qaida.

The idea is that everyone will work together to write a new constitution. It is impossible to understate the delusion at the heart of this plan.

With the conquest of Yemen, Iran now controls the Gulf of Aden. Together with the Straits of Hormuz, Iran now controls the region’s two maritime outlets to the open sea.

Far beyond the region, Iran expands its capacity to destabilize foreign countries and so advance its interests. Last week, Lee Smith raised the reasonable prospect that it was Iran that assassinated Argentinean prosecutor Alberto Nisman two weeks ago. Nisman was murdered the night before he was scheduled to make public the findings of his 10-year investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. According to Smith, Nisman had proof that Iran had carried out the terrorist attacks to retaliate against Argentina for abrogating its nuclear cooperation with Tehran.

From the Golan Heights to Gaza, from Yemen and Iraq to Latin America to Nantanz and Arak, Iran is boldly advancing its nuclear and imperialist agenda. As Charles Krauthammer noted last Friday, the nations of the Middle East allied with the US are sounding the alarm.

Earlier this week, during Obama’s visit with the new Saudi King Salman, he got an earful from the monarch regarding the need to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

US hope that Iran and Saudi Arabia will be able to kiss and make up and bury a thousand- year rivalry between Sunni and Shi’ite Islam because they both oppose the Islamic State is utter fantasy.

Israel’s January 18 strike on Iranian and Hezbollah commanders in Syria showed Israel’s strategy wisdom and independent capacity.

Israel can and will take measures to defend its critical security interests. It has the intelligence gathering capacity to identify and strike at targets in real time.

But it also showed the constraints Israel is forced to operate under in its increasingly complex and dangerous strategic environment.

Due to the US administration’s commitment to turning a blind eye to Iran’s advances and the destabilizing role it plays everywhere it gains power, Israel can do little more than carry out precision attacks against high value targets. The flip side of the administration’s refusal to see the dangers, and so enable Iran’s territorial expansion and its nuclear progress, is its determination to ensure that Israel does nothing to prevent those dangers from growing – whether along its borders or at Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Is the US Meddling in Israeli Elections?

Why is the repressive Saudi King seen as a 'reformer?' Dr. Seth Frantzman, op ed editor of the Jerusalem Post, points to Saudi Arabia's dark record of human-rights abuses and wonders why no one else sees it. Then, should the US be meddling in the Israeli elections? Haaretz reports that the White House is sending four consultants to dethrone PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Yehuda HaKohen, Middle East analyst, and Adam Bellos of the Am Yisrael Foundation, join Yishai Fleisher in-studio to push back on the claim that US-Israel relations are hunky-dory.
Released by: Voice of Israel Release date: 28 January 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015



The role of an Israeli leader is to adopt the policies that protect Israel, even when they are unpopular at the White House. Far from being ostracized for those policies, such an Israeli leader will be supported, respected, and relied upon by those who share with him a concern for what truly matters.

Iran has apparently produced an intercontinental ballistic missile whose range far exceeds the distance between Iran and Israel, and between Iran and Europe.

On Wednesday night, Channel 2 showed satellite imagery taken by Israel’s Eros-B satellite that was launched last April. The imagery showed new missile-related sites that Iran recently constructed just outside Tehran. One facility is a missile launch site, capable of sending a rocket into space or of firing an ICBM.

On the launch pad was a new 27-meter long missile, never seen before.

The missile and the launch pad indicate that Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is an integral part of its nuclear weapons program, is moving forward at full throttle. The expanded range of Iran’s ballistic missile program as indicated by the satellite imagery makes clear that its nuclear weapons program is not merely a threat to Israel, or to Israel and Europe. It is a direct threat to the United States as well.

Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address a joint session of Congress by House Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner has asked Netanyahu to address US lawmakers on February 11 regarding Iran’s nuclear program and the threat to international security posed by radical Islam.

Opposition leaders were quick to accuse Boehner and the Republican Party of interfering in Israel’s upcoming election by providing Netanyahu with such a prestigious stage just five weeks before Israelis go to the polls.

Labor MK Nachman Shai told The Jerusalem Post that for the sake of fairness, Boehner should extend the same invitation to opposition leader Isaac Herzog.

But in protesting as they have, opposition members have missed the point. Boehner didn’t invite Netanyahu because he cares about Israel’s election. He invited Netanyahu because he cares about US national security. He believes that by having Netanyahu speak on the issues of Iran’s nuclear program and radical Islam, he will advance America’s national security.

Boehner’s chief concern, and that of the majority of his colleagues from the Democratic and Republican parties alike, is that President Barack Obama’s policy in regard to Iran’s nuclear weapons program imperils the US. Just as the invitation to Netanyahu was a bipartisan invitation, so concerns about Obama’s policy toward Iran’s nuclear program are bipartisan concerns.

Over the past week in particular, Obama has adopted a position on Iran that puts him far beyond the mainstream of US politics. This radical position has placed the president on a collision course with Congress best expressed on Wednesday by Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez. During a hearing at the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee where Menendez serves as ranking Democratic member, he said, “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.”

Menendez was referring to threats that Obama has made three times over the past week, most prominently at his State of the Union address on Tuesday, to veto any sanctions legislation against Iran brought to his desk for signature.

He has cast proponents of sanctions – and Menendez is the co-sponsor of a pending sanctions bill – as enemies of a diplomatic strategy of dealing with Iran, and by implication, as warmongers.

Indeed, in remarks to the Democratic members of the Senate last week, Obama impugned the motivations of lawmakers who support further sanctions legislation. He indirectly alleged that they were being forced to take their positions due to pressure from their donors and others.

The problem for American lawmakers is that the diplomatic course that Obama has chosen makes it impossible for the US to use the tools of diplomacy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

That course of diplomatic action is anchored in the Joint Plan of Action that the US and its partners Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia (the P5+1) signed with Tehran in November 2013.

The JPOA placed no limitation on Iran’s ballistic missile program. The main areas the JPOA covers are Iran’s uranium enrichment and plutonium reactor activities. Under the agreement, or the aspects of it that Obama has made public, Iran is supposed to limit its enrichment of uranium to 3.5-percent purity.

And it is not supposed to take action to expand its heavy water reactor at Arak, which could be used to develop weapons grade plutonium.

THE JPOA is also supposed to force Iran to share all nuclear activities undertaken in the past by its military personnel.

During his State of the Union address, Obama claimed that since the agreement was signed, Iran has “halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.”

Yet as Omri Ceren of the Israel Project noted this week, since the JPOA was signed, Iran has expanded its uranium and plutonium work. And as the Eros-B satellite imagery demonstrated, Iran is poised to launch an ICBM.

When it signed the JPOA, Obama administration officials dismissed concerns that by permitting Iran to enrich uranium to 3.5% – in breach of binding UN Security Council Resolution 1929 from 2010 – the US was enabling Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Enrichment to 3.5%, they said, is a far cry from the 90% enrichment level needed for uranium to be bomb grade.

But it works out that the distance isn’t all that great. Sixty percent of the work required to enrich uranium to bomb grade levels of purity is done by enriching it to 3.5%. Since it signed the JPOA, Iran has enriched sufficient quantities of uranium to produce two nuclear bombs.

As for plutonium development work, as Ceren pointed out, the White House’s fact sheet on the JPOA said that Iran committed itself “to halt progress on its plutonium track.”

Last October, Foreign Policy magazine reported that Iran was violating that commitment by seeking to procure parts for its heavy water plutonium reactor at Arak. And yet, astoundingly, rather than acknowledge the simple fact that Iran was violating its commitment, the State Department excused Iran’s behavior and insisted that it was not in clear violation of its commitment.

More distressingly, since the JPOA was signed, Iran has repeatedly refused to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to access Iran’s nuclear installations or to inform the IAEA about the nuclear activities that its military have carried out in the past.

As a consequence, the US and its partners still do not know what nuclear installations Iran has or what nuclear development work it has undertaken.

This means that if a nuclear agreement is signed between Iran and the P5+1, that agreement’s verification protocols will in all likelihood not apply to all aspects of Iran’s nuclear program. And if it does not apply to all aspects of Iran’s nuclear activities, it cannot prevent Iran from continuing the activities it doesn’t know about.

As David Albright, a former IAEA inspector, explained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last May, “To be credible, a final agreement must ensure that any effort by Tehran to construct a bomb would be sufficiently time-consuming and detectable that the international community could act decisively to prevent Iran from succeeding. It is critical to know whether the Islamic Republic had a nuclear weapons program in the past, how far the work on warheads advanced and whether it continues. Without clear answers to these questions, outsiders will be unable to determine how fast the Iranian regime could construct either a crude nuclear-test device or a deliverable weapon if it chose to renege on an agreement.”

Concern about the loopholes in the JPOA led congressional leaders from both parties to begin work to pass additional sanctions against Iran immediately after the JPOA was concluded. To withstand congressional pressure, the Obama administration alternately attacked the patriotism of its critics, who it claimed were trying to push the US into and unnecessary war against Iran, and assured them that all of their concerns would be addressed in a final agreement.

Unfortunately, since signing the JPOA, the administration has adopted positions that ensure that none of Congress’s concerns will be addressed.

Whereas in early 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “the president has made it definitive” that Iran needs to answer all “questions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program,” last November it was reported that the US and its partners had walked back this requirement.

Iran will not be required to give full accounting of its past nuclear work, and so the US and its partners intend to sign a deal that will be unable to verify that Iran does not build nuclear weapons.

As the administration has ignored its previous pledges to Congress to ensure that a deal with Iran will make it possible to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, it has also acted to ensure that Iran will pay no price for negotiating in bad faith. The sanctions bill that Obama threatens to veto would only go into effect if Iran fails to sign an agreement.

As long as negotiations progress, no sanctions would be enforced.

OBAMA’S MESSAGE then is clear. Not only will the diplomatic policy he has adopted not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons (and the ability to attack the US with nuclear warheads attached to an ICBM), but in the event that Iran fails to agree to even cosmetic limitations on its nuclear progress, it will suffer no consequences for its recalcitrance.

And this brings us back to Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu.

With Obama’s diplomatic policy toward Iran enabling rather than preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power, members of the House and Senate are seeking a credible, unwavering voice that offers an alternative path. For the past 20 years, Netanyahu has been the global leader most outspoken about the need to take all necessary measures to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, not only for Israel’s benefit, but to protect the entire free world. From the perspective of the congressional leadership, then, inviting Netanyahu to speak was a logical move.

In the Israeli context, however, it was an astounding development. For the past generation, the Israeli Left has insisted Israel’s role on the world stage is that of a follower.

As a small, isolated nation, Israel has no choice, they say, other than to follow the lead of the West, and particularly of the White House, on all issues, even when the US president is wrong. All resistance to White House policies is dangerous and irresponsible, leaders like Herzog and Tzipi Livni continuously warn.

Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu exposes the Left’s dogma as dangerous nonsense.

The role of an Israeli leader is to adopt the policies that protect Israel, even when they are unpopular at the White House. Far from being ostracized for those policies, such an Israeli leader will be supported, respected, and relied upon by those who share with him a concern for what truly matters.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 24, 2015  11:07pm  Google News FeedS FNEWS FEEDOGLE NEWS FEE

Thou shall not cross Dear Leader.

With their gutter sniping failing to stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned March speech before Congress, White House aides are unloading their full arsenal of bile.

“He spat in our face publicly, and that’s no way to behave,” one Obama aide told an Israeli newspaper. “Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”
It is pointless to say petty threats do not become the Oval Office. Trying to instruct this White House on manners recalls what Mark Twain said about trying to teach a pig to sing: It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Still, the fury is telling. It reminds, as if we could forget, that everything is always about Obama.

How dare Israel be more concerned with the existential threat of Iranian nukes than with Obama’s feelings? And what do members of Congress think they are, a separate branch of government or something?

Yes, the presidency deserves respect, even when the president doesn’t. Although Obama routinely ignores lawmakers and their role in our constitutional system of checks and balances, there is an argument afoot that Congress should have taken the high road and consulted him before inviting Netanyahu.
The argument has a point — but not a compelling one. To give Obama veto power over the visit would be to put protocol and his pride before the most important issue in the world.

That is Iran’s march to nuclear weapons, and Obama’s foolish complicity. His claim at the State of the Union that “we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material” would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous. THE CLAIM EARNED HIM THREE ­PINOCCHIOS, WITH FOUR BEING AN OUTRIGHT WHOPPER, BY THE WASHINGTON POST.

Outside the president’s yes-men circle, nobody believes the mad mullahs will voluntarily give up their quest for the bomb. International sanctions made life difficult for the regime, especially with oil prices cratering, but Obama ­relaxed restrictions with nothing to show for it except negotiations where he keeps bidding against himself.

He is desperate for a deal, and the Iranians know it, so they want to keep talking. They are gaining concessions and buying time, which means a reversal of their weapons program becomes much harder to achieve.

The ticking doomsday clock is what led to the remarkable comments by Democrat Robert ­Menendez. After Obama warned that more sanctions, even if they would not take effect unless the talks collapsed, could scare off the Iranians, THE NEW JERSEY SENATOR SAID OBAMA WAS REPEATING TALKING POINTS THAT “COME STRAIGHT OUT OF TEHRAN.”

That’s a zinger for the ages — and has the added advantage of being true.
Any deal that leaves Iran with a capacity to make a nuke in weeks or months will ignite a regional arms race. As I have noted, American military and intelligence officials believe a nuclear-armed Iran will lead to a nuclear exchange with Israel or Arab countries within five years.

Israel has the most to lose from an Iranian nuke, and ­Netanyahu can be expected to articulate a forceful argument against Obama’s disastrous course. That’s why House Speaker John Boehner invited him, and it’s why the president is so bent out of shape and refuses to meet with Netanyahu. He doesn’t want Americans to hear the other side.

But we must. And Congress must not shirk from its duty to demand a meaningful agreement with Iran, or none at all.

An extra layer of sanctions waiting in the wings is good backup, but another pending bill is more important. It would demand that any agreement come before the Senate for a vote.
Naturally, Obama opposes it, but that’s all the more reason why it is needed. As Ronald Reagan famously said about Soviet promises, “Trust but verify.”

So must it be with Iran and, sadly, our own president.

Krauthammer on How Israel Tension Raises Questions on Iran

This is a "must watch" video for military officers. It has been transmitted directly to the White House as essential viewing.

The myth of Palestinian centrality
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

The myth of Palestinian centrality has dominated Western policy in the Middle East, while contrasting the reality of the Middle East.
In 2015, following in the footsteps of Presidents Mubarak and Sadat, Egyptian President Al-Sisi does not subordinate Egypt's national security ties with Israel to Egypt's ties with the Palestinians.
President Al-Sisi - just like his two predecessors - considers the transnational Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian terrorism mutual threats to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf States, which have never regarded the Palestinian issue as a top priority, and have denied the Palestinian Authority their financial generosity. Notwithstanding Palestinian opposition, strategic cooperation between Israel and Egypt, as well as between Israel and Jordan and other moderate Arab regimes, has surged to an unprecedented level.
In 2014, Al-Sisi and most pro-US Arab regimes – which have never embraced the myth of Palestinian centrality - supported Israel's war on Palestinian terrorism in Gaza, which also haunts Egyptian and Jordanian homeland security. 
In 1977, Egyptian President Sadat embraced Israeli Prime Minister Begin's peace initiative, in spite of stormy Palestinian opposition, and in defiance of President Carter's initial objection to direct negotiation between Jerusalem and Cairo. Carter promoted the concept of an international conference, centering on the Palestinian issue, which he assumed was the chief axis of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He pressured Begin to highlight the Palestinian issue, but received no effective support from Sadat.
Israel-Arab relations, in general, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, in particular, have never revolved around the Palestinian axis, irrespective of Western conventional wisdom and political correctness, which have been shaped by Arab talk rather than Arab walk, by oversimplification and wishful thinking rather than Middle Eastern reality.
The 1948/49 War was launched by Arab countries, against the newly-born Jewish State, at the expense – and not on behalf – of a Palestinian cause, exposing the myth of Palestinian centrality. Thus, Iraq leveraged the war to advance its goal of intra-Arab hegemony and control the oil pipeline from Kirkuk to Haifa; Jordan joined the assault on Israel to expand all the way to the Mediterranean; Egypt was more interested in foiling Jordan's expansionist plans than the annihilation of the Jewish State; and Syria aspired to advance its vision of Greater Syria.
The 1948 War was not a war of, for, or (mostly) by Palestinian Arabs.  According to Prof. Efraim Karsh, a leading Middle East expert from London's Kings College, "the 1948 pan-Arab invasion of Israel was a classic scramble for territory and not a battle for Palestinian national rights. As the first Secretary General of the Arab league, Abdel Rahman Azzam, admitted, the goal of Jordan was to swallow up the central hill regions of Palestine…. The Egyptians would get the Negev. The Galilee would go to Syria, except that the coastal part as far as Acre would be added to Lebanon."
Upon the conclusion of the war, Iraq occupied Samaria (the northern West Bank), but transferred the area to Jordan, not to the Palestinian Arabs. Jordan occupied Judea (the southern West Bank) and annexed Judea and Samaria to the East Bank of the Jordan River. Egypt occupied Gaza and did not transfer it to the Palestinian Arabs.  Just like Jordan, Egypt prohibited Palestinian national activities and expelled Palestinian activists.  In 1959, Egypt and the Arab League dissolved the ineffective provisional Palestinian ("All Palestine”) government, which was established by them in 1949.
The 1956 (Sinai) War was also not triggered by the Palestinian issue.  It was a derivative of Egyptian-sponsored terrorism (activated by Palestinian Arabs in Gaza), aimed at undermining Israel's sovereignty in the Negev; Egypt's nationalization of the British and French-owned Suez Canal; and Egypt's support for anti-French elements in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
The 1967 Six Day War erupted as a result of Egyptian President Nasser's aggression, aimed at advancing his pan-Arab megalomaniac aspiration, which were unrelated to the Palestinian issue: Egypt's blockade of Israel's southern (oil and commerce) waterway; Egypt's violation of the 1957 Sinai Peninsula demilitarization agreement; the Egypt-Syria-Jordan Military Pact.
The 1969-70 Egypt-Israel war of attrition along the Suez Canal took place irrespective of the Palestinian issue.  And, the 1973 War (the most recent Arab-Israel war) was initiated by Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq, independent of the Palestinian issue.
Since 1973, there have been a number of wars between Israel and Palestinian Arabs, none evolved into an Arab-Israeli war.  Arabs have been aware of the subversive/terrorist track record of Palestinian Arabs, and therefore have showered them with rhetoric, not resources, and certainly not on the battlefield.
For example, the 1982 Israel war on PLO terrorism in Lebanon was launched on June 5, but the Arab League did not convene until September, following the PLO expulsion from Beirut.  The 1987-1992 and the 2000-2003 waves of Palestinian terrorism were quelled by Israel's defense forces with no Arab intervention, as were Israel's wars on Palestinian terrorism in Gaza (2008, 2012 and 2014).
Unlike Arab policy makers Western policy makers and public opinion molders are preoccupied with the Palestinian issue, misperceiving it as the root cause of Middle East turbulence, the crown jewel of Arab policy making and the crux of the Arab –Israeli conflict. 
This Western-formulated myth of Palestinian centrality has led to an oversimplification of Middle East complexities, corrupting Western policy, undermining vital Western interests, exacerbating problems rather than advancing solutions, intensifying terrorism, diverting attention away from major obstacles to peace, thus creating another major obstacle to peace.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Charles Krauthammer  1-23-15
While Iran's march toward a nuclear bomb has provoked a major clash between the White House and Congress, Iran's march toward conventional domination of the Arab world has been largely overlooked. In Washington, that is. The Arabs have noticed. And the pro-American ones, the Gulf Arabs in particular, are deeply worried.
This week, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized control of the Yemeni government, heretofore pro-American. In September, they overran Sanaa, the capital. On Tuesday, they seized the presidential palace. On Thursday, they forced the president to resign.
The Houthis have local religious grievances, being Shiites in a majority Sunni land. But they are also agents of Shiite Iran, which arms, trains and advises them. Their slogan — "God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel" — could have been written in Persian.
Why should we care about the coup? First, because we depend on Yemen's government to support our drone war against another local menace, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It's not clear if we can even maintain our embassy in Yemen, let alone conduct operations against AQAP. And second, because growing Iranian hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies and interests in the entire Middle East.
In Syria, Iran's power is similarly rising. The mullahs rescued the reeling regime of Bashar al-Assad by sending in weapons, money and Iranian revolutionary guards, as well as by ordering their Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, to join the fight. They succeeded. The moderate rebels are in disarray, even as Assad lives in de facto coexistence with the Islamic State, which controls a large part of his country.
Iran's domination of Syria was further illustrated by a strange occurrence last Sunday in the Golan Heights. An Israeli helicopter attacked a convoy on the Syrian side of the armistice line. Those killed were not Syrian, however, but five Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon and several Iranian officials, including a brigadier general.
What were they doing in the Syrian Golan Heights? Giving "crucial advice," announced the Iranian government. On what? Well, three days earlier, Hezbollah's leader had threatened an attack on Israel's Galilee. Tehran appears to be using its control of Syria and Hezbollah to create its very own front against Israel.

The Israelis can defeat any conventional attack. Not so the very rich, very weak Gulf Arabs. To the north and west, they see Iran creating a satellite "Shiite Crescent" stretching to the Mediterranean and consisting of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. To their south and west, they see Iran gaining proxy control of Yemen. And they are caught in the pincer.
The Saudis are fighting back the only way they can — with massive production of oil at a time of oversupply and collapsing prices, placing enormous economic pressure on Iran. It needs $136 oil to maintain its budget. The price today is below $50.
Yet the Obama administration appears to be ready to acquiesce to the new reality of Iranian domination of Syria. It has told the New York Times that it is essentially abandoning its proclaimed goal of removing Assad.
For the Saudis and the other Gulf Arabs, this is a nightmare. They're engaged in a titanic regional struggle with Iran. And they are losing — losing Yemen, losing Lebanon, losing Syria and watching post-U.S.-withdrawal Iraq come under increasing Iranian domination.
The nightmare would be hugely compounded by Iran going nuclear. The Saudis were already stupefied that Washington conducted secret negotiations with Tehran behind their backs. And they can see where the current talks are headed — legitimizing Iran as a threshold nuclear state.
Which makes all the more incomprehensible President Obama's fierce opposition to Congress' offer to strengthen the American negotiating hand by passing sanctions to be triggered if Iran fails to agree to give up its nuclear program. After all, that was the understanding Obama gave Congress when he began these last-ditch negotiations in the first place.
Why are you parroting Tehran's talking points, Mr. President? asks Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Indeed, why are we endorsing Iran's claim that sanctions relief is the new norm? Obama assured the nation that sanctions relief was but a temporary concession to give last-minute, time-limited negotiations a chance.
Twice the deadline has come. Twice no new sanctions, just unconditional negotiating extensions.
Our regional allies — Saudi Arabia, the other five Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt and Israel — are deeply worried. Tehran is visibly on the march on the ground and openly on the march to nuclear status. And their one great ally, their strategic anchor for two generations, is acquiescing to both.

Charles Krauthammer is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, author, political commentator, and physician. His weekly column appears in more than 400 newspapers worldwide.

by Shoshana Bryen

The U.S. Consulate’s determination to provide the trappings of Palestinian statehood to the Palestinian Authority outside the negotiating process should come under scrutiny.
What plan do we have if the Palestinian army attacks the IDF in the future  AS IT HAS IN THE PAST...SEE BELOW— instead of its presumed enemy, Hamas?
It is revealing that the U.S. appears determined to provide the Palestinian Authority with an army while it is still at war with our ally, Israel.

Last week, officials from the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem attended a Palestinian protest over Israel’s removal of olive trees illegally planted in the West Bank. Coordinated with the Palestinian Authority [PA] but not Israel, the Consulate personnel ended up clashing with Israelis living nearby. It was, perhaps, the quietest international almost-incident you never heard of.

This week, with the focus off Paris, the Middle East Quartet (the U.S., EU, Russia & the UN) plans to
meet. The U.S. Consulate’s determination to provide the trappings of Palestinian statehood to the PA outside the negotiating process should come under scrutiny.
The olive tree incident prompted an article in the Israeli press about the Consulate, including the use of Palestinian security, rather than IDF combat veterans as required by a 2011 agreement. Some IDF guards were fired, according to the article. Others resigned, blaming the appointment of a new consulate security officer, who they said, established a Palestinian armed militia. “He is training them with weapons, combat and tactical exercises. There is a lack of responsibility here – who ensures that such weapons, once given over to Palestinian guards, won’t make their way to terror groups?”
The change in personnel from IDF veterans to a Palestinian Security Force [PSF] is part of a long series of steps to transform the Palestinian body politic into a state. If the U.S. Consulate becomes the U.S. Embassy to Palestine — a function it already observes — it is understandable that the PA would not want “occupying Israeli soldiers” to guard the symbol of America from Palestinian citizens in “its capital, Jerusalem.” The Consulate, with its mission to the PA, would agree.
Palestinian security forces have been in existence since 1994 and have steadily changed mandates. They have gone from a “police force” under the Oslo formulation of “dismantling the terrorist infrastructure” so Israel could have confidence in security after withdrawing from territory, to a protection force for Mahmoud Abbas so he would continue negotiations under U.S. auspices — but now to an army for the nascent state.
The Clinton Administration signed on to the police phase, but asked how Arafat could be expected to defeat “terrorists” without weapons. Unmentioned were a) Arafat was the prime funder and organizer of the terrorist organizations in question, and b) the PLO had already proven perfectly capable of killing its enemies.
The first funds for equipment and training came in 1994 from international donors including the U.S. Arafat, having a reasonable sized arsenal of his own, wanted arms, but settled for nonlethal items.
In 1996, Western trained Palestinian “police” attacked IDF personnel with weapons, killing 15 soldiers and border guards, after the opening of an exit from an ancient Hasmonean tunnel in Jerusalem, near the Western Wall in the Old City.
Despite these attacks, according to Jeffrey Boutwell, Director of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, the 1997 Hebron Protocol “provided for a Palestinian police force of some 30,000 personnel, equipped with 15,000 automatic rifles and pistols, 240 heavy machine guns, 45 armored vehicles, lightly armed shore patrol vessels, and associated communications and transportation equipment.” An Israeli-Palestinian Joint Security Coordination and Cooperation Committee [JSC] was formed to oversee “arrangements for entry of the Palestinian Police and the introduction of police arms, ammunition, and equipment.”
Between the onset of Western arms deliveries and a thriving black market, the PA “police” had all the lethal equipment they could handle.
Training stopped during the 2001-2004 so-called “second intifada” with the (unsurprising) revelation that the PA “police” found their Western assets invaluable in attacking Israelis. In 2005, however, history began again and the U.S. decided that the Palestinians should have a new security service. LTG William Ward USA (Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe, and Chief of Staff, U.S. Seventh Army) was the point man. In the words of then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, his mission was:
“To make sure the parties understand each other and we understand what the parties are doing, so we can raise it at the appropriate level” if action is required.
“To provide a focal point for training, equipping, helping the Palestinians to build their security forces and also for monitoring, and if necessary, to help the parties on security matters.”
The missions were incompatible and inappropriate. The first involved “translating for the parties” with an eye toward U.S. intervention, a political job that should not have been done by a military officer. Further, having part of the mission directed toward a Palestinian force gave the General a stake in the success of the Palestinians over the concerns of Israel.
And so it happened. The Ward mission, the sole conduit for U.S. aid to the new Palestinian Security Force, resulted only in better-trained terrorists.
LTG Keith Dayton (Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3, U.S. Army), well respected and liked by Israel and the IDF, succeeded LTG Ward. His job, however, was complicated by the deterioration relations Hamas-Fatah in Gaza. According to a contemporaneous Ha’aretz story, Dayton was to arm and train “the Presidential Guard of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to prepare it for a potential violent confrontation with Hamas forces in Gaza. Palestinian sources say the training of 400 Force 17 troops… started [in November 2006] in Jericho under the guidance of an American military instructor.” Force 17 had been Arafat’s Praetorian Guard, attacking recalcitrant Palestinians as well as Israelis. Abbas had inherited it.
Throwing American support to one Palestinian faction over another was a political decision to side with what our government assumed was “better” or more “moderate” Palestinians, hoping it would use our help to put down Hamas rather than using it to kill ever more Israelis.
What it did was legitimize the creeping movement of the Palestinians toward a full-fledged army.
This new mission needed IDF participation — which Israel approved in part because of its relations with LTG Dayton, and because it allowed Israel to operate in West Bank territory with a relatively free hand to arrest both Hamas operatives and Fatah bad guys. It also made Abbas beholden to Israel for his personal security and that of his kleptocracy. That part worked, and even now, PA figures have admitted publicly that without IDF cooperation, the PA would fall.
Dayton’s successors, LTG Michael Moeller, USAF and ADM Paul Bushong, USN, have quietly continued and upgraded both training and weapons.Hundreds of troops from the Palestinian Security Force line a street in Ramallah, in order to block anti-American protestors, during President Obama’s 2013 visit to the city.

The question always was twofold: What constitutes “appropriate” weapons for the PSF, and how does the U.S. justify training security forces the ultimate loyalty of whom will be a government that we cannot foresee and may become something — or already is something — we don’t like? The corollary is: What plan do we have if the Palestinian Army attacks IDF forces in the future — instead of its presumed enemy, Hamas?
To raise the questions is to understand that there are no sound answers from either the Consulate or the State Department. In their absence, concern over the choice of security guards by the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem is appropriate, but insufficient. It is revealing that the U.S. appears determined to provide the PA with an army while it is still at war with our ally, Israel.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


The White House said Thursday evening that President Barack Obama will not meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when the Israeli leader visits Washington in early March.This has resulted in a bitter battle within the White House between the professional and the political staffs. And the political (brass knuckle) staff prevailed.

 "The president will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election," said National Security Council
 spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan. However, the  American Jewish community and the Israelis would be very justified in considering this a deliberate snub to Israel  and  an "in your face "message to American Jews.." I expect that due to my announced social agenda, you will support me unconditionally." Had this not been intended as a snub, the appropriate White House response would be to extend an invitation with the date of  the invited visit beyond the election date. In the past, in similar circumstances, the White House has also invited other political parties to meet with top representatives of the US government in Washington.

The original conversations concerning the invitation were begun well before the Israeli government announced new elections with staff discussions beginning last year,.
The invitation was a coordinated effort by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.. Then on January 8,after Boehner was  officially re-elected as  speaker, He called Dermer - a native of Miami Beach, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and close adviser to Netanyahu - to gauge the prime minister's interest. The Israeli embassy gave a "quick affirmative response," an aide told Politico .Boehner's office then provided a list of dates for a potential address, and the embassy chose the week of February 9. Boehner said that Netanyahu asked that the speech be rescheduled so that he can participate in the annual AIPAC conference as well. 
The date for Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to Congress has been pushed back by a fortnight to March 3, House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday on his Twitter feed. This means that the speech to Congress will be delivered just two weeks before the Israeli elections on March 17.

Independent observers noted that this policy has been repeatedly breached in the cases of Japan, China and numerous other countries and that President Obama obtained audiences in Germany and other countries prior to (but part of) his first  election campaign and that President Obama did not hesitate to meet with foreign dignitaries during his last 2 presidential campaigns. 

Richard Baehr    1-22-15

More than a few analysts and political writers have noted that U.S. President Barack Obama ‎seems to enjoy driving his political opponents up a wall. On the domestic front, the strategy has been to get ‎under the skin of Republicans, so the political battles are waged on Obama's ‎chosen playing field, and his opponents come off as angry if not crazy when they ‎fight back. ‎
At times, the president has sounded like a Chicago gang ‎leader, including this memorable comment at a Philadelphia fundraiser during his initial ‎run for the White House in 2008: "If [the Republicans] bring a knife to the fight, we bring a ‎gun. Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I've seen Eagles fans."‎
This kind of "elevated" discussion of campaign strategy (often with ‎sports associations) fits with a broader strategy Obama has put ‎into place as president of appearing to consciously shrink the ‎dignity of the office he serves by regularly appealing to the ‎audiences of the lowest common denominator talk shows and ‎interview programs, such as "The View." On Thursday, two days ‎after delivering the annual State of the Union address, the president will follow up with sure to be weighty discussions with a ‎trio of popular young YouTube filmmakers.‎
Last week, the president was back in his preferred mocking, ‎scornful mode, but this time the bile was directed at a member of ‎his own political party, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of ‎New Jersey. The setting was a meeting the president was holding ‎with the greatly diminished ranks of Democratic Senators ( a group ‎that has gone from a commanding 60 to a minority share of 46 ‎since Obama took office). The president was previewing his new ‎domestic agenda -- basically a reprise of his first term agenda -- raise ‎taxes on the rich, move the money around to groups Obama likes ‎better, and spend more money at the federal level. But things got ‎heated when the discussion moved on to the administration's ‎negotiations as part of the P5+1 with Iran over its nuclear ‎program. The president warned Democrats not to stray from the ‎president's directives, and to delay passage of any additional ‎sanctions resolutions while the talks continue. That will allow the ‎administration and its partners to continue to try to find a way to ‎make enough concessions to Iran so at long last the mullahs will ‎say yes to something, and the president can claim victory (by ‎perhaps extending the time for Iran to cancel any agreement it ‎signs and then break out to becoming a nuclear power by a few ‎weeks). ‎
The president reportedly let forth a charming piece of slander directed at Menendez and others who are with him ‎in backing new sanctions:
‎"According to one of the senators and another person who was ‎present, the president urged lawmakers to stop pursuing ‎sanctions, saying such a move would undermine his authority ‎and could derail the talks. Mr. Obama also said that such a ‎provocative action could lead international observers to blame ‎the Americans, rather than the Iranians, if the talks collapsed ‎before the June 30 deadline.‎
"The president said he understood the pressures that senators ‎face from donors and others, but he urged the lawmakers to ‎take the long view rather than make a move for short-term ‎political gain, according to the senator. Mr. Menendez, who ‎was seated at a table in front of the podium, stood up and said ‎he took 'personal offense.'‎
"Mr. Menendez told the president that he had worked for more ‎than 20 years to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions and had ‎always been focused on the long-term implications. Mr. ‎Menendez also warned the president that sanctions could not ‎be imposed quickly if Congress waited to act and the talks ‎failed, according to two people who were present."‎
It is worth unpacking this off-the-cuff remark by the president, ‎since it fits a pattern. First there is the arrogance: I take the ‎long view, you are concerned only with short-term political ‎gain. But then comes the clincher: You (Mendendez and ‎others who back new sanctions) are basically just responding ‎to the pressure from donors and others. You are, in other ‎words, bought and sold by Israel and the Jews. There is, after ‎all, not a lot of doubt as to who these donors or the "others" ‎might be. ‎
At its core, Obama is simply parroting the views of Professors John Mearsheimer and ‎Steven Walt from their book "The ‎Israel Lobby." The professors argued ‎that America was off the reservation of the international ‎community (e.g., the Europeans and the other deep thinkers ‎at the United Nations) by sticking in Israel's corner in its ‎dispute with the Palestinians. America's national interest ‎would be better served by largely abandoning Israel -- ‎pressuring it to make all the concessions necessary to get a ‎deal done with the Palestinians, which would presumably ‎result in an immediate warm wet blanket of approval all ‎around the world to reward America for its newly found ‎wisdom. ‎
For Mearsheimer and Walt, America's terrible mistake in ‎supporting Israel had led to all kinds of other strategic follies. ‎The Iraq war was supposedly a war fought by America but ‎really stage-managed by Israel and its backers in the United ‎States. This bit of nonsense had found other backers, such as ‎nativist Patrick Buchanan, who has never had a kind word to ‎say for the Jewish state. But the truth of the matter is that ‎Israel was clearly not a supporter of the Iraq war in 2003, ‎having experienced the blowback from Saddam Hussein's Scud missiles 12 years earlier in the American war to liberate ‎Kuwait, and not looking forward to a repeat performance. ‎Israel was also far more skeptical than American officials as ‎to whether Saddam had an active nuclear weapons program ‎underway in 2003. ‎
During the Iraq War, if one accepted the Mearsheimer-Walt ‎argument, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary ‎of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and ‎National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice were all servants ‎of Israel, and it was Israel that wanted war with Iraq and ‎pushed America into it. Presumably America's leaders were ‎all weaklings, and were easily pushed around by those who ‎were really powerful -- the Israel lobby, in this case led by a ‎few Jewish "neocon" writers, working at the direction of ‎Israel, such as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Bill ‎Kristol. ‎
For Mearsheimer and Walt, America's leaders are never ‎independent actors when it comes to policy toward israel, ‎with decisions to be made based on their reading of America's ‎national interest. Rather, they are pawns of the Jews and ‎Israel. For them, the all-powerful "Israel lobby" distorts the ‎thinking of the government, and Congress, producing a ‎collection of American officials and lawmakers serving ‎Israel's interests, but not America's. ‎
The Mearsheimer-Walt argument has gained wide acceptance ‎in the years since the original publication of an article ‎previewing the book in the London Review of Books. Given the distinction of its ‎authors, professors from the University of Chicago and Harvard, the former also a West Point graduate, the book ‎gave a broad protection to many other Israel haters who ‎wanted to extend the argument. New York Times columnist ‎Tom Friedman, one of the president's favorite reads, referred to Congress as "bought and paid for by Israel" after it gave a warm welcome to Prime Minister Benjamin ‎Netanyahu when he spoke before a joint session of Congress. ‎The line warmed the hearts of Israel-haters such as writers for Al Jazeera and the Mondoweiss website. Presumably, the applause ‎would have been better reserved for the real peacemakers of ‎the Palestinian Authority or countries and movements that ‎deserved more thoughtful consideration from America, such ‎as Hamas, Iran, or even Hezbollah, since the Congress could ‎then declare itself "Islamophobe-free," probably the most ‎important designation around these days for the "paper of ‎record." ‎
Obama's reproach of Menendez reflects a view that America ‎would be better off if there was not such strong support for ‎Israel. Then Obama and other presidents to follow could sell ‎out Israel for some other political objective. The president is ‎unhappy that Israel has not yet turned into a pure Republican vs. Democrat battle, like all others. The president feeds on ‎partisanship, since he believes the numbers on his side of ‎every argument are larger and growing more rapidly. Obama ‎has worked hard to break the bipartisan support for the ‎Jewish state that now exists. So far, his gains have been ‎modest, though there is evidence that support for Israel on the Left and among some Democrats has faded.‎
Of course, if almost all members of Congress back Israel, it ‎might reflect that their constituents strongly support Israel ‎and always have. Americans see a natural ally, aligned with ‎American interests and values, and a nation on the front line ‎of the same battles American is fighting. Obama is ‎not part of that majority. His view reflects what one would ‎expect to find in someone who is emotionally on the side of the ‎Arabs and the Third World, and resents Western nations and ‎their success. This was a theme Dinesh D'Souza explored in ‎his documentary: "2016: Obama's America." ‎D'Souza's legal problems probably owe as much to making ‎this film as to any minor campaign finance violations of ‎which he was guilty. ‎
In any case, the president's comment to Menendez is a signal that ‎like so much else on the political battlefield, now that there ‎are no more elections to worry about, Obama can be Obama ‎these next two years. And there is not a trace of warmth ‎for Israel in this cold man.