Saturday, January 31, 2015

Democrats in Congress have to make up their mind - are they backing Chamberlain or Churchill?

One almost loses faith in the American system of checks and balances. How is it possible that these dangerous policies of the US president of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, enforcing Newspeak in inventing terms like violent extremism to describe Islamic jihadi terror  and most dangerous of all,  the appeasement of Iran, has had such apathetic response among the American public? 

US House Minority Leader Pelosi was unsure if Democrats will attend Netanyahu’s speech to Congress! Here was the last chance that the American Congress and people hear about the magnitude of the Iranian nuclear threat from an Israeli PM who knows about it not only empirically, since Israel is under constant attack from Hezbollah and Hamas, but also theoretically since Netanyahu was briefed by Bernard Lewis on Iran a few years ago. But Pelosi does not seem to care.
Americans do not seem to realize that Netanyahu will not permit a nuclear Iran regardless of what President Obama says. Netanyahu knows that the very existence of Israel is at stake and by this point Obama’s serial blunders in foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, have rendered his opinion totally worthless.   Even previously staunch supporter like Alan Dershowitz and Dennis Ross have finally realized that something is very wrong. But what is really tragic is that the Democrats in Congress are still unclear whether they understand the gravity of the moment. In the most dangerous time since the Cuban Missile Crisis they are playing party politics.

If anybody thinks that this is an exaggeration – I urge you to take the Kerry Quiz and find out how much you really understand about the Middle East.   

Friday, January 30, 2015

Obama has agreed to 80 percent of Iran's demands in nuclear talks, Israeli officials tell Ch. 10

Israeli officials told channel 10 on Friday that they are convinced the Obama administration has already agreed to most of Iran’s demands in the P5+1 negotiations over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

According to unnamed officials, Washington “has given the Iranians 80 percent of what they want” out of the negotiations, Channel 10 is reporting.

Jerusalem officials appear alarmed at the prospect that the United States will soon strike a deal with the Iranian regime that will leave it with a “breakout capacity” of months during which it can gallop toward a nuclear bomb.

The practical significance of the American compromises in the talks is that Iran will be permitted to keep over 7,000 centrifuges, enough for the Iranians to produce enough enriched material to sprint toward the bomb within a matter of months.

These developments have apparently fueled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sense of urgency in traveling to Washington and addressing Congress in hopes of lobbying American lawmakers to pass tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Channel 10 reported that Netanyahu spoke to a number of Democratic lawmakers in Congress. The premier sought to assuage their concerns that the Israeli leader was using his speech before a joint session of the house in order to undermine Obama’s foreign policy.

Netanyahu’s scheduled speech sparked an uproar in Washington, with Democrats accusing House speaker John Boehner of inviting the premier to speak before Congress as a means of whipping up opposition to the Obama administration’s talks with Iran.

Sources in Jerusalem told Channel 10 that the prime minister views the Iranian nuclear issue as one of paramount importance for Israel’s security. The urgency of the matter – and not partisan politics - is what motivated Netanyahu to violate diplomatic protocol and accept the Republican leadership’s invitation to address the Congress on the need for more sanctions against Iran, Channel 10 quotes officials as saying.

Netanyahu reiterated Friday during a visit to soldiers wounded in Wednesday’s attack near the Lebanon border that Israel is adamantly opposed to the agreement the world powers are negotiating with Iran.

“It is possible to solve procedural problems related to my appearance in the United States,” he said, “but if Iran obtains nuclear arms that is something that will be a lot more difficult to solve, and that is what we are opposed to and are focusing on.”

“We are in a continuous struggle with Iran which is opening new fronts against us, which is engaged in terrorism in the Middle East and throughout the world,” Netanyahu said. “This is the same Iran that the world powers are now working toward an agreement that would leave in its hands the ability to develop a nuclear bomb. That is an agreement we are opposed to.”

Netanyahu said Israel is continuously coming under  attacks organized by Iran. “Iran is trying to uproot us from here, but they will not succeed,” he said. “We put down roots here , and will continue to do so, and will continue to make the country flower and create new life.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Do we really mean ‘never again’?

Candles burn by a memorial plaque at the Birkenau Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, after the official remembrance ceremony. (Alik Keplicz/AP)

By Charles Krauthammer

Amid the ritual expressions of regret and the pledges of “never again” on Tuesday’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a bitter irony was noted: Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe. With a vengeance.
It has become routine. If the kosher-grocery massacre in Paris hadn’t happened in conjunction with Charlie Hebdo, how much worldwide notice would it have received? As little as did the murder of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse. As little as did the terror attack that killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
The rise of European anti-Semitism is, in reality, just a return to the norm. For a millennium, virulent Jew-hatred — persecution, expulsions, massacres — was the norm in Europe until the shame of the Holocaust created a temporary anomaly wherein anti-Semitism became socially unacceptable.
The hiatus is over. Jew-hatred is back, recapitulating the past with impressive zeal. Italians protesting Gaza handed out leaflets calling for a boycott of Jewish merchants. As in the 1930s. A widely popular French comedian has introduced a variant of the Nazi salute. In Berlin, Gaza brought out a mob chanting, “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone!” Berlin, mind you.
European anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, however. It’s a European problem, a stain, a disease of which Europe is congenitally unable to rid itself.
From the Jewish point of view, European anti-Semitism is a sideshow. The story of European Jewry is over. It died at Auschwitz. Europe’s place as the center and fulcrum of the Jewish world has been inherited by Israel. Not only is it the first independent Jewish commonwealth in 2,000 years. It is, also for the first time in 2,000 years, the largest Jewish community on the planet.
The threat to the Jewish future lies not in Europe but in the Muslim Middle East, today the heart of global anti-Semitism, a veritable factory of anti-Jewish literature, films, blood libels and calls for violence, indeed for another genocide.
The founding charter of Hamas calls not just for the eradication of Israel but for the killing of Jews everywhere. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah welcomes Jewish emigration to Israel — because it makes the killing easier: “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.’’ And, of course, Iran openly declares as its sacred mission the annihilation of Israel.

For America, Europe and the moderate Arabs, there are powerful reasons having nothing to do with Israel for trying to prevent an apocalyptic, fanatically anti-Western clerical regime in Tehran from getting the bomb: Iranian hegemony, nuclear proliferation (including to terror groups) and elemental national security.
For Israel, however, the threat is of a different order. Direct, immediate and mortal.
The sophisticates cozily assure us not to worry. Deterrence will work. Didn’t it work against the Soviets? Well, just 17 years into the atomic age,we came harrowingly close to deterrence failure and all-out nuclear war. Moreover, godless communists anticipate no reward in heaven. Atheists calculate differently from jihadists with their cult of death. Name one Soviet suicide bomber.
Former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, known as a moderate, once characterized tiny Israel as a one-bomb country. He acknowledged Israel’s deterrent capacity but noted the asymmetry: “Application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” Result? Israel eradicated, Islam vindicated. So much for deterrence.
And even if deterrence worked with Tehran, that’s not where the story ends. Iran’s very acquisition of nukes would set off a nuclear arms racewith half a dozen Muslim countries from Turkey to Egypt to the Gulf states — in the most unstable part of the world. A place where you wake up in the morning to find a pro-American Yemeni government overthrown by rebels whose slogan is “God is Great. Death to America. Death to Israel. Damn the Jews. Power to Islam.”
The idea that some kind of six-sided deterrence would work in this roiling cauldron of instability the way it did in the frozen bipolarity of the Cold War is simply ridiculous.
The Iranian bomb is a national security issue, an alliance issue and a regional Middle East issue. But it is also a uniquely Jewish issue because of Israel’s situation as the only state on earth overtly threatened with extinction, facing a potential nuclear power overtly threatening that extinction.
 On the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz, mourning dead Jews is easy. And, forgive me, cheap. Want to truly honor the dead? Show solidarity with the living — Israel and its 6 million Jews. Make “never again” more than an empty phrase. It took Nazi Germany seven years to kill 6 million Jews. It would take a nuclear Iran one day.

Why Netanyahu, The Churchill Of Our Time, Must Speak Before Congress

Forbes Staff

It is fitting and proper–indeed essential for our very security–that Speaker John Boehner has extended an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu to address Congress on Iran and its efforts to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them anywhere in the world. The invitation has bipartisan support because many members on both sides of the aisle recognize the fundamental threat to world peace that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose. Like Winston Churchill in the 1930s with Nazi Germany, Netanyahu has been sounding the alarm about Iran’s ominous nuclear and terrorist activities.
It’s a message much of Europe and even segments of the US, particularly in the Obama administration, don’t want to hear. The President has made clear his intense dislike of Israel’s prime minister and his refusal to keep quiet about Obama’s desire to conclude a Neville Chamberlain-like deal with Teheran. In a flagrant interference in another country’s election, Obama operatives are working hard in Israel to help bring down the courageous Prime Minister.
Congress needs to hear first-hand the truth about what Iran is doing and the dreadful implications of those activities.
Thanks to US leadership, the ever-harder sanctions imposed over the years had taken a politically damaging toll on the Iranian economy. The mullahs agreed to sit down with the US and Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany to come up with an agreement ostensibly to get Iran to back off its nuclear ambitions. Iran’s agenda was simple: get the sanctions eased, and then with a loophole-ridden treaty, get them removed altogether. 
 The basic problem is that the Obama administration wants a deal–any deal–with Teheran and the other parties to the talks are willing to go along in order to snag business contracts with Iran, oblivious to the implications of a radical regime that will be in the position to get the Bomb any time it wants.
Appeasers argue that containment will work with a nuclear-armed Iran just as it did with the old Soviet Union during the Cold War and thus there is nothing to really worry about. Israel and other Mideast nations know better.
The Iranian government, despite the immense corruption of many of its leaders, is a revolutionary regime. Its actions over the years demonstrate that the rhetoric of its officials is more than just hot air. Iran is terror central. It bankrolls and provides arms to Hamas, Hezbollah and all sorts of Islamic terrorists organizations. If the US tacitly concedes its resignation to Iran becoming a nuclear power, then other countries will follow suite in creating their own nukes, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
That kind of proliferation enormously increases the chances of a nuclear war. We saw in 1914 how the then-center of civilization plunged into a catastrophic war. Even during the Cold War, Washington and Moscow went to the brink of a nuclear holocaust during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (President John Kennedy was acutely aware during those fraught days of how events in 1914 ran away from European leaders.) With nukes in so many unstable hands, a disaster is almost a certainty. Moreover, the widespread knowledge of how to make the Bomb will certainly fall into terrorist hands, which is why the US must prevent this nuclear proliferation in the first place.
Ominously Iran has apparently developed an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach not only Israel but also Europe. It won’t be many years before the mullahs can aim nuclear tipped missiles against the US. No surprise, the current negotiations don’t cover Iranian missile development.
Another factor Obama and his appeasement-minded minions willfully ignore is the existential threat Iran poses to Israel. Given the size of the Jewish state, it has no room for error. A nuclear-armed Iran will put Israeli leaders in a dangerous, hair-trigger situation. Israel is a crucial US ally, strategically and morally. It is the only durable democracy in the Mideast. With only 8 million people, Israel has surpassed the European Union, with a population of over 400 million, in high technology, rivaling Silicon Valley. It was born from the ashes of the Holocaust. The destruction of Israel would mean, ultimately, the end of Western civilization; the moral rot that would permit such an event would be just about impossible to surmount.
It is not only Israel that is appalled by what Iran is up to. When Israel very nearly undertook preemptive action against Teheran in 2012, countries such as Saudi Arabia were remarkably open about their support for Israeli military actions that would destroy or cripple Iran’s nuclear facilities.
President Obama is either oblivious to all this or feels that in his perverted worldview, these things don’t much matter. Iran knows Obama desperately wants an agreement. It figures that the more it refuses to accept Obama’s willingness to surrender, the more concessions he will offer. 
 And spin to the contrary, an agreement will be a surrender. For all intents and purposes, Iran will be allowed to make a nuclear device any time it wishes. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will proclaim that if Teheran goes to make the Bomb, the US will have plenty of time to stop them before the Iranians can actually do it. Nonsense. It is has already crossed a very difficult threshold on uranium enrichment. The mullahs are moving ahead on the plutonium front. Teheran has brazenly blocked the International Atomic Energy Agency from access to its nuclear installations.
Congress is considering legislation proposed by Sen. Robert Menendez (D., NJ) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) that would impose stiff sanctions on Iran if an agreement is not reached by the deadline of June 30. Twice before, negotiation deadlines have been extended. This would effectively tell Iran, put up or shut up. Obama is naturally opposed. He wants nothing that might jeopardize his dangerous course of abject appeasement of an evil regime. The President outrageously dragooned British Prime Minister to play the role of unregistered lobbyist to call Senators to block the Menendez-Kirk bill.
Which gets to why Speaker John Boehner was well within his bounds to extend that invitation to Netanyahu. Such a momentous treaty with Iran as desired by Obama must, under the Constitution, be submitted to the US Senate for ratification. Obama has trampled on the Constitution time and again–making laws and changing laws at will–and wants no Congressional involvement precisely because the resultant debate would glaringly show what a dangerously miserable deal he had cut. The ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, recently declared: “The more I hear from the Administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Teheran.” When President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address that Iran has “halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material,” the guffaws could be loudly heard from every intelligence agency in the world.
Congress is a separate branch of government. Hearing directly from Netanyahu is well within its prerogatives, especially on a matter as critical as this. By the way back in 2011, Speaker Boehner attempted to coordinate a Netanyahu invitation with the White House. Naturally Obama gave Boehner the back of his hand by ignoring this courtesy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Misplaced Trust

While Obama's team criticizes the Israeli prime minister, the president remains silent about the Iranian threat.

His fears are not unfounded.

“It will be difficult to trust Netanyahu in the future,” senior U.S. officials told Israel’s Channel 2 after the U.S.-Israeli dustup over House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, which neither Boehner nor Netanyahu coordinated with the White House.

Even Israel’s strongest U.S. supporters admit that Netanyahu can be politically insensitive, and the backdrop to his upcoming address surely puts him on even more of a collision course with President Barack Obama than he’s endured during the six years of their rocky relationship. Obama’s pushing hard for a nuclear deal with Iran, Israel fears a deal that will enable Iran to quickly develop nuclear weaponry, and Congress increasingly leans far more towards Netanyahu’s fears than Obama’s hopes.

That neither Obama nor his aides trust Netanyahu is hardly news. For years, they’ve disparaged him harshly, insulted him gratuitously, called him crass names, and suggested they know what’s good for Israel more than he does. In the latest controversy, a U.S. official said that Netanyahu had “spat” in Obama's face. 

What’s striking about recent events, however, is not how little Obama trusts Netanyahu. Rather, it’s how much – in his desperate quest for a nuclear deal – he chooses to “trust” Iran’s leaders, or at least look the other way, as they truly “spit” in his face by undercutting U.S. interests in the region and beyond.

For starters, the president is either woefully uninformed or willfully deceptive when it comes to the nuclear talks. “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran,” the president proclaimed in his State of the Union address, “where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.”
In fact, since negotiators crafted the interim deal of November 2013 that was supposed to last only six months, Iran has continued to enrich uranium, build at its plutonium site at Arak, and advance its ballistic missile program that U.S. officials had promised would be central to these talks; it vows to continue enriching uranium and adding centrifuges; it announced that it would build two new nuclear reactors at Bushehr just as a critical meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva was getting underway; and it refuses to come clean on its explosives technologies that have nuclear applications.

Obama buys Tehran’s line that further sanctions that would take effect if talks over a final deal fail – which a strong bipartisan contingent in Congress wants to enact now – would guarantee such failure. Thus, he’s vowed to veto such legislation, and his aides have worked the issue hard on Capitol Hill. In fact, tough sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table by steering its economy to the brink of collapse, and the sanctions relief of the interim deal substantially eased the economic pressure, thus giving Iran’s leaders far more flexibility to make more nuclear progress and toughen its negotiating posture.

Tehran is surely delighted that Obama whitewashes the truth about U.S.-Iranian talks in public, that one of his top foreign policy aides compares a nuclear deal to Obama’s landmark health reform, that the United States continues to extend the interim deal as the two sides fail to reach a final one, that U.S. negotiators continue to make concessions without securing any from Iran, that Obama promises to veto sanctions legislation that would increase his negotiating leverage and that neither Obama nor his team force Iran to pay any price for its nuclear and other provocations.

Beyond the talks themselves, Tehran provides no reason to “trust” it as a negotiating partner anyway as the Islamic Republic undercuts U.S. interests in the region and beyond by destabilizing U.S. allies.
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who chant “Death to America,” just overran Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and forced its U.S.-backed President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to resign. That threatens U.S. efforts to maintain the offensive against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen.

Meanwhile, Iran faces suspicion over the murder of Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was set to testify to Argentina’s Congress about the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center for which he previously indicted top Iranian officials. He was working to expose the efforts of top Iranian and Argentine officials to whitewash the issue in exchange for more bilateral economic cooperation and to craft a plan that would bring the perpetrators to justice.

While Obama's team takes offense at Netanyahu's mischief, the president himself remains shockingly silent about the very real Iranian threat.

Lawrence J. Haas, former communications director for Vice President Al Gore, is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Bibi, never mind offending Obama

Shmuley Boteach

There is nothing wrong with an Israeli Prime Minister doing his utmost to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, even if it offends the sensibilities of the American president. A nation that has experienced the world’s worst genocide just 70 years ago has not just a right but an obligation to take seriously any existential threats that loom against it.
Iran is a genocidal regime. It has stated on countless occasions that it will destroy and annihilate Israel. And it is now building the doomsday weapons that can translate rhetoric into action.
For years Iran has been hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons. The Obama Administration’s strategy to engage the Islamic tyranny in talks has produced no demonstrable results. Unfreezing Iran’s financial assets has only emboldened the brutal regime in continuing its genocidal rhetoric against Israel and disgusting human rights abuses.
While the administration indulges Iran’s stalling tactics, Iranian centrifuges continue to spin. And with every minute that Tehran gets closer to realizing its diabolical nuclear dream, the civilized world inches closer to its peril. And this is especially true of Israel, which sits in the crosshairs of Iranian rage.
Iran is running out the clock. According to the IAEA Iran already has 13,397 kilograms of Uranium enriched to 3.5% Uranium-235. If they use all 9,000 of their reactors at Natanz, the Iranians could enrich this further to the weapon-grade level of 90% Uranium-235 in just over a month and a half. And, if Iran’s close ally North Korea can serve as an example, they absolutely will.
The consequences of Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb are catastrophic – for Israel, the Middle East, and the entire freedom-loving world. Israel would be under existential threat and would have its hands tied in any dealings with Iranian proxies such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad. The Middle East would be instantly destabilized, with a nuclear arms race certain to take off. And with the rogue state wielding end-of-days capabilities, the entire world would be forced to witness all levels of Iranian belligerence, virtually unable to intervene.
With so much at stake, it seems that the last thing we should be concerned about is offending President Obama. The American president is human just like the rest of us. He can be wrong. He can make mistakes, just like the rest of us. He does not enjoy the divine right of kings. He is not infallible. And if he is offended by being second-guessed by the leader of a nation that had more than a million children gassed to death seven decades ago, he’ll get over it.
The implications of a nuclear Iran for the world are far greater than such simple considerations as the wounded ego of the leader of the free world or a breach of diplomatic protocol.
I do not envy the position of Prime Minister Netanyahu. He lives every day with the realization that if he errs in the confrontation with Iran the consequences for his people are catastrophic, devastating, and irreversible. History will hold him completely accountable for his failure to protect Israel.
Now, when it comes to launching a military strike against the Iranian nuclear apparatus, we can argue that perhaps the risks of something going horribly wrong are simply too great. Many have already said so. But can the same argument really be made of a speech delivered to the United States Congress by invitation of the House Speaker? What are the terrible consequences that would ensue that should prevent the Prime Minister of Israel going before the United States Congress to call for increased sanctions against Iran?
News reports are now saying that Obama administration officials are threatening serious consequences for Israel and the Prime Minister because of this breach of protocol. In fact, Ha’aretz just quoted an anonymous US official as saying that “Netanyahu spat in our face…there will be a price.” I had no idea that Al Capone worked in the Administration.
Such mafia language is beneath aides to the President of the United States. I, for one, have become fatigued with the continuous threats issued to the press by “undisclosed sources” in the administration against Israel.
Is it not unseemly for America to continually issue anonymous threats against it staunchest ally, especially when the rest of the world is going to hell in a hand-basket?
Perhaps the Obama administration should threaten President Bashar Assad to stop slaughtering his people in Syria and actually, this time, do something about it. Perhaps President Obama should threaten devastating and immediate consequences for ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi should he continue to kill Western hostages with impunity, rather than the just the airstrikes that have not stopped the vile beheadings. Perhaps officials of the Obama Administration can focus their energies on occasionally mentioning the words “Islamic terror” rather than continually threatening the sole democracy in the Middle East with “consequences.”
Israel is not America’s threat. Why President Obama despises Netanyahu so deeply is beyond me. Can the explanation really be that Bibi doesn’t accord Obama sufficient respect? Even if that were true, it would explain why Obama dislikes him. But not why he positively despises him, seemingly more than almost every other world leader.
Regardless, the Prime Minister of Israel is not elected principally to understand the mindset of the American president. He is elected first and foremost to defend a nation that has experienced more hatred, more torture, more bloodletting, and more wholesale slaughter than any nation on earth. That Prime Minister has the responsibility to do everything in his power to protect the Jewish people in Israel from a nuclear annihilation.

One holocaust is quite enough.