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Friday, December 8, 2017

Bret Stephens: Jerusalem Denial Complex


The New York Times


By Bret Stephens

If nothing else, Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital shows how disenthralled his administration is with traditional pieties about the Middle East. It’s about time.

One piety is that “Mideast peace” is all but synonymous with Arab-Israeli peace. Seven years of upheaval, repression, terrorism, refugee crises and mass murder in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and Syria have put paid to that notion.

Another piety is that only an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal could reconcile the wider Arab world to the Jewish state. Yet relations between Jerusalem and RiyadhCairoAbu Dhabi and Manama are flourishing as never before, even as the prospect of a Palestinian state is as remote as ever.

A third is that intensive mediation by the United States is essential to progress on the ground. Yet recent American involvement — whether at the Camp David summit in 2000 or John Kerry’s efforts in 2013 — has had mostly the opposite effect: diplomatic failure, followed by war.

Which brings us to Jerusalem, and the piety that pretending it isn’t what it is can be a formula for anything except continued self-delusion.

What Jerusalem is is the capital of Israel, both as the ancestral Jewish homeland and the modern nation-state. When Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit the country in 1974, he attended his state dinner in Jerusalem. It’s where President Anwar Sadat of Egypt spoke when he decided to make peace in 1977. It’s what Congress decided as a matter of law in 1995. When Barack Obama paid his own presidential visit to Israel in 2013, he too spent most of his time in Jerusalem.

So why maintain the fiction that Jerusalem isn’t the capital?

The original argument, from 1947, was that Jerusalem ought to be under international jurisdiction, in recognition of its religious importance. But Jews were not allowed to visit the Western Wall during the 19 years when East Jerusalem was under Jordanian occupation. Yasir Arafat denied that Solomon’s Temple was even in Jerusalem, reflecting an increasingly common Palestinian denial of history.

Would Jews be allowed to visit Jewish sites, and would those sites be respected, if the city were redivided? Doubtful, considering Palestinian attacks on such sites, which is one of the reasons why it shouldn’t be.

The next argument is that any effort by Washington to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would set the proverbial Arab street on fire and perhaps lead to another intifada.

But this misapprehends the nature of the street, which has typically been a propaganda tool of Arab leaders to channel domestic discontent and manipulate foreign opinion. And it also misrepresents the nature of the last intifada, which was a meticulously preplanned event waiting for a convenient pretext (Ariel Sharon’s September 2000 walk on the Temple Mount) to look like a spontaneous one.

Finally there’s the view that recognition is like giving your college freshman a graduation gift: a premature reward for an Israeli government that hasn’t yet done what’s needed to make a Palestinian state possible.

But this also gets a few things wrong. It will have no effect on whether or how a Palestinian state comes into being, whatever the current histrionics in Ramallah. And it’s not much of a bargaining chip, since most Israelis couldn’t care less where the embassy is ultimately located.

Then again, recognition does several genuinely useful things.

It belatedly aligns American words with deeds. It aligns word as well as deed with reality. And it aligns the United States with the country toward which we are constantly professing friendship even as we have spent seven decades stinting it of the most basic form of recognition.

Recognition also tells the Palestinians that they can no longer hold other parties hostage to their demands. East Jerusalem could have been the capital of a sovereign Palestinian state 17 years ago, if Arafat had simply accepted the terms at Camp David. He didn’t because he thought he could dictate terms to stronger powers. Nations pay a price for the foolhardiness of their leaders, as the Kurds recently found out.

Peace and a Palestinian state will come when Palestinians aspire to create a Middle Eastern Costa Rica — pacifist, progressive, neighborly and democratic — rather than another Yemen: by turns autocratic, anarchic, fanatical and tragic.

For the international community, that means helping Palestinians take steps to dismantle their current klepto-theocracy, rather than fueling a culture of perpetual grievance against Israel. Mahmoud Abbas is now approaching the 13th anniversary of his elected four-year term. Someone should point this out.

Hamas has run Gaza for a decade, during which it has spent more time building rockets and terror tunnels than hotels or hospitals. Someone should point this out, too. It is indicative of the disastrous political choices that help explain 70 years of Palestinian failure.

Meantime, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. For those who have lived in denial, it must be some sort of shock.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Imagine that! Two plus two make four! Jerusalem is Israel’s capital!

Freedom is freedom to say that two plus two make four. Jerusalem is Israel's capital. This is where appeasement of Islam ends. 


Thank you. When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking.

We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches.
My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the federal government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city, and so importantly, is Israel’s capital. This act passed congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. And was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.
Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in.
After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.
Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver.
Today, I am delivering. I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.
Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace. It was 70 years ago that the United States under President Truman recognized the state of Israel.
Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.
Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.
For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of State and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.
Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have by the a country where Jews, Muslims and Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.
Jerusalem is today and must remain a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the stations of the cross, and where Muslims worship at Al Aqsa Mosque. However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.
But today we finally acknowledge the obvious. That Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.
That is why consistent with the Jerusalem embassy act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.
In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear. This decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement.
We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.
The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.
Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides. In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif. Above all, our greatest hope is for peace. The universal yearning in every human soul.
With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region. There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation. This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity.
Lifting our sights to what is possible, not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable.
Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it.
So today we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts. I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: The Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit, and history. Its people are brilliant, proud and diverse. Vibrant and strong.
But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance and terror.
Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations.
It is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midsts. It is time for all civilized nations and people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not violence. And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.
So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities.
And finally, I ask the leaders of the region political and religious, Israeli and Palestinian, Jewish and Christian and Muslim to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians and God bless the United States.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NO DIFFERENT THAN THE US



With regard to “Israel bans seven French pols over their pro-BDS activities” (November 14), Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni tweeted in response: “Clever! Now for sure they will be with us and understand that Israel is democratic.”

The lawmaker apparently does not seem to remember – or never knew – that during the Cold War, communists were not permitted into the US. A special waiver was needed for them because they were deemed dangerous.


So Israel is as democratic as the US in trying to prevent people who work to overthrow the government from entering the country. Perhaps Ms. Livni should start criticizing the US as undemocratic? 


MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC 
Beersheba 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Black Book of Communism





Today is Nov 7, 2017   and I cannot just ignore what happened 100 years  ago on Nov 7, 1917

From The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression.
The following rough approximation, based on unofficial estimates, gives some sense of the scale and gravity of these crimes:
U.S.S.R.: 20 million deaths
China: 65 million deaths
Vietnam: 1 million deaths
Cambodia: 2 million deaths
Eastern Europe: 1million deaths
Latin America: 150,000 deaths
Africa: 1.7million deaths
Afghanistan: 1.5 million deaths
The international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power: about 10,000 deaths
The total approaches 100 million people killed.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Both the NYT and the WSJ miss the point on the TriBeCa terror attack

Both the WSJ editorial and Bret Stephens in the NYT are missing a crucial point that they cannot make because they are stuck in their political correctness. If Saipov’s parents had been Buddhists there would be nothing in Buddhism for him to be radicalized to. Had Saipov's parents been Buddhists there would never have been a problem in the first place .

The diversity program lottery became the Islamic roulette because Saipov was Muslim. With Muslims we should take special precaution. Why? Because Islam is also a political ideology.  During the Cold War communists could not enter  the United States except through a waiver, so since Islam is also a political ideology why are immigrants from Islamic countries not  treated the same way communists were during the Cold War? Extra screening needs to be applied to differentiate between what Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls the “Mecca Muslims” (i.e., “Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly, but are not inclined to practice violence”) and the “Medina Muslims” (who “see the forcible imposition of Shari’a as their religious duty”)

As Ibn Warraq demonstrates in his book "The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology"   Islamic terrorism is jihad and jihad is a founding Islamic concept.

The New York Times  


Bret Stephens NOV. 1, 2017

We heard what sounded like a crash and what might have been a gunshot, but it didn’t register at first. Lower Manhattan is loud at every hour with traffic and construction, and my wife and I have grown used to ignoring the ambient noise. Even when one police siren follows another. Even when it is followed by dozens more. 

Two of our three children had been out shopping for Halloween. Then our 12-year-old son came home. He told us he had seen a truck smashed on our corner; that there had been a shooting; that he’d seen what looked like blood on the windshield. He said the police were swarming the neighborhood and helicopters were flying overhead and our building was locked down. He was composed as he told us all of this. He must have missed the attack by a few minutes at most. 


Where was our teenager? We experienced a moment of parental panic until she answered her phone and came home. I checked the news and saw something about bodies strewn along the bike path along the Hudson. I must have said “terrorism.” Our 8-year-old started to cry. “We’re safe up here,” my wife assured her. “No, we’re not,” she replied, not unreasonably. 


I went downstairs to try to see things for myself, just as I had when I lived in Jerusalem during the second intifada and similar events were an almost weekly occurrence. The day was clear and crisp. There were fire trucks and gurneys outside Stuyvesant High School, the elite public school that anchors the northern end of our neighborhood. I tried to get to the bike path, but stern-looking police officers waved me off at every corner. A woman pushing an infant in a stroller was sobbing; I heard her say that she had been outside when the crash took place. I stopped a paramedic to ask what he knew about the number of casualties. “A lot,” he said. 

It was clear that terrorism had returned to Manhattan, barely a year after a bomb went off on 23rd Street and injured more than 30 people. Within an hour it became clear that it was the act of another jihadist, most likely a self-starter inspired by what he had seen on TV of similar attacks in Barcelona and Nice. Ted Cruz and other right-wing populists sometimes deride Manhattan as a liberal La-La Land of privileged people living far from the real world. But on Tuesday there was only the stark reality of multiple homicides outside our home and grim-faced emergency medical workers racing to the scene. 

Disasters that strike close to home inevitably affect us differently from those we observe at a distance. I cross the bike path near the spot where the terrorist crashed his truck every day. My kids learned to ride their bikes on the same path that became Tuesday’s scene of carnage. We celebrated our older daughter’s bat mitzvah at a restaurant just off that path. My son went to soccer camp at Pier 40, where the rampage began. “There but for the grace of God go I” may be the world’s most shopworn phrase, but it’s one you feel keenly after an event like this. 


Disasters at close range also have a way of making ideological pronouncements seem remote, feckless and wretched. Donald Trump promised in a tweet to “step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.” Then he blasted Chuck Schumer, New York’s Democratic senior senator, for the diversity visa lottery under which the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, supposedly arrived in the United States from Uzbekistan.

Yet the notable fact is that even if the administration’s signature multination travel ban had been in place for decades, it would not have kept Saipov from entering the country legally and obtaining a green card before going on his killing spree. And getting a visa through a “diversity program” does not mean that he wasn’t vetted by the United States before his arrival or that he couldn’t have been denied entry on security grounds. 

Determined fanatics will usually outwit the Department of Homeland Security’s games of whack-a-mole. A heavy-handed immigration policy will never be an effective counterterrorism strategy. 

In the meantime, the responses that are meaningful, and for which one feels actual gratitude, are all local: Ryan Nash, the officer who shot the suspect as he waved what seemed to be two guns (toys, as it turned out) in the middle of West Street; the parents and teachers at P.S. 89 for sheltering the kids just as they were being let out for the day; the police and fire departments and emergency medical services for turning the world’s most vulnerable city into one of the safest and most welcoming. 

This is real America. Most of the people who live or work nearby, from the Goldman bankers to the Stuyvesant whiz kids, are strivers who came from other places and started with a lot less. We feel intense pride in our city and country, though we don’t feel the compulsion constantly to profess that pride as proof of our patriotism or as an expression of a cultural resentment. 

Few of us may go to church or own a gun, and hardly any of us voted for the president. But we are good friends to our neighbors, look out for their children and feel nothing but gratitude for the people who protect us. And we choose to live in a place that we know is a target for fanatics because fanatics will always target the things we prize most: openness, diversity, sky-high ambition and the belief that we are more than simply our racial or religious identities. 


Something unreal, as people say, happened in my neighborhood on Tuesday. But we stayed real, and trick-or-treating proceeded on schedule. 

The Wall Street Journal 


The diversity visa program is far from the main terror threat.

By The Editorial Board

Law enforcement continues to investigate Tuesday’s terror attack in which a 29-year-old from Uzbekistan used a truck to murder eight pedestrians in lower Manhattan. So it’s unfortunate and counterproductive that President Trump’s first instinct has been to politicize the tragedy by blaming—what else?—immigration.

The President apparently got a scoop early Wednesday that the alleged terrorist Sayfullo Saipov was admitted to the U.S. in 2010 under the State Department’s diversity visa lottery. He then shot off a barrage of tweets blasting the lottery, which he called a “Chuck Schumer beauty,” singling out the Senate Democratic leader. “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter),” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Later in the day he again attacked the visa program, and in an aside lashed chained migration that benefits relatives of U.S. citizens and green card holders. While we’re all for better vetting of immigrants, and monitoring of terror risks, the sad reality is that a radicalized U.S. citizen could also have committed the attack.

Congress established the diversity lottery as part of the Immigration Act of 1990—which Mr. Schumer co-sponsored along with several Republicans—to diversify the pool of immigrants. Chained family migration favors countries in Latin America while a disproportionate number of Chinese and Indians have immigrated on employer-sponsored visas.

Each year, 50,000 visas are awarded at random to immigrants from countries whose admissions totalled fewer than 50,000 over the preceding five years. Lottery winners make up less than 5% of the total legal immigrants. Applicants must have graduated from high school or have at least two years of formal training in an occupation. Initially, most visas went to European countries, but Africa has lately been soaking up the most.

While it would make sense to substitute the diversity lottery for more guest-worker visas, restrictionists aren’t interested in this trade. The Gang of Eight bill that passed the Senate in 2013 would have replaced the diversity lottery with more employer-sponsored visas, but the bill stood no chance in the House. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has proposed eliminating the lottery as part of a bill to shrink legal immigration by half.

In any event, reducing immigration or improving background checks wouldn’t have prevented the New York attack or many of the other two dozen or so Islamist-motivated attacks since 2001. Testimony from Mr. Saipov’s former acquaintances suggested that he didn’t come to the U.S. radicalized and that he became emotionally disturbed over time.

The Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston marathon immigrated as kids from Kyrgyzstan after their parents received political asylum. The security guard Omar Mateen who shot up a night club in Orlando was American-born. So was San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, though his wife and collaborator was a legal immigrant.

Police have found evidence that Mr. Saipov had some allegiance to Islamic State, and his truck rampage followed the ISIS playbook. Yet John Miller, the New York Police Department’s counterrorism chief, says Mr. Saipov hadn’t been investigated by his department or the FBI. Mr. Miller has often told us that his nightmare cases are self-radicalized individuals who only appear as a threat when they attack.

More than an immigration crackdown, the Saipov case might call for better monitoring of terror websites and groups that are more likely to be radicalized. We’re also with Mr. Trump—and Senator John McCain —in suggesting that Mr. Saipov should have been interrogated at length before he was read his Miranda rights. The first priority is preventing future attacks and breaking any terror networks.

Perhaps we will learn that Uzbekistan is a terror breeding ground from which immigrants need special vetting. But the Commander in Chief in particular should wait for answers before jumping to policy conclusions or exploiting immigration fears.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Douglas Murray at his best - Israel & Nuclear Iran

Now that President Trump has decertified the Iran deal, I was reminded of the Cambridge Union debate on nuclear Iran from Feb 2012 in which Douglas Murray was brilliant.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bret Stephens: Donald Trump Takes a Hostage

 The New York Times

 

Bret Stephens
Negotiators warn never to take a hostage you can’t shoot. By announcing Friday that the administration would not certify that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran was in the national interest, Donald Trump has taken a hostage.

The hostage is the deal itself. Contrary to belief, decertification neither violates nor cancels the agreement. It does not betray our commitments to our allies and it does not abrogate our obligations to the Iranians. It’s an act of domestic politics between two branches of the United States government.

But it’s also a psychological step, a brash signal that Trump is prepared to see the deal fail and accept the consequences, including war, if he can’t negotiate a better one. Since Iran insists it won’t budge, it sets Washington and Tehran on a path of confrontation that can be averted only if one side or the other blinks. Decertification is Trump saying: We won’t blink.

On Thursday, a well-placed source who advises the administration on Iran policy and supports decertification listed for me all the ways things could go wrong.

There’s personnel risk, starting with the volatility of the man at the top.

There’s escalatory risk, as the United States, its forces thinly stretched in the Middle East, become vulnerable to attack by Iran’s terrorist proxies. Think of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983 and the humiliating American withdrawal in its wake.

There’s diplomatic risk, as Iran traps Western diplomats in a process of never-ending negotiations designed to go nowhere — all the while turning the Islamic Republic into a reputable member of the international community and the United States into the global pariah.

Above all, there’s the risk that Iran will call Trump’s bluff, much as Bashar al-Assad called President Obama’s when he failed to enforce his chemical red line in 2013. A superpower repeatedly exposed as a paper tiger by lesser, if more willful, adversaries will not maintain its pre-eminence for long.
So what’s the case for supporting decertification?

The architects of the nuclear deal make three dubious claims on its behalf. They say it concerns Iran’s nuclear dossier alone, and does not prevent us from thwarting Tehran’s regional bids in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Gaza or the Gulf. They claim the deal is working because Iran is abiding by its terms, as certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

And they add that since the agreement permanently enjoins the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons, the United States maintains the military option to stop them from doing so.

Yet Iran’s regional behavior has become worse since the nuclear deal came into effect, not least because it provided the regime with a huge new income stream — $10 billion in cash and gold in 2016 alone, plus more than $100 billion in additional sanctions relief — to fund its work. Tehran also operates on the assumption, well justified during the Obama years, that the United States would not risk the nuclear deal for the sake of rolling back Iranian gains in Syria and elsewhere.

As for the point that the Iranians are generally (if not quite entirely) honoring their end of the bargain — why shouldn’t they? “Iran doesn’t want a bomb today,” one senior Israeli official told me. “It wants a bomb tomorrow.” That is, it wants a robust nuclear base that puts it within a screw’s twist of a sizable nuclear arsenal without the economic and security risks of actual possession.

And if it does choose to go for a bomb once the agreement has run its course, our military options will be slight. If we couldn’t prevent Pakistan or North Korea from going nuclear in the 1990s, why should we think we’ll be able to stop Iran in the nick of time?

My critics will claim that a distant prospect of a nuclear Iran is still vastly preferable to an exit from the deal that allows Iran to bring its centrifuges out of storage and start spinning its way to a bomb once again, this time without the monitoring of United Nations inspectors.

Maybe. But Iran still wants the economic benefits of the deal — benefits Washington alone can bestow through waivers, permits, relief from secondary sanctions and control over dollar transactions. The American Goliath needn’t be helpless against a Middle Eastern state with a gross domestic product only slightly larger than that of metropolitan Atlanta.

We are living through a nuclear nightmare on the Korean Peninsula after more than two decades of optimistic diplomacy. That’s a fate we ought to do everything possible to avoid with Iran. As Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies points out, “decertification isn’t a sufficient condition to break the paralysis of our Iran policy, but it is a necessary one.”

Even if the rest of the difficult enterprise rests in the hands of — God help us — President Trump.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Iran deal decertification and the Bernard Lewis white elephant in the middle of the room



President Trump has just decertified the Iran deal.  The media reaction from the left is negative, the one from the right supportive. And yet both sides have one thing in common which is that for some weird reason nobody seems to care what Bernard Lewis says. And what he has been saying for many years is that “For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement....”

One would have thought that a statement of this importance which states that the main doctrine that kept the USSR and the US from blowing each other up (and the whole world along with them) during the Cold War does not apply to Iran would be discussed and checked for accuracy. Not at all, it is being completely ignored. In the last 5 years only Netanyahu at the UNGA and Michael Oren in the LA Times quoted it.  

How can we explain this?  Five years ago I gave this explanation “And yet, the reviewers do not know what to do with MAD.  On the one hand, here is a most erudite, respected scholar and on the other, he is saying such, to them, off the wall things no one else dares to mention.  What to do? The best thing is to ignore it.  Perhaps if someone else in the media would volunteer and bring up the topic, they would pitch in. No one in the main stream media does”. 

Has anything changed since 2012?  The Iran deal was covered extensively in the press in 2015 and it its decertification is being analyzed yet again now, still with no mention of Bernard Lewis.


So it is time to ask the journalists explicitly:  Why do you, Charles Krauthammer, Bret Stephens, Yaakov Katz, Caroline Glick never, ever quote “For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement....”?  What do you think about what Bernard Lewis has been saying?  

President Trump announces he will not recertify the Iran deal



Transcript:

Thank you very much. My fellow Americans: As President of the United States, my highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people.

History has shown that the longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes. For this reason, upon taking office, I've ordered a complete strategic review of our policy toward the rogue regime in Iran. That review is now complete.

Today, I am announcing our strategy, along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime's hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never, and I mean never, acquires a nuclear weapon.

Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world.

Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime that seized power in 1979 and forced a proud people to submit to its extremist rule. This radical regime has raided the wealth of one of the world's oldest and most vibrant nations, and spread death, destruction, and chaos all around the globe.

Beginning in 1979, agents of the Iranian regime illegally seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held more than 60 Americans hostage during the 444 days of the crisis. The Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah twice bombed our embassy in Lebanon — once in 1983 and again in 1984. Another Iranian-supported bombing killed 241 Americans — service members they were, in their barracks in Beirut in 1983.




In 1996, the regime directed another bombing of American military housing in Saudi Arabia, murdering 19 Americans in cold blood.

Iranian proxies provided training to operatives who were later involved in al Qaeda's bombing of the American embassies in Kenya, Tanzania, and two years later, killing 224 people, and wounding more than 4,000 others.

The regime harbored high-level terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, including Osama bin Laden's son. In Iraq and Afghanistan, groups supported by Iran have killed hundreds of American military personnel.

The Iranian dictatorship's aggression continues to this day. The regime remains the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provides assistance to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist networks. It develops, deploys, and proliferates missiles that threaten American troops and our allies. It harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea. It imprisons Americans on false charges. And it launches cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure, financial system, and military.

The United States is far from the only target of the Iranian dictatorship's long campaign of bloodshed. The regime violently suppresses its own citizens; it shot unarmed student protestors in the street during the Green Revolution.

This regime has fueled sectarian violence in Iraq, and vicious civil wars in Yemen and Syria. In Syria, the Iranian regime has supported the atrocities of Bashar al-Assad's regime and condoned Assad's use of chemical weapons against helpless civilians, including many, many children.

Given the regime's murderous past and present, we should not take lightly its sinister vision for the future. The regime's two favorite chants are "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."
Realizing the gravity of the situation, the United States and the United Nations Security Council sought, over many years, to stop Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons with a wide array of strong economic sanctions.

But the previous administration lifted these sanctions, just before what would have been the total collapse of the Iranian regime, through the deeply controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. This deal is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

As I have said many times, the Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. The same mindset that produced this deal is responsible for years of terrible trade deals that have sacrificed so many millions of jobs in our country to the benefit of other countries. We need negotiators who will much more strongly represent America's interest.

The nuclear deal threw Iran's dictatorship a political and economic lifeline, providing urgently needed relief from the intense domestic pressure the sanctions had created. It also gave the regime an immediate financial boost and over $100 billion dollars its government could use to fund terrorism.

The regime also received a massive cash settlement of $1.7 billion from the United States, a large portion of which was physically loaded onto an airplane and flown into Iran. Just imagine the sight of those huge piles of money being hauled off by the Iranians waiting at the airport for the cash. I wonder where all that money went.

Worst of all, the deal allows Iran to continue developing certain elements of its nuclear program. And importantly, in just a few years, as key restrictions disappear, Iran can sprint towards a rapid nuclear weapons breakout. In other words, we got weak inspections in exchange for no more than a purely short-term and temporary delay in Iran's path to nuclear weapons.

What is the purpose of a deal that, at best, only delays Iran's nuclear capability for a short period of time? This, as President of the United States, is unacceptable. In other countries, they think in terms of 100-year intervals, not just a few years at a time.

The saddest part of the deal for the United States is that all of the money was paid up front, which is unheard of, rather than at the end of the deal when they have shown they've played by the rules. But what's done is done, and that's why we are where we are.

The Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement. For example, on two separate occasions, they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water. Until recently, the Iranian regime has also failed to meet our expectations in its operation of advanced centrifuges.

The Iranian regime has also intimidated international inspectors into not using the full inspection authorities that the agreement calls for.

Iranian officials and military leaders have repeatedly claimed they will not allow inspectors onto military sites, even though the international community suspects some of those sites were part of Iran's clandestine nuclear weapons program.
There are also many people who believe that Iran is dealing with North Korea. I am going to instruct our intelligence agencies to do a thorough analysis and report back their findings beyond what they have already reviewed.

By its own terms, the Iran Deal was supposed to contribute to "regional and international peace and security." And yet, while the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond. Importantly, Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.

So today, in recognition of the increasing menace posed by Iran, and after extensive consultations with our allies, I am announcing a new strategy to address the full range of Iran's destructive actions.

First, we will work with our allies to counter the regime's destabilizing activity and support for terrorist proxies in the region.

Second, we will place additional sanctions on the regime to block their financing of terror.
Third, we will address the regime's proliferation of missiles and weapons that threaten its neighbors, global trade, and freedom of navigation.

And finally, we will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.

Today, I am also announcing several major steps my administration is taking in pursuit of this strategy.

The execution of our strategy begins with the long-overdue step of imposing tough sanctions on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian Supreme Leader's corrupt personal terror force and militia. It has hijacked large portions of Iran's economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad. This includes arming the Syrian dictator, supplying proxies and partners with missiles and weapons to attack civilians in the region, and even plotting to bomb a popular restaurant right here in Washington, D.C.

I am authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents, and affiliates. I urge our allies to join us in taking strong actions to curb Iran's continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior, including thorough sanctions outside the Iran Deal that target the regime's ballistic missile program, in support for terrorism, and all of its destructive activities, of which there are many.

Finally, on the grave matter of Iran's nuclear program: Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, the regime's dangerous aggression has only escalated. At the same time, it has received massive sanctions relief while continuing to develop its missiles program. Iran has also entered into lucrative business contracts with other parties to the agreement.

When the agreement was finalized in 2015, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to ensure that Congress's voice would be heard on the deal. Among other conditions, this law requires the President, or his designee, to certify that the suspension of sanctions under the deal is "appropriate and proportionate" to measure — and other measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program. Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification.

We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran's nuclear breakout.

That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal's many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons. These include the deal's sunset clauses that, in just a few years, will eliminate key restrictions on Iran's nuclear program.

The flaws in the deal also include insufficient enforcement and near total silence on Iran's missile programs. Congress has already begun the work to address these problems. Key House and Senate leaders are drafting legislation that would amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to strengthen enforcement, prevent Iran from developing an inter- — this is so totally important — an intercontinental ballistic missile, and make all restrictions on Iran's nuclear activity permanent under U.S. law. So important. I support these initiatives.

However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated. It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as President, at any time.

As we have seen in North Korea, the longer we ignore a threat, the worse that threat becomes. It is why we are determined that the world's leading sponsor of terrorism will never obtain nuclear weapons.

In this effort, we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime's longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to — and they just are longing, to reclaim their country's proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.

We hope that these new measures directed at the Iranian dictatorship will compel the government to reevaluate its pursuit of terror at the expense of its people.

We hope that our actions today will help bring about a future of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East –- a future where sovereign nations respect each other and their own citizens.
We pray for a future where young children — American and Iranian, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish — can grow up in a world free from violence, hatred, and terror.

And, until that blessed day comes, we will do what we must to keep America safe.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you.



PM Netanyahu's statement