Rubio, Trump and Israel: Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom, Feb. 26, 2016— During Thursday night's CNN-hosted Republican debate in Houston, Texas, candidate Marco Rubio finally took on leading contender Donald Trump, face-to-face, about Israel.
Iran’s Fake Reformers Win Bogus Elections: Terry Glavin, National Post, Mar. 2, 2016— In the matter of respectable opinion on the subject of last weekend’s sham elections in Iran, a new kind of Canadian consensus can be discerned from the headlines.
Argentine Prosecutor Asserts Alberto Nisman Was Murdered. Now, to Find His Killers.: Lee Smith, Tablet, Feb. 26, 2016 — A federal prosecutor in Argentina claimed yesterday that his former colleague, Alberto Nisman, was murdered last year…
Israel’s Options in a Chaotic Middle East: Yossi Klein Halevi, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 26, 2016— One recent morning, a Palestinian teenager stabbed a security guard at the light rail station minutes from my home in Jerusalem.
Orchestra of Exiles (Video): American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO), 2015
Trump Dominates on Super Tuesday – But Will Jewish Republicans Back the Donald?: Abra Forman, Breaking Israel News, Mar. 2, 2016
Bernie Sanders Is Jewish, but He Doesn’t Like to Talk About It: Joseph Berber, New York Times, Feb. 24, 2016
Torrent of Anti-Israel Advice Found in Hillary’s Emails: Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 1, 2016
Donald Trump and the Art of the Mideast Peace Deal: Aaron David Miller, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 22, 2016
Israel Hayom, Feb. 26, 2016
During Thursday night's CNN-hosted Republican debate in Houston, Texas, candidate Marco Rubio finally took on leading contender Donald Trump, face-to-face, about Israel. Referring to Trump's statements that he would be a "neutral broker" between Israel and the Palestinians, Rubio argued, "The Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald." "A deal is a deal," Trump replied. "A deal is not a deal when you're dealing with terrorists," Rubio said.
This is what Rubio knows in a nutshell — something the Obama administration has ignored for the past seven years, and not only in relation to the Palestinian Authority. It is a key reason, though by no means an exclusive one, for getting the Democrats out of the White House and State Department. Rubio has been consistent about his grasp of why Israel and America are both the globe's good guys and natural allies.
At a rally on Wednesday night, in the lead-up to the final debate before Super Tuesday on March 1, Rubio was inspired and inspiring on this point. "We're going to have a policy of moral clarity," he said. "I'll give you a perfect example — Israel. Israel is the only pro-American free-enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East. I'll put it to you this way: If there were more Israels in the Middle East — more pro-American, free-enterprise democracies — the world would be so much safer." He also attacked the UN for being "obsessed" with the Jewish state. "Every week, they've got new resolutions condemning Israel," he said, using this to illustrate the "new face of anti-Semitism in the world."
As for the Palestinians, Rubio said, "They teach little kids — five-year-olds — that it's a glorious thing to kill Jews." Indeed, he emphasized, "The Palestinians don't want a deal, [and] they've already said, 'We want to destroy Israel.' So what are you going to negotiate? The rate of the destruction? The date of the destruction? We will not be an impartial advocate when it comes to the issue of Israel. When I'm president, we're going to take sides. We are going to be on Israel's side."
Even before Rubio announced he would be running for America's highest office, however, he made impassioned speeches on Israel's behalf. Two days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected in March 2015 — nearly a year ago — Rubio delivered a 15-minute tribute to Israel on the floor of the Senate. Netanyahu had won by a surprise landslide, after polls predicted a very different outcome. Yet he was still under attack at home and abroad for asserting there would be no two-state solution on his watch.
"[Netanyahu's] right," Rubio stated unapologetically. "The conditions don't exist. But first, let's go through the history. In 2000 at Camp David, Israel offered the Palestinian Authority nearly all of the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Gaza. And the Palestinians said no. In 2000, Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon. You know what that is today? A place [from] where they launch rockets against Israel. In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza. You know what that is today? A place that they launch rockets against Israel from. In 2008, Israel offered the PA, again, nearly all of the West Bank — Judea and Samaria — and all of eastern Jerusalem. The PA said no. What about the Palestinian record? … About 6% of the Palestinian budget is diverted to pay the salaries of … terrorists, of people who have blown up centers and killed civilians, including Americans. And they are being paid salaries and benefits, including with money from donors, such as the U.S., Great Britain, Norway and Denmark."
He then listed ways in which the PA envisions and educates its people to hope for a world without Israel, quoting blatant anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist passages from a Palestinian school book and the PA-run press.
"And these are the people that we're pressuring [Israel] to cut a peace deal with," he said, referring to people who say "that there is no such thing as the Jewish people; that any method of destroying them is valid." Rubio concluded: "No people on earth want peace more than Israel. No people have suffered more at the hands of terrorism than the people of Israel. … If America doesn't stand with Israel, who would we stand with?"
Hearing Trump — whose consistently soaring popularity is due to Americans being rightly fed up with the totalitarianism of the left-wing "political correctness" that has been corroding American power, exceptionalism and free-market economics — assert even-handedness solely in relation to Israel is cause for serious concern.
If the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians were a real-estate problem, even the Democrats would have been able to solve it. In fact, if it were an issue of dividing up plots of land, the Arabs of Palestine would have had a state starting in 1947. Indeed, if killing or kicking the Jews out had not been the true bone of contention all along, the Palestinians today could and would be leading the kind of normal lives that Israelis take for granted.
National Post, Mar. 2, 2016
In the matter of respectable opinion on the subject of last weekend’s sham elections in Iran, a new kind of Canadian consensus can be discerned from the headlines. Here is a representative sampling: “Iranian moderates win majority in parliament, clerical body;” “Iranian reformists win all parliamentary seats in Tehran;” “Far from perfect, but democracy is in Iran (yes, really).”
This is all almost entirely rubbish, most obviously because it requires a suspension of disbelief made possible by a cavalier indifference to the objective meaning of words — such as “reformists” and “moderates.” But it allows a new unanimity of convenience among the regime’s Canadian apologists, the corporate lobbyists chafing for all those post-sanctions business opportunities and Canada’s new, fashion-conscious Liberal government.
It’s rubbish all the same, and it stands as a rebuke to what was once a robust, evidence-based Canadian consensus about how to make sense of the theocratic torture state that calls itself the Islamic Republic of Iran. But now that U.S. President Barack Obama has unleashed a corporate free-for-all by effectively decoupling the NATO countries’ Iranian sanctions system from the cause of universal human rights, it is not at all certain that the former Canadian consensus can be sustained. It’s not even clear why we would bother trying.
But before the Obama administration decided to exchange the American-patrolled order across the Middle East for a barbaric Russian-Iranian-Baathist hegemony of barrel bombs and starvation sieges, there really was a Canadian consensus. This is where the same “reformists” whose poll-count victories we are all now expected to be happy about come into it quite directly. Set aside the fact that Iran’s elected bodies are subservient under Iran’s constitution to the unelected Guardian Council and the supreme leader. Also set aside the fact that at least half the candidates for the 290-seat parliament and about 600 of the 800 candidates for the assembly of ayatollahs who advise the big boss, Supreme Leader Ali Khameinei, were disqualified for being insufficiently Islamist.
Let’s just pretend for a moment that “reformists” have just now been elected in a slight majority over the candidates we are further encouraged to comprehend as “hardliners.” Who are these “reformists,” exactly? They are by no means the reformists of 2009, when Iran was gripped in a non-violent “Green Revolution” that ended in bloodshed, state terror and the “election” of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (a “hardliner”). The reformist contenders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, remain under house arrest.
The term “reformist” nowadays refers to the clerical faction in the Khomeinist ruling class that is most gluttonous about the $100-billion windfall in sanctions relief that comes with the regime’s nuclear deal. So, if you are unashamedly pleased to admit Obama as a willing accomplice with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the slaughter of nearly 500,000 Syrians over the past five years, you’re a “reformist.” If you are content to reconfigure the American-led coalition against the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant as an ally in the expansionist brutality the Shia theocracy has been waging against the region’s Sunni Arab majority, you’re a “reformist.”
Such rhetoric allows a new unanimity of convenience among the regime’s Canadian apologists. By the specific terms of what was once the Canadian consensus on Iran, however, these “reformists” are the same individuals that the House of Commons was unanimous only three years ago in wanting to see in the prisoners’ dock at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, rather than standing for election to Potemkin assemblies in Tehran.
Throughout the Conservative years under prime minister Stephen Harper, Canada led the way at the United Nations with an annual General Assembly excoriation of the Khomeinist regime’s gross abuse of the human rights of its captive subjects. The tradition was begun by Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien in 2002.
As for the sanctions, when the Liberals were in opposition, they used to complain that the Conservative government’s strategy of diplomatic and economic isolation of the Iranian regime — rather than being “irrational and ideological,” as Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion recently described it — didn’t go far enough. The Liberals used to insist that sanctions should encourage regime change.
Three years ago, the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act enjoyed all-party support in Parliament. Now, the judge in a civil suit being brought against the Iranian government under the act has expressed doubts about whether he’ll still have a statute to rule under by the time all the evidence and testimony are in. The case has been proceeding in a Toronto courtroom, pitting plaintiffs against the Khomeinist state for terrorist outrages committed by the regime’s proxies in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Argentina.
It’s not as though the Iranian government has sworn off its habit of sponsoring terrorism outside Iran’s borders. Just ask any Syrian who has had to watch his children starve to death in one of the Syrian towns encircled by Iran’s Hezbollah mercenaries. As if to rub it in, Iran’s “reformists” are now replicating the terror-subsidizing practices pioneered by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: last week the Iranian ayatollahs announced cash rewards worth $9,400 to the families of every Palestinian “martyred” in the current wave of stabbings targeting Israeli Jews…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Tablet, Feb. 26, 2016
A federal prosecutor in Argentina claimed yesterday that his former colleague, Alberto Nisman, was murdered last year after accusing former President Cristina Kirchner of trying to sabotage his investigation into the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded hundreds more. A day before Nisman was to testify about Kirchner’s alleged cover-up of Iranian responsibility in the bombing, he was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment.
The prosecutor, Ricardo Sáenz, explained in an 11-page legal brief that “Tests done on Nisman’s hands and on the gun used show that we are looking at a homicide.” Other evidence Sáenz cited includes: the assertion by a doctor present at the crime scene that Nisman’s body had been moved; Nisman’s apartment was cleaned of fingerprints that would have been left by those who were there in the days and hours before his death; Nisman’s laptop had been manipulated after his death and his cellphone wiped of key information, including registries of calls, text messages, and chats.
Presumably, the investigation into Nisman’s death will now be re-opened. As I noted when Nisman was found dead last year, there are plenty of parties who had an interest in silencing him. Principally, there was Kirchner and other high-ranking officials who were helping to whitewash Iranian culpability for the bombing in exchange for improved bilateral relations. Such relations would, among other things, give Argentine agricultural products privileged access to Iranian markets, while Iran would send cheap oil to Argentina.
The fact that Nisman was murdered virtually clinches his case regarding the 1994 bombing. If Iran wasn’t responsible then there was nothing for Kirchner to conceal. But he was, which may turn out to be an even bigger scandal than the fact that the attack on the Jewish Community Center was sponsored by a nation-state, and covered up by the nation-state Iran targeted. Now the task is to find out who is responsible for killing Nisman. Buenos Aires will have to sort out whether its own intelligence service murdered a man for revealing the authorship of a huge state-sponsored terrorist crime on its own soil that targeted Argentine citizens; or whether the murder was committed by the same foreign power that sponsored the original crime: Iran.
Perhaps the likeliest scenario would point to Iranian and Argentine coordination. In any case, you can bet Cristina Kirchner is somewhere in the middle of it all. Now it’s up to her successor, Mauricio Macri to win the justice that he promised Nisman’s daughters when he was elected in November. Justice for Nisman, for the victims of the 1994 attack as well as the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, and justice for an Argentina that deserves better than a corrupt government which took Iran’s bloody hand in partnership.
Yossi Klein Halevi
Wall Street Journal, Feb. 26, 2016
One recent morning, a Palestinian teenager stabbed a security guard at the light rail station minutes from my home in Jerusalem. About an hour later, I drove past the station and was astonished to see—nothing. No increased police presence, not even police barricades. The guard had managed to shoot his attacker, and ambulances had taken both away. Commuters were waiting for the next train. As if nothing unusual had happened.
The ability to instantly resume the pretense of normalcy is one of the ways that Israelis are coping with the latest wave of Palestinian terrorism. For the last six months, Palestinians—some as young as 13—have attacked Jews with knives and hatchets and even scissors, or else driven their cars into Israeli crowds, killing over two dozen people. (About 90 Palestinians have been killed carrying out the attacks.) The violence was provoked by the unsubstantiated Palestinian claim—strongly denied by the government—that Israel intended to permit Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a place sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
The almost daily attacks tend to blur together, though several have become emblematic—like the stabbing murder of a mother of six in her home while her teenage daughter ran to protect her siblings. Still, by Israeli standards, the violence so far has been manageable. Israelis recall that in the early 2000s, when suicide bombers were targeting buses and cafes, almost as many victims would die in a single attack as have been murdered in the current wave of terror.
Israelis have been here before. In 1992, a monthslong stabbing spree by Palestinian terrorists in Israel’s streets helped to catalyze one of the great upsets in Israeli politics, the election of Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin as prime minister, ending over a decade of rule by the right-wing Likud Party. The stabbings were the culmination of a four-year Palestinian revolt against Israel’s occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. This first intifada (“uprising” in Arabic), as it came to be known, forced the Israeli public to come to terms with Palestinian nationalism. It also convinced many Israelis that the Likud’s policy of incremental annexation of the West Bank and Gaza was simply not worth the price.
Until the first intifada, Israelis had tended to regard control of the territories won by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War as benign, bringing prosperity to the occupied as well as to the occupiers. As the intifada took hold, Israeli anger turned not only against the Palestinians but against the ruling Likud. There were antigovernment riots, and Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was widely ridiculed for his passivity and lack of vision.
Today, too, there is widespread disaffection with a Likud government’s response to stabbings. Some 70% of Israelis say that the government has been ineffectual, and nearly as many say they feel personally unsafe. Yet, unlike 1992, there are no antigovernment demonstrations, and few calls for a resumption of the moribund peace process.
Indeed, a private poll recently commissioned by one of the parties in the coalition government reveals that only 4% of Israelis consider the peace process their highest priority—the lowest percentage for any major issue. Improbably, the Likud remains the most popular party. And what little support the Likud is losing isn’t to the left but further to its right, to parties advocating a tougher response to terror and the annexation of large parts of the West Bank.
One reason for the radically different responses in 1992 and 2016 is that Israelis are living in a very different Middle East. The Middle East of the early 1990s seemed a place of promise: An American-led coalition, including Arab states, had defeated Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, while the Soviet Union, sponsor of Arab radical regimes and the Palestinian cause, had vanished. Palestinian leaders seemed ready to negotiate an agreement with Israel, and a majority of Israelis, especially after the first intifada, were ready to try. In today’s disintegrating Middle East, by contrast, Israelis question the viability of a Palestinian state. Which Arab state, Israelis ask, will be a likely model for Palestine: Syria? Iraq? Libya?
Few Israelis believe that a Palestinian state would be a peaceful neighbor. In part that’s because the Palestinian national movement—in both its supposedly moderate nationalist wing and its radical Islamist branch—continues to deny the very legitimacy of Israel. The Palestinian media repeat an almost daily message: The Jews are not a real people, they have no roots in this land and their entire history is a lie, from biblical Israel to the Holocaust. The current wave of stabbings has been lauded not only by the Islamist Hamas but by the Palestinian Authority. “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem,” said Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas in September. “Every martyr will reach paradise.”
The result is profound disillusionment with the peace process across the Israeli political spectrum. Writing recently in the left-wing newspaper Haaretz, the political scientist Shlomo Avineri, long one of Israel’s leading voices against the occupation, lamented that the Palestinian national movement regards Israel “as an illegitimate entity, sooner or later doomed to disappear.” Labor Party leader Yitzhak Herzog, in a dramatic reversal of his rhetoric in last year’s election, recently conceded that there was no chance anytime soon for a deal with the Palestinians.
Most Israelis still support, at least in principle, a two-state solution. Many understand that the creation of a Palestinian state is an existential necessity for Israel, extricating it from a growing pariah status in the world at large, from the wrenching moral dilemmas of occupying another people, from a demographic threat that endangers Israel as both a Jewish and a democratic state. And they understand that the continuing expansion of settlements on the West Bank will only complicate Israel’s ability to withdraw eventually…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
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Orchestra of Exiles (Video): American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO), 2015
Trump Dominates on Super Tuesday – But Will Jewish Republicans Back the Donald?: Abra Forman, Breaking Israel News, Mar. 2, 2016—Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the clear victors on Super Tuesday, with each winning seven of the ten states voting to determine the 2016 election nominees. But as Trump makes enormous strides towards the Republican party nomination, many members of the GOP are drawing back from supporting him – especially Jewish ones.
Bernie Sanders Is Jewish, but He Doesn’t Like to Talk About It: Joseph Berber, New York Times, Feb. 24, 2016—When Senator Bernie Sanders thanked supporters for his landslide victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, he wistfully reminisced about his upbringing as “the son of a Polish immigrant who came to this country speaking no English and having no money.”
Torrent of Anti-Israel Advice Found in Hillary’s Emails: Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 1, 2016—It’s already been established that one of Hillary Clinton’s most trusted advisers, Sid Blumenthal, sent her anti-Israel articles, ideas and advice during her time as secretary of state. But the stream of anti-Israel advice received by Clinton was much more comprehensive.
Donald Trump and the Art of the Mideast Peace Deal: Aaron David Miller, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 22, 2016—Presidential elections produce stunning bursts of pro-Israel sentiment and support from candidates of both political parties.