President Obama says his nuclear deal with Iran is good not just for America, but also for US ally Israel. Iran’s foreign minister disagrees.
Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Lebanon this week, meeting with the head Hezbollah terrorist, Hassan Nasrallah.
Hezbollah’s TV station al-Manar reported, “Zarif said from Beirut that the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers created a historic opportunity for regional cooperation to fight extremism and face threats posed by the Zionist entity.”
Translation: With a “signing bonus” to Iran of $100 billion or more, the nuke deal will empower the Islamic Republic to send more cash, rockets and other arms to Hezbollah and other anti-Israel terrorist groups.
It will also boost Tehran’s regional prestige — allowing it to bully other nations into greater hostility toward Israel.
Plus, the deal provides a glide-path for Iran to go nuclear in a decade or so, even without cheating. And Iranian nukes will drastically shift the regional balance of power in Tehran’s favor — and against Jerusalem.
No, this isn’t just spin from the Hezbollah station. Zarif told reporters that Iran’s top challenge in the region involves “confronting” “the Zionist and extremist regime.”
It’s easy to see why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Labor party nemesis Isaac Herzog are united against the Iran deal. It’s much, much harder to see why Obama believes he knows what’s in Israel’s interests better than the Israelis do.
The Obama administration has asked a judge Monday to “carefully consider” the size of the bond demanded from the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its role orchestrating years of terror attacks against Israelis and Jews – directly interfering in a US court case.
In February, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – the terror group behind the PA – was found liable to pay $218.5 million to victims of terror, a figure that was set to be tripled to $655.5 million according to the anti-terrorism laws under which the case was brought.
Legal rights group Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center) helped represent the 11 families who charge the PA and PLO of inciting, supporting, planning and executing the seven terror attacks which killed American citizens between 2000 and 2004.
In May, the PA admitted it cannot pay such a hefty fine, however – as the country is struggling under billions of debt despite an ongoing stream of aid from Israel and other countries – and called the case “political extortion.”
Now, US President Barack Obama is reportedly seeking to lower that fine – following a series of conflicts between officials from the State Department and the Justice Department over the issue, an official involved in the case told the New York Times Tuesday.
In a document entitled “Statement of Interest of the United States of America,” the Obama administration expressed concerns over the payments hurting the PA’s basic government services.
Forcing the PLO to pay “a significant portion of its revenues would likely severely compromise the P.A.’s ability to operate as a governmental authority,” deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken wrote. “A P.A. insolvency and collapse would harm current and future U.S.-led efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Blinken stressed in the document, however, that the State Department allegedly values the rights of terror victims to seek “just compensation” and was not taking a position on the case itself, only on the high bond.
“The United States strongly supports the rights of victims of terrorism to vindicate their interests in federal court and to receive just compensation for their injuries,” Blinken claimed.
Justice Department officials have maintained throughout the proceedings that any State Department interference in the case would interfere with the victims’ rights for compensation and justice.
“Our guide was very respectful but very appropriately strong in his convictions. He was not confrontational, but handled it very appropriately,” Jenkins said.
Soon after, 15-20 men began to harass the group, interrupting the tour guide, shouting and pointing, and once again police had to break up the commotion.
The guide “let us know that men running around with walkie-talkies are not the final authority,” Jenkins recounted. “Despite the screaming and shouting and pointing of men with walkie-talkies, the police were able to exercise their authority and let us proceed comfortably.”
For the rest of their visit to the Temple Mount, the group was followed by Muslim men.
EJ Kimball, Director of US Operations for the Israel Allies Foundation said the Congressional delegation “wasn’t doing anything controversial, no one was even wearing a yarmulke. [The Muslims on the Mount] did a good job of making everyone feel very uncomfortable just for being up there as a non-Muslim.”
On their way out, the delegation saw a group of Jewish visitors confronted by a Muslim group crowding around them and shouting Allahu Akbar. The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel pays Murbitat, meaning protectors of holy places, who harass non-Muslim visitors, thousands of shekels every month. The groups of Murbitat are often led by women dressed head-to-toe in black, with their faces covered.
Jenkins said he had mixed emotions after the visit to the Temple Mount.
“It was a place of great religious meaning to me as a Christian, a destination…that me and my wife were looking forward to, and then to have the confrontation from the Muslims who yelled and shouted at us and my wife individually…To literally step on the Temple Mount and be confronted was certainly shocking,” Jenkins recounted.
The Congressman from West Virginia called the experience “unsettling,” saying that “in America we watch conflict around the world on the evening news. It’s unfortunate to walk on to the Temple Mount and see conflict not half a world away, but feet away.”
Jenkins said that he believes in tolerance and acceptance of all religions, but that is not what he saw at a site that is so religiously significant.
As a Christian raised on the stories of the Bible and New Testament, Franks said visiting the mount was “exhilarating and meaningful beyond words,” but that the experience was marred by the harassment, “a reminder of challenges both in micro and macro that the people of Israel face every day.”
“I wish it was something the world understood more and was more aware of,” Franks said. “Even when visiting a historical site there is harassment, because of people who want to rewrite history.”
Franks added that, while he does not question Israeli policies because they have experience in dealing with the problems on the Temple Mount, he found that “in general, when there is a lack of resolve in protecting religious freedoms, it emboldens those who have no compunction about suppressing it.”
When asked if he felt his freedom of expression was violated, Rothfus said “certainly.”
“We weren’t doing anything religious. We were learning the history of the Temple Mount,” he stated.
Rothfus plans to share his experience, and said of the harassers: “Maybe the folks who were behaving like this might want to do some self-examination. They really are not presenting themselves as very good ambassadors for their cause.”
The purpose of the delegation’s trip to the Middle East is “to gain a better perspective of the opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal and the increased cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbors against shared threats from jihadist groups,” Kimball said. The group traveled to Egypt before Israel, where the Congressmen met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after its trip to the Temple Mount.
by Ed Morrissey
Tablet Magazine is not exactly a bastion of conservative thought among Jewish American publications. In fact, the editors didn’t appear impressed with Senator Chuck Schumer’s decision to oppose the deal with Iran that Barack Obama and John Kerry insist that Congress refrain from rejecting, calling it “calculations” geared toward Schumer’s “self-interest.” But they have been even less impressed with the rhetoric coming from the White House and the Left in demanding support for the deal, calling it “Jew-baiting” and worse. The editors blasted Obama for using the kind of rhetoric they would expect from white supremacists, not a President with a good case for supporting an agreement with Iran:
What we increasingly can’t stomach—and feel obliged to speak out about right now—is the use of Jew-baiting and other blatant and retrograde forms of racial and ethnic prejudice as tools to sell a political deal, or to smear those who oppose it. Accusing Senator Schumer of loyalty to a foreign government is bigotry, pure and simple. Accusing Senators and Congressmen whose misgivings about the Iran deal are shared by a majority of the U.S. electorate of being agents of a foreign power, or ofselling their votes to shadowy lobbyists, or of acting contrary to the best interests of the United States, is the kind of naked appeal to bigotry and prejudice that would be familiar in the politics of the pre-Civil Rights Era South.
This use of anti-Jewish incitement as a political tool is a sickening new development in American political discourse, and we have heard too much of it lately—some coming, ominously, from our own White House and its representatives. Let’s not mince words: Murmuring about “money” and “lobbying” and “foreign interests” who seek to drag America into war is a direct attempt to play the dual-loyalty card. It’s the kind of dark, nasty stuff we might expect to hear at a white power rally, not from the President of the United States—and it’s gotten so blatant that even many of us who are generally sympathetic to the administration, and even this deal, have been shaken by it.
We do not accept the idea that Senator Schumer or anyone else is a fair target for racist incitement, anymore than we accept the idea that the basic norms of political discourse in this country do not apply to Jews. Whatever one feels about the merits of the Iran deal, sales techniques that call into question the patriotism of American Jews are examples of bigotry—no matter who does it. On this question, we should all stand in defense of Senator Schumer.
It’s a big contrast with Schumer’s own argument, writes David Adesnik at the Weekly Standard. Schumer probably didn’t win many brownie points with his extensive thoughts on opposing the deal, but it comes across as “courtly,” Adesnik says, especially in comparison to the White House’s rhetoric:
If Schumer’s goal were to lose the fewest friends possible, he could have provided a tepid rationale for his position that did not lend so much credibility to the arguments made by the deal’s opponents. But Schumer also makes his arguments in a thoughtful, even courtly manner– in sharp contrast to President Obama, who insisted in a mean-spirited address on Thursday that the merits of the deal are so obvious that one should dismiss any criticism as “knee-jerk partisanship” or mercenary opposition bought and paid for by wealthy donors.
Almost from the moment John Kerry returned from Geneva, the Obama administration has tried to steamroll this agreement through Congress by bluster and bullying rather than any sort of nuanced explanation of the purported benefits from the deal. That is certainly one indicator that the deal doesn’t have any to extol, other than the fact that Obama and Kerry agreed to it. Instead, Obama has worked himself up into a bona-fide hysteric by insisting that this is the only path to avoid war, and that any opposition is tantamount to treason.
One has to wonder whether this will backfire in the end. Schumer’s position has undoubted influence on Democrats on Capitol Hill, but had the White House just stood pat and let him vent, it probably would have dissipated. By attacking him and others with such vehemence, it exposes a deep insecurity in their position, and it makes one wonder whether Obama might just lose this vote after all. Those disgusted by the Left’s easy resort to anti-Semitic tropes certainly can wonder about whether this deal might be designed to leave Israel in the lurch against Iran.
Update: Jeff Dunetz wrote more about this yesterday, with more examples.
Won’t you please commit suicide, dear ally Israel?
(Said with a million-dollar Obama grin).
That’s the message to Israel when you look behind Obama’s words. He has totally abandoned a close ally surrounded by primitive barbarians like Iran and ISIS.
The only positive result is that Israel and the Arabs have now formed a defensive alliance to fight Iran.
Israel is not the first of Obama’s betrayals.
He started by telling Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak to step down — an act of supreme imperialistic arrogance — to let a Muslim Brotherhood fascist be “elected.” Egypt just saved itself from the MB’s by the skin of its teeth.
Obama also backstabbed Muammar Gaddafi, who had surrendered his nuclear program to the Bush administration. He told the U.S. Navy to retreat from the strategic chokepoint of the Red Sea when Iran moved to control that crucial waterway.
Obama did zilch when Russia took over the Crimea and invaded the Ukraine. He said nothing when China grabbed large parts of the South China Sea, seabed territory that was disputed by Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam. He is keeping mum now that Putin has taken over a major NATO base in the Arctic.
Betrayal is Obama’s middle name.
Millions of Americans are ashamed of this president and his enablers on both sides of the aisle.
Since apologies are in fashion today, let me be the first to apologize for Obama. He is a deadly cancer on the body politic. By comparison, Richard Nixon was a great patriot.
Obama’s abandonment of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya and the rest will live in infamy. That is not an exaggeration — because he has given up the sixty-year struggle to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of barbarians.
That’s what happens when you vote for a false messiah.
It must be said that James Baker and apparently Jeb Bush have also pushed for the abandonment of Israel to a genocidal, nuke-armed Iran. So have the usual suspects, Jimmy Carter and his foreign policy genius, Zbig Brzezinski. Europe and Russia are also on board. All of them are expecting big money from the surrender. All are now using Israel as a shield, on the gamble that the crocodile will swallow them last, as Churchill said in 1938. It did not work that time. Today’s crocodile still wants it all. You don’t make compromises with crocodiles, or come to secret “nuclear arrangements”.
The Father of Lies himself just claimed that his “arrangement” will make war less likely.
Which makes us wonder (again) which side he is really on.
Surely not America’s side.
Obama’s America would never have come to the aid of Great Britain under daily assault by the Luftwaffe, or France at the mercy of the Kaiser. After all, Britain and France were white imperialists. Obama’s “leading from behind” is a perverted joke compared to Harry Truman and JFK — who also considered white aggressors by this regime.
This administration has upside-down values, as he and Hillary showed in Benghazi when they left our people to be killed and tortured by Al Qaida.
This is not the America we have known and loved.
If we’re very lucky, that strong and morally decent America will rise again –after this pathetic crew leaves in disgrace.
Admiral James (“Ace”) Lyons has explained our national danger.
“There’s no question we got a hell of a job ahead of us… With the Muslim Brotherhood penetration in every one of our national security agencies, including all our intelligence agencies….our lead intelligence agency” is “headed by a Muslim convert,” a reference to Obama CIA head John Brennan.
“The threat is Islam. Let’s make no mistake about it. There’s no such thing as radical Islam.”
If Obama has his way, Israel will be the first national victim.