members of Congress meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Aug. 5, 2015. (photo by TWITTER/presidentruvi)
Summary⎙ Print Instead of adopting the assessment of several top security chiefs that the Iran deal is better than none, Zionist Camp leaders Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog have chosen to imitate the prime minister and deride the agreement in talks with Congressional Democrats visiting Israel
Leaders of the pro-Israel lobby group The American Israel Public Affairs Committee could go home from Jerusalem to Washington this week with a deep sense of satisfaction that the visit they had arranged for a delegation of congressional Democrats was worth every cent. The 22 representatives were told by Israel’s top leadership that a tremendous majority of the Jewish Israeli public believes the agreement with Iran is wrong in its essence. They noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud, opposition leaders Isaac Herzog and former prime ministerial candidate Tzipi Livni, both from the Zionist Camp, all told the Americans in no uncertain terms that this is a bad agreement. Not a problematic agreement, not controversial nor insufficient — a bad agreement, unacceptable, dangerous..
Netanyahu dedicated over 90 minutes Aug. 9 to reviewing the weaknesses of the agreement for members of the delegation. His bottom line was, too, that this is a bad agreement.
After explaining to them at length why the agreement with Iran poses a grave threat to Israel’s security, if not to its very existence, Netanyahu was careful to tell the American politicians, with a veneer of political correctness, that it is not his place to tell them how to vote, and “It is up to you.” This is like saying, “Anyone who backs this agreement cannot be considered a friend of Israel, but, of course, you’re fully within your rights to vote in favor of Israel’s enemies. Who am I to interfere in US domestic affairs.”
Herzog spent quite a while with the guests, too, and he also painted the agreement in black and white with no shades of grey. Reportedly, the leader of the opposition stressed, too, that he “believe[s] the agreement with Iran is bad,” saying, “I, too, am deeply critical of the deal with Iran. … I believe there’s great danger in letting the hungry Iranian tiger out of his cage and allowing him to roam the region and upset its balance of power. … The agreement legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state within 10 or 15 years, in a totally different way from today.”
On the following day, Livni wrote on Facebook, “The agreement with Iran is bad and Israel has a right to express this position everywhere.” She went on, “Since the signing of the agreement, all the dams have been burst. Iran is legitimate, the agreement is already being implemented de facto by the powers and money and weapons are flowing its way from Europe and Russia.” This is the same Livni who, under Netanyahu’s auspices, gave the false impression of conducting negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Since that bubble burst, the Palestinians are breaking through roadblocks on their way to more international organizations, and Israel is the one losing its legitimacy in the world.
Like Netanyahu, the opposition leadership is also careful to stress that it is not meddling in domestic American politics. Right. “I have no intention of publicly confronting the American president or his administration,” Herzog said, adding, “I have no intention of telling you how to vote.” Several minutes earlier, he had said, “Every Israeli patriot is worried about the agreement with Iran.” The high-level visitors were supposed to understand from what he was saying that anyone not concerned about the agreement, or anyone more worried about the results of it being undermined, is not an Israeli patriot. From there, it’s only a short distance to the conclusion that American members of Congress who vote in favor of the agreement are turning their backs on Israeli patriots.
Members of the Democratic delegation can tell folks back home that the prime minister, who represents the positions of 61 coalition Knesset members, and the leader of the Zionist Camp with the backing of the 23 members of his faction, expect them to vote against the agreement. Add to them the six Knesset members from Yisrael Beitenu, and 91 elected Israeli officials will be grateful to anyone who works against the agreement with the state that calls for their destruction. The impression would have been different had Netanyahu allowed former heads of the intelligence community to reveal what they really think about the agreement. Then the congressmen would have found out that senior Israeli patriots are actually concerned about the way the leaders of the state have been handling themselves since the beginning of negotiations with Iran and to this very day.
Many a worthy member of the defense establishment would have signed off on every word in an interview given by reserve Brig. Gen. Ami Ayalon, a former Labor Party minister, to the Jewish publication The Forward. The one-time Shin Bet director claimed that Israel should have stood beside the United States all along to ensure that any agreement reached would be the best one possible. In the top echelons of the Mossad one can find more than a few who agree with the views of Efraim Halevy, who headed the organization in the past and who wrote that the agreement includes elements that are critical to Israel’s securityand that an agreement was preferable to no agreement. Does Herzog think that Halevy is not an Israeli patriot?
In return for his support in condemning the agreement, Netanyahu rewarded the head of the opposition with a bear hug. In a video address to Jewish activists in the United States, Netanyahu said, “Isaac Herzog, who ran against me in this year’s election and who works every day in the Knesset to bring down my government, Herzog has said that there is no daylight between us when it comes to the deal with Iran.”
Herzog, who was opposed to this agreement before it was hammered out, is finding it hard to come down from the tree. The policy document made public by the Zionist Camp in April demands, among other things, that Israel be granted “unlimited operational capabilities in the face of threats and violations of the agreement and in the face of enemies supported by Iran in the region.” Herzog and Livni did not settle for anything less than “advance legitimacy for any activity that Israel will be forced to undertake to defend itself in the situation that has arisen.” “Any activity” could mean a military attack.
It’s hard to find an international agreement in which all sides got everything they wanted. Iran is not a weakened and downtrodden Palestinian organization that 22 years ago signed an agreement that did not include even a day’s freeze of construction in the settlements that are the focal point of the conflict. Netanyahu was never interested in a compromise with Iran, nor with the Palestinians. He wants to bring them to their knees. Netanyahu does not want to reach an understanding with President Barack Obama. He wants to defeat him. If Herzog wants to differentiate himself from Netanyahu, he has to stop going on about the “bad agreement” and reconcile himself to the fact that the alternative to this agreement is worse. A Sancho Panza type who carries Netanyahu’s water in the war against the world is not an alternative to his bad government.
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Oct 25, 2019 0People arrive at a polling station to vote in the federal election in Beauce, Quebec, Canada, Oct. 21, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mathieu Belanger. A top Jewish advocacy group said on Friday it...
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.