Obama: Israel construction plans unhelpful

Obama: Israel construction plans unhelpful

Tue Nov 9, 7:43 am ET

JAKARTA, Indonesia – President Barack Obama has criticized Israel construction plans in East Jerusalem, saying they’re unhelpful to the pursuit of peace.

The president said he was concerned Israel and Palestinian were not making enough of an effort to advance peace negotiations.

Obama’s caution came as the Israeli government moved ahead with plans to build nearly 1,300 apartments in that disputed part of the city.

Israel has said the plans to seek public comment on the building plans were merely procedural. But the move comes on the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday.

Obama said he did not receive a briefing on the new construction.

“If Israel Goes Down, We All Go Down”

“If Israel Goes Down, We All Go Down”

June 18th, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.

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World Jewish Congress:
by José María Aznar

For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion. In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship. In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organised a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.

In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN. Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.

Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.

Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.

Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.

For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.

The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfilment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.

The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.

Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down. To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.

The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith. To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.

This cannot be allowed to happen. Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.

It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.

What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.

Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.

José María Aznar was prime minister of Spain between 1996 and 2004.

Obama’s 5 Big Lies About Israel

Obama’s 5 Big Lies About Israel 

Monday, April 26, 2010

  By Daniel Greenfield

In preparation for his attempt to impose a final solution on Israel, Obama is spreading a variety of lies through the media and his spokesmen about Israel. And by exposing those lies, we can best get at the truth.

1. Netanyahu Must Choose Between Obama and his Right Wing

What Obama’s people would like you to believe here is that all it would take to restore good relations with the Obama Administration is for Netanyahu to reject the “extremists” and do what Obama tells him to do.

But in fact the vast majority of Israelis support Netanyahu’s position that Jews have the right to live anywhere in Jerusalem, and oppose Obama’s position that Jews have no right to live or build homes in parts of Jerusalem that were seized by Jordan in 1948 and ethnically cleansed of Jews.

Netanyahu’s real choice is between Obama and the vast majority of his country’s voters. By demanding that he turn his back on them and do what Obama says, the real demand here is for Netanyahu to completely disregard Israel’s democracy, and betray his own electorate, and enact Apartheid in Jerusalem. This will supposedly appease Obama. And all Netanyahu has to do is disregard the Israeli people’s wishes in favor of DC’s wishes.

So Netanyahu must choose between Obama and democracy. And the media is blasting him because he chose democracy over Obama.

2. Obama Wants Netanyahu’s Right Wing Coalition to be More Centrist

More centrist. Really? Netanyahu’s current coalition includes the left wing Labor party, an immigrant’s rights party and the party of Sefardi Jews. It even has an Arab Muslim Deputy Minister.

So what is Obama’s idea of a centrist Israeli government? One that jettisons Shas, the party of Jewish refugees from Muslim countries, and Yisrael Beitenu, the party of Jewish refugees from the USSR– in favor of Kadima, an illegitimately created party headed by Tzipi Livni, a former member of Netanyahu’s own Likud party. How is a coalition with Kadima more “centrist” than a coalition with the Labor party and parties that represent Israel’s different minorities? The answer is it isn’t. The only thing “centrist” about Kadima, is that Tzipi Livni airheadedly endorses every Obama proposal, which hasn’t exactly made her popular in the country. But it has made her popular with Obama, who wants to force her into a coalition with Netanyahu.

If you believe the Washington talking heads, Livni will make Netanyahu’s coalition more centrist than former Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barack. This despite the fact that Kadima officials have repeatedly stated they will not enter any coalition headed by Netanyahu.

Let me emphasize this again. Obama’s people are trying to force Netanyahu to drop two parties, one of Jewish refugees from Muslim countries and another of Jewish refugees from Communist countries– (it’s not too hard to figure out why Obama would dislike both) in order to form a more “centrist” coalition with a former member of his own party.

3. Tensions Between Obama and Israel Were Caused by Netanyahu’s “Insult” Toward Biden

The truth is that the relationship between Obama and Israel has always been bad. And that’s not surprising. Obama was a longtime member of a church whose pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright portrayed Israel in terms reminiscent of Nazi newspapers. He was friends with Rashid Khalidi who was a spokesman for the PLO terrorist organization. His own background as a child was in the Muslim world, where Israel is viewed as nothing short of the devil.

Once elected, Obama made his first phone call to current PLO head and Holocaust denier, Mahmoud Abbas. And it didn’t take long for the administration to begin making demands of Israel, and then refusing to accept any compromises. All this was long before Biden paid a brief visit to Israel, and pretended to be outraged because potential housing on an empty plot of land in Jerusalem went through one part of a multi-stage approvals process.

Was Biden offended by this as a demonstration of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem? Not likely since Biden himself had co-sponsored no less than three Senate resolutions in support of a United Jerusalem under Israeli rule. If we are to believe that Biden was offended, then he was offended by policies he himself supported.

The truth of the matter is that the Obama Administration was looking to pick a fight and waited for an incident that they could claim was an Israeli provocation. Israel didn’t insult America, Biden or Obama by approving possible housing to be built in Jerusalem. Rather Obama who had always disliked Israel, took the chance to pick a fight, while pretending to be the victim.

4. Netanyahu Must Come Back to the Negotiating Table

What negotiating table? Israel has spent almost two decades at the negotiating table. It has given up land and put even its own capital on the table under Prime Minister Barak (currently a member of Netanyahu’s “Right Wing” coalition. The Palestinian Arabs have never put anything on the table. They have taken and taken.

Netanyahu has already agreed to freeze home building in Judea and Samaria. Checkpoints have been dismantled, despite the fact that this allows terrorists to slip through and murder Israelis. Israel has repeatedly offered to go back to the negotiating table. It is Abbas, the first foreign leader that Obama spoke to, who refuses to negotiate. Not only that Abbas has asked Obama to impose a solution.

If Abbas wants Obama to impose a solution. And Obama wants to impose a solution. Then what is there left to negotiate? The exact place where Obama will impose his solution. This argument is a cynical ploy to blame Israel for not wanting to negotiate, when in fact Israel is the only party in this conflict that wants to negotiate and that has consistently tried to negotiate.

But neither Obama nor Abbas are interested in negotiations. They only want Israel to obey their demands.

5. Israel is Costing the US Blood and Treasure

The US has fought three wars since Vietnam. Each of those wars were fought on behalf of, or against Muslims. In the Gulf War, the US responded to Saddam’s invasion of its Kuwaiti allies with armed force. In Yugoslavia, the US intervened on behalf of Kosovar Albanian Muslims. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the US overthrew Muslim dictatorships and tried to stabilize the two countries.

It is Islam that has cost the US an untold fortune in blood and treasure. It is Muslims that have dragged the US into three wars. In the Gulf War, the US was responding to an invasion of Muslim Kuwait. In Yugoslavia, the US was responding to the supposed ethnic cleansing of Albanian Muslims. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the US was fighting back against an Al Queda attack, motivated by the presence of a US base in Saudi Arabia, and in Iraq, against Saddam Hussein’s continuing defiance of sanctions.

Thousands of Americans dead and hundreds of billions of dollars. Now that’s real blood and treasure. And the toll keeps on climbing. But in truth the first “Blood and Treasure” extracted by Muslims from America predated the modern State of Israel. Instead it took place on the “Shores of Tripoli” as President Thomas Jefferson chose to go to war with the Muslim pirates who were raiding American ships and enslaving American sailors, because they viewed them as subhuman infidels.

Of course the Obama Administration which has banned any mention of Islamic terrorism, can’t possibly address any of that. All it can do is direct false smears at Israel.

Daniel Greenfield is a columnist born in Israel and currently living in New York City. He is a contributing editor at Family Security Matters and writes a daily blog column on Islamic Terrorism, Israeli and American politics and Europe’s own clash of civilizations which can be found at Sultanknish.blogspot.com.