Why Obama is making such a big deal out of Netanyahu's speech
The reason President Obama has manufactured a crisis in US-Israel relations over Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to a joint session of Congress has nothing to do with breaches of protocol or interference in Israel's election campaign. According to Elliott Abrams, the national security adviser in the Bush administration, Obama is hoping to permanently damage American support for Israel.
I well remember how we in the Bush White House
handled the poor personal relations between the president and French
president Jacques Chirac. In 2004-2005 especially, the two men did not
get along (arguing mostly about Iraq and just plain disliking each other
as well) but we wanted to prevent their poor personal chemistry from
damaging bilateral relations. So National Security Advisor Condi Rice in
2004, and then her successor Steve Hadley in 2005, set up a
work-around. The French National Security Advisor Maurice
Gourdault-Montagne traveled to Washington almost every month and came to
the White House. There the French ambassador to the U.S., Jean-David
Levitte, joined him for meetings with key NSC, DOD, and State Department
officials. In 2005, Secretary of State Rice would come over from State
to join Hadley and several of us on the NSC staff, and in the course of a
half-day we would review every issue facing the United States and
France. It was a serious time commitment for the American and French
officials, but that is because we were determined to quarantine bad
personal chemistry and prevent it from infecting the entire
relationship—a goal set by President Bush himself.
Quite obviously, President Obama has no such goal.
Israeli officials have complained to me for several years about the lack
of contacts and communications with the White House. Susan Rice has
determined that her job is to make bilateral relations worse, and has
established no relationship with her Israeli counterpart Yossi Cohen. So
the problem is not just bad chemistry at the top; it is an
administration that has decided to create a tense and negative
relationship from the top down.
One reason, as noted, is the hope that tension with
America can lead to Netanyahu’s defeat in the March 17 election. The
second reason is Iran policy. The administration is desperately seeking a
deal with Iran on terms that until recently were unacceptable to a
broad swath of Democrats as well as Republicans. One after another,
American demands or “red lines” have been abandoned. Clearly the
administration worries that Israeli (not just Netanyahu, but Israeli)
criticisms of the possible Iran nuclear deal might begin to reverberate.
So it has adopted the tactic of personalizing the Israeli critique.
Arguments that are shared across the Israeli political spectrum—that the
likely Iran deal says nothing about Iranian ballistic missile
development, says nothing about Iranian warhead development, does not
require that Iran meet IAEA demands that it account for past warhead
work, allows Iran thousands of centrifuges, will allow Iran to escape
all monitoring and limitations after perhaps ten years—are attributed
solely to Netanyahu and his election campaign. So Democrats are told
they must oppose such arguments, and stiff Netanyahu, lest they
contribute to his reelection. Clever, in a way, but of course completely
misleading. And irresponsible when it comes to the deadly issue of
Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
The third Obama administration reason for building
up this crisis is also deadly serious: it is to use the current tension
to harm Israel’s support in the United States permanently. All opinion
polls in the last several years show a partisan edge in support: overall
support for Israel is steady and high, but its composition is changing.
More and more Republicans support Israel, and the gap between
Democratic and Republican support levels is growing. President Obama
acts as if he sees this as a terrific development, one that should be
enlarged as much as possible before he leaves office. That way he would
leave behind not just an Iran deal, but weakened support for Israel on
Iran and everything else. Support for Israel would become less of a
bipartisan matter and more a divisive issue between the two parties. It
is not hard to envision Obama in retirement joining Jimmy Carter as a
frequent critic of Israel, pushing the Democratic party to move away
from its decades of very strong support for the Jewish state.
Robert Joseph and William Tobey review a long list of concessions that the United States and the P 5+1 have made to Iran in the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. They sum up that list as follows:
The greatest concession in the negotiations has been the
abandonment of the original U.S. goal of preventing Iran from having a
nuclear-weapons capability. This was a consistent and firm position of
the Bush administration. It was also the position of the Obama
administration until November 2013, when it was given up to secure
Iran’s consent to the Joint Plan of Action. Soon after that, Secretary
of State Kerry described the new U.S. goal as taking Iran’s “breakout
time” from two months to six to twelve months — as if we would know when
the clock began, and as if we could do something effective to stop the
breakout within that timeframe. The reality is that we have traded
permanent concessions for temporary restrictions that will leave Iran as
a threshold nuclear state able to build a nuclear weapon whenever it
decides to do so. When the deal ends, Iran can openly go to the brink of
nuclear weapons with the blessing of the international community.
Joseph and Tobey then go on to explain why a bad deal is worse than no deal (something that even President Obama admitted a while back before he started to spin the story).
The Obama administration will almost certainly try to portray its
nuclear deal with Iran as better than no deal, and will accuse those who
oppose the agreement as choosing war over peace. Nothing could be
further from the truth. A bad deal is far worse than no deal. A bad deal
leaves Iran with a nuclear-weapons capability, which would be far more
destabilizing than a return to tough sanctions. A bad deal undermines
the IAEA’s attempts to get to the bottom of Iran’s covert weapons work. A
bad deal undermines the Nonproliferation Treaty, leading to additional
dangers around the world. A bad deal is a step toward conflict and more
nuclear proliferation in a region of vital U.S. interest.
Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear-weapons capability is the
surest way to prevent war and preserve peace. To that end, the
negotiators should return to the table insisting upon limits that will
permanently block Iran’s paths to nuclear weapons and resolve the IAEA’s
concerns about Tehran’s nuclear-weapons work as a condition of an
agreement. The real choice is not between the administration’s deal and
war, but between preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and
Prime Minister Netanyahu believes that the West has thrown in the towel and given up on stopping Iran.
In his remarks, Netanyahu said that the
greatest challenge Israel faces is “the threat of Iran arming itself
with nuclear weapons with a declared goal of annihilating us.”
“From the agreement that is forming, it
appears that they (world powers) have given up on that commitment (to
thwart Iran) and are accepting that Iran will gradually, within a few
years, develop capabilities to produce material for many nuclear
weapons,” Netanyahu said. “They might accept this but I am not willing
to accept this.”
That's undoubtedly part of what the Prime Minister will tell Congress on Tuesday. And if you sense a veiled threat of military action from Netanyahu, you're probably right.
Riyadh’s only condition is that Israel make
some kind of progress in peace talks with the Palestinians, Channel 2
reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed senior European source.
“The Saudi authorities are completely
coordinated with Israel on all matters related to Iran,” the European
official in Brussels said.
The report claimed the Saudi authorities had
made their position clear in various unspecified diplomatic discussions
on the matter.
“The Saudis have declared their readiness for
the Israeli Air Force to overfly Saudi air space en route to attack Iran
if an attack is necessary,” the TV report said. All that they ask is
“some kind of progress” on the Palestinian issue.
Being able to use Saudi airspace would allow
Israeli planes a shortcut to reach Iran without having to fly around the
Persian Gulf, taking up precious time and fuel.
According to the dispatch, Israel and Saudi
Arabia also share intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program at a very
intimate level and the Saudis are no less worried by details coming out
of the Geneva talks than Israeli leaders, who have loudly spoken out
against the talks.
That doesn't sound like the Saudis are asking for a whole lot - and if push comes to shove and the 'Palestinians' won't agree to anything (as is usually the case), I would bet that the condition will be dropped.
Wouldn't it be ironic if anti-nuke Leftist Barack Hussein Obama perpetrated a war over Iran's nuclear capability? (I'm specifically not referring to it as a nuclear war, because I believe that Israel will try to stop Iran - with or without US support - before Iran has a nuclear weapons capability).
Democratic Senators won't say whether they're attending
Josh Rogin and Eli Lake report that many Democratic Senators, who feel caught between their loyalty to Barack Hussein Obama and their duties to their voters, are not saying whether they will attend Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to a joint session of Congress next Tuesday.
We spoke with almost a dozen Democratic Senators Tuesday who said
they still haven’t decided. Among them is Senate Intelligence Committee
ranking member Dianne Feinstein of California, who wrote a letter (with
Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois) Monday to Netanyahu
asking him to meet Democrats separately in their offices while he is
“I won’t make a decision on that for a while,” she told us, insisting
there was no organized Democratic boycott. “But it does mean that I
would like an opportunity to sit down and talk to him rather than
listening to a speech of red lines. It isn’t a boycott, it's individuals
making up their own minds. There is no boycott.”
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee that covers the Middle
East, told us Tuesday he also is still weighing whether to attend the
speech and he acknowledged that he is getting calls from his supporters
in Connecticut encouraging him to go.
“I haven’t decided yet. This is a breach of protocol not a breach of
policy, so I’m still trying to make sure I’m not making more of this
than it deserves to be,” he said. “A lot of us are very angry and I
think we’ve got to figure out how serious of an issue this really is.”
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia declined to say whether he
would attend: “I think the speech should be postposed. I’m just going to
leave it there for now.”
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey wouldn't say anything on the
matter. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said he was “expecting to” attend
but wasn’t 100 percent sure. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said he
would make up his mind after meeting with the Israeli ambassador.
Nonetheless, many Democratic leaders have signaled they will attend.
The list includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority
Whip Steny Hoyer and, if he is physically able while recovering from
surgery, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Senator Chuck Schumer of New
York, Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking Democrat Robert
Menendez of New Jersey and Senate Armed Services Committee member Bill
Nelson of Florida will also be there.
It's tough having to answer to your constituents, isn't it? Here's a prediction: In the end, other than the Congressional Black Caucus and some of the more virulent J Street recipients, every last one of the Democrats will show up. They're not going to risk their seats to satisfy an unpopular President who is in the second half of his second term.
Hmmm.... Lapid: We won't recommend Left form next government
לפיד טוען שדבריו הוצאו מהקשרם אך הקלטת הראיון למקור ראשון מוכיחה שהוא אכן אמר: ״לא תמצאו אותי ממליץ על השמאל״, ובוזי זה שמאל?, שאלנו. "כן״
— חגי סגל (@haggai_segal) February 26, 2015
For the Hebrew impaired, the tweet above from Makor Rishon columnist Haggai Segal says "[Yesh Atid party leader Yair] Lapid claims that his words were taken out of context, but the recording of the interview with Makor Rishon proves that he said 'you won't find me recommending [that] the Left [form the next government].' 'And Buzi [Herzog] is the Left,' we asked. 'Yes.'
The way Israel's government works is that after the elections, the President calls in the leader of each party and asks who should be given the first opportunity to try to form a government. The President then charges the leader of the party who seems most likely to succeed to form a coalition. That's why sometimes, even if a party has the most votes, it will not be asked to form the government.
(Linked article in tweet is in Hebrew. Short summary below).
The resolution was proposed in September right after Operation Protective Edge. Its goal was to ensure a stable cease fire between Hamas and Israel. But Abu Mazen saw it as a trap. He believed that if the 'Palestinian Authority' went into Gaza, he would have a fight with Hamas and the 'Palestinian' public would turn against him. If his forces went into Gaza and did not have a fight with Hamas, he believed that Israel would blame him every time Hamas shot a rocket. Abu Mazen also believed that the 'Palestinian Authority' going into Gaza would end the 'reconciliation' talks between Fatah and Hamas.
The resolution also called for funds to reconstruct Gaza. De facto, since a donors' meeting in October, very little money has been collected for that purpose.
One has to question whether Abu Mazen ever intends to unify the 'West Bank' and Gaza under his rule.
End of summary. My take. It's really quite simple. Abu Mazen prefers living to being in charge and having to meet expectations. If this ever happened, he'd be assassinated within a week.
I don't know whose idea this was, but I could have told you in a New York minute that Abu Mazen would never agree to it.
Trying to make sense out of the fight over Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to Congress, Mitchell Bard spouts a lot of nonsense.
Netanyahu’s decision to speak before Congress still makes little sense. In addition to angering Obama and Democrats in Congress,
Obama was 'angry' at Israel long before Netanyahu decided to come and speak. Look at the history of this relationship. Obama's bona fides as a supporter of Israel were being questioned long before Netanyahu became Prime Minister in 2009. Obama is angry at Israel because it exists. Neither Binyamin Netanyahu nor anyone else in Israel did anything to bring about that anger. Netanyahu's speech has nothing to do with this. Recall that Obama called Netanyahu chickens**t long before this speech was ever announced.
he has undermined the legislation that he was coming to support.
Netanyahu is not coming to speak in support of the sanctions legislation. It already has a veto proof majority once it is brought to the floor. Netanyahu is coming to speak out against making a bad deal with Iran in which all red lines are abandoned. A deal in which Iran is allowed to retain its nuclear facilities, retain its uranium enrichment plants, keep the centrifuges spinning and - yes - still get relief from sanctions. It's a deal against which most of Washington seems to be tongue-tied.
The prime minister’s speech also has an air of desperation; he
apparently realizes that he cannot prevent Iran from getting nuclear
It's not that Netanyahu cannot prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons - it's that Obama won't let him. So yes, there is some desperation here. Netanyahu is desperate to stop Obama from officially declaring that Iran can do whatever it pleases when it comes to nuclear weapons - to leave the door open for another President or another day. Because Iran can be stopped - just not without military action, or at least a credible threat of military action.
But Netanyahu isn't the only desperate one here. So is Obama. Obama is desperate to stop the Prime Minister he called a chickens**t from undermining what Obama believes will be his signature foreign policy achievement for his second term, if not for his entire Presidency: appeasing Iran, bringing it back into the 'family of nations' and turning it into a regional power in the Middle East which can offset Israel and force Israel to start whistling to the Arabs' tune. The fact that Obama is clearly expending far more energy on stopping Netanyahu's speech than he is on stopping Iran's drive for nuclear weapons shows that Obama is also desperate. Let's call it desperate for a legacy.
The argument here is whether Obama's Munich-like philosophy will prevail or whether Netanyahu's vision of an acknowledged Israeli right to take independent action against Iran will prevail. By stiffening opposition to the deal, both in and out of Congress, Netanyahu is increasing the (admittedly slim) likelihood that Congress will stand up to Obama and scuttle the deal. No, Netanyahu won't persuade the Schakowsky's or the Rangel's or the Durbin's, but he might give Chuck Schumer - for example - the backbone to say that he cannot in good conscience vote with the administration on this and not welch as Schumer has done in the past. And he's also increasing the likelihood that when and if Israel decides it has no choice but to act, Obama will not have the political backing to stand in the way.
it is difficult to see what purpose the prime minister’s speech will
serve since he has been sounding the same alarm now for years. His views
are no secret to anyone and will have no greater impact if they are
presented before Congress.
That's actually not true. Most Americans could not even name the Prime Minister of Israel until this controversy started, let
alone recite his views on a deal whose details are slowly coming out in the media. Israeli opposition to the
deal is the only context in which Americans are discussing the
substantive problems with Obama's appeasement. Netanyahu's speech is already
helping to raise the profile of opposition views to the deal. And unlike in Israel, where it is being delayed for five minutes on the bogus claim that there might be partisan thoughts, the speech is likely to be viewed live in the United States by millions.
Israel has good reason to be alarmed at the direction the nuclear talks
have taken, even though it appears unlikely Iran will except any deal.
Unless you equate Iran with the 'Palestinians,' who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, it seems to me that at this point a deal is highly likely. Obama has already conceded almost everything Iran wants.
Did Netanyahu think speaking in Congress would help his reelection
campaign? Perhaps, but this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Incumbents always
blur the lines between policymaking and campaigning. When Obama ran for
reelection his speeches were meant to help his campaign regardless of
whether they were labeled as campaign events. Furthermore, the fact that
Obama reacted so angrily, as did many other Democrats, may hurt
Netanyahu’s chances if Israeli voters decide that they don’t want a
prime minister who has worsened ties with their principal ally.
No, this is not about the Israeli elections. I am sure that Netanyahu would have a much better chance of gaining votes by staying in Israel and campaigning. Ask Buzi Herzog.
Zionist Union co-chairman Isaac Herzog said Tuesday that he had
declined AIPAC's invitation to address its conference, saying that while
American Jews are very important to him, it was clear that replacing
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was just as critical and his main
In a press conference with foreign media, Herzog
said that Netanyahu's spin on the question of who's going to Washington
has to stop. Every Israeli and American official - including the U.S.
President - knows his stance against the Iranian nuclear program, Herzog
Herzog told the reporters that when he becomes
prime minister, he will travel all over the world to preserve the
security interests of the citizens of Israel – but for now, he has to
decline the invitation to focus on that goal.
So who is the statesman and who is running an election campaign?
Netanyahu has only two options: He can surrender to the Iranian nuclear bomb, pretend that everything is nice with the White House until the next crisis, and echo White House propaganda that ISIS is the big problem. Or he can play the cards he has and work the only realistic opportunity to stunt Obama’s planned appeasement and preserve an Israeli military option against the Iranian weapon. Which would you choose if you were him?
Probably inevitable: J Street Jan will skip Netanyahu speech
Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Il) has announced that she will skip Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to a joint session of Congress next Tuesday. And she still has the gall to describe herself as an 'Israel supporter.'
Honestly, I'm not convinced that it matters anymore who shows up and who doesn't. The real point of this speech has become for Netanyahu to be able to speak directly to the American people. It's something that both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have done to hand-picked audiences of Israelis. Funny how no one objected then.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday slammed Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to a potential nuclear deal
with Iran, calling it as wrongheaded as the prime minister's backing of
the Iraq War.
"Israel is safer today with the added time we have given and the
stoppage of the advances in the nuclear program than they were before we
got that agreement, which by the way the prime minister opposed," Kerry
said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. "He was wrong."
Kerry was later asked to address Netanyahu's criticism of a hypothetical deal with Iran as a threat to Israel.
"The prime minister was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken
about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush," Kerry
replied. "We all know what happened with that decision."
Really? I thought John Kerry was in favor of the war in Iraq, and believed that Saddam had nuclear weapons.
Let's go to the videotape.
Hmmm. Sounds a lot like Prime Minister Netanyahu's questions on Iran, doesn't it? Kerry used to be a bit smarter, didn't he?
How inconvenient: Another 'secret' Iranian enrichment plant exposed
As the Obama administration pulls out all the stops to defend its intention to sign a deal that would allow Iran to become a nuclear power, the Iranian opposition throws a crowbar into the juggernaut by exposing yet another previously undisclosed uranium enrichment plant outside of Tehran.
The specifics contained in the NCRI’s
report give it credibility because they make the report easy to either
verify or debunk. The report pinpoints the hidden nuclear site with
satellite photography, explains its internal structuring and shows the
entrances as well as the location of an elevator to access a 200-meter
underground tunnel. There’s even an up-close photograph of one of the
shielded doors used at the site to conceal radiation.
The secret site is called Lavizan-3 and
is operated by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. It is within a
military compound so that the regime can declare it off-limits to IAEA
inspectors. Construction of the site began in early 2004 and is believed
to have finished in 2008 or around that time.
According to the group’s sources
inside Iran, the site is used for enriching uranium and building,
testing and installing advanced centrifuges that enable Iran to produce
the uranium for a nuclear bomb more quickly. The centrifuges at this
location are of the IR2, IR3 and IR4 types. These centrifuges can
potentially cut the time needed to make bomb-grade uranium from low-enriched uranium in half, from 18-24 months to 9-12 months.
NCRI also listed the names of key personnel involved in the hidden site. One of them is Morteza Behzad, an engineer involved with the Fordo uranium enrichment site that is buried 300 feet underground and was exposed in 2009. The Treasury Department sanctioned him in 2012.
The Lavizan-3 site can only hold 3,000 centrifuges, making it
unsuitable for an a civilian energy program but entirely suitable for
nuclear weapons creation.
Four top nuclear experts said earlier this month that they now consider Iran to be a nuclear-ready state,
warning that Iran poses an Electro-Magnetic Pulse threat to the U.S.
and its satellite launches show that it has intercontinental ballistic
missiles capable of reaching the U.S.
The IAEA confirms that Iran is still not being transparent about its nuclear activity. The agency’s September 5 report stated
that Iran is still denying inspectors access to the Parchin site where
the regime is believed to conducted research inarguably related to
nuclear weapons. The regime also continued to deny that it has worked on
nuclear warheads and has not adequately addressed the IAEA’s evidence.
Oh my... Netanyahu refuses to meet with Durbin and Feinstein
Prime Minister Netanyahu has turned down a meeting with Democratic Senators Richard Durbin (Il) and Diane Feinstein (Ca) on the sidelines of his address to a joint session of Congress next week.This is from the first link.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined on Tuesday an invitation
to meet with U.S. Senate Democrats during his trip to Washington next
"Though I greatly appreciate your kind invitation
to meet with Democratic Senators, I believe that doing so at this time
could compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming
visit," Netanyahu wrote in a letter to Senators Richard Durbin and
Dianne Feinstein obtained by Reuters.
That actually makes sense if one accepts the premise that an address to a joint session of Congress that includes both Democrats and Republicans is (or ought to be) seen as non-partisan. What Netanyahu is saying is "if I meet separately with you, I will also have to meet separately with a delegation of Republican Senators."
But as you might imagine, this has made the Democrats go ballistic.
Susan E. Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, sharply criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel
on Tuesday over his plans to address a joint meeting of Congress next
week, saying his actions had hurt his nation’s relationship with the
Netanyahu’s decision to travel to Washington to deliver the speech two
weeks before the Israeli elections has “injected a degree of
partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive of
the fabric of the relationship,” Ms. Rice said in an interview on the
PBS television program “Charlie Rose.”
Come on. Does anyone seriously believe that Netanyahu showing up on March 24 would see the Democrats having no objections? Meanwhile, Durbin said he's 'disappointed.'
“We offered the prime minister an opportunity to balance the politically
divisive invitation from Speaker Boehner with a private meeting with
Democrats who are committed to keeping the bipartisan support of Israel
strong,” Mr. Durbin said in a statement. “His refusal to meet is
disappointing to those of us who have stood by Israel for decades.”
At least Durbin (effectively) admits that the Israeli elections have nothing to do with this. But since when is an invitation to address a joint session of Congress a partisan event? Since when does Congress have to ask the President's permission before inviting a foreign leader to its house? Is it not a co-equal branch of government in the United States?
Well, the answer seems to be that the joint session of Congress is becoming a partisan event since the Democrats insist on making it into one. The number of Democratic Senators and Representatives who plan to boycott Netanyahu's speech (undoubtedly under pressure from the White House) is growing.
Here is a list of the Democrats who are planning to skip the speech and those who are planning to go.
House (23) Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) — Wrote a Jan. 29 column in The Huffington Post explaining his decision, saying the Constitution “vests the responsibility for foreign affairs in the president.” Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.) — The head of the
Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) focused on Boehner undermining Obama in
a statement and emphasized he's not urging a boycott. Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.) Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) — Clyburn is the highest-ranking Democratic leader to say he’ll skip the speech. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.): “After deliberation, I
have decided I cannot in good conscience attend the Prime Minister’s
speech. My decision not to attend is not a reflection of my support for
Israel and its continued existence as a state and home for the Jewish
people. I have always strongly supported Israel and I always will,”
said Cohen in a statement. Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.) Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.) Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) — He is head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), a member of the CBC and the first Muslim in Congress. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) — Grijalva is a co-chairman of the CPC. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.) — A spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times that Gutierrez has a "strong" record on Israel but called the speech "a stunt." Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas) — "The Congresswoman has no plans to attend the speech at this time," a spokeswoman said. Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.) — A member of the CBC and former head of the CPC. Rep. John Lewis (Ga.) — His office confirmed he’s not going but emphasized he's not organizing a formal boycott Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.): "In my view Mr.
Netanyahu’s speech before Congress is nothing more than a campaign event
hosted by Speaker Boehner and paid for by the American people,"
McCollum said in a statement." Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.) — “I do not intend to attend the speech of Bibi,” he said in an email to a Seattle newspaper. Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) — A CBC member. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas) Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine) Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.) — "I'm offended as an American," he said on MSNBC. Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.) Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.) Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.) — "We know what he is going to say," the Jewish lawmaker said in a statement.
Senate (3) Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) — Leahy called it a "tawdry and high-handed stunt," according to a Vermont newspaper. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, said it’s “wrong” that Obama wasn’t consulted about the speech. Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) — “The U.S.-Israel
relationship is too important to be overshadowed by partisan politics,"
said Schatz in a statement. "I am disappointed in the Republican
leadership’s invitation of Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint
session of Congress with the apparent purpose of undermining President
Obama’s foreign policy prerogatives.”
Far more Democrats have said they will attend. Read the whole thing. Most of the Representatives on the list as not attending are Congressional Black Caucus members (who are concerned about Netanyahu's lack of 'respect' for Obama - respect that Obama has done nothing to earn) and known Leftists....
Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein
extended the invitation "to maintain Israel's dialogue with both
political parties in Congress," according to a letter to the Israeli
leader seen by Reuters.
"This unprecedented move threatens to
undermine the important bipartisan approach towards Israel - which as
long-standing supporters of Israel troubles us deeply," Durbin and
deep and well-established cooperation on Israel for short-term partisan
points - something that should never be done with Israeli security and
which we fear could have lasting repercussions," they said.
The two senators have not indicated publicly whether they planned to be at the Israeli leader's address, their spokesmen said.
Durbin is the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S.
Senate. Feinstein, who has been in the Senate since 1992, is the top
Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a senior member of the
Appropriations and Judiciary committees.
The letter was sent on Monday evening. The Israeli Embassy did not have an immediate response to the invitation.
“To maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties
in Congress, we invite you to a closed-door meeting with
Democratic senators during your upcoming visit to Washington,”
Durbin and Feinstein wrote Monday. “We believe such a venue
would be a wholly appropriate opportunity to discuss the range
of issues that face our two countries.”
Twenty-three House Democrats urged Boehner in a letter last
week to postpone the speech. They said the speaker was “using a
foreign leader as a political tool against” Obama.
The House Democrats’ letter questioned whether Boehner was
using Netanyahu’s appearance to persuade lawmakers to back new
sanctions against Iran despite a veto threat from Obama.
To listen to the House Democrats, they don't believe it would ever be appropriate for Netanyahu to weigh in on Iran. That's just plain wrong. In the overall scheme of things, Israel has much more at stake in Iran (our very existence) than the United States has.
After starting with allegedly high aspirations for real change in Iran, Eli Lake and Josh Rogin report that the Obama administration is asking that any deal it reaches with Iran be judged as 'just an arms control agreement.'
"The only consideration driving what is part of any comprehensive
agreement with Iran is how we can get to a one-year breakout time and
cut off the four pathways for Iran to get enough material for a nuclear
weapon, period," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. "And if
we reach an agreement, that will be the basis upon which people should
judge it -- on the technical merits of it, not on anything else."
When asked if the State Department would argue the benefits of
any deal in part by saying it would help Iran's president, Hassan
Rouhani, against his country's hard-liners and therefore promote
reforms, Harf said: "This is absolutely ridiculous."
This is a long way from the grand aspirational sentiments expressed
by President Barack Obama back in 2009, when he announced his intention
to engage Iran. Obama, speaking on the Persian new year celebration of
Nowruz, said he wanted "the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its
rightful place in the community of nations."
Back then, many advocates for engagement argued that the nuclear deal could unlock the key to moderating Iran's rogue behavior.
Meanwhile, Obama shills like Joe Cirincione and Gary Samore are arguing that the lifting of sanctions - which will be the currency with which the West pays for any deal - could itself magically bring about reform. There's no reason to believe that will happen and there are plenty of reasons to believe that it won't.
"A nuclear agreement that lifts sanctions and reduces tensions with
Iran will advantage the moderates and make it more likely that in the
period of the agreement Iran will become a status quo power and be less
interested in developing nuclear weapons," Samore told us.
He acknowledged that there was no guarantee of such changes, but said
the risk of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon was greater in the absence
of a deal than with one.
This echoes the way Obama argued efforts to ease the embargo on Cuba
gave the U.S. more leverage to push for democracy inside the island.
A similar line of thinking was promoted in the 1990s, when the U.S.
struck a deal with North Korea to put severe limits on its nuclear
program in exchange for sanctions relief. Of course, Pyongyang only
increased its internal repression and nuclear ambitions.
Cirincione insisted that Iran is different than North Korea because
it is a more diverse and vibrant society with a reform movement that
enjoys some level of public tolerance. He also said that both the
hard-liners and the reformers there believe that a nuclear deal with the
West could pave the way for greater social and political reforms.
“A nuclear deal is going to be greeted as near-euphoria for the
Iranian people because they see it as a beginning of the reforms,” he
said. Then he warned: “Just because people go out on the streets and
protest, that doesn’t mean good things will happen. I mean, look at
Iran's pro-democracy green movement is today in shambles. Its two
leaders -- Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi -- have been under
house arrest since 2010, despite promises from Rouhani during his
electoral campaign in 2013 to free dissidents.
I read somewhere - I cannot recall where - that there was a disagreement between US and Israeli intelligence over how Iran could be stopped, and Israeli intelligence argued that the only way Iran could be stopped would be if there was real political reform. Now that seems even less likely than ever.
The most anti-Semitic college campus in the United States is...
The most anti-Semitic college campus in the United States is the home of Edward Said and Joseph Massad and Rashid Khalidi and the center for 'Palestinian studies.' Yes, you guessed it, it's Bir Zeit on the Hudson.
According to the [David Horowitz Freedom] Center, Columbia University is listed first because
it is home to the “most well-known antisemitic professors in the
nation such as Rashid Khalidi and Joseph Massad, who has been accused
of harassing Jewish students on multiple occasions. In addition, it is
home to a highly active SJP chapter that has recently brought BDS
founder Omar Barghouti and disgraced antisemitic professor Steven
Salaita to campus.”
The Center also cited a number of offending events held at Columbia
University in 2014, such as Israeli Apartheid Week and a protest with
signs that read “Call to Action: Stand with Gaza.”
Cornell University came in second place followed by George Mason
University, Loyola University Chicago, Portland State University, San
Diego State University and San Francisco State University. Rounding off
the list was Temple University, University of California Los Angeles and
I really feel like slamming some of the chickens**t American Jews who regularly comment - both on this blog and on Twitter and Facebook - that Jonathan Pollard should rot in jail because what he did was so terriblethey're afraid of being accused of having 'dual loyalties' if they actually question Pollard's life sentence. Much of the infamous Cap Weinberger memo (that Pollard's lawyers were never allowed to see) has been declassified, and it shows that much of the US government argument for keeping Pollard imprisoned is based on lies and mischaracterizes what Weinberger (an anti-Semite in his own right) wrote (Hat Tip: NY Nana).
Key portions of a critical classified document on which the US
government has cited as justification for keeping Jonathan Pollard in
jail have been declassified – and his lawyers say the government has
been "dishonest" in "hiding behind the mask of 'classified information'
to materially mischaracterize the nature and extent of the harm caused
by Mr. Pollard."
Lawyers Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, who have represented
Pollard for 15 years pro-bono, say the newly disclosed material shows
that any harm possibly caused by Pollard was only "in the form of
short-term disruption in foreign relations between the United States and
certain Arab countries."
"That is not at all the same thing as harm to U.S. national security," they write in a World Net Daily op-ed, "and it was dishonest for the government to pretend that it is."
The government position for 30 years has been that Pollard must
remain in prison because a secret note from then-Secretary of State
Caspar Weinberger stated that Pollard caused greater harm to U.S.
national security than had ever occurred previously.
"The government has been able to present this harsh characterization
of the Weinberger declaration without fear of contradiction," Semmelman
and Lauer write, because "no one representing Mr. Pollard [was ever]
allowed to see the Weinberger declaration since the day Mr. Pollard was
sentenced" – until now.
The lawyers state that the U.S. government's "deception had its most
blatant and prejudicial impact at Mr. Pollard's parole hearing held in
July 2014, during which the government invoked the Weinberger
declaration and - without showing it to the parole commission - urged
the commission to accept its representation that the document
substantiated more harm to the national security of the United States
than had ever occurred previously."
"In its decision denying parole, the commission took the government
at its word and essentially parroted the government's characterization
of the Weinberger declaration when it wrote that Mr. Pollard had caused
'the greatest compromise of U.S. security to that date,'" noted the
"That is an outright falsehood," the lawyers write, "and the recent
revelations prove it... [It] is now revealed that Mr. Pollard provided
Israel with information concerning the 'political-economic affairs of
Middle Eastern nations,' various 'Middle Eastern orders of battle,' and
the 'technology of Soviet weapons and radar systems' used by various
"The potential consequence [thereof] is described by Mr. Weinberger
as 'a high probability of harm to the foreign relations of the U.S.
with friendly Arab nations'" – and nothing more than that.
The op-ed details the type of information Pollard gave Israel, and the modest and temporary damage it caused to U.S. relations with some countries – but not to U.S. security.
Hang your heads in shame chickens**t American Jews. Maybe you should worry more about why your government has been holding an American Jew imprisoned for 30 years for a crime that normally carries a 2-4-year sentence than you worry about accusations that you hold dual loyalties (as if any of you holds any loyalty to the Jewish state).
So why did then-CIA director George Tenet threaten to resign if Bill Clinton released Pollard (as he promised to do) in exchange for Israel signing the Why Why Wye agreement? Probably because Tenet knew that if what was really in the Weinberger document was made public (and there would have been no more reason to keep it classified 17 years ago had Pollard been released), he and other government officials who had lied about its contents would have found their butts in a sling. Now, they're all dead or retired.
Rare Footage of the Chofetz Chaim, Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan, at First Knessia Gedolah
This is off topic, but too important not to share. This is video of the Chafetz Chaim, Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan zt"l (may the memory of the righteous be a blessing) attending the first gathering of Agudath Yisrael in Vienna in 1923 (he's the man in the long coat with the visible white side curls - he was 88 years old at the time and would live for another ten years).
The First World Congress (Knessia Gedolah) of the World Agudath Israel was the first major gathering of all the different sects of World Jewry which took place in Vienna starting from Elul 3, 5683 / August 15, 1923 and which lasted for ten days.
This is from the description: (World Congress of Agudas Jisroel, new organization of Orthodox Jews, in session. Shots of delegates arriving before Congress Building (the old circus building) in Zirkue Strasse. Group shot with Chief Rabbi Chaim Sechor (Roumania) in center. Group with Rabbi Lee Preschner, member of the business committee of the association. Group with Rabbi Ehrmann (Frankfort, Germany) in conversation. Dr. Jacob Rosenheim (Frankfort) leader of the new movement. Dr. Leo Jung (New York). Sally Guggenheim. Chief Rabbi Spitzer (Czechoslovakia). Delegate from Palestine. Chief Rabbi Lowenstein (Zurich, Switzerland). Dr. Kirschbaum (Warsaw, Poland), deputy in the Sejm (Polish Parliament). Chief Rabbi Permutier (Warsaw), Sejm deputy. The famous 90 year old Rabbi Jisreol Meier Hakohen (Radin), also called "Chofez Chaim" after his great work. Identifications of delegates may be incorrect.)
I think they have the Chafetz Chaim's age wrong - he was born in 1835 and died in 1933.
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Zvi S).
For those who read Hebrew, there are further details about the conference's agenda here.
Dr. Jung zt"l was the Rabbi Emeritus of the Jewish Center of the Upper West Side of Manhattan when I was in college at Bir Zeit on the Hudson in the late 1970's. I often prayed in that synagogue on the Sabbath.
How an anti-proliferator drank the Kool Aid and sold his soul
The Washington Free Beacon's Adam Kredo shows how purported nuclear non-proliferation supporter Joseph Cirincione has changed his position by 180 degrees in order to support the Obama administration's deal with Iran.
In a 2005 article for the Washington Post,
Cirincione argued that if Iran is permitted to keep its nuclear power
plants—as the Obama administration has proposed—that “this would put
them ‘a screwdriver’s turn’ away from bomb-making capability.”
“The problem is not the reactor. It is what goes into the reactor and
what comes out,” Cirincione wrote when he was a member of the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace.
“The same plants that can enrich
uranium to low levels for fuel rods, can enrich uranium to high levels
for bombs. The same plants that can reprocess the spent fuel rods
(extracting their plutonium, uranium, and waste products) for disposal
can also reprocess the rods to make plutonium for bombs.”
This is the essence of the Iran problem. We can live with
an Iran with nuclear power reactors, we cannot accept an Iran with the
plants to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium. This would put them ‘a
screwdriver’s turn’ away from bomb-making capability. We need to create a
new international regime that prevents any new country from building
such facilities and puts the existing facilities under international
In the 10 years since publishing this article, Cirincione has altered
his position to bring it more in line with what the Obama
administration is proposing in negotiations—to permit Iran to retain the
most controversial aspects of its nuclear infrastructure.
“Joseph Cirincione was right in 2005 when he said that we cannot
leave Iran ‘a screwdriver’s turn’ away from bomb-making capability,”
said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of
Democracies (FDD). “He was correct when he said that ‘we can live with
an Iran with nuclear power reactors, we cannot accept an Iran with the
plants to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium.’”
“Now that he has changed his mind, Joe should explain why and whether
he has any red lines left that if not met would render a nuclear deal
unacceptable,” Dubowitz said.
It's called 'party uber alles' I'm afraid. That and the desire for a good job and a cushy retirement.
'You can have your nuclear weapons, but please not on my watch'
This should sound familiar. You might recall that although it was passed in 2010, Obamacare did not come into effect until 2014 (by which time it was meant to have no effect on the results of the 2012 and 2014 elections), and that some of its provisions go into effect as late as 2020.
The idea would be to reward Iran
for good behavior over the last years of any agreement, by gradually
lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment program imposed as part of
a deal that would also would slowly ease sanctions on the Islamic
Iran says it does
not want nuclear arms and needs enrichment only for energy, medical and
scientific purposes, but the U.S. fears Tehran could re-engineer the
program to its other potential use — producing the fissile core of a
The U.S. initially sought restrictions lasting for up to 20 years; Iran had pushed for less than a decade.
Iran could be allowed to operate
significantly more centrifuges than the U.S. administration first
demanded, though at lower capacity than they currently run. Several
officials spoke of 6,500 centrifuges as a potential point of compromise.
the sides agree on 15 years, for instance, the strict controls could be
in place for 10 years with gradual lifting over five. Possible easing
of the controls could see Iran increasing the number of enriching
centrifuges back toward the 10,000 or so it now has operating, and
increasing the level of enrichment while keeping it well below levels
The verdict ended a decade-long legal battle to hold the Palestinian
organizations responsible for the terrorist acts. And while the
decision was a huge victory for the dozens of plaintiffs, it also could
serve to strengthen the Israeli claim that the supposedly more moderate
Palestinian forces are directly tied to terrorism.
financial implications of the verdict for the defendants were not
immediately clear. The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, had
serious financial troubles even before Israel, as punishment for the
Palestinians’ move in December to join
the International Criminal Court, began withholding more than $100
million a month in tax revenue it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf.
verdict came in the seventh week of a civil trial in which the jury had
heard emotional testimony from survivors of suicide bombings and other
attacks in Jerusalem, in which a total of 33 people were killed and more
than 450 were injured.
is oxygen for terrorism,” Kent A. Yalowitz, a lawyer for the families,
said in a closing argument on Thursday, noting that the antiterrorism
law “hits those who send terrorists where it hurts them most: in the
defense had argued that their clients had nothing to do with the
attacks. Mark J. Rochon, a defense lawyer, told the jury on Thursday
that he did not want “the bad guys, the killers, the people who did
this, to get away while the Palestinian Authority or the P.L.O. pay for
something they did not do.”
Ashrawi, a member of the P.L.O.’s executive committee who testified for
the defense, told the jury, “We tried to prevent violence from all
citing testimony, payroll records and other documents, the plaintiffs
showed that many of those involved in the planning and carrying out of
the attacks had been employees of the Palestinian Authority, and that
the authority had paid salaries to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and
made martyr payments to the families of suicide bombers.
The 'Palestinian Authority' continues to pay 'salaries' to imprisoned terrorists, freed terrorists and the families of dead terrorists (whom they call 'martyrs') to this day. If this verdict does nothing other than to make the 'Palestinian Authority' stop that practice, that will accomplish a lot. Hopefully, the verdict will accomplish more.
And just to give you some idea of how small this country is... one of my son's study partners in yeshiva has spent the last two weeks in New York at the trial. His father HY"D (May God Avenge his blood) was murdered in one of the terror attacks that was the subject of the trial. This boy was a pre-schooler at the time.
By the way, all of the plaintiffs in the trial were US citizens.
As that graph of the trend by party shows, that summary masks some nuance. That 48 percent of Democrats is actually up significantly since the mid-1990s -- as is the figure for Republicans.
the past 12 months, though, there's been a drop of support for Israelis
of about ten points by Democrats, a plunge that rivals the decline seen
among all parties after a boost of support during the first Gulf War.
Gallup suggests that timing may have played a role. The survey was
conducted earlier this month, as the debate over Israeli prime minister
Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech to Congress began to heat up. The
speech and the invitation that prompted it have been criticized in the
United States and in Israel as injecting partisan politics into the
relationship between the two countries. Gallup's survey suggests that
might be true.
The graph above also masks Americans' overall
support of Israel. Seventy percent of Americans rate Israel favorably,
down a tick from the 72 percent expressed in 2014, but nothing
substantial. That trend has also been consistently upward since the
They also sympathized with us after they abandoned us in the Holocaust and they would undoubtedly sympathize with us if we were good Jews and went to the Iranian nuclear slaughter, God Forbid. Here's hoping that Netanyahu speaks and who cares what Democrats think.
80% of American Jews will blindly vote for whoever is the Democratic candidate in 2016 anyway. Obama will burn in hell. What could go wrong?
PS Netanyahu has been withholding tax revenue for a couple of months (since the 'Palestinians' applied to join the International Criminal Court). A NIS 2 billion debt takes years to accumulate. There's no connection between the debt and the taxes.
This is the norming of hatred and legitimizing the big lie.
In 2011, Bshara Nassar
participated in a New Story Leadership program that brought together
young Israelis and Palestinians in a powerful learning experience. The
program took 18 participants to the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum which certainly seemed like an appropriate site for reflection.
However, he realized that there was not a museum dedicated to showing
the suffering of the Palestinian people. Although the program aspired to
fairly expose participants to the historical underpinnings of the
Israeli and Palestinian narratives on modern history, Nassar realized
that it was missing a key element of the Palestinian experience – which
inspired him to create the Nakba Museum, which is live online and will
open its first physical exhibit in Washington, D.C. this June…..
I wonder whether President Hussein Obama will show up for the opening.
Spanning a period from 2006 until December 2014, they include
detailed briefings and internal analyses written by operatives of South
Africa's State Security Agency (SSA). They also reveal the South
Africans' secret correspondence with the US intelligence agency, the
CIA, Britain's MI6, Israel's Mossad, Russia's FSB and Iran's operatives,
as well as dozens of other services from Asia to the Middle East and
The files unveil details of how, as the post-apartheid South African
state grappled with the challenges of forging new security services, the
country became vulnerable to foreign espionage and inundated with
warnings related to the US "War on Terror".
יו"ר דירקטוריון חברת חשמל יפתח רונטל: הרש"פ חייבת לנו 2 מיליארד ש"ח ומהיום בצהריים נתחיל לצמצם/להגביל את זרם החשמל לרש"פ
— Gal Berger גל ברגר (@galberger) February 23, 2015
For the Hebrew-impaired, the tweet above, from Israel Radio's Gal Berger, means the following:
Yiftach Rosental, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Israel Electric Corporation: The 'Palestinian Authority' owes us NIS 2 billion, and from this afternoon, we will start to limit the flow of electricity to the 'Palestinian Authority.'
Does anyone believe that this will really happen? If yes, does anyone believe it will last more than 24 hours? I don't believe it will happen at all, and if it happens, I don't believe it will last more than a very short time.
But it's long overdue. You and I couldn't get away without paying our electric bill for more than a month or two before they would cut us off completely with far less warning.
American Jewry's gutless 'leadership' is afraid to say 'NO' to the 'New Israel Fund'
You thought that the 'New Israel Fund' and its constituent organizations would be banned from the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City because of their support for BDS (boycott, divest, sanction actions against Israel) and for organizations that hurt Israel. Then you hoped that their claim that 'of course' they would be at the parade would be proven false. Now, Ronn Torossian reports on the behind the scenes pressure being exerted on by the opponents of BDS by American Jewry's gutless 'leadership' to drop their opposition to the 'New Israel Fund' participating.
Since writing an article in the Observer urging the New York Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the UJA-Federation to refuse the New Israel Fund (NIF) participation
to the annual “Celebrate Israel Parade,” I have been inundated with
calls and e-mails from people supporting – and attacking – my position.
So much panic has been caused that Israel’s Former Ambassador Danny Ayalon – who was aware of and supported my position before I wrote of it
– received calls in the last 48 hours from Michael Miller, the head of
the JCRC; Eric Goldstein, President of UJA; and Jerry Levin, UJA’s past
President pressuring him to silence the voices condemning the NIF. They
have a Monday meeting set to discuss this issue.
In response to my op-ed, the JCRC crafted a statement, which reads
“JCRC-NY has for years required that all Parade groups must identify
with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. This year, JCRC-NY, for
clarification purposes, added a new rule that ‘all groups must oppose,
not fund, nor advocate for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
movement (BDS) against Israel, which seeks to delegitimize the State of
Israel by not recognizing it as a Jewish state.”
However the JCRC will not address the fact that on NIF’s own website
the group clearly supports BDS. Even though the NIF states that it ”
will not fund global BDS activities against Israel” a paragraph later it
apologizes for exactly those activities, stating “NIF will thus not
exclude support for organizations that discourage the purchase of goods
or use of services from settlements.”
Instead of owning up to their mistake, the JCRC is digging its heels
in and calling in favors to quiet pressure. Wealthy donors and Jewish
leaders have called on former Israeli Ambassador Danny Ayalon to try and
stop those of us nay-sayers. Ayalon is active against NIF, yet they
have summoned him for a Monday meeting to appeal to his sense of the
“importance of the parade.”
This is not an issue of the right versus the left; it is an issue of the right versus the wrong.
In private appeals, the most senior executives from these Jewish
organizations, whom I know and like personally, talk about their
families in Israel, their love for Israel, and of course, how long and
hard they have worked for the Jewish people. They had a prominent JCRC
board member and professional colleague ask me to stop writing. While
many of these people tell me privately they abhor NIF, they will not
speak out publicly.
The Talmud says that every generation gets the leadership that it deserves - for better or for worse. Clearly, we have some soul-searching to do about why we have merited such gutless 'Jewish leaders.'
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-three years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 10 to 31 years and seven grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com