Netanyahu’s Important New Proposal

(Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/ASHERNET)

(Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/ASHERNET)

Since Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on Tuesday, much has been written about the address. One of the more insightful pieces we’ve read so far is Alan Dershowitz’s analysis at The Algemeiner, where he takes a close look at exactly what the Israeli prime minister proposed regarding the Iranian nuclear threat:

I was in the House gallery when Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a logical and compelling critique of the deal now on the table regarding Iran’s ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons. He laid out a new fact-based proposal that has shifted the burden of persuasion to the White House.

His new proposal is that “If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.”  His argument is that without such a precondition, the ten-year sunset provision paves, rather than blocks, the way to an Iranian nuclear arsenal, even if Iran were to continue to export terrorism, to bully nations in the region and to call for the extermination of Israel.

With logic that seems unassailable, Netanyahu has said that the alternative to this bad deal is not war, but rather “a better deal that Israel and its neighbors might not like, but which we could live with, literally.” Netanyahu then outlined his condition for a better deal: namely that before the sun is allowed to set on prohibiting Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the mullahs must first meet three conditions: stop exporting terrorism, stop intruding in the affairs of other countries, and stop threatening the existence of Israel.

If the mullahs reject these three reasonable conditions, it will demonstrate that they have no real interest in joining the international community and abiding by its rules. If they accept these conditions, then the sunset provision will not kick in automatically but will require that Iran demonstrate a willingness to play by the rules, before the rules allow it…

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Thursday, March 5th, 2015 at 8:32 AM  | Stand for Israel

Netanyahu’s Bid to Thwart Bad Deal with Iran

(Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/ASHERNET)

(Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/ASHERNET)

In the wake of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress yesterday, The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz writes that the prime minister gave the speech of his life in a bid to thwart “a very bad deal” with Iran:

It was widely suggested, ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu’s spectacularly controversial address to Congress on Tuesday, that the prime minister would have to deliver the speech of his life in order to justify the damage he would inevitably be causing to relations between his government and the Obama Administration. In the event, Netanyahu did deliver the speech of his life …

He began, dutifully, with expressions of appreciation for the president, and for everything the president has done for Israel. But he continued, for the vast majority of his address, to explain the profound misjudgment of Iran — its ideology, its goals, and the immense danger it constitutes to Israel, the region, the United States, and the world — that lies at the heart of the “very bad deal” emerging from the US-led P5+1 negotiations …

But Netanyahu’s address had a clear practical goal as well. He was lobbying Congress, and lobbying the American public watching at home to pressure Congress, to assert its maximal capacity to thwart the progress of the deal that Obama has cooked up. While 50 or 60 legislators elected to absent themselves, the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats were there to nod sagely at Netanyahu’s elaboration of Iran’s rapacious, religiously driven ideology and territorial ambitions, to applaud, to jump to their feet, to be won over.

For all the cynicism and the political filtering over Netanyahu’s motivations, furthermore, the prime minister is convinced, in his heart of hearts, that Iran is determined to advance its benighted ideology across the region and beyond. The prime minister is convinced, in his heart of hearts, that the deal taking shape will immunize the ayatollahs from any prospect of revolution from within or effective challenge from without. The deal…

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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 8:55 AM  | Stand For Israel

African-American Pastors: Don’t Skip Netanyahu Speech

(Photo: youtube)

(Photo: youtube)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before Congress tomorrow has caused dissension among U.S. legislators, with some planning to skip the event. The Washington Times reports that a group of African-American pastors has urged the members of Congress not to miss Netanyahu’s remarks:

The message from a dozen prominent black pastors this week … was loud and clear: Don’t skip out on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyuhu’s speech.

 “That is a slap in the face to the people of Israel, and not only that, it’s a slap in the face to God. And not only that, it’s also a slap in the face of all Bible-believing African-American people in this country…” said Pastor Dexter D. Sanders of the Rock Center for Transformation in Orlando, Florida …

Pastor Cecil Blye of More Grace Ministries in Louisville, Kentucky, dismissed suggestions that the House violated protocol by extending the invitation to weigh in on U.S. negotiations with Iran.

“Charges from some members of the United States Congress about the breaking of protocol are no more than a very red herring,” Mr. Blye said. “The American people need to hear Israel’s voice on this urgent matter now. If one side of the aisle can facilitate this, so be it.”

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Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 1:07 PM  | Stand For Israel

Danger Ahead for Obama on Iran

(Photo: wikicommons/ Fastfission)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Fastfission)

Many times we find ourselves disagreeing with Jeffrey Goldberg’s opinions. But the recent piece the often pro-Obama columnist wrote for The Atlantic says that while Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is getting the attention, the real issue is that the U.S. does not make a deal that allows Iran to become a nuclear power:

I’m fairly sure Netanyahu will deliver a powerful speech, in part because he is eloquent in English and forceful in presentation. But there is another reason this speech may be strong: Netanyahu has a credible case to make. Any nuclear agreement that allows Iran to maintain a native uranium-enrichment capability is a dicey proposition; in fact, any agreement at all with an empire-building, Assad-sponsoring, Yemen-conquering, Israel-loathing, theocratic terror regime is a dicey proposition.

The deal that seems to be taking shape right now does not fill me—or many others who support a diplomatic solution to this crisis—with confidence. Reports suggest that the prospective agreement will legitimate Iran’s right to enrich uranium (a “right” that doesn’t actually exist in international law); it will allow Iran to maintain many thousands of operating centrifuges; and it will lapse after 10 or 15 years, at which point Iran would theoretically be free to go nuclear. (The matter of the sunset clause worries me, but I’m more worried that the Iranians will find a way to cheat their way out of the agreement even before the sun is scheduled to set)…

This is a very dangerous moment for Obama and for the world. He has made many promises, and if he fails to keep them—if he inadvertently (or, God forbid, advertently) sets Iran on the path to the nuclear threshold, he will be forever remembered as the president who sparked a nuclear-arms race in the world’s most volatile region, and for breaking a decades-old promise to Israel that the United States would defend its existence and viability as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

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Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 8:30 AM  | Stand For Israel

Spat over Speech Can’t Spoil US-Israel Relations



Much of the news concerning Israel and the United States this past week has been about the feud between the two nations’ leaders. But what about the relationship between the nations, themselves? The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby writes that despite the public clash between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American President Barack Obama, the U.S.-Israeli relationship remains as strong as ever:

But however fraught the relationship between Bibi and Barack, the rapport between their nations — the US-Israel bond — remains as deep-rooted and durable as ever.

The day before Rice’s appearance on “Charlie Rose,” Gallup released its newest survey of American attitudes toward Israel. Despite weeks of clamor over Netanyahu’s visit and the litany of White House complaints about Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, 70 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Jewish state — virtually indistinguishable from the 72 percent favorability Gallup measured last year. When asked to choose sides in the regional conflict, public backing for Israel was unchanged at 62 percent, close to its all-time high.

Most Americans feel a visceral attachment to Israel and what it represents, irrespective of their views about any particular Israeli politician. It works the other way, too: Israelis are intensely pro-American, whether the US president is one they adore (e.g., Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) or tend to mistrust (e.g., Obama)…

Only at a superficial level is this about partisan or political loyalties. Immensely more important is the lethal threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. Even without the bomb, Iran is the world’s most dangerous regime — apocalyptic incubator of terrorism and jihad, ruthless suppressor of human rights, unflagging zealot for wiping Israel “off the map,” and fanatic about bringing “Death to America.” Like any democratic politician, Netanyahu can be maddening or fickle. But there is no issue on which he has been so consistent, for so long, as preventing Tehran from acquiring the nuclear capability that would empower it to fulfill…

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Friday, February 27th, 2015 at 3:06 PM  | Stand for Israel

Why Netanyahu Broke Publicly with Obama over Iran

ObamaNetanyahuThe public rift between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is more than a personality dispute, a senior Israeli official has said. It has been building for more than two years and reflects a deep disagreement about how best to limit the threat of a rising Iran, according to Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of intelligence:

[Steinitz] said that the nuclear agreement contemplated by Obama would ratify Iran as a threshold nuclear-weapons state, and that the one-year breakout time sought by Washington wasn’t adequate. And he stressed that these views aren’t new.

“From the very beginning, we made it clear we had reservations about the goal of the negotiations,” he explained. “We thought the goal should be to get rid of the Iranian nuclear threat, not verify or inspect it.”

Steinitz, who helps oversee Iran strategy for Netanyahu, said he understands the United States wants to tie Iran’s hands for a decade until a new generation takes power there. But he warns: “You’re saying, okay, in 10 or 12 years Iran might be a different country.” This is “dangerous” because it ignores that Iran is “thinking like an old-fashioned superpower.”

Netanyahu’s skepticism reached a tipping point last month when he concluded that the United States had offered so many concessions to Iran that any deal reached would be bad for Israel. He broke with Obama, first in a private phone call Jan. 12, and then in his public acceptance of an offer by GOP House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress on March 3 and, in effect, lobby against the deal.

The administration argues that the pact taking shape, although imperfect, is preferable to any realistic alternative. It would limit the Iranian program and allow careful monitoring of its actions. Angered by what it sees as Netanyahu’s efforts to sabotage the agreement, the administration decided in early February to limit the information it shared with Israel about its bargaining with Iran. …

Steinitz said the Israeli government understands the U.S. goal of a 10- to 15-year duration…

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Friday, February 20th, 2015 at 8:37 AM  | Stand For Israel

Netanyahu’s Adviser Pens Letter to New York Times

President Netanyahu and Ambassador Dermer (Photo: GPO)

President Netanyahu and Ambassador Dermer (Photo: GPO)

The New York Times has often voiced opinions that have been negative towards Israel. Recently, the Times requested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu write an op-ed to be featured in the paper. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and adviser to the PM, Ron Dermer, penned the following in response to the request:

I received your email requesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu submit an op-ed to the New York Times.  Unfortunately, we must respectfully decline.

On matters relating to Israel, the op-ed page of the “paper of record” has failed to heed the late Senator Moynihan’s admonition that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that no one is entitled to their own facts.

A case in point was your decision last May to publish the following bit of historical revision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:

It is important to note that the last time the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the General Assembly, the question posed to the international community was whether our homeland should be partitioned into two states. In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative.  Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued.

This paragraph effectively turns on its head an event within living memory in which the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan accepted by the Jews and then joined five Arab states in launching a war to annihilate the embryonic Jewish state …


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Friday, January 30th, 2015 at 11:35 AM  | Stand For Israel

How the Palestinian UN Bid Was Defeated

(Photo: wikicommons/ Patrick Gruban)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Patrick Gruban)

In today’s Daily Dispatch, we report on the Palestinians’ failed bid for statehood – struck down yesterday by the United Nations Security Council – that called for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank, as well as East Jerusalem being established as the Palestinian capital. Yediot Achronot’s Itamar Eichner analyzes just how the resolution was defeated, in large part due to the close bond between Israel and the United States:

“There was a clear message from the international community to the Palestinians: Do not try to use tricks to replace negotiations,” a top Foreign Ministry official told Ynet, but the American effort to torpedo the Palestinian’s UN Security Council resolution demanding Israel end its ‘occupation’ of the West Bank proved once again the importance of maintaining good relations with Washington.

Furthermore, the abstention by African nations also demonstrated the importance of the visits made by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to the African continent. However, the change of power set to take place in the Security Council on Thursday will change the balance of power against Israel. 

The rejection of the Palestinian resolution by the UN Security Council on Tuesday night was a reminder of the great extent to which Israel-US relations serve as a critical factor in Israeli national security. It only strengthens the need for Israel to maintain good relations with Washington in general and more specifically with the White House, and prevent disagreements such as the one that occurred between Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Israeli diplomats say that the US played a crucial role in the effort to block the Palestinian resolution which sought to set a time table for Israel’s disengagement from territories for a future Palestinian state without direct negotiations.

“The US had a very significant role,” said a high-ranking official at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. “Not only were they willing to veto, they also worked side-by-side with Israeli diplomats in…

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Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 at 8:39 AM  | Stand For Israel

Why the News Stories About Sanctioning Israel?

(Photo: wikicommons/ James Emery)

(Photo: wikicommons/ James Emery)

In the past week, rumblings have occurred that the U.S. might sanction Israel on account of its settlements. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams writes that while such sanctions will never happen, the mere mention of them empowers international anti-Israel sentiment:

There were several news stories over the last week suggesting that the Obama administration is considering some form of sanctions against Israel to punish it for “settlement construction.” One story, in the Washington Free Beacon, was typical in noting reports that the administration “is considering imposing sanctions on Israel for continuing construction on Jewish homes in Jerusalem.” Ha’aretz, the Israeli newspaper, headlined its story “U.S. mulls harsher action against settlement construction.”

At first glance this is all incomprehensible. Congress would never permit such sanctions against Israel and would act to block them …

So what could possibly be the administration’s goal in “mulling” sanctions and seeing such stories appear in the press?

Simple: giving a signal to Europe. The debate is hot and heavy in Europe right now about sanctions, BDS, and recognition of a Palestinian state. There is no way for the administration to intervene in that debate on the anti-Israel side–except these news stories suggesting how angry it is at the government of Israel. That support for Israel in Congress means no such sanctions are possible would not deter the Europeans; in fact it would spur them on to do what they might believe the president would do if he only could get past the “Israel lobby.”

It’s possible that even in Europe the energy behind such moves will diminish now, as Israeli elections near. But news stories about mulling of sanctions in Washington will always give additional ideas and energy to anti-Israel forces. The White House should make it crystal clear that it is considering no such action, was never considering such action, and believes that such sanctions are wrong and harmful.

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Thursday, December 11th, 2014 at 8:31 AM  | Stand For Israel

A Guide to Elections in Israel



This week, it was decided that Israel will hold new elections in March 2015 – elections that will shape the next Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. In order to better understand the Jewish state’s system of government, our wonderful friends at Israel’s Embassy in Washington, D.C., have provided an online guide to elections in Israel. While this guide was designed for the 2013 elections, it is an invaluable resource for information on how the Israeli election process works:

Elections in Israel are based on nationwide proportional representation. The Knesset is elected directly by the voters, not through a body of electors. Knesset elections are based on a vote for a party, rather than for individuals …

The number of seats a party receives in the Knesset is proportional to the number of votes that party receives.

The Knesset is elected for a four-year term, although most governments have not served a full term and early elections are a frequent occurrence. Israel has a multi-party system based on coalition governments as no party has ever won a majority of seats in a national election.

Visit the Israeli Embassy’s election guide for more information, including an extensive Frequently Asked Questions section.

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Friday, December 5th, 2014 at 8:56 AM  | Stand For Israel

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State of Israel"

Rabbi’s Commentary
What Leadership Looks Like

This past Tuesday, all eyes were on Washington, D.C., where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought his case against a nuclear Iran…

Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »


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