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In the past, Stand for Israel has mentioned and featured Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington, D.C. We were delighted, then, that Mr. Oren was selected to join the Knesset in this week’s elections – the only American-born member:
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From writing history books on the U.S. role in the Middle East to serving as Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren seems to have spent most of his life building bridges between the Jewish state and his country of birth.
Oren, No. 4 on the slate of Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu and the only member of the incoming Knesset who was born in the United States, has been a key figure in drafting his party’s foreign policy. If Kulanu joins the new coalition, Oren could be a valuable asset for the government’s foreign policy team at a time when Israel must mend its frayed ties with the United States.
Contacted by Haaretz on Thursday, Oren said he was “proud” of Kulanu’s election results and of having been elected to the Knesset. He would not comment on the coalition talks but said he would be happy to contribute his foreign policy experience and knowledge, particularly in “not just mending but improving our relationship with the United States.”
During his ambassadorship Oren had to manage the deteriorating relationship between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, particularly their disagreements over continued Israeli construction in West Bank settlements and how to address Iran’s nuclear program.
In an interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on the eve of Tuesday’s election, Oren said he worked to balance the deep polarization in U.S. politics and to retain bipartisan support for Israel…
Friday, March 20th, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Stand For Israel
Long before Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed Congress with his concerns of a nuclear Iran, those who stand for Israel and the free world have questioned making deals with the Islamic Republic. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Dr. Denis MacEoin – an expert on Persian, Arabic, and Islamic studies – warns that the real Iran is an unstable state with an extremist belief system that may very well achieve nuclear capability sooner than we think:
When Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke from the podium of the U.S. Congress to warn of the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran, the clock was already ticking towards March 31. That is the deadline for a final agreement between the P5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) and the Iranian regime on limits to Iran’s nuclear program, in return for the lifting of sanctions currently imposed on Iran.
By now, everyone has read page upon page of commentary on what the likely consequences of such a deal may be, with a preponderance of analysts agreeing that President Barack Obama’s drive to secure a resolution is likely to put Iran on a clear course to nuclear weapons capability after about ten years. Given Iran’s tendency to enrich uranium in secret, they may achieve nuclear breakout capability well before ten years from now.
Netanyahu’s mission was to warn Congress about the possible ramifications of these negotiations not only for Israel, but for the entire free world …
Over the years, Iran’s threats to destroy Israel, to “wipe it” from the pages of history or to flatten Tel Aviv and Haifa, have been direct and unambiguous …
What is worrying more than anything is that the U.S. president and his allies seem not to understand, even a little, the country now working to build nuclear weapons: its culture, its religion, and its apocalyptic obsessions.
Obama seems to think the Iranian leadership is made up of pragmatic politicians who favor an almost areligious approach to world affairs. This calculation seems…Read More » Comments (7) »
Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 at 8:30 AM | Stand For Israel
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…Read More » Comments (15) »
Thursday, March 5th, 2015 at 8:32 AM | Stand for Israel
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…Read More » Comments (21) »
Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 8:55 AM | Stand For Israel
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:
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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.”
Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Stand For Israel
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:
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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.
Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 8:30 AM | Stand For Israel
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…Read More » Comments (20) »
Friday, February 27th, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Stand for Israel
The 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…Read More » Comments (23) »
Friday, February 20th, 2015 at 8:37 AM | Stand For Israel
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:
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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 …
Friday, January 30th, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Stand For Israel