Kerry’s “Last Chance” Diplomacy Implodes

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

Authoring the effective obituary of the latest round of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin faults U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for creating a false sense of urgency which, along with his overwrought rhetoric, will have a long-term harmful impact on prospects for peace:

But the real problem here isn’t the unbalanced nature of such a deal that is not likely to be carried out anyway. Rather, it is the sense of hysteria that has been invested in the latest iteration of the Middle East peace process. Having decided to try to succeed where all of his predecessors have failed, Kerry did so by claiming that it was the region’s last chance for peace even though there was no reason to believe the conflict was in danger of re-igniting or there were reasonable prospects for success.

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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 at 8:13 AM  | Stand For Israel

An American Student Stands for Israel


Last week we told you about two American universities’ recent battles with the BDS movement. One of these, the University of Michigan, struck down a proposed divestment resolution. This short video shows a young woman share her own thoughts and experiences on Israel.

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Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 2:04 PM  | Stand For Israel

The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back (or Kerry’s Latest Blunder)

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

(Photo: U.S. State Dept.)

Former Israeli Ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker, shares a letter he wrote to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry following Kerry’s disastrous testimony before Congress in which he characterized the Israeli negotiating position that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state as “a mistake”:

Mr. Secretary, one might have expected, in light your position and function as convenor and mediator in the present Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, that you would refrain from making more public value judgments as to whether Israel’s position is, or is not “a mistake.” While clearly you are entitled to maintain your own opinion, you have no right to express this in such one-sided and prejudicial terms, thereby undermining the very integrity of the negotiating table and selectively prejudging a substantive issue.

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Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 8:42 AM  | Stand For Israel

A Murderer’s Life and the Chances of Peace

(Photo: wikicommons/ Friends123)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Friends123)

With another group of Palestinian terrorists set to be released from Israeli jails, Jonathan Tobin writes in Commentary that the fact that so many Palestinians regard terrorists as heroes says a lot about Palestinian culture and the prospects for any future peace deal:

But the fallacy at the core of such thinking—which is the basis of the U.S. pressure on Israel to release even more such killers—is that the very fact that Palestinians treat men with Jewish blood on their hands as heroes illustrates that theirs is a culture which is not ready for peace with Israel. Only when such people are regarded as relics of an age of unreason rather than lionized by Palestinians will it be possible to imagine that they are prepared to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn and live in peace beside it.

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Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 8:20 AM  | Stand For Israel

Deputy Defense Minister: “If More Terrorists Go Free, I Will Resign”

Israelis protest release of Palestinian terrorists (Photo: ASHERNET)

Israelis protest release of Palestinian terrorists (Photo: ASHERNET)

As the deadline looms for Israel to release 26 Palestinian prisoners on Saturday, difficult decisions will have to be made and conflicting opinions are sure to be aired. Israeli deputy defense minister Danny Danon has announced that if his country does, in fact, go through with the prisoner release, he will resign his position:

While I respect my government colleagues, I could not remain silent amid the calls of mothers and fathers of victims of terror who were horrified by the notion of their loved ones’ killers being set free.

Danon’s op-ed piece (linked to above) is very well-written and provokes much thought. We pray for the safety of those in the Holy Land and for wisdom for its leaders.

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Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 2:46 PM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: In Like a Lion

(Photo: Library of Congress, c. 1890-1900)

(Photo: Library of Congress, c. 1890-1900)

The old saying goes that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. As we prepare to bid a particularly lionlike March farewell, we give you this photo, of the Lions’ Gate into Jerusalem’s Old City, taken around the turn of the century and colorized. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 2:12 PM  | Stand For Israel

The Crimean War and the Road to Israel

(Photo: Roger Fenton)

(Photo: Roger Fenton)

As events in Ukraine have heated up recently — with anti-Semitism, civil unrest, and Russian aggression all running rampant — you have probably heard a lot about Crimea, the peninsula on the Black Sea that lies south of Ukraine’s mainland. It has now been annexed by Russia, with the United States and its allies not recognizing the Russian action.

Crimea is also the namesake for the Crimean War — a conflict that you might have learned about back in history class — which is what this quick SFI history lesson is about. You see, the Crimean War — directly or indirectly — led to the Jewish reclamation of the Holy Land, as well as many other historical happenings.

On March 28, 1854, England and France declared war on Russia, marking the start of the Crimean War. Russia had been battling the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey) for a year, and now faced not only the Turks, but the French and Brits, as well. The Crimean War lasted until 1856, when peace negotiations resulted in the Treaty of Paris.

England had lost many young men during the years it aided the Ottoman Empire, and had also lost a lot of money. The Holy Land was, at the time, part of the Ottoman Empire. Because it had lost so much during the war, England forced the Turks to allow Jews and Christians to settle in the region then known as Palestine. This settlement opened the door for future arrivals, culminating in the Zionist movement and the aliyah (immigration to Israel) of many Jews at the end of the 19th century.

So, while we here at Stand for Israel pray daily for peace and know that war is an awful reality of this world, this particular conflict did result in something good. Some other things that came about because of the Crimean War:

  • Many modern nursing and medical techniques were developed and practiced by British nurse Florence Nightingale and Jamaican-born nurse Mary Seacole.
  • Being one of the first “modern” wars, the Crimean War saw…
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Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 8:43 AM  | Stand For Israel

Drowning Israel’s California Detractors with Hope, Technology

(Photo: PikiWiki - Israel)

(Photo: PikiWiki – Israel)

Paul Miller, writing in the San Diego Union Tribune, gives us some much-needed good news about the impact that Israeli know-how is having on the state and people of California and how this kind of techno-diplomacy is among the best answers to those anti-Israel activists who favor boycott, divestment, and sanctions:

California’s water deficiency is in reality America’s crisis. From a multibillion-dollar wine and dairy industry to fruits and vegetables consumed by an entire nation and beyond, Israeli technology isn’t just saving California billions of dollars and the countless ancillary jobs and small businesses dependent on those industries. The Jewish state is helping bail out an entire country that is dependent on its most populous state for life’s daily essentials.

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Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 8:27 AM  | Stand For Israel

Could the Peace Process Be Destroying Israel’s Legitimacy?

(Photo: ASHERNET/GPO)

(Photo: ASHERNET/GPO)

We have written and posted here often that the peace process is not helping Israel (or the Palestinians). But is it possible that the endless concessions and threats and false starts are actually hurting the Jewish state? Tom Wilson, writing at Commentary, thinks the answer is yes:

Israel has been locked down in the latest round of negotiations for months now. To make these talks happen Israel was first compelled to consent to the release of 104 convicted Palestinian terrorists. In the past Israel has been forced to freeze Jewish communities in the West Bank and even projects in Jerusalem. In both cases these concessions were to no avail. President Obama and Secretary Kerry regularly threaten Israel that should this current round of allegedly last-chance negotiations fail, Israel will be cast asunder to meet its fate in a cold world of boycotts and diplomatic isolation. Concessions and goodwill from Israel are rarely cause for praise from Western allies, they have simply come to be expected.

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Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 8:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel Targets Key Hamas Operative in the West Bank

iitnThe Israeli military last week conducted an early morning raid in the West Bank to arrest a Hamas operative who they believed was planning a major attack against Israelis. The raid led to a shoot-out, leaving three Palestinians dead and rioting in the streets.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• Tensions between Turkey and Syria escalated after Turkish fighter planes shot down a Syrian war plane they claimed violated its airspace.
• U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Jordan this week in an effort to save the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, urging leaders from both sides to extend the April deadline for an agreement.
• President Obama and key allies met to discuss sanctions against Russia and how they could impact European economies.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s founder and CEO, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, on the recent outbreak of terrorist attacks against Israel.

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Thursday, March 27th, 2014 at 5:00 PM  | betsy.schmitt@ifcj.org
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State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
God Is Present This Holy Season

Even as efforts for peace seem to be at an impasse all around the world, the Passover story can give us hope and affirmation that God is always present in our lives, and even when situations seem impossible, He is working in ways we cannot imagine.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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