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‘This Never Happened’: Sources Close To Trump Rally To His Defense Over Atlantic Story


President Donald Trump was quick to deny a recent report from The Atlantic, which alleged that he had said a number of disrespectful things about fallen American service members — and in the days that followed, a number of others have gone on record to support him.

Trump claimed that the story had been invented to help The Atlantic “gain some relevance.”

First Lady Melania Trump made a rare public statement as well, saying that the story was “not true” and adding, “It has become a very dangerous time when anonymous sources are believed above all else, & no one knows their motivation. This is not journalism – It is activism. And it is a disservice to the people of our great nation.”

Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders noted that she was there at the time Trump was supposed to have made the reported comments — and she said simply, “This never happened.”

Dan Scavino also said that he was with President Trump in France and called the report “complete lies.”

General Keith Kellogg, national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, also defended the president, saying, “The Atlantic story is completely false. Absolutely lacks merit. I’ve been by the President’s side. He has always shown the highest respect to our active duty troops and veterans with utmost respect paid to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and those wounded in battle.”

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie joined CNN’s Dana Bash and offered his own defense of the president Sunday, saying that he had not heard Trump disparage American service members and adding, “I would be offended too if I thought it was true. Again, I think ‘anonymous’ are the same people that brought you fake heart attacks, fake strokes, Russian collusion.”

WATCH:

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton — who left the White House and the president’s favor in very public fashion — said in his book that weather and security were the primary factors that ultimately canceled Trump’s visit to Belleau Woods in France.

Bolton also told Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts that if the canceled trip had been the result of a presidential temper tantrum, he would have given it a full chapter in his book.

The Federalist’s Ben Domenech acknowledged the many hurtful things President Trump had said about his late father-in-law — Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain — but also noted that The Atlantic had not exactly “clothed itself in glory” with regard to journalistic integrity.

WATCH:

Domenech tweeted a similar sentiment when the story broke, saying, “I’m confident I have better sources within this White House than @JeffreyGoldberg, and I expect that upon investigation his anonymously sourced story will live up to the quality we can expect from The Atlantic under his leadership.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the story “garbage,” adding, “the liberal activists at The Atlantic are uninterested in the truth and they are only interested in peddling conspiracy laden propaganda.”

And they were not alone.

Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin said that she was able to corroborate some details of The Atlantic’s story — but her sources were kept anonymous as well.

COLUMN BY

VIRGINIA KRUTA

Associate Editor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Hateful Meshugash of Jewish Apostates

Jews Against Themselves cover(1)Hat tip to Imre Herzog.  You may have read the tweet exchanges by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic with leftist anti-Zionist columnists at Ha’aretz who call Israel, ‘evil’.  Goldberg took both them and the publisher Amos Schocken to task for their bizarre commentaries. Ruthie Blum chronicled that in the Algemeiner yesterday.  That prompted University of Washington professor Edward Alexander, author of Jews against Themselves and colleague Paul Bogdanor, author of Kasztner’s Crime to expose two America academics of similar evil intent who have published in Ha’aretz: Professor Dina Hasia of NYU and Professor Marjorie Feld on Babson College near Boston.  They wrote a profile of both in an Algemeiner article appropriately entitled, “Jewish Apostates”for their hateful anti-Semitic anti-Israelism giving aid and comfort to the enemy of the Jewish nation. Note these scathing condemnations of both ‘apostates’:

Since the fury of Feld and Diner is aroused by Israel’s being a Jewish state, why do they not direct it also against Britain, a Christian state, with an official Protestant church, a Protestant monarch, and a Protestant state education system? Other self-declared Christian states with numerous non-Christian citizens include such progressive bastions as Denmark, Finland, Greece, and Norway. And let us not speak of all the states whose names begin with “Islamic Republic of…” or “United Arab…,” and who are among the most zealous supporters of such hate fests as “Israel Apartheid Week.”

Since Israel’s people have been under military as well as ideological siege throughout its existence, our professorial duo could hardly avoid the subject of atrocities. They deal with it, alas, just as one might have expected. Diner writes: “I abhor violence, bombings, stabbings, or whatever hurtful means oppressed individuals resort to out of anger and frustration. And yet, I am not surprised when they do so, after so many decades of occupation, with no evidence of progress.” Can these historians really be unaware that terrorism against Jews in the Jewish homeland began decades before the “occupation”? As Paul Berman observed about apologists of their ilk, “Each new act of murder and suicide testified to how oppressive the Israelis were. Palestinian terror, in this view, was the measure of Israeli guilt. The more grotesque the terror, the deeper the guilt…”

Feld and Diner are nothing if not frank. They do not even bother to hide the logical end-point of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Diner not only boycotts everything Israeli, but also many of her co-religionists in the Diaspora. “I feel a sense of repulsion,” she explains, “when I enter a synagogue in front of which the congregation has planted a sign reading, ‘We Stand With Israel.’ I just do not go and avoid many Jewish settings where I know Israel will loom large as an icon of identity.”

As genocidal fanatics build nuclear bombs in Iran; as Hezbollah arms itself with over a hundred thousand missiles in Lebanon; as men, women, and children are butchered with knives in Israel; as small children in a Jewish school and shoppers in a kosher deli are massacred in Europe; as synagogues and community institutions are fortified against the never-ending nightmare of Islamist violence throughout the world, the Israel-haters take pride in their own perfidy by shunning their fellow Jews.

“One who separates himself from the [Jewish] community” – by showing indifference when it is in distress – “has no share in the world to come.” So declared Maimonides, the greatest of all Jewish sages, in the twelfth century (Laws of Repentance, iii). But if this verdict seems too remote and old-fashioned for Diner and Feld, let them ponder the following, delivered at the height of the Holocaust: “The history of our times will one day make bitter reading, when it records that some Jews were so morally uncertain that they denied they were obligated to risk their own safety in order to save other Jews who were being done to death abroad” (Ben Halpern, Jewish Frontier, August 1943).

Last October, we published in the Iconoclast blog of the New English Review, a review of Alexander’s “Jews against Themselves” by Phoenix-based David Isaac, “Why are Jews against Israel”. the creator of the video education series, “Zionism 101”that appeared in the Washington Free Beacon. We wrote:

Isaac’s review of Alexander‘s collection of jeremiads, “The Enemy Within” published in today’s Washington Free Beacon excoriates these diverse ‘shadtlanim’ beyond the usual suspects. Isaac pays tribute to Alexander withering and acerbic wit in these essays. He writes:

Alexander describes “the new forms taken by Jewish apostasy in an age when Jewish existence is threatened more starkly and immediately than at any time since the Nazi war against the Jews.” He notes that there are always readers astonished to learn that Israel-bashing Jews exist. But precisely these home-grown haters are the ones who “play a disproportionate role in basic

Isaac notes Alexander’s theme threading his oeuvre defending Israel against the usual and not so usual suspects:

Alexander is a staunch defender of Israel, the foundation of which he calls one of the “few redeeming events in a century of blood and shame, one of the greatest affirmations of the will to live ever made by a martyred people, and a uniquely hopeful sign for humanity itself.” As an English professor at the University of Washington, he wrote books on moral exemplars of the Victorian period like Matthew Arnold. He could have remained in his ivory tower, but instead he has delved into the muck. With pen in hand—happily Alexander is a superb writer and wields a very sharp pen—he has taken apart Israel’s enemies in books ranging from The Jewish Idea and Its Enemies to The Jewish Wars to The State of the Jews and The Jewish Divide Against Israel.

RELATED ARTICLE: Anti-Semitism on Campus 2016

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

J Street Launches Ad Campaign Promoting Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal [+Video]

You probably have seen our panel discussion on the J street Challenge and comments about the pro-Iranian lobby group NIAC board members, “J Street Challenge documentary and Informed Panel Discussion in Pensacola.“ We noted:

Former deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Lenny Ben David, revealed forensic analysis of the IRS tax filings of J Street. He noted the questionable funding by known enemies of Israeli both in the U.S. and the Middle East. Jeremy Ben Ami is exposed by Ben David apologizing for why he hid major funding for J Street from George Soros, who is fervently anti-Israel. A J Street board member, Genevieve Lynch, also sits on the board of Iran’s chief lobbying arm in Washington, the National Iranian American Council. Ben David also raised the question of why a Filipino woman living in Hong Kong underwrites almost a third of J Street’s budget.

In an earlier Iconoclast post we referenced a Breitbart News report on a former NIAC employee, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, who was now an NSC staffer in the Obama White House:

Breitbart News in a March 31st, 2015 dossier article on Ms. Nowrouzzadeh reported:

Found that a person with the same name has previously written several publications on behalf of NIAC. According to what appears to be her LinkedIn account, Nowrouzzadeh became an analyst for the Department of Defense in 2005 before moving her way up to the National Security Council in 2014.

A NIAC profile from 2007 reveals that Sahar Nowrouzzadeh appears to be the same person as the one who is currently the NSC Director for Iran. The profiles indicate that she had the same double major and attended the same university (George Washington).

Critics have alleged that NIAC is a lobby for the current Iranian dictatorship under Ayatollah Khamenei. A dissident journalist revealed recently that NIAC’s president and founder, Trita Parsi, has maintained a years-long relationship with Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif.

NIAC was established in 1999, when founder Trita Parsi attended a conference in Cyprus that was held under the auspices of the Iranian regime. During the conference, Parsi reportedly laid out his plan to introduce a pro-regime lobbying group to allegedly counteract the influence of America’s pro-Israel and anti-Tehran regime advocacy groups.

NIAC has been investing heavily in attempts to influence the talks in favor of an agreement with the state sponsor of terror. In recent days, its director, Trita Parsi, has been spotted having amiable conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s brother.

With the announcement of P5+1 nuclear agreement by President  Obama on Monday, July 14th, like night follows day, J Street is launching a multi-million dollar video campaign supporting the deal.  All while all  Israelis , many members of Congress and Americans support Prime Minister Netanyahu’s view that the pact is a dangerous  “historic mistake.” They have been joined by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates castigating the deal with Iran posing an existential threat in the Middle East and some suggest here in the US, as well.

The Algemeiner reported on this latest example of J Street revealing its promotion of the President’s outreach to a nuclear Iran:

The left-wing Jewish lobby J Street said Wednesday that it is building support for the Iran nuclear deal through a “multimillion dollar national campaign.”

“J Street wants Congress to know that, despite some loud opposition to the deal coming from Jewish organizational leaders, our polling suggests that a clear majority of Jewish Americans agrees with us and backs the deal,” J Street said in its announcement of a campaign “to make the case to lawmakers that the agreement reached yesterday advances both US and Israeli security interests.”

The campaign, according to J Street, “will launch with a 30-second advertisement highlighting the unprecedented inspections and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear and military sites under the agreement.

Algemeiner noted the comments of Lori Lowenthal Marcus, national correspondent for The Jewish Press and  Jeffery Goldberg of The Atlantic, a frequent interviewer of President Obama.

Marcus said:

While every other Jewish group which praised the negotiators who reached the agreement “did so for their (the negotiators’) efforts,” only J Street praised the actual content of the deal. On Tuesday, J Street called the deal “a major step forward that will make the world appreciably safer.”

Goldberg tweeted:

“If Israel’s elected leader, and the head of the opposition, oppose the Iran deal, can J Street support it and still call itself pro-Israel?”

Maybe that’s why MK Isaac  Herzog Israeli opposition leader of the Leftist  Zionist Union (Labor) Party said he would work with Prime Minister  Netanyahu’s coalition  to stop the Iran deal.  We wonder which Iranian  conduit funneled the money to underwrite the launch of the J Street video ad with the Orwellian title: “Good for America/Good for Israel”.

Watch the J Street ad on this You Tube video:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Obama’s Unrealistic View of Israelis

General Kuperwasser

Israel Gen Kuperwasser (Ret.) Former Director General, Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Source: Honest Reporting

Gen. (Ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser is an  Israeli Intelligence expert and former Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. He wrote Jeffrey Goldberg, these remarks following the latest Atlantic interview and Obama’s appearance at Goldberg’s synagogue in Washington, Adas Israel on Friday morning, May 22nd. The President  received applause from the 1,200 who attended  his address, a day prior to the Shavuot Jewish holiday. Shavuot  celebrates  the  reading of the law by “Moshe rabbenu’ (Moses the teacher) before the assembled Exodus multitude  gathered under the Mountain. Perhaps the President had that it mind on the occasion of his address to the assembly of Washington Jewish notables at Adas Israel who like Goldberg profess to be “progressives” like the President. After all, Obama said that many in the audience considered him  the equivalent of “the First Jewish President.”

Others distant from Washington, like our colleague  Dr. Richard l. Rubenstein; noted theologian, former university president ,author of seminal works on post holocaust period,including  Jihad and Genocide  consider Obama “the most radical President ever.”  To Goldberg’s credit, he published  in the latest edition of The Atlantic  Kuperwasser’s ‘realistic” views, as an Israeli expert of record, contrasting them with the President’s “optimistic” views . I have to thank my friend Pat Rooney here in Pensacola for sending me them.  Coming as they do before tonight’s airing of an interview with the President of Israel Channel 2 extolling  his view why the P5+1 deal with Iran is in Panglossian terms – the best of all possible options. A deal considered a bad one by a bi-partisan panel of former Senators, ex-CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden and experts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in an update from the Iran Task Force on Capitol Hill, yesterday.  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius ‘considers  the current P5+1 deal  “useless” as both he and Gen. Hayden know that nothing will be verifiable as the fissile material will be hidden at military sites that Iran’s Supreme Ruler has denied access to UN IAEA inspectors.

I posted on my Facebook page yesterday this comment that may reflect  what many Israelis and Gen. Kuperwasser may believe about the President:

Obama says there is no military option, but a tough verifiable deal for Iran’s nukes. When asked if PM Netanyahu would exercise a military option, he said “I wouldn’t speculate.” He also suggested he “understood the fears and concerns” of Israelis. When this airs on Channel 2 in Israel Tuesday night the silence will be deafening. This President does not have either Israel’s or this country’s back in dealing with an untrustworthy Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Goldberg prefaced Kuperwasser’s response by offering that he agreed with less than half of them.  Here are excerpts from The Atlantic article, A Critique of Obama’s Understanding of Israel.

President Obama’s anger toward Netanyahu is misplaced, especially given his extraordinary lack of criticism of Palestinians for far more egregious behavior. The Palestinians, after all, are the ones who refused to accept the president’s formula for extending the peace negotiations. It is Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) who have called for “popular resistance,” which has led in recent years to stabbings, stonings, and attacks with cars and Molotov cocktails against Israelis. Since the PA ended the peace negotiations, there has been a sharp increase in attacks and casualties in Israel. Hamas, for its part, openly calls for the extermination of Israelis and sacrifices a generation of children towards that goal.

In response to these threats, all the president had to say at Adas Israel was that “the Palestinians are not the easiest of partners.” Rather than recognizing how fundamentally different Palestinian political culture is, the president offered slogans about how Palestinian youth are just like any other in the world. This is a classic example of the mirror-imaging—the projection of his own values onto another culture—that has plagued most of his foreign policy.

This excerpt from the president’s speech in Jerusalem in 2013 is emblematic of his mirror-imaging, and the problems with that perspective:

“… I met with a group of young Palestinians from the age of 15 to 22. And talking to them, they weren’t that different from my daughters. They weren’t that different from your daughters or sons. I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with those kids, they’d say, I want these kids to succeed; I want them to prosper. I want them to have opportunities just like my kids do. … Four years ago, I stood in Cairo in front of an audience of young people—politically, religiously, I believe that they must seem a world away. But the things they want, they’re not so different from what the young people here want. They want the ability to make their own decisions and to get an education, get a good job; to worship God in their own way; to get married; to raise a family. The same is true of those young Palestinians that I met with this morning. The same is true for young Palestinians who yearn for a better life in Gaza.”

Yes, we want a prosperous life for our neighbors, but unlike the president’s daughters, there are some Palestinian children who are educated to have a completely different set of priorities. Our core values are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in this world, but Hamas proclaims “We love death more than you love life.” Happiness will be reached in the next world, according to the Hamas ideology.

So why does Obama pick on Netanyahu and not on Abbas? The most likely reason is directly related to a conflict in the West between two schools of thought, both dedicated to defending democratic and Judeo-Christian values: Optimism and realism. Obama is a remarkable proponent for the optimist approach—he fundamentally believes in human decency, and therefore in dialogue and engagement as the best way to overcome conflict. He is also motivated by guilt over the West’s collective sins, which led, he believes, to the current impoverishment of Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular. He believes that humility and concessions can salve the wound, and Islamists can be convinced to accept a global civil society. “If we’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to us,” Obama thinks.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, is a realist. Due in part to Israel’s tumultuous neighborhood, he has a much more skeptical attitude of Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian President Rouhani’s government. Netanyahu does not see these groups as potential moderates, willing to play by the international community’s rules; instead, he acknowledges their radicalism, and their intent to undermine a world order they consider a humiliating insult to Islam. The major difference between the Islamists and the extremists, according to Netanyahu, is one of timing. The Islamists are willing to wait until the time is ripe to overthrow the existing world order.

Western realists worry that optimists are actively aiding Islamists in the naïve hope that they will block out the extremists. The realists believe that a resolute stance, with the use of military force as an option, is the best way to achieve agreed-upon Western goals. Obama both prefers the optimist approach and believes that his hopeful dialogues will achieve the best possible outcome. Netanyahu, on the other hand, whose nation would feel the most immediate consequences from Western concessions, does not have the luxury of optimism.

This helps explain why Obama targets Netanyahu for criticism. The prime minister’s insistence on the dangers of the optimist approach threatens to expose the inherent weakness of Obama’s worldview and challenge the president’s assumption that his policy necessarily leads to the best possible solutions. For Netanyahu and almost everybody in Israel, as well as pragmatic Arabs, the president’s readiness to assume responsibility for Iran’s future nuclear weapons, as he told Jeffrey Goldberg, is no comfort. The realists are not playing a blame game; they are trying to save their lives and their civilization. To those who face an existential threat, Obama’s argument sounds appalling.

          […]

Does it make sense for Israel—in the face of an aggressive Iran, the rise of Islamic terror organizations across the Middle East, and the fragmentation of Arab states—to deliver strategic areas to the fragile and corrupt PA, just to see them fall to extremists?

Should Israel at this moment aid in the creation of a Palestinian state, half of which is already controlled by extremists who last summer rained down thousands of rockets on Israel, while its leaders urge their people to reject Israel as the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people? Should it aid a movement that follows these five pillars: 1) There is no such thing as the Jewish people; 2) The Jews have no history of sovereignty in the land of Israel, so the Jewish state’s demise is inevitable and justified; 3) The struggle against Israel by all means is legitimate, and the means should be based simply on cost-benefit analysis; 4) The Jews in general, and Zionists in particular, are the worst creatures ever created; And 5) because the Palestinians are victims, they should not be held responsible or accountable for any obstacles they may throw up to peace?

In short, even though Israel, under Prime Minister Netanyahu, remains committed to the formula of “two states for two peoples, with mutual recognition,” the implementation of this idea at this point is irrelevant. The PA’s poor governance and the general turmoil in the Middle East render any establishment of a Palestinian state right now unviable. President Obama admitted as much, reluctantly, but continued to criticize Netanyahu instead of betraying his optimist paradigm. Netanyahu’s realism would stray too far from the path Obama, and other Western leaders, have set in front of them. But while Obama and the optimists offer their critiques, Netanyahu and the realists will be on the ground, living with the consequences the optimists have wrought.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Dissected: President Obama’s Anti-Israelism

This past Memorial Day Weekend Jews observed  the Festival of  Shavuot (spring harvest festival) celebrating the giving of the law by Moses (Moshe rabbenu “Moses our teacher”) to the assembly of ancient Hebrews and others in the exodus multitude gathered under the mountain. Just prior to Shavuot President Obama gave his ‘drash’ (commentary) on relationships with Israel its existential enemies and the Jewish people in two pre-holiday events. The first was his interview with Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on Israel, ISIS and Iran while the second was his appearance last Friday morning at Washington Conservative synagogue, Adas Israel  Congregation ,where  he spoke to a  gathering 1,200 progressive Jews, including Goldberg. He suggested in his synagogue remarks that some in the progressive American Jewish community consider him perhaps the first “Jewish President”. That would likely support the opinion of Obama by redoubtable NER colleague, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein, noted theologian, scholar and author of Jihad and Genocide and other  noted  post Holocaust works. Rubenstein took the measure of Obama early on in our June 2010 NER interview posted on YouTube calling Obama, “the most radical President ever”. Watch it here.

Both Vic Rosenthal’s Abu Yehuda  blog post, “For Obama it’s a Moral Crusade” and Brett Stephens’ Tuesday Wall Street Journal column, “The Rational Ayatollah Hypothesis” suggest that the President’s comments sinuously convey anti-Israelism.

Rosenthal gives the following evidence:

Some of the reasons I and others find Obama anti-Israel are these:

  1. His stubborn attempts to force Israel into a suicidal agreement with the Palestinians.
  2. His acceptance (regardless of his words) of a nuclear-armed Iran, and his efforts to stop Israel from acting against it.
  3. His open contempt for our Prime Minister.
  4. His taking the Turkish president’s side in the Mavi Marmara affair, and forcing PM Netanyahu to apologize to the Turks.
  5. His acceptance of Hamas claims that the IDF acted ‘disproportionally’ in Gaza (as shown by his demand for an immediate cease-fire and imposition of an arms embargo during the recent war).
  6. The aforementioned leaks about Israeli actions in Syria and elsewhere.
  7. His acceptance of the anti-Israel narrative that Israel’s right to exist rests on the Holocaust and that it must be balanced against the rights of the ‘deserving’ Palestinians (as expressed in his 2009 Cairo speech).
  8. His attempts to interfere in Israeli politics, including trying to defeat Netanyahu at the polls. It’s ironic that American money was used to help get out the presumably anti-Netanyahu Arab vote — and then Obama bitterly criticized Netanyahu for telling his supporters that they should get out and vote because the Arabs were!
  9. The double standard he displays: compare his condemnation of the PM for his election-day remark with his lack of response to the daily barrage of Israel-hatred and veneration of terrorists coming from the official Palestinian media. Or look at his expressed concern for Palestinians suffering the indignities of checkpoints against his failure to mention the almost daily Jewish victims of Palestinian terrorism.

I could go on, but this should be enough to show that the belief that Obama is anti-Israel is substantive, not simply a political reflex as he suggests.

Stephens provides additional evidence:

Can there be a rational, negotiable, relatively reasonable bigot? Barack Obama thinks so.

So we learn from the president’s interview last week with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg—the same interview in which Mr. Obama called Islamic State’s capture of Ramadi a “tactical setback.” Mr. Goldberg asked the president to reconcile his view of an Iranian regime steeped in “venomous anti-Semitism” with his claims that the same regime “is practical, and is responsive to incentive, and shows signs of rationality.”

The president didn’t miss a beat. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s strategic objectives, he said, were not dictated by prejudice alone. Sure, the Iranians could make irrational decisions “with respect to trying to use anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool.” They might also pursue hate-based policies “where the costs are low.” But the regime has larger goals: “maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their country,” and getting “out of the deep economic rut that we’ve put them in.”

Also, Mr. Obama reminded Mr. Goldberg, “there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country,” to say nothing of Europe. If the president can forgive us our trespasses, he can forgive the aAatollah’s, too.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that a man with an undergraduate’s enthusiasm for moral equivalency (Islamic State now, the Crusades and Inquisition then) would have sophomoric ideas about the nature and history of anti-Semitism. So let’s recall some basic facts.

Iran has no border, and no territorial dispute, with Israel. The two countries have a common enemy in Islamic State and other radical Sunni groups. Historically and religiously, Jews have always felt a special debt to Persia. Tehran and Jerusalem were de facto allies until 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and 100,000 Jews still lived in Iran. Today, no more than 10,000 Jews are left.

So on the basis of what self-interest does Iran arm and subsidize Hamas, probably devoting more than $1 billion of (scarce) dollars to the effort? What’s the economic rationale for hosting conferences of Holocaust deniers in Tehran, thereby gratuitously damaging ties to otherwise eager economic partners such as Germany and France? What was the political logic to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s calls to wipe Israel off the map, which made it so much easier for the U.S. and Europe to impose sanctions? How does the regime shore up its domestic legitimacy by preaching a state ideology that makes the country a global pariah?

Rosenthal concluded his column:

Obama does not actually love Israel. Possibly he loves some kind of idealized version of Israel, in which Israelis behave like good Christians, turning the other cheek at terrorism and “taking risks” to the point of sainthood. Of course, such an Israel wouldn’t last two weeks in this Middle East.

What he does seem to believe is that the Palestinian Arabs, like American blacks, are denied civil rights. He believes that this is due to the racism of the Israeli government and Prime Minister; that this is a special case of Western colonialism a la Edward Said; and that Barack Obama ought to use his power to right this ‘wrong’.

For Obama, like Said, the Palestinian Cause is a moral crusade.

Stephens ended his column:

Whether the Ayatollah Khamenei gets to act on his wishes, as Eichmann did, is another question. Mr. Obama thinks he won’t, because the ayatollah only pursues his Jew-hating hobby “at the margins,” as he told Mr. Goldberg, where it isn’t at the expense of his “self-interest.” Does it occur to Mr. Obama that Mr. Khamenei might operate according to a different set of principles than political or economic self-interest? What if Mr. Khamenei believes that some things in life are, in fact, worth fighting for, the elimination of Zionism above all?

In November 2013 the president said at a fundraising event that he was “not a particularly ideological person.” Maybe Mr. Obama doesn’t understand the compelling power of ideology. Or maybe he doesn’t know himself. Either way, the tissue of assumptions on which his Iran diplomacy rests looks thinner all the time.

We will more to say about this in a forthcoming review in the NER of Manfred Gerstenfeld’s latest book on the subject of anti-Israelism as political warfare, A War of a Million Cuts.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of President Barack Obama and Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in Oval Office.

Humanitarian Transfer of Palestinians the Solution for Israel’s Dilemma?

“Virgil” in today’s Breitbart report had a provocative assessment of Middle East issues in the wake of this Tuesday’s Victory by incumbent Israeli PM Netanyahu, The Future of the Middle East: Ominous Scenarios and a Possible Solution for Israel:

If we think hard, we can envision that Israel, the U.S., and the cause of moderation and modernization in the Middle East all have a real chance to make solid gains. But we will need to be alert to opportunities as they arise—and be ready to jump on them, making tough choices.

We can identify three likely future scenarios, potentially dangerous and, for sure, consequential:

Despite international pressure, Israel will not agree to the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

“Virgil” said this about the irresolvable Palestinian issue facing Netanyahu and Obama:

First, no Palestinian state. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has long opposed the creation of a Palestinian state, albeit quietly. And then, on March 16, on the eve of the Israeli election, he opposed it—loudly. And as a result, he rallied the nationalist right within his country and was re-elected by a wide margin, far wider than most experts had anticipated. Since then, under enormous pressure from the Obama administration and the mediaNetanyahu has sort of backed down—except, of course, that he doesn’t mean it. He doesn’t want a new Palestinian state, and neither do Israelis.

As a result of this flare-up, whatever lingering wisps of affection that might have existed  between Netanyahu and President Obama have now vanished.   So the immediate challenge for Israel will be to ride out the deep hostility of the Obama administration.

“Virgil” proposes something familiar, humanitarian  transfer as a solution to the Palestinian state impasse:

Since the Israelis believe that they need the land of the West Bank, permanently, for their own physical security, perhaps it’s best if the Palestinians depart. Okay, if one wants to put it more bluntly, perhaps it’s best if the Palestinians are forcibly removed from the West Bank.

In Israel today, the idea of removing the Palestinians is known as “transfer.”   Indeed, Breitbart News’s Ben Shapiro endorsed the idea back in 2003:

Here is the bottom line: If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It’s an ugly solution, but it is the only solution. And it is far less ugly than the prospect of bloody conflict ad infinitum. When two populations are constantly enmeshed in conflict, it is insane to suggest that somehow deep-seated ideological change will miraculously occur, allowing the two sides to live together.

Shapiro concluded: “Transfer is not genocide. And anything else isn’t a solution.”

Transfer would be controversial and it would not be easy. But if, in the next ten or more years, the three scenarios we have described come to pass—that is, the Palestinian problem continues to fester, the Muslim world continues to be shaken by sectarian strife, and Iran continues its march toward nuclearization—not to mention whatever else might be happening in the world, then Israel could have the opportunity, as well as the obligation, to change the demographic facts on its ground while the rest of the world might be preoccupied with other issues.

Moments in history such as that don’t come very often.

“Virgil” of Breitbart is extolling the solution of Humanitarian Transfer to solve Israel’s Palestinian Dilemma.  It is a solution that both Dr. Arieh Eldad, former National Union MK, and Palestinian Jordanian Murdar Zahran have proposed. “The Jordan is Palestine”  option that  the Obama Administration, the Netanyahu coalition in the last government, King Abdullah of Jordan, the now defeated Zionist Union and left parties in the Knesset have implacably opposed. Although Netanyahu’s ‘clarification’ of his no Palestinian State election stance post election prompted the ire of President Obama virtually icing relationship with the new Israeli government once formed.  Watch this post Knesset election Huffington Post interview with the President.

Here is what Dr. Eldad said in our 2008 interview,republished in our collection, The West Speaks:

Eldad: Humanitarian resettlement of Arab refugees is neither original to me nor is it new. Arab refugees are not under the responsibility of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, but instead are controlled by a special agency designated only for Palestinians. – The UN Refugee Works Relief Administration or UNWRA. 50-70 million refugees have been resettled since the end of World War II. More than four million Palestinians are the only ones still in these UNWRA refugee camps. Because the UNWRA camps are virtually administered by Palestinians, these UNWRA refugees, now in the third generation in 60 years, have been taught incitement to hate against Israel and Jews, all thanks to funding of nearly a half billion dollar annually donated by tax payers in the West. … I am convinced that these people must be resettled, preferably in Jordan. Jordan is effectively, Palestine. 70% of the Jordanian population are Palestinians. This is the de facto fulfillment of “the two state solution.” If a large scale international program was created to bring water, energy, housing and jobs to a designated area in Jordan a willing transfer could happen. Within a few years we would be able to resettle 2-3 million refugees in Jordan.

This plan will not solve the problem of Arab Israeli citizens who oppose the state of Israel as a Jewish state. They do not want individual rights. They want national minority rights in Israel. They demand that Israel become a Bi-National state. They are not satisfied with Jordan as the Palestinian state. They want a third state for Palestinians only. Effectively what they are seeking is a ‘Judenrein’ (Jew free in German) state in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. They seek to undermine the State of Israel and reject it as a Jewish state. They want to eliminate Israel so that Jews will not have a state of their own in the world. They want to change the national Anthem “Ha’tikva” to something else that they can identify with, change the flag, and erase “the law of return” that grants Israeli citizenship to every Jew who makes Aliyah. In other words they are the enemies within the Jewish state of Israel.

Murdar in his 2012 Middle East Quarterly, article, “Jordan is Palestinian” wrote:

Thus far the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has weathered the storm that has swept across the Middle East since the beginning of the year. But the relative calm in Amman is an illusion. The unspoken truth is that the Palestinians, the country’s largest ethnic group, have developed a profound hatred of the regime and view the Hashemites as occupiers of eastern Palestine—intruders rather than legitimate rulers. This, in turn, makes a regime change in Jordan more likely than ever. Such a change, however, would not only be confined to the toppling of yet another Arab despot but would also open the door to the only viable peace solution—and one that has effectively existed for quite some time: a Palestinian state in Jordan.

[…]

In most countries with a record of human rights violations, vulnerable minorities are the typical victims. This has not been the case in Jordan where a Palestinian majority has been discriminated against by the ruling Hashemite dynasty, propped up by a minority Bedouin population, from the moment it occupied Judea and Samaria during the 1948 war (these territories were annexed to Jordan in April 1950 to become the kingdom’s West Bank).

As a result, the Palestinians of Jordan find themselves discriminated against in government and legislative positions as the number of Palestinian government ministers and parliamentarians decreases; there is not a single Palestinian serving as governor of any of Jordan’s twelve governorships.

Witness this comment from Yossi Halevy of the Shalom Hartman Institute, the only voice  of reality during a biased Charlie Rose Show panel discussion on the 2015 Knesset Elections, ” Israelis believe that Palestinian State maybe both an existential solution and a threat given the impasse over negotiations”. Halevy conveyed  that view that Israelis across the spectrum view Obama consummation of an Iran nuclear deal an existential threat. Halevy quoted left wing author David Grossman saying that Obama Administration on Iran nuclear deal is “criminally naive and perilous for Israel.”

The Charlie Rose panel was composed of the usual suspects, save Halevy.  It included with Jeffrey Goldberg of The AtlanticAri Shavit of Ha’aretz, Ronen Bergman Military Intelligence Columnist of Yedioth Ahronoth, Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign against Palestine Occupation and Jerusalem Fund advocate for Anti-Israel BDS, and Lisa Goldman of  leftist +972 Magazine and Israel –Palestine Fellow of the New America Fund.

The comments of Goldberg and Ronen were especially problematic and controversial. Ronen suggested that only the international BDS campaign could change things by hitting Israelis in their back pockets, calling out Netanyahu as the virtual unbeatable “Caesar from Caesaria.” Goldberg, who has virtually unlimited interview access to the Obama West Wing,  thought Netanyahu drawing attention to Israeli Arab votes was equivalent to a “Lee Atwater “southern strategy” suggesting that the narrow Right wing government would fall in a year with new elections. Suffice to say he warned that relations will (have) gotten worse with Obama. Shavit was his usual  self bemoaning the progressive peacenik failure on the Left in Israel, Israel losing its soul, portending looming violence -a reference to a Third Intifada-  and demographic problems ahead. Munayyer hewed to  his usual pro- Palestinian anti-Israel stance calling it a tribal election.  Goldman  in her comments praised the Joint Arab List third place in the Knesset elections as an important development for “Palestinian Israelis” but pooh-poohed  comments of Shavit  that a Third Intifada was not in the cards; “the West Bank is in lock down”. She is living now in Brooklyn and a colleague of Peter Beinart at the NAF who is a decidedly anti-Israel, liberal Zionist. Watch the Charlie Rose panel discussions:

“Virgil”, Eldad and Murdar may be correct that humanitarian transfer for Palestinians from Judea and Samaria may be a logical solution to the current impasse. But if isolated Israel under the new Netanyahu coalition ever considered such a unilateral move it would erupt in a firestorm of international criticism and spike the already toxic relationships between the Obama Administration and Israel and possibly rupture completely the existing Jordanian Israeli peace treaty. The irony is that the Sunni nations in the region witnessing the rise of nuclear hegemony over four Arab capital by the Shia Mahdists in Tehran, wouldn’t be troubled by such a proposal. Unlike, Obama and the EU, they do not believe any longer that peace in the Middle East doesn’t run through Jerusalem.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Bibigate – The Contretemps over Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Last Saturday night a retired U.S. Navy officer said “I’ll bet you even money that Bibi will withdraw from the proposed speech before a joint session of Congress”. I joshed him and said “I wouldn’t count on it.”

Sunday, I received suggestions that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu should have a Plan B given the rising contretemps in the media over US House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to talk about Iran before a Joint Session of Congress. There  was a welter of criticism from the White House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and mainstream media talking heads  included David Brooks of the New York Times and  Chris Wallace and Shepherd Smith of  FoxNews.  They were admonishing Speaker Boehner and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer with terms like “dicey, wicked more for photo op” and “partisan politics” and “unwise for Israel.”  It was ostensibly about the lack of courtesy shown the President by not giving prior notice to the White House of the invitation extended to Netanyahu.  There was pique by certain unnamed senior officials in the White House over what some might call Bibigate.

However, let us remember there was increasing  bi-partisan support for new Iran nuclear sanctions legislation despite  the President’s warning that he would veto it if it was passed. New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez was particularly incensed at the President for his questioning his motivations.  Menendez said: “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization, when they are the ones with the original sin.”  Lest, we forget, the President had threatened a veto if increased Iran legislation passed.  It was abundantly clear in the January 16th Joint Press Conference at the White House when the President Obama agreed with UK PM David Cameron’s remarks, urging Senators on Capitol Hill not to take up new sanctions legislation at a “sensitive time”. Thus, one could speculate that Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu on January 21st to speak to a Joint Session of Congress in early March was a rebuttal to the President.

The rancor over Bibigate was visible in the final week of January into February.  Wednesday, January 28thCNN released a clip of Fareed Zakaria’s February 1st GPS interview with President Obama.  Obama suggested that a visit with Netanyahu was “inappropriate,” as it was too close to the upcoming March Knesset elections.  The President said, “I’m declining to meet with him simply because our general policy is, we don’t meet with any world leader two weeks before their election, [I] think that’s inappropriate. And that’s true with some of our closest allies.”  Those comments engendered another rebuttal that the White House may have been giving tacit support to the involvement of Presidential Campaign aide Jim Byrd in advising the Labor-Hanuat opposition to Netanyahu in the Knesset general elections.

Friday, January 30th, Jeffrey Goldberg published an interview in The Atlantic with Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, a former US Republican strategist and member of the Netanyahu’s inner circle.   Dermer discussed the background for Boehner’s issuance of the invitation to Netanyahu to speak to Congress on Iran. Dermer suggested that while the Prime Minister “meant no disrespect towards President Obama … Netanyahu must speak up while there is still time to speak up”.

That led Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson on the blog Legal Insurrection to opine that Obama’s not offended; he just wants Bibi out of office.

The Hill round up on the Sunday Talk shows had comments from Rep. Paul Ryan on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and Arizona Senator John McCain on CNN’s “State of The Union.”  Over the issue of Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu Ryan said,” The Invitation to Israeli prime minister was ‘absolutely’ appropriate. I don’t know if I would say it’s antagonizing”.  McCain drew attention to the new low in U.S. – Israel relations under Obama saying, “It’s the worst that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”

Virtually out of nowhere, Sunday, February 1st, commentary from an “Insight” blog post of the Israeli Institute for National Security Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University shed light on a bizarre theory of what was behind Bibigate.  The author of the INSS post, Zaki Shalom, suggested:

The backdrop for the Administration’s expressed dissatisfaction with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s intention to present his position on negotiations with Iran to Congress, creating a rather transparent linkage between Israel’s positions on negotiations with Iran and sanctions, and U.S. willingness to assist in combating the Palestinian attempt to exert international legal and diplomatic pressure on Israel.

On Thursday, January 30, 2015, the Senate Banking Committee voted out a ‘softer’ version of the Kirk –Menendez Sanctions legislation by a vote of 18 to 4, including six Democrats.  As reported by The Hill, the legislation:

… Would impose sanctions on Iran if a comprehensive agreement to roll back its nuclear program is not reached by June 30 and would allow the president to waive sanctions indefinitely for 30 days at a time.

However, the bill would be shelved until March 24th for a possible floor vote.  Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) said, “All of us understand it’s not going to be voted on before March 24”. While the measure may portend a possible override vote should President Obama veto it that still requires Senator Menendez to keep the group of 17 Democratic Senators who support this version of sanctions legislation in the bi-partisan alliance.

Israeli concern over a weak final agreement by March 24th  is reflected  in a Times of Israel report published  Sunday, February 1st,” US sources deride Israeli ‘nonsense’ on Obama giving in to Iran.”  Israeli  sources contend that Iran is likely to get 80 % of what it is seeking- the ability to continue enrichment with  upwards of 9,000 centrifuges, especially the advanced IR-2s. The Israelis believe that would give Iran nuclear breakout within weeks.  Add to that mix Iran flaunting pictures in a ToA  report of a Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) capable of covering all of Europe. That is to be followed in 2015 to 2016 by one cap ICBM range. Of course there a number of us who believe that Iran may already have purchased nuclear weapons from rogue regimes, but may lack nuclear warheads, which are likely to be supplied by North Korea to be mounted on those ICBMs.

Especially as the President observed, there is less than a 50/50 chance of reaching an agreement. Then assuming the current polls are correct and Bibi retains the ability to form a new Knesset coalition after the March 17th election, he may speak with both authority and strength.

As a usual astute observer of Israel from Europe, Imre Herzog, opined when I wrote him on my side bet “you might win the bet”.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Washington Times File Photo  5-24-2011.

Obama’s Faceoffs with Putin and Netanyahu

Washington was the center of contretemps over Putin’s seizure of Crimea and widening public differences with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

We recently interviewed Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute and reviewed of his new book Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes. (See The Peril of Engaging Rogue States: An Interview with Dr. Michael Rubin  and Engagement is Folly}.

Putin, according to Rubin is the consummate zero sum geo -politician. Diplomacy for the Kremlin thugocracy pales in comparison to unleashing military adventurism to recreate the former Soviet empire. Witness Georgia in 2008 with the severance of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and even the Kremlin support for Russian speaking breakaway state of Transnistria between the Ukraine and Moldavia. Remember Putin abhors NATO presence anywhere near the Russian sphere of influence. See the prescient title of a piece I wrote back in August 2008, Georgia: “Moscow Rules” and the West Wimps Out.  We had Bush and Condoleezza Rice back then.

The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) witnessed the transfer of nearly 2000 nuclear missiles to Russia followed by 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances by the UK, US and Russia that guaranteed Ukrainian sovereignty including the rights of Russian citizens who chose to live there.  Recently Russia negotiated the extension of the lease on the Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol from 2017 to 2042. The move was heavily criticized by the opposition forces now in power in Kiev.  By seizing the Crimea province from Ukraine, the Russian guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty has been breached. Russian military exercises near Finland and the Ukraine are clear demonstrations of military force to send a message to the EU and the Obama White House West Wing not to dare send NATO forces to the Polish Ukrainian border. Thus, while there will be lots of economic sanctions and isolation rattling by Washington and Brussels, it is up to the G-8 and G-20 groups to consider ejection of Moscow, which will doubtless come up short.

Sochi may lose tourist revenues from the upcoming Paralympics, followed by the loss of the G-8 Summit in June and even the inaugural Russian Formula 1 race scheduled for August 2014.  Meanwhile the Moscow Stock Exchange and Ruble were punished in trading today. Whether that continues will be influenced by Putin’s contempt for the West and the threats by Obama that “there will be consequences”.  So, while Obama’s Russian reset strategy like his pivot to Asia and push for a Final Status agreement between Israel and the PA have been potential failures.

Just look at the interview with Obama by Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg about the President’s entreaties to Netanyahu to “seize the moment and make peace”. This included  a veiled no veto threat by the US should the PA, as suggested in the Oxford Union remarks of PA negotiator Saeb Erekat on Al Jazeera’s Head to Head program of last Friday,  might opt for accession to the UN Security Council for statehood.

This would let 5 million Palestinian UNWRA refugees file for compensation against Israel.  Further, the PA could file a case for crimes against humanity brought before the International Criminal Court at The Hague the day after the April 29 deadline is passed for an agreement set by Secretary of State Kerry.  Even the brief comments by Obama and Netanyahu in the Oval Office about “tough choices” versus non helpful Palestinian moves sent a chilling message.  (See this CBS news report, here).

Tomorrow, we shall see what happens when Netanyahu speaks to 14,000 delegates at the AIPAC Policy Conference following Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ)   speech. They would urge the delegates to scamper up Capitol Hill to convince their Senators and Representatives to pass the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act, S. 1881 co-sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Menendez. Problem is that Iran may already have its nukes given a decade long cooperative weapons development and ICBM program with North Korea. Read my article; Has Iran Developed Nuclear Weapons in North Korea?

As to Israel’s capabilities, realize that it already has ICBMs – the nuclear equipped Jericho III.  Yes, as the ancient Chinese curse goes, “may you live in interesting times”.

RELATED COLUMN: ‘Delusional’: Krauthammer Slams Obama Admin’s Belief that Putin has ‘Blinked’ on Ukraine

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.