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September 20, 2015: A Howl of Fury

Nothing less will do...
Five days since the end of Rosh Hashana – which had been for me a time of spiritual high, offering a sense of my place in the world.  How badly I had wanted to hold on to that high.
I knew, of course, that there was violence on Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) over Rosh Hashana, violence that had actually begun before Rosh Hashana and then quickly spread to Muslim areas of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The violence was sparked when a decision was made by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to block entry to the Mount by the Murabitun and Murabatat: male and female Islamist, which gathered on the Mount daily to intimidate and shout at Jewish visitors.  They have been paid by Hamas to do this.
Here is a video from last year that provides a particularly painful illustration of what has been going on.  Jewish fathers peacefully guiding their children, set upon by screeching Arabs and needing the protection of Israeli police at every step:
Know!  Please, that this obscenity, this outrage, had been occurring – not only regularly, but with increasing frequency and growing intensity.

The statement from Ya’alon’s office stated that he was convinced that barring these troublemakers was necessary to protect national security and public order. The Islamist groups’ activities “create a central component in the creation of tension and violence on the Temple Mount in particular, and Jerusalem in general.”

Ya’alon described the radicals as engaging in “dangerous incitement” against tourists, visitors and worshipers on the Temple Mount, which leads to violence and could put lives at risk.

The Murabitun and Murabatat’s goal is to undermine Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, change the reality and the existing arrangements, and harm freedom of worship. They are linked to hostile Islamist organizations and are directed by them.”  (Emphasis added)
Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when this announcement was made, for the harassment had gone on all too long. 
I want to emphasize the importance of what is playing out here.  You do not have to be a fervently religious Jew who believes there will be a Third Temple on the Mount one day in order to grasp the deep significance of what it taking place: The challenge to Jews on the Temple Mount is meant to delegitimize Israel’s presence, to deny Jewish historical rights to their most sacred place. Drive Jews off of the Mount, and you have weakened Israel’s position.
Radical groups have long used invented threats to the al Aksa mosque on the Mount as a way of inciting Arabs against Jews.  It is a flash point.
And so, when these particular radical groups were banned, equally radical masked Muslim young men began to stockpile rocks, fireworks and pipe bombs in their precious al Aksa mosque, intent on making trouble on the Jewish holiday.  Their goal was to prevent Jews from coming up to the Mount over Rosh Hashana.

Temple Mount 

Credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters
They made trouble, indeed.  Even border police were attacked. But it was contained: police used non-lethal methods and drove the rioters back into the mosque, where they were blocked in.  And so, Jews were permitted up over the holiday.  I was glad to learn this, when the holiday was over and I was again accessing the news (no radio, no TV, no computer over the holiday).
I think it’s particularly important to make sure that everyone understands that while the Muslims proclaim their religious devotion to the site, they are ready to use it for purposes of violence. Said Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan (Likud), the rioters have turned the compound into a “warehouse of terror.”

Interior Minister Gilad Erdan

Credit: Flash 90
What is more, charged Erdan, “I deeply regret the incitement and lies that the PA [headed by Mahmoud Abbas] and Arab MKs have spread about the Temple Mount.”  
Note this: Arab members of our own Knesset participate in the lies.  No surprise to those in the know about the political situation – but it must be pointed out.
The violent mayhem resulted in one Jewish death late Sunday night.  Alexander Levlovitz, returning from a Rosh Hashana dinner, was bombarded by rocks thrown at his car in the East Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem.  He lost control of his vehicle, which ran into a ditch and hit a pole.  He died of his injuries in the hospital early Monday morning.

The scene of the car crash September 13, 2015 resulting from a rock-throwing attack in East Talpiot, Jerusalem in which Alexander Levlovitz, 64 [inset] was killed. (Arik Abulof/ Jerusalem Fire and Rescue Services/Courtesy)

Credit: Arik Abulof/ Jerusalem Fire and Rescue Services/Courtesy
On Tuesday night, after the close of Rosh Hashana, Prime Minister Netanyahu called a security meeting in his office.  On Wednesday, speaking of a new level of deterrence, he announced:
“We are changing policy. The existing situation is unacceptable and we intend to give the tools – to both soldiers and policemen – to take very severe action against the rock throwers and fire bomb throwers.

That process has begun, but is not yet fully in place, particularly with respect to when live fire may be used against those throwing rocks and firebombs.  The greatest concern is with regard to firebombs or rocks deliberately thrown at moving cars.  It must be considered that when this is done, the perpetrator had an intent to kill.

The violence continued through the end of last week, with  “day of rage” in Jerusalem called by Arab radicals on Friday.

A number of steps were taken by Israeli security in anticipation of this – including the calling up of 800 Border Police reservists.  And still there was violence, with three police officers wounded.  I believe an expanded contingent of Border Police will be retained in Jerusalem.
Today, according to Twitter, a rock (more like a boulder) was thrown through the window of a car, barely missing the baby within:

Embedded image permalink

Credit: @aviMayer
I have no additional information.
There is a great deal being said about the “status quo” on the Temple Mount, with the Arabs claiming that Israel wants to change it and permit Jewish prayer, while Netanyahu insists that he will retain it.
This requires clarification.
The “status quo,” my friends, is grossly unfair to Jews (and other non-Muslims):  Muslims have entry to the Mount all of the time (unless that entry is curtailed because of a security threat).  Non-Muslims (Jews, Christians and others) have very limited access – Mon. through Thursday, three hours in the morning, one in the afternoon.   Muslims have 10 gates by which to enter, non-Muslims have only the Mughrabi gate.  Besides stockpiling stones, and playing soccer (I am not joking), Muslims can freely pray on the Mount. Jews and Christians cannot.  They come only as “tourists.”
Talk about a howl of fury!
Now the Arabs are afraid Jews might start praying on the Mount. In point of fact, the High Court of Israel said Jews do have the right to pray there, but with a proviso.  If the police determine that their praying might cause a security risk, they have the right to forbid it.
And so, the police forbid it routinely, because it is guaranteed that there will be “unrest” if the Arabs see Jews praying.  Easier to deprive Jews of the right to pray at their holiest site, than to cope with a riot.
I have long wished that once the High Court had delivered its ruling it would have been put into practice: Jews should have been permitted to pray, and whatever was needed to control the riot that would have ensued should have been done.  They would have gotten the message.   
But that’s not what we have now, and our prime minister says he will retain that current policy – he insists that Jews, while not praying, be allowed to go up.
This week, Mahmoud Abbas said that Muslim blood shed for the Temple Mount is “pure”:
”...we are all here for the sake of Jerusalem, and I tell you frankly, a Palestinian state without Jerusalem will never be. The Palestinian state must have holy East Jerusalem as its capital, its capital which was occupied in 1967. All their steps, all these divisions - we will not allow them. Al-Aqsa is ours, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is ours, it is all ours. They [Jews] have no right to defile them with their filthy feet, and we will not allow them.”
Dore Gold, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded thus:
”Today the world is divided between those trying to undermine religious coexistence and those trying to protect it. By saying that the 'filthy feet' of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount desecrate it, Mahmoud Abbas has now clarified on which side he stands."
His point is of major significance:  There are those, frightened by the violence, who claim we have to give the Muslims who are rioting “hope,” via negotiations for a “two state solution.” 
Mark it well: They do not want to share with us, they want us gone.
There have been multiple suggestions regarding building of a synagogue on one corner of the Mount, which is very large. Or alternating hours, with Jews up some times and Muslims others. There is a model for this at the Machpelah (Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron).  But they will have none of it because they want us gone.
It is to be expected, of course, but it is an unacceptable state of affairs none-the-less: Agents and governments in many quarters take that familiar ‘even-handed’ approach, advising both parties to “avoid escalating tensions.”  As if actions to quell violence are on a par with the violence itself.  As if there is no reason to call out the raging Muslims on their behavior, or to defend the rights of Jews.
In some cases fingers are pointed at the Israelis. The king of Jordan is especially good at this along with the PA.
Such is the world.  A world in which we are required to stand very very strong.
Yom Kippur, our day of greatest sanctity, begins at sundown on Tuesday.  I do not know if I will post again before that.  The days between Rosh Hashana are meant for contemplation and meditation and prayer.
Tomorrow I will be attending classes in preparation for Yom Kippur with two of my favorite teachers. 
I took the time to write this because it is necessary to set the record straight.  Please, share the information in this posting broadly.
To all, I wish a tzom kal – an easy fast.  May we and all of Israel be sealed for a good year. 


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Monday, September 21, 2015 at 02:59PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 10, 2015: You Cannot Wash Your Hands of That Blood

These are the words of Senator Ted Cruz, who spoke superbly at the rally against the Iran deal at the Capitol yesterday, a rally of some 10,000 energetic people who came out in brutal heat.


Credit: Getty

You can hear his entire speech here:

Some highlights of his 12 minute talk (emphasis added):

“...Right now, today, 42 Senate democrats have come out in support of this deal. It is my hope and prayer that every one of those Senate Democrats reconsiders -- that they go home, and they fall to their knees, and they pray tonight. I agree with former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman that this vote is quite likely the most important vote that any member of Congress, any member of the Senate, will cast in their entire career. 

“There was a time when there was a tradition of Scoop Jackson Democrats, of JFK Democrats, of Joe Lieberman Democrats, of Democrats who were willing to defend national security.  Sadly, that is becoming rarer and rarer in today's Congress. So to every Democratic senator, they are facing a choice: do you value the safety and security of the United States of America; do you value standing with our friend and ally, the nation of Israel; do you value the lives of millions of Americans; or do you value more party loyalty to the Obama White House. To every Democratic senator who's said he or she will support this deal, I ask you to consider: how will you look in the eyes of the mothers and fathers of our soldiers, the hundreds of soldiers, American soldiers, who were murdered in Iraq with Iranian IEDs that came from General Soleimani. This deal lifts sanctions on General Soleimani. Tell me, if you're a Democratic senator, how you look a mom in the eye and say, "I voted to lift sanctions on the man who murdered your son when he was defending this nation."

“...I want to ask every Senate Democrat - how will you look in the eyes of every mother, or father, or sons or daughters, of those who are murdered by jihadists, those Americans who are blown up, those Americans who are shot, those Americans who are killed, those Israelis who are murdered? And let me be clear - if you vote to send billions of dollars to jihadists who have pledged to murder Americans, then you bear direct responsibility for the murders carried out with the dollars you have given them. You cannot wash your hands of that blood.

“And let me say to Republican leadership...There are two men in Washington, D.C. who can defeat this deal: their names are Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner. Under the terms of the Corker-Cardin review legislation, the clock does not begin ticking until the President hands over the entire deal, and he has not handed over the side agreements. What that means is that all that has to happen is for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to say, ‘The Congressional review period has not started, under federal law it is illegal for Obama to lift sanctions.’

“Now, this is a lawless President. So the odds are significant even if Congress did that, this President would ignore the law and try to lift sanctions. But I want in particular to speak to the CEO and the Board of Director and General Counsel of every financial institution, every bank that is holding frozen Iranian money. If this President behaves illegally and decrees you can hand that money over to Iran, that does not exempt you from the legal obligation to follow the law. And any bank that listens to this President and releases billions to an international terrorist like the Ayatollah Khamenei will face billions of dollars in civil liability and litigation. And there will come a President who is not named Barack Obama.

“...if Senate Democrats decide that party loyalty matters more than national security, and if Republican leadership decides that a show-vote is more important than stopping this deal, then the single most important issue in 2016 will be stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

“...Let's rise up and tell every elected official in Washington, no more talk, no more show votes, get it done: stop this deal.”


That is it, my friends.  This charge is for all of us.  Even if you have contacted all your elected representatives in Congress before, do it again, today.

If you are dealing with Democrats who declared they would support the deal, or who have not declared yet – tell them “You cannot wash your hands of that blood!”  This should go especially to the likes of Senator Cory Booker and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who pretend deep caring and vote for their careers.  Let Senator Jerrold Nadler hear from you. As well as all those other phonies.  Tell them this is their chance to redeem themselves, and that Heaven is watching.

If you are dealing with Republicans who are tepid in their responses, who have not spoken out strongly against the deal, tell them it is in their hands – they can stop the deal. Tell them that according to Federal law the clock for Congressional review has not begun ticking because the president has not handed over to Congress all the details of the deal, as required by the Corker Bill.  Demand that they stand strong.

If you have elected representatives who have spoken out with courage, thank them and urge them to stay strong.


As it happens, there is hope on the horizon.  A procedural vote on the deal was scheduled for yesterday but was blocked by Republicans who say the president has to turn over the entire deal before there can be any vote. 

That is why your phone calls – absolutely without delay – are so important. 

If there is enough courage in the Congress, enough integrity, enough concern for country over party and career, this can be stopped.  Important for those who are not courageous to be called on their stances.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 08:09AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 9, 2015: Sound of the Shofar

Rosh Hashana begins Sunday night. I hope to post one more time after this, before I go into Shabbat and then the holiday, but I cannot be sure time will allow. And so I want to take this opportunity to wish my readers a Shana Tova. May this be a year of blessing for all of us. A year of peace, health, wellbeing and spiritual growth.


Credit: inspirulina

There is a tradition that tells us that the sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashana is the wail of Sarah, on hearing that her only son, Yitzhak, was going to be sacrificed.

Last week I was taught a perspective that carries this even further.  The tradition says that Sarah subsequently died in response to the news of what was about to happen to Yitzhak. And so, according to the teachings of one rabbi, her cry – mimicked by the shofar sound – was not just a wail of anguish.  It was a call to the Almighty, telling him that there is a limit to human suffering.  It was because she had endured beyond the limit that she died.

The wail of the shofar then, is a wake-up call to us, certainly. But it is also our message to Heaven: We are at our limit, please, no more.

Pray with special devotion this Rosh Hashana.  Send this message Above: no more, please, no more.  Seal Am Yisrael for peace, and well being, and strength.

In the spirit of the shofar, and mindful of prayers for the strength of Am Yisrael, I share this moving historical video. “Echoes of a Shofar” (with thanks to Simone):

We are in the midst of a record breaking sand storm, with yellow dust floating in the air and blanketing everything. This is coupled with intense heat. Jerusalem is getting hit the hardest.  Yesterday (pictured) was worse than today, but it is not supposed to break for a while yet. 

I read that this weather pattern is the result of a storm in Syria. Wouldn’t you know it.  But there is a plus side to this.  Israelis in the Golan, near the border of Syria, who are accustomed to hearing the shooting of the war, report that all is quiet: they cannot see each other.  (Thanks, Deena)

Credit: EPA


Very often when I write about something, I subsequently discover additional information on the same subject – either because of articles that catch my attention or material sent to me by readers.  This has been especially true with regard to my focus on the refugee migrant problem, yesterday.  I knew yesterday that I would have to return to this subject.  And so, do so today with thanks to those who sent me material.

Yesterday I wrote about the picture of the body of the little Syrian Kurdish boy washed up on a beach in Turkey.  The picture that had gone viral, sparking intense feelings and greater interest in the plight of fleeing refugees.


The picture was real enough.  But the story behind it was a bit different from what had been broadly understood.  This boy, his brother, and their parents – originally from Syria - had been living safely in Turkey for three years.  They were not in the boat that capsized because they were escaping persecution: It was apparently because the father badly needed dental work and decided to bring his whole family with him to Europe when he went for this purpose.  The article below says the boat was headed for Greece, another article I was sent said his aim was to get to Germany.  For teeth, not for respite from persecution. 

Sad, most certainly, that this child is dead; but there is a lesson here in terms of what appears in the media and how people interpret information and respond.


The news is awash in information about the tide of humanity flooding into Europe. The EU has an open border policy, and so once refugees enter, they can move from one locale to another. 

This has alarmed London, which is trying to control the situation.  England is considering withdrawing from the EU for this reason, so that it might retain the right to control its own borders.

Whether this actually occurs or not, what is happening is that British authorities are going into the Middle East in an effort to select the refugees currently in camps that it will take in.  Not sure how well this will work, but there is an exceedingly significant point here, with regard to controlling immigration.


Right now, large groups of people, literally, walk into one EU country or another with a coastline along the Mediterranean. Italy, Greece, Spain, are common entry points. There are no check points that control their entry, they have no documents.  And that is a huge danger.  Because  - which point I have already made - it is crystal clear that undesirables are coming along with the genuinely needy. (See more on this below)

The most sought-after locale is Germany, because it is the most generous with assistance (which would be why the father needing dental work would have been headed there).  People start elsewhere in Europe and make their way into Germany.  Sweden is considered second most desirable.

This situation has begun to alarm German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  In a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, yesterday, she spoke about the need for the asylum system in the EU to be managed jointly – it is not a German responsibility, she said, but the responsibility of all 28 nations of the EU.  

OK, but if Germany offers a more desirable level of assistance, the immigrants are going to flock there.  Is she talking about physically moving out some who have come to Germany, and bringing them to other EU nations that haven’t done their share?  Not a simple situation.


And when Merkel refers to the need to register the refugees, it seems that the systems in place are inadequate to this task.  We are not talking about people who apply for asylum while elsewhere, presenting documents and awaiting approval before entering the country in an orderly fashion.  We are talking about large groups that just descend.  Some ultimately apply for asylum with the legal certainty and assistance it provides; others – perhaps carry money or having contacts – simply disappear inside the country.

Laszlo Kiss-Rigo, Bishop of Szeged-Csanad in southern Hungary calls what is happening an “invasion.”

Many of them “have money,” the bishop said.  “Most of them behave in a way that is very arrogant and cynical.”

“It’s not 150,000 migrants coming that some want to divide according to quotas, it’s not 500,000, a figure that I heard in Brussels, it’s millions, then tens of millions, because the supply of immigrants is endless,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. (Emphasis added)

Hungary is trying to establish a closed border policy, rushing now to complete a fence along its border with Serbia.

They are being criticized for this, but I think there is a strong case to be made for this position. European nations have a responsibility to help those suffering in Syria and elsewhere, but that responsibility does not necessarily have to encompass an open-border policy.  More attention must be paid to assistance in the Middle East.


Representatives of some 60 nations, including Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, met in Paris yesterday for a conference to address the refugee situation. Their position is more nuanced than simply saying all of the refugees must be taken in, and they are looking at ways to facilitate returning of refugees, and to providing assistance to those in refugee camps or displaced in neighboring countries (such as Jordan).  They are talking about reconstruction of infrastructure, restoring services, and training local police.

This makes vast sense.  

“There is a humanitarian crisis,” said French president Francois Hollande. If we do not offer more help...then not only will there be more tragedies..but there will be this exodus.” (Emphasis added here and following.)

“It’s very difficult,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, “but if all these refugees come to Europe or elsewhere, then Daesh [ISIS] has won the game.”

Uh huh.


“An operative working for Islamic State has revealed the terror group has successfully smuggled thousands of covert jihadists into Europe.

“The Syrian operative claimed more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen had been smuggled into western nations – hidden amongst innocent refugees.  The ISIS smuggler, who is I his thirties and is described as having a trimmed jet-black beard revealed the ongoing clandestine operation is a complete success.

“’Just wait,’ he smiled...

“They are going like refugees...” 


“In Bulgaria, a search of five Albanian men trying to cross the border revealed that they were carrying Islamic State propaganda, including videos of decapitations.”


Migrants “come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They want to take over,” protested Bishop Kiss-Rigo, cited above. (Emphasis added)


“’We are deliberately ignoring the issue as a strategic maneuver. If these refugees go and settle in the West then they will take with them the beacon of light that is Islam,’ an official from the Saudi government said.” (Emphasis added)

This last quote is from an op-ed by Jack Englehard:

“Lucky for these Syrians that they are indeed Muslims. If they were Jews they wouldn’t stand a chance. For the Jews in the same spot only a generation ago, no tears, no hugs, no welcoming arms, no open border, no cry to help these people – nothing.  Nothing but silence, the silence of complicity.

“Every door was closed. The refugee ship St. Louis tried to find an open door but was sent back.

The New York Times could not be bothered. The paper that covered the Holocaust on page 36 as part of ‘in other news,’ today lobbies and campaigns to bring Syrians into the United States – FRONT PAGE.

“That Syrian infant washed up on shore. The world weeps. One and a half million babies never even got that far (emphasis in original)...

So Dear World, spare me your tainted pieties.  I can’t remember your sweet mercies when the Jews were the storm-tossed refugees.

“I can’t remember your hugs, your smiles, your warm embrace when the few of us, the remnants, made it to shore...

“Our bad timing, it must have been, that we failed to arrive as Arabs. Yes, lucky them, doubly so because these Syrian men who left their women behind and pushed their children forward, only yesterday weren’t they stomping the American flag and shouting death to Christians and Jews?

“...For you, Dear Europe, there is no stopping ‘the beacon of light that is Islam.’  That’s called justice.”  (Thank you, Esther!)


The rally at the capitol is still going on as I complete this.  I watched the first speeches on streaming video, here in Jerusalem.

I will only say here that Senator Ted Cruz was magnificent.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at 05:31PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 8, 2015: Shifting Focus

Sort of.  The Iran deal is of primary concern, and so, the major attention I’ve paid to it has been critically important.  In fact, I fully intend to return to this subject very soon.  It could not be otherwise, with Congress now re-convening and about to begin debate on the issue.
REMEMBER: Major rally at the Capitol in Washington DC tomorrow at 1 PM.  Please!  If it is physically possible for you to get there, do so. 


However, it reaches the point at which other issues must also be addressed.  And thus will I begin to do so today.
Reham, yet another member of the Dawabsha family, has died of injuries incurred in the arson attack on the family home in Duma, in late July. She is the mother of the child who succumbed during the attack.


Credit: Tumbir
Once again, Arab cries go out for “revenge” against the Jews who allegedly committed this terrorist attack.
And so once again I must raise my voice in protest against this assumption of Jewish guilt, which I am convinced is severely misplaced. . That Hamas should use this incident to foment violence against Jews in Israel is hardly surprising. 
What is far more distressing and damaging is the continuing conviction on the part of some Jews (both in Israel and elsewhere) that Jewish “terrorists” are to blame.  These are Jews of a galut mentality, who run to beat their chests in assumption of guilt. There is no evidence that Jews did it other than some Hebrew that had been written on the wall. And you know what?  Arabs can write Hebrew.
The facts: the arson in Duma was carried out on a home in the center of the village, not at the periphery, where a terrorist from outside would logically attack so that escape would be easy. And, in fact, this particular home could not be approached readily, as there was a fence, and grating on windows.  It would seem then that this was not an attack on a random, easily accessible Arab home (which would be the case if a Jew perpetrated the attack), but on a particular Arab home.  This impression is reinforced by the fact that two other homes of Dawabsha cousins have been attacked, and by the reports of a clan feud within the village in which the Dawabsha family was involved.
There have been no arrests of Jews against whom there is the slightest evidence. What is deeply to be regretted is that Israeli authorities are reluctant to pursue a vigorous investigation inside the village regarding the stories that a clan feud is at the core of what has happened.  It is – what? – safer, more politically correct, not to go in this direction.  And so, this matter will continue to float in the air, with accusations flying.  As long as no Arabs have been apprehended, and no solid evidence regarding the feud brought forth, it will be easy for those who point their fingers at Jews to claim that Jews haven’t been arrested because authorities let them go.
The situation of immigrants fleeing Africa and the Middle East has been a major issue for some time, although not everyone has been paying attention.  Now, the problem has grown considerably in severity.
The attention of the world was captured when heart-wrenching photographs were published of the body of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year old Syrian Kurdish boy, which had washed up on a Turkish beach at Bodrum. Put out on twitter, the pictures went viral.


Credit: dailysabah
Aylan perished along with his mother and brother when the boat they were in capsized. But this was, of course, only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and Aylan’s boat is hardly the only one that has capsized.  I had read only days earlier of migrant children hidden in the back of a sealed truck who were discovered mere hours before dying of dehydration.
Unbearable images, and a totally unacceptable situation.  But the question is what to do about it.
Refugee migrants come from Nigeria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. But in growing numbers they are fleeing the civil war in Syria.  We are speaking about Muslims, in almost all instances, and that point must be made, whether it is politically incorrect to do so or not.
When we take a look at what has happened to the EU countries in recent years, we see that they are inundated by a Muslim population that does not wish to assimilate and become European.  And we see that whatever the suffering, and the needs of children, there are also large numbers of radicals present in this population whose goal it is to take over the European continent in due course. They are already on the way. They affect the political climate of Europe, and generate terrorism.
Greece is overwhelmed, as is Hungary. Spain is in big trouble.  Germany, whose government is still saying it can cope, anticipates having 800,000 asylum seekers to deal with before the end of 2015 – over 100,000 came in August alone. The German government is now beginning to more stringently differentiate between those who are economic migrants and those seeking political asylum.
What is more, the influx of migrants is expected to continue for years.  It’s not just a very temporary flood of humanity,  And, I must point out, the Muslims have a high birthrate, while the Europeans are not even reproducing themselves.
How much longer then, will there be a Europe as we have known it?  Has Europe already gone beyond the tipping point?
The Western world has a great deal to answer for, with regard to this dislocation of population and human misery.  There is no question about it.
But the solution does not lie in moving vast numbers of people. Instead there must be serious efforts expended towards ameliorating what are now intolerable situations – with enclaves in or near the areas from which the migrants are coming.  A tolerable and safe situation must be created for those who are suffering.
For years the world did nothing as Assad, president of Syria, waged war against rebels, killing well over 200,000 people in the process.  An Israeli Jew looks cross-eyed at a Palestinian Arab and it makes headlines. But in Syria? The world shrugged at Muslim murdering Muslim.  Iran supports Assad, and now, just as he seems weakened, Iran is likely to have considerable more largesse as the result of the deal, with which to bolster Assad. 

But on the flip side, so do the Gulf states have a great deal to answer for, likely even more.  Noah Beck says that the funding of radical Islamists in Syria by the Gulf states has exacerbated the situation.  He suggests that with the defeat of ISIS, ISIS-liberated territories should be converted into mini states that are safe havens.

Robert Spencer, who is a writer and commentator on Islam, has written an article in which he speaks about hijirah, which is jihad by immigration. “’And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance,’ says the Qur’an.”
Spencer tells us that:

“Evidence that this [the current flood of emigration] is a hijrah, not simply a humanitarian crisis, came last February, but was little noted at the time and almost immediately forgotten. The Islamic State published a document entitled, “Libya: The Strategic Gateway for the Islamic State.” Gateway into Europe, that is: the document exhorted Muslims to go to Libya and cross from there as refugees into Europe. This document tells would-be jihadis that weapons from Gaddafi’s arsenal are plentiful and easy to obtain in Libya – and that the country ‘has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat.’

“The Islamic State did not have in mind just a few jihadis crossing from Libya: it also emerged last February that the jihadis planned to flood Europe with as many as 500,000 refugees. Now the number is shooting well beyond that in Germany alone. Of course, not all of these refugees are Islamic jihadis. Not all are even Muslims, although most are. However, no effort whatsoever is being made to determine the refugees’ adherence to Sharia and desire to bring it to their new land.”

Even as there must be humanitarian concern for suffering, Europeans ignore what Spencer writes at their own peril.


It should be noted that the Gulf states have done next to nothing with regard to taking in these refugees.  Multiple reasons are advanced, but one that I am seeing is a concern about jihadis entering their countries.  A black joke when you consider that they fund jihadis.

A very complex situation, and one I will undoubtedly return to.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 02:28PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 7, 2015: Unraveling Complications

I hope to share just a few thoughts here regarding the Congressional vote on the Iran deal.
In trying to unravel for myself some of the precise wording of the Corker Bill, I consulted with an international lawyer (US born and educated).  His response to me, in part, was that the Corker Bill is “a real drafting disaster.”  He went on to explain some of the ways in which this is so, but I am going to pass on sharing details. 
I think the fact that it is a disaster – not clearly and coherently drafted – tells us a good deal about those who did the drafting.  They functioned in a political climate that was itself awash in ambiguities and evasiveness and game-playing.  It is important to recognize that this is the case.
It could well be that the bill, as charged, conveys the sort of confusion that makes adhering to it a near impossibility.  If this is so, it is part of the larger story.
In any event, there are certainly those saying that there are stumbling blocks inherent in the document.  But what remains to be seen is whether there is the courage within the Republican faction of the Congress to confront these problems, rather than looking away and pretending all is in order.  For me, that’s the ikar, the heart of the story.  (See below, my last item, on this, with regard to viewing the deal as a treaty.)
I’m receiving comments from some readers who say that Cardin does not deserve accolades for coming out against the Iran deal.
First, because he was part of the leadership that drafted the disastrous Corker Bill.  True, for what is commonly referred to as the “Corker Bill” is the “Corker-Cardin Bill.” But for that I see Bob Corker, who is the Republican chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, as having primary responsibility.  Had he not caved, but rather insisted on the deal being voted upon as a treaty, there would not be the current mess.
And then, because Cardin waited until Obama knew he had garnered a veto-proof number of votes before declaring – a valid point. What he did in this respect is typical of the game-playing that has adhered to this whole process.  Compare the time at which he declared with the much earlier declaration of Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel.
And yet...I’m glad he did come out against it, because he has stature and his position carries some weight. If the report I cited yesterday – regarding the legislation he intends to advance that would control the damage done by the deal – is true, then it mitigates a good deal.  Yes, I know. Had he come out sooner, he might have influenced other Democrats to stand against it as well – which is better than legislation to mitigate it. 
But still I would be pleased to see that legislation come to be.  It would address, among other things, the issue of terrorism considered below.  This, by calling for an accounting of how Iran will be spending the money garnered via sanctions relief.
I share here a few articles.
Leon Panetta, who has served both as secretary of defense and head of the CIA (both under Obama, please note), has written an op-ed in the LA Times, in which he declares the Iran deal to be a bad one (emphasis added).
“In itself, the Iran deal would appear to reward Tehran for defying the world, make funds available for its extremist activities and generally make it stronger militarily and economically...Let’s face it, given the situation in the Middle East, empowering Iran in any way seems like a dangerous gamble.”
Says Panetta, part of the purpose of the deal should be to build a strong coalition to confront terrorism in the future.
To that end, he recommends, among other things, harsh enforcement of the deal, a strong military presence in the region maintained by the US, expanded US intelligence capabilities, and a clear US declaration that military force is an option.
The problem, of course, is that none of these are options Obama would consider. And it is here that we come to a very basic part of the problem with the deal.  It is not just about Iranian nuclear capability – it is about empowering Iranian hegemony and terrorism by Iranian proxies.  This is the most immediate danger.


Credit: Politico
More on the same subject of terrorism:
After Senator Marc Kirk (R–IL) requested that the Obama administration disclose estimates of “Iranian military spending, as well as Iranian assistance to Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shiite militias in Iraq, the Assad government, Hezbollah, and Hamas,” the Congressional Research Service issued a report.  According to that report, Iran’s defense budget ranges between $15 and 30 billion a year, with a solid percent of this going to pay for proxy terror groups and rebel fighters.
A “low ball” estimate is that Hezbollah alone gets $100 to $200 million per year while the Assad regime gets somewhere between $3 and $15 billion per year.
“’Some regional experts claim that Iran’s defense budget excludes much of its spending on intelligence activities and support of foreign non-state actors,’ the report states, estimating that actual military spending could far exceed the $30 billion Iran discloses annually.”
And this is before the full impact of sanctions relief is felt by Iran, which will then be able to expend far more on terrorists.
How, it must be asked, could the US Congress entertain a deal that permits this?  The question should be asked in calls to elected representatives in Congress, in letters to the editor, and talkbacks on the Internet. Even now.  Especially now.
And here I present something once again that is out of the box, a most fantastic video satire on Iranian-funded terrorism. From Shurat Ha-Din, the Israel Law Center.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee and great friend of Obama, speaking of love for Israel with tears in her eyes, has declared herself for the Iran deal. Following her announcement, constituents have been demanding her resignation because she ignored the will of the voters.

It’s never been possible to take Schultz very seriously. Hopefully, she will lose her seat in 2016 (for she surely will not resign). But this should be spoken about broadly, as an object lesson to Democratic members of Congress as to what can happen if they flaunt the will of their voters. in order to adhere to Obama’s party line.  Little good Obama’s promises will be with regard to their political futures, if they find themselves out of office.
I keep on expressing my intent to switch to other subjects, but somehow don’t get there.  Tomorrow I truly hope I will.
But here I would like to close on a good note, with a focus on Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX 1st). Have picked up a good deal about him and it seems that his voice is the strongest in Congress against the Iran deal.  He pulls no punches, and while I have charged several times that the Republicans are weak, he is certainly an exception.  In fact, when guest hosting Sean Hannity's radio program recently, he said that Republican leaders who approved the Corker bill have "became willing accomplices" in "the hell it will unleash on so many innocent people."


Credit: CNN
Just today, he announced that he will introduce a resolution declaring the Iran deal a treaty.  If it passes, he says, the Senate should deliberate on its ratification within 30 days.
Don’t see enormous likelihood of this passing – but this, again, would be the responsibility of the Republicans.  And it’s good to see someone fighting the status quo.
He will be at the rally at the Capitol at 1:00 on Wednesday.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Monday, September 7, 2015 at 03:50PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 6, 2015: Carrying on with Vigor

The end of last week was tough: With the declaration of Senator Mikulski (D-MD) that she would support the Iran deal, Obama had the number of votes he needed to block the Senate from overriding his veto of the Congressional rejection of his Iran program.  At least on paper.
My message was that we keep going, because it might still be possible to overturn the situation.
See my comments here:.

and here:


But then, no sooner was my last message out when further news was announced. Three more Democratic senators declared for the deal: Cory Booker (NJ) – in a pathetic announcement, Mark Warner (VA), and Heidi Heitkamp (ND). 
Not a happy moment. 
But in the end my message does not change: Those of us with the clarity of vision to understand what a horrendous and dangerous deal this is must persist in speaking out against it. If anything, the perversity of those who are coming out for the deal must prod us to ever more vigorous protest.
Overturning the situation in Congress is now more problematic, as Obama has more than sufficient votes to block the veto override.  But there are multiple reasons for continuing on our path:
As unlikely as it is, some who have declared for the deal might still change their minds. 
What is more, a strong case against the deal provides impetus to those in Congress working on fighting it via a variety of legal approaches.  (See more on this below.)
Caroline Glick last week called our apparent inability to garner sufficient Congressional opposition to the bill “A glorious defeat.”  Glorious because it strengthened American and American Jewish opposition to the deal.
Because the deal will be a failure, says Glick, it will end up being a political liability for those Democrats who have stood with Obama, and provide an opportunity for Democratic challengers to clean house. 
It will pave the way for Obama’s successor in the White House to abrogate the deal.
And, significantly, “by fighting against this deal, Netanyahu removed the main obstacle that kept Israel from taking action that will prevent Iran from going nuclear. He reduced Obama’s power to harm Israel.” (emphasis added)  Israel, she says, is using the battle on the issue “to expand its capacity to act without the US to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
What we see, then, is that what appears to be an Obama victory on the Iran deal is not the last word on the situation by any means. 
It is a victory of note for opponents of the deal that Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has now announced his opposition.

Credit: AP
The influential Senator Cardin is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, chaired by Republican Senator Bob Corker (TN).  On the House side, Congressman Eliot Engel (NY), ranking Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Republican Congressman Edward Royce (CA), also came out against the deal. This is considered a blow to the president’s prestige.
What is more, Senator Cardin has announced his intention to introduce legislation “that would make clear the steps the United States will take against Iran if it violates the nuclear deal. The bill will include provisions such as regular reports from the administration on how Iran is spending resources it obtains thanks to sanctions relief as well as a new security package for Israel.”
It seems to me of considerable importance that, according to Politico, Cardin has the backing of lawmakers “on both sides of the issue.”  This means that even some in Congress who have come out in support, have reservations about the degree of latitude provided to Iran. and it greatly increases its chances of passing.
If this item in the Politico report is accurate, it has, I think the greatest significance: There is an allusion above to a “new security package for Israel.”  That package is then explained in more detail (emphasis added):
“Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a group that supports the deal, said the draft he'd seen of Cardin's proposed legislation was deeply problematic. He said the bill would allow the U.S. to transfer the bunker-busting ‘massive ordnance penetrator,’ a weapon that could in theory destroy Iran's best-protected nuclear facilities, to Israel. The only aircraft known to be able to carry MOPs are B-2 or B-52 bombers...

“The bill ‘seeks to reinterpret the terms of the nuclear deal itself, and thus it needs to be recognized as an effort by someone who’s voting no to undermine the implementation of the deal,’ Kimball said.”

Don’t know if this is true, don’t know if it would pass in Congress. Don’t know if we would get those B-2 or B-52 bombers. But this suggests a whole different line of thinking.  Kimball’s “deeply problematic” is music to the ears of a great number of us here in Israel. 
Maybe if not this minute, a bit down the road.  Stay tuned.
And so, my friends, the case against this fiasco must continue to be made. The fight must go on with full vigor.
Along with the proposed legislation of Senator Cardin are a number of other tacks being considered for blocking the Iran deal.  They involve, for example, the questionable legality (per the Constitution ) of the deal in its current formulation, rather than as a treaty, and the fact that there are parts of the agreement to which Congress has not been made privy, thereby rendering a decision on the matter – as outlined by the Corker bill - impossible. 
Remember that there are major rallies this Wednesday, September 9:  At 1 PM on the West Lawn of the Capitol, a rally featuring Senator Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and a whole lot more.  I urge you to attend if you possibly can. Make your way to Washington!  Numbers matter and this will be a significant event.  Among the sponsors is ZOA and Center for Security Policy.
At noon, at the same locale, there will be a Rabbi’s March of 400, sponsored by OU.  The participants of this event are being encouraged to stay for what follows.  Rabbis will also be meeting with members of Congress.
In Toronto on the same date, 4:30 to 6:30 PM, on University Avenue, across from the US Consulate.  This is in support of the Rabbi’s March on Washington, and is additionally sponsored on behalf of the Yezidi people facing genocide.
There is so much more I am eager to write about – including Palestinian Arab issues, Temple Mount issues, illegal immigration issues, and more.  I will do my best, but will continue to focus on the Iran issue in the short term, as well.  Our eye must stay on the ball.
I’m going to do something very “out of the box” here, because I think it’s called for.  I share a video that delivers – in a very different, and moving context - the lesson we all need to internalize.  We do not give up.  As long as we believe we can have an effect of matters, we will.  This conviction must not be surrendered.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 03:25PM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 3, 2015: One Messy Affair

I am referring, of course, to the whole business of the votes in Congress on the Iran deal.
Netanyahu has come out with a statement, echoing what I and others said yesterday, that things can still change, and we must keep fighting.
Those who oppose the deal have already achieved a major goal in publicizing its various faults and weaknesses – its dangers.  At this point, the majority of the American people understands those dangers and is opposed to the deal.
As there seems some confusion, I want to clarify once again: there are two votes anticipated. The first on whether to accept the deal.  In that case, a simple majority of members of Congress suffices., as it will be couched in the negative: we do not accept.  And if that vote is taken, those opposed to the deal should hold sway – it should be rejected.
It is with regard to this vote that I wrote yesterday about the “moral majority” – the more reject the deal, the greater the moral and political impact.  Whatever happens subsequently, a majority of Congress will be on record as having declared against the deal.
Remember this, and use it: If Obama wins, it will not be because a majority of the Congress was with him.  It will be because of the games that have been played,  games that make it possible for Obama to win with a minority of the Congress voting with him.
For a better understanding of this, see Andrew McCarthy on the Corker Bill, which set the current process in place:
There is talk that the acceptance of the deal might never come to a vote – because a filibuster might be instituted: The rules of the Senate permit members to speak for indefinite lengths of time, thus preventing a vote from being called.  I say there is “talk” about this, but it is not at all clear that it will happen.  Senate rules require at least 2/3 of its members – or 60 Senators – to vote for cloture, to close debate.  Reversing the numbers, that means Obama would need 41 Senators to vote against cloture, so the filibuster could continue.  He does not have nearly that number now.  
If the deal is rejected by a vote of Congress, the president will veto it.  And this is where Mikulski’s declaration in support comes in: it means that – right now - the opposition does not have the necessary number to override the veto. 
We will continue to work, in hopes of a change in this situation.
It was my dear friend Sharmaine who advanced the most important suggestion in this regard, one I am remiss for not having mentioned sooner:
“...the timing for the vote is perfect after Rosh Hashana...We need to pray ..... For heavenly intervention on the vote!”
Amen on this.  Please!
There have been a good many other suggestions as well that have been sent to me, broadly in line with the McCarthy piece from July, cited above. There are multiple suggestions that this deal is really a treaty, and illegal or unconstitutional as currently structured.  There is the suggestion (advanced in American Thinker by Skloroff and Bender) that the Senate must sue the executive, “triggering a confrontation between the judicial [Supreme Court] and the executive branches.”
I do not intend to consider these various thoughts – which have merit – in any detail, however.  This is because it is my perception that there are a good many wimps among the Republican in the Senate. They failed the nation in the first place, when they agreed to the current configuration for voting, which puts the onus on those who are opposed to the deal, rather than the other way around.  And I simply do not believe that they are about to take on Obama in any seriously confrontational fashion.
In the exceedingly unlikely event that they would do so, it has to be because some Republicans of courage in the Senate have considered various legal ramifications and have decided to move forward.  It must come from within the Republican ranks of the Senate.  It SHOULD come from their ranks, but...
What I do see as a possibility is that a scheme may be devised by the Republicans that is less confrontational. but has the effect of at least partially blocking what Obama intends to advance.  For example, there may be a push for reinstatement of sanctions.
I speak of Republican wimps, and I would like to use this opportunity to enlarge on this comment.  Many of us celebrated when Republicans gained control of the Congress. Today, many of us mourn the way in which that Republican majority has failed the nation.  I am not saying that there are no Republicans in Congress who have courage and integrity; I am saying the Republican majority bloc has not moved with determination and strength – in pursuit of a clear-eyed vision for the nation.
Just as there was unconscionable game-playing with regard to how the vote on the Iran deal would be structured, so have there been multiple other instances in which Obama has secured the upper hand when he should not have been permitted to.  Now I hear that the deal should have been a treaty, and that what Obama has done is not legal. But the Republicans agreed to it!  Just as they acquiesced in a dozen other instances in which the president has played fast and loose with the rules.
Is it that the president has the nation in his thrall?  Or that he plays such hardball that there is hesitation to move against him?  One matter is very clear: he plays the race card, which makes opponents uneasy about taking him on, lest they be charged with racism.
What we see again and again is that the president has no compunction about dancing around the truth, and evading direct promises that have been made.  All politicians do this to some extent, but he is an all time master.  We’ve seen this with “absolute” assurances he offered on the Iran deal, which have turned out to be no assurances at all.  Yet somehow, he has managed to get away with it, when Congress should have called a halt.
Add to this the telling of bold-faced lies.  I mention this here because only days ago, he did a webcast for the American Jewish community.  “We’re all pro-Israel,” he declared.  “We’re all family.”
Can anyone really believe this, after seeing that he agreed to a situation for Iran that will increase terrorism against Israel by Iran’s proxies? 
“Nothing in this agreement prevents us from continuing to push back forcefully against terrorist activity,” he offered reassuringly.
Right... give Iran access to increased numbers of conventional weapons and huge sums of money, all of which will serve to bolster Iran’s terror proxies such as Hezbollah, and then provide assurance that there will be action against terrorism.
I am not sure how he says all of this with a straight face.  But he does, and manages without eliciting wholesale outrage.  I have not read of anyone who asked him, “What do you take me for, a fool?” 
This tells me that America is in a very bad place.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 11:26AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 2, 2015: WE KEEP GOING

Obama has now secured the support of 34 Senate Democrats for the nuclear deal with Iran. This means that as matters stand he has sufficient backing to sustain his veto of  legislation aimed at blocking the agreement. That is because today Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the 34th Senator to announce support for the deal.
It hurts. It enrages.  It elicits cries of “Heaven help us.”
But what I come to say in this short posting today is that we should, we absolutely must, keep going. We should redouble our efforts.
It feels like a “victory” for Obama and other Democrats who support the horrendous deal with Iran.  But keep in mind that this contingent is totally devoid of moral authority. The win, such as it is at this point, is largely a function of cronyism and narrow self-serving perspective, as well as incredible pressure by the president - who utilizes a fierce carrot and stick approach.  It represents party before nation, and putting what is safe before what is good.
Ours is the moral high ground.  And so, we hold up our heads, and we keep going.
I must point out, first of all, that the fat lady has not sung yet. That is, it is not over.  There is a process still to be walked through: the debate on the issue in Congress, starting in a week. And then the vote, on the 17th. That is, if there is no filibuster – which would further complicate the dynamics.  And then, if Congress votes against the deal, there is the formality of Obama’s veto, and then yet another vote.
Milkulski’s declaration today was very bad news, without a doubt. But it did not carve the end result into stone
There is much that may yet happen in the course of the process between now and then.  It may not be likely, but it is possible that something will be said in the course of the debate that will have an impact on a Democrat senator who had declared for the deal and suddenly has second thoughts.  With everything horrendous that has already been revealed about the deal, perhaps just one more fact will surface that will be the proverbial straw – the ultimate fact that cannot be tolerated or ignored for expediency.   Suppose there is exposure of a very major terror attack against the US, being planned and underwritten by Iran, and it makes many senators start to worry.  Really worry.  Suppose deeply compromising information about a Senator surfaces, which causes him to reverse his position.  Suppose many, many things...
All this “supposing” provides a certain perspective.
And so what do we do? We continue to make the case against the deal in every possible venue. We write against it in letters to the editor and Internet talkbacks. and on our Facebook pages.  We let our elected Representatives in Congress and our Senators know that how we vote will be affected by how they vote, and that we are watching.  We let them know how vile we believe the current situation is.
And we attend rallies, so that it is very very clear to those in Congress how furious we are.  To this end, the rally in Washington DC on the 9th is critical. What would happen if the members of Congress realized that there were one million very angry voters on the lawn outside their chambers?  Would it give them pause?
But there is yet another reason for continuing in our effort.  Not everyone in Congress has declared one way or the other. There are those whose intentions are still unknown, and those still undecided.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for a “moral majority” against the deal.  He knew, coming into this situation, that it might not be possible in the end to override the veto. But he expressed the need for the greatest possible number that could be achieved voting against it in Congress.
The greater the number, the clearer is the message of disapproval. This is a statement, and there is weight to it, both moral and political. 
Remember - because of the pathetic way this situation has been constructed – for Obama to win, he does not need a majority of the votes in the Congress.  He simply needs 1/3 plus one vote, to prevent overriding of the veto (as 2/3 of the Senate is required for that).   
The vote of a moral majority provides support for members of Congress who are considering other ways of dealing with the situation.  It is clear that our friends in the Senate, such as Ted Cruz (TX) and Tom Cotton (AR), are already giving thought to procedures that might be put in place to block or lessen the implications of the deal, if it passes. 
And it makes it easier for Obama’s successor to turn around what Obama has done.
Thus, it remains our responsibility to carry on.
See this statement by Senator Cotton, made during a visit here that echoes what I’ve written above:
Until there are 34 votes — I don’t refer to 34 declared voters but to 34 votes, because a lot of things can happen even in the next two weeks — I for one will not stop fighting, because of the dangerous consequences of this deal for the United States, Israel and world peace.” (Emphasis added)

Credit: msnbc

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.  

If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 11:22AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 1, 2015: Don't Stop!

I cannot pretend it is looking good for the Congressional vote on the Iran deal.  But we must continue to make every possible effort to defeat it.  Congress convenes next week, on the 9th, after a summer recess, at which point debate on the issue begins.  Vote will be taken no later than September 17. 
Today there is a rally in New York City.  If you can get there, I urge you to do so, and to bring as many people with you as possible.  The roster of speakers is impressive, the need is for a large turnout:
5:30 pm at 980 Third Avenue, Manhattan.  This is in front of the office of Senator Kirsten Kirsten Gillibrand.
If you are in the Washington DC area, or can get yourself to the Washington DC area, note that Senator Ted Cruz (R–TX), presidential hopeful Donald Trump and broadcaster Glen Beck will be headlining a major rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol on September 9. I do not have a time yet but will keep you informed.  Sponsors include ZOA and the Center for Security Policy (Frank Gaffney).
Additional speakers are being planned and this particular event has the promise of being huge. You have advance notice – consider coming even if it means a commute, bringing family and friends with you. 
This is a chance for the American people to send a message (most Americans are against the deal), and it must be a message that Members of Congress cannot ignore – delivered on the day debate will begin. 
It is time for American citizens to reclaim their nation.
The pairing of Senator Cruz and Donald Trump is brilliant, I think.  With their vastly different styles, they are coming together out of a shared conviction that the deal must be stopped – and should draw a diverse and very large crowd.  Beck’s presence will add to this.
Former Vice President Dick Chaney, with his daughter Liz Chaney, has written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “Restoring American Exceptionalism” (emphasis added): 
In this piece, they “accused President Barak Obama of agreeing to a deal with Iran that will likely lead to ‘the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki’...

”The Cheneys implored the US Congress to reject the deal and to reimpose the sanctions that have been lifted from Iran.

“’It is possible to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, but only if the US negotiates from a position of strength, refuses to concede fundamental points and recognizes that the use of military force will be required if diplomacy fails to convince Iran to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons,’ they wrote.”


Article image

Credit: Nation of Change
Scary?  Be present on the Capitol lawn on the 9th.
If Cheney’s comments don’t motivate you to come out in protest, consider this:
Brig.-General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser and Ambassador Alan Baker have written a briefing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affair, “Vital Points on the Iran Deal.”
The summary (emphasis added):
“[] The nuclear agreement with the main world powers is set to enable Iran safely, legally, and without economic hardships or changes in its rogue policies, to overcome the main obstacles on its way to possessing a nuclear weapons arsenal and becoming a regional hegemonic power.
“[] The agreement will legally provide Iran with the capability to shorten the time required to produce such an arsenal within the next 10-15 years (including the production of fissile material, weaponization, acquiring delivery systems, and improved military capabilities to protect the military nuclear program), so that it would be practically impossible to stop it.
“[] This is in exchange for a questionable and barely verifiable Iranian commitment to avoid producing arms and some limited restrictions on its nuclear program for 10-15 years.
“[] Reliance on Iran’s open reaffirmation in the agreement that it will not seek, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons is untrustworthy and even naïve, given Iran’s past record of concealing its nuclear activities, its periodic declarations of hostility vis-à-vis the U.S. and Israel, and its regime’s messianic aspirations.
“[] In short, the agreement unilaterally and unconditionally grants Iran everything it has been seeking without any viable quid-pro-quo from Iran to the international community.
“[] Above all, it should be obvious that no possible sympathetic statement by the U.S. Administration, or even military or other compensation, could logically stand against paving the route to a nuclear arsenal by a state that repeatedly declares its commitment to obliterate Israel.”
I recommend that this entire briefing be read and shared broadly.  Here I note, from inside the body of the briefing:
“...Practically speaking, military force could have achieved a longer postponement [of Iranian nuclear capability]. The continued credible threat thereof, which served up to now to deter Iran from breaking out to become a nuclear power, will continue to prevent Iranian plans to break out when the anticipated result would be destruction of their nuclear weapons project.
The likelihood that non-approval of the agreement by the U.S. Congress might, as claimed by President Obama, cause an enhanced rush by Iran toward nuclear weaponry, and bring about war, is without any practical logic.
Iran’s need to remove the crippling sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other major states and prevent renewal of such sanctions, and its fear of military action, are considerations that would in any event drive Iran to cooperate for the achievement of a better agreement.
“Some very serious issues of principle stem from this agreement.
In its uncompromising intent to advance the agreement in spite of the very serious security problems that the agreement poses to Israel’s security, the U.S. Administration and its international colleagues would appear to underestimate and even to downgrade Israel’s accepted stature as a Western-oriented, liberal democracy and bastion against the Islamic radicalization in the world advocated and practiced by Iran.
Attempts to assuage Israel’s real and genuine concerns by offering compensation for the dangers posed by the agreement cannot seriously reduce the nature of the threat that will still exist from Iran.
“The agreement does not seek to change Iran’s continued support of, and involvement in, international terror and its declared intention to eliminate Israel. Above all, it should be patently obvious to all that no possible sympathetic statement by the U.S. Administration, or even military or other compensation, could logically stand against paving the route to a nuclear arsenal by a state that repeatedly declares its commitment to obliterate Israel.”
This is a straight, tell-it-like-it-is assessment of the sort I’ve come to expect in particular from Kuperwasser (pictured), especially now that he no longer works with the government, and from Baker. 

Credit: TIP

In no uncertain terms, it puts the lie to Obama’s assurances to Israel, and to his claims more generally.  For that reason I am likely to return to this, as I examine Obama’s recent statements in a coming post.
Note in particular that it is not so that the alternative to this agreement is war.  This is an argument Obama uses constantly, but it is without foundation and is designed simply to frighten people into accepting what he has put forth.
What is also highly significant is the role that the threat of military attack plays in keeping Iran from advancing its nuclear plans.  I remain convinced that in this respect Israel has played a highly significant role, and will continue to do so.
Lastly, take note of the fact that nothing, but nothing, that Obama is offering Israel can remotely compensate for the dangers to Israel he is setting loose with his much vaunted, exceedingly dangerous deal
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 09:20AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

August 26, 2015: More Light, in the Midst of Darkness

We here in Israel we speak a good deal these days about a world arrayed against us – a world ready to do business with Iran for self-serving reasons.  In doing my writing, I have been remiss in not mentioning Canada, under the leadership of Prime Minster Steven Harper (pictured below).  Israel has no better friend in the world.  What is more, Harper has come out against both Iran and Islamic State – refusing to lift sanction against the former, and sending troops against the latter.
See please, an article, below, by Dan Illouz, the Legal Ground Campaign Knesset strategist and a JPost columnist, who grew up in Canada.  “In the Middle East,” writes Dan, “Harper has led the world with moral clarity.”
This is a matter of some significance in this horrendous world, and I would have been remiss had I not called my readers’ attention to this.  

Credit: National Post
Just over a week ago, 340 putative rabbis signed a letter to Congress endorsing the Iran deal. Claiming to represent “all streams of Judaism,” they were, in fact, almost exclusively progressive and left wing radical. 
“We fully support this historic nuclear accord,” read the letter. “Fully.”  Not a touch of reservation.
Unable to take on everyone and everything that is inherently offensive, I had let news about this pass. Although even before now I should have strongly encouraged you to read the article – “Rabbis for Hamas, Obama, and Iran: - by Daniel Greenfield.  It describes some of the rabbis involved and provides context:
We are talking about rabbis who serve on the rabbinic cabinet of the anti-Israel JStreet, and rabbis who signed a letter demanding that Israel lift the blockade at sea of Hamas, rabbis who worked for Obama’s re-election, at least one who participated in the “Fast for Gaza,” and even one (may Heaven help us) who read the names of dead Hamas terrorists alongside names of Israeli casualties – from the pulpit.
Greenfield names names – Burton Visotzky, Elliott Dorff, Rachel Mikva, Chaim Seidler-Feller, and on and on.  It is instructive. And vastly shameful.
And now I have a different reason to write, a reason that is imbued with a touch of hope (emphasis in the original):
The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America are sponsoring a massive Rabbinical March on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to demand that Congress vote down the suicidal agreement with Iran. The march is set for [Wednesday] September 9th, just 4 days before Rosh HaShana, which is also marks the beginning of debate on the deal in Congress.”
Plans are moving ahead and hundreds of rabbis are scheduled to march.  May hundreds morph into thousands!  Let the country see where rabbis who are true to tradition and Jewish values stand.
“The Rabbis March will take place on September 9th and I would like to propose that countrywide demonstrations begin on Sunday, September 6th. These pre-DC demonstrations will keep the media focused and created a build up to the Rabbinical March on September 9th...
“The march will mirror a rabbinic march that took place back in 1943, when 400 Orthodox Rabbis marched on DC to demand action on behalf of what remained of European Jewry.”
Yosef Rabin, who wrote the blog in which this information appeared, is carrying the idea one step further:
I am calling upon Jews across the US to follow in the footsteps of these courageous Rabbis and organize demonstrations in cities throughout the US before the Rabbis march on DC. 
“The Rabbis March will take place on September 9th and I would like to propose that countrywide demonstrations begin on Sunday, September 6th. These pre-DC demonstrations will keep the media focused and created a build up to the Rabbinical March on September 9th.
See more, including specifics on how to proceed:
(Thanks Moshe D. for catching this.)
At the bottom of this posting, please see a list of rallies that are already independently scheduled.
While I am sharing material from the very prolific and sharp Daniel Greenfield, I want to include another (dynamite) article from him related to Iran - “Traitor Senators Took Money from Iran Lobby, Back Iran Nukes” (emphasis added):
Once again, Greenfield names names.  What he is talking about are – as the title of his article makes clear – Senators who received money from the Iran lobby, via one channel or another, and then declared support for the Iran deal or for Iran run by the mullahs more broadly.  When he refers to the “Iran Lobby,” he includes in different contexts the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), American Iranian Council, and the Iranian Muslim Association of North America.  He alludes to Housang Amirahmadi, founder of the American Iranian Council, and Hassan Nemazee, who was Hillary’s campaign finance director and is a member of the Iran Lobby.
Greenfield does not make idle charges: he provides links to background articles.  There is, for example, a link to a 2008 article by Ken Timmerman that states:
”...Kaveh Mohseni, a spokesman for the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, calls Biden ‘a great friend of the mullahs.’ He notes that Biden’s election campaigns ‘have been financed by Islamic charities of the Iranian regime based in California and by the Silicon Iran network,’ a loosely-knit group of wealthy Iranian-American businessmen and women seeking to end the U.S. trade embargo on Iran. ‘In exchange, the senator does his best to aid the mullahs,’ Mohseni argues. Biden's ties to pro-Tehran lobbying groups are no secret. But so far, the elite media has avoided even mentioning the subject.” (Emphasis added)
And from 2002, a Free Republic article on the “Kerry/Iran Connection”:
“This is an overview of the emerging campaign finance scandal involving the Kerry campaign and lobbyists for the terror-supporting regime in Iran.

“At the center of the controversy is one Hassan Nemazee, listed as a Vice-Chair by the Kerry campaign, and identified by CBS News as having raised more than $500,000 for the campaign.

“Nemazee has served on the Board of the American Iranian Council, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), and the Asia Society, all of which favor negotiations with the mullahs' regime and eventual normalization of relations with Iran. (emphasis added)
It is obvious that Greenfield (pictured below) does not paint every Iranian organization with the same brush – the groups he is referring to support the Tehran regime.
The number and status of persons within the US government who have been connected to the Iran Lobby in one way or another (primarily as recipients of donations, but also in more complex political relationships) quite literally makes one’s hair stand on end.   
Greenfield charges that those who have taken Iran Lobby money and then come out in support of Iran are treasonous.
Whether the links are solid enough to sustain this charge is not something that is clear to me. Perhaps there are readers who would want to pursue this further.
At the very least, this very damning evidence – which suggests betrayal of America – should be utilized as broadly as possible as we fight the fight against the deal, and then, subsequently, as the next election campaign goes into high gear.


Credit: Frontpage
This is almost, but not quite, funny. Actually, on second thought this attempt to cover for Iran isn’t funny at all:
“On Monday, Hammond [British foreign secretary, visiting in Tehran] said Iranian President Rouhani had indicated a ‘more nuanced approach’ to Israel, and that aggressive statements by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei should not necessarily be seen as representative of the country’s foreign policy.”
However, Iran denied British claims that it had indicated a ‘more nuanced approach’ to Israel, saying Tuesday that such discussions had not taken place and that its attitude toward the Jewish state remained unchanged.”
What this incident tells us, I suspect, is just how eager the Europeans (and Brits) are going to be to cover for Iran when it comes to violations.
It is reassuring, I think, to see that at least some Republicans in Congress are going to refuse to roll over and play dead if they cannot over-ride Obama’s veto.  Already they are thinking of other actions they can take.  See:
Other rallies that are already planned for the days ahead (not specifically in conjunction with the Rabbis March):
September 1, 5:30 PM, NYC
Outside Senator's Schumer's and Gillibrand's office 780 Third Avenue, NYC (at 49th street)
September 8, 12:30 PM - WASHINGTON, DC
Iran Deal Press Conference, featuring Members of Congress, Americans effected by Iranian terrorism
Sponsored by EMET - The Endowment for Middle East Truth
AFSI is a co-sponsor.
Washington DC: "West Grassy Area," facing the Ellipse, in front of the Capitol building
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 09:06AM by Registered CommenterArlene | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint