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Friday, January 30, 2015

Why Netanyahu must address Congress: Obama has given in to 80% of Iran's demands

Oh... my... God....
Israeli officials told Channel 10 on Friday that they are convinced the Obama administration has already agreed to most of Iran’s demands in the P5+1 negotiations over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

According to unnamed officials, Washington “has given the Iranians 80 percent of what they want” out of the negotiations, Channel 10 is reporting.

Jerusalem officials appear alarmed at the prospect that the United States will soon strike a deal with the Iranian regime that will leave it with a “breakout capacity” of months during which it can gallop toward a nuclear bomb.

The practical significance of the American compromises in the talks is that Iran will be permitted to keep over 7,000 centrifuges, enough for the Iranians to produce enough enriched material to sprint toward the bomb within a matter of months.

These developments have apparently fueled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sense of urgency in traveling to Washington and addressing Congress in hopes of lobbying American lawmakers to pass tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
This really isn't about the Israeli elections....

Shabbat Shalom everyone. 

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Israelis make up their minds, spit at Obama

Friday is poll day in Israel, and the polls show that Israelis are siding with their Prime Minister, and spitting in the face of President Obama.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party reached the top spot in a Panels Research poll taken for The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister newspaper, Ma’ariv Sof Hashavua, on Thursday for the first time since Labor and Hatnua joined forces on December 10 to create the Zionist Union.

The poll found that the Likud would win 25 seats, the Zionist Union 24, Bayit Yehudi 14, the Joint Arab List 12, Yesh Atid 11, United Torah Judaism and Koolanu eight, Shas seven, Meretz six, and Yisrael Beytenu five. The parties polled that did not cross the 3.25-percent electoral threshold were Green Leaf and both Yahad Ha’am Itanu and Otzma Yehudit.

Last week, the Zionist Union was ahead of the Likud by two seats, and two weeks ago the lead was three.

The percentage of respondents calling themselves “undecided” fell from 30% to 18%.


While all other polls taken since the election season began found that the issues Israelis vote on most are the gap between rich and poor and other socioeconomic matters, the new poll found that the security situation is now the voters’ top priority, 39% to 25%. Only 1 percent of respondents said the issue that would decide the vote most would be Israel’s foreign relations.

Thirty-five percent of respondents said their personal security situation had worsened in recent days, 60% said it had not changed, and 3 percent said it had improved.
For those doing the Right-Left count it's Right 59, Left 49 plus 12 seats for the Arabs (who have never been in a coalition).

What could go wrong?

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Krauthammer: 'Obama has less personal sympathy for Israel than any other President'

A reminder that I am in Boston where the Sabbath has not started yet.

Over the past week, I've heard a lot of talk comparing President Obama's relations with Israel with those of American Presidents who seemed more friendly, but with whom we also had disagreements: Reagan, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and so on.

But with Obama... it's different. Here's Charles Krauthammer. Let's go to the videotape.

Yes, Obama's different. Even George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter had less antipathy toward Israel than he does.

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Pat Condell: Time to stop Muslim immigration to Europe

It's about time someone non-Jewish who is not a far Right racist spoke up against Muslim immigration to Europe.

Let's go to the videotape.

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Why the Jews?

Matti Friedman will be speaking here in Boston on Monday night, and I hope to be there. You can look for "Mr. Matzav."

Friedman spoke last week in London and the text of his remarks is embedded below. Serious stuff.

Matti Friedman Speech

Hope to see you all on Monday night.

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School Retaliates Against Student For Parent’s Pro-Israel Stance

Received via email earlier today:
A state education department found that a school district and School Committee Chair retaliated against a student because of her parent’s complaint about inaccurate and biased materials.

The decision by the Massachusetts agency found that the Newton Public Schools (NPS)  and School Committee Chair Matthew Hills sent confidential information about the student and her family to local media, which published it. The media entities - a newspaper and a blog - also published false claims that the parent was associated with anti-Muslim groups.

The student’s family said that both the newspaper and blog knew that the family had previously been stalked and that publishing the false allegations put them in danger. They also stated they suffered emotional distress and other harm due to the district’s actions.

Parents and education groups have accused the school of distributing inaccurate and anti-Israel material, resulting in the removal of several widely used resources. One resource, the Arab World Studies Notebook, has been been subject to intense criticism by education groups and removed from other school districts. The district also removed a website and whited out a textbook’s claim that the Catholic church was “reconsidering polygamy as a Christian option”.

Parents’ complaint are supported by organizations including the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, StandWithUs, and Zionist Organization of America. 

Last September, the education research organization Verity Educate issued a report on materials used in NPS history classes. The report found numerous inaccurate and deceptive material, including altered primary source documents. It also found substantial anti-Israel bias, including material described as ‘neutral’ which had been prepared by anti-Israel activists.

The district denies that any bias or inaccuracies exist. Officials also told parents that they would ‘never’ read the report issued by Verity Educate or any other organization and that parents upset about deceptive or racist class material “should find another school for their children”.

“The retaliation by school officials against a child because of a parent’s legitimate complaints about biased and deceptive class materials is outrageous”, said Evan Jacobi, president of the group Parents for Excellence in Newton Schools (PENS). “Their goal is to further intimidate  parents who object to their children being told that biased and grossly inaccurate material is true.”

Hills was also found to have violated state Open Meeting law several times in 2014 in an attempt to cover up a plagarized speech given by Newton Superintendent David Fleishman, and advised Fleishman and others to violate state and federal law by withholding documents from responses to public records requests. No sanctions have been imposed on Hills for these violations.

Contact PENS President Evan Jacobi at NewtonExcellence@gmail.com for more information.
Yours truly grew up in Newton, Massachusetts (although, thankfully, I never attended its public schools).

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Sen. Cruz: Has President Obama Launched a Political Campaign Against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu?

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Congressman Lee Zeldin, R-NY-1, today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for information regarding media reports that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to fund efforts to influence upcoming elections in Israel. This is from Senator Cruz's press release.
“Has President Obama launched a political campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his representatives?” Sen. Cruz asked. “This administration’s relentless harassment of Israel is utterly incomprehensible. The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet, and there can be no doubt that their first target will be Israel, followed by the United States. This administration should be focusing its animosity on the very real enemies we face, not on our staunch allies.”

“It is completely unacceptable to use U.S. tax dollars to influence the elections in Israel,” said Rep. Zeldin. “State Department grants should never be given to entities working to overthrow strong allies like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We have great allies around the world, but Israel is our strongest, and a beacon of freedom in a region filled with radical Islamic extremists and state sponsored terrorism. Today, I join with Sen. Ted Cruz in calling for a U.S. Department of State investigation into this important matter.”

As specified in the letter, a recent article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that a U.S. taxpayer-funded non-profit organization called OneVoice is actively working with a campaign operation called Victory 2015 (V15) in an effort to influence the upcoming elections in Israel on March 17, 2015.

As a result, Sen. Cruz and Rep. Zeldin request answers to the following eight questions:

  1. How much funding has the U.S. Government provided to OneVoice, PeaceWorks Network Foundation, and any connected initiatives, projects or subsidiaries?
  2. Who approved providing such funds?
  3. What is the oversight and accounting process for how these funds are being spent?
  4. How often and on what dates has such funding been provided?
  5. What were the specific reasons and terms for providing funds, and how are these funds specifically being spent?
  6. Can the Department of State guarantee that none of these funds have been or will be used in the endeavor detailed above, namely the partnership with V15, or any similar effort to exert undue influence over the Israeli political process?
  7. Was there any knowledge from the State Department or other U.S. government officials of the partnership with V15 prior to providing funds to OneVoice?
  8. Does OneVoice’s work with V15 violate its 501(c)(3) status (or the status of the PeaceWorks Network Foundation) as a tax-exempt organization and should such status be revoked?
In the letter, Cruz and Zeldin write, “Of course private American citizens are free to engage in political activities according to their inclinations, but given the overtly partisan nature of this particular case, we are deeply concerned by the relationship that also exists between OneVoice and the U.S. Department of State.”

January 29, 2015

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Senate Banking Committee passes Kirk-Menendez 18-4

Here's a pretty strong indicator that the Senate has had enough with President Obama's dithering on Iran. The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday reported out the Kirk-Menendez bill that would increase sanctions on Iran. It wasn't even close. The vote was 18-4.

The Banking Committee vote suggests that the a veto-proof 68 Senators now support the Kirk-Menendez bill. Here's how that calculation comes about:
52 Republicans (everyone but Flake and Paul)
10 Democrats on the Menendez letter indicating support (Menendez, Schumer, Blumenthal, Peters, Casey, Cardin, Coons, Manchin, Donnelly, Stabenow)
3 Democrats on Banking who voted 'yes' today but weren't on the Menendez letter (Tester, Heitkamp, Warner)
3 Democrats who cosponsored Kirk-Menendez during its last iteration (Booker, Bennett, Gillibrand)
The bill has been moving forward quickly. Consider this:
Tuesday: The Senate Banking committee held hearings to discuss the legislation (that was the same day 10 Democrats signed the Menendez letter indicating support).
Tuesday (night): The legislation was introduced with 16 co-sponsors (7 Democrats and 9 Republicans, including McConnell, indicating that it has a clear path to the floor).
Thursday: The legislation got voted out of committee 18-4.
What could go wrong?

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2 IDF soldiers killed, 7 wounded in Hezbullah attack near Har Dov

Two IDF soldiers have been killed and seven wounded - two moderately and the rest lightly - in an RPG attack on an IDF jeep near Har Dov, where the borders of Israel, Syria and Lebanon all meet. This is from a constantly updated post on the IDF blog. It's in reverse chronological order.
19:24 PM: The IDF has confirmed that during today’s attack, Hezbollah militants fired 5 anti-tank missiles at the patrolling force near Mt. Dov. One soldier and one officer were killed:
  • Sergeant Dor Chaim Nini, 20, from Shtulim. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
  • Captain Yochai Kalangel, 25, from Har Gilo. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major.
Maj. Kalangel was a company commander in the “Tzabar” Battalion of the Givati Brigade. Staff Sgt. Nini was an infantry soldier. Their families have been notified.
Seven additional IDF soldiers were injured, two of them moderately. The injured soldiers were evacuated to a hospital.
14:20 PM: The IDF has confirmed that two soldiers were killed in this morning’s attack. Additionally, seven other soldiers were wounded, two of them moderately.
13:50 PM: The IDF responded to attacks with combined aerial and ground strikes at Hezbollah operational positions.
13:36 PM: The IDF holds Hezbollah responsible for the attacks in northern Israel today.
12:51 PM: Mortars hit a military position on Mt. Hermon. The IDF closed the site and is evacuating civilians from the area.
11:35 AM: An anti-tank missile was fired at a military vehicle near Mt. Dov in northern Israel. Several injured in the attack.
I'm almost surprised the IDF only went after Hezbullah assets and not after Lebanon's infrastructure. I would expect that if Hezbullah continues to escalate, Lebanese targets will be hit.

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Terror attack leaves 140 million without power

A terror attack on the country's power grid left 140 million people without power in Pakistan. It was the third such attack in two weeks.
A terrorist attack on the Pakistani national grid plunged more than 140 million people into darkness before power was restored, prompting U.S. experts to warn that terrorist cells and “lone wolves” in the United States could cause similar damage to the vulnerable national electric-grid system.
The blackout in Pakistan affected more than 80 percent of the country’s population and all public services in all the major cities, including the capital, Islamabad.
A separatist group in the Naseerabad district of Baluchistan province in the country’s southwest caused the blackout by blowing up a major transmission line connected to the national grid.
It was the third such attack in two weeks.
“It shows the bad guys definitely do know what they’re doing when they want to – in a country with upwards of 100 nuclear weapons,” said Clare Lopez, vice president for research and analysis at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.
In the latest attack on a major transmission line in Pakistan, two nuclear plants went offline after the outages while problems occurred at the country’s main international airport in Lahore.
Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Senate Democrats give Obama a deadline on Iran

Ten Senate Democrats have sent a letter to President Hussein Obama threatening to vote for time-triggered sanctions if Iran does not agree to a framework by March 24.
"In acknowledgement of your concern regarding congressional action on legislation at this moment, we will not vote for this legislation on the Senate floor before March 24," said the letter, led by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who is the co-author of Iran sanctions legislation.

"After March 24, we will only vote for this legislation on the Senate floor if Iran fails to reach agreement on a political framework that addresses all parameters of a comprehensive agreement," they wrote.

The letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).
The White House had been pressuring Democrats to hold back on the sanctions bill, warning it could blow up the negotiations and empower hard-liners in Iran who want to walk away from the table.
With Democrats now pledging to hold their fire until March, it could set the stage for a last-ditch push to try and reach the outlines of a deal.
It is doubtful that any sanctions deal could be passed before then anyway.
All but two of the signatories — Peters and Stabenow — were co-sponsors of a previous version of the sanctions bill. But two Democrats who had previously sponsored an Iran bill — Sens. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) — did not sign the letter to Obama.

The letter describes the signatories as "supporters" for a new Iran sanctions bill, which could bring the bill closer to a veto-proof majority. If Republicans were united, they would need at least 13 Democrats in order to override a presidential veto.

"We are Democratic supporters of the Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2015 — a bill that would impose sanctions on Iran only if Iran fails to reach a comprehensive agreement by the June 30 deadline," the letter said. 

While the Democrats pledged not to vote for the bill on the Senate floor, it says nothing about a Senate Banking Committee vote on Thursday, when some of the Democrats are expected to vote for advancing the bill.

An aide to Menendez said he still plans to co-sponsor and vote for the bill this Thursday.

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IDF: Hezbullah behind rockets launched from Syria

The IDF is confirming that Hezbullah is behind two rockets that were launched from the Golan Heights onto Israel earlier on Tuesday. This is from the first link.
A senior IDF source remarked on the two rockets fired from Syria that hit the Golan Heights Tuesday afternoon, saying the IDF response strike took out the rocket launcher.
The rockets were fired from territory under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad according to the source, who added that those who actively launched the rockets were members of the Iran-proxy Hezbollah terrorist organization, which has been fighting for Assad.
In the attack on Tuesday, two rockets hit two separate regions on the Golan Heights, one in the Hermon region and the other in El Rom.
Mount Hermon, which is a skiing site, was evacuated on IDF orders following the attack - it is to reopen on Wednesday. The IDF responded with tank and cannon fire at the sources of the rocket strike in Syrian territory.
 I'm kind of disappointed they didn't hit Hezbullah assets in Lebanon as well. Next time....

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Mohammed Allahdadi died because... he left his cell phone on

Hey youngsters - you have to turn your cell phone off once in a while.
An Iranian general killed in an alleged Israeli air strike last Sunday in Syria may have died because he did not turn off his cellphone.  

The Lebanese newspaper Al-Joumhouria reported on Saturday that a Hezbollah investigation into the strike found that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Mohammed Allahdadi kept his cellphone on in a sensitive area targeted by Israeli intelligence.

According to the report, Allahdadi was in the Quneitra area on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Sunday with Hezbollah personnel at outposts that the Syrians and the Iranian built in order to counter Syrian rebels along with Syrian army forces. A few days before Allahdadi's visit a joint "operations room" was established with Hezbollah.

Allahdadi reportedly was killed along with his personal assistant, his driver and a more junior Iranian officer.  

Eleven people total were killed in the airborne attack, including Jihad Mughniyeh the son of the late Hezbollah military leader and Imad Mughniyeh Mohammed Issa, the head of Hezbollah's operation in war-torn Syria and Iraq. Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group which is backed by Iran and fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006, said six of its members died in the strike.

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IDF digging trenches along Syrian border in Golan

Good morning to all of you from snowy Boston where, at least from looking out my window, the storm does not appear to be overrated. My boots are arriving tomorrow (I do have rubbers for my shoes in the meantime).

The IDF is reportedly digging trenches on the Golan Heights to prevent infiltration from Syria. That won't stop rocket fire like what happened this morning (see below), but at least it will keep Hezbullah outside the border.

The IDF has begun digging trenches along the border with Syria, Walla! News reports Monday night, amid fears of real escalation between Israel and Islamists in neighboring Syria and Lebanon. 
The mechanical engineering company of the IDF's Northern Command has employed tractors and borders to dig the trenches, a source told the news site, amid specific concerns regarding terrorist infiltrations by car via border crossings. 
"The trenches are being dug along vulnerable spots on the border, after a thorough analysis [of the risks], to prevent free traffic in the area and reduce infiltration," the military source stated. Outposts near the Syrian border are not far from rebel positions from the Al-Nusra Front and the Free Syrian Army, who patrol the border regularly in cars and motorcycles. 
In addition, Western diplomatic officials said that Israel has imparted to Lebanon a stronger warning than before, emphasizing that Jerusalem will respond to any attack on Israel or Israeli institutions anywhere in the world.
This was conveyed today the Arabic Al Hayat newspaper, published in London, which claimed that Israel has given warning, through foreign ambassadors, that Hezbollah would be perceived as responsible for any harm to Israeli targets, "even at the other end of the world."

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Obama reinventing 'protocol'

It's been less than a week since the Obama administration started seething over a surprise invitation extended to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress by Speaker of the House John Boehner. The Obama administration whined to anyone who would listen that the invitation was a  'breach of protocol.'

The Obama administration is reinventing diplomatic protocol. It is sending a team to Israel - led by Obama's own campaign manager from the 2012 elections - to defeat Netanyahu in Israel's March 17 election. I hope that all Israelis are outraged by this patronizing interference in our country's election. Yet another reason to vote against Livni and Herzog's non-Zionist party (as if you needed one).

This is from the next to last link.
The anti-Netanyahu, left wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports a group called “One Voice,” reportedly funded by American donors, is paying for the Obama campaign team. That group is reportedly being lead by Obama’s 2012 field director Jeremy Bird.
As Jerusalem Post columnist and putative Knesset candidate Caroline Glick reported on her Facebook page, “Obama won’t meet Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington when he addresses the Joint Houses of Congress in March because of Netanyahu’s visit’s proximity to the Israeli elections. And Obama, of course believes in protocol and propriety which is why he won’t get involved.” And yet, Glick adds, “He’s just sending his 2012 field campaign manager to Israel to run a campaign to defeat Netanyahu.”
For all the harsh accusations of foreign interference currently being leveled against GOP Speaker John Boehner, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, reports of Obama operatives actively working to unseat a democratically elected leader of a strong U.S. ally is hardly the news it might appear to be.
The Obama White House has aggressively worked to defeat allied leaders it has not liked and to elect or re-elect foreign leaders it does like. As the Times of Israel recently reported, the list of Obama Administration meddling in foreign elections is a long one.

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Greetings from Boston

For those who were wondering, I made it.

My flight was supposed to land at 5:55, and after circling to get the most weather-favorable approach, it landed around 6:15. We were one of four international flights that came in at the same time. The international flight after ours, which was scheduled to land at 6:35, was canceled. I have been told that the airport was officially closing at 7:00. I cannot confirm that one. There were signs on the Massachusetts Turnpike (which I took to get to where I was going - probably a good idea, although I considered taking Storah Drive) that said there's a travel ban from Midnight. Skidded once (turning onto Hahvahd Street) and got stuck on ice trying to park in the parking lot (half a dozen people pushed the car into a parking space).

I figure this is my penance because during the Great Blizzard of '78, I was a college senior in New York, and did not come up to Boston until I took the overnight train (the only thing running) on Thursday night. That storm hit on a Monday (Great pictures at that link by the way - beats any Jerusalem snow storm).

If I can stay awake for a while, I will try to post a little more....

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Snowed in?

By the time you see this, hopefully my flight will have taken off.

Have to run now.

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More than I bargained for?

So yes, I am in London, and yes, I am heading to Boston and there's a warning for an 'epic snow.'

Will this make up for the fact that I spent the 'Great Blizzard of '78' in school in New York and just took the overnight train up on Friday? (That storm started on Tuesday and by Friday the streets still were not open).

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Travel Day

Really quick. If you ever see me in Ben Gurion Airport, you should know that I am allowed to bring one guest with me to the lounge.

And with that, it's off to my flight. More later.

And you thought I was joking when I said I wanted a ticket to the Super Bowl.....

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Tit for tat: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin declines meeting with Obama

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who is visiting the United States this week, has declined to meet with Barack Hussein Obama.
Rivlin will be in New York this week to speak at UN Headquarters, for an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event. The President’s Residence had informed U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro in early December of Rivlin’s planned visit, and the information was conveyed to the White House.
A senior Israeli official said that at first Rivlin did not want to impose himself on Obama, and that he would be happy to go to Washington if invited by the White House. The deputy spokesman for the White House National Security Council, Alistair Baskey, said that Rivlin had asked in December about the possibility of a meeting as part of his visit to New York, and that there had been contacts between the two presidential bureaus over the matter in recent weeks.
The White House did not suggest a date for the meeting for some time, but on Saturday night contacts became more concrete. The White House suggested that Rivlin come to Washington toward the end of the week, after Obama returns from his trip to India and Saudi Arabia. The White House also updated the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
Journalist Chico Menashe first reported the talks regarding the visit on Sunday.
After consultations, Rivlin finally declined the American suggestion. His advisers explained to the Americans that the two leaders’ schedules do not overlap, because Rivlin is expected to return to Israel before Obama gets back to Washington.
However, beyond scheduling conflicts, it may be assumed that the high tension between the White House and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau over the latter’s planned speech to Congress contributed to Rivlin’s decision to forego a meeting at this time. Rivlin did not want a meeting to be perceived by either side as a political move.
The President’s Residence and the White House released coordinated statements last night identical in their wording, that there had been contact between the relevant parties in Israel regarding a meeting while Rivlin was in New York.
“At this stage, it has been agreed not to hold a meeting during his visit, due to the schedule constraints of both leaders, and that a meeting would be scheduled at a later date,” the statement said.
In other words, the White House wasn't interested in a meeting until it became a useful tool to 'get' Netanyahu. Rivlin didn't take the bait.

The only two politicians in this country who might meet with Obama are Tzipi Livni and Yitzchak Herzog. Right now, I'm not sure even they want to risk the fallout. 

If Obama wants to destroy the US-Israel relationship, let him try. But let him suffer the consequences.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Too good not to share...

As many of you already know, I'm a big Patriots fan, so I hope you'll forgive me if I share this Saturday Night Live skit from last night regarding Deflategate (if you don't know what Deflategate is, you can go crawl back under your rock now).

Let's go to the videotape.

For a more serious take on Deflategate, go here.

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The Labor party? Zionist?

Hey - we wouldn't want to say anything controversial, would we?

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Hezbullah endangering both Syria and Lebanon

In the previous post, I noted that Lebanon understands that if Hezbullah attacks Israel from its territory, Lebanon will suffer. While Lebanon gets it, Hezbullah could care less. Moreover, it is possible that even if Hezbullah attacks Israel from Syria, Israel may respond by hitting Lebanon. Israel is also threatening that if it is dragged into the conflict in Syria, it might just put an end to the Assad regime. In the meantime, Hezbullah cannot stop bragging about its activities in Syria. This is from the second link, a lengthy analysis by Lee Smith.
The throngs attending the younger Mughniyeh’s funeral on January 19 yelled “Death to America” only once. “I counted,” says Lokman Slim, an anti-Hezbollah Shiite activist. “And they said ‘Death to Israel’ only a few times. Then they went to more religious slogans.”
According to Slim, the scaled-down rhetoric and modest size of the funeral are evidence that Hezbollah is caught in a bind. “The [Lebanese Shiites] don’t want another war with Israel,” says Slim, “but they also want to know Hezbollah can protect them like it says.”
“The Shia are supposed to side with justice against injustice,” says Slim. “Shia stand with the underdog. And now Hezbollah is fighting alongside a dictatorial regime.” Moreover, Hezbollah has also staked the Shiites to a position against the regional Sunni majority in a war whose best outcome, says Slim, can only be a political settlement. “Hezbollah will have fought this war, and at the end the Shia will ask to what purpose did we sacrifice so much?” The worst outcome, says Slim, is a war that won’t end.
“Maybe trauma,” says Slim, “is the only way back from divinity.” Maybe. We’re on the road heading south to the Shiite heartland to see.
Outside of Lebanon’s Shiite regions, it is very difficult to get a sense of how profoundly the war in Syria has injured the community. Exactly how many Lebanese Shiites have been killed there is unknown—high-end estimates are more than a thousand in the last two years—or even how many are fighting. Slim says the numbers miss the point. “Let’s say there are 3,000 Hezbollah combatants in Syria, but then take into account all the other things you need, everything from intelligence to logistics, and there are perhaps 20,000 committed to the war. For instance, a father and his two sons have a bulldozer, and Hezbollah needs them and their machine in Syria, so they pay them double to be there.”
Hezbollah is unaccustomed to waging a long war of attrition like this, far from the Lebanese villages where it fought guerrilla wars against Israel. To be sure, its fighters are becoming a battle-hardened expeditionary force, but the nature of the war is reconfiguring Shiite society.
“Boys are dropping out of school to join the fight,” says Slim. “They enjoy the benefits of manhood earlier than before, but it’s becoming a community without men, or men who are simply on leave from Syria and waiting to return. The result,” he says smiling, “is that the women will become more powerful.”
Black humor underlines how far Hezbollah has fallen from its divine status. “We have the phenomenon of the widows of the fighters killed in Syria,” says Slim, “beautiful young girls being courted by the organization’s senior officials. ‘Hey, if you need anything, just text me. And if it’s evening, you can reach me on Whatsapp, too.’ ”
The fact that Israel presumably weighed Hezbollah’s predicament before striking the Mughniyeh/Allahdadi convoy—how the scope of its deployment in Syria limited its ability to avenge its fallen—is one of several indignities Nasrallah has to swallow. There’s also the ongoing issue of treason. Not long before the strike in the Golan, Hezbollah disclosed that it had found a spy in its ranks, Mohamed Shawarba, a high-ranking official who allegedly worked for the Mossad. If Hezbollah was eager to boast of its ability to root out traitors, Israel’s operation—netting major Hezbollah and Iranian figures—suggests that its counterintelligence wing has plenty of work left to do, because the organization is still riddled with spies.
We discuss whether Nasrallah will retaliate for last week’s attack and, if so, when and how. Will there be rocket fire from Lebanon, terrorist operations abroad, an IED on the border targeting Israeli troops, or an operation from the Golan? The last, which would come from Syrian territory, seems safest to most of the Lebanese I’ve spoken with. However, it’s worth considering that Israel may have struck not because of an urgent threat near Quneitra, but rather to prevent Iran and Hezbollah from opening another front from which to attack Israel.
The Israelis have been watching the Syrian border with concern. Given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reputation for being risk averse, it’s notable that he chose to risk the possibility of war with elections only two months away. Clearly, the Israeli government will not allow Iran to use the Golan as a launching pad, and firing on Israel from there in retaliation would effectively make it a second front. Accordingly, chances are that an Israeli response, in any escalation, would target Hezbollah in Lebanon, with the south again bearing the brunt of the conflict, likely including, according to Israeli strategists, a large ground operation.
That's the first I've heard of a possible Israeli ground operation in Lebanon, but it's not too surprising. Israel may want to hit Hezbullah while it's down. Read the whole thing.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Sunday that Israel will not hesitate to unseat the Assad regime if Hezbullah turns the Golan into a second front.
While Israel prepared for the fallout from last week's elimination of a top Hezbollah terrorist and an Iranian general on the Golan Heights, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon had a message for anyone planning to attack Israel from the direction of Syria: Israel would hold Damascus responsible for any “revenge attacks” coming from Syrian territory, to the extent that Jerusalem would side itself with forces seeking to unseat Bashar Assad from the leadership of Syria, if necessary.
Tensions remained high in northern Israel in the aftermath of the elimination of Jihad Mughniyeh, said to be Hezbollah's “commander of the Golan Heights area,” along with a crew of Hezbollah terrorists, and Iranian general Abu Ali Tabtabai. Roads in the area of the Israel-Lebanon border have been closed, and tanks and armored personnel carriers were reportedly deployed along the northern border. Lebanese media outlets are reporting Israeli jets and helicopters over the Har Dov area along the Lebanese border.
 In light of all this, it's a bit bizarre that Hezbullah would release a video of its activities in Syria.

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Lebanon gets it

This is a scene that Lebanon would not like to see repeated. It's Beirut Airport on fire during the early hours of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Lebanon is so eager to avoid being attacked that it is making sure that everyone knows that although Hezbullah is part of its government, Lebanon is not responsible for Hezbullah actions outside Lebanon.
....Lebanese circles have taken into consideration Israeli warnings and informed the ambassadors of the major countries, with emphasis on the lack of responsibility of Lebanon for any action aimed at Israel or Israelis from outside Lebanese territory...

These circles confirmed for Al-Anbaa that Hezbollah understands that officials fear of Lebanese land being used to respond to the Israeli aggression, in any place or direction, and Minister Mohammed Fneish advised the Council of Ministers on Thursday that whenever the response will come, Lebanon’s interest will be taken into account before anything....
Well, good luck with that!

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Winston Churchill died 50 years ago Saturday

Winston Churchill died on January 24, 1965. Here are a couple of relevant quotes from him:

Too bad they don't make them like him anymore.

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Video: Fox News' Chris Wallace goes ballistic over Netanyahu visit

Fox News' Chris Wallace is not very happy that Prime Minister Netanyahu plans to 'sneak' into Washington to speak to Congress about a subject that's an existential threat to Israel.

Let's go to the videotape.

Meanwhile, with all of this week's events, the poll numbers moved slightly (putting Likud and Labor in a tie for the lead), with the Right still leading the Left overall. The only Israeli politician who seems upset over Netanyahu's move is the insufferable Tzipi Livni.

Sorry. There's a lot I don't like about Netanyahu, but he's 100% right about this. As Jennifer Rubin wrote on Friday:
The entire episode suggests unseemly cooperation between the White House and Senate opponents of Menendez-Kirk sanctions legislation. “The idea that the Mossad would stake out a position against the prime minister is hard to fathom. The Mossad is actually an arm of the prime minister’s office. That’s why the entire episode strained credulity,” says Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “But even if it were true, leaking an off-the-record statement from a foreign intelligence official strikes me as both dangerous and underhanded.” Especially suspicious is the speed with which the phony Mossad story leaped from a Senate briefing to Secretary of State John Kerry, who actively worked to fan the story. It seems the administration and weak-kneed senators have a common interest in seeking to submarine critical sanctions legislation that commanded a large bipartisan majority just a year ago.
Given this contretemps, it is laughable then that the White House will not meet with Netanyahu when he visits in March so as not to interfere with the Israeli elections. Snubbing the prime minister and trying to manipulate his own intelligence service into undercutting Israel’s elected government are far more politically inappropriate than a routine visit between two allies’ leaders. In a bit of sarcastic commentary, the conservative Emergency Committee for Israel sent out a release on Thursday announcing, “In order to do our part to make the Israeli Prime Minister feel welcome in Washington, ECI will host a reception in the Prime Minister’s honor to make clear, in case there’s any doubt, that whatever the president does or says, Americans value our friendship with our ally Israel.”
Senator Menendez (D-NJ) was right when he said last week that the Obama administration is peddling talking points from Iran.  Netanyahu is coming to Washington to tell the truth. The timing and who invited him are irrelevant.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

'Palestinians' protest Charlie Hebdo, Steimatsky's to sell it in Israel but backed off special event

'Thousands' of 'Palestinians' turned out at protests in Judea and Samaria today. This time, they're protesting the selling of the Mohammed satirizing French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Thousands of Palestinians rallied in the occupied West Bank on Saturday to protest against the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
Simultaneous demonstrations were held in the cities of Ramallah and Hebron less than three weeks after Islamist gunmen shot dead 12 people in the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, which has repeatedly featured cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

"France is the mother of terrorism. America is the mother of terrorism," the protesters chanted. They carried black-and-white banners which read "There is only one God and Mohammad is his messenger."
The protests were called by the Islamist Tahrir Party, which advocates the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in Muslim countries. 
"We have taken to the streets in order to demand Muslim armies act the way France and the West deserve in response to the repeated offences against the Prophet, peace be upon him," said Baher Saleh, a member of the party.

Steimatsky's, the largest bookstore chain in Israel, has sold Charlie Hebdo for years, and says that they will continue to do so. But after 'warnings' from an 'Israeli Arab' Knesset member, they have canceled a special event that was planned to promote the current issue, and say that they will sell it online instead.

Following the threats and warnings, the book seller backtracked on its decision to hold the launch event at its flagship store. "Steimatzky decisively supports in freedom of expression. The company has sold the magazine for years and will continue to do so. However, the firm has decided the sale of the specific issue will not occur at a special event in our store, but be held online starting Monday at 5 pm."

In a letter to the prime minister, [MK Masoud] Ganaim said, "Steimatzky intends to distribute images which hurt the Prophet Mohammed. This is a very serious, dangerous, and stupid step. This is not freedom of expression but a hard hit on the holiest of holies to Muslims, which will bring about unrest and anger among the Arabs and Muslims in the country… and no one can predict the results."

The Arab legislator urged the rightwing leader to stop the distribution of offending magazine. "I hereby appeal to your sense of honor; please personally intervene to prevent Steimatzky from distribution the magazine and the damaging images of the Prophet Mohammed, lest the Israeli government and Steimatzky be responsible for every consequence."
It will be interesting to see whether the Arabs will try to build on their 'success' to bar the sale of Charlie Hebdo altogether. 

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Obama going to Saudi Arabia, will skip Auschwitz liberation anniversary

Having blown off France two weeks ago, Barack HUSSEIN Obama will skip the Taj Mahal next week to visit the new king of Saudi Arabia. In case that doesn't make his priorities clear enough, the President of the United States will then skip the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

This is from the third link.
World leaders have been streaming into the country to pay their respects to the powerful kingdom, which controls one of the world's largest reserves of oil. The late King Abdullah had been a close friend of the United States, but the new king, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is less known in the West.
The president has been on a bad streak of late. He skipped the Paris march after the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, instead watching NFL playoof football. The White House later acknowledged that it should have sent someone with a "higher profile" than just the U.S. ambassador to France.
Then this week, the White House announced that Obama will not see the Israeli Prime Minister on his March visit to address Congress, calling the invitation from House Speaker John Boehner a breach of protocol. But the president did make time on Thursday to visit with a YouTube star who once took a bath in a tub filled with milk and Fruit Loops, prompting much ridicule.
Now, with the change announced Saturday by the White House, Biden will stay in Washington as Obama makes the trip to Saudi Arabia.
But once again, Obama will be a day late and a dollar short. He won't stop in Riyadh until Tuesday, while Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito will visit on Saturday and Sunday to offer condolences.
Well, maybe Obama is afraid that Hollande will treat him about as well as Netanyahu does.

And then there's the Auschwitz snub.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will represent the United States at the 70th anniversary ceremony for the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Tuesday—rather than President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden—while other countries are slated to send their heads of state.
Tuesday’s ceremony will likely be the last major anniversary where a significant number of survivors of the Nazi camp are present. About 300 are expected to attend, and most of them are in their 90s or older than 100. Nazi authorities killed 1.1 million people at the camp, mostly Jews, which was liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945.
The New York Times reported on the foreign dignitaries that would be present:
A preliminary list of those attending includes President François Hollande of France, President Joachim Gauck of Germany and President Heinz Fischer of Austria, as well as King Philippe of Belgium, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. The United States delegation will be led by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.
The White House claims that Obama will be in India on a 'long-scheduled' trip. As if they didn't know when the liberation of Auschwitz took place. At least he'll avoid Hollande there too. 

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A non-Jewish journalist dressed as a Jew and walked through Malmo, Sweden. This is what happened to him:

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

One place you do not want to visit - this week or any week - is Malmo, Sweden.
What nice people those Swedes are....

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Report: Rubio a candidate for 2016 Republican nomination

Some of you may recall that for a while now, I've been saying that I'd find a Marco Rubio candidacy for the Republican nomination for President very exciting. Now, reports ABC News, it looks like it's going to happen (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Leading the effort to raise the $50 million or more he’ll need to run in the Republican primaries will be Anna Rogers, currently the finance director for American Crossroads, the conservative group started by Karl Rove that raised more than $200 million to help elect Republicans over the past two elections.
Rogers will begin working at Rubio’s political action committee on February 1 and would become the finance director of Rubio’s presidential campaign.
Rubio, 43, will gather on Friday and Saturday at the Delano Hotel in Miami with 300 supporters and major donors to his Reclaim America PAC to discuss his political future.
Aides expect Rubio will make a final decision in the comings weeks, but his schedule for the next month already looks more like the schedule of a presidential candidate than a senator.
ABC News has learned Rubio plans to skip all votes in the Senate next week and instead take a campaign fundraising swing through California with events in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, Rancho Sante Fe and Costa Mesa. He also plans fundraising stops in Texas and Chicago.
Rubio has also scheduled a book tour that will take him to all the early primary states. A senior aide to the Florida senator tells ABC News Rubio’s book tour will include stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and Nevada. The first stop is tentatively scheduled for February 13 in Des Moines.
Here's wishing Marco Rubio all the success in the world. If you need someone to work on your campaign among American ex-pats in Israel (there are lots of us), please call. Promise to repeal FATCA and you'll get lots of votes here.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

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Must see video: New York City Councilman blasts pro-'Palestinian' 'activists'

New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield makes remarks on the floor of the council moments after Pro-Palestine activists protested the commemoration of 1.1 million people killed in Auschwitz. Greenfield is the grandson of holocaust survivors.

Let's go to the videotape.

A truly great speech.

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The real reason Obama - and Kerry and Biden - won't meet with Netanyahu

Barak Ravid reports that the real reason why President Obama - and Secretary of State Kerry and Vice President Biden - won't meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he's in Washington in March has nothing to do with pique over the way Netanyahu's invitation to Washington came about. It also has nothing to do with the Israeli elections which will take place two weeks after Netanyahu's visit.

The real reason why Obama, Kerry and Biden won't meet with Netanyahu is a 'policy disagreement.' Obama has asked Netanyahu to stop lobbying Congress for more sanctions against Iran, and Netanyahu, with his country's best interests at heart, won't let up.
U.S. President Barack Obama has demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stop encouraging U.S. senators and congressmen to advance new sanctions legislation against Iran.
A senior American official, who asked to remain anonymous due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue, said Obama gave Netanyahu this message during a telephone call on Monday, January 12.
Obama stressed to Netanyahu that he is seeking to reach an agreement with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons and assure the international community in a verifiable fashion that Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, the official added. But new sanctions legislation is liable to sabotage the negotiations that Obama and five other countries are conducting with Iran, the president said. He told the Israeli leader that should such legislation pass Congress, he intends to veto it.
Obama also warned Netanyahu not to meddle in the battle he is waging against Congress over the sanctions legislation, the official said. This warning was issued more than a week before Speaker of the House John Boehner publicly invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. Netanyahu’s address, which will take place at the height of the battle between Obama and the Republican-controlled Congress, is expected to focus on the Iranian nuclear issue and what he sees as the need to ratchet up the pressure on the Iran. 
At Netanyahu’s behest, both Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer and members of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, have been urging members of Congress in recent weeks to advance legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran. Netanyahu has also urged new sanctions on Iran in all his meetings with American legislators, including his meeting earlier this week with a delegation headed by Republican Senator John McCain.
"We thought we've seen everything," a senior American official said. "But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don't do. He spat in our face publicly and that's no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price."
Obama is about as lame a duck as one can find. He's in the home stretch of his second and final term as President.  The Republicans control both houses of Congress. He needs Netanyahu to have any kind of foreign policy legacy that's connected to the Middle East. And if he goes too far, he will drive pro-Israel donors away from the Democratic party for years to come.


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WaPo gives Obama three Pinocchios for claiming that Iran's nuclear program has been halted

The Washington Post's fact checker has give President Hussein Obama three Pinocchio's (out of a possible four) for lying in his State of the Union message by claiming that Iran's nuclear program has been halted. Three Pinocchio's mean that there is 'significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions' in the claim made.This is from the first link.
Olli Heinonen, who headed the IAEA’s safeguards section during the 2003-2005 talks between Iran and three European powers (United Kingdom, France and Germany), said “it is true that 20-percent enriched uranium stocks have decreased, but Iran is still producing uranium enriched up to 5-percent uranium. The latter stocks have actually increased when you talk about stocks of UF6 [uranium hexafluoride] and other chemical compounds.”
Moreover, while there has been no installation of new centrifuges, “it appears that the production of centrifuge components continues. Same with the Arak reactor. No new nuclear components have been installed, but it does not mean that the production of those came to halt.”
As Heinonen put it, “the JPOA is just a step to create negotiation space; nothing more. It is not a viable longer term situation.  The nuclear caravan of Iran continues and sets a step after a step another fait accompli.”
David Albright, who heads Institute for Science and International Security, said the president’s language was “a little bit odd.” He said that the halt in Iran’s program from 2003 to 2005 was a more substantial suspension of enrichment activities. (At the Senate hearing, Blinken acknowledged the United States and its negotiating partners had abandoned United Nations Security Council demands that Iran halt enrichment as it was clear “Iran was not going to give up as a practical matter some very limited forms of enrichment in the event of an agreement.”)
Moreover, Albright said it was not correct that the 3.5-percent enriched stock had been reduced; instead it has been converted from one form (“hexafluoride”) to another (“oxide”), a step that he said was taken largely for cosmetic (political) purposes. A significant portion of 20-percent enriched material has also been retained as scrap, rather than converted into fuel for a research reactor. A key aspect of the talks is to extend the “break out” period under which Iran could manufacture a nuclear weapon, but he said as a practical matter the conversion of 3.5 percent to oxide form would only add about two weeks to the break-out period, since Iran could reconvert it back into hexafluoride. (Here’s his report on this issue; this paragraph was updated for clarity.)
In effect, the amount of nuclear material available to Iran has gone up “about a bomb’s worth during the JPOA,” Albright said.
This is where Obama’s speechwriters went awry. Iran’s stock of low enriched uranium — a “nuclear material” by the IAEA’s definition — has gone up during the negotiations, largely as a consequence of the dilution of the near 20-percent material.
 Read the whole thing.

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Celebrate Israel Parade bans BDS groups

Groups promoting BDS (Boycott Divest Sanction) against Israel have been banned from the 2015 Celebrate Israel Parade.

I am embedding the instructions for groups participating in the parade below. Note Instruction A3 on page 2.

2015 Marching Group Registration Packet

This is long overdue.... BDS supporters are not 'pro-Israel.'

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Here we go: 'Senior Israeli official' slams 'Obama's Mossad lies'

A 'senior Israeli official' has slammed 'Obama's Mossad lies,' a reference to an article in Bloomberg View by @JoshRogin and @Eli Lake. This is from the first link.
"The fraudulent claims against the Mossad Head were raised by the Americans yesterday, despite a message that had been transmitted to them on Tuesday by Intelligence Minister [Yuval] Steintz,” the senior Israeli source told Channel 2 news.
He added that Israel had gone over the minutes of the meeting between Pardo and the delegation of senators, and that Pardo had not said what was attributed to him.
"Leaking the Mossad Head's statements, even if they had not been falsified, is a serious breach of all the rules,” the senior source added. “Friends do not behave like this. Information from a secret meeting must not leak out.”
Pardo denied on Thursday the report – which was carried by Bloomberg news – claiming that the Mossad disagrees with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu about the need to press new sanctions on Iran.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kirchner: 'Nisman was murdered to frame me'

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner now admits that the death of AMIA terror bombing investigator Alberto Nisman was not a suicide. But now Kirchner claims that Nisman was murdered to frame her.
The government says two key witnesses in Nisman's case against the president had been falsely presented to him as state intelligence agents.
Fernandez said the deception discredited Nisman's charges against her and points to a conspiracy to smear her name.
"They used him while he was alive and then they needed him dead," she said in an open letter to the country, adding that his death was "sad and terrible".
She did not say who killed him and no one has been arrested in the case, which has shocked Argentines. Social media networks are seething with conspiracy theories, some pointing at Fernandez and her government.
Thousands took to the streets this week to protest the slow pace of justice for the victims of the bombing and demanding answers to the questions around Nisman's death.
Fernandez again defended herself in a Facebook post on Thursday.
"Nisman's accusation not only collapses, but becomes a real political and legal scandal ... That's the key. Prosecutor Nisman did not know that the men identified as intelligence agents were in fact not," she said.
"The spies who were not spies. The questions that turned into certainties. The suicide that I am now convinced was not a suicide."
But there are a lot of suspicious things happening here. One of them is the fact that Nisman's apartment has a back door that was unlocked - contradicting earlier reports that Nisman's apartment was locked from the inside. The existence of a third door only rouses more suspicions.
Lead prosecutor Viviana Fein said there was no evidence of anyone else involved in the death, but said Nisman left no suicide note. A test of his hand showed no residue of gunpowder, though she said that may have been due to the small caliber of the gun. The fact that national Security Secretary Sergio Berni quickly turned up in the apartment also fed doubts.

Moreover, the locksmith who opened the back door to give investigators access to the home where Nisman was found dead said it was barely closed, raising questions about whether a killer might have entered or exited what was earlier described as a 13th-story apartment locked from the inside.
After testifying to investigators, the man who gave his name only as Walter said he was able to quickly open the door with a hook. He added, "If someone entered or not, I don't know."

The official news agency Telam, meanwhile, said investigators had found a third access to the home, a narrow passage holding air conditioning equipment that connects to a neighboring apartment occupied by an unidentified foreigner. They were investigating a seemingly recent footprint and fingerprint found inside. 
Opposition politicians have denounced Kirchner's claim that Nisman was murdered to frame her. 
Opposition leaders denounced Kirchner's statements as an opportunistic about-face.
"It's very serious. To go from supporting the thesis of a suicide, to an assassination, she must assume the consequences," said Senator Ernesto Sanz, a member of the opposition.
Another Kirchner opponent, deputy Francisco de Narvaez, expressed outrage that Kirchner would take a position on such a sensitive matter while an investigation was underway.
"You do not have the right to trample on the independence of the judiciary in this tragedy. I ask you to stop acting like an adolescent trying to gain influence through your Facebook account," he said.
 I would bet on Kirchner being involved. The question is how to prove it.

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Obama invents new US policy to avoid meeting with Netanyahu, meets and endorses Cameron for UK Prime Minister

Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of Congress has been moved to March 3, when he was supposed to be in Washington anyway for AIPAC's annual convention (a trip that the Obama administration had approved). But Obama has invented a new policy and will use it to avoid meeting with Netanyahu during his trip.
The decision, said the White House, is in line with US policy not to meet foreign leaders on dates that are close to national elections in their countries.
"The president will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election," said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan‏
The date for Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to Congress has been pushed back by a fortnight to March 3, House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday on his Twitter feed.
Boehner said that Netanyahu asked that the speech be rescheduled so that he can participate in the annual AIPAC conference as well. This means that the speech to Congress will be delivered just two weeks before the Israeli elections on March 17.
Netanyahu wrote Boehner: "I am honored by this invitation, which reflects the special friendship shared by Israel and the United States as well as the strong bipartisan support for Israel across America. 
"Just last week I discussed with President Obama the common challenges we face from Islamist extremism, including resurgent terrorism and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
"I look forward to being able to share with the joint session Israel's vision for working together to address these threats and to reiterate Israel's commitment to the bond that unites our two democracies."
But an out-and-out endorsement of another country's candidate for Prime Minister is okay in Obama's book.
US President Barack Obama today handed David Cameron an extraordinary pre-election endorsement, hailing the British Prime Minister as a 'great friend'.
With less than four months until voters go to the polls in the tightest UK election for years, Mr Obama used a press conference in the White House to give the strongest possible backing to a fellow world leader.
Mr Cameron has been in Washington for a high profile visit just months before the British general election. The two men dined together in the White House last night, on mushrooms, lamb and warm pear cake.
Images of Mr Cameron with the US President, who is more popular in the UK than in America, will be seen as a huge boost to Tory hopes of contrasting Mr Cameron with Labour's Ed Miliband to be PM.
But the highly unusual personal support from a Democrat President will delight Tory strategists and cause dismay for Labour, who hoped a visit to Washington last year had bolstered his image as a potential statesman.
Mr Cameron revealed in an interview this month that Mr Obama often calls him 'bro' when they meet.
'Yes, he sometimes calls me 'Bro',' the PM said.
The US President today said commentators had got into a 'tizzy' about he meant meant by it and sparked a debate about even the definition and origin of the word 'bro'.
Seeking to clear up the confusion, Mr Obama said: 'Put simply, David is a great friend. He is one of my closet and most trusted partners in the world. On many of the most pressing challenges that we face we see the world the same way.
'Great Britain is our indispensable partner, and David has been personally an outstanding partner - and I thank you for your friendship.'
In response, Mr Cameron told the President: 'You are a great friend to Britain, and me personally.'
Maybe the US policy starts tomorrow? 

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