‘Israel gets a good slap in the face and a few days later someone in Washington announces that the U.S.-Israeli relationship is rock-solid.’

Former defense minister, and Likud leader, Moshe Arens, analyses the current “situation” in an essay for Ha’Aretz (5.3.10):

Former Israeli Defense Minister - MOSHE ARENS

It is almost a year now that a certain ritual has marked the public discourse between Washington and Jerusalem. Israel gets a good slap in the face and a few days later someone in Washington announces that the U.S.-Israeli relationship is rock-solid. The Israeli prime minister is demeaned in Washington and a day later he declares that the U.S.-Israeli relationship is firm as ever.

Anybody who has been involved in fostering the U.S.-Israeli relationship over the years, so important to both countries, knows that things are not as they have been for the past 50 years. The relationship, which on occasion is being described in Washington as “unshakable and unbreakable,” has for the past year been shaken up quite a bit. The administration in Washington is trying to force on Israel a peace settlement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a settlement that would involve Israel withdrawing to the 1949 armistice lines that were established after it repelled the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, which were attempting to destroy the newborn state.

They want to set the clock back, seemingly oblivious of the many wars and acts of terror that were launched against Israel in the years since then, the serious threats that are being directed against Israel at present, the dramatic changes that have taken place in the past 61 years, and the Jewish people’s internationally recognized rights to their ancient homeland. This bitter medicine needs to be taken by the people of Israel, it is argued, because it serves the interests of the United States, and in addition, the administration in Washington believes that it is also good for Israel.

Just look at the new WH attentiveness to every ‘Jewish concern’ – except the ones that really matter – Israel, Iran, virulent Islamic anti-Semitism, and terrorism.

Notes Ben Smith, blogging at Politico.com:

‘White House drops Christian dating for Jewish proclamation’

The White House, in the midst of an intense charm offensive aimed at the Jewish and pro-Israel communities, has dropped an archaic phrase that has, in the past, rankled Jewish groups.

The use of the proclamation boilerplate “in the year of our Lord” for a celebration of Jewish Heritage Month had struck a slightly off-key note for Jewish groups in Obama’s last proclamation, as in those of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

This year, the phrase has been replaced by the simple phrase, “in the year two thousand ten.”

Steven Freeman, an official at the Anti-Defamation League, tells Andrew Silow-Carroll that “we see it as a welcome, sensitive, and attentive gesture,” though it doesn’t seem ever to have been a major bone of contention.

And regardless of the phrase employed, the year is still calculated from the birth of Christ, after all.

JewsForSarah advocates that the Jewish leadership pressure the administration on the issues that really matter to us, and not be misled by pandering and atmospherics.

Tel Belman at IsraPundit.com declares that “Sarah Palin is on a Roll.”

He gives a long string of Palin successes in the past year.

The poll numbers he cites for “independents” are especially encouraging.

“Drill, Baby, Drill . . .”

Many of her detractors cite negative polling numbers to discredit her. They should be ignored. Public Policy Polling found in a poll reported on April 15 that:

Sarah Palin now lags Obama only 45-47 after showing deficits of eight or seven points in each of the last three months. Both Obama and Palin have increased their base support, but Palin now trails Obama among independents 39-46 versus 35-49 in March.

As this poll demonstrates, Palin is quickly gaining support among independents. Give her another three months, and she will be leading Obama. And do not forget the growing enthusiasm gap as reported by Politics Daily:

While voters are about evenly split about whether they support the Democrat or Republican in this year’s congressional elections, the Republicans have opened up a 20 point “enthusiasm gap” when it comes to how eager they are to go to the polls, according to Gallup’s daily tracking polls conducted between April 1-25.

This growing gap is due to the Palin factor. She energizes her base as no other today can.

Our essay is up on the New York Sun

Posted On May 3 , 2010
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What Does Sarah Palin Read Her Daughter From the Bible?

By Benyamin Korn, Special to the Sun | May 3, 2010

NYSun.com


When Governor Sarah Palin spoke to 16,000 Christian evangelical women in Louisville, Kentucky on April 16, guess which book she mentioned as the one she reads to her daughter at bedtime?

Try the biblical Book of Esther.

That’s right — Sarah Palin, mocked and pilloried by Jewish liberals as a danger to world Jewry because of her Christian beliefs, reads to her 8 year-old from a book that most Jews should probably spend a little more time with.

Governor Palin’s Kentucky speech, to a group known as the Women of Joy, is being claimed by her critics as proof that she is too Christian. But a careful look at the speech reveals, in fact, how close to Judaism and the Jewish people she is.

To judge by some accounts in the major news media, it sounds like she made a Bible-thumpin’, foot-stompin’ appeal to the unwashed fundamentalist masses.

The Washington Post’s online religion commentator, David Waters, wrote a post called “Palin’s Christian Nation,” which began, “In a speech last week, Sarah Palin promoted belief in God as a form of patriotism [and] dismissed notions that ‘America isn’t a Christian nation’…”

And on ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer declared: “Tonight, a question about religion and America, occasioned by comments by Sarah Palin that are getting a lot of attention. And here is the question: Should America be defined as a Christian nation?”

Ironically, the DailyKos.com columnist “Angry Mouse” quoted Governor Palin more accurately than did the Post or ABC News.

She cited several examples of recent overreaching by those who want America to be more secular. She mentioned a Wisconsin judge’s assertion that National Prayer Day is unconstitutional, and she referred to President Obama’s statement that America is not a Christian nation.

Here’s the key sentence: “And then, you know, hearing any leader declare that America isn’t a Christian nation, and poking an ally like Israel in the eye, it’s mind-boggling to see some of our nation’s actions [in] recent days, but politics is truly a topic for another day.”

What? Poking Israel in the eye? What’s that doing in the middle of that remark? And how was it omitted from the Washington Post account?

The Israel remark is there because to Sarah Palin, the well being of Israel and the Jewish people is an integral part of her worldview. Israel is not just another cold run-of-the-mill foreign policy matter, like trade with Mexico or aid to Sri Lanka. What happens to Israel matters to her as a Christian. Threats to America’s moral fiber and threats to Israel’s national security are all part of the same challenge that she wants Americans to address.

Governor Palin takes her Bible seriously. Not in the sense of someone who wants to impose her beliefs on anyone else, but simply as someone who believes that both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament provide moral guideposts for our lives. She reads the Book of Esther to Piper because she wants her daughters to emulate Jewish history’s most famous heroine.

In her speech to the Women of Joy, Palin included a few quotes from the New Testament. But Jewish scripture figured much more prominently. She quoted twice from Psalms, as well from Proverbs and Malachi. She spoke to Piper about how Esther, an orphan, overcame steep odds and difficulties in order to save the Jewish people. And she took issue with President Obama’s policy of “poking our ally Israel in the eye.”

Fear-mongers with political agendas want to drive a wedge between Governor Palin and American Jewry. Sometimes they do it with quotations that leave out key sentences. Sometimes they do it with distorted depictions of her religious beliefs.

Jews have nothing to fear from Sarah Palin’s religion. But we have plenty to fear from those political leaders who not only have no interest in Esther or Proverbs, or Sarah, but who think that poking Israel in the eye makes for good foreign policy.

Mr. Korn, formerly executive editor of the Jewish Exponent at Philadelphia, is director of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, and is editor of JewsForSarah.com.

‘Obama’s … treatment of the Israeli and Afghan leaders … marked a low point of his performance as president.’

JACKSON DIEHL - Deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post

In his latest trenchant critique of Obama administration diplomacy  (5.3.10), the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl focuses on the President’s bumbling treatment of, and poor personal chemistry with, two key foreign leaders – Karzai and Netanyahu:

In the next 18 months, Obama’s record abroad will be made or broken by his ability to do business with two nominal U.S. allies: Hamid Karzai and Binyamin Netanyahu.  . . .

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu holds the key to whether Israel will be prepared to accept a Palestinian state within the two-year time frame Obama has established – and also, perhaps, whether Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons will lead to war.  . . .

Obama has not done well. In fact, his treatment of the Israeli and Afghan leaders during one week in late March – immediately after his victory on health care – marked a low point of his performance as president.

Was it hubris from health care that brought on this burst of presidential imperialism? Whatever the cause, the results were disastrous. Netanyahu retreated to Jerusalem, where, after a couple of weeks of sulking, he defiantly announced that settlement construction in Jerusalem would continue. Karzai summoned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Kabul, then delivered a tirade against Western interference that concluded with a threat to join the Taliban.

Among the Beltway punditocracy, The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl is the most important editor (deputy, of WaPo’s editorial page) and columnist, who consistently understands Israel’s existential situation.


Here he points out (in his column of 4.19.10) that President Obama has a golden opportunity to provide leadership for true democratization in the region – unlike his too-tepid, way-too-late support for Iranian freedom fighters last June, after Iran’s fraudulent elections.


In the Middle East, the conditions on the ground make a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement impossible to accomplish in the short term. They make anything more than delay and containment of Iran’s nuclear ambitions similarly far-fetched, unless military force is used or a domestic revolution takes place. But they offer what may be a golden opportunity for democratization.

The Obama administration is pressing ahead on the first two issues, setting impossibly ambitious goals and ignoring the unfavorable conditions. And it has put on a distant back burner the one place where opportunity beckons.

That would be Egypt, the region’s bellwether — where an 81-year-old strongman, Hosni Mubarak, is ailing; where a grass-roots pro-democracy movement has gained hundreds of thousands of supporters; and where a credible reform leader has suddenly appeared, in the form of the Nobel Prize-winning former nuclear inspector Mohamed El-Baradei. The movement he leads is pressing Mubarak to lift an emergency law –  imposed 28 years ago –  that blocks political organizing and freedom of assembly, and to change the constitution so that next year’s presidential election can be genuinely democratic.

Here is a real chance for groundbreaking change in the homeland of Mohamed Atta and Ayman al-Zawahiri. As happened before democratic transitions in other countries, there is a strong public movement with responsible leadership making reasonable demands. American leverage, including $2 billion in annual aid, is powerful – as George W. Bush demonstrated in 2005, when he induced Mubarak to change the constitution before the last presidential election so that opponents could run against him.

There are some in the administration who can see the opportunity. But Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have shown almost no interest.   . . .

NY Times runs a smear against him

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat

The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, is visiting the United States this week, at a time when the holy city is arguably in graver danger than at any time since its reunification by Israel in 1967. A sneering April 29 report in the New York Times, however, tried to portray Mr. Barkat himself as the danger.

When Mayor Barkat visited Capitol Hill, the Times reported, he “unfurled maps that showed development in his city’s Jewish and Arab neighborhoods.” In other words, contrary to the image projected almost daily by the international news media, it is not only the Jewish neighborhoods that are being developed by Israel, but both the Jewish and Arab areas.

Lest readers linger too long and realize that inconvenient fact, the Times quickly emphasized that the mayor’s real “message,” however, is that he “will not stop construction in East Jerusalem, regardless of whether it hurts American efforts to restart peace negotiations.” Get it? Construction hurts peace, Barkat is stubbornly proceeding with construction, thus Barkat is an enemy of peace.

Barkat is also to blame for problems in the America-Israel relationship, the Times alleges: “Jerusalem’s ill-timed announcement that it planned to build 1,600 Jewish housing units in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo spoiled a good-will visit to Israel by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. last month and led to a deep chill between the United States and Israel.”

(Perhaps if the Times correspondent, Mark Landler, had been allotted a few more column inches, he would have found a way to blame Mayor Barkat for the Icelandic volcano eruption.)

Barakat at the Western Wall - HaKotel HaMa'aravi

Let us attempt to parse exactly how many falsehoods and distortions the Times found fit to print in just that one aforementioned paragraph.

First, the fact that many residents of Ramat Shlomo are “ultra-Orthodox” is as irrelevant as the fact that many residents of the city’s Arab neighborhoods are “ultra-Muslim”, a point (though there is no moral equivalence between the two) that the Times never mentions. A more interesting fact is that Mayor Barkat, here blamed for building “ultra-Orthodox” apartments, is himself not Orthodox, much less “ultra.” Indeed, the fact that he is a “secular” Jew speaks volumes about the fact that the city is dear to Jews of all persuasions.

Second, Ramat Shlomo is in northern Jerusalem, not “East Jerusalem,” a geographic fiction which the Times and other news media perpetuate, suggesting there is a separate part of Jerusalem that rightfully belongs to the Arabs. There is no such thing.

Third, according to whom did the construction in Ramat Shlomo “spoil” Vice President Biden’s visit? It was the Obama administration which CHOSE to obsess on it, evidently as a pretext for racheting up diplomatic pressure on the Israeli government. The administration could just as easily have regarded the construction as a run-of-the-mill development in a city that the U.S. Congress’s Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 specifically recognized as being under united, legitimate Israeli sovereignty.

The administration could have announced that Biden’s visit was spoiled by the decision, that same week, of the Palestinian Authority to name a square in its capital city of Ramallah after a terrorist who murdered a relative of a U.S. senator and dozens of other innocent people. Instead of spending 45 minutes on the phone chewing out Prime Minister Netanyahu, Secretary of State Clinton could have spent 45 minutes chewing out PA president Mahmoud Abbas and demanding that the PA pay compensation to the families of the more than 100 Americans whom Palestinian terrorists have murdered since the 1970s. The “spoiling” was choreographed by President Obama and his advisers.

The leading liberal-Left Jewish weekly has published a remarkably fair report on Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin:

Korn is the founder of a new group called Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, and his efforts are part of some recent Jewish support that has been trickling in the direction of the hockey mom from Wasilla.

Even though American Jews have repeatedly disapproved of her in large numbers in poll after poll, giving her abysmally low approval ratings, her recent high-profile jabs at the president have earned her support from some of the most prominent Jewish conservatives today.

Not only does she continue to receive the hearty backing of William Kristol, editor and publisher of The Weekly Standard and contributor to Fox News, but at the end of March, Norman Podhoretz, former editor of Commentary and godfather of the neoconservative movement, took to the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal to offer a “defense of Sarah Palin.”

He compared the ridicule that has greeted her arrival on the national scene to the laughter at Ronald Reagan’s expense when Reagan became the Republican presidential nominee. Podhoretz’s argument boiled down to this: “What she does know — and in this respect, she does resemble Reagan — is that the United States has been a force for good in the world, which is more than Barack Obama, whose IQ is no doubt higher than hers, has yet to learn.”

Podhoretz closed by dramatically proclaiming that he would “[rather have the Tea Party running the country than the Democratic Party and I would] rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama.”

The link

Says U.S. Middle East Stance Encouraging European Anti-Semitism and Palestinian Delay

April 28, 2010 (Fort Lee, NJ) – Discussing why he purchased an open letter in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post critical of President Obama’s Middle East policies, Amb. (ret.) Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, suggests that the administration no longer listens to mainstream Jews in America.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder, was U.S. Ambassador to Austria

When pressed by Mark S. Golub, Shalom TV CEO, as to why he went public with his comments (since the president of the World Jewish Congress traditionally has the ear of the White House), Mr. Lauder explains, “I can’t talk to President Obama any time I want. And the Administration was not hearing anything that was being said. They were only hearing a small circle around them – like J Street. They have all these people around them telling them a different story.”

Mr. Lauder, former U.S. Ambassador to Austria, reports that most all of the World Jewish Congress offices were enthusiastic about his publishing remarks on “the dramatic deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Israel,” because Jewish leaders in Europe fear that the Obama administration’s stance is encouraging anti-Semitism.

“The United States is perceived as pulling back in its relationship with Israel, [so] there is a growth of anti-Semitism – particularly throughout Europe,” he reports. “It is growing at an astronomical rate because there is a feeling that no one is watching them.”

Mark S. Golub’s interview with Ronald Lauder will be carried nationally on Shalom TV starting Sunday, May 2. [To watch the entire conversation online, click here.]

(A Free Video On Demand service, Shalom TV is America’s national Jewish television cable network available in more than 38 million homes on virtually every major cable system in the US and Canada.)

New York Jewish Week: a balanced story on J4S

Posted On April 28 , 2010
Comments Off

From the flagship newspaper of the Jewish Federation movement, comes this balanced report:

‘Can Palin Win Over Jews?’

‘Could Obama’s growing problems with the community translate into popularity for our least-favorite Sarah? Despite a new website, most experts say no.’

[In 2008] Obama ended up with 78 percent of the Jewish vote.

A year and a half later, Obama’s popularity with Jewish voters is sinking, and a group of Jewish conservatives is now touting Sarah Palin as the Republicans’ latest best hope to win over Jewish voters.

. . .

To Korn, a presidential win for Palin would be no different than Ronald Reagan’s rise from “B-list movie-star” to California governor and the presidency, or Margaret Thatcher’s ascendance from grocer’s daughter to prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Worried by what he views as Obama’s chilly attitude toward Israel and complacency toward Iran, Korn said he was anxious to find someone capable of unseating the president in the next election — and despite the skepticism of numerous political scientists, he believes Palin’s personality and views on U.S.-Israel relations will prove attractive to Jewish voters.

“We are so upset about Obama’s Middle East policy that we’re looking for his biggest opponent — she is the leading voice,” Korn told The Jewish Week. “We have been impressed by Gov. Palin’s brilliance, charisma and courage, and we have supported her and wanted to see her advance since she made her acceptance speech at the Republican nominating convention.”

Read more: www.thejewishweek.com/news/national/can_palin_win_over_jews

 
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