My friend and colleague Dr. Michael Kram suggested to me that I join the growing list of bloggers.
Click here to read my entire Mission Statement.
Souter/Bunning/Biden/ J Street
Elli Ganchrow writes:
The big news of the night is that Justice Souter will be retiring at the end of this term. Souter, who was nominated by George H.W. Bush, was one of the 4 liberal members of the Court and therefore his replacement (which will almost certainly be a liberal) will not change the ideological makeup of the Court. Two interesting things to watch: 1. How liberal will the nominee be? As Obama has not yet made any real decisions yet on a range of major issues, he sometimes makes it hard to tell if he is a true Clinton moderate or a Carter liberal. This decision will give us guidance as to how Obama will govern. 2. Arlen Specter was the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, however now that he jumped to the Democrats, the Republicans will need to find a new ranking member. The ranking member will play a major role in the nomination process. While Specter would have been a pushover for Obama's nominee, Jon Kyl could be a more difficult roadblock for the nominee. Of course, there is little the Republicans can do to actually stop the nomination.
Good news for the Republicans in Kentucky where Senator Bunning has announced his retirement. Bunning, who is a Republican, has made a series of bizarre statements and some doubted that he is lucid. His retirement will allow the GOP to nominate someone new and therefore increases their chances of holding this seat in this dark red state.
Joe Biden's statement today "http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/30494440#30494440
" that Americans should avoid airplanes and subways confirms (once again) Biden's well-deserved reputation that he is gasbag. His comments were irresponsible and quite idiotic. If the White House was smart they would hide Biden in an undisclosed location.
Kudos to Nathan Diament of the OU's IPA for publicly confronting the new lobbying group "J Street" which bills itself as being "Pro-Israel". While we celebrated Yom Haatzmaut yesterday, we also remember the great dangers that face the Jewish state. J Street is a group which, according to its website, calls for a Palestinian state, the division of Jerusalem, the giveback of the Golan Heights, the stoppage of settlement construction, calls on the Israeli military to cease operations in Gaza, calls the Foreign Minister of Israel a "racist", calls for diplomacy with Iran etc. Are there not enough anti-Israel groups in the world, that a group of American Jews felt the need to establish yet another group that will put pressure on Israel to make concessions?
Arlen Specter/More Teleprompter Problems
Elli Ganchrow writes:
The news that Senator Spector is leaving the Republican party is obviously a big blow to the Republicans chances of slowing down the Obama agenda, but for all intents and purposes, Specter had left the party when he voted with Obama on his "stimulus" package. This move by Specter at least removes one of the most prominent RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) which the media enjoyed using when they wanted to show that certain Republicans were willing to go along with certain aspects of the Democrats agenda. Specter came to the realization that he was going to be blown out by Pat Toomey in the upcoming Republican primary for Specter's seat (the last polls showed Toomey up by 20 points) and decided to jump ship when he could- not exactly a portrait of courage. A few additional points: 1. Specter announced that he would not change his vote on Card Check which probably means that piece of legislation will be stalled 2. It will be interesting to see if anyone steps to challenge Specter in the Democratic primary 3. The general election race of Toomey versus Specter (a rematch of the Republican primary race) should be one of the most-watched races of the cycle. One further point: I believe those Republicans which helped Specter barely Toomey in 2004 owe the party an apology for giving us these last 6 years of Specter in the Senate.
As has been pointed out in previous posts, Obama's over-reliance on teleprompters has reached the point of absurity. Another flub by Obama over the weekend (http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0409/obama_gets_ahead_of_prompter_3813cbcb-1e4a-44c6-b1e7-26017e7b70c2.html
again exposes Obama's weakness in his ability to improvise on his feet. Of course, if President Bush had made a mistake such as this one, it would be all over the late night shows, as well as Jon Stewart.
OFF TO ISRAEL
while I am in Israel until May 7 my son Elli will blog when he is available
We all know the results of the Shoah.And today,as the Holocaust Museum had a ceremony in Washington,speaker after speaker warned Pres. Obama who was present regarding the need to prevent another tragedy by allowing Iran to move to nuclear arms, even as it calls for the extinction of Israel.Did it make any impression on the Pres.?Perhaps emotionally ,however policy wise?
WHAT MOST OF US DO NOT THINK ABOUT IS HOW DID THE EUROPEANS AND THE FASCISTS COME TO THE POINT THAT IT WAS ONLY A STEP AWAY FROM HITLER?
The film Paris 36,playing at the Paris Theatre,is a must see.Yes it has love and song and sexual attractions,but above all it is a study of the rise of the Fascists in that period.As always it is the "Yid" who bears the brunt of societal problems.
It is this approach that Bret Stephens wrote about in his brilliant op-ed in yesterdays WSJ.The double standard for Jews/Israel is alive and well at the UN,Durban, the EU and at our State Dept.
One gets the impression that Obama is runninvg againt Blair to become the first President of Europe.
One of the public complaints that Avigdor Lieberman made re: Mubararek was his failure to visit Israel other than for Rabin's funeral.
A nunmber of years ago while I was OU President,I was part of a small Presidents Conf. delegation that met in Blair House with Mubarak.During the course of the diuscussion, I asked him exactly why he had never visited Jerusalem?
He answered with a question "What's so important about Jerusalem? with a smile and twinkle in his eye.
The fact that the Egyptians said they would not talk to Lieberman, and yesterday Egyptian Intelligence Chief Suleiman not only met with him,but the result was reported as being fruitful.Furthermore Lieberman was invited to Cairo.
Thus as I said a few days ago,Israel should be proud of Lieberman since he heads a party that won a significant number of seats in the Knesset.Those countries that wish to deal with Israel will come aroud to the position that each country has the right to choose their own representatives.
A series of errors
When Hugo Chavez walked up to Obama,the President looked like a niave teenager.
The whole week dedicated to releasing CIA reports speaks of total incompetence.
Why release them? How will CIA operatives ever feel free to do their best for our country? Why did private intelligence letters note that much information was obtained after using aggressive techniques,after they tell the public the opposite?
The President and his team are making our country weaker.Hopefully we will not have to pay the price!
Were the A-G to prosecute Govt. official invloved,it would destroy the unity of our country and create a horrific precedent.
When Pres. Ford pardoned Nixon at great personal cost, he helped to heal the nation,and put Watergate behind us.The left only wants Republican blood.
The Obama Danger / A Siyum
The Israeli cabinet yesterday recieved a briefing from MI (military Intelligence ) chief Yadlin.Only one sentence was made public (see JP) namel " The policies of Obama can endanger Israel."( see yeterdays blog)
Tonite as I noted my shiur is completing Tractate ( Talmud) Makkos,and will have a celebration (siyum) at a restaurant in Monsey.It is so appropriate that almost 55 years after the Shoah when Hitler tried to eradicate the Jewish people, physically and spiritually,a group of primarily secular Jews ( 10 physicians and 1 accountant) have been studying weekly for almost 24 years to make themselves better Jews and human beings. THEIR LOVE OF LEARNING HAS BEEN AN INSPIRATION TO ME AND TO MY COLLEAGUE DR. MICHAEL MUSCHEL, WHO FOR THE PAST 2 YEARS OR SO HAS TAUGHT THE CLASS WHEN I AM IN FLORIDA.
THE THEME OF THE LAST PARAGRAPH IN MAKKOS IS "NECHAMA" CONSOLATION.
On a personal level,when we pay a shiva visit,we console the mourners.On a national level we experience Nehama when for example we celebrate the State of Israel ,when no person in their right mind could have thought it possible at the end of the Holocaust.Similarly there is a sense of nechama when Jewish study of Torah at every level is at a point that no one could have predicted only a little over a half century ago.
The introduction of Art Scroll type Hebraic translations have made it possible for indididuals who cannot read Hebrew to master the texts.
This is our third tractate that we have finished studying,and Friday we begin Tractate Sanhedrin.Hopefully the class will be blessed with success and health to celebrate its conclusion.
Jewish Democratic Silence
I AM WAITNG FOR THE JEWISH DEMOCRATIC GROUPS AND THE JEWISH CONGRESSMEN WHO TOLD US TO VOTE FOR OBAMA TO SPEAK OUT!
At this eaely stage we are seeing signs that Obama will be the most anti-Israel President in a long time.
The signs are both indirect and direct.
Abbas was the first ME leader he called upon assuming office.
King Abdullah was the first leader of the region to visit the White House.
Netanyahu wanted to come this month to Washington and address AIPAC and see Obama.Thw WH informed him Obama will "not be in Washington"
Rhahm Emanuel has told pro-Israel people that "if Israel wishes the US to protect it from Iran,they should start evacuating settlements".
The US has told Israel that the Arabs need not recognize Israel as a Jewish State before negotiations.
Netanyahu must become more pro-active.
With or without Obama, he should visit AIPAC, and make the rounds in Congress As well As Jewish and Christian groups.He should visit national newspaper editorial Boardss, and make the rounds of the TV news-talk shows .
If he chose Lieberman as his FM, let him and AIPAC not be ashamed to show him off in this country-such as at AIPAC
The Passover week was exciting with the release of the American Captain .That piece of good news was cancelled out by the bland Security Council resolution on N. Korea..
I personally think that the attempt to isolate Cuba was poorly thought out.If we have had relations with China,with a mild degree of success, why is Cuba any different?
I would love to visit Cuba, and meet the Jewish population.
The Mitchell visit is the early step in trying to pressure Israel on the "2- State" solution, however certainly at this stage it will not work.
I look forward to my trip to Irael with my Talmud shiur from Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern on the 26th.This is our 4th trip,since we started learning together about 24 years ago.
This Monday we have a siyum on Tractate Makos,and this is our 3rd such celebration.While I am in Florida,Dr. Michael Muschel teaches in my stead
This will be my last blog until after the Passover holiday.
Although I have raised serious concern regarding the talk of the Saudi Plan,the truth is that both the Obama and Netanyahu foreign policies are evolving.For Obama he is coming off a successful foreign trip. There is much adulation,but the fact is that mere poularity and large crowds do not MAKE FOREIGN POLICY.
But he has made an impression on the world.Howevever Russia,N. Korea and Iran to name a few are watching his actions closely.
He is realist enough to know that the Saudi approach of take-it-or-leave-it, won't fly.He also knows that if that is THE starting point for peace,again he will not have a partner.
If howevever it is one of many approaches that can be dissected and combined with other plans that Bibi and his team are working on,then that is a different story.
In any case there will be no Israeli unilateral concessions.
Allow me to wish you all a very happy and kosher Pesach
An Ominous moment / You have to laugh
Any thinking person has to have a sense of fear and foreboding as one reviews the last 48 hours since the N. Korean launch.Despute UN resoilutions,despite warnings by world leaders,despite world public opinion,the launch went on.
Despite the ability of the Japanese to protect their sovereignty, and shoot the missile down as it crossed Japan,and despite our ability to shoot it down -nothing occurred.As a matter of fact the US encouraged Japan to sit like lambs.
Then our President standing before thousands in Prague,makes a campaign speech that echoes all the right words but yet has no action other than "refer the matter to the UN Security Council".
Enter our friends at the UN, where China will not allow the words "express concern" to be used.Thus we have nothing ,and will have platitudes.In the end N. Korea will get its day in the sun, a slap on the wrist, more sales of rockets to Iran and Syria.
But the important lesson which I talked about yesterday and a few months ago is the lesson for Iran and Israel.
YOU MUST READ THE EDITORIAL IN TODAYS WSJ AS WELL AS THE OP-ED BY JOHN BOLTON.
The message is clear.IRAN WILL SURELY SEE AN OBAMA WHO IS WEAK AND INEXPERIENCED.
He is ready to run to the UN,talk about the world responsibility,but in the end=ZERO.
For Israel,the lesson is clear.You can only depend upon yourself in this dilemma that threatens your existance.Sadly as Netanyahu put it less than 70 years after a Hitler could threaten and almost succeed in wiping out world Jewry,the world is placid as Iran talks the game,and prepares for its end point.As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs told the WSJ,Israel has the ability to knock out the Iranian nuclear complex.
When they strike,and the clock is ticking,and when Iran lashes out at Europe etc., Obama and his ineptitude will be to blame.In truth Israel expected Bush to act,however the pressure from Iraq from the Dems prevented that.We are in for a serious period in Israel,and hopefully Bibi and Barak are up to the challenges.I believe they are. `
The King of Jordan accuses Israel of "holding the ME hostage,until it accepts the Saudi plan".It is like starting a movie or book in the last few moments.Gone is the history of Arab countries decade after decade attacking Israel. There is no mention of Hamas or Hezbollah.
Yesterday an independent Norwegian poll was published which shows that 53% of Palestinians are against a 2 State solution.,33% of them want Israel annhihilated,while 20% want a uited Islamic-Jewish State with the Arabs engulfing the Jews eventually.
With Hamas firing rockets and refusing to join the PA,because they will not recognize Israel and the anti-Israel rhetoric and incitement at a high level,how could Israel consider national suicide to make the King (and all the other little and big Kings)happy?
Who in the Arab world,or in the Palestinian society,or in the UN and who in the White House could Israel trust with its security and future?
If it wasn't so serious and sad,you would have to laugh at their chutzpah!
Two Obama foreign policy disapointments
The failure of the administration to stand up to evil in the form of the N. Korean missile shot is not only a Far East failure,but will have serious negative reverberations around the world.
Firstly,we should have encouraged Japan to knock the missile out of the sky as it flew over Japanese territory.We ourselves should have knocked it out even before it left the pad.
N. Korea is playing nuclear blackmail, and we (and that includes the Bush people)have played along.Sec. Gates was wrong,when he said we could do nothing.
Taking this again to the UN. is a joke, and sends a clear lesson to Iran that he(Obama) is not serious when he warns on such issues.In essence we are a paper tiger.
The worst thing in the world would be to reward the lunatic leader with one on one talks , or to reward him with cash or food.
The second area, is the acceptance by Obama of the Saudi plan as part of his ME policy.After Pres. Bush clearly promised in writing that Arab "refugees" would have to go to the Palestinian State not Israel should they decide to return,the whole promise is turned upside down.The Saudi plan is really a non-starter from Israel's point of view.It is a take-it-or-leave-it plan that the Saudis say will not be subject to negotiations.The fact that Sen. Mitchell has announced that this will be part of admiistration policy, shows Obama is no friend.Where are the Jewish Dems who promised us otherwise?
Why should Israel be accused of negating the Annapolis accord that was never passed by the Knesset,and therefore not legal Israeli policy,when the US wishes to throw out the Bush letter,which also talks about keeping thbe major settlement blocs?
Obama and the Saudi Plan
Israel and the US pro-Israel community are going to have their hands full now that Obama has endorsed the Saudi "peace plan".In his meeting with the Saudi king,in which Obama BOWED DOWN ( pictures in the Israeli papers),Obama embraced the Saudi plan.
This plan would require 600,000 Israelis to be removed from their homes.It would require withdrawal TO 1949 lines ,and giving up the Temple Mount the holiest place in our religio and the redivision of Jerusalem..It would further require Israel to accept(who knows how many ) hundreds of thousands of Arabs to "return to Israel" and be given Israeli citizenship.The support for this plan in Israel, is next to zero.
(see my comments yesterday on K Street)
after 5 years,no more Israeli State as a Jewish homeland
after 15 years ( or less) every remaining Jew must convert to Islam or be expelled or killed.
We said it over and over again during the campaign ---HE IS NOT AND NEVER HAS BEEN A FRIEND OF ISRAEL.
OUR COMMUNITY MUST NOT SIT SILENTLY!
I will be suggesting to my friends at the OU,that they take this issue on as a special undertaking-ie. make a film on the dangers of the plan and make it so compelling that You-tube will find a vast audience for such information.We should consider an extended educational drive and work to get get AIPAC and the Pres. Connference to work for a Congressional resolution against such anti-Israel nonsense.
The current Commentary magazine arrived today,and I was impressed with its new format.One article that stood was an an anaysis of J Street, the left wing lobby that calls itself "pro-Israel".
On day 1 of the Israeli Gaza offensive they called for an immediate cease-fire.We wrote about how they tried to influence Congress to include that in the Congressional resolution supporting Israel-they failed.
They have a number of opponents,the Govt. of Israel, AIPAC and the Presidents Conf.,and anyone who is not a flaming lefty.They support the Saudi plan ( code for Israel's destruction) ,and favor US pressure on Israel. In essence they are the ME Move-on.org.
Today as reported in Haaretz,they are trying to moblize American Jewish groups to condemn FM Avigdor Lieberman for his comments yesterday re. Annaplolis..
THEY CERTAINLY ARE ENTITLED TO THEIR DISTORTED VIEWS. HOWEVER,LIKE THE NETUREI KARTA,WHY DON'T THEY SPEAK HONESTLY AND TAKE OUT THE WORDS "PRO-iSRAEL" FROM THEIR RELEASES. They are pro-Arab ,and each and every condemnation they recieve is truly justified.They have not been politically effective,but their pr effforts are fodder for the anti-Israel media, (NYT etc)
BIBI DAY 1 '/ FREE STANDING CLIN ICS
Despite the fact that Olmert and Livni worked for a "2 State solution" without success,the world is already attacking Bibi.
Why did they fail?Not because they weren't willing to grant concessions and compromises.No Abbas is weak,and does not control Gaza.If an election were held in the West Bank,Hamas would probably win.Abbas really has seen his elected time expire,but is avoiding a new election.
The Egyptians tried with all of their might to bring Hamas into the fold,but its failure to recognize Israel prevented progress.Even before Hamas took over Gaza,the PA could not bring itself to make compromises on Jerusalem and the right of return.In essence they are unbridgeable differences.
The people of Israel are tired of territorial concessions and thus turned to the right.THEY HOPE FOR PEACE WITH THE PALESTINIANS,AS LONG AS THEIR OWN SECURITY IS GUARANTEED.
How can any Jew have faith in a Palestinian entity when rockets still come into Israel,or bombs placed in a Haifa mall.
Bibi and Lieberman are correct. The Govt. of Israel approved the roadmap with 14 amendments.The Knesset never approved the Annapolis talks,which in essence moved negotiations to the final status talks, skipping all of the actions the Arabs must undertake in order to progress to the next step.These include close down terror groups,stop incitement etc.
Begin and Golda proved you can stand up to the US and not come out any worse for it.Yes there may be tension,but NO OBAMA OR BLAIR,MITCHELL, UN EU OR CLINTON ETC CA.N FORCE NATIONAL SUICIDE ON ANY NATION.
Yesterday,I had outpatient surgery at a free standing surgi-center in New Jersey. Having spent my entire professional life in hospitals,it was an eye-opener.They sent a limousine to pick us up,and the entire process was seamless and professional.The entire cataract surgery took 20 minutes,and I was back home exactly 3 hours after I had left.The same prodeure done in a hospital would add hours due to a long recovery and operating room plus sign-in procedure.No wonder so many hospital;s are closing,as this lucrative part of surgical care is moving to these centers.