Democrats’ Disunion: Jim Geraghty, National Review, July 25, 2016— Remember when political conventions were boring?

Hillary Risks Being Upstaged by Rivals at her Own Convention: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, July 23, 2016 — Now that Donald Trump has nailed his manifesto to the door and defined the election in stark and certain terms, Hillary Clinton gets her chance.

Is Clinton VP Pick Tim Kaine Good for Israel – or Dangerous?: Abra Forman, Breaking Israel News, July 24, 2016— It didn’t take long after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced Tim Kaine as her running mate on Friday…

What if the GOP Wins? – Potential Payoffs and Pitfalls for Israel: Dr. Martin Sherman, Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2016— Rejecting decades-old policy, the Republican Party approved on July 12 a [2016] platform that does not include a call for a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.—Forward, July 10, 2016


On Topic Links


Behind Hillary’s Mask: Gail Collins, New York Times, July 23, 2015

It's a Family Tradition: Weekly Standard, July 18, 2016

It’s Hillary Clinton’s Moment — So Why is she the Most Hated Woman in the United States?: Robyn Urback, National Post, July 23, 2016

The Genius of Donald Trump: Conrad Black, National Post, July 23, 2016





Jim Geraghty                                             

National Review, July 25, 2016


Remember when political conventions were boring? Last week saw the GOP primary’s runner-up booed off the stage for refusing to endorse its winner. This week, the Democrats begin their convention with the resignation of their national committee chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, after nearly 20,000 of the committee’s e-mails were published by WikiLeaks.


Most explosive of all was an e-mail from Brad Marshall, the committee’s chief financial officer, which suggested getting reporters to ask Bernie Sanders about his religious beliefs, convinced they would be a liability in some states. “It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief [sic]. Does he believe in a God,” Marshall wrote. “He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.” There are no e-mails of any of Marshall’s colleagues reacting with shock or disapproval or rebuking him for suggesting such a course.


Some might shrug and say this is typical bare-knuckle politics, except that the DNC isn’t supposed to be sitting around strategizing new ways to kneecap Democratic presidential candidates. And the committee’s private chatter complicates the current Democratic rallying cry against Donald Trump: that he’s unacceptably divisive, willing to exploit fear of a religious minority (Muslims) for his own political gain.


“First of all, I am not an atheist,” Sanders declared on CNN Sunday. “But aside from all of that, I mean, it is an outrage and sad that you would have people in important positions in the DNC trying to undermine my campaign. It goes without saying the function of the DNC is to represent all of the candidates, to be fair and even-minded.” Sanders speaks to the convention Monday night. He’s already endorsed Hillary Clinton, and will no doubt follow through on that in Philadelphia. But the e-mail revelations create drama where before there was none: Will he address the DNC’s undermining of his campaign? Will he bring up the fact that targeting his religion was considered fair game within the committee?


At the exact moment that Clinton needed to distance herself from Wasserman Schultz’s management of the DNC, she chose instead to embrace the departing chairwoman, naming her an “honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country.” Sanders supporters, who already had every reason to be apoplectic with Wasserman Schultz, now have even more reason to be angry with Clinton, too.


On Sunday, they marched through Philadelphia echoing the “Lock her up” chant from the Republican National Convention floor. Clinton’s team went into damage-control mode, with campaign manager Robby Mook appearing on the Sunday shows to portray the Democrats as victims of the nefarious Russian government. The e-mail revelations create drama where before there was none. “The hackers that got into the DNC are very likely by to be working in coordination with Russia,” Mook told Jake Tapper. “And, again, I think it’s — if the Russians in fact had these e-mails, again, I don’t think it’s very coincidental that they are being released at this time to create maximum damage on Hillary Clinton and to help Donald Trump.” Who knows, maybe Mook is right. But if cyber-security is suddenly a preeminent issue on voters’ minds, why on God’s green earth would they entrust presidential power to the woman whom FBI director James Comey called “extremely careless in [the] handling of very sensitive, highly classified information”?


Ordinarily, a troubled candidate might turn to her running mate to unite the party. But there isn’t much for Sanders supporters to admire in Kaine; from their hard-left perspective, he’s more of the same: blandly uncontroversial, shifting with the winds, a smiling centrist who never makes too many waves. “Bernie delegates here and reflecting supporters around the country are so upset about the Kaine pick,” says Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate from California. “It’s the one thing that Hillary Clinton cannot go back on later on. She’s locked into her pick. . . . [What] we believe, from what we understand on the ground, coming from all over this country, is that the selection of Kaine will make defeating Donald Trump that much more difficult.”


Solomon is among a small group of Sanders delegates attempting to reject the Kaine nomination on the floor. His effort is unlikely to succeed, but there are lesser ways of punishing Kaine that would still make for some memorable images. Solomon says some delegates have discussed walking out of Kaine’s acceptance speech, remaining completely silent, remaining seated throughout, or turning their backs to him. The Republicans just enjoyed a surprisingly peaceful convention, with only one major protest and no violent confrontations with police. But in Philadelphia, a bigger city not far from New York and Washington, police expect “much larger and potentially more turbulent demonstrations.” Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-to-high 90s, so every Democrat in Philadelphia will be feeling the heat this week — literal and metaphorical.                                                                   




                        HILLARY RISKS BEING UPSTAGED

BY RIVALS AT HER OWN CONVENTION                                                            

Michael Goodwin                                                                              

New York Post, July 23, 2016


Now that Donald Trump has nailed his manifesto to the door and defined the election in stark and certain terms, Hillary Clinton gets her chance. But unless she suddenly finds a backbone, look for her to deliver a muddled list of Democratic nostrums that satisfies no one. To compensate for her wishy-washy, flippy-floppy untruthiness, Clinton has loaded her lineup of convention speakers with political sluggers. As such, she seems determined to test the proposition that you can never have too much of a good thing.


But you can, if it means the star of the show gets lost in the crowd and her message looks like a puréed compromise of others’ convictions. That’s the risk Clinton takes by featuring President Obama and Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Her husband’s star power is diminishing and the others resemble a reunion of rivals rather than a supporting cast. It’s weird enough to make you feel sorry for poor Hillary. Well, almost.


She earned her predicament. Having failed to establish a rationale for her campaign beyond a sense of entitlement and inevitability, she is acting like a European-style parliamentary candidate hoping to be selected prime minister by her party instead of an American presidential candidate appealing directly to voters. Her approach represents a big change from her campaign in 2008, when she exhibited more moxie and certainty. A lurid joke in her race against a young Obama was that she should give him one of her balls so they’d both have two.


Whether it’s circumstance, health issues, or a combination of factors, she’s now running as a shrunken version of that person, quickly trimming her sails to meet the demands of others. In truth, there was always a taint to her image as a trailblazer because she owes her political career to her husband and especially to his infidelity. After she saved his butt during the Monica Lewinsky impeachment battle, it was no secret he would repay her by helping her win the Senate seat in New York.


Selling pardons to Puerto Rican terrorists and Hasidic thieves in exchange for votes were just some of the unseemly things they did together. Then, after losing to Obama in 2008, she further compromised her independence by hitching her wagon to his White House. Whatever the truth of their awkward personal relationship, she is now dependent on the president’s support.


She deserved to be indicted in the e-mail scandal, and almost certainly would have been without Obama’s protection. That burdened her with yet another IOU that limits her ability to maneuver around his failed policies. Suppose, for example, more terror attacks at home force her to take a more muscular approach to the Islamic State. How does she do that without breaking from his refusal even to call the enemy by its name? And what does she say about his limited airstrike campaign, which, as Obama’s CIA head admitted, hasn’t reduced the barbarians’ ability to carry out slaughters in Europe and America?


Obama’s power over her is the black vote. If he signals a lack of enthusiasm for her, turnout among his most loyal supporters could sag and cost her the election. Obviously, Obama doesn’t want to help Trump, but his vanity is easily pricked. Complicating things even more for Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are also squeezing her. She won the nomination with the backing of the establishment and the connivance of the Democratic National Committee, but Sanders won the hearts of the new generation. To woo his backers and his endorsement, Clinton repudiated many of her long-held positions. Her stands on trade, criminal justice, Wall Street, health care, college tuitions — all were thrown overboard in a craven bid to save herself.


Some of that is politics as usual, and effective leadership often requires compromise. But Clinton’s reputation for dishonesty is both personal and political, and the nomination crown she has won is battered with dings and dents. A test will come in her acceptance speech Thursday night. She must finally articulate a rationale for why she should be president and demonstrate that she is leading the party, and not the other way around. If she succeeds, she’ll be the clear front-runner for November. If she can’t, she will have sold her soul and have nothing to show for it.





                          IS CLINTON VP PICK TIM KAINE

GOOD FOR ISRAEL – OR DANGEROUS?                                                                          

Abra Forman                                                                                     

Breaking Israel News, July 24, 2016


It didn’t take long after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced Tim Kaine as her running mate on Friday for Jewish groups and leaders to delve into the Virginia senator’s history with his state’s Jewish community and his stances on Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the two-state solution.


While liberal Jewish site the Forward called Kaine the “Jewiest Vice President pick” and noted that he had been “a friend to the Jewish community for about as long as he’s been in public service”, conservatives pointed to Kaine’s criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and condemned his decision last year not to attend Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on the Iranian nuclear deal.


A practicing Catholic and former missionary, Kaine joins the Senate’s weekly prayer breakfast on Wednesdays and is part of a “reflection group” in the Senate which discusses faith-related issues. In a speech given in May at the Jewish American Heritage Celebration in Washington, D.C., Kaine spoke at length on the importance of religious freedom, his trips to Israel, and his work in opening a huge Sabra hummus factory in his state.


Kaine differs from many Democrats in his support of defense for Israel, representing a break with the increasingly vitriolic left-wing narrative painting Israel as an oppressive apartheid state. (In fact, many former Bernie Sanders supporters have spoken against the choice of Kaine as the Democratic running mate.) He has said that he feels Netanyahu and the Israeli government are pushing Democrats away despite their pro-Israel stance. “Our party has a long tradition of being pro-Israel, and being pro-Israel doesn’t mean we agree on everything, but we’re friends, we’re allies, we’re partners and to the extent we have disagreements we try to work them out productively,” he said last year. “I want Israel to be safe and secure in the future and I worry that some of the activities vis-à-vis Palestine have weakened Israel’s future security, not strengthened it.”


In November, Kaine joined a number of Democratic policymakers who called on President Barack Obama to write a strengthened “Memorandum of Understanding” on security assistance to Israel. He has visited Israel a number of times, most recently in January, when he and a delegation of Democratic senators met with Netanyahu to discuss oversight of the Iran deal. J Street, the influential left-wing Jewish lobby decried by many as hostile to Israel, praised Clinton’s choice, saying in a statement that Kaine “has proven himself to be a great friend of Israel and a champion of pragmatic, proactive American foreign policy.” “On Capitol Hill, Senator Kaine, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has consistently advocated the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the only way to ensure that Israel can survive and flourish as a Jewish and democratic state and that Palestinians can live with independence and dignity,” the statement continued.


The organization also commended Kaine on his support of 2015’s nuclear deal with Iran, which Israel and Netanyahu fought passionately, warning that the deal would only embolden Iran to increase its aggressive military and nuclear activities with impunity. The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) called Clinton’s selection of Kaine “[proof] she cannot be trusted to keep our country safe”, citing the same political moves which J Street had championed and adding that the fact that J Street had endorsed him was a major red flag.


“Whether it’s his vote for the Iran deal, which paves the way to a nuclear-armed Iran, or his proud support of the progressive anti-Israel J Street agenda which earned him their enthusiastic endorsement, Senator Kaine has shown how out of touch he is on the dangers facing our country,” said RJC’s executive director Matt Brooks in a press release.                    




                                                WHAT IF THE GOP WINS? –


Dr. Martin Sherman     

                                                 Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2016


“Rejecting decades-old policy, the Republican Party approved on July 12 a [2016] platform that does not include a call for a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.”—Forward, July 10, 2016. “We believe the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank would be destabilizing and harmful to the peace process.” – 1980 Republican platform that brought Ronald Reagan to the White House. “We oppose the creation of an independent Palestinian state; its establishment is inimical to the security interests of Israel, Jordan, and the US. We will not support the creation of any Palestinian entity that could place Israel’s security in jeopardy.” – 1988 Republican platform that brought George H. W. Bush to the White House.


These three excerpts spanning over a quarter-century relating to the GOPs attitude towards the establishment of a Palestinian state include two important lessons for Israel. One of these lessons relates to the past; the other to the future. Israel will ignore either at its peril—or at least, to its grave detriment. With regard to the past, these excerpts underscore the breathtaking erosion that has taken place since the late 1980s in the GOPs opposition to Palestinian statehood—from utter rejection; to retraction of opposition (1996); to explicit—albeit conditioned—endorsement in 2002. It is only now that the GOP is setting aside its ill-considered support, and has thankfully begun to revert—albeit it still partially—to its former position.


What makes this spectacular erosion—from un-conditional rejection to conditional acceptance—even more remarkable is the fact that it took place over a period in which for the overwhelmingly greater proportion of time, the incumbent Israeli government was headed by Likud, which until mid-2009 (Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan Speech) explicitly opposed the establishment of a Palestinian state. Indeed, for the twenty-two years (between 1980 to 2002), Likud-led coalitions were in power for about double the time that Labor-led ones were. This is clearly a grave indictment of the Israeli “Right’s” inability to convincingly convey the validity of its political credo, and to undermine that of its ideological adversaries on the “Left”.


The gravity of this indictment is further compounded by two factors that make it even more damning. The first is that this dismal outcome emerged despite the highly favorably point of departure, which opponents of Palestinian statehood enjoyed. After all, no effort was required to win over the GOP to this “rejectionist” position, for it was a priori staunchly behind it to begin with. Yet despite this, the “Right” was unable to sustain this like-minded support, which by 2002, had for all intents and purposes, been totally eroded.


The second is that this erosion occurred despite the fact that the “Right’s” opposition to Palestinian statehood was completely validated by facts on the ground – i.e. by the bloody events that tragically arose from the fatally failed attempt to implement it.


So, sadly, the “Right” was not able to marshal the distinct dual advantage it had of a highly favorable point of departure and overwhelming empirical corroboration of its credo to sustain the GOP’s natural inclination to oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state. This in itself is reason enough for intense soul-searching among “Right” wing activists, but it acquired even greater pertinence and urgency, precisely because of the encouraging signs that the GOP is reverting—at least, partially and cautiously—to its past position of opposition to Palestinian statehood. For today, the challenges Israel may have to face in a post-two-state era could well be as dire—perhaps even most so—than those that the perilous two-state paradigm posed.


It is no secret that enthusiasm for the two-state concept is waning—even among ardent erstwhile adherents. Indeed, recently, some obsessive two-staters such as New York Times’s Tom Friedman (February 10, 2016), New York University’s Alon Ben Meir (Huffington Post, April 7, 2016), and recently the Jerusalem Post’s Gershon Baskin (July 20, 2016) have acknowledged that, (gasp!), the Palestinians may actually have contributed to the accelerated irrelevance of the two-state idea.


Thus, and without wishing in any way to diminish the sterling efforts of those who helped bring about the welcome change in the 2016 GOP platform, this was, to some extent, as Rafael Medoff points out (Algemeiner, July 20, 2016) a sober and clear-sighted response to the changing realities on the ground. Of course, according to conventional wisdom in “Right-wing” circles, the changes in the GOP platform are a development that bodes well for Israel, as it signals growing awareness of the futility and dangers entailed in continued pursuit of the two-state chimera as the only route to a resolution of the conflict with the Palestinian-Arabs. While this, of course, is undoubtedly true, a word of warning is called for. With the passing to the two-state paradigm as a relevant policy option, new perils will immediately emerge. Planning on how they should be contended with is a pressing imperative for the Israeli “Right”—and one that, hopefully, it will display greater acumen and competence in contending with than it did in dealing with the two-state menace.


With the growing prospect of the two-state option being abandoned, the question of what alternative paradigm Israel should adopt is becoming a question of increasing relevance. It is also one which the Israeli “Right” has been appallingly remiss in addressing. Indeed, for the better part of two decades, the “Right” limited itself to underscoring the myriad defects and dangers entailed in the two-state proposal, but largely refrained from articulating and advancing some cogent and comprehensive alternative prescription for its preferred vision of a permanent-status arrangement with the Palestinian-Arabs.


As a result, the “Right” found itself unable to respond effectively to the pointed and very pertinent question from adversarial two-state adherents: “So what’s your alternative?” Failure to provide an adequate response to this question, eventually led to a drastic erosion of the Likud-led opposition to the two-state formula until its acceptance by Netanyahu in 2009. But the recanting of support for the two-state formula by the GOP, and its waning attractiveness elsewhere, will create a dramatically different and challenging reality for both the reluctant Likud-like two-staters on the one hand, and for still die-hard two-state opponents, on the other.


For not only will it be increasingly less plausible to invoke “irresistible international pressure” for reluctant acceptance, under duress, of a two-state compliant policy; but it will also no longer be possible to confine oneself to criticism and rejection of the two-state formula. To the contrary, with the declining dominance of the two-state concept, its opponents will be obligated to proactively produce and present a plausible and practical Zionist-compliant alternative…or suffer the consequences of its generally accepted default option: a multiethnic un-Jewish state-of-all-its-citizens…                                                                                              

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




On Topic Links


Behind Hillary’s Mask: Gail Collins, New York Times, July 23, 2015—Right after the Sept. 11 attacks, I ran into Hillary Clinton outside an armory in Manhattan that served as a sort of clearing house for tragedy, where people brought pictures of the missing and checked for information. She talked for a long time, very freely, about Washington politicians who had always hated New York but were turning out to be helpful in the crisis.

It's a Family Tradition: Weekly Standard, July 18, 2016— There has been much slackjawed amazement about the FBI’s decision to recommend that Hillary Clinton not be charged over her cavalier treatment of classified material on her private email server while secretary of state.

It’s Hillary Clinton’s Moment — So Why is she the Most Hated Woman in the United States?: Robyn Urback, National Post, July 23, 2016—America looked most favourably on Hillary Clinton when she was at her lowest. It was December 1998, and the U.S. House of Representatives had just impeached her husband on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in relation to his extramarital affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The Genius of Donald Trump: Conrad Black, National Post, July 23, 2016—Even in the week that he is nominated by the Republican party for the presidency of the United States, intelligent people fail in droves to understand what Donald Trump has accomplished.