Tag: Benghazi

U.S. PRESIDENT’S DAY 2014 IS NOTHING TO CELEBRATE: OBAMA’S RECORD ON “OBAMACARE”, BENGHAZI AND FOREIGN POLICY HAVE BEEN ABYSMAL

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Obama's Hollow Promises Abroad: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Feb. 12, 2014— As U.S. credibility and stature diminish in world affairs, the American president and his secretaries of state and defence engage in eloquent denial.

Obamacare’s War on Jobs: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Feb. 13, 2014 — In the ongoing saga of the Affordable Care Act, oddly referred to by Democrats as the law of the land even as it is amended at will by presidential fiat, we are beginning to understand the extent of its war on jobs.

Switching Sides: Richard Baehr, Israel Hayom, Jan. 24, 2014 — Earlier this week, The New Yorker published a 17,000 word article by its editor, David Remnick, summarizing his time spent recently in travels with President Barack Obama.

Credulous and Tendentious on Benghazi: National Review, Dec. 31, 2013— The New York Times has published a strange but unsurprising account of the attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012…

 

On Topic Links

 

Syria Will Haunt the President and his Advisers: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Feb. 17, 2014

Handing the Middle East to Russia: Amir Taheri, New York Post, Feb. 16, 2014

Syria Will Haunt the President and his Advisers: Jennifer Rubin, Feb. 17, 2014

Stop Jerking Canada Around: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2013   

Survey: U.S. Press Freedom Plunges Under Obama to 46th in World, After Romania: Meghan Drake

, Washington Times, Feb. 11, 2014

The President Inhales: Wall Street Journal, Jan. 21, 2014

 

OBAMA'S HOLLOW PROMISES ABROAD                      

Daniel Pipes                                                                        

Washington Times, Feb. 12, 2014

 

As U.S. credibility and stature diminish in world affairs, the American president and his secretaries of state and defence engage in eloquent denial. Unfortunately for them, realities trump words, even persuasive ones.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “where the water-cooler chatter was about America’s waning influence in the Middle East,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry proclaimed himself “perplexed by claims … that somehow America is disengaging from the world.” Nothing could be further from the truth, he asserted: “We are entering an era of American diplomatic engagement that is as broad and as deep as any at any time in our history.” Likewise, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called for “a renewed and enhanced era of partnership with our friends and allies.”

 

In this spirit, President Obama has made multiple promises to reassure allies. To South Korea, which depends on the American “tripwire” to deter a demented dictator who could flatten Seoul within the first few hours of an artillery barrage, Mr. Obama promised that “the commitment of the United States to the Republic of Korea will never waver.” To Japan, which depends on the U.S. 7th Fleet to deter increasingly aggressive Chinese encroachment on the Senkaku Islands, he reaffirmed that “the United States remains steadfast in its defense commitments to Japan,” which the State Department specifically indicated includes the Senkaku Islands. To Taiwan, whose security against mainland China depends on the American deterrent, he “reaffirmed our commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act,” which requires the United States to maintain the capacity “to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security” of Taiwan. To the Philippines, worried about its territories in the South China Sea claimed by China, particularly the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Reef, he reaffirmed a commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty that provides, in the event of an armed attack, that the United States “would act to meet the common dangers.” To Saudi Arabia, alarmed by Mr. Obama’s appeasement of Iran in the Joint Plan of Action, he reiterated “the firm commitment of the United States to our friends and allies in the Gulf.” Finally, to Israel, isolated in a sea of enemies, Mr. Obama declared “America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,” because standing by Israel “is in our fundamental national security interest.”

 

The trouble is, first, that Americans doubt these fine and steadfast words. Record numbers of Americans think that U.S. global power and prestige are declining, according to the Pew Research Center. For the first time in surveys dating back to the 1970s, “a majority (53 percent) says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago,” while only 17 percent thought American power has been enhanced. An even larger majority, 70 percent, “say the United States is less respected than in the past.” Another 51 percent say Mr. Obama is “not tough enough” in foreign policy and national security issues. More than two-thirds have a negative opinion of the president’s handling of Iran, the Mellman Group found. A majority (54 percent to 37 percent) support targeted military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, rather than allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons. McLaughlin & Associates finds that 49 percent of respondents think America’s standing has been diminished during Mr. Obama’s five-plus years in office; 40 percent think America’s adversaries now look at Mr. Obama with contempt.

 

Second, the Pew Research Center reports that half the populations in Britain, France and Germany, as well as a third in the United States and Russia, see China eventually replacing the United States as the world’s leading superpower. Two-thirds of Israelis think Mr. Obama will not stop the Iranians from getting nuclear weapons. Third, world leaders in countries as varied as Japan, Poland and Israel hear Mr. Obama’s promises as unrelated to reality. Speaking for many, Josef Joffe of Germany’s Die Zeit weekly finds “consistency and coherence to Obama’s attempt to retract from the troubles of the world, to get the U.S. out of harm’s way. to be harsh about it, he wants to turn the U.S. into a very large medium power.” Successful “diplomatic engagement,” as Mr. Kerry calls it, must be backed by consistency, power and will, not by nice words, hollow promises and wishful thinking. Will the Obama administration realize this before doing permanent damage? Watch the Iranian nuclear deal for possible changes, or not.

 

[Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, is a CIJR Academic Fellow]

 

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OBAMACARE’S WAR ON JOBS                                                        

Charles Krauthammer

Washington Post, Feb. 13, 2014

 

In the ongoing saga of the Affordable Care Act, oddly referred to by Democrats as the law of the land even as it is amended at will by presidential fiat, we are beginning to understand the extent of its war on jobs. First, the Congressional Budget Office triples its estimate of the drop in the workforce resulting from the disincentive introduced by Obamacare’s insurance subsidies: 2 million by 2017, 2.3 million by 2021.

 

Democratic talking points gamely defend this as a good thing because these jobs are being given up voluntarily. Nancy Pelosi spoke lyrically about how Obamacare subsidies will allow people to leave unfulfilling jobs to pursue their passions: “Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.”

 

Nothing so lyrical has been written about work since Marx (in “The German Ideology”) described a communist society that “makes it possible for me to . . . hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner.” Pelosi’s vision is equally idyllic except for one thing: The taxes of the American factory worker — grinding away dutifully at his repetitive mind-numbing job — will be subsidizing the voluntary unemployment of the artiste in search of his muse. A rather paradoxical position for the party that poses as tribune of the working man.

 

In the reductio ad absurdum of entitlement liberalism, White House spokesman Jay Carney was similarly enthusiastic about this Obamacare-induced job loss. Why, Obamacare creates the “opportunity” that “allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, and if they will work.” If they will work? Pre-Obama, people always had the right to quit work to tend full time to the study of butterflies. It’s a free country. The twist in the new liberal dispensation is that the butterfly guy is to be subsidized by the taxes of people who actually work. In the traditional opportunity society, government provides the tools — education, training and various incentives — to achieve the dignity of work and its promise of self-improvement and social mobility. In the new opportunity society, you are given the opportunity for idleness while living parasitically off everyone else. Why those everyone else’s should remain at their jobs — hey! I wanna dance, too! — is a puzzle Carney has yet to explain.

 

The honest liberal reply to the CBO report is that a disincentive to work is inherent in any means-tested government benefit. It’s the unavoidable price of helping those in need because for every new dollar you earn, you lose part of your subsidy and thus keep less and less of your nominal income. That’s inevitable. And that’s why we have learned to tie welfare, for example, to a work requirement. Otherwise, beneficiaries could choose to live off the dole forever. That’s why the 1996 Gingrich-Clinton welfare reform succeeded in reducing welfare rolls by two-thirds. It is not surprising that the same Obama administration that has been weakening the work requirement for welfare is welcoming the disincentive to work inherent in Obamacare.

 

But Obamacare’s war on jobs goes beyond voluntary idleness. The administration is now conceding, inadvertently but unmistakably, Obamacare’s other effect — involuntary job loss. On Monday, the administration unilaterally postponed and weakened the employer mandate, already suspended through 2015, for yet another year. But doesn’t this undermine the whole idea of universal health coverage? Of course it does, but Obamacare was so structured that it is crushing small business and killing jobs. It creates a major incentive for small businesses to cut back to under 50 employees to avoid the mandate. Your business becomes a 49er by either firing workers or reducing their hours to below 30 a week. Because that doesn’t count as full time, you escape both the employer mandate to buy health insurance and the fine for not doing so.

 

With the weakest recovery since World War II, historically high chronic unemployment and a shockingly low workforce participation rate, the administration correctly fears the economic consequences of its own law — and of the political fallout for Democrats as millions more Americans lose their jobs or are involuntarily reduced to part-time status. Conservatives have been warning about this for five years. This is not rocket science. Both the voluntary and forced job losses were utterly predictable. Pelosi insisted we would have to pass the law to know what’s in it. Now we know.

                                                                                                 

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SWITCHING SIDES                                                             

Richard Baehr                                                               

Israel Hayom, Feb. 17, 2014

 

Earlier this week, The New Yorker published a 17,000 word article by its editor, David Remnick, summarizing his time spent recently in travels with President Barack Obama. That Remnick should get such access to the president is not a surprise, since under his leadership, The New Yorker has shifted in a significant way from a magazine that was once known and widely respected for its fiction, essays and cartoons, to a magazine indistinguishable from many others for its role advancing the favored causes of the Left in the nation's political wars — whether it be hysteria about climate change, bashing Israel and its American supporters, or mocking Tea Party supporters and their preferred candidates, as well as Republicans of any denomination. Previous editor Tina Brown had turned The New Yorker into a Vanity Fair twin with fewer pictures and longer articles. Remnick has made The New Yorker a close relation of The Nation with more fashion ads and better paper stock, and the one constant — longer articles…

 

One part of Remnick's latest article has gotten a fair amount of attention. After the killing of Osama bin Laden, the administration hoped to coast to a 2012 re-election victory with the theme of "Bin Laden is dead (and so is al-Qaida), but General Motors is still alive." The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, provided an inconvenient truth, as if there were not other evidence around, that al-Qaida will still alive and kicking. It is in light of the campaign's messaging, that the administration's desperate effort to mislead about who was responsible for what happened in Benghazi and why they did what they did, became so important. The New York Times, 16 months after the date of the attack and the killings of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, was still busy doing legwork to buttress the White House's original fabrication that the attack resulted from a spontaneous demonstration aroused by a Muslim-mocking video produced by a Coptic Christian in the United States, that of course, no one in Libya had seen. In any case, the Times author, David Kirkpatrick, maintained that no evidence existed that al-Qaida had its hands in the attack. The Times of course, had multiple objectives with the Kirkpatrick whitewash — make sure Obama came out looking truthful (a big problem after the Obamacare lies), and make Benghazi go away for Hillary Clinton to better enable her to glide to victory in 2016.

 

With chaos seeming to envelop one country after another since the start of the so-called Arab Spring, and the clear involvement of al-Qaida and Sunni terror groups in violence occurring in many countries at the moment, the president has been at pains to justify his sweeping confidence that al-Qaida was a solved problem. Remnick describes the president's latest "all clear" on al-Qaida this way: "In the 2012 campaign, Obama spoke not only of killing Osama bin Laden; he also said that al-Qaida had been 'decimated.' I pointed out that the flag of al-Qaida is now flying in Falluja, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; al-Qaida has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.

 

"'The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant,' Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. 'I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.'"

 

Yesterday came news that Israelis had prevented an al-Qaida attack on the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv. The jayvee squad involved was arrested (Laker benchwarmers?). Wednesday's Wall Street Journal in its front page news box had five of the top seven stories relating to Sunni and al-Qaida linked terror attacks…One might think that the president's characterization of the current terror threat from Islamic radicals (of the Sunni persuasion) missed the mark. Does a terror attack on a U.S. embassy count as a major operation? It didn't for Obama and his national security team in Benghazi, so why should a Tel Aviv attack be viewed differently? Would a major attack at the Sochi winter games show evidence that the jayvee team had sent a few of its top stars on to the next level? The president is very confident with sports metaphors, but even Remnick seems uncomfortable with this one. In any case, Kobe and the Lakers are well past their best days, and the shelf life of the "al-Qaida is decimated and on the run" meme seems also to have expired. The Remnick articles speak of Obama feeling the need to address the stale thinking that is so common in America on foreign policy, and work through the new realities that are out there. But the al-Qaida threat seems more like an old reality that is hanging in there, with new delusions about their demise being the real problem with the White House team's thinking.

 

One other prominent new reality for the administration seems to be that Iran is on the verge of becoming a partner of the United States, given how many common goals the two countries share. Again, The New York Times is first with the breakout of the new "special relationship." The new partners have their work cut out for them, since Obama has to deal with interference from Israel which the president and his team, none too subtly suggest is poisoning the waters in Congress (which Obama friend Tom Friedman has argued is controlled by Jews and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee). Rather than threatening new sanctions against Iran for failure to perform under the terms of its current agreement with the P5+1, as a strong bipartisan majority in each branch of Congress prefers, the president is letting slip out that his current plan is to gut the sanctions that are already in place, and that likely forced Iran to begin serious negotiations for the first time.

 

The White House seems to be creating the foreign policy version of "Fifty Ways to Please Your Lover." Abandoning existing allies? Check. Always reading the best into Iranian intentions? Check. Providing fodder for anti-Semites in the U.S., Iran and the region who think Israel controls the U.S. government? Check. Ignoring every public Iranian declaration that puts the lie to their having changed course with their nuclear program? Check. Love can be blind, but in this case, something else may be in play — the administration has switched sides, so it has become part of the Iranian propaganda machine. Maybe the president actually sat through those Reverend Jeremiah Wright sermons.  

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CREDULOUS AND TENDENTIOUS ON BENGHAZI                             

National Review, Dec. 31, 2013

 

The New York Times has published a strange but unsurprising account of the attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012 — strange in that it presents the explanations and testimony of terrorists involved in the attack without comment or context, and unsurprising because that account supports the narrative the Obama administration aggressively promoted for weeks after the massacre.

 

The first of the Grey Lady’s two key findings: “Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.” This means the Times reporter, David Kirkpatrick, has ignored the evidence that al-Qaeda-linked groups, such as the Egypt-based Jamal network, almost surely did have a role in the assault — as reported by the New York Times in October 2012. Such evidence has been uncovered by the American intelligence community, as attested to by Democratic and Republican representatives with knowledge of it.

 

The second finding: The massacre was partly a spontaneous event, and some of the Libyan attackers were angered by a YouTube video that Islamists across the Middle East cited as the inspiration for September 11’s violent demonstrations. This is remarkably thinly sourced — the account admits that “many [of those arriving at the U.S. compound] learned of the video for the first time,” and merely maintains that “Libyan witnesses . . . said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.” Even the Times didn’t manage to find witnesses who could support the Obama administration’s chronology. Susan Rice told us that a video-related demonstration gave rise to the attack; David Kirkpatrick and his Islamist sources say that those angered by the video arrived at a compound already overrun by attackers who had coordinated their assault.

 

The account is hard to believe on its face: Kirkpatrick pins the planned attack on Ahmed Abu Khattala, a local militia leader who granted him an interview. For his part, Khattala acknowledges his presence at the attacks but says he showed up late — and somehow “strolled coolly through” the raging firefight, Kirkpatrick reports. He heads the Benghazi branch of Ansar al-Sharia, a jihadist organization whose nearby franchise, in a town called Derna, is run by a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and associate of Osama bin Laden. The Derna group denies a role in Benghazi, but the groups share a propaganda outlet, and sources such as the Tunisian prime minister acknowledge there’s mounting evidence that the two groups are one, and connected to the al-Qaeda branch in North Africa. Khattala, like other Benghazi militiamen, gushes about his support for al-Qaeda’s worldwide efforts. Is it so hard to believe that, given the keen interest counterterrorism efforts take in the global network, he has been less than honest about his connection to it and its role in the Benghazi assault?

 

When Islamic terrorists who support the ideology and sport the heraldry of the global al-Qaeda network killed an American ambassador on the anniversary of 9/11, the Obama administration eagerly accepted their version of the story: that locally based protests had responded to offensive Western blasphemy. As the Islamist threat grows, the Obama administration has continually, carefully claimed success in defeating “the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11” — Arabs based in Afghanistan and Pakistan and known as “core al-Qaeda.” But there is evidence, though it’s not dispositive, to suggest that the groups participating in the attack in Benghazi had connections to this group. In fact, core al-Qaeda, now led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, urged the group’s affiliate in Yemen to “do something” on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, and his brother led the attack in Cairo that preceded Benghazi. In Benghazi, Islamist terrorist groups demonstrated, in a tragic and humiliating fashion, an ability to threaten the national-security interests of the United States. Rather than forthrightly address this failure, the administration has given credence to the idea that American deeds — words here, actually — are to blame for Islamist terrorism against the West. This claim is as poorly supported here as ever, but is convenient for this administration’s ideological leanings and political designs.

 

Ultimately, several other conclusions are undeniable: The Times report confirms that our representatives in Benghazi had laughably little security because of the administration’s naïve trust in Islamists, their inability to recognize the threat terrorist groups posed in Libya, and the efforts from the very top to keep the U.S. presence in the country low-profile. Those failures fall, first, at the feet of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. And the men who murdered Americans and humiliated our country have yet to pay any price for their crimes. That failure is ultimately traceable to her superior, President Barack Obama. The president will never contest another election, so he may not have to answer for these failures. The Times has done its best to ensure that Clinton doesn’t have to, either.

 

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Syria Will Haunt the President and his Advisers: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Feb. 17, 2014— It must be maddening spinning for the White House.

Handing the Middle East to Russia: Amir Taheri, New York Post, Feb. 16, 2014 —Some 40 years ago, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat ended his regime’s alliance with, and reliance on, the Soviet Union, and, in one of the Cold war’s most dramatic turnabouts, joined the Middle Eastern bloc of nations close to the United States.

Stop Jerking Canada Around: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2013— Fixated as we Americans are on Canada’s three most attention-getting exports — polar vortexes, Alberta clippers and the antics of Toronto’s addled mayor — we’ve somewhat overlooked a major feature of Canada’s current relations with the United States: extreme annoyance.  

Survey: U.S. Press Freedom Plunges Under Obama to 46th in World, After Romania: Meghan Drake, Washington Times, Feb. 11, 2014—The Obama administration’s handling of whistleblower Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaks and the investigation of a string of leaks produced a plunge in the country’s rating on press freedoms and government openness, according to a global survey released Tuesday.

The President Inhales: Wall Street Journal, Jan. 21, 2014 —To the delight of dorm rooms everywhere, President Obama has all but endorsed marijuana legalization.

 

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BENGHAZI AFFAIR REFUSES TO DIE – NEW TESTIMONY SUGGESTS COVER-UP, TALK IN GOP OF IMPEACHMENT

Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Contents:                          

 

Why the Benghazi Affair is Still so Important: Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, May 12, 2013—There is something terribly and tragically and importantly symbolic about the Benghazi attack that may be lost in the tidal wave of details about what happened on September 11, 2012, in an incident where four American officials were murdered in a terrorist attack.

 

The Benghazi Battle: Andrew Stiles, National Review, May 8, 2013—Gregory Hicks’s personal account of the tragic night of September 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, offered some of the most compelling public testimony to date regarding the deadly terrorist attacks that left four Americans dead, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens.

 

Did Clinton and Obama Believe Their Benghazi Baloney?: Michael Barone, Real Clear Politics, May 13, 2013—What were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton thinking? Why did they keep pitching the line that the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans started as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video?

 

Why the GOP Might Try to Impeach Obama Over Benghazi: Joshua Green, Business Week, May 13, 2013—Throughout last year’s campaign, President Obama assured voters skeptical of his ability to work with Republicans in Congress that his reelection would “break the fever” of implacable obstruction and finally persuade the GOP to submit to the will of the voters. That prediction quickly proved wrong. Instead of breaking, the fever has spiked.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Benghazi Lie: Mark Steyn, National Review, May 10, 2013

Seven Things We Learned from the Benghazi Whistleblower Hearing: Bryan Preston, PJ Media, May 8, 2013
Pentagon: Special Forces Would Not Have Saved Lives in Benghazi: Dustin Walker, Real Clear Defense, May 8, 2013

Right Mauls Hillary Clinton Over Envoy's Murder in Benghazi: Toby Harnden, Real Clear Politics, May 13, 2013

 

WHY THE BENGHAZI AFFAIR IS STILL SO IMPORTANT

Barry Rubin

Jewish Press, May 12, 2013

 

There is something terribly and tragically and importantly symbolic about the Benghazi attack that may be lost in the tidal wave of details about what happened on September 11, 2012, in an incident where four American officials were murdered in a terrorist attack. This point stands at the heart of everything that has happened in American society and intellectual life during the last decade.

 

And that point is this: America was attacked once again on that September 11, attacked by al Qaeda in an attempt to destroy the United States—as ridiculous as that goal might seem. Yet the U.S. government blamed the attack on America itself.

 

Other reasons can be adduced for the official position that what happened that day was due to a video insulting Islam rather than to a terrorist attack, but this is the factor of overwhelming importance. It transformed the situation in the following ways:

 

–Muslims were the victims of American misbehaviour, a point emerging from the administration’s wider worldview of U.S. aggression and Third World suffering, as in the lectures of all those left-wing anti-American academics and the sermons of Jeremiah Wright.

 

–“Hate speech” and racism (as “Islamophobia” is often reconfigured) was the cause of troubles, with the implication that while freedom of speech and such liberties should be defended they must be limited in some ways to prevent further trouble.

 

–America’s proper posture should be one of apology, as in the advertisements that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made for the Pakistani and other media.

 

–The “misblaming,” to coin a word, on the video showed terrorist groups that not only can they attack Americans but they can do so without fear of punishment or even of blame! As the House of Representatives’ hearings show, the misattribution of responsibility also delayed the FBI’s investigation, perhaps conclusively so.

 

–The exercise of American power has been the cause of America’s problems and not an excess of appeasement. The chickens—in Wright’s phrase—are merely coming home to roost. Yet once the video—which nobody in the Middle East was aware of—appeared there were in fact further anti-American riots in different countries, now over the video which Clinton and others made known, and in which dozens of people died. This showed that appeasement and apology caused worse problems.

 

–The solution to these Middle East conflicts required a change in U.S. policies in order to avoid further offense. This meant distancing from Israel and even historic Arab allies, showing respect and encouragement even for “moderate” Islamist movements, and other measures.

 

In short, this is the stance of blaming America and exonerating its enemies that has seized hold of the national consciousness. Of course, parallel responses met the Boston bombing as the mass media and academics scrambled to give alternative explanations to the terrorists’ motives.

 

The truth is, however, extremely simple: The United States faces a revolutionary Islamist movement that will neither go away nor moderate itself. To understand this movement and its ideology, how it is and is not rooted in Islam, its weaknesses and divisions, the forces willing to help combat it, and ways to devise strategies to battle it is the prime international need for the moment.

 

It is as necessary to do these things for revolutionary Islamism today as it was to do the same things regarding Nazism in the 1930s and 1940s; and for Communism in the 1940s and 1950s. Yet the U.S. armed forces and other institutions are forbidden from holding this inquiry. There are, of course, additional issues raised, though many of them also have far deeper significance:

 

–The failure of the Obama Administration to defend and rescue Americans in Benghazi is equivalent to its failures to defend American interests around the world.

 

–The fear of using American power in Libya that day parallels the overall retreat from the traditional bipartisan policies of credibility, deterrence, and all the other things in a great power’s lexicon.

 

–The standpoint that it is better to let Americans die than to risk offending certain groups. That might seem harsh but when it was decided not to send a rescue mission that was precisely what was happening.

 

–A lack of competence by a president who didn’t know his duty and by high-ranking subordinates who would not remind him of that duty.

 

–The perfect symbolism of the president of the United States going to sleep in the face of a crisis, the living embodiment of a 2008 election ad by his opponent about whether he would deal with a crisis that erupted at 3 AM.

 

–The perfect symbolism of the secretary of state being the one who put out that ad and who then said, “What difference does it make” regarding the attackers’ motives.

 

–The fact that the cover-up seems to be involved with the administration’s need to declare victory over al Qaeda. Not only is that claim untrue but the idea that if al Qaeda is defeated there is no more threat from revolutionary Islamism is the central bad theme of Administration Middle East policy.

 

–The issue of why the ambassador was in Benghazi that day. Remember that President Obama stood before the United Nations General Assembly and said that he was there to plan a new school and hospital wing. Was he telling an outright lie?

 

Was the ambassador there in an attempt to retrieve advanced weapons previously provided to Libyan Islamist groups in the war against the Qadhafi dictatorship because they could be turned against America? Well, such weapons were turned against America that day. If so, the situation showed the bankruptcy of the pro-Islamist policy.

 

Or was it an effort to funnel weapons to the Syrian rebels, in a policy likely to repeat the problems in Libya? If so, the situation showed the bankruptcy of the pro-Islamist policy. And finally what could be more symbolic than the hiring of Islamist terrorists to guard the consulate, men who deserted or even turned their guns against the Americans there? It is truly symbolic because the Obama Administration has turned to Islamists—in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Syria, and elsewhere–in the belief that they are best suited to guard U.S. interests in the Middle East.

 

In discussing the Benghazi affair none of these broader issues should be forgotten. It was not merely an order for the American rescue forces to “stand down” but for the United States to bow down.

 

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THE BENGHAZI BATTLE

Andrew Stiles

National Review, May 8, 2013

 

Gregory Hicks’s personal account of the tragic night of September 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, offered some of the most compelling public testimony to date regarding the deadly terrorist attacks that left four Americans dead, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens.

 

The former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, who appeared before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday, is the first person who was actually in Libya the night of the attacks to testify publicly. Hicks’s comments, which raised serious questions about the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks and their aftermath, are sure to fuel Republican efforts to expose a potential cover-up.

 

A decorated and widely praised 22-year veteran of the State Department, Hicks recalled being “stunned” and “embarrassed” watching U.N. ambassador Susan Rice’s now-infamous appearances on the Sunday-talk-show circuit, where she claimed that the Benghazi attacks were the result of spontaneous “demonstrations” inspired by an anti-Islamic YouTube video — a claim that President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other administration officials maintained for eleven days following the attack. “The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya,” Hicks said. “The only event that transpired was the attack on our consulate.”

 

Hicks said there was no doubt among U.S. personnel on the ground that the Benghazi attacks were carried out by terrorists — they were well aware that the terror group Ansar al-Sharia had quickly claimed credit on Twitter. In gripping testimony, he recalled how his team in Tripoli loaded ammunition into armored vehicles, smashed hard drives, and fled to a safe house in anticipation of an attack on the embassy in the capital city. He also described “the saddest phone call” he had ever received, when the Libyan prime minister told him that Ambassador Stevens was dead. An audience of more than a hundred staffers, reporters, and lawmakers hung on his every word.

 

Hicks was so shaken by Rice’s remarks on the Sunday shows that he contacted Beth Jones, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, to ask why the U.N. ambassador had incorrectly blamed the attacks on a video. “Her reaction was ‘I don’t know,’ and it was very clear from the tone that I should not proceed any further,” Hicks told members of the committee. He cited this exchange as the beginning of a problematic relationship with the administration, which ultimately led to his demotion from deputy mission chief to mere “desk officer.”

 

This testimony comes amid concerns that the State Department has been intimidating potential witnesses who have knowledge of the attacks and are seeking to testify. The three witnesses present at Wednesday’s hearing were repeatedly referred to as “whistleblowers.” Hicks made clear that the administration has sought to keep him on a tight leash, and his recounting of one particular interaction with Cheryl Mills, State Department general counsel and former chief of staff to Secretary Clinton, is sure to stoke the passions of Republicans eager to pin blame on the prospective 2016 nominee.

 

Hicks said that administration lawyers had instructed him not to meet in Libya with a congressional delegation led by Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) in the wake of the attack — the first time in his career he had ever received such a request. Hicks took the meeting, but a State Department lawyer who tried to sit in was barred because he lacked a security clearance. Hicks later received an angry phone call from Mills demanding a report from the meeting. “A phone call from that near a person [to the secretary of state] is generally not considered to be good news,” Hicks said.

 

Democrats, on the other hand, spent much of the hearing attempting to absolve Clinton of any blame, as well as (tactfully) cast doubt on many of Hicks’s claims. They pointed to a recent report released by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB), which found that Clinton was not responsible for the “inadequate” security at the Benghazi consulate prior to the attack. Republicans noted, with some skepticism toward the findings, that Clinton herself was never interviewed by the board. The ARB did interview Hicks, but he expressed frustration that he was never able to review its classified report.

 

The White House would clearly prefer to put an end to questions about its role during the Benghazi attacks and in the immediate aftermath, but Republicans aren’t going to let them off so easily. Wednesday’s hearing may not have changed many minds, but it showed that further questions are justified, and ought to be answered.

 

White House press secretary Jay Carney may think that September 11, 2012, was “a long time ago,” but as Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) said at one point during the hearing, “there is no statute of limitations to finding out the truth.”

 

 

DID CLINTON AND OBAMA BELIEVE THEIR BENGHAZI BALONEY?

Michael Barone

Real Clear Politics, May 13, 2013

 

What were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton thinking? Why did they keep pitching the line that the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans started as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video? One possible explanation is confusion. There was such an attack on our embassy in Cairo earlier that day that fit that description.

 

When Hillary Clinton on Sept. 14 talked of a "mob" and "violent attacks" over the caskets of the Americans slain in Benghazi, she could have been referring to the attacks in Cairo. In that case, she would not exactly be lying, as many have charged. But she would have been misleading people, quite possibly intentionally. We know that she assured one victim's father, Charles Wood, that "we're going to prosecute that person that made the video."  Not entirely successfully, by the way. "I knew she was lying," Woods said after the House committee hearing on Benghazi last week.

 

It's hard to escape the conclusion that Clinton was knowingly attempting to mislead. She certainly knows the difference between Cairo and Benghazi. And it's undisputed that Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 man in our Libya embassy, reported that it was an "attack" on Sept. 11. That was the word he heard in his last conversation with Chris Stevens. It's undisputed as well, after testimony at the House committee hearing last week, that Beth Jones, acting head of State's Near Eastern Division, emailed on Sept. 12 that "the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Shariah, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists."

 

That email went to Clinton counselor Cheryl Mills and State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, among others. You may remember Mills as one of the lawyers defending Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial. On Sept. 15, the day after Clinton's assurances to Woods, State Department and White House officials prepared talking points for members of Congress and for Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who was scheduled to go on five Sunday talk shows the next day.

 

Who chose Rice as the administration's spokesman? As Barack Obama said after the election, when she was reportedly under consideration to be the next secretary of state, Rice had "nothing to do" with Benghazi. Selecting which officials go on the Sunday talk show is a White House function. Either the president or someone who had good reason to believe he was reflecting his wishes selected someone who was out of the loop on the issue. The expectation must have been that she would say exactly what she was told — and would not betray any inconvenient facts known to those in the loop like Clinton.

 

The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes got hold of the series of Sept. 15 emails in which White House and State Department officials prepared the talking points. Deleted were references to warnings State received before Sept. 11 of Ansar al-Sharia and al-Qaida-linked attacks in Benghazi. Nuland describes these as "issues … of my building leadership."

 

The final talking points said "the currently available information suggests that the demonstration in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex." Rice went on TV and parroted the line. That was refuted by Hicks. The video was a "non-event" in Libya, he told the House committee. And he testified that he was chastised by none other than Mills for briefing Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz without a lawyer present.

 

The FBI did not find time to interview Hicks. But State did find time to yank him out of his job and give him a desk job he regards as a demotion.  Obama continued to attribute the Benghazi attack to a protest against a video on Sept. 18 ("Letterman"), Sept. 20 (Univision) and Sept. 25 ("The View" and the United Nations).

 

There were obvious cynical political motives for attempting to mislead voters during a closely contested presidential campaign. Obama did not want his theme of "Osama is dead, al-Qaida is on the run" to be undercut by an Islamist terrorist attack on our ambassador.  Clinton did not want her department's denial of pleas for additional security in Libya to become known. But maybe they were also trying to deceive themselves. Which may be even more disturbing.

 

Michael Barone is Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner.

 

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WHY THE GOP MIGHT TRY TO IMPEACH OBAMA OVER BENGHAZI

Joshua Green

Business Week, May 13, 2013

 

Throughout last year’s campaign, President Obama assured voters skeptical of his ability to work with Republicans in Congress that his reelection would “break the fever” of implacable obstruction and finally persuade the GOP to submit to the will of the voters. That prediction quickly proved wrong. Instead of breaking, the fever has spiked.

 

Last week, with the White House struggling to contain scandals from Benghazi to IRS snooping, it culminated in a chorus of Republican calls to impeach Obama. “Of all the great coverups in history, the Pentagon papers, Iran-Contra, Watergate, all the rest of them,” Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma told a radio show host on Thursday, “this … is going to go down as most egregious coverup in American history.” Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee predicted, “This president will not fill out his full term.” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham called Benghazi “Obama’s Watergate.”

 

Right-wing calls to impeach Obama aren’t exactly new. (Salon has compiled 14 other instances.) But the combination of the Benghazi and IRS scandals has given them new force. So, presumably, has the eagerness of the Republican base to see such a fate befall the president they despise—a recent poll showed that half of Republicans favor impeachment.

 

The inclination of many liberals to fan the flames of impeachment has probably given oxygen to this crusade. Commentators from Jonathan Chait, a few years ago, to Michael Tomasky, just this morning, have predicted a Republican push for impeachment. And while none that I’m aware of has explicitly encouraged this push, many liberals privately view the prospect of a GOP impeachment attempt in the same way that Br’er Rabbit viewed getting tossed in the briar patch—as something that would quickly redound to their benefit, just as the impeachment of Bill Clinton ultimately hurt the GOP in the 1998 elections.

 

One obvious obstacle is that Democrats control the Senate. While the GOP-led House could initiate impeachment proceedings, they wouldn’t get much further. At least for now. Inhofe indicated, though, that the issue could “endure” and move forward if Republicans take back the Senate in 2014. The combination of all these factors—Republican legislators’ thirst to deliver Obama his comeuppance, pressure from the base, tacit liberal provocation—would suggest that the “fever” is likelier to go higher still than it is to subside.

 

Green is senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek in Washington.

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Seven Things We Learned from the Benghazi Whistleblower Hearing: Bryan Preston, PJ Media, May 8, 2013—The Republicans mishandled the Benghazi whistleblowers’ hearing. What should have been stretched across several days to give the nation time to digest it all, was instead packed into a single day filled with an overwhelming amount of information. The media’s attention span is not that long.

 

The Benghazi Lie: Mark Steyn, National Review, May 10, 2013—Shortly before last November’s election I took part in a Fox News documentary on Benghazi, whose other participants included the former governor of New Hampshire John Sununu. Making chit-chat while the camera crew were setting up, Governor Sununu said to me that in his view Benghazi mattered because it was “a question of character.”
 

Pentagon: Special Forces Would Not Have Saved Lives in Benghazi: Dustin Walker, Real Clear Defense, May 8, 2013

The Pentagon is pushing back on claims that a Special Operations unit could have saved lives if sent to Benghazi during the attack there last fall.

 

Right Mauls Hillary Clinton Over Envoy's Murder in Benghazi: Toby Harnden, Real Clear Politics, May 13, 2013—In a temporary office beside a shopping mall in northern Virginia, half a dozen young Republican operatives were hunched over their computers as the House oversight committee questioned witnesses about last September’s deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

 

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As Nov. 6 Looms & Benghazi Issue Builds: Can Romney – Reviving The Moderation Jews Like – Win?

A Short Guide to the Benghazi Issue: Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, October 30th, 2012

According to the dominant view of the Western academic elites, mass media, and even governments, we have done things in the past—which require apologies—and are doing things in the present that makes people angry at America who otherwise would be friendly.

 

_________________________________________________

 

Romney Revives Moderate Stance that Attracted Jews: Ron Kampeas, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2012

Mitt Romney’s record as a moderate Republican governor would seem to have made him ideally suited to peel off Jewish votes from President Obama. The problem is that he spent much of the past half decade running from that past.

 

Why Romney Will Win: Michael Novak, National Review, October 30, 2012 

Many friends are telling me that most of the European media are expecting President Obama to be reelected. If so, they are likely to be shocked on election day. As of October 23 (just after the third and final debate), [polls] showed Governor Romney beating the president with over 51 percent, and by between four and six points.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Watching the Collapse of the Obama Campaign: Jack Kelly, Real Clear Politics, Oct. 29, 2012

To My Fellow Jews-You Can Vote For Mitt Romney, or You Can Commit Jew-i-cide: Jeff Kunetz, Yid with Lid, Oct. 29, 2012

Obama Loses his 2008 Coalition: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Oct. 29, 2012
Why I’m Voting for Romney: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Oct. 28, 2012

Romney Promises to Keep Israel in The Loop: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, Oct. 30, 2012

 

 

 

A SHORT GUIDE TO THE BENGHAZI ISSUE

Barry Rubin

Jewish Press, October 30th, 2012

 

 “Where do They come from, those whom we so much dread, As on our dearest location falls the chill Of their crooked wing….” –W.H. Auden, “Crisis,” (1940)

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the murder of four Americans there has become a huge issue. There are many stories and rumors that are still being debated and more information is coming out. What I’m going to try to do here is to analyze the enduring themes raised by these tragic events.

Why Do They Hate Us? There is a debate over the causes of terrorism and anti-Americanism in the world. One possible view is that the principal problem is that of genuine conflict. The adversaries hold certain ideological ideas—say, revolutionary Islamism—to which American society and policies are antithetical. The collision (as with Communism, Nazism, and aggressive Japanese militarism in earlier decades) is inevitable. The United States is inconveniencing the totalitarians both because of what it does (policies) and because of what it represents (freedom, democracy, capitalism).

The other view currently dominates many Western academic “experts,” politicians, mass media, and even governments. That concept is that the hatred is our own fault. We have done things in the past—which require apologies—and are doing things in the present that makes people angry at America who otherwise would be friendly.

An exception is made for a “tiny minority of extremists,” mainly a code word for al-Qaida, but the more sophisticated argument is that such people would have no following if America handled things properly.  Thus, in this case, if American facilities are attacked in Cairo and Benghazi it must have been something America did wrong, to wit, an insulting video made by an immigrant from the Middle East about Islam.

Diagnosing the problem tells one what the cure is: sensitivity; respect; tightening rules against such insults; bowing and scraping; refusing to identify radicals and terrorists with Islam in any way; giving large amounts of money; helping the Muslim Brotherhood so it will be grateful later; telling the NASA director to make up stuff about Muslim contributions to space travel, etc. That is the path the Obama Administration, with major support from the intellectual-cultural establishment, has followed.

Why Do Some of Us Hate Ourselves?

The answer to this question follows from the first answer. If “we” are responsible for the hatred and conflict, then we have done evil and must repent. We are the problem or, as one much-feted American intellectual put it, the United States is the cancer of the world.

In the Benghazi case, however, it is hard to come up with more than a video, according to the dominant view. After all, didn’t the United States “liberate” Libya from a terrible dictator? Of course, the problem is that from the standpoint of the radicals, the United States merely became Libya’s new master, blocking the revolutionary Islamist, Sharia state they wanted, producing a “puppet” (who cares if it was elected?) government.

America is thus the prime enemy not because it did something evil but because it did something which the U.S. government regarded as good. If they hate us in Libya for sinful policies, then President Barack Obama, not the Egyptian-born video producer, is the chief sinner.

Is America a Bully or a Leader? As noted above, the establishment view today is that America has been a bully in the past, acting unilaterally and not respecting the views of others. Obama has said this directly when speaking to foreign—including Middle Eastern—audiences.

But how does one stop being a bully? By showing that one isn’t tough, doesn’t protect one’s interests fiercely. Thus, in the Benghazi case, the U.S. government didn’t send the ambassador to Benghazi with Americans to guard him, nor did the consulate have Americans to provide security. To do so would be to show disrespect for the Libyans, to act in a way that might be perceived of as imperialistic.

Similarly, the president would not call in an airstrike against the attackers or send an armed rescue team to the consulate because to do so would have signaled an arrogance and aggressiveness, putting Americans first and not acting as a citizen of the world.

Who is the Enemy? If the enemy is defined as solely al-Qaida this allows a policy of treating all other Islamists—even the Afghan Taliban!—as a potential friend. Both Vice-President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for example, explained that leading elements of the Taliban, a group complicit in the September 11 attacks, could be won over. Certainly, the Muslim Brotherhood —the world’s largest and most powerful international anti-American organization—was helped and treated as a potential ally.

Al-Qaida, however, is a relatively weak organization, capable of staging only sporadic terror attacks, with the exception perhaps of remote Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan. It cannot take over whole countries. The fact that Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Turkey, and perhaps soon Syria are governed by Islamists is a far greater strategic threat.

Then why couldn’t the Obama Administration have said that the consulate was attacked by evil al-Qaida for no reason other than its lust to murder Americans, with the perfect symbolism of the attack having been staged on September 11?

There was a dual problem. First, the group involved was one the U.S. government had worked with during the Libyan civil war so it could not admit they were close to al-Qaida. Second, the official line was that al-Qaida had been defeated so it could not still be a threat. Therefore, an alternative narrative and a cover-up were needed.

Competence and Courage

Once upon a time a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination warned that if Obama was elected president he would not be reliable in a crisis, answering a 3 AM phone call requiring instant response. That claim, of course, came from Hillary Clinton. Benghazi was that phone call….

There is, or should be, a sacred trust between the U.S. government and those who put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of America. Everything should be done to protect and save them. In this case, however, the country’s leaders let those people down both before and during the crisis.

Note, too, how unintentionally revealingly Obama responded to this issue in the presidential debate. Once the crisis was over, Obama said, he swung into action, securing those who still survived, investigating who was responsible, and promising to punish them.

What about before and during the multi-hour assault? Silence. The details–for example, whether or not there was a drone overhead–obscure the fact that no proper preparations were made for the ambassador and consulate being unprotected and that passivity prevailed during the battle. If the U.S. government didn’t trust the Libyans wouldn’t that show that America thought itself superior and its interests to override those of others? And isn’t that racist?

One could say that the Obama Administration’s failure to act denotes incompetence, and there is truth there. But the larger picture is that it was a failure due to its concept of America and the world. The real danger is not from totalitarian enemies grown bolder in the face of American weakness and a loss of self-confidence. No, according to the prevailing view, it was rather excessive American self-confidence and strength in the past.
 

The effort to change those bad old ways, to open a new era with completely different behavior, the failure to perceive the real enemies and to understand America’s rights and duties were the causes of the incident in Benghazi, and many other setbacks as well. The chickens have come back to roost and have roosted in the White House. And the vultures are gathering.  (Top of Page)


 

ROMNEY REVIVES MODERATE STANCE THAT ATTRACTED JEWS

Ron Kampeas

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2012

 

Mitt Romney’s record as a moderate Republican governor would seem to have made him ideally suited to peel off Jewish votes from President Obama. The problem is that he spent much of the past half decade running from that past.

 

Now, however, as the campaign draws to a close, Romney is ditching his “severely conservative” primary persona, as he famously described himself, and trying to remind voters about the centrist Republican who once governed Massachusetts. Given his recent rise in the polls, the strategy appears to be paying off.

 

In addition to enhancing the Republican nominee’s appeal to undecided and swing voters, the shift also could help Romney with a subset of Jewish voters disillusioned with Obama over the economy and the Middle East but who do not necessarily subscribe to conservative positions on domestic and social issues.

 

While Democrats continue to portray Romney as beholden to the right, his Jewish surrogates have embraced his move to the middle and argue that, if elected, Romney will govern more from the center than his critics suggest. “It's no different for any politician of any stripe or ilk,” said Fred Zeidman, a Houston businessman and former chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Council who is a leading Romney fundraiser. “You look at anybody running, you look at President Obama, he tacks left when he’s campaigning."

 

On social issues, Romney's emphasis during the primaries was on the narrative that led him, as governor, to evolve from a supporter of abortion rights to an opponent. But since getting the nomination, he has looked to highlight his differences with more ardent abortion foes, saying in an October interview that abortion legislation is not part of his agenda.

 

On health policy, Romney’s pledge to repeal “Obamacare” now includes a promise to preserve some popular aspects of the health care reform. At a debate, Romney said that his health plan would cover pre-existing conditions and allow young people to stay on their families' health insurance….

 

On Middle East policy — an area seen by his supporters as one of his major selling points to Jewish voters — Romney has also softened some of his tough talk of late. In the candidates’ foreign policy debate, Romney accompanied his longstanding criticism of Obama’s policies on Iran with a reassurance that he would exhaust all options before considering a direct military confrontation.

 

Romney’s expression of pessimism at a May fundraiser about prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace…has been followed by promises to pursue a two-state solution. Speaking at the Virginia Military Institute, Romney vowed to “recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.”…

 

“‘Severely conservative’ Romney has pledged to be a ‘pro-life president,’ and when he's tried to give some semblance of moderation, his staunchest anti-choice supporters jump in to knock down any notion that he is anything but solidly in their camp,” David Harris, the National Jewish Democratic Council’s president, wrote recently in the Washington Jewish Week.

 

Some Jewish supporters, however, counter that Romney’s stance on abortion is not the paramount issue that his critics make it out to be. “They continue to miss opportunities by harping on the issue of abortion,” Matt Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s executive director, said in an interview during the Republican convention. “This is something they have been trying to scare people with for decades, and yet access to abortion in this country continues despite having incredibly conservative presidents and a conservative court.”

 

The RJC has focused much of its effort to woo Jewish voters on Middle East policy, although it also has emphasized the struggling economy. On Israel, Romney has tried to distinguish himself from the president by arguing that he would have a closer and more harmonious relationship with Israel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who faces an election contest January 22.

 

“I will make clear that America’s commitment to Israel’s security and survival as a Jewish state is absolute, and will demonstrate that commitment to the world by making Jerusalem the destination of my first foreign trip,” Romney wrote in reply to an American Jewish Committee questionnaire. “Unlike President Obama, I understand that distancing the US from Israel doesn't earn us credibility in the Arab world or bring peace closer.”…He has also promised that as president he would not allow disagreements with Israel to be aired in public….

 

By the time he made his second run for president, Romney already had built good relationships with Jewish Republicans from his first term as governor and his first presidential run. Romney’s record of moderation made him a natural fit with the party’s Jews, Zeidman said.

 

“A lot of people in Boston and on Wall Street knew him and respected him,” Zeidman said of the period in 2005-2006 when Romney started exploring his first presidential run. “But he had yet to be in a position where he addressed the Jewish community at large. Now we know what kind of problem solver he is, we know his integrity, his ability to get things done and that as Jews we never have to be concerned about his commitment to the security of the State of Israel.”…

 

For his first job after graduating from Harvard Business School, Romney joined Boston Consulting Group, where he first met a young Binyamin Netanyahu who was employed there at the time. Today, Romney speaks of his strong bond with the Israeli prime minister…(Top of Page)

 

 

 

WHY ROMNEY WILL WIN

Michael Novak

National Review, October 30, 2012

 

Many friends are telling me that most of the European media are expecting President Obama to be reelected. If so, they are likely to be shocked on election day. In the U.S., there are 26 national polling firms. The one I count most trustworthy is Rasmussen (which came closest to hitting the exact result for 2008), and the oldest and best known is Gallup. As of October 23 (just after the third and final debate), both showed Governor Romney beating the president with over 51 percent, and by between four and six points.

 

The United States has never before had to make a choice like this — between two different ways of life. This is a choice about whether we want the United States to become more like the European welfare states. Or, rather, to stick to our own traditional ways: risk, creativity, growth, and opportunity. Obama acts consistently to make the United States like Europe. No wonder many Europeans cheer him on.

 

Of course, Obama could yet win. The week remaining before the November 6 election might still hold many surprises. The Democratic party is famous, when it is losing, for launching October Surprises — dramatic actions, or sudden damaging revelations about the opposing candidate. Besides, our media (except for Fox News) have become extremist in their support for Obama.     

 

Yet this lack of balance is not necessarily a disadvantage for Governor Romney. The press is misleading the public (and itself) about what is really happening on the ground, among ordinary people.  To keep one’s feet on the ground in the United States, one must watch which candidate working males — steelworkers, miners, gas-station attendants, truck drivers, and so on — are favoring. And which way married women are trending. Ever since Reagan, most working males and married women trend markedly Republican. They are especially strong for Romney.

 

By contrast, the Democrats, the Party of Government, strongly attract single women, both unmarried and widows. President Obama also appeals to the new “counterculture” that celebrates abortion, gay marriage, and a morally relaxed culture. They are locked in a “culture war” against traditional American virtues ( biblical, Jewish and Christian). In Europe, many refer to these as “puritan” values.

 

But, then, the narrow, strict “puritan” culture of Massachusetts and Rhode Island did not extend its sway to the South and the West. “Out there,” Christianity was barely present in the “churchy” forms familiar to Europeans. The South and the West favored the relaxed style of the “free churches” — more informal, associational, open and friendly, “Spirit-moved,” even a bit enthusiastic.

 

Persons formed in this environment are less inclined to accept statism and its bureaucracies, and labor unions and their enforced electoral solidarity. They take pride in self-reliance, self-government, and personal self-control. Their type of living requires certain solid habits in people, not the “loose” ways of urban secularism….

 

To be sure, urban secularism via television, the movies, and the popular-music industry has spread its magnetic allure all through the countryside by now. But the older ways still matter to churchgoers and married couples. Thus, “the culture war.”

 

More important just now is the havoc wrought on the American economy by President Obama’s statist actions. Middle-class families during the last four years have lost scores of thousands of dollars in the net worth of their homes (their largest investment by far). They have lost over $4,300 per family in real income. Prices of common, humble goods — coal, gas, electricity, food — have risen steadily. In daily life, everything costs more, from food for one’s family to fuel for one’s automobile. The pain is felt many times a day.

 

And still there is the huge weight of public debt — climbing every second of every day, and heading for an additional $5 trillion just in the last four years. This debt is an enormous tax laid on our children and grandchildren. Many count this as cross-generational theft, an immorality of the first order.

 

And opportunity! Opportunity is to Americans what security is to Europeans. Millions wonder, “Where has opportunity gone?” Few new jobs; 21 million people without jobs, including those millions who after four years have given up searching. Almost half of all university graduates last year could not find jobs, and have returned to live with their parents.

 

It would take us too far afield here to explain how President Obama’s abuse of religious liberty — especially but not only of the Catholic Church — has driven away many who voted for him in 2008. For instance, in 2008 a slim majority of churchgoing Catholics voted for Obama. This time, most of those Catholics who go to church “seldom or never” prefer Obama. But those who go to church “weekly or almost weekly” tell pollsters, by a margin of 59 percent to 34 percent, that they will vote for Romney this time.

 

Voters who swing from one party to another between elections count twice. They take one vote from Obama, say, and give that vote to Romney. At present, at least 1.5 million churchgoing Catholics say they will switch from Obama to Romney. That counts as a swing of 3 million votes.

 

Under Obama the poor have suffered more than anyone else. Millions have fallen into poverty — back to levels not seen since the late 1960s. The official poverty line is roughly $24,000 annually for a family of four.                        

 

It is always wise to think that your own side is behind, the other ahead. That way, your whole team works harder. By all accounts, this year the Republicans have more enthusiasm and eagerness. The Democrats seem less spirited. Recently every day shows more strength for Romney, especially in the most hotly contested states. But that, of course, can change. In an election campaign, a week can seem an eternity.

 

(Top of Page)

 

 

 

 

Watching the Collapse of the Obama Campaign: Jack Kelly, Real Clear Politics, Oct. 29, 2012

The Navy needs more ships, Mitt Romney said in last Monday's debate. It has fewer now than in 1916. President Barack Obama pounced. "Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them … " Mr. Obama was wrong on both the thrust of his argument, and on the examples he used.

 

To My Fellow Jews-You Can Vote For Mitt Romney, Or You Can Commit Jew-i-cide: Jeff Kunetz, Yid with Lid, Oct. 29, 2012

 

There is no other way to put it.  Any Jew who believes in the State of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State and still votes for Barack Obama next week is committing Jew-i-cide. 

 

Obama Loses his 2008 Coalition: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Oct. 29, 2012

Four years ago the Republican Party was in danger of losing status as a national party, pundits said. It was too white, too southern and too old. The GOP still has a long way to go with minority voters, but after President’s Obama four years in office the Republican presidential ticket is appealing to women, voters in blue state strongholds and independents.

 

Why I’m Voting for Romney: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Oct. 28, 2012

Each time I mention that I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, I get a blast from some who didn’t. “How could you be so dumb?” is a typical response to my confession. It is certainly a confession — of error. Obama fooled me once, but not twice. I’m voting for Mitt Romney Nov. 6th.

 

Romney Promises To Keep Israel In The Loop: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, Oct. 30, 2012

“Our closest allies, like Israel, will not learn about our plans from The New York Times,” Romney wrote. “And I’ll be clear with the American people about where I’m heading. I won’t be secretly asking the Ayatollahs for more flexibility following some future election.”

 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

OBAMA: ARE DAYLIGHT WITH ISRAEL, BLACK UNEMPLOYMENT, OHIO VOTERS & BENGHAZI-GATE FOILING RE-ELECTION?

Remembering Yitzhak Rabin z”l

12 Heshvan 5756 – November 4, 1995

__________________________________________________

 

Contents:

 

“Antisemitism in the Contemporary Middle East: Survey and Analysis”: Tuesday, October 30 5:30 PM, McGill

 

Obama's Real Record on Israel: Anne Bayefsky, FoxNews, Oct 23, 2012

President Obama has never visited Israel during his time in office, despite having been as close as thirty minutes away in Egypt, and managing to go to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq. President Obama told Jewish leaders in July 2009 that he was deliberately adopting a policy of putting daylight between America and Israel.

 

The Benghazi Story Refuses to Die: Walter Russell Mead, American Interest, Oct 28, 2012

We still don’t know exactly what happened between the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA and the White House as Americans in Libya requested support for Ambassador Stevens and his team in their final hours…

 

Ohio’s Crucial Independent Voters: Matt Hurley, Front Page Magazine, Oct 29, 2012

Do not trust anyone who claims to know what is going to happen in Ohio on Election Day.  The sheer number of variables in play here are plenty, and even the most experienced political observers are having difficulty decoding the Buckeye State.

 

Obama's Going to Lose…but Not Because He's Black: Perry Drake, American Thinker, Oct 29, 2012

The left is already beginning to point fingers at those they believe are responsible for what is shaping up to be a decisive rout in the making for President Obama and the Democrats on Election Day

 

On Topic Links

 

New Projection of Election Results: Romney 52, Obama 47: Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard, Oct 29, 2012

Battle for White House – Electoral Map: Real Clear Politics, Oct 29, 2012

Romney Soars in Pensacola: Quin Hillyer, American Spectator, Oct 29, 2012

In Virginia, Turnout Matters: Debra McCown, American Spectator, Oct 26, 2012

Would Obama Incite Civil Unrest to Win? : Daren Jonescu, American Thinker, October 29,

 

 

ISGAP | The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy

 

“Antisemitism in the Contemporary

Middle East: Survey and Analysis”

 

Jonathan Spyer

 

Senior Research Fellow, Global Research in

International Affairs Center, IDC, Herzliya

 

Tuesday, October 30 @ 5:30 PM

 

Leacock Building, Rm. 738

McGill University

 

ISGAP 212-230-1840 www.isgap.org

 

 

 

 

OBAMA'S REAL RECORD ON ISRAEL

Anne Bayefsky

FoxNews, October 23, 2012

 

During the final debate, President Obama pointed to his 2008 pre-election visit to Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, as an answer to Governor Romney’s criticism of his foreign policy on Israel.  That same stop was made by over a million visitors and hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries the same year.  Invoking it as a means to establish the President’s pro-Israel credentials is an insult to the intelligence of voters who care about the welfare of the Jewish state….

 

Undoubtedly, keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive is a service not only to Jews but to anyone interested in preserving and protecting universal human rights and freedoms.  But the question before American voters, who value our special bond with the Middle East’s only democracy, is whether the specifics of the president’s four-year record are consistent with the well-being of the people who live and breathe Jewish self-determination as a bulwark against modern anti-Semitism….

 

President Obama has never visited Israel during his time in office, despite having been as close as thirty minutes away in Egypt, and managing to go to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq. President Obama told Jewish leaders in July 2009 that he was deliberately adopting a policy of putting daylight between America and Israel.

 

President Obama has legitimized the UN body most responsible for demonizing Israel as the world’s worst human rights violator.  The president joined the UN Human Rights Council in 2009 and is now seeking a second 3-year term, despite Israel’s requests that he do the opposite. 

 

President Obama made Israeli settlements the key stumbling block in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Starting in 2009 he chose to castigate Israel publicly, often, and in extreme terms at the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Palestinians took the president’s cue and ended direct negotiations until such time as Israel capitulates, even though the subject is supposed to be a final status issue. President Obama treated Israel’s Prime Minister to a series of insulting snubs during his visit to the White House in March 2010.

 

President Obama cut a deal with Islamic states at a May 2010 meeting of parties to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, contrary to assurances given to Israel. He agreed to help convene a 2012 international conference intended to pivot attention towards disarming Israel and is currently negotiating the details of this diplomatic onslaught.

 

President Obama introduced in his September 2010 address to the General Assembly, a September 2011 timeline for full Palestinian statehood and membership in the UN, thus encouraging Palestinians to push the same unilateral move.   President Obama suggested in May 2011 that Israel use the 1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations – knowing full well that Israel considers those borders to be indefensible, and that agreements require the border issue to be determined by the parties themselves.

 

President Obama created a “global counter-terrorism forum” in September 2011 and invited eleven Muslim states to join – on the grounds that they were “on the front lines in the struggle against terrorism.”  At the insistence of Turkey, he then denied entry to Israel. President Obama told French President Nicolas Sarkozy in November 2011 – when he thought he was off-mike – that he regretted having to deal with Israel’s Prime Minister.

 

President Obama asked Congress in February 2012 to waive a ban on American funding of UNESCO. The ban had been imposed following UNESCO’s recognition of Palestinian statehood and was consistent with U.S. law denying funding for any international organization that recognized Palestinian statehood in the absence of a peace agreement with Israel.

 

President Obama has indeed put daylight between American and Israeli policy on Iran.  In August, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dempsey said: “our clocks are ticking at different paces” and he wouldn’t be “complicit” in an Israeli effort to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.

 

In September Secretary Clinton explained this divergence. In her words, the Iranian threat is “existential” only for Israel;  only Israel is “right in the bull’s eye.”  President Obama’s “pro-Israel” policy, therefore, is to wait past the point that the intended victim of the planned genocide believes is safe. President Obama denied Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request to meet with him in September, despite the Iranian peril.

 

President Obama’s UN ambassador, Susan Rice, didn’t even attend the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech to the UN General Assembly in September – during which he made a plea for global attention to the Iranian threat. And on Monday night, at the final debate, Governor Romney answered the question he was asked about what poses the greatest threat to our national security with “a nuclear Iran,” while President Obama responded “terrorist networks.”

 

Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. An Iranian nuclear weapon will result in a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world. And it will make the chance of nuclear weapons ending up in the hands of terrorists all the more likely. It isn’t hard to figure out which man will better partner with Israel to combat anti-semitism today and ensure that the lesson of Yad Vashem is more than a glib debating point.  (Top of Page)


 

THE BENGHAZI STORY REFUSES TO DIE

Walter Russell Mead

American Interest, October 28, 2012

 

We still don’t know exactly what happened between the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA and the White House as Americans in Libya requested support for Ambassador Stevens and his team in their final hours, and we almost certainly won’t before the election.

 

But that doesn’t do the administration much good. As various departments and officials leak to save their careers and retaliate against rivals, grenades keep getting lobbed and emails and memos keep getting leaked. The result is that the attack in Benghazi isn’t fading out of the news. As the last undecided voters make up their minds, the media outlets following this story with the greatest attention keep getting enough ammunition to keep the story alive and force the rest of the media to acknowledge the story, and that doesn’t help a White House simultaneously wrestling with a close election and a massive mutant storm hurtling at the East Coast.

 

President Obama took office vowing to calm the seas and cool the earth; he is running for re-election in a world gone wild. What the White House wants and needs from Libya is no news at all; it needs for the people there to be quietly minding their business and rebuilding their land….

 

The drip drip drip of new revelations, however, is the worst kind of news. Even though many of the new stories are minor, and some contain information that is actively helpful to the White House, anything that keeps this story alive makes the President’s re-election just a little bit tougher….

 

President Obama based his campaign on his success in calming the troubled waters overseas. He is liquidating wars, not starting them. He is cooling the hot anger in the Islamic world. He is promoting peace, reconciling adversaries, giving peace a chance.

 

He could have run as a safe pair of hands in a scary world. He could have said that the terrorists are out there, plotting against us night and day. That our enemies are trying to win over the masses to launch a new clash of civilizations. That the situation in Iran presents the United States with its biggest challenge since the fall of the Soviet Union. In that kind of world, who can you trust? Obviously, the campaign could have said, an experienced man, tough enough to kill bin Laden, but deft enough to reach out to moderates in the Middle East. No gaffe-prone challenger would be safe in these troubled times.

 

But the Obama administration believes that civilianizing American political discourse is necessary for Democrats to do well over the long haul, and to shift resources from the defense budget to domestic priorities. Talk of threats and terrorist enemies appalls and disheartens the Democratic base. The President therefore decided to run as the man who built peace and, if given four more years, would build that much more.

 

He therefore needs for the world to look calm. Anything that undercuts that narrative undercuts his campaign. This is the most important problem Benghazi creates for him: it suggests a genuinely poisonous alternative narrative that the President in his naive eagerness to spread democracy and build bridges to moderates opened the door to radicals and then failed to deal with the threat they posed.

 

The rise of this alternative perception is probably why the President has been losing his advantage on foreign policy in the post-debate polls….President Obama needs Benghazi to go away. Even with hurricanes and tsunamis it appears unlikely to do so; count this as another factor that has risen up to complicate what once looked like a relatively smooth campaign to renew President Obama’s White House lease.  (Top of Page)

 

 

OHIO’S CRUCIAL INDEPENDENT VOTERS

Matt Hurley

Front Page Magazine, October 29, 2012

 

Do not trust anyone who claims to know what is going to happen in Ohio on Election Day.  The sheer number of variables in play here are plenty, and even the most experienced political observers are having difficulty decoding the Buckeye State.

 

Polling the electorate in Ohio is tough, and many public polls over-sample Democrats enough to skew results beyond their stated margin of error percentages.  This is nothing new for Ohio, though, as typical polling of just about any race in Ohio will show whether the election is an issue race or an election of officials….

 

There are two polls that seem to have figured out how to get realistic numbers in Ohio.  Rasmussen Reports’ most recent poll shows the race tied and has been within the margin of error for months.  The Ohio Poll by the University of Cincinnati is the other but they have not released a poll on this race since late August when they declared the race a toss-up.

 

There is, however, one piece of good news for the Romney campaign that seems to have been overlooked by most commentators covering the race in Ohio.  In all 19 of the public polls released since the first debate, Mitt Romney has gained and held the lead among Ohio’s independents.  Ohio’s independent voters have determined the winner in at least five recent major elections in the Buckeye State and are considered to be kingmakers or heartbreakers in any election here.

 

Polling only tells part of the story.  Republicans in Ohio tell of great strides being made on the ground and momentum appears to have shifted in their direction.  A recently released memo from the Romney campaign on the state of the race in Ohio highlighted a few items that illustrate that shift.

 

Ohio Republicans are outperforming their share of voter registration in absentee requests and early voting by over 8.5 points thus far.  They also claim to have closed the gap in early voting and absentee voting in the last two weeks as well by outperforming in Ohio’s largest counties.  This demonstrates that Republicans are impacting the momentum of the voting as Election Day approaches….

 

One other factor that may have a significant impact this cycle is a holdover from the previous election.  Ohio’s labor unions came out in force against the Republicans’ attempt to reform public sector pensions.…It appears, however, that the Obama campaign failed to encourage continuing that momentum, as the unions have largely been silent this time, perhaps in part because of the administrations ongoing War on Coal, which has heavily impacted the south eastern part of Ohio.

 

Romney’s debate performance and Obama’s mishandling of the Benghazi terrorist assassination of our ambassador are two things driving momentum in Ohio.  In a purely unscientific survey of Ohio voters on Facebook, jobs and the economy still rank as top issues of concern, but a few sleeper issues have emerged as well….

 

The sleeper issue that might have the most impact, however, is energy.  Whether it is the price of gasoline or the Environmental Protection Agency meddling in coal and oil policy, a significant number of Ohio voters will be affected by this election; the aftermath of which will likely determine whether thousands of energy sector jobs materialize in Ohio or not.

 

Ohio voters are well aware of the consequences of their vote.  Historically, no Republican has ever captured the White House without winning Ohio and this is another election season where Ohioans will likely decide the race.  The winner of Ohio’s 18 electoral votes will be whichever side maximizes turnout on Election Day….If turnout is higher than 2008 in the red counties and we see an increase in Republican turnout in the blue counties, then it will be a good night for Mitt Romney. 

 

(Top of Page)

 

 

OBAMA'S GOING TO LOSE…BUT NOT BECAUSE HE'S BLACK
Perry Drake

American Thinker, October 29, 2012

 

The left is already beginning to point fingers at those they believe are responsible for what is shaping up to be a decisive rout in the making for President Obama and the Democrats on Election Day.

The New York Times is among the first out of the blame gate, with an article by Matt Bai taking Bill Clinton to task.  Clinton, according to Bai, has foolishly steered the Obama campaign to switch its more promising strategy of attacking Mitt Romney as a serial flip-flopper (in the vein of John Kerry) to one striving to paint him as a mean, evil conservative, à la Ebenezer Scrooge. That strategy went kaput once Romney proved himself to be a decent, likeable guy in the first debate.  C'est la vie.

Beating the Times to the punch, though, have been blacks who for years have insisted that any and all criticisms of Obama are based solely on nothing but the color of his skin — the culmination of which occurred in the aftermath of his sorry-ass performance in the first debate against Romney, when the president's electoral fortune began its steady, inexorable decline. 

To blacks, it had nothing to do with Obama's serial "ahs" and "ums" and dull, slow-witted responses to Romney.  No, it was because the president had to play it safe for fear that if he didn't, he would be considered an "angry black man" to white, racist-inclined voters.  This from Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyso….

I'm declaring myself an "angry black man," but I'm not afraid to let everyone know why.  I'm angry that four years after America elected its first "black" president, the unemployment rate remains the highest in the black community at 14.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  And that's just the headline rate.  The actual rate is much higher. Chalk me up as a racist for pointing that out.

I'm angry that over the last four years, the medium net worth of black households has experienced the steepest decline of any demographic group in the U.S. — a phenomenon that caused even the liberal-leaning Associate Press to label it as "The Disappearing Black Middle Class." But just dismiss me as a racist.

I'm angry that gas prices have doubled and household bills are skyrocketing, which has struck hardest in the black community during every year of Obama's watch. I accept that I'm a racist for noticing.

I'm angry that despite black parents' desperate efforts to rescue their children from rotten, crime-ridden public schools, Obama's first budget eliminated a school voucher program that provided tuition assistance to poor black youths in Washington, D.C.  Thank the Lord that House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican allies — "white racists" one and all — to be sure, were on hand to force Obama to reverse course and reinstate the program….

I'm angry that even in the face of the president's obvious failures, blacks continue to overwhelmingly defend and support a person who has clearly demonstrated that he couldn't give a damn about them and whose policies have done so much to spread despair and hopelessness in their community as well as in all other communities across the nation….

But most of all, I'm angry that black people continue to use white racism as their automatic excuse for every setback and failure in life.  Why is that, you ask?  As with most things in life, if you want to get to the truth, all you need do is follow the money.  If you're black and in the position to get in on the game early, crying racism at the drop of a hat can be quite lucrative.

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Juan Williams, Dyson, and innumerable other black columnists, television pundits, celebrities, and self-described leaders discovered that a long time ago.  If racism magically disappeared overnight, they would each have to find some other way to make a living.  Racism is their bread and butter.  That's why as long as there are poor blacks, there will always be no shortage of black elites blaming it on white racism and getting rich in the process.  Good work if you can get it.  Where do I put in my application?

The real tragedy of it all is that millions of poor blacks have fallen prey to the self-serving aims of Obama and the racial grievance industry in the black community and have rejected the time-proven qualities of persistence, hard work, and self-reliance that would more surely help them make their and the lives of their families much better. But where's the percentage in that?

 

(Top of Page)

 

 

 

Projection of Election Results: Romney 52, Obama 47: Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard, Oct 29, 2012

The bipartisan Battleground Poll, in its “vote election model,” is projecting that Mitt Romney will defeat President Obama 52 percent to 47 percent.  The poll also found that Romney has an even greater advantage among middle class voters, 52 percent to 45 percent.

 

Battle for White House – Electoral Map: Real Clear Politics, Oct 29, 2012

Obama/Biden: 201, Romney/Ryan: 191, Toss Ups:146

 

Romney Soars in Pensacola: Quin Hillyer, American Spectator, Oct 29, 2012

Romney seemed remarkably at ease, his delivery fluent and eminently real. Again and again, in a natural and unforced way, he worked local references into the narrative arc of his speech on big, decidedly national issues such as military spending, trade, and Obamacare.

 

In Virginia, Turnout Matters: Debra McCown, American Spectator, Oct 26, 2012

"I think turnout in the 9th [Congressional] District is key. I think it's crucial," said Bob Gibson, a local elected official and Republican chairman in Russell County, one of Virginia's seven coal-producing counties. "I think it's a unique opportunity for Southwest Virginia to not only decide Virginia; we could decide the whole national election."

 

Would Obama Incite Civil Unrest to Win? : Daren Jonescu, American Thinker, Oct 29, 2012

Is President Obama willing to incite civil unrest to win re-election?  As we have all been encouraged to wear our dog-whistle decoders these days, one can hardly be blamed for wondering.  Worse yet, we know the answer.  He is already doing it.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

A NEW MIDDLE EAST? JEWISH FERTILITY & FUTURE US FOREIGN POLICY

 

 

Contents:

 

I Stood in Jerusalem : Zelda Mishkovski, Forum, Spring/Summer 1984

I stood in Jerusalem, Jerusalem suspended from a cloud…

Jewish Demography Defies Conventional 'Wisdom':Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom, Oct. 19, 2012
In 2012, Israel’s Jewish demography continued its robust surge, typical of the last 17 years, while Muslim demography, west of the Jordan River and throughout the Middle East, increasingly embraces Western standards.

 

Mitt Romney's M.E. Foreign Policy Remarks: Mitt Romney, Foreign Policy, October 8, 2012

It is time to change course in the Middle East.  That course should be organized around these bedrock principles:  America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them… no enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them…

 

On Topic Links

 

Fertility Decline In The Muslim World: Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah,  

Hoover Institute, June 1, 2012

Zionism 2.0 : Tal Benjamin, Jerusalem Report, September 6, 2012

Telling Israel like it is — in Arabic : Philippe Assouline Times of Israel, October 17, 2012

__________________________________________________________________________

 

 

I Stood in Jerusalem

 

By ZELDA, (FORUM 51/52)

I stood

in Jerusalem,

Jerusalem suspended from a cloud,

in a graveyard with people crying

and a crooked tree.

Blurry mountains

and a tower.

You are not!

death spoke to us.

You are not!

he turned to me.

 

 

I stood

in the midst of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem checkered in the sun,

smiling like a bride in the field,

slender green grass

by her side.

 

 

Why were you frightened

yesterday in the rain?

death spoke to me.

Am I not your quiet

older brother?

 

 

 

 

Zelda Mishkovski was one of  Israel’s most admired and most widely read poets. She was awarded the Bialik and Brenner Prizes  for poetry in Israel.

 

 

 

 

 

JEWISH – ARAB DEMOGRAPHY DEFIES CONVENTIONAL 'WISDOM' 
Yoram Ettinger

Israel Hayom, October 19, 2012

In 2012, Israel’s Jewish demography continued its robust surge, typical of the last 17 years, while Muslim demography, west of the Jordan River and throughout the Middle East, increasingly embraces Western standards.

 

According to a June 2012 study by the Washington-based Population Reference Bureau (PRB), 72 percent of 15-49 year old Palestinian married women prefer to avoid pregnancy, as do 78% in Morocco, 71% in Jordan, 69% in Egypt and Libya, 68% in Syria, 63% in Iraq and 61% in Yemen. The PRB study states that “a growing number of women are using contraception, as family planning services have expanded in the Arab region.”

The unprecedented fertility decline in the Muslim world was documented in June 2012 by Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt, a leading demographer at the American Enterprise Institute, and Apoorva Shah of the Hoover Institute. According to Eberstadt and Shah,

 

“Throughout the worldwide Muslim community, fertility levels are falling dramatically … According to the U.N. Population Division estimates and projections, all 48 Muslim-majority countries and territories witnessed fertility decline over the last three decades … The proportional decline in fertility for Muslim-majority areas was greater than for the world as a whole over that same period, or for the less-developed regions as a whole … Six of the ten largest absolute declines in fertility for a two-decade period yet recorded in the postwar era (and by extension, we may suppose, ever to take place under orderly conditions in human history) have occurred in Muslim-majority countries … Four of the ten greatest fertility declines ever recorded in a 20-year period took place in the Arab world … No other region of the world — not highly dynamic Southeast Asia, or even rapidly modernizing East Asia — comes close to this showing … The remarkable fertility declines now unfolding throughout the Muslim world is one of the most important demographic developments in our era.”

 

The key developments yielding a drastic decline in Arab fertility, in the Middle East including west of the Jordan River, have been modernity and its derivatives. For instance, urbanization (the Arab population of Judea and Samaria was 70% rural in 1967, and 75% urban in 2012), expanded women’s education and employment, a record-high divorce rate and wedding age, all-time-high family planning, rapidly declining teen-pregnancy, youthful male net-emigration, etc.

 

The Palestinian Authority has inflated the actual number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria (1.65 million) by one million, to counter the arrival of one million immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Israel. Thus, contrary to internationally accepted demographic standards, the PA counts some 400,000 overseas residents, who have been overseas for over a year, as de-facto residents. Some 300,000 Israeli I.D. card-holding Jerusalem Arabs are counted twice, both as Israelis (by Israel) and as Palestinians (by the PA). The number of births is over-reported, the number of deaths is under-reported, emigration is ignored.

 

In 2012, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate (three births per woman) is trending upward, boding well for Israel’s economy and national security, exceeding any Middle Eastern Muslim country, other than Yemen, Iraq and Jordan, all of which are trending downward. Iran’s fertility rate is 1.8 births per woman, in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States the rate is 2.5, in Syria and Egypt 2.9 and in North Africa 1.8. The average fertility rate of an Israeli-born Jewish mother has already surpassed three births. In 2012, the Israeli Arab-Jewish fertility gap is half a birth per woman, compared with a six birth gap in 1969. Moreover, young Jewish and Arab-Israeli women have converged at three births, with Arab women trending below — and Jewish women trending above — three births.

 

In 2012, Jewish births have expanded to 77% of total Israeli births, compared with 69% in 1969. While the ultra-Orthodox Jewish fertility rate has declined, due to growing integration into the workforce and the military, the secular Jewish fertility rate has risen significantly. [emphasis ours – Ed.]

 

Since 2001, the number of Jewish emigrants has decreased and the number of returning Jewish expatriates has increased. Aliyah (Jewish immigration) has been sustained annually since 1882, while Arab net-emigration — especially from Judea and Samaria — has been fixed, at least, since 1950.

 

The current 66% Jewish majority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria could catapult to an 80% majority in 2035, if Israel seizes the clear and present dramatic aliyah window of opportunity. At least 500,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union, France, Britain, Argentina and the U.S. could reach Israel during the next five years, in light of Israel’s economic indicators, the intensification of European anti-Semitism, the Islamic penetration of Europe and the expansion of Jewish-Zionist education.

 

The suggestion that Jews are doomed to become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading. (Top of Page)

 

 

MITT ROMNEY'S [FOREIGN POLICY] REMARKS AT
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE

Mitt Romney

Foreign Policy, October 8, 2012

 

…For more than 170 years, VMI has done more than educate students.  It has guided their transformation into citizens, and warriors, and leaders.  VMI graduates have served with honor in our nation's defense, just as many are doing today in Afghanistan and other lands….

 

Of all the VMI graduates, none is more distinguished than George Marshall-the Chief of Staff of the Army who became Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, who helped to vanquish fascism and then planned Europe's rescue from despair. His commitment to peace was born of his direct knowledge of the awful costs and consequences of war.  General Marshall once said, "The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it."  Those words were true in his time-and they still echo in ours.

 

Last month, our nation was attacked again.  A U.S. Ambassador and three of our fellow Americans are dead – murdered in Benghazi, Libya…. The attacks against us in Libya were not an isolated incident.  They were accompanied by anti-American riots in nearly two dozen other countries, mostly in the Middle East, but also in Africa and Asia.  Our embassies have been attacked.  Our flag has been burned.  Many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs, shouting "Death to America." These mobs hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism over American embassies on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks….

 

The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts.  They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East – a region that is now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century.  And the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in Benghazi itself.

 

The attack on our Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 was likely the work of forces affiliated with those that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001. This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the Administration's attempts to convince us of that for so long.  No, as the Administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West….

 

This is the struggle that is now shaking the entire Middle East to its foundation.  It is the struggle of millions and millions of people-men and women, young and old, Muslims, Christians and non-believers – all of whom have had enough of the darkness.  It is a struggle for the dignity that comes with freedom, and opportunity, and the right to live under laws of our own making….

 

We have seen this struggle before.  It would be familiar to George Marshall.  In his time, in the ashes of world war, another critical part of the world was torn between democracy and despotism.  Fortunately, we had leaders of courage and vision, both Republicans and Democrats, who knew that America had to support friends who shared our values, and prevent today's crises from becoming tomorrow's conflicts….

 

This is what makes America exceptional:  It is not just the character of our country – it is the record of our accomplishments.  America has a proud history of strong, confident, principled global leadership – a history that has been written by patriots of both parties.  That is America at its best.  And it is the standard by which we measure every President, as well as anyone who wishes to be President. Unfortunately, this President's policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership.  And nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East.

 

I want to be very clear:  The blame for the murder of our people in Libya, and the attacks on our embassies in so many other countries, lies solely with those who carried them out-no one else.  But it is the responsibility of our President to use America's great power to shape history – not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events.  Unfortunately, that is exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East under President Obama.

 

The relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel, our closest ally in the region, has suffered great strains. The President explicitly stated that his goal was to put "daylight" between the United States and Israel.  And he has succeeded.  This is a dangerous situation that has set back the hope of peace in the Middle East and emboldened our mutual adversaries, especially Iran.

 

Iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability.  It has never posed a greater danger to our friends, our allies, and to us.  And it has never acted less deterred by America, as was made clear last year when Iranian agents plotted to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in our nation's capital.  And yet, when millions of Iranians took to the streets in June of 2009, when they demanded freedom from a cruel regime that threatens the world, when they cried out, "Are you with us, or are you with them?" — the American President was silent….

 

The President has failed to lead in Syria, where more than 30,000 men, women, and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the past 20 months. Violent extremists are flowing into the fight.  Our ally Turkey has been attacked.  And the conflict threatens stability in the region….

 

The President is fond of saying that "The tide of war is receding."  And I want to believe him as much as anyone.  But when we look at the Middle East today…it is clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the President took office.

 

I know the President hopes for a safer, freer, and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope.  But hope is not a strategy.  We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds, when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut, when we have no trade agenda to speak of, and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership, but of passivity….

 

It is time to change course in the Middle East.  That course should be organized around these bedrock principles:  America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them… no enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them… and no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America's capability to back up our words.

 

I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region-and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination.  For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions-not just words-that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.

 

I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security-the world must never see any daylight between our two nations. I will deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf.

 

And I will roll back President Obama's deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense that would devastate our military. I will make the critical defense investments that we need to remain secure.  The decisions we make today will determine our ability to protect America tomorrow.  The first purpose of a strong military is to prevent war.

 

The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. I will restore our Navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year, including three submarines.  I will implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin….

 

I will make further reforms to our foreign assistance to create incentives for good governance, free enterprise, and greater trade, in the Middle East and beyond. I will organize all assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one official with responsibility and accountability to prioritize efforts and produce results.  I will rally our friends and allies to match our generosity with theirs.  And I will make it clear to the recipients of our aid that, in return for our material support, they must meet the responsibilities of every decent modern government – to respect the rights of all of their citizens, including women and minorities… to ensure space for civil society, a free media, political parties, and an independent judiciary… and to abide by their international commitments to protect our diplomats and our property….

 

I will support friends across the Middle East who share our values, but need help defending them and their sovereignty against our common enemies. In Egypt, I will use our influence – including clear conditions on our aid – to urge the new government to represent all Egyptians, to build democratic institutions, and to maintain its peace treaty with Israel. And we must persuade our friends and allies to place similar stipulations on their aid.

 

In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them.  We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran rather than sitting on the sidelines.  It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East….

 

Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.  On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew….

 

I know many Americans are asking a different question: "Why us?"  I know many Americans are asking whether our country today – with our ailing economy, and our massive debt, and after 11 years at war – is still capable of leading.

 

I believe that if America does not lead, others will – others who do not share our interests and our values – and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us.  America's security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years.  I am running for President because I believe the leader of the free world has a duty, to our citizens, and to our friends everywhere, to use America's great influence – wisely, with solemnity and without false pride, but also firmly and actively – to shape events in ways that secure our interests, further our values, prevent conflict, and make the world better-not perfect, but better….

 

Sir Winston Churchill once said of George Marshall:  "He … always fought victoriously against defeatism, discouragement, and disillusion."  That is the role our friends want America to play again.  And it is the role we must play…. (Top of Page)

______________________________________________

 

Fertility Decline In The Muslim World: Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah,  Hoover Institute, June 1, 2012

Throughout the Ummah, or worldwide Muslim community, fertility levels are falling dramatically for countries and subnational populations — and traditional marriage patterns and living arrangements are undergoing tremendous change.

 

Zionism 2.0 : Tal Benjamin, Jerusalem Report, September 6, 2012

 

He [Jon Medved] compares the emerging high-tech Zionism to the first stirrings of the Jewish culture and emigration movement in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s, which took Leon Uris’s Exodus as its base text. “Start-Up Nation has become the Exodus of this generation,”

 

Telling Israel like it is — in Arabic : Philippe Assouline Times of Israel, October 17, 2012

 

A secular, liberal Arab woman from the Galilee, Boshra Khalaila leaves passionate critics of Israel open-mouthed simply by describing the rights and freedoms she routinely enjoys.

 

 

 

 

US ELECTIONS: OBAMA’S BENGHAZI BUNGLING, THE BROTHERHOOD, THE JEWISH VOTE & FOREIGN POLICY

 

Articles:

Obama, The Brotherhood, And The Jewish Left: Mike Lumish, Times of Israel, October 15, 2012

Is the American Jewish left suffering from cognitive dissonance? The Muslim Brotherhood is the foremost anti-Semitic organization in the world today. Barack Obama supports the Muslim Brotherhood and progressive-left American Jews support Obama…

 

The Murders in Libya, The Presidential Debate, and The Pattern of Obama Foreign Policy : Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, October 17, 2012

While foreign policy did not figure large in the second presidential debate, the Middle East again emerged as the overwhelmingly main international issue.…[T]he main emphasis in the debate was on the Benghazi assassinations.

 

Obama's Backtracking On The Benghazi Terror Attack Deceives Only Himself : John Bolton, The Guardian, October 17, 2012.

Given the importance of American national security, it was discouraging that the issue did not come up in 2012's "town hall" presidential debate until the last 30 minutes. Fortunately…the undecided voter's question was very specific:    "Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?"

 

On Topic Links

 

Obama, Romney and the Jews : Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2012

Why Mitt? : Gabriel Schoenfeld, Jerusalem Post, October 17, 2012

No Big Changes Expected In US Jewish Vote: Rachel Zoll, Times of  Israel, October 18, 2012

One Mideast Success, Benghazi Bungles Blot Libya Win : Benny Avni,  New York Post, October 17, 2012

Candy’s Not Dandy, Editorial, New York Post, October 17, 2012

 


OBAMA, THE BROTHERHOOD, AND THE JEWISH LEFT
Mike Lumish

Times of Israel, October 15, 2012

 

Is the American Jewish left suffering from cognitive dissonance?

 

The Muslim Brotherhood is the foremost anti-Semitic organization in the world today. During the Morsi campaign they called for the conquest of Jerusalem. During World War II they supported the Nazis. Sayyid Qutb, one of their founding figures, wrote a pamphlet entitled “Our Struggle with the Jews.” They believe in an international caliphate in which sharia would reign throughout the world, thus making Jews, and other dhimmis, second- and third-class citizens; women the property of men; and gay people, quite frankly, dead….

 

Barack Obama supports the Muslim Brotherhood and progressive-left American Jews support Obama; thus those Jews, whether they will admit it to themselves or not, and however they might otherwise justify it, support the Muslim Brotherhood. I find this situation to be absolutely unfathomable. How is it possible that after so many centuries of abuse throughout Europe and after 1,400 years of unjust violence and oppression against us in the Muslim Middle East, American Jews could possibly support an American president who helped usher the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Egypt? How is this possible?…

 

Denial plays a big role in this phenomenon, because if you were to ask your average American Jewish supporter of Barack Obama just why they are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood they probably would not know what the heck you were talking about. When explained to them that the Muslim Brotherhood is not only anti-Semitic, but even genocidal toward Jews, and that Barack Obama has supported their rise throughout the Muslim Middle East, particularly in Egypt, they would probably look at you as if you yammering at them in Swahili.

 

It’s pure denial. It is a wilful turning away from very serious facts and a deadly serious situation for the Jews in Israel.  And if you do not think that Obama has actively supported the Muslim Brotherhood, how do you explain the fact that administration officials met with the Brotherhood on several occasions before they came into power in Egypt? How do you explain the fact that, over Mubarak’s objections, Obama invited the Brotherhood to his Cairo speech of 2009? How do you explain the fact that when Obama called for the deposing of Mubarak he knew that the Brotherhood would likely fill the power vacuum? How do you explain the fact that Hillary Clinton flew to Egypt to ensure the transition from military control of the country to Brotherhood control? However one slices and dices these facts, it is simply undeniable that Obama promoted the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East.

 

…[A]nother way in which “progressive” Jews justify their support for Obama, despite his support for the Muslim Brotherhood [is]: democracy. That’s right: The Muslim Brotherhood is misogynistic,  homophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-democratic, yet we must support Obama’s efforts to bolster the Brotherhood out of support for democracy! After all, democracy can be a messy business, so who are we to deny the legitimate national aspirations of the Egyptian people? Sure, those national aspirations may include the conquest of Jerusalem and the genocide of the Jews but, hey, that’s democracy….

 

They seem to think that supporting democracy is some sort of suicide pact, and that we are obligated to honor any choices made by any people anywhere so long as those choices are expressed via the voting booth. Well, excuse me, but didn’t a particularly nasty individual rise to power in Germany during the 1930s via democratic means? I think he did.

 

We should support democracy, but we are also allowed to take sides — and we are under no obligation to support any political party, much less the foremost anti-Semitic political party on the planet. What I think is that American Jews are making a truly awful mistake in supporting this presidency. I voted for the guy in 2008, but I also watched and learned. The main thing that I learned was that I was dead wrong to support Obama to begin with. No Jewish person should support a politician who supports the Brotherhood.

 

Progressive-left American Jews are holding two contradictory notions in their minds. They, for the most part, support the State of Israel, but they also support president Obama. Obama supports the Brotherhood and the Brotherhood tells us that they want to conquer Jerusalem. Is this not cognitive dissonance? (Top of Page)

 


THE MURDERS IN LIBYA, THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, AND
THE PATTERN OF OBAMA FOREIGN POLICY

Barry Rubin

Jewish Press, October 17, 2012

 

While foreign policy did not figure large in the second presidential debate, the Middle East again emerged as the overwhelmingly main international issue….

 

…[T]he main emphasis in the debate was on the Benghazi assassinations. Obama said:

 

 “So as soon as we found out that the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, I was on the phone with my national security team, and I gave them three instructions. Number one, beef up our security and — and — and procedures not just in Libya but every embassy and consulate in the region. Number two, investigate exactly what happened, regardless of where the facts lead us, to make sure that folks are held accountable and it doesn’t happen again. And number three, we are going to find out who did this, and we are going to hunt them down, because one of the things that I’ve said throughout my presidency is when folks mess with Americans, we go after them.”

 

In other words, Obama said let’s increase security—after the attack was made—and then investigate and find those responsible for the attack. This is all rather obvious and anyone would have done that. But the real questions are different ones: How about investigating why there was such a security breach and the reasons for the attack?

 

And how about what happened beforehand?  The official story of what led up to the attack is just plain weird. Supposedly, the U.S. ambassador arrived back in the country and immediately ran off to Benghazi virtually by himself allegedly to investigate building a new school and a hospital there yet without any real security. His protection was to be provided by relatively untrained Libyans who a few months earlier had been rebels in the civil war.

 

It is quite true that the State Department and ultimately Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was responsible for the ambassador being in Benghazi and for ensuring his protection. The president would not be consulted on such a “minor” event. But the story hinges on why the ambassador was in Benghazi that day.

 

If he was, as accounts by sources in the U.S. intelligence community suggested, negotiating with a terrorist, anti-American group to obtain the return of U.S. weapons provided during the civil war that would have been a much higher-priority matter. The fact that he was not accompanied by a delegation of foreign aid experts to evaluate these alleged projects shows that the reason for the ambassador’s presence in Benghazi is being covered up. This situation transcends State Department jurisdiction and brings in the CIA and higher-level national security officials. The plan would have been in the presidential briefing and it is quite conceivable he would have been called on to approve of it.

 

Obama said he did three things but in fact he did four: he and his administration immediately lied to the American people about the cause of the attack, what happened, and who appeared to have done it.

 

1. They said the attack was due to the video rather than a revolutionary Islamist attempt to hit at the United States and subvert the regime in Libya.

 

2. They said the attack was a spontaneous act in the context of a peaceful demonstration when it was a planned assault.

 

3. They said that there was no idea who was responsible when it was almost certainly al-Qaida.

 

In the debate, Obama charged:

 

While we were still dealing with our diplomats being threatened, Governor Romney put out a press release trying to make political points. And that’s not how a commander in chief operates. You don’t turn national security into a political issue, certainly not right when it’s happening.

 

Yet all three of the above lies were precisely a matter of turning “national security into a political issue,” and that is what Obama has done throughout his term. To acknowledge the cause of the attack would have been to acknowledge the real threat in the Middle East and the embarrassing fact that American weapons had been given to terrorist, anti-American groups….

 

To acknowledge the nature of the attack would be to show the depth of the security failure—on September 11 of all days—in not recognizing the danger in Benghazi. This includes the fact that the guards were untrained; that they had—according to one of them—been aware of the danger and not told any Americans; that they had fled; that Libyan regime sources had apparently tipped off the attackers to where Americans were hiding; and that there had been no U.S.-provided security….

 

In addition, attributing the event to a video produced in the United States—a clear and obvious lie—put a large part of the blame on America itself. No, huge forces aren’t seeking to create radical Islamist regimes in every country in the Middle East, there are just folks offended by a slur on their religion.

 

To admit that al-Qaida is still very much in business would show that Obama’s claim the group had been defeated was false and demonstrate the limited value of killing Usama bin Ladin. Al-Qaida is, of course, still strong in Yemen and Somalia as well as having active groups in the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Syria, and other places.

 

Obama continues in the debate:

 

But when it comes to our national security, I mean what I say. I said I’d end the war in Libya — in Iraq, and I did. I said that we’d go after al-Qaida and bin Laden. We have. I said we’d transition out of Afghanistan and start making sure that Afghans are responsible for their own security. That’s what I’m doing.

 

What Obama should have said is that he would end U.S. combat presence in these countries. Yet the wars continue. The assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Libya was an event in that war.  And contrary to Clinton’s statement, Obama affirmed: “…I am ultimately responsible for what’s taking place [in Libya]….”

 

But what is taking place? The debate ultimately focused on the rather narrow question of whether Obama had or had not immediately called the assassination a “terrorist attack.” This is a red herring. Inasmuch as Americans were murdered for non-criminal reasons, the attack was by definition terrorist. …

 

The real questions, however, were raised by Romney in his response:

 

There were other issues associated with this—with this tragedy. There were many days that passed before we knew whether this was a spontaneous demonstration or actually whether it was a terrorist attack. And there was no demonstration involved. It was a terrorist attack, and it took a long time for that to be told to the American people. Whether there was some misleading or instead whether we just didn’t know what happened, I think you have to ask yourself why didn’t we know five days later when the ambassador to the United Nations [Susan Rice, acting of course on administration directives] went on TV to say that this was a demonstration. How could of we not known?

 

In other words, the Obama Administration deliberately lied to the American people.

 

But I find more troubling than this that on…[the] day following the assassination of the United States ambassador — the first time that’s happened since 1979 — when we have four Americans killed there, when apparently we didn’t know what happened, that the president the day after that happened flies to Las Vegas for a political fundraiser, then the next day to Colorado for another event, another political event.

 

In this regard, Obama didn’t so much “make political points” or “turn national security into a political issue,” he simply put his own political benefit ahead of national security. Since according to his own claim, Obama didn’t know what happened and there was a wave of other attacks developing, he should have put the priority on dealing with a crisis.  And as for the way Obama behaved, to quote his own words, “that’s not how a commander in chief operates.” That is why this specific issue is so emblematic of Obama’s foreign policy performance.

 

Romney continued:

 

This calls into question the president’s whole policy in the Middle East. Look what’s happening in Syria, in Egypt, now in Libya. Consider the distance between ourselves and Israel, where the president said that…he was going to put daylight between us and Israel. We have Iran four years closer to a nuclear bomb. Syria—Syria’s not just the tragedy of 30,000 civilians being killed by a military, but also a…strategically significant player for America. The president’s policies throughout the Middle East began with an apology tour and pursue a strategy of leading from behind, and this strategy is unraveling before our very eyes.

 

Quite true. The assassinations in Libya and how Obama handled them are one more example of that pattern. A region involving hundreds of millions of people and the main international source for American energy is going down the drain and Obama is, figuratively, heading off for Las Vegas.  (Top of Page)

 

OBAMA'S BACKTRACKING ON THE BENGHAZI

TERROR ATTACK DECEIVES ONLY HIMSELF

John Bolton

The Guardian, October 17, 2012

 

Given the importance of American national security, it was discouraging that the issue did not come up in 2012's "town hall" presidential debate until the last 30 minutes. Fortunately, however, when moderator Candy Crowley finally got around to it, the undecided voter's question was very specific, and quite likely on the minds of many other US citizens. Referring to Washington's denials of requests for additional security from our embassy in Libya, the questioner asked:

 

"Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?"

 

Short and to the point. And Barack Obama did not answer it.  Instead, following his administration's game plan on virtually every issue, Obama attacked Mitt Romney for allegedly politicizing the Benghazi attack. Romney responded by correctly noting that Obama and his surrogates had spent weeks erroneously blaming the assassination of four Americans on spontaneous demonstrators protesting the now-infamous Innocence of Muslims video trailer, rather than on a pre-planned terrorist attack.

 

Here, it gets interesting. Obama argued, as his surrogates had several weeks ago, that he had described the 11 September attack as terrorism the day afterward. Crowley came to his defense. But Obama's explanation is nothing but post-facto rationalization, and Crowley is simply, and embarrassingly, uninformed. Her intervention, which she effectively admitted after the debate was wrong, was as offensive for its error on the facts as it was for its partisanship.

 

We are not simply parsing words. What Obama said on 12 September, and what he and his aides said in the weeks after, tell volumes about his ideology and worldview, and why his foreign policy is in a state of collapse. On 12 September, Obama described the tragedy in Benghazi, placing it in the context of our painful remembrance of the first 11 September attacks. He spoke evocatively of walking through Arlington Cemetery on 11 September, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. Only then did Obama say:
 

"No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation …"

 

Obviously, Obama was sweeping widely disparate acts of American courage and character on distant battlefields together in a message of determination, and well said it was. But it was by no means a declaration that the Benghazi attacks were undertaken by terrorists. Quite the contrary. Just a few paragraphs before, Obama had adumbrated the Muhammad video explanation, saying:

 

"Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence."

 

Romney's central point remains critical and unanswered by Obama. The real issue is why the administration persisted for weeks in its interpretation that a spontaneous demonstration over the Muhammad video had gotten out of hand…..

 

On 12 September, the State Department's under-secretary for management, briefing congressional staffers, told them it was a terrorist attack. And a senior administration counter-terrorism official, testifying before Congress just a week after the attack, characterized it as terrorism. And yet, the president spoke before the world at the United Nations thereafter, still linking the assassinations of four Americans to the video.

 

Some characterize Obama's line of argument as a cover-up, an accusation the president theatrically denied during the town hall debate. Wilful and repeated misrepresentation is certainly consistent with a cover-up, but it is also consistent with a presidential ideology that is so powerful and pervasive that facts and reality that don't conform to the worldview derived from the ideology are simply rejected….

 

The Obama storyline is that the "war on terror" is over, al-Qaida has been defeated, and Gaddafi's overthrow and the Arab Spring are bringing democracy to Libya. This worldview is also, coincidentally of course, very helpful to the president politically. In fact, however, the reality is quite different from Obama's ideology on all three of these points, as tragically demonstrated in Benghazi on 11 September, notwithstanding the president's stubborn unwillingness to acknowledge it.

 

Thus, Tuesday's debate hardly constitutes a rejection of the Romney assessment, which is solidly grounded in facts, and is being constantly reinforced as new facts come to light…The citizen questioner in Long Island has a question that remains unanswered, and there are many more like it. And there are still three weeks until the election. (Top of Page)

____________________________________________________

 

Obama, Romney and the Jews : Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2012

Voters will not necessarily have Israel in mind—but for those who do, the choice has never seemed clearer. No citizens would seem to need a strong America more than the Jews, who are once again targeted by aggressors seeking to destroy what they cannot attain.

 

Why Mitt? : Gabriel Schoenfeld, Jerusalem Post, October 17, 2012

My support for Mitt Romney has something to do with a ship called the Serpa Pinto and with an American Marxist revolutionary. For some time now some liberal friends, and even my own daughters, have been pestering me with the same question. Why, they ask, are you supporting Mitt Romney?

 

No Big Changes Expected In US Jewish Vote : Rachel Zoll, Times of  Israel, October 18, 2012

Although recent studies have found potential for some movement toward the GOP, analysts say any revolution in the US Jewish vote won’t occur anytime soon.

 

One Mideast Success, Benghazi Bungles Blot Libya Win : Benny Avni,  New York Post, October 17, 2012

The Obama team’s bumbling response to the fatal Benghazi attack is threatening to obscure the president’s lone success in an otherwise dismal Mideast record.

 

Candy’s Not Dandy, Editorial, New York Post, October 17, 2012

Media bias is more often sensed than seen, but America got its faced rubbed in it Tuesday night — by debate “moderator” Candy Crowley. CNN’s Crowley selected both questions and questioners — both of which largely skewed left. She let President Obama dominate, giving him 4 minutes and 18 seconds more speaking time.

 

AS ROMNEY WINS FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, SECOND — ON BENGHAZI, MIDDLE EAST, IRAN — LOOMS

 

 

 

Articles:

World Order, Under Siege?

The Bottom of Benghazi

Mitt Romney Bested two Foes last Night

 

On Topic Links
Obama at the UN: A Speech That had
Nothing to do with Real
Middle East

Go Large, Mitt!

Can We Believe the Presidential Polls?

 

______________________________________________________________

Launch Celebration and
 Working Session

October 12, 2012
Huntsman Hall, Philadelphia
9am – 12 noon

The Israel section of Knowledge@Wharton is a working  forum on Israel innovations that have contributed to global social impact in the areas of food, water, energy, security, health care and communications.  Our goal is to stimulate dialogue and research on the topic of Israel Innovation for Global Social Impact.

Contact Bruce Brownstein at:  (215) 746-8567 bb@wharton.upenn.edu

 


WORLD ORDER, UNDER SIEGE?

Victor Davis Hanson

Defining Ideas, Hoover Institution, October 3, 2012

 

As the president has learned the hard way, history makes realists of us all.

 

What seems sometimes incomprehensible in the contemporary world makes perfect sense—if we pause and study a little history.

 

In November 1918, had anyone in a starving Berlin predicted that, in twenty-two years, an ascendant Germany would control most of Europe, from the Atlantic to the Soviet border, he would have been considered unhinged. And if, in 1945, amid the ashes of the Ruhr, anyone had guessed that in sixty-five years, Germany would once more determine the future of Europe from the Atlantic to the Russian frontier, he would again have been written off as delusional. Yet today, cash-flush German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds the fate of the European Union in her palm—but in a far more secure fashion than an Adolf Hitler ever did….

 

Other Europeans were always fearful and apprehensive of Germany’s energy. That anxiety was natural when German economic power so often translated into military aggression in the service of continental ambitions, as it did in 1870, 1914, and 1939.  Yet, because Germany suffered a series of self-induced disasters in the twentieth century—millions dead in World War I and II, Europe wrecked, the shame of engineering the Holocaust, the near-half-century division into two rival German states—Berlin remains wary about reacting to provocations that might alienate it from the world community. And that fact is equally well known to its apprehensive, but calculating neighbors….

 

Iran vs. Israel

 

Iran’s nuclear ambitions—and the reaction to it—present another historical puzzle. A Persian bomb is not a matter of if, but when. Even belated, beefed-up sanctions will probably not deter Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon. When confronted with that seemingly inevitable reality, depressed Westerners lament their lose-lose situation. A preemptive strike, of uncertain efficacy, certainly will result in terrifying global aftershocks—oil price spikes, more terrorism, and a probable jet and missile war spanning the skies across the Middle East.

 

Yet a nuclear Iran, given its theocratic rantings about Armageddon and long support for international terrorism, seems to not be confined by the laws of nuclear deterrence and mutually assured destruction, as are other more rationally-minded members of the existing nuclear club. This results in a sort of stasis in the West. Leaders prefer to wait for the inevitable, on the theory that the present transitory calm is at least better than the out-of-sight, out-of-mind whirlwind to come.

 

But not Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has been crisscrossing the globe, with sharp elbows and grating persistence pleading with government leaders to abort Iran’s nuclear project and to take seriously the Iranian leadership’s promises to “eliminate” Israel. In that strident advocacy, he has estranged himself not just from a largely pacifistic Europe, but also from his old ally the United States. Netanyahu’s bluntness and Obama’s cool mix like oil and water, and leave tiny Israel with its worst relations with America since the founding of the Jewish state….

 

Given that several Iranian leaders have already promised to eliminate the Jewish state, and given that one or two modern nuclear bombs might well accomplish that goal and finish what Hitler started, Netanyahu believes that he has little choice but to nag and offend. His Western audiences resent his sermons almost as much as they once did the news of disappearing Jews in 1939. After all, not doing the difficult right thing makes knowing it all the more embarrassing. 

 

Netanyahu will not go down in history as the Prime Minister who allowed, on his watch, a second Holocaust, one that destroyed half of the remaining Jews in the world. He knows the terrible irony, as do his Iranian enemies, that the creation of the Jewish state, along with advances in the technology of mass killing, have made the task of any future Hitler much easier….

 

History will not permit Netanyahu to dispassionately weigh a preemptive strike on the basis of supposed gains and losses, as the Western nations can do. Instead, he will remember that, not so long ago, millions of liberal-minded Europeans, British, and Americans either would not, or could not, stop the Holocaust before it extinguished half of the world’s Jewry. He can little afford, in tragic fashion, to depend on anyone’s sense of right except his own.

 

In a contemporary strategic or political context, a preemptive strike by the seven-million-person Israel on Iran’s vast nuclear complexes may seem suicidal. But in historical terms, seventy years after the start of the Holocaust, Netanyahu really has no real choice, but to act, and act quickly. So he badgers, cajoles, and offends until he finds allies—or runs out of time and must strike unilaterally, preemptively, and desperately.

 

The Middle East In Turmoil

 

President Obama also finds himself in a dilemma in the Middle East following the recent attacks on American embassies, which occurred on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. All of Obama’s Ivy League schooling, all of his legal training, all of his community organizing, and all of his liberal politics advise him that the root of anti-Americanism lies in the things that a culpable America has done, rather than what we represent or who we are. For the sophisticated mind, envy, jealousy, and blind hatred are base pre-modern emotions mostly vanquished from the contemporary world.

 

As a result, when running both for the Senate and later for the presidency, candidate Obama criticized as unnecessary or illegal (or both), as did most academic and political liberals, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo (“al-Qaeda’s chief recruiting tool”), renditions, tribunals, preventative detentions, the war in Iraq, intercepts and wiretaps, and predator drones. These were supposed catalysts for anti-Americanism, not tools to address the radical Islamic hatred of the United States that had led to the original 9/11 attacks.

 

Candidate Obama instead promised a new way. After entering the presidency, he vowed to dismantle the existing Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols. He adopted a new apologetic approach that sought to win favor from the Middle East on the basis of promises to end past American culpability. The al Arabiya interview, the Cairo speech, an occasional ceremonial bow, euphemisms like “overseas contingency operation” and “man-caused disaster” all replaced the past hurtful vocabulary of “Islamic terrorism.”

 

The Obama administration in time assured us that the Muslim Brotherhood was secular, that the terrorist Mr. Mutallab, who nearly blew up a jetliner, must be given his Miranda rights, and that Major Hasan, during his Ft. Hood rampage, was engaging in workplace violence, a tragedy that should not blind us to the need to continue diversity programs. The administration promised to try the architect of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in a New York civilian court, while putting CIA interrogators on trial for the supposed excesses against confessed terrorists like KSM.

 

Once again, Obama has hit up against history. There was no empirical evidence that anything the United States had done either caused or justified Bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks—or even explained contemporary Muslim anger. In the years following the mass murder in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, bin Laden and his al Qaeda partners alleged over twenty different pretexts in justifying their ongoing war—from U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia to America’s neglect of global warming.

 

Yet, in terms of actual conduct, the United States, which was never a colonial power in the Middle East, helped Muslims resist Soviet aggression in Afghanistan. It liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein, tried to protect Palestinians in Kuwait from reprisals, gave billions of dollars in aid to Palestinians, Jordanians, and Egyptians, and intervened to feed starving Somali Muslims. America has generously welcomed in Muslims fleeing the illiberal conditions of their homelands. And it bombed a European and Christian Slobodan Milosevic to save Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims, while jousting with Vladimir Putin over his mass killing of Chechnya Muslims in Grozny.

 

Given that historical reality, given that another forty Islamic terrorist plots against the United States were foiled during the Obama administration, and given that American popularity in the Middle East now polls no higher than during the Bush administration—despite Obama’s reminders that his own upbringing was well versed in Islam—Obama has gradually changed course.  He has had to embrace almost all of the prior Bush-Cheney protocols.

 

There are no more Cairo-like mytho-histories about the Islamic world. No more Saudi princes will merit a presidential bow.  History is teaching Obama otherwise. In time, even the Obama administration will concede that a single obscure video no more explains radical Islamic hatred of America and the West than does a novel, a cartoon, or a papal comment—all mere pretexts to channel the anger of the street in lieu of embracing fundamental economic, social, and political reform.

 

In an interconnected and globalized world, millions of Muslims have learned that life is good—and getting better—in most places other than the Middle East. But without political freedom and internal self-reflection, there has never been a collective dialogue about why this is so. Instead of honest discussion about the impoverishing effects of endemic gender apartheid, fundamentalism, religious intolerance, statism, an absence of personal freedom, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia that so retard economic growth, authoritarians and religious zealots explained their failures by scapegoating a rich and leisured West, one that supposedly prospered on the backs of oppressed Muslims.

 

Given that historical reality, contextualizing Muslim terrorism or anger only empowers these false narratives, and leads to more violence. A sadder Barack Obama is being retaught by events, in the manner of prior presidents of both parties who finally grew wary of radical Islam….(Top)

 


 

THE BOTTOM OF BENGHAZI

Editorial

National Review Online, October 4, 2012

 

Between reverences to the majesty of abortion, the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte regularly collapsed into displays of facile jingoism that would have sent liberals for their fainting couches had the streamers in the hall been red instead of blue, or had they occurred in, oh, say, 2004. Opaque and vaguely sinister phrases like “economic patriotism” were bandied about freely, and the laudable extirpation of Osama bin Laden was milked for all it was worth. The frenzy reached its climax with Vice President Biden’s sloganeered boast that “bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!”

 

Less than a week later, four Americans were dead in Libya and al-Qaeda flags flew over our diplomatic missions in Benghazi and Cairo on the anniversary of 9/11. The juxtaposition of the campaign brag with the video of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’s body being dragged through the streets was politically unfortunate for the president — especially given his earlier boast that anti-Americanism would wane under his administration. This perhaps explains, though can never justify, what is now clear about the administration’s persistent denial that the attack was pre-planned. Namely, that the White House either was deliberately less than truthful, was cataclysmically incompetent, or both.

 

From a handful of investigative reports and a few intrepid whistleblowers who came forward to Representative Darrell Issa’s House Oversight Committee, we now know that before Benghazi — before Charlotte — the U.S. intelligence community was well aware that al-Qaeda was in an “expansion phase” in Libya. Indeed, anti-Western attacks, including RPG and IED attacks on the Benghazi consulate, had been ramping up since as early as April, and by June Libyan militants were openly discussing targeting Ambassador Stevens on social networks. We also know that despite all this, repeated requests for additional security from U.S. mission staff in Libya were denied.

 

Within 24 hours of the Benghazi attack that killed Stevens and three others, U.S. intelligence had “very good information” that the strike was pre-planned and perpetrated by al-Qaeda-connected militants. And yet on September 13, Jay Carney was saying they were “not directly in reaction to . . . the government of the United States or the people of the United States.” And as late as September 16, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was flooding the Sunday chat shows with the same message: “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or pre-planned.”

 

It wasn’t until more than a week later that administration officials admitted Benghazi was a terrorist hit, and it wasn’t until nearly two weeks later that the president yielded as much. This long after the intelligence community — not to mention the Libyan government, Senator John McCain, House Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Mike Rogers, a number of reporters and pundits, and anyone with a handful of functioning neurons and an Internet connection — had reached the same conclusion. In the interim, the yawning gap between the administration’s official line and the dictates of common sense raised the critical question:

 

Was the White House wishfully guessing because it actually didn’t know or care about the conditions on the ground in a state in which it had intervened with precision-guided munitions to create, or was it telling tales as part of a short sighted political calculation to keep the first assassination of a U.S. ambassador in 30 years from becoming a campaign issue down the home stretch? If it’s the former, it suggests a startling and dangerous disconnect between the administration’s diplomatic, intelligence, and political chains of command in a region critical to the national security of the United States. If it’s the latter, it reveals something just as dangerous: an administration willing to suppress the truth about the murder of Americans to protect its short-term political interests.

 

In light of these alternatives, Secretary Clinton’s recent announcement — that her State Department will not have definitive answers about what happened in the lead-up to and aftermath of Benghazi until (what are the odds?) some time between November and January — is unacceptable. A few weeks ago, we wouldn’t blame the administration’s spinners for assuming that a somnambulant media would let them get away with silence and obfuscation through the election….

 

But that might be changing. If the mounting evidence of malfeasance isn’t a smoking gun, it is at least one still warm to the touch, and at this point even CNN has called the administration’s behavior indicative of a “cover-up.” We hope the rest of the mainstream media can be persuaded — or shamed — into putting aside horserace politics to get to the bottom of Benghazi, and that the moderators at the October 16 and October 22 foreign-policy debates will zero in on Benghazi in their questions to Mssrs. Romney and Obama. The American people deserve to hear the truth from the president, in prime time. And the president’s foreign policy deserves a reckoning. (Top)

 

 

MITT ROMNEY BESTED TWO FOES LAST NIGHT:
BARACK OBAMA, AND THE GOP FRINGE

Jonathan Kay

National Post, Oct 4, 2012

 

Everyone who watched last night’s presidential debate agrees that Mitt Romney won. Unlike Barack Obama — who actually looked bored at points, as if he’d been drawn into a tiresome dinner-party conversation — Romney looked like he actually wanted to be there. That fact alone made him the clear winner.

 

But it wasn’t just Obama whom Romney bested. The Republican challenger also bested the cardboard cut-out version of himself that has persisted in the minds of many centrist voters. Cardboard Romney, let us call him, is just a two-dimensional front man for a raving Tea Party base that wants to gut government, destroy medicare and put copies of Atlas Shrugged in every hotel room bedside dresser, alongside the Gideon Bible.

 

On Wednesday night, Romney sounded like a normal human being who cares about real flesh-and-blood people — the opposite of the Tea Party vision of America as a bunch of randomized economic atoms bumping against each other in a low-tax, profit-seeking vacuum tube. Romney even identified some of those human beings by listing specific examples. How about that.

 

A week ago, The New York Times‘ David Brooks wrote that the Republican Party had become obsessed with economic conservatism — and has forgotten the “traditionalist” half of the conservative tradition. “The traditionalist,” he wrote, “wanted to preserve a society that functioned as a harmonious ecosystem, in which the different layers were nestled upon each other: individual, family, company, neighbourhood, religion, city government and national government.” The Mitt Romney who appeared at Wednesday night’s debate reclaimed that traditionalist half.

 

Real-life Romney’s destruction of Cardboard Romney was owed as much to what Romney didn’t say as to what he did. When the subject turned to health care, he didn’t talk about “death panels.” On green energy, he didn’t recite crank talking-points about global warming being an unproven myth or a UN plot. On taxes, he acknowledged the moral case for rich people paying more. He gave credit to his opponent where credit was due (as did Obama, who also refrained from mentioning the “47%” meme, or similarly snide tweetables).

 

I’m a Canadian. I can’t vote for either Romney or Obama. But till last night, I supported Obama from afar, because I was alarmed by the degree to which the Tea Party fringe had co-opted the major GOP candidates, Romney included, on most of the major issues. Last night went a long way toward convincing me that a vote for Romney is not a vote for the Tea Party. He’s his own guy, and a humane one at that: As Obama mentioned several times, it was none other than Romney who, as Massachusetts governor, created the template for Obamacare (which Romney awkwardly stands by, but only in its capacity as a state-level initiative).

 

Going into last night’s debate, there weren’t that many undecided voters left in the United States. But the ones who truly did have an open mind must have come away from the debate feeling a lot more comfortable with the idea of Mitt Romney as the next U.S. president. (Top)

_______________________________________________________________________

On Topic
 

∙       PJ Media, September 27, 2012 
Barry Rubin

∙       Washington Post, September 27, 2012
Charles Krauthammer

∙       Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2012
Karl Rove

Can We Believe the Presidential Polls?
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