By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
For those of you out there that thought there was any truth to Obama opposing Putin in Russia, you might want to rethink that and fast. He’s proving just how flexible he really is these days. There is a fight within the Administration, with one side supporting surveillance flights from Russia over American soil and the other opposing it. One guess which side Obama is on.
Have you ever heard of the Open Skies Treaty? Per Wikipedia: The Treaty on Open Skies entered into force on January 1, 2002 and currently has 34 States Parties. It establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them. Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging international efforts to date promoting openness and transparency of military forces and activities. The concept of “mutual aerial observation” was initially proposed to Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin at the Geneva Conference of 1955 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower; however, the Soviets promptly rejected the concept and it lay dormant for several years. The treaty was eventually signed as an initiative of US President (and former Director of Central Intelligence) George H.W. Bush in 1989. Negotiated by the then-members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the agreement was signed in Helsinki, Finland, on March 24, 1992. So you see, Progressives on both sides of the aisle are part and parcel of this suicidal pact.
The Open Skies Treaty allows Russia to fly over US territory with planes loaded with certain agreed-upon sensor packages, in order to ensure compliance with arms control agreements and to provide assurance against preparations for various military surprises. Russia has asked the U.S. to agree to an upgrade in the sensor package their planes can carry. I’ll bet they have. Now, we not only have the NSA and our government watching our every move, we are letting the Russians spy on us as well. I’m also certain the Chinese have been invited in for a test drive. You thought spying was bad with our Intel agencies, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
There was supposed to be a meeting yesterday, to discuss this and resolve a bitter inter-agency dispute over a request from Russia with respect to the Open Skies program. I don’t know what the outcome was, if any, that came out of that meeting behind closed doors. The powers that be are trying to keep this very quiet. Insiders are saying that the White House is likely to side with the State Department, which wants to accommodate Russia, over the objections of the Obama Administration’s Defense Department and Intelligence agencies. I agree with Allen West that the Defense Department and Intelligence agencies had to have thought this was a very bad joke. Unfortunately, it’s not. We’re not just sleeping with the enemy, we are deferring to them.
From Allen West:
What is troubling is that it seems John Kerry and the State Department are willing to acquiesce to the request while the Defense Department, after they stopped laughing, is up in arms. Unfortunately, it looks like the Obama White House is siding with the State Department. Oh, what I miss the most — not really — about Washington DC are all the sneaky, behind-closed-doors escapades that transpire without everyday American citizens having an idea.
House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers is apparently so concerned that he sent the president an unusual public letter Friday — of course when things are done on a Friday before the whole gang goes on Easter recess, chances are no one notices. Here are the highlights:
Chairman Rogers wrote, “Given current world events, President Putin appears to be more than willing to disregard international norms of behavior in seeking geopolitical advantage. We should not now naively believe he will unilaterally adhere to the limitations of the Open Skies Treaty. Putin’s attempt to upgrade Russia’s sensing capabilities now is particularly problematic. I have serious concerns about the technical advantages Russia would gain.”
West also asks a great question: if we have the ability to openly fly over Russia according to this treaty from the Clinton administration — how did we get caught by surprise with Putin’s actions in the Crimea? We didn’t, is the answer. I believe that Obama knew exactly what and when it was going down. Then he put on a show of protest and not a convincing one at that. Imposing sanctions that he knew meant nothing and letting Putin do as he pleases. Obama and Putin have had numerous long conversations – probably on conquering the known world and divvying up the spoils. Even if it is put out that the upgrade to Putin’s sensor package as part of his overflight aircraft is rejected, don’t be quick to believe it. Obama has proven that deceit takes a myriad of forms and he is adept at achieving his desired outcomes.
The Intelligence community is extremely alarmed and should be. Every American should be up in arms over this. We are inviting Russian spies and their military into our country. It’s like letting in a vampire, it can’t be undone and it will get you killed. Russian spying is about to go mainstream in America. Spying the open skies of America will telegraph our strengths and weaknesses to our enemies and invite an attack. Obama and Putin are fellow travelers. Ask yourself, why would a sitting President allow a known enemy to fly freely above and around America? Flexibility Comrades.
For reference, here is a letter from a bipartisan group of senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee — addressed, interestingly, to Secretary of State Kerry, whose department has been pushing the agreement:
The Honorable John F. Kerry Secretary of State Department of State Washington, DC 20521
Dear Mr. Secretary,
In the past few years, the Russian Federation completed construction of two new Open Skies aircraft that will support digital photograph equipment, sideways-looking synthetic aperture radar, and infrared equipment. As you know, state parties to the Open Skies Treaty must certify any new aircraft before it can be used for treaty observation flights.
We understand that an upcoming Deputies Committee meeting will address the question of Russian certification. We strongly urge you to carefully evaluate the ramifications of certification on future Open Skies observation flights and consider the equities of key U.S. Government stakeholders.
The invasion of Crimea and Moscow’s ongoing efforts to destabilize Ukraine using subversive methods in sufficient enough to counsel further review, irrespective of any technical concerns that may exist.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this important and timely manner.
Mark W. Warner
James E. Risch
Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.
The Council In Action!
- Elise at Liberty’s Spirit has a new piece up at the Times of Israel, The Season of Freedom and Special Needs Parenting.
- Debra Heine of Nice Deb has a new piece up at Breitbart, Sebelius’ Shameful Legacy.
You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.
To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.
It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?
So, let’s see what we have this week…
- Liberty’s Spirit – The Black Soul that Inhabits John Kerry (Updated)
- The Independent Sentinel – Barack Obama’s Ideological Assault on Traditional America
- Simply Jews – Bay Area anarchists leave Marx standing in the dust Part I: redefining “parasite”
- Joshuapundit – An Honor Killing On Campus
- The Noisy Room – Last Man Standing – Federal Fascism Cowboys Up In Nevada
- GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Wrong Enemy
- Ask Marion – We the People… The Wind Has Shifted
- Bookworm Room – A revolutionary idea to win the White House and save the world
- The Colossus of Rhodey – The real concern regarding the right to vote
- Rhymes With Right – Brandeis University Caves To Muslims
- Nice Deb – Sick: Eric Holder Plays Race Card at Sharpton Event (Video)
- The Glittering Eye – Where To Begin?
- VA Right! – Shaun Kenney and Bearing Drift Drop Anchor in Eric Cantor’s Treasure Chest
- The Razor – There Should Be A Word
- The Right Planet – The Soviet Anschluss
- Midknight Review – Is Michigan Basketball, Obama’s team because (in part) of the anger of its 1992 and 1993 teams? (Updated)
- The Pirate’s Cove – Happy Tax Day! 72% Of Individual Filer Taxes Paid By Those Earning $100k Plus
- David Gerstman/Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion – Iranian U.N. Rep denied visa — will it stick?
- Daniel Nisman/WSJ – Chemical Assad submitted by Liberty’s Spirit
- Mark Steyn – The Wretched Jelly-Spined Nothing Eunichs submitted by The Independent Sentinel
- The Elder of Ziyon – A fun Twitter conversation with a terror apologist/anti-Israel leftist (updated) submitted by Simply Jews
- Mark Steyn – The First Amendment is Not an Area submitted by The Noisy Room
- Sipsey Street Irregulars – Courage is contagious, defiance is contagious, victory is contagious. The huge win in the desert at the Bundy Ranch. submitted by Joshuapundit
- Center For A New American Security – If Deterrence Fails: Rethinking Conflict on the Korean Peninsula submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
- Liberal Backwards Think – Captain America and the New World Order submitted by Ask Marion
- Victor Davis Hanson – Our psychodramatic campuses submitted by Bookworm Room
- The First Street Journal – Media Bias: The professional media are attempting to normalize transexualism submitted by The Colossus of Rhodey
- Discriminations – Identity, Rights, Politics: Group Or Individual? submitted by Rhymes with Right
- PowerLine – Reid and Schumer took Koch money submitted by Nice Deb
- Francis Wilkinson/Bloomberg – Why Are Liberal Cities Bad for Blacks? submitted by The Glittering Eye
- PJ Media – BANANA REPUBLICANS: New Head Of Virginia GOP on Eric Cantor’s Payroll submitted by VA Right!
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali/WSJ – Here’s What I Would Have Said at Brandeis submitted by The Razor
- The Federalist – Is President Obama Appalled By Claire Shipman, Too? submitted by The Right Planet
- Kevin D. Williamson/NRO – The Influence Merchants of Venice submitted by The Watcher
- Adam Kredo/Washington Free Beacon – Inside the White House’s Secret Campaign to Scapegoat Israel submitted by The Watcher
By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Evil, being inherently stupid, strikes again and again with Jay Carney. He just can’t help himself and actually, he’s proud of being a Communist. The Carneys, in their incredible conceitedness and arrogance, decided that it would be so very cool to let the magazine, Washingtonian MOM, do a feature on the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s wife, Claire Shipman, and how she manages her “active role as a journalist, wife, and modern working mom.” What they didn’t list, is how she manages all this while juggling her Communist beliefs evidently. We all know how these people lean, but come on! This is rubbing it in our collective faces.
Highlighted is the Carney kitchen with a heartwarming scene of Mom and kids cooking away. It looks like they cooked up enough for a Communist regime if you look closely as well. Sweet rolls, pancakes, melons, a whole host of other fruit, eggs and bacon, muffins… Just who are they getting ready to feed? A third world America? This is a Soviet-style propaganda puff piece for the masses and it is very professionally done, right down to the two Soviet propaganda posters on their walls behind them in the above pic. Where most people would put beloved family photos or treasured art, the Carneys display what is closest to their ideology – from Russia with love.
On the wall, is “a version of this iconic design by artist Dmitry Moor with a soldier pointing his finger alongside text that says ‘Have YOU Enlisted?’ in Russian.”
The Business Insider says of this poster: “The woman in the poster is switching out a tag with a man’s name to one with hers and the text says: ‘Women! Learn production, replace workers who went to the front! The stronger the hinterland – the stronger the front!’”
Memories from the Motherland. Good times for the Carneys.
It’s a love story really… Russia is where Carney and Shipman met in the 1990s. How touching. Of course they didn’t actually fall in love until the late 1990s while working for a list of mainstream media outlets and then meeting at a White House press conference. She was divorced and Carney swooped in. Carney worked at Time magazine’s Moscow bureau when in Russia and Shipman was with CNN there. It’s a small world for Communists, don’t ya know? And did you know, Carney also graduated from Yale with a degree in Russian and Eastern European Studies? What a wild coincidence. I’m sure that he and his adorable wife aren’t Communist plants at all. Nooo.
Bringing Soviet propaganda on home to America just fits, as our friends at The People’s Cube illustrate brilliantly:
The Heritage Foundation nailed it on the topic as usual:
“This is clearly in extremely poor taste against the backdrop of growing Russian intimidation in the Ukraine,” says Nile Gardiner, director of Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation.
‘You have a key Obama administration official celebrating the Soviet era, an era in which tens of millions of people died at the hands of a brutal totalitarian system,” Gardiner adds. “It is simply disgraceful for the White House press secretary to be glorifying the propaganda of a monstrously evil tyranny.”
What you are seeing here is an intentional glimpse into the real leanings of our Progressive leaders. You have a Communist Press Secretary and a journalist, who is right at home in our Marxist media, spreading propaganda to the masses. How’s your KGB file hangin’ ABC? The Carneys shamefully flout their wealth, use their children as a photo op and go out of their way to show how much more intelligent they are than common Americans. Just look at the Photoshopped image below:
This last pic of an uber Jenga set, is telling. Modified a bit by someone who sees through all the hype and propaganda. It reflects just how stable our government is. Sadly, when the wrong block is pulled, it will all come tumbling down and America with it.
Jay Carney and family: cooking with Communism. Better not invite Mooch over — you’ll be in big trouble over that spread in the kitchen (after she eats it). Our comrades, the Carneys, should move back to Moscow, their first love – the Motherland is calling. The Carneys — the all-American Marxists.
Hat Tip: Simply Jews
By: Andrea Shea-King
The Radio Patriot
Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville, NV while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management on Saturday.
Jason Bean/Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP
On his radio show right now, Glenn Beck is talking about his take on what happened this weekend on Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch. He’ll be interviewing Bundy on the radio program during the third hour this morning.
But in the meantime, there’s this… a piece by Herschel Smith that (coincidentally) echoes what Glenn is saying today. Here’s the link to Glenn’s thoughts. And here’s what Herschel Smith wrote in the same vein. Glad there are men with this vision and understanding.
BY HERSCHEL SMITH
8 hours, 58 minutes ago
I had previously mentioned that I would not weigh in on Cliven Bundy. I usually like to read my homework very carefully. I don’t know Cliven Bundy and he doesn’t know me. I know little about his family and his history, but fortunately for us, this has all been made very easy.
This has nothing whatsoever to do with tortoises or grazing fees. Dana Loesch has done a good job of explaining it, and by now it has made its way to several other venues. It has to do with evil, greed, cronyism, nepotism, and malfeasance in office.
There are several takeaways from this affair. First of all, the main stream media is dead. The reports of conditions on the ground were given to us by blogs, alternative media, email and social media like Facebook and Twitter. The main stream media still hasn’t caught up. Perhaps in a month of two some large news publication like The New York Times or The Chicago Tribune will come out with an expose on Harry Reid’s evil in this affair, but don’t bet on it, and even if they do, it will be a month too late.
This death has been a long time coming, but it is finally here. The only thing anyone needs the main stream media for now is to cite their ridiculous editorials for the purpose of ridicule. The collectivists and the press have been like two ticks and no dog – both of them parasites. Eventually parasites have to perish. Unfortunately for us, many more parasites are in cahoots with the collectivists, but that’s for another time. Right now, don’t lament the death of the main stream media. They deserve it. Good riddance. You can write their obituary and bid them farewell. They’re done.
Next, Mike Vanderboegh has harped on a theme, that being “We won’t fire the first shot. We will shoot in self defense.” Sure enough, it almost came to that, but not quite. The militia who did show up held their composure and did remarkably well. No one took wild shots, no one escalated the situation, but a strong message was sent.
That said, this is far from over. The BLM is still very active, and for those who are of like mind, i.e., the notion that the federal government owns land is morally abominable, there are many miles to go before we rest. In fact, this wasn’t even a skirmish. It was a prelude to coming attractions if the federal government doesn’t check its own power (something not likely to happen). There are many federal agencies (DOJ, ATF, EPA, BLM, DHS, DEA, etc.), and together they can successfully trample rights just about anywhere over just about anything they wish.
Next, while I do like my AR-15, for the men who were providing overwatch and security for the protesters, I wondered if I was in that position which weapon I would want? My answer? My scoped, bolt action rifle. Leave the squad rushes and advance through fields of fire to the U.S. Marines on base at Camps Lejeune and Pendleton. Such would have been folly in a situation like this. One commenter remarked concerning a previous article that a sniper is anyone firing from a clandestine position. I don’t buy it. If that’s true, I can arm my mother and stick here in a hole and call her a sniper. Skilled shooting would have been at a premium if this had escalated to an engagement.
Finally (and there will be many more observations we will be able to make as this all sinks in), since the roots of this are so easily explained, the judgment is just as simple. Tyrants wish to usurp God’s authority. Thus their lusts and desires for rule over others runs antithetical to the economy and administration of the Almighty.
The halls of tyranny are the abode of demons and haters of God. But God will not be mocked. Tyrants and those who enable them will lose their souls, but even before that, time isn’t on their side. Tyrants will be held accountable both in time and eternity.
Every high thing must come down
Every stronghold shall be broken
He wears the Victor’s crown
He shall overcome
He shall overcome
Be of strong heart and good cheer. You are not on the losing side.
Terresa Monroe-Hamilton also has posted about the Bundy/BLM issue:
Chris Muir from Day by Day Cartoon
Hat Tip: BB
Preparing for the Pesach holiday, just a day away now. Beginning to turn away from everyday happenings, to focus on ultimate questions, family, and the ritual of Seder. I will not be posting again before the holiday starts on Monday night. And I do not know that I will have a chance to post in the course of the week-long holiday.
I wish one and all a joyous and meaningful holiday: Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach.
I read a commentary the other day, about how we were able to come out of Egypt, with the help of the Almighty, because we had courage to move on, chutzpah (nerviness), this commentator said. This is what our people here, and our leadership especially, require today.
It occurs to me, as well, that we were brought from Egypt to come to Sinai and the Torah, and then to enter the Land. And now it is our task to hold fast to our inheritance. Something to be remembered at this time especially.
There is no telling what the “peace process” situation will be by the time Pesach is over. I had, foolishly, assumed that – while it would ultimately come back to haunt us – we had a reprieve that would last for a while. But the “doctors” at the US State Department insist on trying to put the patient on a respirator. In the course of those US efforts, rumor-based headlines are generated that occasionally give one a near heart attack.
Pure logic tells us that there cannot be a resumption of the talks now. (Although pure logic is not exactly the best yardstick to use in assessing this situation.) Netanyahu has said unequivocally that we would not come back to the table unless the PA withdraws its applications to international organizations, and Abbas has said, figuratively, that he’d rather die than do this. In any event those applications have been accepted.
On Friday, Channel 10 News cited Israeli officials who declared that there was “zero chance that an agreement [that would bring the parties back to the table] will be reached in the coming weeks.”
But then again, other sources hint that something might still happen. Depends on which unnamed source is being cited and the political orientation of that source, as well as the political orientation of the media site doing the citing.
What I’m seeing – at least now and please Heaven may it continue – is that Netanyahu is standing strong, not caving to the US pressure for us to make additional concessions, or back off on our position. Quite the contrary. In spite of the disapproval registered by the US, Israel is taking actions against the PA.
The Israeli action that has most rattled the PA is the decision to withhold some of the tax revenues (customs, etc.) that Israel by agreement collects for the PA and then turns over to Palestinian Arab officials. We are not going to withhold all revenues – only the amount that Abbas pays to terrorists and their families: Every Palestinian Arab in Israeli prison because of terror-related crimes receives a “salary.” See http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=1005 on this – it’s eye-opening.
The money that is withheld will go to paying off debts that the PA has accrued with Israel. The PA owes $400 million to Israel just for electricity that Israel supplies, per agreement.
So I think this will be splendid, if it really happens. What has galled me no end is that Israel – presumably fearing international condemnation – has not simply stopped supplying electricity to them. (This is in spite of the fact that electric rates for Israelis were on the cusp of being increased to cover this default.) My electricity would be cut off if I consistently reneged on paying my bill.
The idea of withholding money to pay these bills was advanced as a sort of “retribution” for the PA having filed with international agencies. But it shouldn’t have been linked to other PA behaviors, or considered “retribution,” it should have been done because it is necessary and right.
Other actions, such as limiting transfers between Israeli and PA banks are also projected.
The PA – which diverts international donations to “pay” terrorists – is alarmed at the idea that their funds should be cut. Abbas even made a statement about how this might cause the PA to collapse and there have been charges that what Israel is about to do is “illegal.”
What I observe is the pathological need the international community has to keep the PA afloat, even when evidence of misuse of funds donated abounds.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, “monthly salaries to prisoners ( which goes to their families) range from 2,400 shekels [about $700] to 12,000 shekels [about $3,500]. The PA economic report listed the prisoners’ salaries as part of the PA general salary budget, which includes civil servants, military personnel and others.” In other words, terrorists are doing the work of the PA.
There is a correlation between the amount paid per month and the length of the sentence – those who have committed more heinous crimes apparently meriting more monthly. Please, wrap your heads around this fact. Those Palestinian Arabs in Israeli prisons for non-terror related crimes receive no “salary.”
Additionally, those prisoners who have been released as the part of the deal to bring the PA to the table have received from the PA $2,000 for every year served. This amounts to tens of thousands per prisoner, because these were all convicted pre-Oslo – we’re looking at $40,000 plus per prisoner for over 70 prisoners or well over $2 million.
Yet, completely ignoring the need for PA fiscal accountability (and we haven’t even mentioned the incredible corruption that puts money in the pockets of PA leaders), State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was able to say on Friday that:
“…We believe that the regular transfer of the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues and economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been beneficial and is important to the well-being of the Palestinian economy.”
Please keep in mind that, per capita, the PA receives more money in international assistance than any other group or country.
At least one EU official – European Parliament Budget Committee Chairman Michael Theurer – has finally seen the light with regard PA funding by the EU, the PA’s largest donor. Writing in the Wall Street Journal last week, he said (emphasis added):
“In its report, issued in December, the European Court of Auditors revealed major dysfunctions in the management of EU financial support to the Palestinian Authority, and called for a serious overhaul of the funding mechanism…
“…the Palestinian Authority is the only body that receives EU funds regardless of its human rights record or economic performance.”
Theurer is disturbed by the fact that EU funds are utilized in “paying the salaries of Palestinian Authority officials living in the Gaza Strip, who in fact do not work at all and have not for years since the Hamas takeover in 2007.” He also notes that the salaries paid to the terrorists are five times the average paid by the PA to workers in Judea and Samaria.
Please, my friends, the myth of the poor suffering Palestinians, who are deprived because of the Israeli “occupation,” persists. Utilize this information about PA funds broadly in setting the record straight. Share with others, do talk-backs, write letters to the editor, etc.
According to the Times of Israel:
“… unnamed senior Israeli official, quoted by Channel 2 on Friday night, asserted that it was Kerry who was to blame for the breakdown [in talks]. ‘He’s responsible for the crisis,’ the official reportedly said. This was because Kerry inaccurately told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel would be willing to release Israeli Arabs in the fourth group of prisoners, when Israel had not agreed to do so. There was also a difference between the sides about how many prisoners would go free. The secretary had months to try to resolve the discrepancies but failed to do so, the report said.” (Emphasis added)
It is crystal clear why Kerry proceeded in this fashion: he gave the PA what it demanded, assuming that in due course he would be able to pressure Israel to agree. Bravo for us that we didn’t.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the Obama administration waged a “secret media war” against Israel after talks fell apart. They “sought to lay the groundwork for Israel to take the blame for talks collapsing by peddling a narrative to the Israeli press claiming that the Palestinians were outraged over Israeli settlements…This paved the way for Secretary of State John Kerry to go before Congress…and publicly blame Israel for tanking the talks.
“…The primary source of these multiple reports has been identified as Middle East envoy Martin Indyk and his staff…” (Emphasis added)
This should comes as no surprise – anyone who has been following the situation over the years knows full well that Indyk is no friend to Israel. Nor should we think that this is an isolated incident. The name of the “negotiations” game is pressuring Israel in one way or another.
I knew that the PA has been refusing to sit directly with Israel in negotiations. But I have just learned that it has been thus since November – that’s more than half the allotted time for these talks. Their negotiators insist on dealing with US officials only. A farce. Kerry cannot be truly hopeful that anything good can result from such a situation. It’s all a matter of appearances.
Indyk has now returned home for the week of Pesach. (It’s painful for me to acknowledge that he is a Jew.)
I begin our holiday grateful that no catastrophe has ensued, and yet am careful not to be naïve about what may yet happen. To our prime minister, I can only say Chazak! Chazak! Be strong, be ever strong!
I mention here only in passing that, not unexpectedly, this “negotiations” situation has placed some strains on the coalition. This is both with regard to Naftali Bennett (head of Bayit Hayehudi) threating to leave if Israel releases Israeli Arab prisoners, and parties on the left making similar threats if “peace negotiations” are not advanced. Avigdor Lieberman (head of Yisrael Beitenu) is making noises about separating from the Likud in due course and aiming for the position of prime minister down the road.
What I hope to be able to do after Pesach is focus on other issues. Too much time and too many words have been devoted to the “negotiations” nonsense. Around us, chaos abounds and the dangers increase.
Nothing, but nothing, is more serious than the matter of the negotiations the P5+1 are holding with Iran: Appeasement rules the day. Poison gas has been used in Syria again, with each side accusing the others. Rockets have come now and again from Gaza and the situation in Egypt is unsettled, to put it mildly. All these situations require attention in my writing.
Among the dangers that I see is an erosion of genuine democracy in the US.
Shame of major proportions accrues to Brandeis University in the instance I address here. Brandeis was scheduled to give an honorary degree at commencement time to Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, best-selling author and human rights activist, now living in the US.
But under pressure from groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Students Association, the offer was withdrawn. Both groups, reports Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, have documented roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Hirsi Ali, born and raised into a Muslim family, renounced her faith and chronicled her reasons why in two best-selling books. She has been targeted for death by radical Islamists, including in a note pinned onto the body of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh after he was shot and stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street.
“The two collaborated on a short film, ‘Submission,’ which was critical of the way women are treated in Islam. Hirsi Ali has made many statements critical of the religion, and her foundation works to protect women from physical abuse like honor violence, genital mutilation and forced marriage.
“Such a life, such a dedication to improving women’s lives, is deserving of an honor like the one Brandeis planned. But the school reneged, issuing a statement which said it could not fulfill its promise due to ‘certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.’”
So much for free speech in America, when that speech is critical of Islam.
What makes this more horrendous is that Brandeis gave the same award to radical leftist anti-Israel playwright Tony Kushner (NO relation). When Kushner’s political views were called into question, the response of then-president of Brandeis Yehuda Reinhartz was that:
“Mr. Kushner is not being honored…for his political opinions. Brandeis is honoring him for his extraordinary achievements as one of this generation’s foremost playwrights, whose work is recognized in the arts and also addresses Brandeis’s commitment to social justice.”
And Hirsi Ali did not deserve recognition for her extraordinary commitment to social justice??
With the holiday of Pesach approaching, and its themes of freedom, this feels all the more distressing and reprehensible.
Is there good news? Sure enough.
Pesach is upon us, with it messages of hope and redemption.
A very special song for Pesach – my very favorite – is this rendition of V’hi She’amda, arranged by Yonaton Razel and sung by Razel and Ya’akov Shwekey:
The words are from the Pesach Haggadah: “This is what has stood by our fathers and us: For not just one alone has arisen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One blessed be He, saves us from their hand!”
Lazer Brody (http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/) calls this the Eternal Promise. “It conveys a very timely message for the Jewish people: He who stood by our forefathers stands by us to deliver us from the hands of our enemies in every generation.”
On a lighter note, but carrying the same theme, is this neat Pesach song video by a group of young boys: