10/31/14

Before Shabbat

Arlene from Israel

On Tuesday, my co-chair of the Legal Grounds Campaign, Jeff Daube, and I participated in a Voice of Israel radio broadcast hosted by Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz.  Lior Amihai of Peace Now was invited to join our conversation by phone.  It was a lively discussion and I invite you to listen:

~~~~~~~~~~

As it is before Shabbat, and Shabbat comes in very early now that our clocks have been turned back, I am going to make this exceedingly brief, touching on some issues that I will revisit in greater detail after Shabbat.

My first focus is Yehuda Glick.  I am delighted that slowly, slowly he seems to be improving. Baruch Hashem! Please, do not stop praying for him until he is completely recovered.

With regard to Glick, one of the things that has disturbed me greatly is the way in which he continues to be portrayed in various media sources as a “radical right winger.”  Because he is fervently committed to the importance of Jews having access to and regularly visiting the Temple Mount, he is viewed as a trouble maker.  It is not so, and indeed I will bring evidence after Shabbat.  For Yehuda is an extremely gentle, non-confrontational man who interacts positively with Arabs when it is possible.

The fact that he is represented this way has to do with more than Yehuda himself: Across the board, Jews who stand up as proud Jews are as seen as trouble, or extreme far right.  A very worrisome state of affairs that must change.

~~~~~~~~~~

I am exceedingly concerned about the potential for continued and even increased violence in Jerusalem, with a focus on the Temple Mount. This is being fomented directly by Abbas and his Fatah party.  Yesterday, Abbas called for a “day of rage” here in Jerusalem today.

Along with this great concern comes a sense of enormous anger and injustice (I expected justice on this matter?) because the world closes its eyes and ears to the Palestinian Arab incitement and provocation. This is as Bibi said yesterday:  Abbas is not criticized or held accountable.  Abbas and Fatah are never fingered as the reason why peace here is not possible.

Much depends now on the strength of our government in putting down this violence, no matter how the world protests.

~~~~~~~~~~

I will add that there were celebrations among Palestinian Arabs in eastern Jerusalem after Yehuda was shot – a sure giveaway to the fact that they cannot be trusted no how. And the attempted assassin was referred to on the Fatah Facebook page as a hero and a martyr.  Killing Jews – or attempting to do so – is to be praised, always and ever.

My friends, it is important that you know about these things, but, beyond this, that you use this information to make the case for Israel and to inform others who persist in seeing the Palestinian Arabs as a beleaguered people entitled to a state.  If everyone reading this would write a letter to the editor (it must be very short, factual, non-polemic, and to the point) sharing this information, it would make an impact.

~~~~~~~~~~

Kerry is presumably making amends for the outrageous slurs leveled at our prime minister. He criticized those slurs in a forum run by the Atlantic.  But, in the very next breath he spoke about his determination to work “quietly and effectively” to restart the failed “peace process.”  Said he, it is “doable, but it takes courage and strength. Both sides have to be prepared to compromise in order to do it.” (Emphasis added)

Unreal, in face what I’ve just written about the Palestinian Arab call for a day of rage.  Peace process?  Here we are, no call to the Palestinian Arabs to stop the violence already and work for a better situation.  This man has less than zero credibility.

How do I read his statement?  He is saying to our prime minister, look the unnamed official should not have used that term chickenshit, but it was used because you are lacking courage.  And now I invite you to demonstrate the courage you have been lacking to date, and make peace.

~~~~~~~~~~

Interestingly, I just picked up a citation from the NYTimes indicating that Obama may be thinking of replacing Kerry. I will not say that this is a good thing.  Kerry is vastly ineffective, which frustrates Obama, undoubtedly.  But we do not want him replaced by someone who is sharper and handles him or herself better – as this individual would still be pushing us to move in directions that are totally unacceptable.

We shall see…

10/31/14

The End Of An Era: Is The US Petrodollar Under Threat?

Recent trade deals and high-level cooperation between Russia and China have set off alarm bells in the West as policymakers and oil and gas executives watch the balance of power in global energy markets shift to the East.

The reasons for the cozier relationship between the two giant powers are, of course, rooted in the Ukraine crisis and subsequent Western sanctions against Russia, combined with China’s need to secure long-term energy supplies. However, a consequence of closer economic ties between Russia and China could also mean the beginning of the end of dominance for the U.S. dollar, and that could have a profound impact on energy markets.

Rein of the USD

Before the 20th century, the value of money was tied to gold. Banks that lent money were constrained by the amount of their gold reserves. The Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 established a system of exchange rates that allowed governments to sell their gold to the U.S. Treasury. But in 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon took the country off the gold standard, which formally ended the linkage between the world’s major currencies and gold.

Related: Should Europe Be Concerned About Russia’s Growing Energy Relationship with Asia
The U.S. dollar then went through a massive devaluation, and oil played a crucial role in propping it back up. Nixon negotiated a deal with Saudi Arabia whereby in exchange for arms and protection, the Saudis would denominate all future sales of oil in U.S. dollars. Other OPEC members agreed to similar deals, ensuring perpetual global demand for greenbacks. The dominance of the U.S. “petrodollar” continues to this day.

Russia and China Cozy Up

Recent news coming out of Russia, however, suggests that the era of U.S. dollar dominance could be coming to an end, due to increasing competition from the world’s second largest economy and primary consumer of commodities, China.

China and Russia have been furiously signing energy deals that indicate their mutual energy interests. The most obvious is the $456 billion gas deal that Russian state-owned Gazprom signed with China in May, but that was just the biggest in a string of energy agreements going back to 2009. That year, Russian oil giant Rosneft secured a $25 billion oil swap agreement with Beijing, and last year, Rosneft agreed to double oil supplies to China in a deal valued at $270 billion.

Since Western sanctions against Russia took hold in reaction to the Russian land grab in Crimea and the shooting down of a commercial airliner, Moscow has increasingly looked to its former Cold War rival as a key buyer of Russian crude — its most important export. Liam Halligan, a columnist for the Telegraph, says “the real danger” of closer Russian-Chinese ties is not a bust-up between China and the U.S., which could threaten crucial shipping routes for China-bound coal and LNG, but its impact on the U.S. dollar.

“If Russia’s ‘pivot to Asia’ results in Moscow and Beijing trading oil between them in a currency other than the dollar, that will represent a major change in how the global economy operates and a marked loss of power for the U.S. and its allies,” Halligan wrote in May. “With China now the world’s biggest oil importer and the U.S. increasingly stressing domestic production, the days of dollar-priced energy, and therefore dollar-dominance, look numbered.”

While no one is arguing that could happen anytime soon, considering the dollar remains the currency of choice for central banks, Halligan’s proposition is gathering strength. In June, China agreed with Brazil on a $29 billion currency swap in an effort to promote the Chinese yuan as a reserve currency, and earlier this month, the Chinese and Russian central banks signed an agreement on yuan-ruble swaps to double trade between the two countries. Analysts says the $150 billion deal, one of 38 accords inked in Moscow, is a way for Russia to move away from U.S. dollar-dominated settlements.

“Taken alone, these actions do not mean the end of the dollar as the leading global reserve currency,” Jim Rickards, portfolio manager at West Shore Group and partner at Tangent Capital Partners, told CNBC. “But taken in the context of many other actions around the world including Saudi Arabia’s frustration with U.S. foreign policy toward Iran, and China’s voracious appetite for gold, these actions are meaningful steps away from the dollar.”

Rise of the Yuan

It is no secret that Beijing has been looking to promote the yuan as an alternative reserve currency. Having that status would allow China cheap access to world capital markets and cheaper transaction costs on international trade, not to mention increased clout as an economic power commensurate with its rising proportion of world commerce.

However, the Chinese have a problem in their plans for the yuan. The government has not yet removed capital controls that would allow full convertibility, for fear of unleashing a torrent of speculative flows that could damage the Chinese economy.

However, “[It] is clear that China is laying foundations for wider acceptance of the yuan,” said Karl Schamotta, a senior market strategist at Western Union Business Solutions,” as quoted in an International Business Times article. IBT pointed out that “more than 10,000 financial institutions are doing business in Chinese yuan, up from 900 in June 2011, while the pool of offshore yuan, non-existent three years ago, is now near 900 billion ($143 billion). And the proportion of China’s exports and imports settled in yuan has increased nearly sixfold in three years to nearly 12 percent.”

Conspiracy Theory Spoiler Alert

Adding some vivid color to this story, Casey Research energy analyst Marin Katusa speculated in a recent column that the death of Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, whose private jet collided with a snowplow in Moscow, may not have been an accident. Instead, Katusa muses that the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death and the unlikely odds of being hit by a snowplow at an airport, could have more to do with de Margerie’s business interests in Russia than being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to Katusa, de Margerie was “a total liability” due to Total’s involvement in plans to build an LNG plant on the Yamal Peninsula along with partner Novatek. The company was also seeking financing for a gas project in Russia despite Western sanctions.

“It planned to finance its share in the $27-billion Yamal project using euros, yuan, Russian rubles, and any other currency but U.S. dollars,” Katusa writes, then entices the reader with this: “Did this direct threat to the petrodollar make this ‘true friend of Russia’—as Putin called de Margerie – some very powerful and dangerous enemies amongst the power that be, whether in the French government, the EU, or the U.S.?”

That may be a stretch, but Katusa’s U.S. dollar reference shows that any developments that point to a move away from the dominance of the greenback are not going un-noticed.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/The-End-Of-An-Era-Is-The-US-Petrodollar-Under-Threat.html

By Andrew Topf of Oilprice.com

10/31/14

Qatar Awareness Campaign – President Obama @StopQatarNow


QATAR AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

This letter is being sent to you on behalf of the Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition. The purpose is to inform you and the public of the activities of one of America’s closest allies under your administration, the State of Qatar. Not only is Qatar a state sponsor of terror which has funded Hamas, Boko Haram and the Islamic State, but it is increasingly apparent that Qatar is a significant factor in the United States’ diplomatic rift with Israel and finances the genocidal Islamic State.

Qatar was the primary sponsor of the Arab Spring, which saw its guests, the Muslim Brotherhood, assume power in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Each of these countries subsequently descended into chaos, sectarian and religious violence, and Islamic autocracy. The Muslim Brotherhood, the same group from which sprouted Al Qaeda and ISIS, has created a veritable security, diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in North Africa and the Middle East that threatens world peace.

Diplomatically, the United States’ relationship with Israel has never been more strained. Our relationship with Egypt, which was formerly the lynchpin in America’s diplomatic standing in the Arab world, has crumbled. King Abdullah of Jordan, whose country has been a steadfast and reliable ally in combating Islamic extremism for decades, has said publicly that he does not trust your government. Even Saudi Arabia, which has been an American ally since the 1930s, is exasperated and has publicly put distance between itself and the American government.

The net result of your administration’s policy of supporting the Qataris and the Muslim Brotherhood is simply this: an expansion Russia’s sphere of influence across the region. Yet the seismic geopolitical shift which is the likely fallout of the Arab Spring, namely, the realignment of several former American allies with Russia, is, incredibly, not the biggest story in this first class debacle.

There is an ongoing genocide across the Middle East against Christians, Kurds, Yazidis and other religious and ethnic minorities. The tactics being employed each and every day by the Islamic State are reminiscent of the Nazi Holocaust. This is no accident; in fact, it is consistent with history. The original horrific event that gave the world the terrible word “genocide,” or murder of a people, came from the Armenian genocide, perpetuated by the Ottoman Empire. The primary victims of this genocide were Armenian Christians, but many others who were on the wrong side of the world’s last official Caliphate paid with their lives as well. Mass shootings, mass drownings, mass starvations and other devilish acts marked this dark period in modern history.

A key participant in both the Armenian genocide, as well as the Holocaust, was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al Husseini. He was also the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine: the same group that Qatar hosts as honored guests in Doha today.

We are witnessing a repeat of history in the worst imaginable way. In these momentous times, what is lacking the most is truth. The terrible truth is that United States government under your leadership has been on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Arab Spring, and through the period of Islamist genocide in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and across several other countries. There is no other logical or reasonable way to interpret recent history.

In this so-called Arab Spring, Qatar and the United States have been partners in crime.

There are other atrocities to be attributed to Qatar, including their penchant for slave labor. It is estimated that nearly 4,000 migrant workers will die constructing the stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to be played in Doha. Not only slave labor, but sex slavery deserves to be mentioned: for Boko Haram was created by a Qatari proxy, set up as a money making venture. The individual who provided the funds now resides in Doha. In order to #BringBackOurGirls, #StopQatarNow.

Moreover, Qatar is involved in Taliban narcotics trafficking through a relationship with the Pakistani National Logistics Cell. The National Logistics Cell of Pakistan is currently a NATO subcontractor. With a stroke of your pen, this can change tomorrow.

Finally, Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition and petitioners ask that you consider the attached sourced report on Qatar’s activities. The links cited are vetted and credible sources. We hope you take the time to verify the truth of the statements for yourself.

Mr. President, this letter of course tells you nothing you do not already know. You are privileged to listen to the intelligence collected by multiple world class agencies, whose capabilities are second-to-none.

Still, the Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition implores you to examine the Qatari record on human rights, genocide, slavery and narcotics. It behooves a great nation to choose their primary allies carefully.

After doing so, the Coalition of the Qatar Awareness Campaign calls on you to cut all diplomatic, economic and political ties with Qatar; remove all American military personnel from Doha; and freeze all Qatari connected assets around the globe until the reigning, duplicitous Al-Thanis step down and surrender to a court of justice!

Sincerely,

Lt. Col. Allen B. West (US Army, Ret)
AllenBWest.com

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Center for Security Policy

Pamela Geller
Atlas Shrugs

Walid Shoebat
Shoebat.com

Charles Ortel
Washington Times

Paul E Vallely, US Army (Ret)
Chairman, Stand Up America

Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
NoisyRoom.net

Trevor Loudon
New Zeal **

& the entire Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition.

Qatar Research Report: http://www.stopqatarnow.com/p/research-report.html
Sign the Petition! Visit www.stopqatarnow.com
Facebook: Stop Qatar Now
Twitter: @stopqatarnow

** Select signatures as of 9/27. The Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition is comprised of more than 25 journalists, national security experts, publishers, and independent researchers. To view all Coalition participants, please visit the Campaign’s website.

10/31/14

The Council Has Spoken!! Watcher’s Council Results – 10/31/14

The Watcher’s Council


Allen West: Secular “brownshirts” try to silence churches before elections


‘Poverty Pimp’ Posters Hit Maxine’s Out-of-District Mansion

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

A world that did not lift a finger when Hitler was wiping out six million Jewish men, women, and children is now saying that the Jewish state of Israel will not survive if it does not come to terms with the Arabs. My feeling is that no one in this universe has the right and the competence to tell Israel what it has to do in order to survive. On the contrary, it is Israel that can tell us what to do. It can tell us that we shall not survive if we do not cultivate and celebrate courage, if we coddle traitors and deserters, bargain with terrorists, court enemies, and scorn friends.” – Eric Hoffer, Before The Sabbath, 1974.

“The only thing chicken about Israel is their soup.” – Bob Hope

“I never thought I’d live to see the day that an American administration would denounce the state of Israel for rebuilding Jerusalem.” – Rep. Mike Pence

As a Jew, it is my historic responsibility to defend the Jewish people. I feel this responsibility for the survival of the Jewish people. We’re not going to accept any decision by anybody else about security of the State of Israel. It is our role and only our role. – Ariel Sharon

A few days ago, there was an article published by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that was fairly revealing about the current state of the relationship between the Obama Administration and Israel. In this week’s winner, JoshuapunditChickensh*t, I had a few things to say about that situation, as well as the real story about how it came about. Here’s a slice:

That quaint kid’s playground epithet is the money quote from an article entitled “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here,” posted by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic.

It’s what Goldberg reports that an anonymous senior Obama administration official called Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in a conversation Goldberg had with him. And in the article, Goldberg also mentions that President Obama “in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.”

Now, for all that Jeffrey Goldberg has consistently been a fairly servile apologist for the president and the Obama Administration when it comes to Israel, he’s not entirely wrong that Netanyahu has been guilty of a lack of courage in some instances. But that lack of courage is from an entirely different direction than Goldberg supposes.

Contrary to the tile of Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece, the crisis in US-Israel relations started from the moment Barack Hussein Obama was elected president. Where Netanyahu and certain other Israeli leaders have exhibited a lack of courage is in trying desperately to deny and fend it off, and make believe it wasn’t happening.

Barack Obama started his presidency by stating openly (once he was safely elected) that he wanted to create daylight between the U.S. and Israel, and he has been doing so ever since.

Is Jeffrey Goldberg suffering from amnesia? Do we really need to revisit the climate that’s been created between the US and Israel since Barack Obama took over as president?  His repudiation of the agreements made with Israel by President Bush  that convinced Israeli PM Ariel Sharon to go ahead with the Gaza disengagement, claiming they never existed? His call for Israel to re-divide Jerusalem and retreat to indefensible borders? His telling Iran that Israel was on its own in the event of any hostilities? His insisting that Israel has no right to Jewish religious sites? His repeated statements that the Palestinians need not recognize Israel as a Jewish State and his continued funding of the Palestinian Authority in spite of their continued support and incitement for terrorism against Israeli civilians? His instituting what amounted to a de facto arms embargo for six months during the early part of his first term? His approval and funding of the new Hamas/Fatah entity which includes a genocidal terrorist group? The list could go on for quite some time.

Would any other sovereign nation put up with constant temper tantrums from a foreign government over building homes in its own capital? With pressure to release convicted murderers from its jails as a ‘gesture for peace?’ With mysterious holdups for bureaucratic ‘review’ of badly needed military supplies in the middle of a war? With deliberately insulting treatment of its elected leader by the president of what was supposed to be a closely allied government?

While Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have sometimes made statements that have revealed a lack of discretion,it’s been in reaction to a long climate of outright hostility from the White House that makes even former President Carter’s tenure look benign by comparison. Jeffrey Goldberg might wish to forget it, but it was the overt actions and attitude from this president and his administration towards Israel and Netanyahu that came first and poisoned the well.

The Israelis never figured on a president getting elected in America who had an animus towards Israel, and their futile attempts to muddle through and somehow make the relationship work only made President Obama more insistent, unreasonable and demanding.

And speaking of political courage, let’s take a good look at what gave Barack Obama the license to act out this way towards Israel. It was America’s Jews on the Left – like Jeffrey Goldberg.

Remember this,from back in 2008? (courtesy of Omri Ceren):

So, all you rumor-mongering, fever-headed Jewish conspiracists: Support McCain, if you want, and there are credible reasons for doing so, but stop smearing Obama in the face of overwhelming evidence that the man is a great friend of Jews and of Israel. After a point, it becomes obvious that what you fear is not Israel’s destruction, but the presence of an African-American in the White House. And that’s disgusting.

Obama’s background and his feelings about Israel were obvious to anyone whom bothered to look at him honestly. President Barack Obama has had close associations with Israel haters and in some cases open anti-semites his entire life. Frank Marshall Davis, Edward Said, Rashid al-Khalidi, Khalid al-Mansour, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Al Sharpton and others like them all figure or have figured prominently in his background.

So how did this all slip by?

What happened is that many on the Left and those in media simply didn’t want to know, especially Jews. They made a clear decision that voting Democrat and embracing their Leftist politics meant more to them than supporting their brothers and sisters in Israel. It was this hideous betrayal that enabled President Obama to act out and make support for Israel as an ally a partisan issue once he was elected. A significant number of American Jews voted Democrat in 2008 and found solace in candidate Obama telling them what they wanted to hear, in political groups the George Soros financed J-Street,and the NJDC, and in the bogus mantra of ‘the two state solution’. It enabled President Obama to neuter AIPAC, as well as other Jewish groups. With a few honorable exceptions, they all fell in line with the New Order. And even after they had ample evidence of President Obama’s attitude towards Israel during his first term, most of them voted for him again.

And this backing of Obama and his agenda led,in case no one’s noticed, not only to the increased intransigence of Abbas and Fatah but to the increased hostility towards Jews and Israel in places like the EU and and a rising climate of Jew hatred in places like university campuses, again with some rare exceptions. The backing of the majority of America’s Jews for Obama and their tolerance for his policies was and is the protective cover and the impetus for all of it.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Sultan KnishThe Left’s Worst Crime in the Middle East submitted by The Noisy Room. The crime he’s talking about? Ah, you’ll have to read it to find out and read it you should, because the Sultan is definitely on target with this one.

Here are this week’s full results.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

10/30/14

Is There No End?

Arlene from Israel

Last night there was a conference, “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount,” at the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem – this is an annual event of the Temple Mount Faithful. It was neither a large nor a raucous event.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, Temple Mount activist, was a key presenter: He showed a video filmed on the Mount that morning that offered evidence of Palestinian Arabs trying to frighten Jewish visitors away.  Deeply devoted to Har Habayit, he gives tours on the Mount and educates on the ancient and on-going Jewish connection to it.  One would not always get that impression from the media, but he is a gentle man, and from what I know of him, a very special human being.

sharon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit: Sharon Altshul/YeshivaWorldNews

~~~~~~~~~~

When Rabbi Glick left the Center, he was approached by an Arab dressed in black garb.  The Arab asked him – in Arabic-accented Hebrew – if he was Yehuda Glick; on receiving an affirmative answer, he pulled out a gun, shot him three times point blank in the chest, and rode away on a motor cycle.

Rabbi Glick was still conscious when taken to Sha’arei Tzedek hospital.  His condition was designated as critical, unstable and he was rushed into surgery.  This morning he is serious, but stable. Yet doctors say his situation is still precarious.  My understanding is that he has been placed in an induced coma, to allow his body to rest and heal. Please God, let him live.

Please pray for him: Yehuda Yehoshua ben Ita Breina.

~~~~~~~~~~

A suspect, Mu’taz Hijazi of the neighborhood of Abu Tor, was identified rather quickly. This is a Palestinian Arab who had been sentenced to Israeli prison for terror activity during the second intifada; he was on a security watch because of suspicions that he has been involved in other terrorist activity since his 2012 release. When he got out of prison, he had declared in an interview:

“I am happy to return to Jerusalem. I wish to be a thorn in the throat of the Zionist plan to Judaize Jerusalem.”  (Emphasis added)

What I had assumed when I first learned that he was identified was that information about him was out on the Jerusalem streets in Arab areas and was picked up very promptly by Israeli intelligence. That might be, but I’ve since learned something else that is fairly incredible:

Mu’taz Hijazi worked for the Terasa restaurant that is located inside of the Begin Center.  He actually had on his work uniform when he accosted the rabbi.  Apparently he had spoken to fellow workers about his irritation with Yehuda Glick, and it is apparent that he had specifically sought him out.

I must assume that he misrepresented his background when applying for the job, but he clearly was not given a sufficient background check.  (If indeed he was given a background check at all.) This should not have happened, plain and simple.  It is all the more astonishing because the Begin Center regularly hosts conferences and seminars, which largely represent a nationalist position.

There are some very huge lessons to be learned here.

~~~~~~~~~~

A special anti-terrorism unit went to Hijazi’s home in the Abu Tor neighborhood of Jerusalem, to arrest him.  When he resisted arrest and instead shot at the officers from inside the house, they returned fire and killed him.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4586020,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Hijazi apparently had Islamic Jihad connections, as this morning, Islamic Jihad took credit for the attack.

“The assassination attempt on Glick is an act of Palestinian vengeance, in response to what is happening in Jerusalem,” declared a spokesman.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/186794#.VFIl15txnIV

~~~~~~~~~~

As I write, the Temple Mount is closed. To everyone. Until further notice. This is the way Israeli security is handling what is clearly a highly volatile situation.  The city is on high alert, with an additional bolstering of security forces ordered by the prime minister.

Netanyahu continues to say that the status quo on the Mount will be sustained. I will want to come back to this for further examination of the issues.

~~~~~~~~~~

Mahmoud Abbas’s response to the closure (which, you will observe, applied equally to all), was the usual hostile and inciteful blather.  It was delivered by his spokesman Abu Redeina:

“This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation.

“We hold the Israel government responsible for this dangerous escalation in Jerusalem that has reached its peak through the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque [Temple Mount] this morning.

“This decision is a dangerous act and a blatant challenge that will lead to more tension and instability and will create a negative and dangerous atmosphere.

“The state of Palestine will take all legal measures to hold Israel accountable and to stop these ongoing attacks.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/186802#.VFI8OJtxnIU

~~~~~~~~~~

In his statement today, Netanyahu singled out the international community for criticism, and very properly so:

.”A few days ago, I said that we were facing a wave of incitement by radical Islamic elements and by [Mahmoud Abbas] who said that Jews must be prevented from going up to the Temple Mount by any means possible.

“I still have not heard from the international community so much as one word of condemnation for these inflammatory remarks. The international community needs to stop its hypocrisy and take action against inciters…”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/186806#.VFI6zJtxnIU

~~~~~~~~~~

Let me return briefly here to the insults leveled at Bibi Netanyahu by one or more unnamed high level US officials who were cited in an article by Jeffrey Goldberg.

The response of the US government, in my opinion, has been sorely inadequate. There was backpedaling but no apology.  No notice that the official who spoke about our prime minister in grossly insulting terms would be relieved of his responsibilities.  And certainly no denial of what was reportedly said. It was, rather, more of a “gee, we didn’t give him permission to say this and he wasn’t speaking for us.”  The terms that had been used are being referred to as “inappropriate” and “counterproductive.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “If this issue comes up we will make sure it is clear it’s not reflective of the secretary’s views.”

And precisely what does that mean: “if this issue comes up”? It was in print and widely quoted.

Kerry reportedly is going to “explain” the administration viewpoint to Netanyahu.

~~~~~~~~~~

The very best commentary I’ve seen with regard to this situation has been from Commentary editor, Jonathan Tobin.

In “Obama, Not Bibi, created U.S.-Israel Crisis,” he wrote (all emphasis added):

“Since Barack Obama became president, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has been a reliable indicator of administration opinion about foreign-policy issues. Like some other journalists who can be counted on to support the president, he has been the recipient of some juicy leaks, especially when the White House wants to trash Israel’s government. But Goldberg and his ‘senior administration sources’ reached a new low today when he published a piece in which those anonymous figures labeled Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a ‘chickenshit’ and a ‘coward’… the story is, as Goldberg rightly characterizes it, a genuine crisis in the relationship. That much is plain but where Goldberg and the talkative administration members are wrong is their belief that this is all Netanyahu’s fault. Their attacks on him are not only plainly false but are motivated by a desire to find an excuse that will be used to justify a drastic turn in U.S. foreign policy against Israel.

“The administration critique of Netanyahu as a coward stems from its disgust with his failure to make peace with the Palestinians as well as their impatience with his criticisms of their zeal for a deal with Iran even if it means allowing the Islamist regime to become a threshold nuclear power…But President Obama and his foreign-policy team aren’t just annoyed by the prime minister. They’ve come to view him as public enemy No. 1, using language about him and giving assessments of his policies that are far harsher than they have ever used against even avowed enemies of the United States, let alone one of its closest allies.

“So rather than merely chide him for caution they call him a coward and taunt him for being reluctant to make war on Hamas and even to launch a strike on Iran. They don’t merely castigate him as a small-time politician without vision; they accuse him of putting his political survival above the interests of his nation.

“It’s quite an indictment but once you get beyond the personal dislike of the individual on the part of the president, Secretary of State Kerry, and any other ‘senior officials’ that speak without attribution on the subject of Israel’s prime minister, all you have is a thin veil of invective covering up six years of Obama administration failures in the Middle East that have the region more dangerous for both Israel and the United States. For all of his personal failings, it is not Netanyahu—a man who actually served as a combat soldier under fire in his country’s most elite commando unit—who is a coward or a small-minded failure. It is Obama and Kerry who have fecklessly sabotaged a special relationship, an act whose consequences have already led to disaster and bloodshed and may yet bring worse in their final two years of power

“So why is the administration so angry with Netanyahu? It can’t be because Netanyahu is preventing peace with the Palestinians. After the failure of Kerry’s fool’s errand negotiations and the Hamas missile war on Israel, not even Obama can think peace is at hand. Nor does he really think Netanyahu can stop him from appeasing Iran if Tehran is willing to sign even a weak deal…

The real reason to target Netanyahu is that it is easier to scapegoat the Israelis than to own up to the administration’s mistakes.

“Despite the administration’s insults, it is not Netanyahu who is weak. He has shown great courage and good judgment in defending his country’s interests even as Obama has encouraged the Palestinians to believe they can hold out for even more unrealistic terms while denying Israel the ammunition it needed to fight Hamas terrorists. While we don’t know whether, as Goldberg believes, it is too late for Israel to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, it is Obama that Iran considers weak as it plays U.S. negotiators for suckers in the firm belief that the U.S. is a paper tiger that is not to be feared any longer.

If there is a crisis, it is one that was created by Obama’s failures and inability to grasp that his ideological prejudices were out of touch with Middle East realities.

“The next two years may well see, as Goldberg ominously predicts, even more actions by the administration to downgrade the alliance with Israel. But the blame for this will belong to a president who has never been comfortable with Israel and who has, at every conceivable opportunity, sought conflict with it even though doing so did not advance U.S. interests or the cause of peace. No insult directed at Netanyahu, no matter how crude or pointless, can cover up the president’s record of failure.”

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/10/28/obama-not-bibi-created-the-u-s-israel-crisis-chickenshit/

(Thanks, Barbara S.)