The Good Guys
The good guys give hope and promise for the possibility of better days coming.
Many spirits were buoyed on Friday, when the news broke that Elie Wiesel had announced that he would be attending Netanyahu’s March 3rd address in Congress “on the catastrophic danger of a nuclear Iran.”
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a close associate of Wiesel’s, announced that he would be placing full page ads in the NY Times and the Washington Post that would declare Wiesel’s intention of coming to Congress to hear Netanyahu, and would broadcast his invitation to Obama and others: “Will you join me in hearing the case for keeping weapons from those who preach death to Israel and America?”
All I am aware of at this point is that the NY Times ad did appear yesterday. You can see it here (with my thanks to Cheryl L.):
In a situation that has become shamefully politicized and partisan, Wiesel brings attention back to the real issue – the dangers of Iran. Speaking as he has for decades on the horrors of the Holocaust, he is able to draw a direct line to what we face today. And, very importantly, he does it with a stature that is non-partisan.
Do I imagine that Obama is going to rush to join Wiesel in Congress to hear Bibi? Of course not. But I do have hope that this public action will take some of the wind out of the the president’s political sails. It is clear that Obama has been going on about “protocol” and “elections campaigns” in order to distract from his major concern: Netanyahu’s challenge to the deal with Iran that is currently in the works. When it is pointed out by someone such as Wiesel that we are confronting a situation that is terrifying, hopefully it becomes just a tad more difficult for Obama to continue with the same obfuscation.
Governor Mike Huckabee and his wife are in town now; they will be leading a mission of some 250 people – many coming for the first time – who will be touring the country to learn about Israel’s heritage.
This morning, Governor Huckabee held a press conference. He has not yet announced that he will be running for president, but there is considerable reason to believe that this will be the case. And I see this to the good. As he addressed subjects of major concern for journalists today, he was very much on the mark:
We are, said the governor, in the midst of a crucial historical time, as we face the threat of radical Islam. This is a threat not just to Israel. Israel is the canary in the coal mine, but is not Iran’s ultimate target – a nuclear Iran would be a huge threat to the US and other nations.
We are not looking at a personal conflict between Obama and Netanyahu, but rather at the question of whether we trust Iran. The strategy of loosening sanctions is counterintuitive – there should be pressure put upon Iran now to bring it to the breaking point.
It is stupid to declare in advance what we are not going to do. Everything must be on the table. The government of Iran has no credibility – it’s like negotiating with a snake. America’s leading from behind has had disastrous consequences.
Governor Huckabee absolutely believes Netanyahu should speak in Congress. Speeches of power can have a great impact. And Netanyahu may be uniquely qualified to deliver that speech.
We should remain assured that there is strong Democratic support for Israel in Congress. Much of the partisan tension we are seeing now is anti-Boehner not anti-Israel.
Credit: The Guardian
Please see here another very cogent argument regarding the need to counter Obama as vigorously as possible with regard to Iran. This article – “Worse Than No Strategy” – is written by Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (emphasis added):
“It seems like only yesterday that President Obama was being criticized for having no strategy to counter the jihadi threat…
“Since then, a different perception has been taking root: Mr. Obama does indeed have a strategy – a ‘secret strategy,’ one that is alarmingly misguided.
“According to this theory, he believes that fighting terrorism requires accommodating the regime long recognized by the U.S. government as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism: the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“He may also see the Islamic Republic not as a rival to the Islamic State but as a more moderate alternative — despite the fact that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly declared hostility toward America the foundation of the Islamic revolution. The president appears to believe that Sunni jihadis can be countered by Shia jihadis…
“Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, has not just speculated about Mr. Obama’s ‘secret strategy.’ He has painstakingly combed through the record and produced a 9,000-word report persuasively establishing that Mr. Obama, since early in his presidency, has been in pursuit of a ‘comprehensive agreement’ that would allow Iran to become what the president has called ‘a very successful regional power.’
“Understand what that means: Iran would be the hegemon of the Middle East….”
Is it any wonder that Binyamin Netanyahu has refused to be dissuaded in his determination to address the US Congress on the issue of Iran?
You might also want to see “Anatomy of a Bad Iran Deal: A Preliminary Assessment,” by Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (emphasis added).
A key factor of concern here, as elsewhere is the number of centrifuges that Iran would be permitted to maintain.
“The numbers are important. In a scenario of ‘breakout,’ in which the Iranians race to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for their first atomic bomb, the number of centrifuges largely determines the amount of time the Iranians will need to accomplish this goal…
“Iran currently has 19,000 centrifuges, 9,000 of which are running and 10,000 that are installed but not operating. Israel’s position is that Iran should have zero centrifuges. The reason is that if Iran truly needs enriched uranium for civilian purposes, it could import enriched uranium as do roughly 15 other countries, such as Canada, Mexico, and Spain. The Israeli position is in line with six UN Security Council resolutions that were adopted between 2006 and 2010, with the support of Russia and China.
“…at the beginning of the current round of negotiations, the United States was demanding that Iran significantly reduce its stock of centrifuges to 1,500, but in doing so dropped the longstanding U.S. policy that Iran eliminate its centrifuges completely.
“…According to multiple press reports, Western negotiators have raised the ceiling for the number of centrifuges that Iran will be allowed to have: they have gone from 1,500 to 4,500, and they now appear to be ready to let the Iranians have 6,000 centrifuges.”
When other factors – such as the amount of enriched uranium Iran would be permitted to retain – Iran’s breakout time for producing enough weapons-grade uranium for an atomic bomb would be six months and possibly considerably less.
Last time it was Paris. This time Copenhagen. Terrifying, but not unexpected.
Early yesterday, a gunman shot into a café where a Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad was speaking. Vilks body guards successfully whisked him away and he hid in a freezer (shades of Paris). Someone else inside the café – Finn Norgaard, 55, a film director, took a bullet and was killed.
Today, Dan Uzan, 37, a longtime security guard. and a Jew, was shot dead. Uzan was guarding a synagogue where a Bat Mitzvah celebration was taking place. According to reports, he was brought in after the café shooting.
The police have pursued and killed someone whom they say they believe was the perpetrator of both attacks. There has been official reluctance to identify him, but Danish media sources are saying it was Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, a man known by authorities and possessing a record of violence. He had been released from prison two weeks ago.
Could it possibly be, by any remote chance, that a politically correct aversion to fingering a Muslim is behind the police reluctance to officially reveal the terrorist’s identity?
The Danish are deeply distressed that this terrorism has come to their door. They are eager to express their horror, and their readiness to protect all citizens and keep life normal. Here you see pictures of flowers brought to the synagogue where the shooting took place.
Yet, the questions must be asked: Where next? And, what normal?
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that this attacks would continue and that the Jews should come home to Israel. One Danish leader of the Jewish community criticized this, saying that anti-Semitism is not a reason to leave.
It’s not? Not even when the handwriting is on the wall? Note the Israeli flag hung on the synagogue over the flowers.
I close here, then, with a piece on this issue – “After Copenhagen, What Next for Europe?” – written by David Harris, president of the American Jewish Committee. Says Harris (emphasis added):
“…after 15 years of engaging with European leaders to get their attention, help them understand what stares them in the face, and press for sustained action, I’m not quite ready to bet the family farm that the day after tomorrow will be all that different than the day before yesterday.
“Even so, I desperately want to believe that Europe, with all its dazzling achievements since the end of World War II, can still strengthen its resolve, stiffen its spine, and fully understand the stakes involved, however late in the day it is.”
A bit of wishful thinking, given present realities, but what he would wish for is instructive and worth noting. He calls for the following now:
 …”quickly organize a high-level conference to discuss the rise in anti-Semitism…discuss and adopt a comprehensive plan of action, and then implement and monitor it.
 “European leaders must understand, as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has, that anti-Semitism is not only an attack on Jews, but also an assault on Europe and its values. The two cannot be separated.
 “call a spade a spade. For many Europeans, there is no hesitation in identifying the source of anti-Semitism when it emanates from right-wing extremists. But when anti-Semitism, including deadly violence, springs from within a segment of the Muslim population, verbal acrobatics all too often come into play. If you can’t name the adversary, how can you effectively fight it?
 “stop tying anti-Semitism to Islamophobia, as if the two are Siamese twins. AJC’s Brussels office has been trying for months to encourage a European Parliament hearing on anti-Semitism, only to be met with insistence that any such meeting include Islamophobia. Why this demand to join the two together, when the majority of incidents occurs against Jews, when Europe has a particularly ugly history of anti-Semitism, and when the principal attackers of Jews invoke their Islamic faith?
 “recognize that we confront both a short- and long-term menace that won’t be overcome by even the most eloquent of speeches and the most symbolic of acts. Rather, it requires a full-court, sustained effort by individual governments (and, of course, by the EU) using the resources they have the capacity to mobilize, joined by the determined efforts of civil society.
 “connect the lessons of the Holocaust to the present-day threat to the Jews. I’ve witnessed too many Holocaust-related events where murdered Jews are mourned — Jews who, tragically, cannot be brought back to life — but that totally ignore the current dangers to living Jews. A refusal to connect the two quite frankly empties these commemorations of much of their meaning and sincerity.
 don’t apologize for European values of democracy, human dignity, openness, and pluralism….It’s high time to stand up in defense of these noble values and do everything possible to ensure that newcomers embrace them as well.
 “it is important to understand that the jihadist barbarism which Europe is experiencing first-hand is not much different from what Israel has been facing for decades. Why, then, does Europe continue to try drawing a distinction, when, in reality none exists? The same jihadists who hate Europe detest Israel, and the same jihadists who wish for Israel’s annihilation aspire to no less for Europe as we know it.”
Right on! This is a reasonably comprehensive list of what’s wrong in Europe today, regarding anti-Semitism and radical Islam. Now…if only.