However painfully overcast the current situation is, we should not see it as totally dark. Those “rays of light” must be sought, and nurtured, even as we see what is going on with clear eyes and face it with stiff spines.
Turning back to the Iran situation and Congress, which is not exactly a situation bathed in light, I want to add just a couple of thoughts.
Following are names of key Democratic Senators who have not yet publicly declared their positions on the Iran vote. If you live in one of the states they represent, please, let your Senator hear from you, and from family and friends in-state, with an urgent request that they vote against the deal. We cannot give up:
Gary Peters, Michigan; Joe Manchin, West Virginia.  499 5685; Ben Cardin, Maryland.  499 6153; Bob Casey, Pennsylvania; Mark Warner, Virginia; Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut; and Cory Booker, New Jersey.
I left Booker for last because I have further thoughts about him. I have written about his situation before, and (I would like to be wrong) what I am seeing is that he is under huge pressure from the administration – pressure that in the end may well trump his closeness to Jewish community. I understand he has significant supporters among the ultra-Orthodox in Lakewood and, he is, of course, particularly close to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. I just learned yesterday – if what I read is correct (with thanks to Chana G. for pointing it out) – that Hillary recently had a fundraiser in Long Island, and Booker was invited to attend. There is the suggestion that he is being cultivated – he is an up-and-coming in Democratic circles. (His cultivation, I suspect, is enhanced by the current situation.)
So the challenge to him is whether he is prepared to put what is right first, even if it turns out to be politically inconvenient and impinges on his burgeoning career aspirations. I have read descriptions from Rabbi Boteach of how Booker studied Torah and even taught Torah. All very nice, I suppose. But what does it mean in the end? Senator Booker should be asked this question. Especially by people in Lakewood. Maybe he is quiet now, and yet will do what is right in the end. But, if you are in NJ, help him on his way, please. Were he to declare his stand against the deal soon, it would have considerable impact – which the administration clearly recognizes.
http://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=contact (202) 224-3224 (973) 639-8700
And then I mention this:
I have picked up a report that Prime Minister Netanyahu believes the opposition in Congress to the deal is growing. Certainly the more the facts of the deal are exposed, the greater the number of people likely to vote against it. What is anticipated by the Israeli government is that there will be a sufficient number to defeat the deal on its first go-round, but quite possibly not enough to defeat Obama’s veto. (Although perhaps this could change if even more that is horrendous is exposed.)
What Netanyahu says he is looking for is what he refers to as a “resounding moral majority,” which will provide Israel with greater legitimacy when it comes to exposing Iranian violations of the deal (and perhaps for other reasons as well).
This position helps explain why it is worth continuing to campaign with members of Congress even if the desired goal might not be reached.
Similar reasoning applies with regard to why it is worth pursuing this with Congress even though the UN has already voted to lift sanctions. A certain moral weight, which should not be discounted, would hold sway if Congress did defeat Obama’s veto. What is more, it is said that if the US sustained sanctions, it would have some dampening effect on those seeking to deal with Iran – who would then be penalized in dealings with the US.
Now here is something that is truly good, and has made me and my associates in the Legal Grounds Campaign very happy (emphasis added):
President Ruby Rivlin, speaking to heads of regional councils in Judea and Samaria at his Jerusalem residence yesterday, said that the Jewish right to the land of Israel is not up for “political debate.”
“It is a fundamental fact of modern Zionism. We must not let anyone have the feeling that we doubt our right to the land.”
“In the last few months, and especially in the last few days, the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria has been dealing with grave terror attacks. Thus, in these days our meeting is especially important. As always, the pioneers walking ahead of the camp meet the toughest resistance, and pay, together with IDF soldiers, a heavy price.
“We have to cope. We have the ability to cope with the current wave of terror, to fight against it, and not to give anyone the power to disrupt daily life. We must be an iron wall, a strong shield against those who wish to rise against us.”
Right on! President Rivlin, for speaking straight.
You can email the president’s residence at: firstname.lastname@example.org I would like to suggest you thank him for his clear position on Judea and Samaria. He might like to know that he is appreciated.
And then, using Ruby Rivlin as a model of the position that should be taken in the face of challenges to our rights to the land, I want to take a quick look at precisely what should not be done:
Just one week ago, head of the opposition Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Union), alarmed about increasing numbers of terrorist attacks, went to see Mahmoud Abbas of the PA in Ramallah. Speaking to the press after the meeting (alone, Abbas did not join him), he said that the concern was to prevent a “third intifada.” To that end:
“…we must combat terror on the one hand aggressively, and on the other hand move toward a diplomatic process…We must ignite the process yet again and give it another effort…We must not miss this opportunity.”
Declaring that a peace agreement could be reached in two years time, he said he would continue “trying to convince the public in Israel of the need for a diplomatic process.”
This man is not only a colossal fool, he is dangerous. And I would like to disabuse anyone who may have been attracted to what he said of the notion that there is wisdom in “igniting” [what an inappropriate word] the peace process. There is NO “opportunity.”
Compare this to Rivlin’s remark about the need to be an iron wall against those who would rise up against us. Herzog is conveying cowardice: The message he delivered is that he is afraid, and so, in the face of Arab violence he runs to give them part of our land. This sort of appeasement backfires. It is a signal to attack further for more concessions.
The entire idea of giving even part of Judea and Samaria to the Arabs at this point – important nationalist ideology aside – is suicidal. Yesterday I wrote about Hezbollah working to recruit disgruntled members of Fatah in Judea and Samaria to attack Jews.
As to Abbas, there are reports that he has resigned from his leadership position in the PLO – although some reports question whether he is serious in his intent. What is being said is that he is retaining only his position as president in the PA.
That makes me laugh. The world pretty much chooses to ignore the fact that his term of office ran out in January 2009. There have not been new elections, because of lack of political stability in the PA and fears that Hamas might win such elections.
Think for a moment, if you will, about what sort of “state” there would be if Israel negotiated its existence with the PA. It would last perhaps two weeks.
Abbas has no credibility, and there have been many fresh charges surfacing of enormous PA corruption that he has never addressed.
Of late, he keeps insisting that he is going to visit “sister Iran,” even though in Tehran they say they don’t want to see him.
At almost 80, he is a worn-out, failed man who grabs at straws. Wait until Obama and the EU start telling us again that he is our “peace partner.”
Hamas, I will table for a future posting.
Other news that we can consider encouraging at one level or another:
“Anwar Eshki, a retired major general in the Saudi armed forces, has made it his personal goal to strike peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
“A former top adviser to the Saudi government, Eshki raised eyebrows in June when he appeared alongside Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General and longtime confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Dore Gold at a conference held by the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC, espousing desires to build a Saudi-Israel peace, especially to counter the regionally destabilizing expansion of Iran.
“’The main project between me and Dore Gold is to bring peace between Arab countries and Israel,’ said Eshki (left, with Gold, in the picture below).
“The former general noted that while the initiative is ‘personal,’ Riyadh ‘knows about the project’ and ‘isn’t against it, because we need peace.’”
No “done deal,” but perhaps a start. Our prime minister refers from time to time about possibilities of peace with our Arab neighbors.
If this is true, it is most interesting:
“Eshki said Israeli and Saudi plans for their shared principal enemy Iran do not completely align, especially regarding an Israeli strike against Iran. He added, however, that Israel would be interested in dealing first with the threat posed by Iran’s proxy in Lebanon and Syria, Hezbollah, before committing its military to countering the much larger and imposing threat of Iran.”
There is a certain logic to this, clearly, as it is anticipated that any hit on Iran would automatically generate a war with Hezbollah. And there is much talk about the possible imminence of conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Saudis, who are not confronting Hezbollah as Israel is, are terrified about Iran directly across the Persian Gulf and eager to see the danger reduced if not eliminated. For this they look to Israel.
News of action to defend our rights is always very welcome.
The residents of the community of Kfar Adumim, in the Judean dessert east of Jerusalem, in Area C – in cooperation with the organization Regavim – yesterday petitioned the High Court to order the Civil Administration to demolish 15 homes funded by the EU this year. Built on state land, they are illegal.
”The petition comes as the international community, including the EU and the US, is pressuring Israel not to demolish illegal Palestinian buildings – modular structures with cement floors.
“’We had no choice but to turn to the High Court of Justice because the Defense Ministry and the Civil Administration failed to respond to us [on this matter],’ Regavim said in a statement.
It noted that illegal building was a criminal offense. (Emphasis added here and following.)
”By funding such construction, it said, the EU is acting unilaterally in Area C to help the Palestinian Authority annex that territory for its future state.
“’The criminal intervention of foreign governments in territory under the responsibility of another nation should not be tolerated,’ it added, explaining that such action is a breach of both the Oslo Accords and agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.’”
I’ve written about this situation before and you will be hearing a great deal more on it soon. The Civil Administration, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense, is the administrative authority in Judea and Samaria. Unfortunately, international pressure has an “inhibiting” effect on its readiness to act in cases such as this one.
Big bad Israelis depriving poor Arabs of homes, goes the international charge, when in point of fact these Arabs are deliberately being moved from PA areas to Israeli-controlled Area C.
And so Bravo! to Regavim for the important work they do.
The Financial Times reports that in recent months Israel has imported three-quarters of its oil from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq. These purchases are accomplished via complex, secretive deals, as I understand it, through Turkey.
What the purchases do is give an important boost to the cash-strapped Kurds in their fight for full independence – a situation that should be encouraged. As I am reading it, the Kurds – who would in the end be positively pre-disposed to Israel, and would constructively change the dynamics in the region – are at present feeling vulnerable and prefer to remain reticent about their ties with Israel. Not an uncommon story. Until very recently it was true of the Saudis as well – with meetings kept quiet.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.
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