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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) : Did President Obama Just Launch an Economic Boycott of Israel?

Below is Senator Cruz's Full Statement

Did President Obama Just Launch an Economic Boycott of Israel?


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today questioned the Obama Administration’s decision to ban flights to Israel while, at the same time, announcing continuing aid that will be funneled to the terrorist organization, Hamas.

“Aiding Hamas while simultaneously isolating Israel does two things. One, it helps our enemy. Two, it hurts our ally,” said Sen. Cruz.

He added, “The facts suggest that President Obama has just used a federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel, in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands.”

Sen. Cruz is asking the Obama Administration to answer five specific questions regarding the FAA’s decision to suspend flights to Israel.

Sen. Cruz’s full statement is below.

“Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it was extending its ban on flights by U.S. carriers into Israel. The rationale was that because one Hamas-launch rocket had landed in a field one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport, the ‘potentially hazardous security situation created by the armed conflict between Israel and Gaza’ necessitated this extreme action that has so far cancelled some 160 flights and left tens of thousands stranded.

“Obviously, no one wants to place civilian travelers in harm’s way, and the recent downing of Malaysian Airways flight 17 by pro-Russian militants in Ukraine is a stark reminder of the dangers posed by regional unrest. But security concerns in Israel are hardly breaking news, and given the exceptional challenge Israel faces, Ben Gurion has rightly earned the reputation as one of the safest airports in the world due to the aggressive security measures implemented by the Israeli government.

“Given that some 2,000 rockets have been fired into Israel over the last six weeks, many of them at Tel Aviv, it seems curious to choose yesterday at noon to announce a flight ban, especially as the Obama Administration had to be aware of the punitive nature of this action.

“Tourism is an $11 billion industry for Israel, which is in the middle of a summer high season already seriously diminished by the conflict initiated by Hamas. Group tours have been cancelling at a 30% rate. This FAA flight ban may well represent a crippling blow to a key economic sector through both security concerns and worries that additional bans will down more flights and strand more passengers. It hardly matters if or when the ban is lifted. At this point, the damage may already be done.

“Even given the remarkable resilience and prosperity of its economy, Israel has always been vulnerable to economic blackmail. In the 1970s, we saw the Arab League boycott, which tried to punish any financial institution that did business with Israel.

“Today we have similar noxious efforts by the Boycott, Divest, Sanction or ‘BDS’ movement, which seeks to punish Israel for the fact that the militant terrorist elements embraced by the Palestinian Authority make any peace deal an intolerable security risk to Israel at this time. But the Obama Administration has refused to robustly denounce this effort to undermine our ally.

“Instead, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a veiled threat last February when he encouraged boycotts of Israel and said that absent serious Israeli concessions at the negotiating table, Israel’s economic prosperity was ‘not sustainable’ and ‘illusory.’ Secretary Kerry unfortunately reprised this theme just this April, when he threatened that Israel risked becoming an ‘apartheid state’ if Israel did not submit to his chosen solution to the Israel-Palestinian crisis.

“Taken in the context of Secretary Kerry’s comments, yesterday’s action by the FAA raises some serious questions:

Was this decision a political decision driven by the White House?

If the FAA’s decision was based on airline safety, why was Israel singled out, when flights would be permitted into Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen?

What was the FAA’s ‘safety’ analysis that led to prohibiting flights to Israel, while still permitting flights to Ukraine—where a commercial airline flight was just shot down with a BUK missile?
What specific communications occurred between the FAA and the White House? And the State Department? Why were any such communications necessary, if this was purely about airline safety?

Was this a safety issue, or was it using a federal regulatory agency to punish Israel to try to force them to comply with Secretary Kerry’s demand that Israel stop their military effort to take out Hamas’s rocket capacity?

“When Secretary Kerry arrived in Cairo this week his first act was to announce $47 million in additional aid to Gaza, which is in effect $47 million for Hamas. In short order, this travel ban was announced by the FAA. Aiding Hamas while simultaneously isolating Israel does two things. One, it helps our enemy. Two, it hurts our ally.

“Until these serious questions are answered, the facts suggest that President Obama has just used a federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel, in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands.

“If so, Congress should demand answers.”

EXPOSED: Senator John Walsh (D-MT) Plagiarized His Master's Thesis

In a controversial move this past February,  the retiring Max Baucus was appointed U.S. Ambassador to China, so that John Walsh could be appointed as a replacement and run to replace Baucus with the added advantage of being an incumbent. Now Walsh is being hit with another scandal. The NY Times is reporting An examination of the thesis paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.

Walsh, has made his military service a main selling point for his campaign, as it should be for any veteran. The military's teachings of service, honor and responsibility is an ideal background for a legislator. But it seems that Walsh has dishonored his service by plagiarizing his master's thesis.
Most strikingly, each of the six recommendations Mr. Walsh laid out at the conclusion of his 14-page paper, titled “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,” is taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document on the same topic.

In his third recommendation, for example, Mr. Walsh writes: “Democracy promoters need to engage as much as possible in a dialogue with a wide cross section of influential elites: mainstream academics, journalists, moderate Islamists, and members of the professional associations who play a political role in some Arab countries, rather than only the narrow world of westernized democracy and human rights advocates.”

The same exact sentence appears on the sixth page of a 2002 Carnegie paper written by four scholars at the research institute. In all, Mr. Walsh’s recommendations section runs to more than 800 words, nearly all of it taken verbatim from the Carnegie paper, without any footnote or reference to it. In addition, significant portions of the language in Mr. Walsh’s paper can be found in a 1998 essay by a scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a research institute at Harvard.
Even worse than stealing the prose, the Times demonstrates how Walsh stole his critical thinking at the end of the paper from others. The Times provides a great interactive graphic outline which parts of the paper were stolen from others. But as a visual take a look at the screen shot below from the graphic, the areas highlighted in red were taken from other papers without attribution.

In an interview outside his Capitol Hill office on Tuesday, after he was presented with multiple examples of identical passages from his paper and the Carnegie and Harvard essays, Mr. Walsh said he did not believe he had done anything wrong.

“I didn’t do anything intentional here,” he said, adding that he did not recall using the Carnegie and Harvard sources.

But on Wednesday, a campaign aide for Mr. Walsh walked back the denial, she did not contest the plagiarism but said that it should be looked at in the context of his entire career.
She said Mr. Walsh was going through a difficult period at the time he wrote the paper, noting that one of the members of his unit from Iraq had committed suicide in 2007, weeks before it was due.
While I am sympathetic to Walsh's difficult period, beyond the plagiarizing Senator from Utah there are 16 other members of Congress who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, I am not aware of any others who cheated their way to a masters degree.

If you wish to read the full NY Times report CLICK HERE.

Tonight At 10PM EDT The Israel Project’s Omri Ceren Talks About The Middle East Conflict on The Hump Day News Report

Israel Project’s Omri Ceren – Hump Day News Report 7/23 LIVE 10PM EDT

Click Here To Listen

Our guest tonight will be Omri Ceren, Former Blogger at Mere Rhetoric, Executive Vice President and Principal at LynxDC and Senior Advisor for Strategy at The Israel Project (TIP).
Ceren is a political operative, journalist, and academic who has been involved in politics and media for almost a decade.OmriCeren
Ceren is a PhD Candidate at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, with expertise in political persuasion, media influence, and the use of new communication technologies.
He was involved in academic policy debate as both an undergraduate debater and a coach, and from 2002 to 2008 he helped coach teams from Dartmouth College and then from the University of Southern California.
Ceren has been involved in journalism since 2003, and has been a formal contributor to over a dozen outlets and blogs on issues ranging from international geopolitics to market dynamics to social media branding.
He has been published in magazines such as Commentary, in international outlets such as The Jerusalem Post, and in local media such as The Los Angeles Jewish Journal. His investigative journalism has been cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, the BBC, Reuters, the Associated Press, The Jerusalem Post, and dozens of other outlets.
Listen in for an informative conversation about what’s really happening in Israel right now: the media and talking heads seem to be very influenced by Palestinian publicists, rather than the true state of affairs. With Omri’s help, we’ll set the record straight!

Follow Jeff on Twitter at @yidwithlid, Omri at @cerenomri, and me at@tamij

Ban On Flights To Tel Aviv-->It's Not About Hamas Rockets. It's A Warning From Obama

Following a firing of a Hamas rocket near a house in Yehud, about a mile away from Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. The rocket didn't actually hit the house; the house was hit by the  remnants of the rocket after Iron Dome destroyed it. Almost immediately the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) placed a ban of at least 24 hours on American planes flying to Israel. There is some evidence that the FAA ban was sent as a warning to Israel from President Obama

Soon after the FAA decision, Lufthansa announced a 36-hour suspension that included subsidiaries Germanwings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss, and Air France announced its own indefinite suspension.

Three hours later, the European Aviation Safety Agency issued a "strong recommendation" that airlines should avoid Tel Aviv, joining action by US authorities as conflict continued on the Gaza Strip.

Many in the mainstream media said the moves were an over-reaction because of the downing of the Malaysian Air flight by Ukrainian separatists last week. Others contend the ban was an Obama warning to Israel to play nice or we damage your tourism industry.

 Eugene Kontorovich pointed out in Commentary:
The subtext here is that Israel has a sword at its neck: face a private-sector no-fly zone or agree to a cease-fire that lets Hamas keep its rockets, and thus close Ben Gurion Airport again at the time of its choosing. It is a lose-lose proposition. 
(...) The West Bank is vastly larger and closer to central Israel than Gaza. What Hamas could do periodically and with great difficulty will be a daily occurrence. Israel would be able to survive, but with a sword at its neck, and on terms constantly dictated by the Palestinians, and whoever is ultimately in charge of the FAA.

Indeed, the decision-making behind the FAA ban demands investigation. Ben Gurion remains an extremely safe airport. The FAA had many various measures short of a flight ban, like warnings, that it could have imposed. The FAA only warns airlines about flying to Afghanistan; it does not ban them. And the FAA move comes the day after a general State Department warning about Israel–though far more people were killed in Chicago on Fourth of July weekend than in the Jewish state since the start of the Gaza campaign.
Indeed, J.E. Dyer points out at Liberty Unyielding airports outside of Israel have had planes attacked without facing a no fly order:
I would cite the example of Pakistan, where there have been multiple, very serious attacks on commercial airports in recent months, including an attack on an airliner in Peshawar, this one on the airport in Karachi, and an earlier one involving Taliban rocket fire in Peshawar. In terms of the type of threat posed, the Pakistan Taliban is a fairly exact analogy to what Hamas can threaten Ben Gurion in Lod, Israel with – except that Israel does a much better job of securing Ben Gurion against the Hamas threat. In none of the instances in Pakistan has the FAA banned U.S. carriers from flying in and out of the Pakistani airports. At most, it has issued safety warnings.

(...)The prohibition on Ben Gurion is uniquely stringent, and inconsistent with FAA practices elsewhere. It also had to be approved by Obama. Israel is an ally, one of America’s closest partners in the world. Cutting off her commercial airport from U.S. carriers is inherently a presidential-level decision, and Obama is responsible whether he made it or not.
 Last night Netanyahu appealed to John Kerry to try and get the FAA ban rescinded:
Netanyahu spoke this evening with ... Kerry and asked him to act to restore flights by American airline companies to Israel," sources in Netanyahu's office told AFP.
Kerry said the order would be reviewed within in a day and told Netanyahu the ban was solely due to safety concerns, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Tourism is essential to Israel's economy and there is certainly enough evidence that the FAA ban as temporary as it may be is a warning to Israel, "submit or lose a big part of your economy."

Witness the fact that El Al is still flying. Some may say that of course it is flying, it is Israel's airline, but they don't understand Israel's tourist industry. Because tourism is so important to Israel's economy El Al would not risk the chance of a major public catastrophe if there was the slightest chance of a rocket hitting a plane. That would damage the tourism industry for a lot longer than a short travel ban from the FAA.

The lack of a valid threat may be the reason why Secretary of State Kerry felt safe to fly into Tel Aviv this morning.

A few hours after the FAA decision Bloomberg said he was getting on a flight to Tel Aviv, announcing the trip on his website:
This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel. Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel.
I very rarely agree with Mayor Bloomberg, but this time he is right.  However the Mayor shouldn't be urging the FAA, the real culprit may live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zbigniew Brzezinski Spews Anti-Israel Hatred on Morning Joe

Sometime during his life Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must have dealt a major affront to Zbigniew Brzezinski, because today on Morning Joe Jimmy Carter's National Security Director (and host Mika's father) not only blamed Israel for the present Middle East conflict but also launched into a venomous attack on the Israeli prime minister.

Discussing the present conflict between Israel and Hamas with the Morning Joe panel were former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Brzezinski. Albright was questioned first being asked about a Netanyahu interview in which the prime minister explained he had to protect his people, using the phrase, "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."
Albright: Well, John Kerry is in Cairo. He is dealing with a proposal made by the Egyptians on a cease-fire along with other countries in the region to push for a cease-fire. Along with other countries in the region to push for a cease-fire. I think that is an absolutely essential aspect of this. John Kerry has devoted an incredible amount of time and energy to try to get the parties together. We know what the answers are to this problem. It's a two-state solution, and a number of the various aspects that all of the Americans have been working on for many years. It takes political will on both sides to make this happen. And I’m very glad that John Kerry is working so hard on this. But ultimately, it's the parties in the region that have to make the decisions. This is a massive tragedy again. And it's very hard to disagree with Prime Minister Netanyahu if you're being attacked, how you defend yourself. The question is the proportionality of it.
Mika Brzezinski turned it over to Mike Barnicle to question her father, who answered with venom:
Barnicle: Dr. Brzezinski, we just heard Prime Minister Netanyahu say a man's got to do what a man's got to do. My question to you, in the Middle East, the men leading Israel, the men leading Hamas, the men leading other institutions, political institutions in Gaza and throughout the Middle East, are any of them man enough to sit down and cut a cease-fire deal?

Brzezinski: I think there are some politicians in Israel who are men enough and women enough to do that. I don't include Prime Minister Netanyahu in that category. I think Madeleine put it extremely well. The issue is larger than just Gaza. The issue is peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The peace, if there were one, would result in a large measure of the problem in Gaza. The fact is that honest, dedicated efforts to produce that peace by our Secretary of State, by the President of the United States, by previous leaders of the United States previous Secretary of States of the United States like Madeleine, for example, have made that effort. It's been scuttled by Mr. Netanyahu. That's the fact of the matter. How can you have peace if at the same time someone is incorporating the territory that is at issue, is building on it, is indicating that most of the territory will be part of Israel and that the Palestinians can be a second-class minority and essentially a militant Israeli state? Most Israelis don't support that. Most Israelis are in favor of peace. The majority of the American-Jewish community is in favor of peace. But the ideologues, hard-liners, the ones that promulgate confrontation are in charge, and that's what's so hard and so disgustingly destructive for both Israelis and the Palestinians.
Ignoring the truth, Brzezinski blames everything on Netanyahu, ignoring the fact that Netanyahu has been Prime Minister for only nine of fifty-four years since Brzezinski began to advise JFK, or that when Madeline Albright was the Secretary of State Israel cut a deal where the Palestinians would receive 98% of what they asked for, but Yassir Arafat walked away from the deal and started the second Intifada. His statement that Israel wants most of the disputed territory to be part of Israel is also false. He also ignores the fact that Israel disengaged from Gaza in August of 2005.

Brzezinski called Netanyahu an ideologue, but if you read Madeline Albright's answer to the same question (asked by Mark Halperin) it becomes clear that it is Brzezinski who is the ideologue. His views are ruled by his hatred of Israel and his hatred of Benjamin Netanyahu:
Halperin: Secretary Albright, do you trust Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli Government, the Israeli military to have proportionality in this ongoing military operation?

Albright: I don't think it's a matter of trust. It's a matter of the fact that they need to understand that, in fact, they are losing their moral authority. We all, I think, believe in the security of Israel. It's absolutely essential. They are our friends and allies. But I do think that it is important to accept a cease-fire. The truth is that Prime Minister Netanyahu has, in fact, a couple of times said that he would go forward with a cease-fire. It's Hamas that is not responding to it. And part of the problem here is that while the relationship between Egypt and Israel has been useful over the years, part of the problem is that President Sisi does not have the same relationship with Hamas. There is the problem with trying to get Hamas to accept a cease-fire.
The sick part of Zbigniew Brzezinski's appearance is he was unusually well-behaved, usually he will add some anti-Semitic meme such as those rich Jews are controlling Congress.