Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Give Us a Break!"

Arlene Kushner

Netanyahu (who is in Toronto, where he participated in a pro-Israel rally) is going to the White House this week: It's a command performance -- commanded by the president, that is. The prime minister couldn't easily say, "Sorry, I choose not to come." It wouldn't be realistic to expect that of him -- he does not have that sort of resolute stamina. Though I not only wish he would, but think he should. Expectations are that the president will be all "kissy-kissy" as he endeavors to show how he loves Israel and the Jewish people.

After all, he held a White House reception last Thursday for Jewish American Heritage Month. What could be bad? Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax was his guest. Doesn't that fix things?

Delegations from various Jewish federations across the country came to Washington in the last few days as well to meet with administration officials and receive assurances of how strong US-Israel ties are.

I find it all rather unbearable.


Theories abound as to why he's doing this: because he's concerned about Democratic success in the November congressional elections, because there's been too much pressure on him for how he's treated Israel, or because he thinks he'll get more concessions from us with regard to the "peace process," and thereby be able to flaunt his success.

It may be one of the above, or all -- I am not going to belabor this now. You may want to see Caroline Glick's take on the situation, in her article, "Netanyahu, Obama's newest prop":

Her point, basically, is that this is for show -- for whatever reason, and that Obama has not essentially changed his policy towards us one iota.

Not only do I concur, I offer disturbing evidence here of the underlying hostility the president bears us. He is exhibiting enormous willingness to undermine our security -- and behave deceptively -- even as he opens his arms to embrace Netanyahu. If I were the prime minister, I'd watch my back.


As many of you are aware, Obama was tremendously supportive of, and even promoted, the international non-proliferation treaty review conference, which has just finished meeting at UN headquarters in New York. On Friday, the review conference passed a resolution, with 189 signatories, that calls for a conference in 2012 to push for a nuclear free Middle East, and speaks of appointing a special coordinator to visit the region and prepare for such a conference.

The resolution singles out Israel -- the only country mentioned by name -- calling upon her to sign the NPT and open herself to international inspection. But it does not mention Iran, which is a signatory of the treaty and in violation as it seeks to develop nuclear weapons.


To no avail in recent weeks, Netanyahu implored Obama not to pursue this path: At the conference on Friday, the US delegation voted for the resolution.

Then, after the fact, Obama had the unmitigated gall to declare the resolution unfair to Israel. Yes, he said, he is for a nuclear-free Middle East, but first the nations of the region must recognize Israel's right to exist, sign peace agreements, enter into security arrangements, limit arsenals of weaponry, etc.

There is no one, but no one, who imagines that all of this will happen by 2012. So, then, if these are necessary precursors to a nuclear-free Middle East, why sanction a conference in two years?

This time he cannot play it both ways at the same time: his actions are too public and too blatant. What he has done is to betray Israel. As Yossi Melman put it in Haaretz: Obama sacrificed Israel for the success of the conference.


The official response put out by the Israeli government said:

"This resolution is deeply flawed and hypocritical: It ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world.

"It singles out Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy and the only country threatened with annihilation. Yet the terrorist regime in Iran, which is racing to develop nuclear weapons and which openly threatens to wipe Israel off the map, is not even mentioned in the resolution.

"The real problem with Weapons Of Mass Destruction in the Middle East does not relate to Israel but to those countries that have signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and brazenly violated it – Iraq under Sadaam, Libya, Syria and Iran.

"That is why the resolution adopted by the NPT Review Conference not only fails to advance regional security but actually sets it back.

"As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this Conference, which has no authority over Israel.

"Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation."


The statement also says that the prime minister will discuss this with the president when they meet on Tuesday. Unfortunately, it additionally notes "the important clarifications that have been made by the United States regarding its policy."

That is, we've closed our eyes, at least publicly, to the duplicity of Obama, nodding in his direction with a note of appreciation for his objections after the fact.

And so, let's go my friends.

In the US, please, contact President Obama and tell him you are not fooled by Jewish receptions in the White House. With the US support for the NPT review conference resolution, he has gone further in undermining Israel's security than any US president ever has. There is no way that objections after the fact mitigate what he has done: He has betrayed Israel. Let him know that you are watching him closely and will spread the word everywhere you can.

Numbers, my friends! Numbers count, so get this out to undermine Obama's complacency.

Fax: 202-456-2461 White House Comment line: 202-456-1111

e-mail form via:


These are only disparate hints, and yet...

First, last week there was a report in the NYTimes indicating that last September General Petraeus signed a directive, the Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order:

"The seven-page directive appears to authorize specific operations in Iran, most likely to gather intelligence about the country’s nuclear program or identify dissident groups that might be useful for a future military offensive. The Obama administration insists that for the moment, it is committed to penalizing Iran for its nuclear activities only with diplomatic and economic sanctions. Nevertheless, the Pentagon has to draw up detailed war plans to be prepared in advance, in the event that President Obama ever authorizes a strike.

“'The Defense Department can’t be caught flat-footed,' said one Pentagon official with knowledge of General Petraeus’s order."

No promise of anything, but nice to know. Means it's true, at some level, that nothing is off the table.


Then, a report in today's JPost alludes to an article -- "Can a Nuclear Armed Iran be Deterred?" -- that appears in the current issue of Military Review. It is by Amitai Etzioni, American-Israeli professor at George Washington University. Attacking Iran's nuclear facilities might be very difficult, he says, because they are so well hidden and protected, in addition to which, some are in heavily populated areas. However, there is a "different military option": "The basic approach seeks not to degrade Iran's nuclear capacities...but to compel the regime to change its behavior by causing ever-higher levels of pain."

What Etzioni is suggesting is bombing of military bases, airports, bridges, railway stations and other infrastructure.

Notes the Post: "Neither Israel nor the United States has ever publicly spoken about the targets that they would bomb if they decide to attack Iran."

All very interesting.


Finally, today, the Sunday Times (London) reported that Israel is planning to permanently station at least one submarine carrying nuclear cruise missiles (we have three) in the Persian Gulf, within striking distance of Iran. from London is not authoritative. But this too provides a spark of hope. Maybe we won't be sitting ducks after all. It occurs to me that simply knowing the sub was there might have deterrence value sufficient to give Iran pause on certain matters such as unleashing Hezbollah on us with unconventional weapons.

If this story is true...


You may have seen a May 24th article in The Guardian (UK), or references to it, claiming that in 1975, then defense minister Shimon Peres offered to sell nuclear weapons to the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Since I've been asked about this, I would like to offer my conclusion that there is nothing to this charge. The office of president Peres put out an unequivocal denial in response to the article:

"There exists no basis in reality for the claims published this morning by The Guardian that in 1975 Israel negotiated with South Africa the exchange of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, The Guardian elected to write its piece based on the selective interpretation of South African documents and not on concrete facts.

"Israel has never negotiated the exchange of nuclear weapons with South Africa. There exists no Israeli document or Israeli signature on a document that such negotiations took place.

"The Office of the President regrets The Guardian’s decision to publish such an article without requesting comment from any Israeli officials."


Elsewhere, as well, I've seen material that refutes this claim. My impression is two-fold: First that this charge is being made in part out of an attempt to link Israel, as an "apartheid" state, with the state that was apartheid. And two, I believe the South Africans may well have sought nuclear weapons from us -- there is talk of "South African documents" -- but that they did not receive a positive response from us.


According to Khaled Abu Toameh, over the weekend PA president Mahmoud Abbas declared that the PA considers the US and not Israel to be its negotiating partner.

According to Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee, Abbas told US envoy George Mitchell that the PA does not believe that the government of Netanyahu is a real peace partner.

Well, we knew this because of the dynamics that are clear for all to see. But here it is explicitly said.

What nonsense. The PA cannot make "peace" with Israel by negotiating with the US, even though this is what it clearly hopes to do.


The Flotilla is apparently on its way. Stories vary with regard to how many ships actually departed; they apparently left Cyprus yesterday and traveled a way and then stopped -- either because of malfunctions or some convoluted plans in terms of how to proceed. Arrival is projected for tomorrow.

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