Archive for April 13th, 2010

Israel first Mayor Koch: Obama Slanders, Abandons Israel


Obama Slanders, Abandons Israel

By: Edward I. Koch

I weep as I witness outrageous verbal attacks on Israel. What makes these verbal assaults and distortions all the more painful is that they are being orchestrated by President Obama.

For me, the situation today recalls what occurred in 70 A.D. when the Roman emperor Vespasian launched a military campaign against the Jewish nation and its ancient capital of Jerusalem.

Ultimately, Masada, a rock plateau in the Judean desert, became the last refuge of the Jewish people against the Roman onslaught. I have been to Jerusalem and Masada. From the top of Masada, you can still see the remains of the Roman fortifications and garrisons, and the stones and earth of the Roman siege ramp that was used to reach Masada.

The Jews of Masada committed suicide rather than let the Romans take them captive.

In Rome itself, I have seen the Arch of Titus with the sculpture showing enslaved Jews and the treasures of the Jewish temple with the menorah, the symbol of the Jewish state, being carted away as booty during the sacking of Jerusalem.

Oh, you may say, that is a far-fetched analogy. Please hear me out.

The most recent sacking of the old city of Jerusalem — its Jewish quarter — took place under the Jordanians in 1948 in the first war between the Jews and the Arabs, with at least five Muslim states — Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq — seeking to destroy the Jewish state.

At that time, Jordan conquered East Jerusalem and the West Bank and expelled every Jew living in the Jewish quarter of the old city, destroying every building, including the synagogues in the old quarter and expelling from every part of Judea and Samaria every Jew living there so that for the first time in thousands of years, the old walled city of Jerusalem and the adjacent West Bank were “Judenrein,” a term used by the Nazis to indicate the forced removal or murder of all Jews.

Jews had lived for centuries in Hebron, the city where Abraham, the first Jew, pitched his tent and where he now lies buried, it is believed, in a tomb with his wife, Sarah, as well as other ancient Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs.

I have visited that tomb and at the time asked an Israeli soldier guarding it (so that it was open to all pilgrims, Christians, Muslims, and Jews) “where is the seventh step leading to the tomb of Abraham and Sarah,” which was the furthest entry for Jews when the Muslims were the authority controlling the holy place?

He replied, “When we retook and reunited the whole city of Jerusalem and conquered the West Bank in 1967, we removed the steps, so now everyone can enter,” whereas when Muslims were in charge of the tomb, no Jew could enter it.

And I did.

I am not a religious person. I am comfortable in a synagogue, but generally attend only twice a year, on the high holidays.

When I entered the tomb of Abraham and Sarah, as I recall, I felt connected with my past and the traditions of my people. One is a Jew first by birth and then by religion.

Those who leave their religion, remain Jews forever by virtue of their birth. If they don’t think so, let them ask their neighbors, who will remind them.

I recall the words of the columnist Robert Novak, who was for most of his life hostile to the Jewish state of Israel, in an interview with a reporter stating that, although he had converted to Catholicism, he was still a cultural Jew.

I remain with pride a Jew both by religion and culture.

My support for the Jewish state has been long and steadfast. Never have I thought that I would leave the U.S. to go and live in Israel.

My loyalty and love is first to the U.S. which has given me, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, so much. But, I have also long been cognizant of the fact that every night when I went to sleep in peace and safety, there were Jewish communities around the world in danger. And there was one country, Israel, that would give them sanctuary and would send its soldiers to fight for them and deliver them from evil, as Israel did at Entebbe in 1976.

I weep today because my president, Barack Obama, in a few weeks has changed the relationship between the U.S. and Israel from that of closest of allies to one in which there is an absence of trust on both sides.

The contrast between how the president and his administration deals with Israel and how it has decided to deal with the Karzai administration in Afghanistan is striking.

The Karzai administration, which operates a corrupt and opium-producing state, refuses to change its corrupt ways — the president’s own brother is believed by many to run the drug traffic taking place in Afghanistan — and shows the utmost contempt for the U.S., is being hailed by the Obama administration as an ally and publicly treated with dignity.

Karzai recently even threatened to join the Taliban if we don’t stop making demands on him.

Nevertheless, Karzai is receiving a gracious thank-you letter from President Obama. The New York Times on April 10 reported, “Mr. Obama had sent Mr. Karzai a thank-you note expressing gratitude to the Afghan leader for dinner in Kabul. ‘It was a respectful letter,’ General Jones said.”

On the other hand, our closest ally, the one with the special relationship with the U.S., has been demeaned and slandered, held responsible by the administration for our problems in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. The plan, I suspect, is to so weaken the resolve of the Jewish state and its leaders that it will be much easier to impose on Israel an American plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leaving Israel’s needs for security and defensible borders in the lurch.

I believe President Obama’s policy is to create a whole new relationship with the Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, and Iraq as a counter to Iran, the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Muslim world, which we are now prepared to see in possession of a nuclear weapon.

If throwing Israel under the bus is needed to accomplish this alliance, so be it.

I am shocked by the lack of outrage on the part of Israel’s most ardent supporters. The members of AIPAC, the chief pro-Israel lobbying organization in Washington, gave Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a standing ovation after she had carried out the instructions of President Obama and, in a 43-minute telephone call, angrily hectored Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Members of Congress in both the House and Senate have made pitifully weak statements against Obama’s mistreatment of Israel, if they made any at all. The Democratic members, in particular, are weak.

They are simply afraid to criticize President Obama.

What bothers me most of all is the shameful silence and lack of action by community leaders — Jew and Christian. Where are they?

If this were a civil rights matter, the Jews would be in the mall in Washington protesting with and on behalf of our fellow American citizens.

I asked one prominent Jewish leader why no one is preparing a march on Washington similar to the one in 1963 at which I was present and Martin Luther King’s memorable speech was given.

His reply was, “Fifty people might come.” Remember the 1930s? Few stood up. They were silent.

Remember the most insightful statement of one of our greatest teachers, Rabbi Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”

We have indeed stood up for everyone else. When will we stand up for our brothers and sisters living in the Jewish state of Israel?

If Obama is seeking to build a siege ramp around Israel, the Jews of modern Israel will not commit suicide. They are willing to negotiate a settlement with the Palestinians, but they will not allow themselves to be bullied into following self-destructive policies.

To those who call me an alarmist, I reply that I’ll be happy to apologize if I am proved wrong. But those who stand silently by and watch the Obama administration abandon Israel, to whom will they apologize?

Israel first Lieberman: U.S. Should Attack Iran’s Nuclear Program If All Else Fails


Lieberman: U.S. Should Attack Iran’s Nuclear Program If All Else Fails

By: Jim Meyers

Sen. Joe Lieberman says the world is at a “turning point in history,” and the United States should begin preparing plans to attack Iran’s nuclear program — and use that option if all diplomatic and other means fail.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, the Connecticut independent discloses that he probably will run for re-election in 2012, most likely as independent, and eschew the Democratic and Republican lines, although he notes that “anything is possible.”

He also says Sarah Palin has become a spokeswoman for disaffected Americans – and maintains that the Obama administration has made a mistake in vowing not to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear entity.

In the interview, Newsmax chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler noted that a recent CIA report said Iran is capable of starting the development of nuclear weapons at any moment, and asked if the time has come to use military force to halt that development.

“I don’t think it’s time to use military force against Iran, but I certainly think it’s time for the United States to have plans that will enable us to use force to stop the Iranian nuclear program if the president orders such an attack,” says Lieberman, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

“And I think it’s deeply important that the fanatical leadership in Iran understands that we are very serious about their nuclear weapons program, and when we say it’s unacceptable for Iran to go nuclear, we mean it — that we can and will do everything to stop Iran from going nuclear.

“The next step is tough sanctions, economic sanctions. Frankly it’s a last chance for Iran to avoid giving the rest of the world, including the United States, a hard choice between allowing Iran to go nuclear and using military power to stop them from doing that.

“I cannot stress enough that this is a turning point in history. If we allow Iran to become a nuclear power, the world becomes terribly more unsafe for everybody. It’s the end of the global nuclear nonproliferation attempts. All the work that President Obama’s doing on the START treaty, trying to keep nukes from terrorists — if Iran goes nuclear, that’s over.”

Chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians would also be over, Lieberman adds, “because the clients of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, strengthened by an Iranian nuclear umbrella, will turn more ferocious, not just against Israel but first against their enemies among the Palestinians, which is the current leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

“We’re going to be tested here. All the world is going to be tested, and it’s a test that will affect the future of our children and grandchildren and everybody all around the world.”

Lieberman takes issue with the Obama administration’s declaration that the United States would not use nuclear weapons to respond to an attack with biological or chemical weapons if the attackers do not possess nuclear weapons.

He says he prefers the “appropriate ambiguity” that has been U.S. policy until now.

“Anyone contemplating an attack against us, a nation or a non-state attacker like al-Qaida, wouldn’t quite know how we would respond,” he tells Kessler. “In other words, we reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in response if the attack by biological, chemical or anything else was bad enough.”

But he says the administration’s new stance is “a little bit like Swiss cheese — it’s full of so many holes that if some country attacked us, a serious biological terror attack, there would be plenty of reasons an American administration could find to use nuclear weapons.

“I want any nation thinking about doing anything as extreme as to attack America with biological or chemical weapons to fear that we would respond with a nuclear attack. I hope we never get to that point, but I want our enemies to be uncertain and afraid.”

Kessler asked Lieberman about the Obama administration’s decision to remove the term “Islamic extremists” from the official U.S. National Security Strategy and use “violent extremists” instead.

“I don’t understand it. I think it’s fundamentally dishonest,” the senator said. “I don’t think it gains us anything in the Muslim world. In fact, I think it probably loses us some support in the Muslim world.

“We’re in a war not with some nebulous group of violent extremists. We’re not in a war with environmental extremists or white extremists. We’re in a war with violent Islamist extremists and terrorists. The people who attacked us on 9/11 were not just violent and extreme, they were motivated by an ideology of Islamist extremism which took the religion of Islam and essentially transformed it into a radical political ideology.

“And if we don’t call it what it is, first off we’re violating the first rule of war, know your enemy. Secondly, how do you defeat your enemy unless you describe it as what it is? And third, in many ways this is an ideological conflict between one set of values and this violent Islamist extremist ideology. Most people in the Muslim world reject this ideology. But if we don’t say there’s a difference between most Muslims in the world and the violent Islamist extremists and terrorists, I think we’re disrespecting most of the Muslims.

“Frankly, I think our enemies among the Islamist extremists must be laughing at this word game, and our friends in the Muslim world can’t be encouraged by it.”

Regarding Israel, Lieberman says some of the steps Obama has taken, such as demanding a freeze on the building of Israeli settlements, don’t help the peace process and are in fact “missteps.”

He referred to a speech that Vice President Joe Biden recently gave in Israel, in which Biden pointed out that the only time progress toward peace has been made between Israelis and their Arab neighbors is when there has been “absolutely no space” between the United States and Israel.

“I’m afraid that now there is some space,” Lieberman says.

“And it’s in the interests of the United States and Israel and our Arab allies to close that space, particularly because all of us have a much larger common enemy — and that is Iran with a nuclear weapon.”

Lieberman says Democrats appear to be in trouble with respect to the November elections, because independents who largely supported Obama in 2008 have turned against him due to concerns about the deficit and the economy.

Things could change between now and November, he adds, but he acknowledges that the “momentum” is with the Republicans right now.

Asked by Kessler about the success of Sarah Palin in galvanizing a following, Lieberman responds: “I got to know her a little bit during the 2008 campaign when I was campaigning for John McCain. She’s a very warm and likable person.

“I think Sarah Palin for a lot of people has become a spokesperson. People worried that government has forgotten them, has grown too big, that the deficit is growing too large, and in some sense that we’re not being as strong as we should be in the world — Governor Palin has spoken to those concerns as much as anyone.

“I do disagree with her on some of the specifics that she has said, but I think anybody who underestimates Sarah Palin as a political force in America does so at some peril, because she is speaking for a lot of people out there.

“I don’t know what her future is, but I’m just saying everybody should listen.”

Kessler asked the senator, who lost the Democratic primary in 2006 and was elected as an independent in the general election, whether he could see himself running as a Republican.

“I’ve been a Democrat all my life. I got rejected by the Democratic Party in 2006 and went on as an independent, and thank God and the people of Connecticut, I got re-elected.

“So I’m up again in 2012. I probably will run again. I’ve got to make that decision by the end of this year, I would say. You know, it’s possible. I haven’t decided what banner I would like to run under. Probably independent is the one that suits me best, because that’s what I am.

“In this very partisan time, it’s not my nature or my philosophy to just walk down one party road whether I think it’s right or not. I’m going to, like a lot of Americans, decide what makes the most sense on issue to issue and do what I think is right.

“So right now I’d probably be more inclined to run again as an independent. But anything is possible.”

Editor’s Note: See “Lieberman: Sarah Palin Can’t Be Underestimated.”

Editor’s Note: See: “Lieberman: Likely Running in 2012 as an Independent.”