Saturday, May 02, 2009


William Mehlman

The opacity of the Obama administration’s professed dedication to the safety and security of Israel becomes more pronounced with each passing week. Former U.S. ambassador Charles Freeman’s aborted appointment to the chairmanship of the president’s National Intelligence Council is history, but its reverberations refuse to subside. By now we all know why this appointment was aborted. The question that won’t go away is why it was ever made.

Given Freeman’s stellar performances riding shotgun for the Saudis and the Communist Chinese, even as the “goddess of democracy” was being systematically assaulted by their regimes, by what stretch of whose imagination was the ambassador deemed fit to be sifting national intelligence data, much less presiding over the process? “Don’t ask us,” could serve as a summation of the response of the President and his inner circle, their collective arms extended full length.

It was Freeman himself who let the cat out of the bag. Withdrawing his name from further consideration for the National Intelligence Council chairmanship, he issued what the Washington Post described as a “two-page screed “ in which he cast himself as the victim of an “Israeli lobby” whose “tactics plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency” and which is “intent on forcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government. The aim of this lobby,” he continued, “is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of their views…and the exclusion of any and all options for decisions by Americans and our government, other than those that it favors.”

While never having been mistaken for a member of Israel’s “amen” corner, even the Washington Post found all this a bit much to bear. “Yes, Mr. Freeman was referring to Americans who support Israel,” it declared in a March 12th editorial entitled “Peddling a Conspiracy Theory, “and his statement was a gross libel.” That the former ambassador feels the way he does about Israel is hardly news. He’s declared on more than one occasion that he thinks all of America’s problems with the Islamic world can be traced to its supposed open-ended support of the Jewish state. That Freeman thought he could predicate his withdrawal from the NIC nomination on an Israeli “conspiracy”, totally ignoring the furor he raised in Congress over his links to Saudi Arabia and China, says as much about the new atmosphere the Obama administration has brought to Washington as it does about himself.

Speaking to that subject in a recent Jerusalem Post column, Caroline Glick observed that “In the past, while anti-Israel politicians, policy makers and opinion shapers were accepted in Washington, they would not have felt comfortable brandishing their anti-Israel positions as qualifying credentials for high position. Freeman’s appointment showed that is no longer the case. Today in Washington there are powerful circles of political players for whom a person’s anti-Israel bona fides are his strongest suit.” Indeed, she goes on to note, Freeman’s defenders underscored his ambivalence toward Israel as their reason for defending him, even to the point of ignoring his assertion in one instance that America deserved the attacks launched upon it on September 11, 2001. “They felt the fact that he raised the hackles of Americans who support Israel,” she said, “was reason enough to support him. Whether his views on other issues are reasonable or not was of no interest to them.”

That they also seemed to be of little or no interest to the Obama people is clearly a cause for concern. Political toilet training being an incremental process, if the Freeman fiasco was an isolated matter, it might be passed off as one of those “accidents” that inevitably mark the crawling stages of every new administration in Washington. But there was nothing isolated about the Freeman appointment. It was illustrative of a pattern of highly questionable foreign policy appointments by this White House, bound by a common thread of antipathy toward Israel. Like that involving Freeman, some of the most controversial among them were not subject to Senate review and confirmation.

A Democratic controlled Senate might not have nixed the nominations of Samantha Power and Robert Malley to the National Security Council, but it would not have let them pass without some serious debate. Power, a Harvard genocide expert who served as one of Obama’s campaign advisors, is a product of the International Crisis Group, a think tank heavily funded by billionaire George Soros. Not surprisingly, it has made a specialty of bashing Israel. Power was part of the ICG directorate that voted to bestow its 2008 “Founders Award” on Soros, in acceptance of which the renowned arch-critic of Israel and all things Israeli praised it for its exemplary work on the “Palestine Question.” Power, who is heading up the National Security Council’s “Multilateral Institutions” section, stopped just short of accusing Israel of genocide for its 2002 Defensive Shield operation against Tanzim terrorists in Jenin, settling for a charge of “major human rights abuses.” But she has not been shy of suggesting the injection of U.S. military forces into Judea and Samaria to safeguard the “human rights” of the Palestinians.

Power doesn’t blanch at force majeure as an answer to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. With a heavy dollop of moral equivalence, she mused in a recent interview that “imposition of a solution on unwilling partners is dreadful. I mean it’s a terrible thing to do…but it’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deterrence to people who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people.”

Robert Malley, another horse out of the International Crisis Group stable, has been holding hands with Syrian dictator Bashir Assad since 2006. A former Clinton administration National Security Council honcho and key member of ICG’s Middle East policy team, he succeeded in winning for ICG a rare prize among American think tanks—an office in Damascus. Malley is believed to have been the mover behind Senator John Kerry’s February trip to Syria, highlighted by the senator’s effusive commendation of Assad, Hezbollah’s co-sponsor, for his valiant efforts on behalf of what turned out to be a still-born rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas. It was Malley who reportedly persuaded Obama to suspend further enforcement of U.S. sanctions against Syria and Malley who fired up the President’s enthusiasm for reopening the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, closed in February 2005 in response to Syria’s involvement in the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Frederic Hof, Obama’s choice for the Damascus ambassadorial post, is a consummate Arabist (he once referred to the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as “a cancer killing the Oslo Process”) and a protégé of George Mitchell, the President’s “Special Envoy” to the Middle East. Mitchell billed his initial pre-election visit to Israel as a “listening tour.” He was back in Jerusalem following the election and by all indications the “listening” is over. Still basking in the afterglow of the “Good Friday” peace agreement he cobbled together in Northern Ireland, one that has begun to fray around the edges, the former Maine Senator is convinced that there are no differences—political or territorial—that cannot be split . Among the first things he‘s given notice he wants to split away from Israel are its communities in the strategic hilltops of Judea and Samaria. He’s already made it known that the dismantling of those communities was promised to former president, George Bush by former prime minister Ehud Olmert. That promise, as Mitchell defines it, was not Olmert’s alone, but Israel’s and he fully expects the Netanyahu government to make good. Of course, a victory on this front will be seen as setting the stage for an even bigger split—the division of Jerusalem.

The celebrants of such an event would be almost certain to include Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft. As mere “unofficial” advisors to the President, they fall well under the Senatorial confirmation radar but their animus toward the Jewish state, burnished to a fine polish over the years, is only too recognizable. Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Chief, shares a place with Samantha Power on the board of the International Crisis Group, a testament in itself to his feelings about Israel. They were on full display in his recent testimony on Iran before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he ridiculed Israel’s contention of an existential threat raised by Iran’s quest for an atomic bomb. America’s “nuclear umbrella,” he averred, furnished all the protection Israel needed, adding, in a transparent jab at the Jewish state, that “we should be very careful not to become susceptible to interested parties.”

Scowcroft, the most impassioned advocate of a hard line against Israel during his tenure as advisor to George H.W. Bush, is currently beating the drums for direct U.S. “engagement” with Hamas from his post as chairman of the international board of the U.S. Middle East Project. Co-created with one-time American Jewish Congress chairman Henry Siegman, the board, including seven Arab members, is a loud voice in favor of imposing a Fatah/Hamas regime on Israel in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. In a Washington Post op-ed last fall, Scowcroft opined that resolving the “Palestinian issue” would “liberate Arab governments to support U.S. leadership in dealing with regional problems” as well as “dissipate much of the appeal of Hezbollah and Hamas, dependent as it is, on the Palestinians’ plight.”

While his language is more elegant and his views marginally less radical, Scowcroft’s rumored possible replacement of Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council amounts to a distinction without a great deal of difference. In his February testimony, he implored the Senate Foreign Relations Committee not to take its eyes off the Palestinian ball. “The main gist,” he told the Senators, “is that you need to push hard on the Palestinian peace process. Don’t move it to the end of your agenda and say you have too much to do. And the United States needs to have a position, not just to hold their coats.” Vis-a-vis the Iranian threat, Scowcroft said he was primarily concerned with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran precipitating a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East. As far as Israel was concerned, he saw no reason to dissent from Brzezinski’s view that its fears were overblown.

You won’t catch Obama’s National Security Director, General James Jones (USMC, Ret.), taking large exception to that sentiment. That much was obvious in the embarrassing wake of IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi’s March 17th trip to Washington to review fresh intelligence related to Iran’s threat to his nation’s existence. The sound of doors slamming in his face could have been heard all the way back to the Hakiriyah in Tel Aviv. Though appointments were scheduled well in advance, Defense Secretary Gates, Vice President Biden, National Intelligence Chief Blair and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mullen, Ashkenazi’s military counterpart, all found they had more important things to do. Jones, the former Marine commandant, was the only administration policy maker who had any time for him and he made it clear from the get-go that Iran was not a subject he cared to discuss. Sources in Washington report that virtually the entire session was taken up with American demands that Israel lift further security restrictions on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the words of one diplomat, “the [Obama] administration was sending a very clear message to Israel, and that is ‘we want to talk about Palestine and not Iran.’”

Finally, there is Susan Rice, the administration’s ambassador to the United Nations. A Brookings Institution Senior Fellow, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during Bill Clinton’s second term, Oxford Rhodes Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford, daughter of a Cornell University economics professor and Federal Reserve System governor, Rice was ticketed for the political stratosphere from the day she was elected president of the student council at Washington’s exclusive National Cathedral High School. As chief torch bearer for “engagenomics,” Barack Obama’s chosen foreign policy wand, she could not have made landfall in a more suitable venue than Turtle Bay.

Rice does not intend to disappoint. Her first act, barely a month after Senate confirmation, was to announce that the U.S. would contend for a seat on the UN’s “Human Rights Council,” the same “ragtag” retailer of anti-Israel snake oil from which John Bolton, George Bush’s UN representative, disengaged the U.S. in 2006, deeming any further association with an organization responsible for 26 condemnations of Israel over the previous three-years as “legitimizing something that doesn’t deserve legitimacy.”

Ambassador Rice and her boss think otherwise. While describing the Human Rights Council’s record as “disturbing” (“Yes, of course we mean Israel,” she responded to a reporter’s request for clarification), she apparently didn’t find it disturbing enough to preclude America’s bid for reentry. “We do not see any inherent benefit, as demonstrated by recent history, in being outside the tent and simply being critical,” she told reporters at a news conference following the announcement. She coldly dismissed the argument put forth by the Republican Jewish Coalition and Florida Congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking member of the House International Affairs Committee, that in failing to condition America’s return to the UN body on substantive structural reforms, including the barring from its deliberations of human rights violators like Libya and Zimbabwe, the United States was throwing its diplomatic leverage to the four winds. “We don’t view engagement or diplomacy as a reward, “ she replied. ”It’s a tool to advance our interests.”

In the kind of mortifying post script to the affair that occasionally causes even its most fervent supporters to wonder why they stick their necks out for the Jewish state, the Republican Jewish Coalition and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen wound up with egg on their faces when Aharon Leshno Yaar, Israel’s Geneva-based UN representative, joined with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a host of leftist and notably anti-Israel “human rights” floggers in welcoming America’s projected return to the Council as a “concrete embodiment of the U.S. commitment to a new era of engagement.” One hopes that the Netanyahu government’s replacement of Mr. Leshno Yaar in Geneva becomes an early order of business.

In a sobering assessment of the new Obama era of U.S-Israel relations, British author and journalist Melanie Phillips commented that the “Israel bashers and Jew-haters with whom [Obama] has surrounded himself, aided and abetted by new realist appeasers and (often Jewish) useful idiots…” have only succeeded in “pursuing with far greater ferocity the change in strategy that was already apparent when George W. Bush became fatally weakened—forcing Israel to sacrifice its security, all for the illusory goal of a Palestinian state that would almost certainly become yet another proxy for Iran and which, far from helping defang the Middle East, would result instead in regional instability and yet more terrible war.”

That the West, as she predicts, “will be next if Obama succeeds in throwing Israel under the bus,” has notably failed to cut any ice with Scowcroft and the other “realists,” who have been driving this agenda, “including,” Phillips adds, “those who wish Israel would just vanish off the face of the earth.” That puts the ball squarely in the court of Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud-led coalition. It is a collection of ill-fitting parts, but somehow the new prime minister will have to find the key to making it work, if Israel is to have any chance of prevailing over the terrible hand it’s been dealt.

*The author represents AFSI in Israel and is co-editor of the Jerusalem-based internet magazine ZionNet (

Posted by Ruth at 10:11 PM | OUTPOST

Friday, May 01, 2009

IDF officer outlines Israeli military ethics in Gaza

Debra Rubin
NJJN Bureau Chief/Middlesex

April 28, 2009

Imagine you are a soldier in the field when a suspected suicide bomber comes at you. Should you shoot or not? “Eight seconds — that’s all you have to decide,” said Col. Bentzi Gruber, a reserve vice commander in the Israel Defense Forces.

Speaking April 22 before a group of Rutgers University students gathered at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary on the main campus, Gruber showed actual films from the recent Operation Cast Lead into Gaza. The students saw cars loaded with explosives detonating, secret tunnels, and booby-trap rigged houses. Gruber also showed Gazans grabbing and using children as shields as they run across streets.

“They do this because they know we won’t shoot,” said Gruber, who oversees 20,000 soldiers. “We won’t do it. A Palestinian kid and a Jewish kid are the same thing to me.”

In a program that was both a personal account and an overview of Israeli military ethics, Gruber outlined how the IDF strives to minimize civilian casualties even in the middle of war.

The program was sponsored by the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiatives on Campus and cosponsored by Rutgers Hillel.

“Tonight’s topic is very important for everyone to hear,” said student coordinator Avi Gilboa, a junior engineering major from Tenafly. “Bentzi did a good job of explaining the facts of what’s really happening in the field. We opened this up to the entire college because we felt it was something everyone should hear.”

With more than 20 years in the reserves, Gruber has been given permission to present materials and information usually seen only by military or government officials.

A computer engineer in civilian life, he said his own ethics stem from learning from his Holocaust survivor mother to have respect for all human beings.

Gruber also runs hesed-in-the-field programs, bringing together IDF soldiers and the seriously ill and the mentally and physically disabled for special events, including taking them along on maneuvers.

As Gruber showed the footage, in some instances bullets could be heard in the background. Aerial footage showed terrorists moving under cover of night.

“Force is used in proportion to the mission,” said Gruber. “We always try not to do much damage.”

If a pilot spots a terrorist in a taxi with four children, he said, “we won’t shoot even if this terrorist killed 10 people yesterday and four soldiers today. We will wait and find him another day.”
‘This is war’

Gruber used footage of a man with a rocket launcher on a crowded street as another example of a non-shooting situation because of the potential danger to innocent civilians.

These policies have held down collateral damage to civilians to rates far below that of U.S. forces in Iraqi hotspots like Fallujah, according to Gruber.

“If Tijuana started to launch rockets into Los Angeles, how long do you think it would take the U.S. Army to respond — three days, three months, three years? How about three seconds?”

By contrast, Israel suffered more than three years of missile attacks in the south before launching the Gaza initiative.

Before Israel bombs neighborhoods, Gruber said, residents are given warnings to leave their homes via leaflets dropped days in advance. As he showed a film of a call center, he pointed out one caller contacting Palestinians to warn them bombing was imminent. Text messages are also sent to cell phones.

“No other country would do the same,” said Gruber.

Palestinians also use ambulances, schools, mosques, and homes to hide caches of weapons and launch rockets and as hiding places for fighters, he said.

While Gruber said he would never give an order to shoot at an ambulance — “I don’t know; maybe there’s a pregnant woman in there” — a mosque or school can become a legitimate target.

He showed film of terrorists climbing into an ambulance as he instructed the audience to count with him. He stopped the film as the seventh armed man climbed in.

There were 295 noncombatants killed in the Gaza offensive — including 89 under age 16 and 50 women; Gruber acknowledged, “For me, every one of these is a tragedy.”

“But you have to understand: This is war,” he added. “But for me it is a tragedy even to kill an enemy.”

Clinton: No possibility of funding Hamas

US Secretary of state says no aid would be offered to Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas

Yitzhak Benhorin
Israel News

WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has rejected reports that the Obama administration will agree to transfer funds to a Palestinian government that includes Hamas members "There is no possibility of funding Hamas," Clinton told the Senate's Appropriations Committee Thursday. "That is absolutely not possible under the language of the supplemental, nor is it possible under our administration's policy."

"What we have said is that if there were to be, which at this moment seems highly unlikely, a unity government that consisted of the Palestinian authority members from Fatah and any members from Hamas, the government itself plus every member of the government would have to commit to the Quartet principles," Clinton added. "Namely, they must renounce violence, they must recognize Israel and they must agree to abide by the former PLO and Palestinian authority agreements."

"That has been our policy, and that is what we have told our partners in Europe and elsewhere, which is why we've been very hesitant and quite unconvinced about any efforts to create a unity government," the secretary of state said.

Clinton was denying recent reports claiming that the Obama administration softened the text of the request for aid to the Palestinians, so that funds could be transferred even in case a national unity government with Hamas is set up in the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli intel: "Obama wants to make friends with our worst enemies and until now the worst enemies of the United States"

Jihad Watch

"Obama will want to show Iran, Syria and radical Muslims that the United States could pressure Israel on a strategic level."If Israel falls, the jihad will not end. It will, in fact, be emboldened as never before, and focus with new energy and confidence upon Europe and elsewhere. If Israel falls, the United States will be in greater peril from the Islamic jihad than ever before.

"Israeli intel warns Netanyahu on Obama policy: 'We have become an obstacle,'" from the World Tribune, April 24 (thanks to Shirley):

TEL AVIV — A classified assessment relayed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Obama and his senior advisers would incrementally diminish U.S. strategic cooperation with Israel developed over the last 20 years.

"Obama wants to make friends with our worst enemies and until now the worst enemies of the United States," an Israeli source familiar with the intelligence assessment said.

"Under this policy, we are more than irrelevant. We have become an obstacle."...

Israeli sources said the administration would reject Israel intelligence on such threats as Iran and Syria while advancing the Obama agenda to reconcile with the two states, both listed as state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Dept.

On April 20, Israeli military intelligence commander Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin warned the Cabinet that Obama was prepared to allow Iran to retain its capability to assemble nuclear weapons and support Hamas and Hizbullah.

"Obama wants to advance the peace process in the direction of realistic discussions with extremist elements," Yadlin said.

The Israeli intelligence assessment envisioned that Obama would maintain his reconciliation policy with Iran and Syria through at least 2010. The sources said the assessment determined that Obama was convinced that such a policy would enable a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Obama will want to show Iran, Syria and radical Muslims that the United States could pressure Israel on a strategic level," the source said. "The pressure has already begun and will intensify throughout the next year or two."

The military intelligence chief said Obama was also courting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Yadlin said both Damascus and Teheran have not significantly reduced their support for insurgency groups throughout the region.

"President Bashar Assad hopes to turn over a new leaf with U.S. President Barack Obama," Yadlin said. "However, while Western powers are being hosted at the palace in Damascus, Syria is continuing to be used as the back yard of the axis of evil. Assad is letting Hizbullah and Iranian forces freely conduct their affairs in Syria and use its territory for Hizbullah deployment."

Yadlin said Obama's policies have generated dismay among Arab allies of the United States. He said Arab countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia were concerned that U.S. reconciliation efforts would merely encourage Teheran and its proxies to intensify destabilization efforts. In April 2009, Egypt reported a Hizbullah network that operated in Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula.

"The Arab world is starting to understand that Iranian proxies are a threat to the region," Yadlin said. "The Hizbullah activity in Egypt is not an isolated incident. Iran has infrastructures across the world seeking to perpetrate terror attacks against Israel."

At the same time, the Obama administration was expected to restrict U.S. arms exports to Israel in an effort to deny systems that could be used in any attack against Iran or Syria. The intelligence sources said this policy was implemented during the last year of the Bush administration and would intensify under Obama.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Arlene Kushner

With the state of world affairs, it would be difficult indeed to feel a sense of ease.

In an "exclusive" today the Jerusalem Post reported that PM Netanyahu, when he goes to the US on May 18, plans to tell President Obama that Israel will accept "some form" of the Arab peace plan. While the first impulse is to fear that he's caved already -- I intend to give Netanyahu the benefit of the doubt here. At least until I know more.

We must remember that this is not an official announcement. The Post got this from "sources" close to government planning.

And then, we need to know what "some form" of the plan means. The Arab (Saudi) plan is a recipe for Israel's destruction, calling as it does for our return to '67 lines and "return of refugees." Netanyahu is not about to sign off on either of these. Then, what?


Aaron Lerner, on his IMRA website today, asks if Netanyahu is doing some "fancy verbal footwork." And indeed that may be precisely the case.

It may be that Netanyahu wants to appear to have given Obama something, without actually giving him anything. Yes, he can intone, this and this part of the plan resonate with us. Then Obama can put out press releases about how he is already moving matters along. While Netanyahu, knowing full well that all the pieces are not going to fall into place, remains confident of the outcome: no "two state solution," no withdrawals from Judea and Samaria, no dividing Jerusalem.

But this high level game-playing is risky. It requires nerves of steel and the ability to know when to stop. Otherwise you're on your way down that slippery slope, and something truly is conceded.


But there is more. And it's most unsettling. According to the Post report, Israel "will compromise on the Palestinian issue to obtain more direct and aggressive US assistance on the Iranian front."

This linking of the two issues was verbalized last week by Secretary Clinton. What she suggested was that we won't get support from the Arab states for taking on Iran unless the Arabs see we are moving on Palestinian negotiations. This was both offensive and off base, for behind the bluster is the Arab desire to see us stand strong against Iran.

So, is Netanyahu caving in response to what she said, or is he trying to maneuver the situation to his advantage?

The next question to be asked, of course, is what the quid pro quo would be: Precisely what sort of US assistance on the Iranian front would be sufficient for Netanyahu to become more "flexible" with regard to the Palestinians? Additional sophisticated weaponry or equipment? Permission to fly over Iraq?

Here I make a speculation, coming from nothing but my own sense of the situation and my understanding of our prime minister. The issue of the danger of Iran has loomed large in Netanyahu's consciousness for some time. He's been speaking consistently and forcefully about the need to take action.

Could it be that he's doing an abbreviated sort of triage here? If -- and it would be rightly so -- he sees Iran as THE existential danger to us, he would conclude that it's the threat most important to counter. And, even as he still intends to hold the ground against a Palestinian state, he would see caving (or appearing to cave) on that issue, up to a point, wise if it allows us to more effectively take on Iran.

Only speculation. Only questions. For now.


It's actually easy to see why Netanyahu, along with a great many of us, is being driven to distraction by Obama's stance on Iran.

Yesterday, the White House rejected any suggestion of putting time limits on its negotiations with Iran and suggested that this process could take a long time.

White House National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer told reporters that "it's not appropriate at this time to be trying to establish timetables, but rather seeing how the engagement can move forward...there are opportunities there for us to engage with the Iranian government."

But in terms of Iranian nuclear development we don't have a long time. This is precisely what the Israeli government has been imploring the US not to do.


To exacerbate the situation, there is this:

Mehdi Ghazanfari, head of the Iranian Trade Promotion Agency, has told an Iranian news agency that Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France and the United Kingdom have carried out some $15.4 billion in bilateral trade with Iran over the past year.

And people wonder why sanctions haven't worked. What these self-serving, short-sighted nations are doing is in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Iran.


Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser, went to a Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration at the Israeli Embassy in Washington yesterday, carrying a message from the president:

Obama, he said, would pursue peace, but not at all costs. His administration remains committed to the security and independence of Israel.

Not remotely do I believe this.

Summers explained that Obama would pursue, "Peace that defends innocent people, peace that guarantees freedom, peace that does not reward terror, peace that the Middle East deserves after such a long time."

What platitudinous and vacuous words.


Putting the lie more definitively to the conciliatory words above is a report from the World Tribune, citing Israeli intelligence sources. One source was quoted as saying:

"Obama wants to make friends with our worst enemies and [those who were] until now the worst enemies of the United States. Under this policy, we are more than irrelevant. We have become an obstacle."

The prediction being made is that Obama would continue to appease Syria, and Iran, believing that this would make it more possible to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Obama will want to show Iran, Syria and radical Muslims that the United States could pressure Israel on a strategic level. The pressure has already begun and will intensify throughout the next year or two."

The report further said that the Obama administration would ignore Israeli advice, and, indeed, that is precisely what we're seeing with regard to US refusal to put time limits on talks with Iran.

see my website

Thousands Can Flee to Samaria

Hillel Fendel Thousands Can Flee to Samaria

Samaria (Shomron) Regional Council head Gershon Mesika says that the wide open expanses of the hilltops and valleys of his municipal council are the answer to the dangerous population density in the Tel Aviv region. he army and other government bodies recently held an exercise for emergency scenarios in Samaria. Among them was a drill for the emergency absorption of thousands of Jews in the region.

Samaria, also known as the northern part of the West Bank, is the large hilly area in the middle of Israel which lies just north of Jerusalem and east of Tel Aviv. Since Jewish towns exist there alongside Arab villages, it is widely assumed that Arab enemies would be less likely to attack the region for fear of harming Arab/Muslim population centers.

“At present,” Mesika writes in an article that will appear in the Our Land of Israel weekly publication this Friday, “the reality is that over five million people live in Gush Dan, the area known as ‘between Hadera and Gedera’ [roughly 540 square miles which encompass Greater Tel. Aside from the environmental and planning problems this causes, it sharpens the dangers we face from non-conventional weapons.”

“The more we encourage citizens to leave the low-lying and crowded Gush Dan area and move to Samaria, the more the State of Israel will thus reduce the non-conventional threat it faces – especially the threat emanating from Iran’s nuclear plant in Bushehr.”

“It’s true: We should enact the Yitzhar-for-Bushehr plan – but not in the sense in which some anti-Israel forces would have it [Israel’s withdrawal from Yitzhar and the other Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in exchange for Western pressure to close down Busheh, but the opposite. The government of Israel must initiate a large-scale construction campaign in the Samarian region and start building new communities in its wide expanses, which are ready and waiting to absorb millions of Jewish residents.”

Though the IDF drill did not address the the Iranian missile threat specifically, Mesika’s forward-looking headline is “Samaria: The Response to the Iranian Nuclear Threat.”

Mesika also noted ironically that the explanatory literature for the drill “revolved precisely around the threats we issued a few years ago, when we warned against the Disengagement withdrawal from northern Samaria and Gush Katif.”

FACT CHECK: Obama disowns deficit he helped shape

Calvin Woodward

WASHINGTON (AP) - "That wasn't me," President Barack Obama said on his 100th day in office, disclaiming responsibility for the huge budget deficit waiting for him on Day One.

It actually was him - and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years - who shaped a budget so out of balance And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.

Obama met citizens at an Arnold, Mo., high school Wednesday in advance of his prime-time news conference. Both forums were a platform to review his progress at the 100-day mark and look ahead.

At various times, he brought an air of certainty to ambitions that are far from cast in stone.

His assertion that his proposed budget "will cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term" is an eyeball-roller among many economists, given the uncharted terrain of trillion-dollar deficits and economic calamity that the government is negotiating.

He promised vast savings from increased spending on preventive health care in the face of doubts that such an effort, however laudable it might be for public welfare, can pay for itself, let alone yield huge savings.

A look at some of his claims Wednesday:
OBAMA: "Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit.... That wasn't me. Number two, there is almost uniform consensus among economists that in the middle of the biggest crisis, financial crisis, since the Great Depression, we had to take extraordinary steps. So you've got a lot of Republican economists who agree that we had to do a stimulus package and we had to do something about the banks. Those are one-time charges, and they're big, and they'll make our deficits go up over the next two years." - in Missouri.


Congress controls the purse strings, not the president, and it was under Democratic control for Obama's last two years as Illinois senator. Obama supported the emergency bailout package in President George W. Bush's final months - a package Democratic leaders wanted to make bigger.

To be sure, Obama opposed the Iraq war, a drain on federal coffers for six years before he became president. But with one major exception, he voted in support of Iraq war spending.

The economy has worsened under Obama, though from forces surely in play before he became president, and he can credibly claim to have inherited a grim situation.

Still, his response to the crisis goes well beyond "one-time charges."

He's persuaded Congress to expand children's health insurance, education spending, health information technology and more. He's moving ahead on a variety of big-ticket items on health care, the environment, energy and transportation that, if achieved, will be more enduring than bank bailouts and aid for homeowners.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated his policy proposals would add a net $428 billion to the deficit over four years, even accounting for his spending reduction goals. Now, the deficit is nearly quadrupling to $1.75 trillion.


OBAMA: "I think one basic principle that we know is that the more we do on the (disease) prevention side, the more we can obtain serious savings down the road. ... If we're making those investments, we will save huge amounts of money in the long term." - in Missouri.

THE FACTS: It sounds believable that preventing illness should be cheaper than treating it, and indeed that's the case with steps like preventing smoking and improving diets and exercise. But during the 2008 campaign, when Obama and other presidential candidates were touting a focus on preventive care, the New England Journal of Medicine cautioned that "sweeping statements about the cost-saving potential of prevention, however, are overreaching." It said that "although some preventive measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not."

And a study released in December by the Congressional Budget Office found that increasing preventive care "could improve people's health but would probably generate either modest reductions in the overall costs of health care or increases in such spending within a 10-year budgetary time frame."


OBAMA: "You could cut (Social Security) benefits. You could raise the tax on everybody so everybody's payroll tax goes up a little bit. Or you can do what I think is probably the best solution, which is you can raise the cap on the payroll tax." - in Missouri.

THE FACTS: Obama's proposal would reduce the Social Security trust fund's deficit by less than half, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

That means he would still have to cut benefits, raise the payroll tax rate, raise the retirement age or some combination to deal with the program's long-term imbalance.

Workers currently pay 6.2 percent and their employers pay an equal rate - for a total of 12.4 percent - on annual wages of up to $106,800, after which no more payroll tax is collected.

Obama wants workers making more than $250,000 to pay payroll tax on their income over that amount. That would still protect workers making under $250,000 from an additional burden. But it would raise much less money than removing the cap completely.


Associated Press writers Kevin Freking and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

Obama on the deficit: 'That wasn't me'

Rick Moran
American Thinker

I burst out laughing last night when the president said that. He reminded me of a little boy who broke a dish right in front of his parents only to look them right in the eye and exclaim, "That wasn't me."
Leaving aside the fact that the Democrats have been in charge of the Congress since January of 2007,the federal deficit for that year was a manageable $161 billion. At that time - before the bailouts and trillions dumped into credit markets - the projected 2009 deficit was a worrisome $482 billion.

As AP points out in this Fact Check, Obama supported the original Bush TARP bill and then proceeded to pile on debt until that 2009 projection stands at an "official" $1.75 trillion - four times higher than the original projection under Bush. And that number, as most economists believe, is a joke with the real deficit probably kissing $2 trillion.

And AP points out that his claim regarding his budget being able to halve the deficit by 2012 is also a knee slapper according to most economists.

Obama's penchant for blaming others for his disasters will only go on for so long. This narcissistic man who believes he can do no wrong and who is cultivating a cult of personality to ensure people will vote for him no matter how bad things get will not have a clue what to do once his "blame Bush" crutch has been taken from him.

Page Printed from: at April 30, 2009 - 11:38:48 AM EDT

US General: Fatah Soldiers are 'Founders of Palestinian State'

Iyar 5, 5769, 29 April 09 02:05by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Palestinian Authority special forces were praised by an American general this week for becoming the founders of a new Arab country within Israel's current borders.

"As I look at you, I couldn't be more proud of the fact that you stepped up to be the founders of a Palestinian state," U.S. Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton told a battalion in his speech to the troops Monday in Tulkarm. Dayton is responsible for the military training of the PA special forces. The statement was reported by the Reuters news service.
The American government has spent tens of millions of dollars outfitting the PA troops, which it calls “special forces,” possibly in order to avoid contradicting the Oslo Accords that limit military activities of the PA. Dayton has been overseeing their training, which takes place in Jordan and at a base built in Jericho with U.S. funds. Weapons for the “special forces” are provided by Arab countries, with Israeli approval.

The Olmert administration also approved a gift of armored personnel carriers from Russia with the stipulation that they be unarmed. In addition, Russia had wanted to hand over two helicopters to the PA as well.

Dayton told Reuters that the Obama administration plans to expand the training program for 1,500 more PA troops, creating three more battalions, in the next 12 months. Dayton already has supervised the training of 1,600 troops, most of whom are deployed in large PA-controlled Arab cities, including Jenin, Shechem and Hevron.

Despite their presence, the IDF continues to carry out the task of arresting terrorists, particularly at night when the PA forces do not operate.

"If it goes the way the administration has asked for, we will accelerate dramatically what we are doing here in terms of training and equipment, and filling in the gaps in between," Dayton said during his visit in Tulkarm, located almost adjacent to the Judea-Samaria separation barrier and only a few miles east of Netanya.

The additional training program requires approval from Congress for more funding that would allow the construction for more PA military bases in Judea and Samaria. Without defining the cost of the additional training and construction, Dayton stated it will entail “more financial support than we have ever had before.”

Both the past Bush administration and the current Obama government declared the training helps the standing and security of PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is seen as a moderate peace partner for Israel. Officials in the Obama administration have said that the budget for Dayton will grow from $75 million last year to $130 million in 2009.

Fatah and the rival PA faction, the Hamas terrorist organization, are trying to reach a unity agreement which would make Hamas a recipient of American aid. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that American financing would be problematic if Hamas joins Fatah without recognizing Israel's right to exist, and disarming.

Fatah also does not officially recognize Israel, and Abbas said on Tuesday he refuses to view the country as a “Jewish State.”
© Copyright
Aggie's Comments: Sure, continue to increase the training and arming of PA "special forces," the better to prepare them for another war against Israel, as already threatened by King Abdullah of Jordan and as evidenced by the rearming of Hamas and Hizballah. And this in the face of the bellicose refusal by Abbas to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

We must write our Senators and Reps, imploring them NOT TO INCREASE FUNDING FOR MILITARY TRAINING, ARMING, OR BASE BUILDING of the PA forces.

Diane Feinstein, FAX-- (202) 228-3954.


(202) 224-3841

Web Form:

House of Reps contact:

Senator contacts:

Hillary Clinton:


for topic, select "US foreign policy"

The Hamas Charter

On January 25, 2006, the day Palestinian Legislative Council elections were held, Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip and candidate for the post of foreign minister, stated that Hamas was committed to the ideology of its 1988 charter. He noted emphatically that “the movement [would] not change a single word in its charter,” which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, and would not become a purely political movement, but quite the opposite, it would continue its policy of “resistance” (i.e., terrorist attacks) (Reuters, Gaza, January 25). The Hamas charter referred to by Mahmoud al-Zahar was formulated during the first year of the previous round of the violent Israeli-Palestinian confrontations (1987-1993). It was edited and approved by Ahmad Yassin, the movement’s founder and leader (who died in a targeted killing in March 2004), and issued on August 18, 1988. It is Hamas’s most important ideological document and as of this writing, copies continue to be circulated in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories. It makes extensive use of Islamic sources (the Qur’an and hadith1) to assure its religious Islamic basis.

The main points of the Hamas charter:

* The conflict with Israeli is religious and political: The Palestinian problem is a religious-political Muslim problem and the conflict with Israel is between Muslims and the Jewish “infidels.”
* All Palestine is Muslim land and no one has the right to give it up: The land of Palestine is sacred Muslim land and no one, including Arab rulers, has the authority to give up any of it.
* The importance of jihad (holy war) as the main means for the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) to achieve its goals: An uncompromising jihad must be waged against Israel and any agreement recognizing its right to exist must be totally opposed. Jihad is the personal duty of every Muslim.
* The importance of fostering the Islamic consciousness: Much effort must be invested fostering and spreading Islamic consciousness by means of education [i.e., religious-political indoctrination] in the spirit of radical Islam, based on the ideology of the Muslim brotherhood.
* The importance of Muslim solidarity: A great deal of importance is given to Muslim solidarity, one of whose manifestations is aid to the needy through the establishment of a network of various “charitable societies.”
* In addition, the charter is rife with overt anti-Semitism: According to the charter, the Jewish people have only negative traits and are presented as planning to take over the world. The charter uses myths taken from classical European and Islamic-based anti-Semitism.

The translation of the charter, which follows below, is of the 2004 edition, published in an ornate format in Qalqilya2 and issued to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the movement’s founding. Copies were among the documents found by IDF soldiers in the Islamic Club in Qalqilya on September 27, 2005.

Sheikh Ahmad Yassin’s picture appears on the front cover of the 2004 Qalqilya edition. A picture of his temporary successor, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Rantisi (who died in a targeted killing in April 2004) appears on the back cover. On the insides of the front and back covers there are pictures of prominent terrorists who died during the confrontation (shaheeds) and of jailed Qalqilya residents. Some of the Qalqilya terrorists took part in suicide bombing attacks, for example, Sa’id Hutri, who blew himself up at the Dolphinarium Club in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001, killing 21 civilians and wounding 83, the overwhelming majority of all of whom were teenagers; and ‘Abd al-Rahman Hammad, who was head of the Hamas terrorist-operative infrastructure in Qalqilya a


Glenn Beck
NY Post

1. "Obama criticized pork barrel spending in the form of 'earmarks,' urging changes in the way that Congress adopts the spending proposals. Then he signed a spending bill that contains nearly 9,000 of them, some that members of his own staff shoved in last year when they were still members of Congress. 'Let there be no doubt, this piece of legislation must mark an end to the old way of doing business, and the beginning of a new era of responsibility and accountability,' Obama said." -- McClatchy, 3/11
2. "There is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments." -- Obama during the campaign.
3. This year's budget deficit: $1.5 trillion.
4. Asks his Cabinet to cut costs in their departments by $100 million -- a whopping .0027%!
5. "The White House says the president is unaware of the tea parties." -- ABC News, 4/15
6. "Mr. Obama is an accomplished orator but is becoming known in America as the 'teleprompt president' over his reliance on the machine when he gives a speech." -- Sky News, 3/18
7. In early February, the 2010 census was moved out of the Department of Commerce and into the White House, politicizing how federal aid is distributed and electoral districts are drawn.
8. Obama taps Nancy Killefer for a new administration job, First Chief Performance Officer -- to police government spending. But it surfaces that Killefer had performance issues of her own -- a tax lien was slapped on her DC home in 2005 for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help. She withdrew.
9. Turkey tried to block the appointment of Anders Fogh Rasmussen as new NATO secretary general because he didn't properly punish the Danish cartoonist who caricatured Mohammed. France's Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Angela Merkel were outraged; Obama said he supported Turkey's induction into the European Union.
10. . . . and he never mentioned the Armenian genocide.
11. The picture of Obama and Hugo Chavez shaking hands.
12. Hugo Chavez gave him the anti-American screed "The Open Veins of Latin America." Obama didn't remark upon it. At least it wasn't DVDs.
13. Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega went on a 50-minute anti-American rant, calling Obama "president of an empire." Obama didn't leave the room. "I thought it was 50 minutes long. That's what I thought," he said.
14. Executives at AIG get $165 million in bonuses, despite receiving an $173 billion taxpayer bailout.
15. "For months, the Obama administration and members of Congress have known that insurance giant AIG was getting ready to pay huge bonuses while living off government bailouts. It wasn't until the money was flowing and news was trickling out to the public that official Washington rose up in anger and vowed to yank the money back." -- Associated Press, 3/18
16. "After pushing Congress for weeks to hurry up and pass the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, President Obama promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway." -- New York Post, 2/15
"Obama soared to victory on the hopeful promise of a new era of bipartisanship. During his inaugural address he even promised an 'end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.'
"Too bad it took all of three days for the promise to ring hollow.
"Start with Obama's big meeting with top congressional leaders on his signature legislation -- the stimulus -- on the Friday after his inauguration. Listening to Republican concerns about overspending was a nice gesture -- until he shut down any hopes of real dialogue by crassly telling Republican leaders: 'I won.' Even the White House's leaking of the comment was a slap at the Republican leadership, who'd expected Obama to adhere to the custom of keeping private meetings with congressional leadership, well, private.
"It's only gone downhill from there. The stimulus included zero Republican recommendations, and failed to get a single House Republican vote.
"It's not just the tactic of using Republicans for bipartisan photo-ops, and then cutting them loose before partisan decisions, that irks Obama's opponents. The new president wasted no time rushing forward with policies and legislation guaranteed to drive Republicans nuts. The first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- a partisan hot-button that drew all of eight Republican supporters in the entire Congress. Then there was the swift reversal of Bush policies on abortion and embryonic-stem-cell research -- issues dear to the Republican base.
"And when Obama and the Democrats in Congress took up SCHIP -- the children's health-insurance bill that Republicans say vastly expands government's role in health care -- they had an easy chance for real bipartisanship. After all, the bill had been hashed out in the previous Congress, and a bipartisan accord was reached before President Bush responded with a veto. Did the Obama team push for the compromise version in the 111th Congress? Nope. They went back to the drawing board, ramming through the Democrats' dream version.
"Of course, the lack of bipartisanship isn't limited to Capitol Hill. Obama has taken gratuitous swipes at the Republicans who recently decamped Washington, blaming President Bush for everything from the economy and the war to the lack of sufficient puppies and rainbows. And who could forget the Rush Limbaugh flap -- in which Obama's top advisers, including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, orchestrated a public relations campaign meant to undermine the Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Steele, by framing talk-radio personality Limbaugh as the real head of the Republican Party.
"For now, Obama's back-pedal on the bipartisanship promise just makes him look insincere. But the real consequences of the mistake will be felt soon enough. As Presidents Bush and Clinton could tell him, congressional majorities do change -- and at some point, Obama will need Republicans on his side. He'd be smart to spend his second 100 days making up for the serious snubs of his first."
-- Meghan Clyne is a DC-based writer.
18. "The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today." -- Department of Homeland Security intelligence report
19. Nixes a "buy American" provision in the stimulus bill.
20. "Yes, Canada is not Mexico, it doesn't have a drug war going on. Nonetheless, to the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it's been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there." -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The 9/11 hijackers did not come across the Canada border
21. "The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits, as several influential lawmakers and many economists favor, to help pay for overhauling the health care system. The proposal is politically problematic for President Obama, however, since it is similar to one he denounced in the presidential campaign as 'the largest middle-class tax increase in history.' " -- New York Times, 3/14
"During his historic inaugural speech, Barack Obama promised to usher in a transformational age where hope would replace fear, unity would overtake partisanship, and change would sweep aside the status quo. But early in President Obama's first 100 days it is obvious that the only thing that is changing is the Candidate of Change, himself.
"The same politician who proclaimed during his inauguration that 'on this day we have chosen hope over fear' soon warned Americans that the US economy would be forever destroyed if the stimulus bill was voted down.
"Why was it that same man who promised to put Americans' interests ahead of his own political ambitions chose instead to use the suffering of citizens to advance his agenda?
"Maybe he was following the guidance of Rahm Emanuel, who famously said, 'You never want to waste a good crisis.'
"They didn't.
"The White House's warnings were so over-the-top that Bill Clinton felt compelled to warn the new president against making such grim pronouncements. Americans would quickly warn that the White House would not channel FDR's eternal optimism but rather embrace the gloomy worldview of Edgar Allen Poe.
"The Candidate of Hope also quickly adopted the Nixonian worldview that Americans voted their fears rather than their hopes. Over Mr. Obama's first 100 days, that cynical calculation paid off politically for a White House that seemed most interested in appeasing the most liberal members of his Democratic Party.
"I expected more from Barack Obama. For the sake of my country, I hope I get it from the new president over the next 100 days."
-- Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and author of "The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise" (Crown Forum), due out June 9.
23. Sanjay Gupta was in discussions to become Surgeon General, but the TV personality withdrew after he was criticized for his flimsy political record.
24. Rasmussen finds 58% of Americans believe the Obama administration's release of CIA memos endangers the national security of the United States.
25. Only 28% think the Obama administration should do any further investigating of how the Bush administration treated terrorism suspects.
26. "Obama thanked CIA employees for their work and said they're invaluable to national security. He explained his decision to release the memos, then told everyone not to feel bad because he was now acknowledging potential mistakes. Theirs, not his. 'That's how we learn,' Obama said, as though soothing a room full of fourth-graders." -- The Oklahoman, 4/23
27. By releasing the torture memos, Obama opened American citizens up to international tribunals. A UN lawyer said the US is obliged to prosecute lawyers who drafted the memos or else violate the Geneva Conventions.
28. In their first meeting, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave Obama a carved ornamental penholder from the timbers of the anti-slavery ship HMS Gannet. Obama gave him 25 DVDs that don't work in Europe.
"Richardson's value in Obama's Cabinet had everything to do with appearances. First, he was the Hispanic pick. Second, because Richardson had run against Obama for President, tapping him for the Cabinet helped the media write the Obama-Lincoln comparisons by burnishing the 'Team of Rivals' image.
"But Richardson withdrew before Obama was even inaugurated when news came out about a criminal investigation involving David Rubin, president of a firm named Chambers, Dunhill, Rubin & Co. (although there was no Chambers or Dunhill), who had donated at least $110,000 to Richardson's campaign committees and had also profited from $1.5 million in contracts from the state government.
"This was an early warning sign about Obama's vetting process (various tax problems and the Daschle problem would reveal this as a theme), but picking Richardson to run Commerce also highlighted that Obama and Richardson's promise of 'public-private partnerships' -- such as Detroit bailouts, Wall Street bailouts, and green energy--was an open door for corruption and was at odds with Obama's promise to diminish the influence of lobbyists.
"The Richardson mistake was one of Obama's first, and it was emblematic. Richardson embodied Obama's attention to self-image and the problems inherent in his vision of an intimate business-government connection."
-- Tim Carney is a Washington Examiner columnist
30. Timothy Geithner nomination as Secretary of Treasury was almost torpedoed when it was discovered he had failed to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes. He also employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. He was confirmed anyway.
31. . . . Not so lucky, Annette Nazareth, who was nominated for Deputy Treasury Secretary. She withdrew her name for undisclosed "personal reasons" after a monthlong probe into her taxes . . .
32. . . . or Caroline Atkinson, who withdrew as nominee for Undersecretary of International Affairs in Treasury Department, with a source blaming the long vetting process. Geithner still has a skeleton crew at Treasury, with no one qualified -- or willing -- to take jobs there.
33. "Barack Obama has been embroiled in a cronyism row after reports that he intends to make Louis Susman, one of his biggest fundraisers, the new US ambassador in London. The selection of Mr. Susman, a lawyer and banker from the president's hometown of Chicago, rather than an experienced diplomat, raises new questions about Mr Obama's commitment to the special relationship with Britain." -- Telegraph, 2/22
34. Obama's doom-and-gloom comments and budget bill push the Dow below 7,000, from which it's only recently recovered.
35. "You're sitting here. And you're -- you are laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems. Are people going to look at this and say, 'I mean, he's sitting there just making jokes about money--' How do you deal with -- I mean: Explain. Are you punch-drunk?" -- Steve Kroft, "60 Minutes," 3/22
36. "We have begun to modernize 75% of all federal building space, which has the potential to reduce long-term energy costs by billions of dollars on behalf of taxpayers. We are providing grants to states to help weatherize hundreds of thousands of homes, which will save the families that benefit about $350 each year. That's like a $350 tax cut." -- Obama, describing something that doesn't cut taxes.
37. "The Obama administration has directed defense officials to sign a pledge stating they will not share 2010 budget data with individuals outside the federal government." -- Defense News, 2/19
38. Backtracking on a campaign promise he made to black farmers, Obama significantly lowered the amount of money they could claim in a discrimination settlement against the Agricultural Department. "I can't figure out for the life of me why the president wouldn't want to implement a bill that he fought for as a US senator," said John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association.
39. "I've been practicing bowling. I bowled a 129. It was like the Special Olympics or something." -- Obama on "The Tonight Show"
40. Obama lifts travel and remittance restrictions on Cuba.
41. Obama considers dropping the embargo on Cuba.
42. After warming signs from Raul Castro, Fidel Castro says Obama "misinterpreted" his brother's words, and that Cuba would not be willing to negotiate about human rights.
43. Obama is considering dropping a key demand to Iran, allowing it to keep nuclear facilities open during negotiations.
44. In a letter to Dmitri Medvedev, Obama offered to drop plans for a missile shield in Europe in exchange for Russia's help in resolving the nuclear weapons issue in Iran.
45. Medvedev said he would not "haggle" on Iran and the missile shield.
46. Obama asked Congress for an extra $83.4 billion to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a special funding measure of the kind he opposed while in the senate. As a candidate, Obama promised to cut the cost of military operations.
47. After trying to woo Europe as the "anti-Bush," Obama made an impassioned plea for more troops in Afghanistan. "Europe should not simply expect the United States to shoulder that burden alone," he said. "This is a joint problem it requires a joint effort." Only the UK offered substantial help, most others refused.
48. "While the online question portion of the White House town hall was open to any member of the public with an Internet connection, the five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union, a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama among Hispanics during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for Virginia state delegate who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama's campaign in 2008." -- Washington Post, 3/27
49. Obama bows to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at a G-20 meeting in London.
50. "It wasn't a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller than King Abdullah." -- An Obama aide
"Has it really only been 100 days? In many ways it feels like a lot longer.
"That's partly because the new administration remains in campaign mode most of the time. Now that's not in itself a bad thing if you can do that and accomplish your agenda. But what's happened is that a popular new president has laid out a very bold agenda in the midst of an economic crisis, and I don't think Congress is going to get a lot of work done on those big ticket items this year. They'll eke out a couple of small wins on issues like healthcare and maybe energy, but the Democrats will hail them as big victories. The Republicans have been working like a cohesive and loyal opposition party, and they need to continue to outline positive new ideas like the recent one to help grow American's savings.
"The early stumbles on the administration's high profile nominations -- Daschle and Richardson for just to examples -- acted like weights around their ankles. In addition, the partisan shots from the White House were unbecoming and I don't think we'll see more of that. Our allies and our enemies -- heck, even we ourselves -- are trying to understand the new foreign policy direction, which in some ways seems to be change just for the sake of change. The next moves by the leaders of other countries -- like Iran, North Korea and Venezuela -- probably will prove that really not much will change just because America has a new president.
"In many ways, it's the next 100 days that will tell us more about our new president and what he'll be able to accomplish than we can forecast based on the first 100 days."
-- Dana Perino was White House press secretary in the Bush Administration
52. "We can't afford to make perfect the enemy of the absolutely necessary." -- Obama, describing the stimulus bill
53. Three candidates for ambassador to the Vatican -- including Caroline Kennedy -- were turned down by the Holy See because they supported abortion, according to reports.
54. After saying he wouldn't have lobbyists in his administration, Obama made 17 exceptions in the first two weeks in office.
55. . . . including Tom Daschle, who worked as a top lobbyist yet was going to be appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services -- until his failure to pay income taxes derailed his nomination.
56. For an April 14 speech at Georgetown, the administration asked the university to cover up all signs and symbols -- including the letters "IHS" in gold, a symbol for Jesus.
57. Samantha Power, who resigned from the Obama campaign after calling Hillary Rodham Clinton a "monster," was hired to a position on the National Security Council.
58. "Chicago has yet to recoup the $1.74 million cost of President Obama's victory celebration in Grant Park -- despite a burgeoning $50.5 million budget shortfall that threatens more layoffs and union concessions." -- Chicago Sun-Times, 2/20
59. Firing Rick Wagoner as president of GM.
60. Threatening to fire Vikram Pandit as CEO of Citigroup.
61. Threatening to fire anyone the administration doesn't like from any company.
62. Not adopting a dog from a shelter.
63. "The GAO study asserts that officials from most of the states surveyed 'expressed concerns regarding the lack of Recovery Act funding provided for accountability and oversight. Due to fiscal constraints, many states reported significant declines in the number of oversight staff -- limiting their ability to ensure proper implementation and management of Recovery Act funds.' " -- ABC News, 4/23
64. "The National Newspaper Publishers Association named Obama 'Newsmaker of the Year.' The president is to receive the award from the federation of black community newspapers in a White House ceremony this afternoon. The Obama White House has closed the press award ceremony to the press." -- Los Angeles Times, 3/20
65. "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards." -- Attorney General Eric Holder
66. "I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances." -- Obama, on consulting with only "living" presidents
67. Obama quietly announced that he would not press for new labor and environmental regulations in the North American Free Trade Agreement, going back on a campaign promise.
"One of Obama's most poignant missed opportunities was in not using the historic $787 million stimulus package to reorder state and local government's spending priorities. As states and cities continue to spend ceaselessly and without results on education and healthcare, they're crowding out investments in the physical infrastructure that the private sector needs to rebuild the economy.
"In the stimulus, of the more than $200 billion that went directly to states and cities, nearly 70% went to education and healthcare spending. Only 24% went to infrastructure spending.
"But the states and cities in the most trouble already spend way too much on education and healthcare, pushing taxes up and sending private industry away. They don't spend nearly enough on infrastructure, which attracts the private sector and builds the real economy.
"As David Walker, former comptroller general of the US, said at the Regional Plan Association's annual meeting a week ago, nationwide, we are the 'highest in the world' on education. We are 'the highest in the world' on healthcare. 'Nobody comes even close.' On infrastructure, by contrast, we are 'below average' in both critical new investments and in much-needed maintenance spending.
"And, as Democratic governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell said at the same conference, when President Dwight Eisenhower left office, infrastructure spending was about 12.5% of non-military domestic spending. Today, it's about 2.5%.
"This shortfall is obvious to anyone who's ridden on an "express train" to the outer boroughs or driven on the Cross Bronx Expressway recently. But in New York, as elsewhere, the stimulus money has just allowed the state to ramp up spending on its wasteful, inhumane Medicaid program and its nosebleed public-school spending.
"Meanwhile, the subways are about to crumble into oblivion -- taking the economy with them. The same is true of decaying infrastructure in California and in aging states across the nation.
"The stimulus was a once-in-a-generation chance to change this. Instead, it made the situation worse."
-- Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor to City Journal
69. "The Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to overrule Michigan v. Jackson, the 1986 Supreme Court decision that held that if police may not interrogate a defendant after the right to counsel has attached, if the defendant has a lawyer or has requested a lawyer. This isn't the first time the Justice Department, under President Obama, has sought to limit defendants' rights." -- TalkLeft blog
70. "By any measure, my administration has inherited a fiscal disaster." -- Obama
71. "Ahh, see. I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here." -- Brushing off questions from the White House press corps
72. On Earth Day, Obama took two flights on Air Force One and four on Marine One to get to Iowa, burning more than 9,000 gallons of fuel.
73. "President Obama's plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs for the treatment of troops injured in service has infuriated veterans groups who say the government is morally obligated to pay for service-related medical care." -- Fox News, 3/17
74. "And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it." -- Obama during his first State Of The Union address. A German invented the automobile
"We're squandering blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Instead of concentrating fiercely on the vital task of destroying al Qaeda and its friends, the Obama administration's determined to erect a modern nation where no nation exists. Afghanistan isn't a country. It's a dysfunctional reservation inhabited by tribes that hate each other. There's no 'Afghan' identity. And even if our blind-to-reality efforts succeeded perfectly, the result would be meaningless.
"Except as a target range where we can gun down terrorists, Afghanistan doesn't matter. Next door, Pakistan matters immensely. But we don't know what to do about it. With 170 million anti-American Muslims descending into chaos as Pashtuns, Baluchis, Punjabis, Sindhis and others claw each other over the country's shabby remains, Pakistan's corrupt president shrugs, its military cowers, its loathsome intelligence services collude with Islamist extremists, and the safety of its nuclear weapons grows doubtful.
"Pakistan may be this generation's chamber of horrors.
"The Obama administration's response? Drill more wells in the Afghan countryside. Dramatically reinforce our troops in Afghanistan, sticking them with an impossible mission of modernizing a pre-medieval landscape while exposing them at the end of an insecure 1,500-mile supply line through, of all places, Pakistan.
"As for Pakistan itself, the Obama administration wants to send billions of dollars to a thieving government that makes Nigeria's look like a Quaker meeting and to hand Pakistan's military more arms -- weapons that might soon be used against us.
"Pakistan was a bad idea when it was created in 1947. It's a worse one now. Afghanistan wasn't even an idea, just an accident of where other borders ended. We can't 'save' either one -- because neither wants to be saved on our terms.
"Obama said the right things -- that Afghanistan isn't Iraq and that our goal should be the destruction of al Qaeda. But his policies just regurgitate our Iraq strategy (one he opposed) in a profoundly different context, while ambitious generals echo Vietnam-era calls for more forces.
"Our troops will do whatever we ask, to the best of their magnificent abilities. But we should ask them to do things that make sense. We need creative strategic thought, but we're succumbing to sheer inertia. And the presidet's supporters who howled that we should abandon Iraq to concentrate on their candidate's 'good war' don't seem to be volunteering to do any fighting. Menwhle, our presient's trpped himself inside his own campaign promiseing, Vietnam!"
-- Ralph Peters is the author of "Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a BeW" 77. "President Obama failed to consult Congress, as promised, before carving out exceptions to the omnibus spending bill he signed into law -- breaking his own signing-statement rules two days after issuing them -- and raised questions among lawmakers and committees who say the president's objections are unclear at best and a power grab at worst." -- Washington Times, 3/24
78. Adolfo Carrion was confirmed as Director of White House Office of Urban Affairs, but is serving under a cloud after allegations that he accepted thousands of dollars in cash from developers whose projects he approved.
"Every so often an unfocused athlete forgets about the field of play and climbs into the stands. Ty Cobb did it. Ron Artest did it. Maybe no one did it with more sick flir than the greasy, furious Hanson Brothers who, in 'Slap Shot,' climbed into the stands to give a beatdown to a fan.
"In March, Barack Obama sent his own personal Hanson Brothers, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and spokesman Robert Gibbs, out to attack a non-politician -- Rush Limbaugh -- who was sitting innocently in the stands jeering the action. Limbaugh didn't even throw a cup of beer.
"Senior White House staffers, who have already fallen into the classic trap of paying more attention to polls than fixing the country's problems, had become obsessed with surveys showing that Limbaugh was an unpopular figure with swing voters. Pretty soon Emanuel and Gibbs developed Limbaugh Tourette's. To paraphrase Joe Biden's witty putdown of Rudy Giuliani, for a few days every sentence they uttered contained three things: a subject, a verb and Rush Limbaugh.
"El Rushbo, chuckling over his cigar as his ratings skyrocketed, could not have been more pleased if a picture had emerged of Obama wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt and burning the American flag on Harvard Square. Even that portion of the public that doesn't like Rush squirmed at the embarrassing spectacle of the president's men going all Mean Girls on an entertainer. George W. Bush's spokesmen maintained a dignified silence about Michael Moore. Picture them fanning out over the Sunday talk shows to denounce, and drive up the box-office receipts of, 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' Wouldn't you have loved that, Michael?"
-- Kyle Smith is a Post columnist
80. Forced banks that didn't want TARP money to take it, then added on stipulations about pay and government control after the fact. Secretly forced Bank of America to buy Merrill Lynch, then allowed the bank to be criticized for overpaying.
81. "More than 90% of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States," Obama said in Mexico, yet says, "The figure represents only the percentage of crime guns that have been submitted by Mexican officials and traced by U.S. officials. We can find no hard data on the total number of guns actually 'recovered in Mexico,' but US and Mexican officials both say that Mexico recovers more guns that it submits for tracing. Therefore, the percentage of guns 'recovered' and traced to US sources necessarily is less than 90%."
82. Obama: "[Jim Owens, the CEO of Caterpillar, Inc.], said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off." Jim Owens: "I think realistically no. The truth is we're going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again."
83. "In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." -- Obama in Strasbourg, France
84. Joe Biden: "If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, if we stand up there and we really make the tough decisions, there's still a 30% chance we're going to get it wrong."
85. Joe Biden: "You all worked for change. You wanted to see change. Well, that wasn't a hard thing to try to communicate to the American people. Obviously, obviously, we needed a change almost no matter who was running."
86. Joe Biden: "You know, I'm embarrassed. Do you know the Web site number? I should have it in front of me and I don't. I'm actually embarrassed."
87. "There are more than 6.5 million trucks in the United States. The program Congress terminated allowed 97 Mexican trucks to roam among them. Ninety-seven! Shutting them out not only undermines NAFTA. It caused Mexico to retaliate with tariffs on 90 goods affecting $2.4 billion in U.S. trade coming out of 40 states." -- Charles Krauthammer, 3/20
"Although the president possesses enormous political capital -- both because of high approval ratings and because his administration is still in its infancy -- he has generally declined to exercise it with Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, including when it comes to crafting legislation key to moving his agenda forward.
"Rather he has allowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) to craft legislation as they see fit -- even though the very bills in question were proposed by the president and involve key planks in his agenda. Among them were Obama's signature $787 billion economic stimulus bill, his first major piece of legislation that was signed into law in February; and now health care reform, currently being negotiated on Capitol Hill with minimal input from the White House.
"This soft-pedal style of leadership runs the risk of forcing Obama to embrace legislation constructed for narrow partisan interests rather than in a manner capable of garnering broad bipartisan support. Over time, the public might come to see Obama's deference to Pelosi and Reid as a weakness of leadership not befitting a president in tough times."
-- David M. Drucker is a staff writer for Roll Call
89. "It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census, there are irresolvable conflicts for me." -- Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who became the second failed Commerce Secretary nominee
90. In the third sentence of his first speech as president, Obama said, "44 Americans have now taken the presidential oath." The correct number is 43, as Grover Cleveland served twice.
91. The $49 million inauguration -- triple what taxpayers spent at Bush's first inauguration.
92. Giving the Queen of England an iPod full of his own speeches.
93. Three prime-time briefings in his first 100 days, eating into television revenues and this Wednesday pre-empting "American Idol."
94. "The United States government has no interest in running GM. Your [GM] warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it's ever been, because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty." -- Obama
95. GM is given $15.4 billion in loans from the government.
96. The Obama Administration is trying to scuttle a lawsuit filed in federal court against Iran by former US embassy hostages. The lawsuit alleges that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of the hostage-takers who interrogated the captives.
"Ten days before his inauguration, the President's chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Rohmer, released a report describing what to expect economically during the first 100 days and beyond. It presented two starkly different scenarios: one good (if the stimulus were to be passed), and one terrifyingly bad (if we did nothing). Amazingly, the report estimated that if the stimulus package were to pass, the unemployment rate would not go above 8% at any time until at least 2014.
"It's already at 8.5%.
"In fact, while there is an acknowledged level of uncertainty, the projections estimated that the unemployment rate would be lower today if we had done nothing at all. This suggests one of two things: either the administration misjudged the seriousness of our economic problems, or the stimulus plan is actually making things worse. I suspect it's a little of both.
"Remember, when the President's budget was released, he was roundly criticized for his never ending deficits, even under his own optimistic scenarios for growth. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected deficits that were even uglier. But, if the President and his economic planners were this far off, this soon, how much worse does the future look now?
"The election was supposed to bring 'change,' but I was hoping for more than the letter after the President's name, the positivity of the media coverage, and the hypoallergenic qualities of the White House puppy. President Obama didn't get us into this situation, but so far he's doubling down on the same spending philosophy that did. Common sense tells us that new debt is not the cure for old debt. No matter what the slogans say, that won't change in 100 days or 100 years."
-- Glenn Beck is the host of the "Glenn Beck" show, weekdays at 5 p.m. on Fox News.
98. "Education Secretary Arne Duncan has decided not to admit any new students to the D.C. voucher program, which allows low-income children to attend private schools ... For all the talk about putting children first, it's clear that the special interests that have long opposed vouchers are getting their way." -- Washington Post, 4/11
99. Obama enrolled his daughters in a DC private school.
100. "Don't think we're not keeping score, brother." -- Obama to Rep. Peter DeFazio, after the Democratic congressman voted against the stimulus bill.

Due to an editing error, a portion of this piece originally was impropery credited to Sarah Palin, when it should have been attributed to Meghan Clyne.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How to Lose a Friend in 100 Days

Lauri B. Regan
American Thinker

Israeli strategy is all too often constructed, if not dictated, by American foreign policy and in particular, the American President. How then could American Jews risk the survival of the State of Israel on a man who they knew befriended and listened to an anti-Semitic pastor for 20 years, surrounded himself with anti-Semitic friends and advisors, promised to unconditionally reach out to Israel's (and America's) enemies, and flip flopped on the status of Jerusalem? I have been clear that the status of Israel was too essential to the survival of the Jewish people to risk its continued existence with a vote for a man whose only redeeming quality was his ability to read eloquently (and sometimes too quickly) from a teleprompter. Shockingly, 78% of American Jews apparently disagreed and voted for Obama. What I have since concluded is that many of those liberal Jews were less concerned with the State of Israel than with their liberal values.

An analysis of the policies, statements and decisions made in these first 100 days of the Obama administration with regard to Middle East policy follows.

- While snubbing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the upcoming AIPAC summit, Obama's first official phone call as POTUS was to Palestinian leader, President Mahmoud Abbas.

- After just seven days on the job, Obama signed an order allocating $20.3 million for Palestinian migration and refugee assistance.

- Shortly thereafter Obama decided to earmark $900 million to rebuild Gaza and strengthen the Palestinian Authority. Many liberals naively argued that Hamas would never see those funds and they would never be used to rebuild the arms shipment tunnels the Israelis attempted to destroy. It has since been reported that the Obama administration has asked Congress to amend U.S. law to enable the Palestinians to receive federal aid even if it forms a unity coalition with Hamas.

- Obama's first television interview was granted to the Saudi-funded al Arabiya TV.

For all of the American Jews that were thrilled when Hillary Clinton was selected as Secretary of State, apparently believing that she was a friend of Israel (completely forgetting her embrace of Arafat's wife, literally), her early comments chastising Israel for building settlements and exercising its right to demolish dozens of homes in East Jerusalem that were built illegally should have been illuminating. She stated:

"Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the 'road map'...It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel..."

Where were Clinton's public denunciations of Hamas rockets raining down on Southern Israel? (When I was in Sderot in March, we held the remnants of a missile that had landed just two weeks prior to our visit.) Perhaps Madam Secretary needs to be reminded that the "road map" calls for a complete cessation of violence by the Palestinians and recognition of Israel as a Jewish State, something that Abbas has firmly rejected in the face of a silent Obama administration.

Furthermore, can one imagine the administration publicly admonishing any other sovereign nation for the legal demolition of a few dozen illegally constructed homes? While in Israel I saw the neighborhood in question. The fact that Clinton took time to scold Israel on this "issue" would be laughable if people across the globe were not actually dying and being victimized by real human rights atrocities as to which the Obama administration is silent.

As if one scolding were not enough, Hillary again made her voice heard stating:

"For Israel to get the kind of strong support it is looking for vis-à-vis Iran, it can't stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts. They go hand in hand."

It is astonishing that America's "strong support" for its only ally in the Mideast which is threatened by a common enemy ruled by Islamic extremists and a fascist dictator is conditional. And if Ariel Sharon's ceding Gaza in return for the constant bombardment of thousands of rockets is standing on the sidelines, then perhaps I've been reading the wrong playbook because clearly the Obama administration's promise of change includes an entirely new game of reaching out to enemies while disregarding friends. Finally, the "blame Israel" for the conflicts resulting from the jihadist ideology permeating the Mideast is something that we expect from anti-Semites the world over but certainly not the government of the United States of America.

- Recently blowhard Joe advised Netanyahu that it would be "ill-advised" for Israel to defend itself against the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon obliterating Israel and its people.

- American Jews who could not stop kvelling when Obama selected Rahm Emmanuel as his chief of staff should have been outraged when Emmanuel officially threw Israel under the bus declaring:

"In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn't matter to us at all who is prime minister...Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory."

In response to this comment, National Union chairman Ya'acov Katz wrote an admonishing letter to Emmanuel stating:

"For many Israelis, this report is a cause for worry because it reveals a condescending attitude toward our prime minister and Israeli public opinion. This is an attitude that Israel does not expect from a real friend such as the US..."

- Another hero of the Jewish community, special envoy to the Mideast George Mitchell, further proved the destructive path on which the Obama administration has embarked by stating his intent to include the Arab peace initiative into his Mideast policy. As Leo Rennert wrote in AT:

"According to Mitchell, creation of a Palestinian state, per se, will be the magic wand to bring peace to the region. George W. Bush, the first American president to endorse Palestinian statehood, had a quite different plan...before there could be a Palestine, there had to be guarantees that it really would be ‘untainted by terrorism.' That stipulation is gone from the Obama/Mitchell playbook.

"To make matters even worse for Israel, Mitchell kept assuring Palestinian leaders that the Arab ‘peace initiative' would become part and parcel of Washington's drive for a two-state solution. The Arab plan actually is a prescription for the end of Israel as a Jewish state because it's predicated on a ‘right of return' for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to flood back into Israel."

- Additional steps taken by Obama suggesting a lack of support for Israel include his decision to join the UN Human Rights Committee and his administration's involvement in the planning stages of Durban II (including toying with the idea of actually attending).

Victor Hanson Davis summarizes the status of relations between the United States and Israel as follows:

"I am very worried. Israel I think is alone now. The failed Freeman appointment, the historically puerile al-Arabiya interview (cf. e.g., Obama's praise of the good ole days, some thirty years ago, when Sadat was murdered, Khomeini took over, Saddam was flexing his muscles, Americans were routinely murdered, etc.) the Samantha Power appointment, the 'outreach' to Syria, the video for Iran, the Gaza/Hamas rebuilding, the tough behind-the-scenes lectures to Israel-all this bodes ill.

Does Team Obama really believe that a murderous autocratic cabal like Hamas is merely different from a democratic constitutional republic like Israel?
At best we have naiveté at the helm (Obama thinks he can mesmerize misunderstood killers), at worst, a genuine feeling that Israel is an aggressive, Western imperialist power exploiting indigenous people of color who simply wish to be free--in other words, the Rev. Wright-Bill Ayers-Rashid Khalidi view of the Middle East."

Lauri B. Regan is an attorney at a global law firm in New York.

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