Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Arlene Kushner on Republican Candidates, Jack Lew, Explosions In Iran, Abbas and "The Pistol Nation"

From Arlene Kushner:

January 11, 2012


That means "Anyone But Obama," although I might qualify that with "almost." 

Perhaps it's in the nature of the game, but as I watch from Jerusalem while the candidates vying for the Republican nomination go at each other, I am unsettled.  Especially as sometimes accusations are over the top. In the end, of course, the Republicans will settle on one of those currently vying for the nomination.  But we must hope that, by that time, the competition that preceded it will not have so tarnished his image that his capacity to beat Obama at the polls has been compromised.  

Be it Romney or Santorum or Gingrich, any of these serving as president would be far better for America, and Israel and the Western world than Obama is. And in the end, I hope that is what Republicans in the US will remember, rallying in strength and with genuine enthusiasm behind the victor.  This election, in the main, is not Obama's to win -- his credentials are down the tubes -- so much as it is the Republicans to lose.


At the moment, it's looking like Romney.  And if it is, he'll have a tough fight on his hands.

Bill Daley, who took over from Rahm Emanuel as Obama's chief of staff, has resigned after a one-year stint.  Obama has now replaced him with Jacob (Jack) Lew, who has been serving as Director of Management and Budget.

Former White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew on Nov. 8, 2011. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Lew   Source:Reuters

What has been broadly announced is that he is an "Orthodox Jew."  According to the Forward, this means he "keeps an observant lifestyle, eats kosher food and does not drive on the Sabbath.  He does not wear a kippa (traditional Jewish skullcap) in his daily life."

I know nothing about him (other than what I just wrote above)...yet.  But I confess to pondering long and hard how he can be comfortable working for Obama.

And you'd have a very hard time convincing me that this particular appointment is just a coincidence, when Obama is so vigorously courting the Jewish community.


So now it's Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, Iranian professor and department head of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, who has been blown to kingdom-come (with or without the 72 virgins), in this case by a magnetic car bomb, in Teheran.

I'm am not prepared to say that Israel did it -- although this is the working assumption in many quarters.  This likelihood was fueled by a comment by Chief of Staff Benny Gantz yesterday, before Ahmadi-Roshan was hit, regarding the fact that in 2012 Iran can expect more "unnatural" events.

There are suggestions that rebels from inside Iran are responsible for some of these attacks.  Or, as one blogger citing unnamed sources claims, the Mossad working with Iranians from inside.  A plausible possibility.

Ahmadi-Roshan, is, I believe, the third Iranian scientist to have been taken out.
What makes these operations effective is not just the elimination of experts needed by Iran, but the uneasy and underlying anxiety that is generated.


I wrote recently about how difficult predictions are because of constantly shifting dynamics.  Now Khaled Abu Toameh has written a piece, "The many contradictions of Mahmoud Abbas," which addresses precisely this with regard to the PA president:

"Seven years have passed since Mahmoud Abbas was elected to succeed Yasser Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority, and many Palestinians appear to be as confused as ever regarding their leader’s true intentions."

Abbas has offered conflicting messages with regard to policy, unity, reelections, peace talks and a third intifada.

My question is whether Abbas is himself conflicted, or, as I would suggest, there is method to his madness (or indecision).


I'm beginning to see suggestions once again -- which make me furious once again -- regarding the need for Israel to "make a gesture of good faith" to keep the Palestinian Arabs sitting at the table.  But this is precisely what Abbas and company hope for: They confess to a burning desire to make peace, and reveal with tears in their eyes that it is being thwarted by the Israelis' refusal to freeze settlements, etc.

A gullible, appeasing world is quite happy to lean on Israel -- once again -- in the deluded hope that maybe one more concession will make a difference.  Heaven forbid Israel should budge in this regard!

Here I want to refer to one specific suggestion, which I consider particularly foolish and dangerous.  Perhaps, it is being said, we should give the PA more control of certain areas, ceasing IDF operations.  What is ignored when such suggestions are made is that it is the IDF, operating nightly, that stops terrorists, finds weapons caches, and the like. The PA so-called security forces will not do this.  To make this suggestion is to ever so casually and ignorantly suggest putting innocent Israelis at risk.


Guilio Meotti has written an insightful, indeed fascinating, thought-piece, "Israel, the Pistol Nation":
"In Israel, war and democracy have made an unusual marriage to create a Jew fit to survive in continuous sacrifice. It is not about gargantuan deeds by superhuman champions; it is family-and home-oriented, and rather intimate in tone.

"The militarization of the Jew, which is the burden and the salvation at the same time, has been the most dramatic psychological transformation of the Zionist revolution. Where once Jews were mocked for being 'cowards' and 'parasites,' today they are condemned by the world for being 'aggressors.'

"...That’s the Jewish revolution, which the West can’t accept, the most admirable Israeli phenomenon: A people still able to defend itself against the forces of evil."

A 1,500 year old ceramic stamp bearing the image of a menorah has been found during Israel Antiquities Authorities excavations near the city of Akko.  It  has been identified as coming from the Byzantine period (6th century CE), and is a "bread stamp":  It was used to certify that baked goods were kosher.

Menorah stamp


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