Sunday, March 04, 2012

Arlene Kushner on Obama, Iran and Israel

From Arlene Kushner:


March 4, 2012

"DAYLIGHT"

There are Americans, including American Jews, who still think that Obama is a staunch friend of Israel.  Who ask me: Why are you so hard on our president?  Why don't you trust that Obama's motivation in what he does is sincere?

I have answers when people ask these questions.  But now I have something more: "Daylight" -- a 30-minute, factually- based video on Obama's true relationship with Israel.  

It is the work of the Emergency Committee for Israel  


This video was released in response to the growing campaign rhetoric that declares Obama to be Israel's staunch friend, and in advance of the AIPAC Policy Conference -- which starts today and runs through Tuesday.  Obama is scheduled to speak at the Conference and will undoubtedly be touting his pro-Israel qualifications.  

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Every supporter of Israel should view this video in order to be well-informed. 
But in particular I urgently request that those who still think Obama is a good guy for Israel ("the most pro-Israel president ever"), and those who imagine that voting for Obama will keep Israel safe, to take the 30 minutes to see this

Thirty minutes, in order to be certain that you have the full story and not just what the Obama team wants you to know.


(With special thanks to "Bud and Phyllis L.)

You can see the Committee for Israel website for other relevant issues, as well.

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So the AIPAC Conference -- at which Netanyahu and Obama will speak -- has begun, and the meeting between the two is scheduled for tomorrow. The media, once again, is awash in predictions as to what each leader will say.  

A couple of sources are predicting that Netanyahu will deliver an ultimatum to Obama: tell Iran to stop its nuclear development or it will be attacked militarily. 

In spite of US desire to give the situation "time," Netanyahu is deeply concerned that time is running out.  In a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper on Friday, Netanyahu laid out demands that must be made of Iran before more negotiations are undertaken:

"They must shut down their facility near Qom, stop their uranium enrichment program and transfer all the material they have outside their country. And when I say all the material, I mean all the material, from 3.5% and up.

"Each day is bringing the danger closer, and we understand that the worst may happen.  What we have warned against may soon become reality. The Iranians could do again what they have done before, they could pursue or exploit the talks as they have done in the past to deceive and delay so that they can continue to advance their nuclear program and get to the nuclear finish line by running up the clock, so to speak. I think the international community should not fall into this trap."  (Emphasis added)
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The NYTimes got into the act today with a piece by White House correspondent Mark Landler, who wrote:
"Recent assessments by American spy agencies (which American spy agencies?) have reaffirmed intelligence findings in 2007 and 2010 that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program."

Is this NYTimes spin or the true US position? 

If this is the position the US wishes to take, it would be exceedingly troubling.  For this is certainly not what Israeli Intelligence is reporting.  Nor is it what the IAEA is saying these days.  And because there is every indication that the US knows better (see below).  Late last month, the IAEA reported that an attempt at negotiations was a failure and that access to a key site at Parchin was denied.   WHY would access to a nuclear site be denied if the weapons program had been abandoned?

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This is from Dore Gold, director of Jerusalem Center:


"In February 2008, IAEA deputy director-general Ollie Heinonen gave a highly classified briefing in which he revealed Iranian documents that detailed how to design a warhead for the 1,300-kilometer-range Shahab-3 missile that had to be detonated at an altitude of 600 meters. A conventional explosion at that altitude would have no effect on the ground below, but 600 meters is the ideal altitude for a nuclear explosion over a city - as it was in Hiroshima in 1945.

"The November 2011 report showed that the IAEA no longer had 'suspicions' about the Iranian weaponization program - it had hard intelligence from 'more than ten Member States.' There was documentation in Farsi detailing the safety arrangements for conducting an actual nuclear test. The Iranians had also sought to obtain uranium for a secret enrichment program, that would not be under IAEA safeguards. " (Emphasis added)

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Regarding that same November 2011 IAEA report, Efraim Inbar of the BESA Center wrote:

"The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) this week finally submitted a report expressing “serious concerns” about activities within Iran’s nuclear program that indicate a clear military dimension...The report confirms what Israel has claimed for years – that Iran is in pursuit of a nuclear bomb. There is nothing in this report that has not been known to Western intelligence agencies for some time.(Emphasis added)

"The report reveals the Iranian strategy of creating an impenetrable fog around its nuclear program and procrastinating in its negotiations with the West in order to buy time while building a nuclear weapon..."
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And just days ago, according to Trend, Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh said that "Iran planned to launch new research nuclear power plants alongside the five- megawatt Amirabad Nuclear Research Centre in Tehran, then upping the enriching of uranium to a 20 per cent level..." 


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What we're looking at here, in part but only in part, is a reflection of a major difference between the Israeli position and the American.  Israel does not want to permit Iran to reach break-out capacity, so that if its leaders then decided to build a nuclear weapon it could do so quickly. The US is more inclined to say capacity does not constitute a decision to actually go ahead. (Although the evidence of delivery systems being developed severely undermines this argument.)

The NYTimes article cited above says that Obama has no intention of laying down red lines or of sanctioning "an attack on Iran in order to prevent it from getting to the point where it could manufacture a nuclear weapon."  (Emphasis added)

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In an interview for Atlantic, Obama is quoted as saying:

“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff. I also don’t, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.

As to US support for Israel, he rhetorically asked, "Why is it that despite me never failing to support Israel on every single problem that they’ve had over the last three years, that there are still questions about that?"  
This is a mind-boggling statement. See the video, recommended above, for all the ways in which he has failed to support Israel. This sort of dishonest grandstanding makes it even more difficult to trust the president.

With regard to a question about a military response, Obama reportedly said, "At a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally [Syria] is on the ropes, do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim?"

Heaven help us! No threat of military action against a dangerous Iran so it cannot portray itself as a victim??  This is politically correct thinking gone amuck.  Or a very stupid excuse for what Obama does not want to deal with.  Take your pick. (Me? I'll take option two.)

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According to Israel Hayom today:

"Israeli officials have recently stated that both Israel and the U.S. are in possession of identical information on the status of Iran’s nuclear progress and have also arrived at the same conclusions on the matter, which to Israeli officials means the reason the U.S. is not pushing the issue more urgently is due to the U.S. presidential election year. (Emphasis added)

"U.S. officials responded however, that it was not the upcoming election that was holding them back, but rather the current parliamentary elections and future presidential elections in Iran. According to U.S. officials, a significant rift is appearing among Iran’s leaders, and especially between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which to the U.S. indicates that the sanctions are working."

My comments here.  There is, first, no reason to assume that Ali Khameini is any less eager to build nuclear capacity than Ahmadinejad is -- in fact there are indications that he is just as eager. The mullahs are all for it. The notion that a weakening of Ahmadinejad's position necessary will bring a reassessment of nuclear development in Iran may be very erroneous indeed.

And then, I remind my readers that while Iran is hurting economically because of those sanctions, they have had no effect whatsoever in diminishing Iranian intention to go ahead with the nuclear program.  If anything, a certain defiance is being displayed.

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Yesterday was Shabbat Zahor. This is when we read from the Torah three verses from Dvorim (Deuteronomy) that every Jew is obligated to hear.  "Remember what Amalek did to you... You shall not forget."

We are commanded to remember when the Amalekites attacked the Children of Israel from the rear, hitting at the weak individuals and the young.  The other commandment at that time was for Amalek to be wiped out, even as we remember what happened.

There is no way to trace today a genetic connection of our enemies to the Amalekites, but spiritually and ideologically we understand that in every generation an Amalek arises.  This was the case with Haman, whom we will read about during Purim later this week, and Hitler. and certainly it is true of Iranian leaders now.

On Friday, Netanyahu said:

"I have not drawn red lines, and I will not draw red lines for the U.S.  We want to preserve Israel’s operative independence against threats of removing us from the global map."
Believe him.

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© Arlene KushnerThis material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced onlywith proper attribution.

See my website at Arlene From Israel  Contact Arlene atakushner@netvision.net.il
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