I’m sure glad we have the most transparent administration in history, aren’t you?
At least four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress, Fox News has learned.
Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials.
Read more …
The Jordanian monarchy is going through one of its most difficult periods ever. The present crisis is certainly the most trying phase of King Abdullah’s reign, which began fourteen years ago upon the death of his father, King Hussein, in February 1999. But one should not rush with predictions of doom and gloom with respect to the Hashemites in Jordan. Too many have done so for decades past, only to be proven wrong time and again.
This Brief argues that the situation in Jordan, though tenuous, remains manageable, at least for the time being. The Arab Spring has emboldened the opposition by eroding the deterrent effect of the notorious “fear of government” (haybat al-sulta) in the Arab world in general and in Jordan in particular. For over two years, Jordan has experienced almost weekly demonstrations, led primarily by the Muslim Brethren but also by other less substantial opponents of the regime. They demand political reform and decry the pervasive corruption in the country, which they argue is the major cause for the depletion of the state’s resources and the steadily declining living standards of the masses. At the same time, while the demonstrations continuing for more than two years reflects the perseverance of the opposition and the depth of popular disaffection, it also indicates the staying power of the regime and the relative ineffectiveness of its fractious rivals.
What I keep thinking of on the 65th anniversary of the Founding of the Jewish state is a phrase Ariel Sharon used to offer to his friends in the diaspora. Israel, he would say, is a “world wide project of the Jewish people.” It was his way of welcoming. As the anniversary nears, I’ve been re-reading the diaries of Herzl and essays of Jabotinsky and enjoying both their personalities that have done so much to inspirit the state they envisioned.
It happens that this week I am also putting the finishing touches on my biography of the Founding Editor of the Jewish Daily Forward, Abraham Cahan. It includes a telling of the events in the spring of 1940, when Jabotinsky gave, at the Manhattan Opera House, his speech calling for the evacuation of 6 million Jews to Palestine from Europe. He was promptly mocked in a column by Cahan. It filled a full page of the Forward, and Cahan sneered that Jabotinsky knew nothing of practical problems.
The desire to have ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and Arab young men enter the work force must not be confused with the principle of having the burden of defending the country shared by all. Entering the work force is beneficial for those who do so and for the country as a whole, but it is not a substitute for military service.
Civilian national service is not the same as military service. Not only does civilian service not expose those called up to the same dangers and the same discipline as military service, but it is questionable whether in a modern democracy the government has the right to compel young people to perform civilian tasks which are performed by others for pay.
[THIS MONEY WOULD BE BETTER SPENT ON EVACUATING ARABS.]
The evacuation of isolated West Bank Jewish communities outside of the settlement blocs could cost the government more than NIS 250 billion, the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip said on Monday.
It released this figure amid renewed United States efforts to revive direct negotiations for a two-state solution. Any final-status agreement achieved through negotiations would likely involve the evacuation of isolated West Bank settlements.
When the Saudi Plan was first tabled in 2002, it made NO mention of swaps but swaps were mooted. I recall that in that discussion, they mentioned swaps should be of equal value rather than equal size. This Plan was amended by the Arab League and became known as the Arab Peace Initiative. The amendment required a just settlement of the refugee issue. Israel has already rejected the ’67 lines plus swaps proposed by Obama so there is nothing new here. T. Belman
In DC, Qatari PM reiterates call for peace deal based on 1967 borders, but cites possibility of ‘comparable,’ mutually agreed and ‘minor’ land swaps between Israel, Palestinians. Kerry: Agreement common interest for region, whole world
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNET
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 29, 2013,
debkafile’s military sources report that Hizballah’s elite Al Qods Brigade suffered a grinding defeat – its gravest since first intervening in the Syrian civil war – and heavy losses in the battle for al Qusayr in the Homs sector of northern Syria Monday, April 29. Among the dead were two high-ranking officers, the Al Qods Brigade commander, known as “Abu Ajib” and his lieutenant Hamza Ramloush, as well as dozens of dead and wounded.
By Ted Belman
I attended this conference today and it was quite exciting.
Abraham Sion, Chair of The Centre for Law and Mass Media gave the opening address. He is a law professor and advocate of keeping Judea and Samaria.
The most interesting panel was on International Law and the settlements in Judea and Samaria which was chaired by attorney Marc Zell, former partner of Doublas Feith. Alan Baker, member of the Levy Commission, advocated for the Report’s acceptance, Prof Gerald Adler, sat in for Howard Grief, and expounded on his specialty, international law. He is a very old classmate of mine from law school.
By SAM SOKOL, JPOST
Alan Dershowitz presented a new plan to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians on Sunday at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York.
It would be a terrible mistake to begin talks based on the 1967 lines, Dershowitz said during a panel discussion on the topic of two states for two peoples. “That puts the Kotel in the hands of the PA at the start of negotiations,” Dershowitz said.
Dershowitz told the audience that he had spoken with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and suggested that a new basis for negotiations be agreed upon in which construction would continue in the settlement blocs but not in any areas in which there is “reasonable disagreement.”
MK Eldad demands to know why the JNF stopped a forestation project, warns that perhaps JNF donors should be encouraged to give elsewhere.
By Maayana Miskin,INN
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) is demanding to know why the Jewish National Fund (JNF) has stopped planting trees in the Negev following protests from Bedouin land thieves. In a letter to honorary JNF co-chairman Eli Aflalo, Eldad said the JNF’s inaction means it no longer has a purpose.
“I was shocked to read the article by [journalist] Kalman Liebskind on February 26. From the article I learned that, despite repeated court rulings in its favor, the JNF has decided to halt plantings in Arkib in the Negev,” Eldad wrote.
by Dr. Max Singer, April 28,2013
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israeli advocates of the two-state solution should support the findings of the Levy Commission, which affirms Israel’s right to settle in the West Bank. Israel will thus be viewed as giving up its own territory in any future agreement. Israeli citizens should not deny their country’s rights in order to strengthen the argument for removing settlements.
Opponents of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and supporters of a two-state solution should support the Levy Commission’s affirmation of Israel’s rights in the territories. The Commission concluded that “Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of a settlement cannot, in and of itself, be considered illegal.” It did not say, however, that the settlements should stay where they are.
The Knesset has approved legislation in preliminary reading that prohibits illegal migrants from transferring funds abroad. This initiative has now been endorsed by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, assuring it of a comfortable majority in the second and third (final) Knesset plenum votes.
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar explains that the bill is designed to create a disincentive for illegal migration – as regards both coming here and staying. Many earn sums in Israel that are vast in Third World terms and they send off portions of their income to families back home. This could now become thorny – except in cases of “extreme humanitarian distress,” whereby first-degree relatives are in verifiable existential peril.
The legislation, brought forth by Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar as a means of dealing with ‘infiltrators,’ receives preliminary approval from a ministerial committee.
By Jonathan Lis and Ilan Lior, HAARETZ | Apr.22, 2013
A committee of legislative ministers on Sunday approved a bill that would forbid illegal migrants from sending money abroad while living in Israel. The bill was proposed by Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who said it is “meant to use economic means to deal with the phenomenon of infiltrators in Israel.” The bill passed during first reading in the previous Knesset, and the governmental stamp of approval received on Sunday will allow the bill to proceed on to a second and third reading.
The bill would make it a criminal offense for an illegal migrant to send money abroad ? or for someone else to send money abroad on the migrant’s behalf. The bill would allow an illegal migrant to transfer money out of the country only upon leaving Israel, although there would be further limitations regarding the amount so as to prevent one migrant from transferring money for another. The maximum amount of funds permitted for transfer upon leaving the country would be equal to the minimum monthly wage multiplied by the number of months the migrant spent in Israel.
By Ted Belman
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon makes it clear:
The government committee weighing the “equal burden of service” issue is unfairly focusing on hareidi-religious Jews while ignoring the Israeli Arab community, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) has accused.
Diplomacy: Taking a more nuanced look at Israel
Israel’s consul-general in New York Ido Aharoni advocates shifting Israeli advocacy on campus from angry confrontations on the quad to showing Israel’s relevance in students’ lives.
Stanley Fisher, Bank of Israel Governor, Assesses Israel’s Economy
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #178, April 26, 2013, bit.ly/11KNmFG
The following summary of the April 23, 2013 address by Stanley Fisher, Bank of Israel Governor, highlights economic indicators which reflect the relative strength of Israel’s economy during the global economic meltdown. These indicators have enhanced global confidence in the long-term viability of Israel’s economy. Far from being isolated, Israel has become an attractive partner for global trade, an exciting site for astute investors and giant high tech companies. Israel’s economic performance is praised by the three leading global rating companies and the International Monetary Fund.
So now, the next necessary deception in the campaign is to convince you that — all together now — “the system worked.” In reality, the civilian justice system did not work, and that is because it cannot work — not if the objective is the swift acquisition of vital national-defense information.
It could not be more obvious to an objective, rational person that if the aim is intelligence collection, it is far better to interrogate a terrorist without limitations on time and subject matter, without the interference of a defense lawyer, and without empowering the detainee by giving him plea-bargaining leverage to trade for information. The Obama administration, however, is telling you, with a straight face, that the imposition of civilian due process will produce intelligence just as effectively, if not better.
Donald Kagan is engaging in one last argument. For his “farewell lecture” here at Yale on Thursday afternoon, the 80-year-old scholar of ancient Greece—whose four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War inspired comparisons to Edward Gibbon’s Roman history—uncorked a biting critique of American higher education.
Universities, he proposed, are failing students and hurting American democracy. Curricula are “individualized, unfocused and scattered.” On campus, he said, “I find a kind of cultural void, an ignorance of the past, a sense of rootlessness and aimlessness.” Rare are “faculty with atypical views,” he charged. “Still rarer is an informed understanding of the traditions and institutions of our Western civilization and of our country and an appreciation of their special qualities and values.” He counseled schools to adopt “a common core of studies” in the history, literature and philosophy “of our culture.” By “our” he means Western.