Today’s resolution brands the Jewish presence in any part of the West Bank or in parts of Jerusalem that were occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967 as illegal. And it makes the hundreds of thousands of Jews who live in those parts of the ancient Jewish homeland international outlaws. The excuse given by the U.S. was that increased building in the territories and Jerusalem is endangering the chances of a two-state solution. But, as I noted yesterday when the vote on the resolution was postponed, this is a canard. The reason why a two-state solution has not been implemented to date is because the Palestinians have repeatedly refused offers of statehood even when such offers would put them in possession of almost all of the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem. The building of more homes in places even Obama admitted that Israel would keep in the event of a peace treaty is no obstacle to peace if the Palestinians wanted a state. Rather than encourage peace, this vote will merely encourage more Palestinian intransigence and their continued refusal to negotiate directly with Israel. It will also accelerate support for efforts to wage economic war on Israel via the BDS movement.
This lame duck stab in the back of America’s only democratic ally in the Middle East should only further encourage President-elect Donald Trump to make good on his promise to move the U.S. embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and let the world know that the new administration not only repudiates his predecessor’s betrayal but that the alliance is as strong as ever.
That will have to wait until January 20th and Obama’s exit from the White House. In the meantime, this is a moment for Democratic friends of Israel to apologize for eight years of excusing and rationalizing Obama’s growing hostility to the Jewish state. Though some will disingenuously argue that the president is trying to save Israel from itself, today’s vote must be seen for what it is. Freed of political constraints, the president finally showed his true colors by throwing Israel to the wolves at a United Nations where anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias is integral to the culture of the world body.
This is a moment when those who have been in denial about the harm the president has done to the U.S.-Israel alliance should admit their mistake. But for the pro-Israel community as a whole, a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, this is a moment of anger that will hopefully be followed by a determination to work with the next president to repair the grave damage Obama has caused.
President-elect Donald Trump o the UN Security Council’s passage of an anti-Israel resolution Friday — thanks to U.S. abstention by President Barack Obama — by Tweeting: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”
It was not immediately apparent what Trump meant, but senior members of Congress — including several in the Senate — have called openly for defunding the United Nations in response to the vote, which declares Israeli settlements illegal.
The vote, which Israel argues mistakes both historical fact and international law, breaks with five decades of precedent in U.S. policy. The Obama administration had vetoed an earlier resolution substantially similar to the one that it allowed to pass.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued a statement in advance of the vote:
As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I oversee the United States assistance to the United Nations. The United States is currently responsible for approximately 22 percent of the United Nations total budget.
If the United Nations moves forward with the ill-conceived resolution, I will work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) agreed, in a statement after the vote: “The United States provides considerable financial assistance to the United Nations and Security Council members. The UN and nations supporting this resolution have now imperiled all forms of U.S. assistance. I look forward to working with President-elect Trump and members of both parties in Congress to decide what the consequences for this action will be.”
Late on Friday, the Obama administration demonstrated before the world just how morally perverse they are, and why so many Americans can’t wait for their benighted perspective on foreign policy to become a relic of the past. With Obama’s silent urging and acquiescence, the United Nations passed a resolution essentially declaring the holiest spot in Judaism, the Temple Mount, sovereign Muslim territory, and determining that all Jews living outside of pre-1967 lines are illegal residents on sovereign Muslim territory. Obama did this on behalf of a unity government comprised of three terrorist groups – Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Authority – and to the cheers of terror-sponsors like Iran.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration spoke words of empty nonsense as the Russian-backed Syrian regime continued its slaughter of hundreds of thousands just to Israel’s northeast.
Obama’s presidency has been a blot on the moral record of the United States with regard to world affairs, but his parting shot at Israel demonstrates his total animus for the Jewish state as a whole and his warmth toward the world’s leading terror-sponsors in Iran.
Thankfully, someone new arrives on January 20.
President-elect Donald Trump attempted stop the Obama UN atrocity before it began by publicly urging a veto, then working behind the scenes to scuttle Egypt’s sponsorship of the draft resolution. Obama then worked with the Palestinians to push it through with help from socialist dictatorship Venezuela and Senegal, which is currently threatening to invade Gambia.
Krauthammer’s Take: Abstention on Anti-Israel Vote a Disgrace: ‘U.S. Joined the Jackals at the U.N.’
Longer Clip: Future of Israel relations after US abstains from UN vote (btw Charles Lane is wrong about the UNSC “making law”)
Full Show with Danny Danon: Special Report 12/23/16 | Fox News | December 23, 2016
Amb. Bolton on US abstention from UN Israel vote
Joel B. Pollak: Five Ways Trump Could Avenge the Anti-Israel UN Vote
1. Signing a congressional declaration that the UN Security Council resolution is not United States policy. Congress could quickly pass, and President Trump would sign, a declaration that the previous administration had no mandate to allow the UN Security Council resolution to pass. The declaration could affirm prior U.S. policy that some areas in the West Bank will always be under Israeli control — or it could even leave the status of the West Bank open to potential Israeli annexation.
2. Immediately move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The Trump transition team has been hinting that moving the U.S. embassy would be a high priority. Now there is absolutely no reason to delay. The entire case against moving the embassy had been that the U.S. should not take unilateral action outside negotiations between the two parties. But Obama just undermined his own argument by unilaterally taking the Palestinians’ side over settlements. Moving the embassy is now a no-brainer.
3. Cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority. President Obama kept U.S. taxpayer dollars flowing to the Palestinians even though the Palestinian Authority has continued to support terrorists and incite hatred against Israelis and Jews. By pushing for unilateral measures at the UN, the Palestinian leadership has also thrown away the bilateral premise of whatever remained of the peace process. They have never faced consequences for their hostility to peace. They should face them now.
4. Defund the United Nations, in whole or in part. The UN is dependent on American taxpayers for some 22% of its general budget. International diplomats, bureaucrats and miscreants live the high live in Manhattan and elsewhere while passing resolutions and running programs directly contrary to the interests of the United States. The Trump administration and Speaker Paul Ryan will find plenty of fat to cut — and could target funding that would support Friday’s awful resolution.
5. Announce a presidential visit to Israel. Trump should visit Israel — and include the Old City, and even Hebron, to show that the new administration regards Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal, undivided capital; and that the religious rights of all people to access holy sites in the West Bank must be undisturbed under any dispensation. After Obama’s perfidy, Trump would be greeted as a hero throughout the country.
Ironically, from this dark moment in U.S.-Israel relations, a new light may shine.
Here’s a quick refresher of the history of the Obama administration through last year on Israel:
February 2008: Obama rips the Likud Party, even though the Kadima Party is in power attempting to negotiate peace with the Palestinians.
June 2008: Obama reverses himself on whether Jerusalem should remain undivided.
March 2009: The Obama administration rejoins the anti-Semitic UN Human Rights Council, fully acknowledging its anti-Semitism.
May 2009: Obama tells Netanyahu that “settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward.” Netanyahu complies. Obama slams Israel anyway.
June 2009: Obama says Israel was only founded because of the Holocaust, then compares Palestinian treatment at Jewish hands to Jewish suffering at the hands of the Nazis: “They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”
July 2009: Obama threatens to put “daylight” between the United States and Israel.
September 2009: Obama says “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”
March 2010: Vice President Joe Biden visits Israel and rips Netanyahu for allowing Jews to build bathrooms in their homes in Jerusalem. Hillary screams at Netanyahu for an hour on the phone. When Netanyahu visits the White House, Obama makes him leave through the side door…..
“Israel rejects the anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office said in a statement Friday night, calling the UN vote “shameful” and stating that Israel would not abide by it.
The Security Council is not doing anything to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria, instead they turn their focus on Israel, stated the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against the UN’s obsession with Israel, it collaborated with the UN behind Israel’s back,” the statement continued.
“Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”
Netanyahu’s spokesman to Arab media Ofir Gendelman tweeted later on Friday night that the prime minister had canceled an upcoming visit from Senegal’s foreign minister to Israel, as well as Israeli aid programs to the country.
Netanyahu has instructed Israel’s ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal to return to Israel for consultations, his spokesman said on Friday, in response to a UN resolution on settlements.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations on Friday condemned the UN Security Council for voting through a resolution demanding a halt to all settlement activity, branding the motion “an evil decree” that would merely provide further excuses for the Palestinians to continue to reject Israel’s right to exist.
Speaking after the Council voted 14-0 in favor of Resolution 2334, which brands settlements illegal, Danny Danon told the packed chamber that this was a “dark day for this council.” The UN body wasted its time, in a “peak of hypocrisy,” to condemn Israel “for building homes in the historic homeland of the Jewish people” even as thousands were being massacred in neighboring Syria, he said.
Israel, said Danon, had implored the council “not to believe the lies in this resolution.” By approving it, “you have in fact voted no to negotiations, you have voted no to progress and a chance for better lives for Israelis and Palestinians, and you have voted no to the possibility of peace.”
Danon called the resolution the latest in “the long and shameful list of anti-Israel UN resolutions” and said it would encourage Palestinian incitement. “Today’s vote will be a victory for terror,” he said, “a victory for hatred and violence.”
Lapid told reporters before the vote that when it came to the resolution, there was “no coalition or opposition,” as the entire political establishment held similar views. Because the resolution also condemns activity in eastern Jerusalem, “there is no Israeli government, ever, that can accept that.”
The resolution could open the door for sanctions against Israel or other actions against Israel in international fora such as the International Criminal Court, he predicted. Lapid explained that the resolution essentially tells Israel, “we are pushing you to go to the negotiation table to negotiate the future borders, but what we did is pre-rule what the borders are. This, of course, is impossible.”
He also observed that the resolution’s focus on the 1949 armistice lines ignores more recent developments, such as the 2004 letter from President George W. Bush to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stating, “It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”
“The Security Council decision is a big blow for Israeli policies,” said Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.
The move was “an international and unanimous condemnation of settlements and strong support for the two-state solution,” he told AFP.
Saeb Erekat, a former peace negotiator and the number two in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), spoke of a “historic day.”
“December 23 is a historic day and a victory for international legitimacy, international law and international documents,” said Erekat.
The vote was a “clear and unanimous message to (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu that ‘your policies will not achieve peace and security for Israel or the region,’” he said.
“The only way to peace is through the creation of an independent Palestinian state, and this is what the international community agreed upon today at the Security Council,” he added.
At the UN, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the resolution “reaffirms that Israeli settlements in occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the state of Palestine, have no legality, breach international law and constitute a major obstacle to peace.”
Mansour called for “vigilant follow-up” to “salvage the two-state solution,” and slammed Israel’s “blatant contempt” for international law.
Hamas on Saturday welcomed a landmark UN Security Council vote demanding a halt to Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with the Palestinian Islamist movement saying it marked an “important evolution.”
The UN Security Council on Friday demanded that Israel halt settlements in Palestinian territory, after the United States refrained from vetoing the resolution condemning its closest Middle East ally.
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, remains deeply divided from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, which dominates the West Bank.
“Hamas appreciates the position of the countries that voted in the Security Council for the right of the Palestinian people on their land,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoum.
“We salute this important evolution in international positions,” he said, while calling for more such actions to bring about “the end of the occupation.”
Asked what the president thought the motion– formally numbered Resolution 2334– would accomplish, and whether the administration feared it was forcing Republicans entering power to react, Rhodes described the move as a last resort reached after years of struggling with an intractable Israeli government.
“Where is the evidence that not doing this will slow the settlement construction? We’ve tried a different approach for years here,” Rhodes asked, noting that the resolution— which states that Israeli settlements have no basis in law— also condemns incitement to violence by Palestinian leadership.
“We have a body of evidence to assess how this Israeli government has responded to us not taking this kind of action, and that suggests that they will continue to accelerate the type of settlement construction that puts a two-state solution at risk,” he said, adding: “We would have vetoed any resolution that we thought sought to impose a solution that sought to impose a view on the final status issue.”
Acknowledging President-elect Donald Trump’s opposition to the move— relayed publicly as well as privately by his transition team— Rhodes told the Post that Obama determined the incoming administration would attempt to reverse his policies on settlement activity regardless of how the vote unfolded.
“I think they’ve been quite clear and quite specific about their intentions and their policies, and that simply predates this resolution,” Rhodes said.
“Before this resolution was even being discussed publicly, the incoming administration announced their intention to move our embassy to Jerusalem– and I think they’ve sent a very clear message about what their approach to this issue is going to be through the person that they selected as their ambassador nominee,” Rhodes continued, speaking of David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer and adviser to Trump on Israel who has long supported the settler movement.
“That tells you what you need to know about the position of the incoming administration, and I think it would be, frankly, ignoring those very clear facts and statements that are available to everybody to see to suggest that somehow this resolution informs those positions.”
The US publicly told its partners on the Security Council that it would consider each draft resolution on its merit, but says that it never indicated how it would vote– up until the vote itself.
But the Israeli government has publicly accused the Obama administration of “colluding” with its drafters to ensure that the right resolution with just the right language came forward for a vote. The US publicly told its partners on the Security Council that it would consider each draft resolution on its merit, but says that it never indicated how it would vote– up until the vote itself, which took place on Friday afternoon. The US abstained, allowing the resolution to pass.
The Israeli government provided no clear evidence to back its claim that the Obama administration worked to promote the effort. But one public engagement by Secretary of State John Kerry last month may offer some clues as to how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government reached its conclusion.
Kerry visited New Zealand on November 13, shortly after the US presidential election, and took part in “deep” conversation over how its government– which holds a non-permanent seat on the Security Council until the end of this calendar year– could engage in a UN-related initiative on the Middle East peace process.
“It is a conversation we are engaged in deeply and we’ve spent some time talking to Secretary Kerry about where the US might go on this,” New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCully, told local reporters after the meeting, according to the New Zealand Herald. “It is something that is still in play.”
“I think there are some very important decisions that the Obama administration is going to have to make in its lame-duck period on this issue,” he added.
Friends of Israel: Settlements are not the problem
The United Nations Security Council has passed a Resolution condemning Israel for building houses in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and calling for an immediate freeze of settlement activity. At the same time as a genocide is inflicted on Aleppo, the major powers of the Security Council decided to target the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only nation in the region where human rights are respected. The resolution condemns Israel in grossly unjust terms and thus the U.N. once again serves as a forum for actions that are detrimental to peace between The State of Israel and the Palestinians.
The Resolution was supported by France, China and Russia, and in the final instance has been enabled by the United States – despite its firm commitment to avoid biased resolutions against Israel in the U.N. Security Council. The Resolution further includes East Jerusalem (where the Old City and holiest sites in Judaism are located) as occupied territory, a violation of Israel’s historical links and boundary claims within Jerusalem the gravity of which is difficult to overstate. It is worth noting that East Jerusalem has been claimed by Israel since its establishment, and that East Jerusalem was never the capital of any Arab state of Palestine, since no such state ever existed. East Jerusalem, along with the entire West Bank, is a disputed territory, rather than occupied. As such, its final status, as well as the final status of the West Bank, must be mutually agreed in bilateral negotiations between the parties, in accordance with the Oslo Accords.
Throughout the decades of conflict, one fact has been indisputably proven: settlements are not an obstacle for peace. If they were, Gaza would not have become a terrorist base where Hamas uses the civilian population as human shields for its programme of violence against Israel, amidst a litany of other human rights violations against its own people in the territory. The insurmountable obstacle to peace continues to be the lack of will on the part of the Palestinian leaders to reach a peace agreement with Israel.
The resolution condemns the incitement to, and acts of, terror carried out by Palestinian terrorist groups, which the Palestinian Authority abets or countenances for the most part. Despite the Resolution’s clear demand to end these acts, it is grossly unbalanced, placing the overwhelming majority of blame on Israel and its activity in the settlements, activity monitored by democratic institutions and legal frameworks of the highest international standard. Israel’s Supreme Court has acted to uphold the applicable law and ordered to dismantle illegal outposts in the West Bank repeatedly.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has threatened to cut the United States’s funding to the United Nations if they push through an anti-Israel resolution.
The resolution that the U.N. has put forward would end Israel’s building of settlements, and Graham won’t have any of it:
“If the United Nations moves forward with the ill-conceived resolution, I will work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations,” Graham said in his statement. “In addition, any nation that which backs this resolution and receives assistance from the United States will put that assistance in jeopardy.”
As Graham correctly noted in his statement, the U.S. does provide 22 percent of the U.N.’s funding, and cutting such funding has been long overdue. Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton argued in a 2015 Boston Globe column that due to the U.N.’s pattern of “feckless decisions,” it was time to make U.N. contributions entirely voluntary.
“Shifting to voluntary contributions means adopting two principles that, at the UN at least, would be profoundly revolutionary,” Bolton wrote. “We would pay only for what we want, and we would insist that we get what we pay for — that is, real performance. And, of course, we should vigorously encourage other UN members (especially large contributors like Japan, Germany, Britain, and France) to join us in moving to entirely voluntary contributions.”
The Airborne Ranger serving as the U.S. Senator from Arkansas blasted President Barack Obama on Monday for his stage management and failure to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the State of Israel for its settlements on land it seized after Arab nations attacked it in 1967.
“President Obama is personally responsible for this anti-Israel resolution,” said Sen. Thomas B. Cotton (R.-Ark.), who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army officer.
“His diplomats secretly coordinated the vote, yet he doesn’t even have the courage of his own convictions to vote for it,” he said. “This cowardly, disgraceful action cements President Obama‘s richly deserved legacy as the most anti-Israel president in American history.”
The senator said:
This resolution hurts the prospects for a secure and just peace by targeting Israel for building homes in Jerusalem, its own capital, while not specifically addressing Palestinian incitement of and financial support for terrorism. That’s why President Obama vetoed a similar, but less anti-Israel resolution in 2011-back when he still needed pro-Israel voters for his reelection. Moreover, as a Security Council resolution with the imprimatur of the United States, this resolution surpasses even the infamous “Zionism is Racism” General Assembly resolution in its irrational obsession with the Jewish state.
The United States provides considerable financial assistance to the United Nations and Security Council members. The UN and nations supporting this resolution have now imperiled all forms of U.S. assistance. I look forward to working with President-elect Trump and members of both parties in Congress to decide what the consequences for this action will be.
The Obama administration’s decision to abstain from a United Nations Security Council vote on Israeli settlements on Friday was the subject of intense opposition from lawmakers in the president’s own party, with Democratic leaders warning that the resolution will damage efforts to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Incoming Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) said hours before the vote that “the proposed resolution does not bring us any closer to the goal of a two-state solution. Peace must come from direct negotiations between the two parties.”
Since the days of ‘Zionism is racism,’ the U.N. has long shown its anti-Israel bias, and the U.S. government – both Democrats and Republicans – have admirably kept the U.N. out when it comes to negotiations. That tradition should continue. Whatever one’s views on settlements, anyone who cares about the future of Israel and peace in the region knows that the U.N., with its one sidedness, is exactly the wrong forum to bring about peace.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D–Md.) similarly condemned the resolution on Thursday, saying that the vote “seeks to place responsibility for continued conflict fully on Israel and ignores violence and incitement by Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaderships. Any workable and long-lasting solution to this conflict must come about through direct, bilateral negotiations, and this resolution undermines that effort.”
Rep. Eliot Engel (D – N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added on Thursday that “the UN should stop wasting its time trying to embarrass Israel, and the United States should continue the policy of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions.”
Thursday on “CNN Tonight,” while discussing the United Nations postponing a vote on an Egyptian-sponsored security resolution criticizing Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank after President-Elect Donald Trump had urged a U.S. veto on the resolution if passed and called the Egyptian president, there was a heated exchange between CNN’s Peter Beinart, Harvard Law’sAlan Dershowitz and radio host Dennis Prager.
It was when Dershowitz asserted “Donald Trump did exactly the right thing,” and President Obama was “acting undemocratically,” that the fireworks began.
Dershowitz said, “He can change policy, he can make speeches. What he should not do is change America’s policy 40 years at the United Nations. If the Security Council resolution goes through, it completely ties the hands of an incoming president. You can’t undo a Security Council resolution. You can’t take away a veto. And this security council resolution is an invitation to the international criminal court to go after Israel. It’s an invitation to the BDS movement to start sanctioning Israel. It’s a very, very bad resolution. And there is a big difference between an outgoing president making a speech and changing the policy, which can then be changed by the incoming president, and doing something permanent and irrevocable, and that’s why I think Donald Trump did exactly the right thing.”
“He said to the president, you do what you want in the last days of your administration, but don’t tie my hands,” he continued. “I actually wrote a piece about this before the election, urging the president not to tie who we then thought would be the new president, Hillary Clinton’s, hands. I’m confident, by the way, if Hillary Clinton had been elected, she would have called the president and said, do not tie my hands. This president is acting undemocratically. Eighty-eight senators were opposed to this. The vast majority of Congress, the vast majority of the American people. This is a parting shot by a frustrated president who thinks more of his own legacy…”
Ben Shapiro • This Is An Anti-Israel, “Jew Hating” Administration • Kelly File • 7/10/14
Ben Shapiro labelled the Obama administration as being “anti-Israel”, basically a “Jew-hating” administration. With Israel and Hamas on the brink of open warfare, Shapiro detailed how Obama has supported Hamas with his silence, and pressured the Israeli’s to restrain their response.
Joel B. Pollak: The Democrats Are Officially the Anti-Israel Party
Notably, Feinstein’s statement makes no mention whatsoever of Palestinian terrorism, incitement, and rejection. And she represents the mainstream of her party, not the fringe of potential Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Keith Ellison.
The White House’s Ben Rhodes — errand boy for Obama on every single one of his failed foreign policies, from Benghazi to Iran to Cuba — told the Jerusalem Post that it was necessary to allow the UN Security Council resolution to pass because the administration had “tried everything” to bring about peace. Everything — except pressure the Palestinians, of course. When the new Republican Congress wanted to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority over its support for terror and incitement, President Obama exercised a waiver and made sure the funds went through. And that is just one of countless examples.
Time and again, when pro-Israel activists wanted to pressure the Obama administration, they were told by leaders of the American Jewish establishment that they should not make Israel a partisan issue. Well, now it is one — irreversibly. The Democrats stand with Palestinian terrorists, and the dictators of the UN. The Republicans stand with Israel. End of story.
Joel B. Pollak: Obama Wishes Jews ‘Happy Hanukkah’ — as He Stabs Israel at UN
Even as he allowed an anti-Israel resolution to pass at the UN Security Council, President Barack Obama wished Jews a “Happy Hanukkah” on Friday.
“As night falls over each of the next eight days, Jews in the United States, Israel and around the world will gather to light their Hanukkah menorahs, display them proudly in the window and recall the miracles of both ancient times and the present day,” the president said in a statement, as reported by The Hill.
He continued: “For more than two millennia, the story of Hanukkah has reminded the world of the Jewish people’s perseverance and the persistence of faith, even against daunting odds.”
Obama’s statement emphasized religious freedom — and downplayed Hanukkah’s themes of political independence.
The holiday (also transliterated as “Chanukah”) commemorates the successful revolt of the Jewish community of ancient Israel against the Seleucid dynasty in 165 B.C., led by the Maccabees.
It is among the most nationalistic holidays in the Jewish calendar, turning Obama’s greeting into something of an ironic insult.
Edgar Davidson: Obama’s final knife in the back to Israel
Hitler’s obsession with destroying the Jewish race was so great that, in the last days of the Third Reich – while his armies were crumbling and defeated – the only part of the Nazi system that continued to function was the industrial-scale murder of the Jews. For example, even while the Russians were driving towards Berlin, Hitler was diverting resources to ensure the final deportation and mass extermination of Hungary’s Jews. I’m not a big fan of Hitler comparisons, but it is interesting to note that in the last days of the Obama administration – while his disastrous policies have seen the destruction of much of the Middle East and with the West under daily attack from Islamic terrorists – his energy is totally concentrated on the destruction of Israel through the US’s unprecedented and underhand sponsorship of a resolution of the antisemitic United Nations.
Charles Krauthammer: The Fall of Aleppo and Obama’s Shameful Legacy
Iran will use Syria to advance its drive to dominate the Arab Middle East. Russia will use its naval and air bases to bully the Sunni Arab states, and to shut out American influence.
It’s already happening. The foreign and defense ministers of Russia, Iran, and Turkey convened in Moscow this week to begin settling the fate of Syria. Notice who wasn’t there. For the first time in four decades, the United States, the once dominant power in the region, is an irrelevance. More Syria Obama’s Disastrous Syria Policy The Horrors in Aleppo and the Imperative of Dynastic Tyranny The War in Syria Finds a Way to Get Even Worse
With Aleppo gone and the rebels scattered, we have a long road ahead to rebuild the influence squandered over the last eight years. President-elect Donald Trump is talking about creating safe zones. He should tread carefully. It does no good to try to do now what we should have done five years ago. Conditions are much worse. Russia and Iran rule. Maintaining the safety of safe zones will be expensive and dangerous. It will require extensive ground deployments and it risks military confrontation with Russia.
And why? Guilty conscience is not a good reason. Interventions that are purely humanitarian — from Somalia to Libya — tend to end badly. We may proclaim a “responsibility to protect,” but when no American interests are at stake, the engagement becomes impossible to sustain. At the first losses, we go home.
In Aleppo, the damage is done, the city destroyed, the inhabitants ethnically cleansed. For us, there is no post-facto option. If we are to regain the honor lost in Aleppo, it will have to be on a very different battlefield.
CSN NEWS| Alan Dershowitz: Most Anti Semitism Comes From the ‘Hard Left’
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: The Nightmare of Christians
For the past four decades, Samir Qumsieh, who hails from a large and well-respected Christian family in the town of Bet Sahour, near Bethlehem, has fought for the rights of the region’s miniscule Palestinian Christian minority. He has even dared to speak out against the subjugation of Christians living under the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
He regularly receives death threats, and he has been the target of a petrol bomb attack.
“The solution to extremism starts with the kindergarten, with elementary school. It begins with the churches, with the mosques and the school curricula. Curricula are very important – Jewish, Christian and Muslim ones. They should concentrate on accepting the ‘other.’ If this idea is adopted, the future generation will be liberal and open-minded.” — Samir Qumsieh.
“Every day we hear and see some radical Muslim clerics speaking strongly against Christians. Just recently, one of the sheiks was saying that Christian Copts should be slaughtered like sheep. Where is the Egyptian security? If I were in charge of Egyptian security, I would have this sheikh arrested immediately, and have him rot in a dark underground cell.” — Samir Qumsieh.
“To understand the severity of the situation is, let us recall that in the 1950s about 86% of the population of the Bethlehem area was Christian. Today, we are only 12%. In Israel, by contrast, we have 133,000 Christians and the figure is stable. Of course, I am worried about the future of Christians here.” — Samir Qumsieh.
“I fear the day will come when our churches will become museums. is my nightmare.” — Samir Qumsieh.
Police said Saturday that they foiled a planned stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, arresting a 35-year-old Palestinian woman.
The woman arrived at checkpoint near the Austrian Hospice and aroused the suspicions of the security forces patrolling there. “They saw she had an object in her hand that looked like a knife and neutralized her,” police said in a statement.
There were no injuries to the security forces and the woman was not hurt either during the arrest.
“During an initial interrogation, she said she planned to carry out a stabbing attack,” police said, identifying her as a resident of East Jerusalem.
Security forces are on high alert with tens of thousands of visitors expected in Jerusalem and Bethlehem for Christmas Eve on Saturday.
An Israeli man was lightly-to-moderately wounded Friday evening after being stabbed in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem.
Channel 2 News reported that the terrorist attacked the man as he walked with his wife outside their home inside Efrat, stabbing him twice in the back before escaping.
Paramedics treated the man at the scene and evacuated him to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
Israeli security forces were conducting searches in the area for the perpetrator, and surrounded a nearby village where they believed he could be hiding.
Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif tweeted a veiled nuclear threat at Israel, apparently after taking affront at a fake news article where Israel purportedly warned Islamabad against meddling in Syria.
“Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh. Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too,” the Pakistani minister tweeted on Friday.
Israel Radio said Saturday that Asif was responding to a fake news story on the website AWDnews.com, which falsely reported that Israel responded to a Pakistani promise to send troops to Syria with a threat of nuclear attack.
The unfounded story even mistakenly attributes the threat to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Ya’alon left the Defense Ministry in May and was replaced by current Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
The jihadist who drove a truck into a large crowd of people at a Christmas Market in Berlin on Monday, killing 12 and injuring dozens, created a video of himself pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and calling on his “Muslim brothers everywhere” to “kill the crusader pigs.”
The video was posted Friday by the ISIS news agency Amaq. In it, Amri pledges his fealty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and calls on faithful Muslims to retaliate against the “crusaders” for “bombing Muslims.”
“My message to crusaders bombing Muslims everyday… Their blood will not go in vain. We are a nation behind them and will take revenge for them,” he says. “I call on my Muslim brothers everywhere… Those in Europe, kill the crusader pigs, each person to their own ability.”
Hamas Celebrates 29th Anniversary with a Video Depicting Development of its Terror Activity
A video celebrating the 29th anniversary of the establishment of Hamas was broadcast on the organization’s Al-Aqsa TV channel on December 15. It opens with a young boy – representing the organization in its early years – throwing stones at an Israeli soldier in the 1987 Intifada. As he progresses through various landmarks, including the 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada and the 2005 Al-Quds Intifada, he turns into a fully grown militant, utilizing more sophisticated weapons, including rifles, missiles, and tunnels. The video culminates with a signpost reading “The Liberation,” as the militant takes the final stretch toward the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He walked straight to the office of the prisoner in charge of the camp administration and declared that he, his brothers and his sister were all scientists and mathematicians.
When his siblings found out what he had done, they were horrified. Fred was a doctor and Felix had studied medicine for a couple of years, but Sam was a lawyer, and Henry and Hanka hadn’t even been to college. The Nazis would surely kill them all when they discovered that Henry had lied.
Henry didn’t care—he figured the Germans would treat their “intellectuals” better than the other prisoners, and that even a few days of decent work conditions and food meant they’d be able to live just a little while longer. Even if his insane gamble only bought them one more day, it was worth it. He’d worry about tomorrow when it came, if it came.
He did not know then that this special group of Jewish prisoners would be charged with building a superweapon to save the Third Reich. Nor could he have imagined that the entire operation was a hoax. But he was right about one thing: Signing up for this so-called Chemiker Kommando saved his life. It was one of the many risks he took to survive the systematic genocide of 6 million Jews during World War II, and it would shape his extraordinary life over the next 60 years. The boy whose teen and young-adult years were ripped from him by the murderous Nazi rampage through Europe would show millions of children and adults how to play, how to squeeze more fun out of their lives.
“I want to beat the shit out of these poker guys! That’s what I want to do the most.” Henry Orenstein now speaks English with a borscht-thick European accent that’s just one notch above a whisper. He is still alive, still gambling and still winning most of his bets. Glancing out the window of his New York City pied-à-terre, which offers sweeping views of Central Park, he leans forward and rests his elbows on the large poker table in front of him. Wisps of gray hair and gray stubble frame his wrinkled face. He wears oversized tortoiseshell glasses, a blue and pink cowboy shirt with a cactus on the back (he designed it) and a blue visor that says Poker Superstars on the front (he created the show) and “Henry” on one side. The pleats in his navy slacks look like they’ve been pressed for him each morning for the past 30 years.
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