Kerry blames Israel for collapse of peace talks. Ridiculous. This is part of a troubling pattern of this White House alienating America’s friends & appeasing our enemies.

Secretary John Kerry.

Secretary John Kerry.

(Washington, D.C.) — UPDATED: Over the past year of the peace talks, Israel has consistently taken practical, concrete steps to show goodwill, including releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, some of whom were terrorists with blood on their hands.

Israel took such measures even though Palestinian terrorists have continued to fire rockets and missiles at innocent Israeli civilians over and over and over again.

What practical, concrete steps did the Palestinian leadership?

The sad fact is that Mahmoud Abbas gave concrete nothing in return.

What’s more, he outright refused to even consider recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Then he embarked on unilateral steps to create an independent Palestinian state in direct defiance of the terms of the peace process which call for a negotiated settlement. Then he refused to continue the peace talks beyond the April 29th deadline without Israel releasing thousands of more prisoners.

Yet now Secretary of State John Kerry is blaming Israel for the breakdown of the talks. Consider the latest headlines:

This is ridiculous, bordering on the infuriating. Netanyahu appointed good people to negotiate in good faith. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the chief negotiator, is not exactly a right wing Likudnik. She is part of Israel’s center left. She wanted a deal. She worked hard for a deal. Yet she became increasingly frustrated by the resistance of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to bring serious ideas and compromises to the table, and then had to speak out when Abbas decided to sign 15 international treaties to unilaterally creating a Palestinian state.

“The past week wasn’t a good week and we will have to fight to see how we can correct and move forward,” said Livni on Israel’s Channel 2 news. “It isn’t simple. It’s very complicated. This is a real crisis.”

Bloomberg reports that “Livni called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ bid last week to join international bodies ‘a violation and a big mistake that will make it very difficult to go back to normal.”

When Abbas has burned Tzipi Livni — a woman deeply committed to a two-state solution — you know things have really gotten bad.

Yet once again Kerry is blaming Israel.

Sadly, this is part of a troubling pattern of the Obama administration alienating America’s friends and appeasing our enemies. Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have invested enormous amounts of time in trying to force enormous Israeli concessions to create a final peace deal with the Palestinians, even though everyone told them the Palestinian leadership was not prepared to deal seriously. Yet the most important mission in the Middle East right now is stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons, yet the White House and State Department are treating Iran with kid gloves.

As former Senator Rick Santorum and I stated last week:

What troubles us most is the feckless, rudderless foreign policy of President Obama. Do our enemies fear him? Do our friends trust him? To the contrary, Mr. Obama is presiding over the systematic collapse of American credibility around the globe, from the Middle East to Russia to Asia. This vacuum of leadership is creating a very dangerous global environment and must be corrected quickly.

 

We believe in a bipartisan approach to American foreign policy. The challenges we face are serious but manageable if we unite as a country around a policy of peace through strength. That said, we also believe in the important role of a loyal opposition that warns the government when it is heading in the wrong direction.

 

In the 1930s, Winston Churchill warned the world that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis represented a gathering storm that had to be stopped early and decisively lest disaster ensue. A new gathering storm is brewing, as dangerous as the last, if not more so. We need an honest, strong, principled American foreign policy now more than ever, especially when it comes to the Iranian nuclear threat. The stakes are too high for miscalculation.

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>> On April 7th, 1944, two men escaped from Auschwitz. 70 years later, novel inspired by real events is a best-seller — click here to learn more.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Epicenter Update: 1) Abbas at White House rejects Israel as “Jewish State.” 2) Kerry says Israel wrong to insist on “Jewish state” recognition.” 3) Iraqi oil production surges to highest level in 30 years.

Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with President Obama today at the White House.

Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with President Obama today at the White House.

(Washington, D.C.) — Here’s a snapshot of some of the most important developments in the epicenter in recent days.

SECRETARY KERRY SAYS ISRAEL WRONG TO INSIST THE PALESTINIANS RECOGNIZE ISRAEL AS A “JEWISH STATE” — “In his appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on March 13, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry, convener, main proponent, and mediator of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating process, found it necessary to make a surprisingly one-sided comment and prejudgment on one of the central and most delicate issues on the negotiating table – Israel’s basic and principled requirement of recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People,” notes Israeli Ambassador Alan Baker, who helped craft the Olso Accords, in an analysis for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. “Kerry opined that he views Israel’s position ‘as a mistake,’ considering that the ‘Jewish State’ issue was ‘sufficiently addressed by UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947, which recommended the establishment of independent Arab and Jewish states in Palestine.’ He said there are ‘more than 30–40 mentions of a ‘Jewish state’ in the resolution, and added that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ‘confirmed that he agreed it [Israel] would be a Jewish state’ in 1988 and in 2004. It would appear that once again, as with previous one-sided and pre-judgmental statements, Secretary Kerry has either been ill-advised or is deliberately engaged in an effort to neutralize the ‘Jewish State’ issue in the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He is doing so by attempting to determine that the question of Palestinian support for a Jewish state was already resolved by PLO leader Yasser Arafat in 1988, and is therefore redundant and unnecessary…..”

PALESTINIAN LEADER ABBAS AT WHITE HOUSE AGAIN REJECTS ISRAEL AS “JEWISH STATE” — “U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he would have to make tough political decisions and take ‘risks’ for peace, as would Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” reported the Times of Israel. “Abbas, for his part, reiterated his rejection of Israel’s demand that its status as a Jewish state be enshrined in a future peace accord, asserting that previous Palestinian recognition of Israel was sufficient….Speaking to Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Abbas said that ‘since 1988 and into 1993, we have been extending our hands to our Israeli neighbors so that we can reach a fair and lasting peace to this problem. Since 1988, we have recognized international legitimacy resolutions and this was a very courageous step on the part of the Palestinian leadership. And in 1993, we recognized the State of Israel.’”

IRAQI OIL PRODUCTION SURGES TO HIGHEST LEVEL IN 30 YEARS – “Iraq’s oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month, surprising skeptics of the country’s efforts to restore its oil industry after decades of war and neglect,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “In its monthly oil report published Friday, the International Energy Agency said Iraq’s oil output jumped by half a million barrels a day in February to average 3.6 million barrels a day. The country hasn’t pumped that much oil since 1979, when Saddam Hussein rose to power. The Iraqi output surge came as the IEA also predicted oil supply from the U.S. and Canada would continue its “relentless” increase this year, easing concerns that higher global demand and geopolitical issues caused by the crisis in Ukraine could push oil prices upward….Iraq’s oil minister said in December the country would target oil production of 4.1 million barrels a day this year. New fields coming on stream are expected to add 500,000 barrels a day of output in the next few months. Last month’s surprise jump in oil production came as a major bottleneck at Iraq’s southern export terminal Basra was finally removed. Shipments of oil from the country rose to 2.8 million barrels a day in February, up by 600,000 barrels a day compared with a year ago.”

>> To order a copy of The Auschwitz Escape, please click here.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Report from AIPAC conference: “Bombshell” interview by Obama may create new strains in US-Israel relationship. Kerry & McCain set to address 14,000 activists today.

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor Party) shared his vision of the future of Israel on Day 1 of the AIPAC Policy Conference.

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor Party) shared his vision of the future of Israel on Day 1 of the AIPAC Policy Conference.

UPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — The big question today: Just how far is President Obama planning to go to pressure Israel to make painfully deep concessions in the Mideast peace process, even as he appears to ease up pressure on Iran to give up its bid for The Bomb?

Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain are scheduled to be the main keynote speakers on Day Two of the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, amidst a massive March snowstorm that has shut down the federal government, all area schools and many businesses. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will close the conference on Tuesday morning.

The President declined an invitation to speak at the largest event in AIPAC history, attended by more than 14,000 pro-Israel activists, mostly Jewish, but including hundreds of evangelical Christians.

Strained relations between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration could become even more strained as the result of the interview the President gave to Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg that was published on Sunday.

“Until he read the breaking news of President Obama’s earth-shattering interview with Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might have anticipated that Monday’s meeting was going to be one of his less confrontational and unpleasant sessions of frank, allied diplomacy with his good friend Barack,” noted David Horovitz, editor of the Times of Israel. “But then came that bombshell Bloomberg battering. The timing could not have been any more deliberate — an assault on the prime minister’s policies delivered precisely as Netanyahu was flying in to meet with him, and on the first day, too, of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s annual tour de force conference across town. At the very least, that might be considered bad manners, poor diplomatic protocol, a resounding preemptive slap in the face: I’ve just told the world you’re leading your country to wrack and ruin, Mr. Prime Minister. Now, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?”

I’ll be live Tweeting from the conference, which is set to begin at 9:30am eastern. You can follow by going to: @JoelCRosenberg.

Stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons and trying to understand what the Putin invasion of southern Ukraine — and President Obama’s hesitant response – means for the U.S.-Israel relationship were the dominant themes on Day One of the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Main speakers included U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, former Israeli Shin Bet director Avi Dichter, former Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), and Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor Party), who is waiting in the wings, hoping to emerge as Prime Minister should the Netanyahu government stumble.

There were excellent break out sessions, as well. The two I attended focused on the vital role the Kingdom of Jordan plays in the region, and the growing strains on the Kingdom, and the future of Russian policy towards in the Middle East, including what the crisis in Ukraine tells us about the leadership styles and character of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama and rapidly shifting international perceptions of Russia and the U.S. i

It’s important to note that AIPAC has been working on reaching out to Christian pastors and grassroots leaders in recent years. While they have a long way to go to tap the enormous depth and breadth of Christian support for Israel, and mobilize that support on behalf of their lobbying efforts, they are moving in the right direction. I attended a “Christian Leaders Outreach Dinner” five or six years ago that AIPAC sponsored, and I can report that this year’s dinner was much better attended and revealed a growing warmth between AIPAC’s Jewish leadership and the Christian activists, evidence of the fruit being born by the Christian outreach team.

Here are the Tweets I sent out Saturday and Sunday tracking the latest developments at the conference, and in the crisis in Ukraine:

Saturday Night

  • Great 2b @ Christian Outreach Dinner tonight @Aipac w/friends Will & Penny Nance & other pro-Israel Christian leaders
  • John Kerry condemns what he calls “the Russian Federation’s invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory.” (CNN)
  • Crimea falls to Putin without a shot fired; will #Ukraine suffer same fate? (Haaretz)
  • Stephen Harper: We join our allies in condemning in the strongest terms Pres. Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine
  • Netanyahu: I will be flying tomorrow to the United States, to represent the citizens of Israel. Wishing you all a wonderful week
  • The Czar Strikes Back? Russian Armor in Crimea (National Review)

Sunday — before conference began

  • Breaking: Ukrainian prime minister: ‘We are on the brink of disaster’  (WSJ)
  • Interim Ukrainian Prime Minister says actions by Russian forces in Crimea “a declaration of war.” (CNN)
  • Fmr Brit Ambassador to Moscow says UK & US signed 1994 agreement to defend Ukraine in case of attack (UK Daily Mail)
  • Context: Poll last Nov found more Ukrainians favor EU pact (45%) than competing customs deal offered by Russia (15%).
  • Context: in Dec, Ukrainian support for EU deal was 37% vs. 33% for customs deal w/Russia. Country was deeply divided
  • Context: 75% of Ukrainians in Western part wanted to join EU, but East wanted to join deal w/Russia. Split coming?
  • Ukraine has some 200,000 Jews & long history of anti-Semitism. Fears growing as synagogue firebombed. Pray for safety

Sunday — conference begins — morning session

  • Israeli Arab Christian who runs hospital in Galilee sharing at @AIPAC about how his team cars for Syrian casualties of civil war.
  • Over 14,000 here for opening session of Policy Conference, including hundreds of evangelical Christians. Largest conf in @AIPAC history
  • Fmr. Sen. Joe Lieberman, Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter & Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) discussing Iran threat @ #aipac2014
  • Fmr Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter tells @Aipac if diplomacy doesn’t work Israel will have to “kill” Iran nuke program
  • @JoeLieberman tells @AIPAC there used to be 2 stable democracies in Mideast: Israel & Turkey. Now just Israel. Says Turkey going wrong way.
  • Sen @ChrisCoons, a Democrat, expresses concern that US credibility is in doubt in Mideast for declaring red line in Syria but doing nothing.
  • Sen. @ChrisCoons tells @AIPAC that Putin is moving aggressively in south Ukraine in part due to US showing weakness & indecision in Syria.
  • @avidichter warns @AIPAC participants that Israel must control Jordan Valley in case Jordan is one day controlled by Iran. (God forbid.)
  • @AIPAC leader Howard Kohr: we want negotiations w/Iran to work. But success is full dismantlement of capacity to enrich uranium & build Bomb
  • Only way to force Iran to give up path to Bomb is pressure–sanctions, isolation & credible threat of force–says @aipac leader Howard Kohr.
  • Pressure forced Iran to the negotiating table. Now is the time to ratchet up pressure on Iran, not ease up, says @AIPAC leader Howard Kohr.
  • In final morning talk, Howard Kohr asks 14,000 @aipac delegates to take msg of “more pressure” on Iran to 535 Members of Congress this week.
  • Some say “we’ll ramp pressure on Iran if talks fail,” but that will be too late says @AIPAC leader Howard Kohr. Congress must weigh in now.
  • Key to effectiveness on Israel & Iran issues is bipartisan support, say leaders here @AIPAC Conference. Must work w/leaders of both parties.
  • Embarking for US, Netanyahu says Israel will reject pressures (Times of Israel)
  • Kerry Warns Russia of Possible Eviction From G-8 (NYT)

Sunday — afternoon break out sessions

  • Russia expert @Dr_Ariel_Cohen is speaking @AIPAC session. Says all eyes on how NATO responds to aggression against Ukraine.
  • @Dr_Ariel_Cohen says US, UK & Russia persuaded Ukraine to give up nuclear weapons in ’94 on basis that we would protect them from aggression
  • @Dr_Ariel_Cohen tells @aipac session Russian move on southern Ukraine most dangerous moment in Europe since collapse of USSR & Yugoslav war.
  • We don’t want war w/Russia. They have nukes. So does US, UK & France. But @Dr_Ariel_Cohen says Russia must pay price or they will take more.
  • @Dr_Ariel_Cohen: A US foreign policy that twists friends’ arms & appease enemies is a disaster. Not how you build a safe world. @AIPAC
  • @Dr_Ariel_Cohen says he doesn’t support Ukraine joining NATO @ this stage. Too provocative. Goal is draw clear line but step back from brink
  • Russian experts Dr. Mark Levin & @Dr_Ariel_Cohen say Russia is exploiting vacuum in Mideast that US creating by our withdrawals, vacillating
  • Overlooked during Sochi Games: Egyptian leader Gen. Al-Sisi went to Moscow to sign deals to buy Russian weapons for 1st time since 1973.
  • Russia expert Dr. Mark Levin (not radio host) just spoke to chief Rabbi in Ukraine. Says no attacks against Jews — yet. But real concern.
  • Excellent panel just finished @Aipac w/Russia experts Dr. Mark Levin & Dr. Ariel Cohen on Putin’s Mideast goals. SRO

Sunday — afternoon final main session

  • Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is now speaking to the @Aipac Policy Conference. Urging bipartisan support for Israel
  • Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) is speaking @Aipac conference on his vision for the future of Israel.
  • US sanctions enforcer defends Iran interim deal to AIPAC (Jerusalem Post)
  • Blackpastor closed @Aipac w/passionate love4God & Israel & sang w/his choir. Wow, 14,000 Jews on their feet cheering
  • Pleased to welcome PM and Mrs. Netanyahu to the United Stares! (Dan Shapiro, US Amb to Israel)


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Day Two Report from AIPAC conference: Obama meets with Netanyahu, Kerry tries to reassure activists, but McCain steals the show.

Obama and Netanyahu during a meeting at the Oval Office in Washington, D.C., March 3, 2014. Photo by AFP

Obama and Netanyahu during a meeting at the Oval Office in Washington, D.C., March 3, 2014. Photo by AFP

Sec. Kerry was the keynote speaker on Day Two of the AIPAC conference in D.C.

Sec. Kerry was the keynote speaker on Day Two of the AIPAC conference in D.C.

(Washington, D.C.) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be the keynote speaker at 10am eastern at the closing session of the 2014 AIPAC Policy Conference.

The speech comes after a long and intense day of meetings on Monday between President Obama, Secretary Kerry and Mr. Netanyahu.

Coverage of the White House meetings:

More analysis over the next few days.

Short version for now: in his speech to AIPAC, Kerry did his best to reassure pro-Israel activists that the President really is a friend and faithful ally to the Jewish state, but Senator John McCain stole the show earlier in the day, winning multiple, rousing, standing ovations from the largely Democrat audience by excoriating President Obama’s “feckless foreign policy.”

I’ll be live Tweeting from the conference, which is set to begin at 9:30am eastern. You can follow by going to: @JoelCRosenberg.

Here are the Tweets I sent out on Monday tracking the latest developments at the conference, and in the crisis in Ukraine:

Monday morning with Sen. McCain:

  • British Official Calls Crimea Biggest Crisis in Europe This Century (NYT)
  • Report from AIPAC conference: “Bombshell” interview by Obama may create new strains in US-Israel relationship.
  • Let’s pray that The Lord gives great wisdom to @IsraeliPM Netanyahu as he meets with the President today. (I Chronicles 12:32)
  • Despite snow storm, @aipac conf underway w/interview w/head of Israel Chamber of Commerce on US-Israel business ties.
  • Dr. Dee Dee Coleman, a  Christian leader & @aipac board member, gets standing O making passionate defense of Israel
  • McCain says Russian occupation of Crimea is “the result of a feckless foreign policy” in which people don’t believe what the President says.
  • McCain tells @aipac situation is “crying out out for American leadership but it’s MIA.” Says “no military option” but many economic options.
  • McCain sharply criticizes Obama administration’s policy towards Iran. Says he doesn’t believe diplomatic talks will succeed. @aipac
  • McCain excoriates Obama policy towards Syria. Praises @aipac for supporting military action against Assad. blasts Obama flipflop on red line
  • McCain tells @aipac it’s time to pass a bipartisan bill with even tougher sanctions on Iran before the diplomatic talks are concluded.
  • Standing ovations and roars of approval at #AIPAC14 for McCain’s call Senate legislation of further sanctions (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz)
  • Fascinating session on Israeli innovation. Right now, blind woman showing how she uses Israeli product to read, shop
  • I’m attending panel on civil war & destruction of Damascus at the @aipac conf. One speaker calls situation “abomination of the 1st order.”
  • There are 30million Kurds in Mideast (northern Iraq, Syria, Turkey & Iran), largest ethnic group in the world w/out a country
  • Russia And China ‘In Agreement’ Over Ukraine (Sky News)
  • Britain’s Cameron to address Knesset March 12 (Times of Israel)
  • Abbas threatens a turn to ‘international organizations’, preparing to walk away from peace talks in April. (Ynet)
  • Amb. Itamar Rabinovich, fmr Israeli Amb to US & fmr chief negotiator w/Syria now sharing his perspective on crisis in Syria @Aipac breakout.

Monday afternoon panel on Syrian crisis

  • Amb. Rabinovich warns “Jordan could collapse under the weight of Syrian refugees.” One million Syrians in Jordan now, having fled civil war.
  • Amb. Rabinovich: “ticking time bomb” facing Israel from Iran which backs Assad & sold 50,000+ missiles to Hezbollah aimed at Israel. @AIPAC
  • Amb. Rabinovich says Syrian “no longer a military foe” — army denuded, chemical weapons “hopefully” being removed. Still a terror threat.
  • Amb Rabinovich says President George W Bush met w/PM Sharon at WH, said “let’s take out Assad.” Sharon said no, “Assad is the devil we know”
  • Amb Rabinovich says Assad is “devil” but there is a risk in removing him — what if al Qaeda or other jihadist groups take over & seize WMD?
  • Amb Rabinovich: Israel has red lines. One is Jerusalem will not allow Syrian missiles to be transferred to Hezbollah. Hit 5 convoys. @AIPAC
  • Amb Fred Hof, fmr special rep at State Dept on Syria, says “I don’t know” how US & the world stands by & does nothing after Assad used WMD
  • Amb Rabinovich cites Colin Powell rule, “you break it, you own it,” in saying why Obama didn’t act in Syria after Assad used WMD. @aipac
  • Amb Fred Hof says many foreign officials meet w/him trying to discern the real value of a mutual defense pact w/the US. Can US be trusted?
  • After session I asked Rabinovich to clarify: does he believe Assad should be removed? He said yes. Risk of jihadists? Dealw/that then @aipac
  • Tonight is enormous reception w/Members of Congress. But w/storm how many will show? 3 Congressmen texted me they cant get to DC #aipac2014
  • PM Netanyahu arrived at the White House (Barak Ravid, Haaretz)
  • President Vladimir V. Putin has yet to publicly address the conflict unfolding in Ukraine (NYT)
  • President Obama and PM Netanyahu speaking to reporters now in Oval Office.
  • The bell tolls for @AIPAC, the late, great pro-Israel lobbying group (Tablet magazine)
  • Tablet magazine publishes interesting article on @aipac. Says despite 14,000 attendees, group’s impact waning. True?
  • @JoelCRosenberg A common misperception.Syrian refugees are certainly straining resources and exceed 1 M but Jordan remains stable & strong. (Dana Zureikat Daoud, Jordanian Embassy)
  • .@DanaZkat @JoelCRosenberg Jordan (and Lebanon) aren’t made of elastic bands; at some point they will break – then, it will be too late. (Robert Satloff, Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • @robsatloff Every country has a breaking pt.Jordan’s strength lies in its inclusiveness & engagement w its pple & neighbors @JoelCRosenberg (Dana Zureikat Daoud, Jordanian Embassy)
  • You don’t need tanks, you need banks. They are all addicted to Putin’s cash. He thinks he can buy the West and so far he has been correct. (Gary Kasparov)
  • .@JeffreyGoldberg: “Obama was blunter about Israel’s future than I’ve ever heard him.” (Bloomberg)

Monday afternoon panel on “What To Watch For: Iran In 2014″

  • @aipac panel session about to begin on “What To Watch For: Iran In 2014″ w/Rep. Ilena @RosLehtinen, Valerie Lincy & Aish Jain.
  • Rep. Ilena @RosLehtinen (R-FL) is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East & North Africa.
  • @RosLehtinen bill to create US-Israel Strategic Partnership — 1st of its kind– has 352 co-sponsors & will be voted on tomorrow. #aipac2014
  • @RosLehtinen tells @Aipac that experts @ recent hearing indicate Iran has enough enriched uranium for 4 nuclear bombs
  • @RosLehtinen tells @aipac panel that interim nuclear deal w/Iran is top secret. She has seen & read it. But the American people have not.
  • Rep @RosLehtinen says interim nuke deal with Iran is “weak, lopsided & dangerous deal.” Adds: “if it’s so good, make it public.” #aipac2014
  • @RosLehtinen says Iran has installed centrifuges 15 times faster than old versions. Says Iran could dash to Bomb in just weeks. #aipac2014
  • @RosLehtinen says “Iran is playing us for time.” Believes we will get another interim deal & never get to final deal. #aipac2014
  • @RosLehtinen says our Iran nuclear policy has “failed.” Calls for more sanctions to increase pressure on Iran. #aipac2014
  • @RosLehtinen urges public to push President & Congress to pass more sanctions soon, not ease off. biggest gift to Iran us time. #aipac2014
  • Nuclear policy expert Valerie Lincy says Iran has enough enriched uranium for 6 to 7 nuclear bombs. Has 18,000 centrifuges. #aipac2014
  • Nuclear expert Valerie Lincy: uranium Iran has enriched would run nuclear reactor for only 3 months, but could build 6-7 bombs. #aipac2014
  • Based on current production rates, it would take Iran 10 yrs to produce enough enriched uranium for 1 year, says Valerie Lincy. #aipac2014
  • Interim nuclear deal does not require Iran to dismantle a single one of its 18,000 centrifuges, notes nuke expert Valerie Lincy. #aipac2014
  • Ash Jain, Mideast policy expert, says Iran has spent $ 40 billion on its nuclear program & about $ 130 billion in lost trade & economic growth
  • Ash Jain says either 1) Iran ready to give up pursuit of Bomb if it gets right deal. 2) Iran wants Bomb & needs to avoid US or Israel strike
  • Ash Jain says Obama admin basing its policy on assumption #1, that Iran genuinely wants to give up pursuit if Bomb if it gets good deal.
  • But Ash Jain says evidence favors scenario #2, that Iran is using negotiations to buy time until it can be fully ready to build the Bomb.
  • Russia’s U.N. envoy: Ousted Ukrainian Pres. asked Russia to send troops to “establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability.” (CNN)

Monday late afternoon general session with Schumer & Kerry:

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer tells @aipac anti-Semitism rising in Europe that is driving more and more European Jews to emigrate to Israel. #aipac2014
  • Schumer notes his bill would impose more sanctions on Iran if talks w/Iran do not bear fruit in six months. #aipac2014
  • Schumer says he does not support the reduction in sanctions on Iran (done by the administration) until Tehran gives up enrichment program.
  • Schumer: if negotiations don’t work then the US “must be prepared to use all — all — means” to stop Iran from getting The Bomb. #aipac2014
  • Schumer says those who are boycotting & delegitimizing Israel without applying same approach to Syria, Iran etc are practicing anti-Semitism
  • Ukraine claims 16,000 Russian troops have been deployed in the flashpoint peninsula of Crimea since last week. #fnpolitics (Bret Baier, Fox News)
  • Congressional leaders Eric Cantor & Steny Hoyer describe bipartisan letter they sent to President to be tough on Iran
  • Secretary of State John Kerry about address 14,000 pro-Israel activists at #aipac2014 conference. What will he say? How will he be received?
  • Secretary Kerry: “Israel has strived since Isaiah’s time to be a light unto the nations.”
  • Kerry receives standing O upon arrival.
  • Secretary Kerry affirms Israel’s “right to defend itself by itself.”
  • Secretary Kerry says he can sum up President’s policy in 10 words: “We will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.” #AIPAC2014
  • Secretary Kerry: “This is not about trusting Iran. This is about testing Iran.” Adds: “If Iran fails this test, the US will not fail Israel”
  • .@JohnKerry: You don’t have to be a math genious to know that Israel is safer when Iran has zero 20% enriched uranium (Barak Ravid, Haaretz)
  • .@JohnKerry: The US will only sign an agreement that makes sure Iran can not obtain a nuclear weapon and expands breakout time (Haaretz)
  • @JohnKerry says he is shuttling to Israel again & again for the peace process to fulfill King David’s dream “to seek peace and pursue it.”
  • @JohnKerry speaking very highly of Netanyahu. Says he has spent hours & hours & days & days with “Bibi” and they have become “good friends.”
  • @JohnKerry now speaking highly of Mahmoud Abbas, says he’s a “partner for peace.” Dismisses naysayers that doubt Abbas’ sincerity #aipac2014
  • .@JohnKerry: I believe Abbas understands the costs of failure (Barak Ravid, Haaretz)
  • .@JohnKerry: President Abbas wants to be a partner for peace but he has a point of view about what is fair (Barak Ravid, Haaretz)
  • “Prime Minister Netanyahu has demonstrated his courage and his commitment in the pursuit of peace with security.” –@JohnKerry (AIPAC)
  • @JohnKerry: We are at point in history that requires US, as Israel’s closest friend, do everything we can to help end this conflict. #AIPAC (State Dept)
  • @JohnKerry says Gen. John Allen is helping Israel & Palestinians develop solid security plan for the Jordan Valley. Never been done before.
  • .@JohnKerry: We will never let the West Bank turn into another Gaza (Barak Ravid, Haaretz)
  • .@JohnKerry: Israel needs peace to create more prosperity (Barak Ravid, Haaretz)
  • @JohnKerry says peace must guarantee Israel as the “Jewish homeland.” #aipac2014
  • @JohnKerry now speaking highly of Saudi-backed #ArabPeaceInitiative that will lead to peace w/20 Arab countries & total of 57 Muslim nations
  • @JohnKerry: “We know what the end game looks like.” Security guarantees. Mutual recognition. End to all claims. Jerusalem as City of Peace.
  • “We must also stand together and with a single voice reject arbitrary and unwarranted boycotts of Israel.” –@JohnKerry (AIPAC)
  • Secretary @JohnKerry ends address w/story of 1st trip to Masada. Goal seems to be sound reasonable & a true friend.
  • Sec @JohnKerry gets standing O as he leaves. But not nearly passionate, thunderous response for @SenJohnMcCain earlier today. #aipac2014
  • Day 2 main sessions are over. Tonight reception with Congressional leaders. Finale tomorrow with keynote by @IsraeliPM Netanyahu. #aipac2014

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Secretary of State John Kerry Just Signed United Nations Arms Treaty That Could Dismantle the Second Amendment

Guest post by Investors Business Daily

Second Amendment: The Senate is unlikely to ratify a United Nations arms treaty signed by John Kerry, but gun control zealots will use it as justification for “common sense” infringements on our constitutional right.

The secretary of state signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday despite repeated indications that it would be dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate. One warning was a letter from Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., that said the treaty would be rejected just like “other U.N.-sponsored treaties which threaten our country’s sovereignty.”

Inhofe reminded Kerry that the pact would “collect dust alongside the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Kyoto Protocol, to name a few, which have all been rejected by the U.S. Senate and the American people.”

Earlier this year, Inhofe introduced an amendment to a budget proposal that would prevent the U.S. from entering into the U.N. arms treaty in order to uphold the Second Amendment. His amendment passed 53-46.

So why sign a treaty that the Senate won’t ratify into law and which some argue won’t affect domestic gun rights anyway?

Because it will give the president cover to do on gun control what he does so well on other issues — ignore Congress, the Constitution and we the people so he can govern by regulation and executive order.

The treaty will also give state and local governments an argument to restrict gun rights at the local level, despite the recent electoral smack down of two anti-gun legislators in Colorado. It will, as well, provide the courts, which are increasingly prone to take foreign laws and treaties as relevant, with leverage against the Second Amendment.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance and it might be time for gun rights supporters to be vigilant. This treaty matters. Article 5 of the Arms Trade Treaty requires signatories to set up a “National Control List.” Country leaders who sign the treaty “shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list,” which sounds suspiciously like national gun registration.

The text of the treaty also “encourages” nations to “apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest range of conventional arms,” causing gun rights advocates to fear that regulators will seek to limit not just so-called assault weapon ownership, but handguns and hunting rifles as well.

Trade in weapons under the treaty is to be refused to “unauthorized end use, including to individuals and groups who would commit terrorist acts.” We have noted that a paper from the U.N.’s Coordinating Action on Small Arms says that arms have been “misused by lawful owners” and that the “arms trade therefore be regulated in ways that would …. minimize the misuse of legally owned weapons.”

Would defending your home against intruders, or U.S. laws permitting concealed carry, be considered a “misuse”?

As the Heritage Foundation notes, imported firearms, considered part of the “arms trade” to be regulated, constitute about 35% of the new firearms market in the U.S.

“Under the guise of adopting what it deems to be ‘appropriate measures,’ an administration could restrict imports by redefining what qualifies as a ‘sporting’ firearm — the definition of which is left completely to the discretion of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives,” Heritage reports.

As we’ve said before, the U.S. is one of few countries that has anything like a Second Amendment. Our Founding Fathers enshrined the right to bear arms in recognition of it being the ultimate bulwark against tyrannical government. The fact that an organization full of tyrants, dictators, thugs and gross human rights violators wants to control small arms worldwide is hardly a surprise.

Somehow, assurances that this treaty won’t violate our constitutional protections — from an administration that constantly tries to infringe upon our Second Amendment rights — does not reassure us.

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Doug Ross @ Journal