UPDATED: Here is video of the Fox News interview I did last week. One segment is on “The Auschwitz Escape.” The other is on the breakdown of the Mideast peace talks.

Discussing "The Auschwitz Escape" on the Fox News Channel.

Discussing “The Auschwitz Escape” on the Fox News Channel.

(Washington, D.C.) — On Saturday, Fox News Channel anchor Uma Pemmaraju interviewed me for two segments.

Here is the video of us discussing the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Here is the video of us discussing The Auschwitz Escape and the true stories that inspired the novel, including the fascinating story of the evangelical Christians in Le Chambon, France, who rescued many Jews during the Holocaust.

Hope you find them interesting.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

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

O’S PARTNERS IN PEACE: Iranian Military General Swears on His Religion That They Will Annihilate Israel

When it comes to Barack Obama, there are — best I can tell — three possible reasons for his catastrophic track record.

Imagine a Venn diagram with three interlocking circles. One is labeled Marxism, the other is marked Hatred, and the last one is captioned Ignorance. All three circles overlap with different ratios depending upon the actual policy.

Take Obama’s Middle East policy. Please. He has, in just five short years, isolated our strongest ally Israel; attempted to prop up the Nazi-aligned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; toppled a strongman in Libya leaving Al Qaeda in charge; permitted a U.S. ambassador and other diplomatic personnel to be slaughtered during a seven hour gunfight without lifting a finger to help; failed to pursue said terrorists despite multiple promises to do so; and attempted to interfere in Syria by drawing bogus “red lines” failing only after Congress refused to empower evil bastards of one stripe or another.

But the worst element of all of Obama’s miserable foreign policies failures relate to Iran. During the Green Revolution that threatened to topple the Islamofascist Mullahs, Obama refused to speak out during the critical first week of riots and protests. Eventually the resistance movement was crushed thanks to Obama’s inaction and — seemingly — tacit endorsement of the Mullah’s actions.

Then there’s Iran’s nuclear program, which no credible observer believes is destined for anything except for the manufacture of atomic bombs. Instead of choking the Islamofascists through sanctions, Obama instead argued for relaxing the economic noose.

And his reward is the entirely predictable set of statements coming out of Tehran.

Iranian Deputy Commander Warns They Are Ready to Annihilate Israel

MEMRI. Org: Speaking at a conference held in Tehran, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander Brigadier-General Hossein Salami said: “We, here, can muster all our energies in order to annihilate the Zionist entity, more than 1,400 kilometers away. We are ready for that moment in the future.”

Following are excerpts from the speech, which aired on Al-Alam TV on March 11, 2014.

Brigadier-General Hossein Salami: Despite the geographical distance, we are attached to the hearts of the Palestinians. How is it that our slogans and goals are identical to the slogans and causes of the Palestinians? Why do we strive to become martyrs and risk our lives for the Palestinian cause?

The answer is that the religion of Islam has designated this for us – this goal, this motivation, this belief, this energy – so that we, here, can muster all our energies in order to annihilate the Zionist entity, more than 1,400 kilometers away. We are ready for that moment in the future.

These Islamonazis are Obama’s “partners in peace”. His negotiating partners. His pals.

Can it be any more clear what Barack Hussein Obama’s true agenda is?

Hat tip: BadBlue News

Doug Ross @ Journal

Sources say Israel prepared to give up 90% of West Bank. Here’s the latest in the drip, drip, drip of leaks from the peace process.

netanyahu-map(Washington, D.C.) – A drip, drip, drip of leaks this week may be giving us a clearer picture of the Mideast peace plan that President Obama and Secretary Kerry are cooking up.

Here’s the latest:

To be clear, neither Netanyahu nor his inner circle has been quoted as saying they are ready to give Abbas and the Palestinians 90% of the West Bank. That’s a leak from the American side, and I cannot confirm it’s true.

Maybe Netanyahu is just playing along with Kerry, biding his time, looking interested, looking ready to make major concessions, but hoping all the while that the Palestinians say “no” to the American plan first, thus making it unnecessary for him to do so.

But it is also possible that Netanyahu is really getting close to saying “yes” to Obama and Kerry.

Remember: In his address to the U.N. General Assembly last October, Netanyahu signaled he was preparing to make “painful concessions” for peace. “Israel continues to seek an historic compromise with our Palestinian neighbors, one that ends our conflict once and for all,” the PM said. “We want peace based on security and mutual recognition, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel. I remain committed to achieving an historic reconciliation and building a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Now, I have no illusions about how difficult this will be to achieve. Twenty years ago, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians began. Six Israeli prime ministers, myself included, have not succeeded at achieving peace with the Palestinians. My predecessors were prepared to make painful concessions. So am I. But so far the Palestinian leaders haven’t been prepared to offer the painful concessions they must make in order to end the conflict.”

At the time, it wasn’t clear anyone was listening to that paragraph, or believed him — after all, the bulk of that speech was about the Iran nuclear threat.

But it’s clear that Israelis are listening now, and some are growing angry, even those within his own government.

For more context:

Here are the latest leaks picked up in a Times of Israel story:

  • The closed-door negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority over the future contours of a Palestinian state, and how much land and settlements Israel will retain, have reportedly come down to a matter of a few percentage points, with both sides agreeing in principle that the majority of Jewish West Bank settlements would be transferred to Israeli sovereignty in a final status deal.
  • Citing anonymous Israeli, Palestinian and American sources close to the negotiations, Walla News reported on Thursday that Israel is seeking to annex about 10 percent of the West Bank’s land area in a final deal. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are seeking to have Israel annex only around 3% of the West Bank, the report said.
  • According to both Israeli and Palestinian officials cited in the report, the Palestinians have agreed to Israel’s annexation of the Gush Etzion bloc, just south of Jerusalem, but are arguing over the settlements of Efrat and Migdal Oz, which lie east of Route 60, a major north-south road running between Nazareth and Beersheba, through Jerusalem, Hebron and much of the West Bank.
  • Israel is seeking to also retain several of the smaller communities in the immediate area of Ma’ale Adumim, just east of Jerusalem, but the Palestinians have been opposed to such a move, the report said. Israel has said in the past it expects to keep control of the city of Ma’ale Adumim.
  • Both sides have reportedly agreed that the settlements that lie more or less along the 1967 border will be annexed by Israel, as will Givat Ze’ev, just north of Jerusalem. More-isolated Jewish settlements, such as Beit El, Ofra and others in the Samaria region, are not slated to be annexed, but Israel is reportedly seeking a long-term lease agreement for those communities.
  • The report did not touch on the issue of East Jerusalem, which Israel formally annexed in 1980, a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians seek to create their capital in the eastern part of the city, but the area is also home to several large Jewish neighborhoods, such as Gilo, Pisgat Ze’ev and Har Homa, which Israel is unlikely to consider parting with.
  • The future of settlements such as Ariel and Karnei Shomron in the northern West Bank is unclear, as the Palestinians are said to be extremely opposed to their annexation by Israel. It is supremely important for the PA to create “a contiguous Palestinian state” with sensible borders, and it will not agree to “a state whose map will be broken,” according to sources cited in the report.
  • The report noted that Israel seeks to “retain a presence” in Hebron, but there was no mention of the status of Kiryat Arba, a major settlement just outside the city, or any of the smaller Jewish communities in the surrounding area.
  • Israel has offered land adjacent to the southern West Bank, inside of Israel proper and not far from Hebron, as well as an area near Bet She’an, in exchange for the West Bank areas to be annexed. Israel has also raised the possibility of monetary compensation and other forms of economic assistance in exchange for the annexed territories, the report said.
  • The Americans are also attempting to persuade the two sides to agree to the creation of a “safe road” linking the West Bank and Gaza, but that idea, which has been raised before during previous rounds of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, is complicated by the security situation in the Strip, which is controlled by Islamic terror group Hamas. Israel is not opposed to the idea, an official said, but its implementation depends on “developments in Gaza.” If such a deal were agreed upon by the two sides, the official noted, it would create massive pressure on Hamas to comply with a general peace agreement.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Are the rumors true? Is Netanyahu about to make “painful concessions” in the peace process? Here’s what we know.

netanyahu-Obama-inPMofficeUPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — The very fact that Israeli leaders on the center-right of the political spectrum are getting so anxious, even angry, strongly suggests two rumors are true:

  1. The Obama administration and the Europeans are putting enormous pressure on the Netanyahu government behind the scenes to say “yes” on to an American-crafted peace plan; and
  2. Netanyahu is seriously contemplating agreeing to deeply painful and enormously controversial concessions, possibly even dividing Jerusalem and rolling Israel back to her pre-1967 borders.

Many analysts have felt for the past year that Secretary Kerry’s frenetic efforts to jump-start the Israeli-Palestinian peace process were going nowhere and doomed to failure. Now there is rapidly growing evidence that Kerry has driven the two parties into the corner, and that he appears to be putting the most pressure on the Israeli side to make the deepest concessions.

Here’s what we know so far:

In his address to the U.N. General Assembly last October, Netanyahu signaled he was preparing to make “painful concessions” for peace. “Israel continues to seek an historic compromise with our Palestinian neighbors, one that ends our conflict once and for all,” the PM said. “We want peace based on security and mutual recognition, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel. I remain committed to achieving an historic reconciliation and building a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Now, I have no illusions about how difficult this will be to achieve. Twenty years ago, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians began. Six Israeli prime ministers, myself included, have not succeeded at achieving peace with the Palestinians. My predecessors were prepared to make painful concessions. So am I. But so far the Palestinian leaders haven’t been prepared to offer the painful concessions they must make in order to end the conflict.”

At the time, it wasn’t clear anyone was listening to that paragraph, or believed him — after all, the bulk of that speech was about the Iran nuclear threat. But Israelis are listening now, and some are growing angry, even those within his own government.

Two weeks ago, for example, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon lashed out at the American plan, describing it as worthless, naïve, “messianic,” and dangerous. ”The American security plan presented to us is not worth the paper it’s written on,” Ya’alon said. “It contains no peace and no security. Only our continued presence in Judea and Samaria and the River Jordan will endure that Ben-Gurion Airport and Netanya don’t become targets for rockets from every direction. American Secretary of State John Kerry, who turned up here determined and acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor, cannot teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians….Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) is alive and well thanks to us. The moment we leave Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) he is finished. In reality, there have been no negotiations between us and the Palestinians for all these months – but rather between us and the Americans. The only thing that can ‘save us’ is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace.” The Obama administration was furious, and Yaalon apologized, sort of, under pressure from Netanyahu.

This week, Israeli Economic Minister Naftali Bennett lashed out at the American plan and harshly warned Netanyahu not to give away Judea & Samaria and put Jewish settlers under Palestinian sovereignty. “Our forefathers and our descendants will not forgive an Israeli leader who gives up our country and divides our capital,” Bennett warned, adding that the government’s growing fear of boycotts “is what will bring on the boycott. This is no way to handle negotiations, running frightened between the capitals of the world.” Bennett later added that the Prime Minister’s approach “reflects the loss of a moral compass. We didn’t experience 2,000 years of yearning for the Land of Israel so that we could live under the government of Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas). Anyone thinking of placing the lives of Jews in the Land of Israel under Palestinian rule is pulling the rug out from under our presence in Tel Aviv….I call on the prime minister to immediately reject this terrible idea.” Netanyahu’s team threatened to fire Bennett from the ruling coalition unless he took back his personal attack. Eventually, Bennett apologized, sort of.

Such tensions would not be flaring this intensely if Kerry wasn’t about to lower the boom on Israel, and center-right political leaders in Israel weren’t so worried Netanyahu was about to agree to far-reaching concessions.

Consider the following:

What is in the ”framework agreement”? The Obama team has leaked key details to Thomas Friedman of the New York Times:

  • The “Kerry Plan,” likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims
  • following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (based on the 1967 lines)
  • with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley.
  • The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs
  • but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory.
  • It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem
  • and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
  • It will not include any right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper.

Is there evidence that Netanyahu and Abbas are trying to prepare their people for painful concessions? Here’s an interesting analysis of the “framework agreement” — and Sec. Kerry’s effort to hammer out “interim” deals on both the Iran issue and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — by David Ignatius of the Washington Post.

  • [The]  issues may still prove insoluble: Listening to Israeli Finance Minister Naftali Bennett at a conference here Tuesday, it was clear how vehemently the right-wing settlers’ movement he represents would oppose a Palestinian state. “Our forefathers and ancestors and our descendants will never forgive an Israeli leader who gives away our land and divides our capital,” Bennett said, his voice almost a shout.
  • Yet the prospect of a framework agreement, of the sort Kerry is seeking, seemed tantalizingly close in comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the gathering, which was sponsored by the Institute for National Security Studies.
  • Netanyahu told the conference that the U.S. was compiling a document that would summarize the points that have emerged during the months of secret Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
  • He said that Israel might agree to further talks under this framework, while not accepting all the U.S. ideas, as long as the Palestinians agree to a demilitarized state that guarantees Israel’s security and accepts Israel’s status as a homeland for the Jewish people.
  • Abbas said in televised remarks to the conference that he might be willing to accept a phased, three-year Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and continued presence by other military forces, as ways of satisfying Netanyahu’s security concerns.
  • Amos Yadlin, a retired chief of Israeli military intelligence who heads the institute that hosted the conference, described Kerry’s goal: “It’s a framework agreement, or an agreement on a framework, or an American piece of paper,” he said, but the aim was to roll forward the negotiations for another nine months.
  • The White House has backed Kerry’s attempt to pull together the parameters that have emerged in the negotiations, rather than simply striving for another round of confidence-building measures, such as Israeli releases of Palestinian prisoners and Abbas’ restraint from taking his case for a Palestinian state to the United Nations.
  • As in the Iran negotiations, a framework agreement would patch over what are still wide differences on a permanent, final-status agreement. But they would reduce the risk of outright conflict while diplomacy continues.

What are the political ramifications inside Israel if Netanyahu says “yes” to the U.S. “framework agreement”? Useful analysis by Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg News:

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is obviously getting somewhere in his attempt to achieve a framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, because all the right people — the far-right people — are going a little nuts.
  • At a security conference this week in Israel, Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Jewish Home party — reacting to an earlier suggestion made by the leader of his governing coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that Jewish settlers could conceivably find themselves living under Palestinian rule one day — asked, “Why should Jews live in Tel Aviv with Israeli sovereignty and in Eli and Hebron under Palestinian sovereignty? Open up the Book of Genesis and form an opinion. I demand that this idea be removed from the agenda.”….
  • Netanyahu, unlike a set of government ministers to his right, including Bennett, understands that Israel’s addiction to West Bank settlements is undermining the legitimacy of his country, and endangering its role as a democratic haven for Jews.
  • This is why he appears to be taking small rhetorical steps in Kerry’s direction — floating the idea that Jews on the West Bank could remain where they are under Palestinian rule (a proposal the Palestinians, so far, at least, reject) is one way he’s signaling to the Israeli public that unpopular decisions might be coming.
  • Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas also seems to be bending under Kerry’s pressure, offering just this week a concession of his own: Israelis forces, he said, could remain in parts of the West Bank for as long as three years after an agreement is struck. Previously, Abbas had argued that all Israeli forces must depart as soon as a deal is made.
  • For Israelis, there are two ways to look at Kerry’s Herculean (and often Sisyphean) efforts to outline an agreement between extremely hesitant parties.
  • The first way is Bennett’s: Much of the Israeli right sees Kerry as the enemy, trying to break the will of their prime minister in order to uproot settlers and create a Palestinian state that will become a source of endless violence.
  • The second way is the one favored by Israelis of the center and the left: suspicion of grandiose American schemes but also a sober realization that someone needs to figure out a way to disentangle Israel from the lives of its Palestinian neighbors, and that that person may well be Kerry.
  • The particular difficulty for Netanyahu is that he might have both of these understandings fighting it out in his head.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog