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

UPDATED: Six Reasons to Worry About the Iranian Nuclear Deal

Secretary Kerry poses for pictures for foreign ministers from Iran and the P5+1 on the finalization of an interim deal with Iran. But apparently the deal wasn't actually finalized.

Secretary Kerry poses for pictures for foreign ministers from Iran and the P5+1 on the finalization of an interim deal with Iran. But apparently the deal wasn’t actually finalized.

>> UPDATE: Iran on cusp of getting the bomb, ex intel chief says — Amos Yadlin says Tehran now a ‘nuclear threshold state’ and that it made critical advances before deal with West; Likud MK calls interim agreement ‘surrender’

>> UPDATE: Likud MK: Iran deal makes Israeli strike more likely — If temporary agreement turns permanent, Jerusalem might be forced to act, says Netanyahu confidant Tzachi Hanegbi

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ORIGINAL POST: (Washington, D.C.) — I commend to your attention a column today by Jeffrey Goldberg, a widely respected Mideast analyst. While I don’t always agree with him on policy matters, his six concerns about the Iran deal are right on point.Excerpts:

1). The deal isn’t done. Remember the photos from Geneva of smiling foreign ministers slapping backs and hugging in celebration of their epic achievement? Well, nothing was actually signed. The deal is not, as of this moment, even operational.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked a question last week about when the deal might actually take effect. “The next step here is a continuation of technical discussions at a working level so that we can essentially tee up the implementation of the agreement. So that would involve the P5+1 — a commission of the P5+1 experts working with the Iranians and the IAEA,” she said, referring to the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany and the International Atomic Energy Agency. “Obviously, once that’s — those technical discussions are worked through, I guess the clock would start.”

Focus on those last words for a second: “I guess the clock would start.” Do words like those make you worried, or is it just me? What this means is that Iran, at this moment, is still not compelled to freeze any of its nuclear program in place. I’m not sure why American negotiators would leave Geneva without having a fully implemented agreement. I understand that the technical hurdles to implementation are daunting. But equally daunting is the realization that the Iranians are going about their business as if they’ve promised nothing.

2.) Momentum for sanctions is waning. It’s true that the economic relief the Iranians will receive in this deal is modest, but it is also true that many nations, many companies and the Iranians themselves are seeing this agreement as the beginning of the end of the sanctions regime. Iran is already making a push to recapture its dominant role in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. U.S. officials believe they can hold the line on sanctions, but it is reasonable to assume that they will come under increasing pressure from countries such as South Korea, Japan, India and China, which could very easily convince themselves that Iran is preparing to act in a more responsible manner (after all, it replaced its snarling, Holocaust-denying president with a smiling, savvy president) and should be reopened for business.

3.) The (still unenforced) document agreed upon in Geneva promises Iran an eventual exit from nuclear monitoring. The final (theoretical) deal, the document states, will “have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon,” after which the Iranian nuclear program “will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state” that is part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. From what I’m told, the U.S. hopes this eventual agreement, should it come to pass, would last 15 years; the Iranians hope to escape this burden in five. After the agreement loses its legal force, Iran could run however many centrifuges it chooses to run. This is not a comforting idea.

4.) The biggest concession to the Iranians might have already been made. Although it is the West’s position that it has not granted Iran the so-called right to enrich, the text of the interim agreement states that the permanent deal will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program with mutually agreed parameters.” Essentially, Barack Obama’s administration has already conceded, before the main round of negotiations, that Iran is going to end up with the right to enrich. Realists would argue that Iran will end up with that “right” no matter what, but it seems premature to cede the point now.

5.) The Geneva agreement only makes the most elliptical references to two indispensable components of any nuclear-weapons program. The entire agreement is focused on the fuel cycle, but there is no promise by Iran in this interim deal to abstain from pursuing work on ballistic missiles or on weaponization. A nuclear weapons program has three main components: the fuel, the warhead and the delivery system. Iran is free, in the coming six-month period of the interim deal, to do whatever it pleases on missiles and warhead development.

6.) The Iranians are so close to reaching the nuclear threshold anyway — defined here as the ability to make a dash to a bomb within one or two months from the moment the supreme leader decides he wants one — that freezing in place much of the nuclear program seems increasingly futile. When asked this week by al-Jazeera about the impact of sanctions, the very smart Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said, “When sanctions started Iran had less than 200 centrifuges. Today Iran has 19,000 centrifuges so the net product of the sanctions has been about 18,800 centrifuges that has been added to the Iran’s stock of centrifuges, so sanctions have utterly failed.”

Goldberg notes that “one of Israel’s most prominent experts on the Iranian nuclear program, a former military intelligence chief named Amos Yadlin, said this week that ‘Iran is on the verge of producing a bomb. It’s sad, but it’s a fact.’ Yadlin suggested that no one, and no agreement, can stop Iran from reaching the nuclear threshold. I fear he is right.”


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

President Barack Obama’s Complete List of Historic Firsts [Updated]

Yes, he’s historic, alright (new items are in bold typeface).

Law and Justice
• First President to Violate the War Powers Act (Unilaterally Executing American Military Operations in Libya Without Informing Congress In the Required Time Period – Source: Huffington Post)
• First President to Triple the Number of Warrantless Wiretaps of U.S. Citizens (Source: ACLU)

• First President to Refuse to Tell the Public What He Did For Eight (8) Hours After Being Informed That a U.S. Ambassador Was Facing Imminent Death During a Terror Attack (Source: Mediate)
• First President to Lie About the Reason For an Ambassador’s Death, Blaming it on an Internet Video Rather Than What He Knew to be the Case: the Al Qaeda-linked Terror Group Ansar al-Sharia (Source: House Oversight Committee, et. al.)
• First President to Have an Innocent Filmmaker Thrown in Jail After Lying About the Cause for a Deadly Attack on U.S. Diplomats, Using the Filmmaker as a Scapegoat (Source: CNN)

• First President to Use the IRS to “Unfairly Target Political Enemies” as Well as pro-Catholic and pro-Jewish Groups (Source: Sen. Ted Cruz)
• First President to Unlawfully Seize Telephone Records of More than 100 Reporters to Intimidate and/or Bully Them (Source: Associated Press)
• First President to Witness a Single Cabinet Secretary Commit Multiple Hatch Act Violations Without Acting, Speaking Out, Disciplining or Firing That Person (Source: New York Times)

• First President to Have His Attorney General Held in Criminal Contempt of Congress For His Efforts to Cover Up Operation Fast and Furious, That Killed Over 300 Individuals (Source: Politico)
• First President to Issue Unlawful “Recess-Appointments” Over a Long Weekend — While the U.S. Senate Remained in Session (against the advice of his own Justice Department – Source: United States Court of Appeals)

• First President to Sue States for Enforcing Voter ID Requirements, Which Were Previously Ruled Legal by the U.S. Supreme Court (Source: CNN)

• First President to Encourage Racial Discrimination and Intimidation at Polling Places (the New Black Panthers voter intimidation case, Source: Investors Business Daily)
• First President to Refuse to Comply With a House Oversight Committee Subpoena (Source: Heritage Foundation)
• First President to Arbitrarily Declare an Existing Law Unconstitutional and Refuse to Enforce It (Defense of Marriage Act – Source: ABC News)

• First President to Demand a Company Hand Over $ 20 Billion to One of His Political Appointees (BP Oil Spill Relief Fund – Source: Fox News)
• First President to Have a Law Signed By an ‘Auto-pen’ Without Being “Present” (Source: The New York Times)

Scandals
• First President to publicly announce an enemies list (consisting of his opponents campaign contributors; and to use the instrumentalities of government to punish those on the list – Source: Heritage Foundation)
• First President to Attempt to Block Legally-Required 60-Day Layoff Notices by Government Contractors Due to His Own Cuts to Defense Spending — Because The Notices Would Occur Before the Election. (Source: National Journal)

• First President to Intentionally Disable Credit Card Security Measures (in order to allow over-the-limit donations, foreign contributions and other illegal fundraising measures – Source: Power Line)

• First President to send 80 percent of a $ 16 billion program (green energy) to his campaign bundlers and contributors, leaving only 20% to those who did not contribute. (Source: Washington Examiner)
• First President to issue an Executive Order implementing a “Racial Justice System”, a system that tries to achieve “racially equivalent outcomes” for crimes (Source: Daily Caller)

• First President to Use the EPA to Punish Political Enemies and Reward Political Allies (Source: Competitive Enterprise Institute)
• First President to Send Millions in Taxpayer Dollars to His Wife’s Former Employer (Source: White House Dossier)

Economy
• First President to Move America Past the Dependency Tipping Point, In Which 51% of Households Now Pay No Income Taxes (Source: Center for Individual Freedom)

• First President to Increase Food Stamp Spending By More Than 100% in Less Than Four Years (Source: Sen. Jeff Sessions)

• First President to Propose Budgets So Unreasonable That Not a Single Representative From Either Party Would Cast a Vote in Favor (Sources: The Hill, Open Market)
• First President Whose Economic Policies Have the Number of Americans on Disability Exceed the Population of New York (Source: CNS News)

• First President to Sign a Law Requiring All Americans to Purchase a Product From a Third Party (Source: Wall Street Journal)
• First President to Sue States For Enforcing Immigration Laws Passed by Congress (Source: The Arizona Republic newspaper)
• First President to See America Lose Its Status as the World's Largest Economy (Source: Peterson Institute)

• First President to Attempt to Bully a Major Manufacturing Company Into Not Opening a Factory in a Right-to-Work State (Boeing’s facility in South Carolina – Source: Wall Street Journal)

Energy Policy
• First President to Endanger the Stability of the Electric Grid by Shutting Down Hundreds of Coal-Fired Plants Without Adequate Replacement Technologies (Source: National Electric Reliability Corporation – PDF)

National Security and World Affairs
• First President to Openly Defy a Congressional Order Not To Share Sensitive Nuclear Defense Secrets With the Russian Government (Sources: ABC News, Rep. Michael Turner)

• First President to send $ 200 million to a terrorist organization (Hamas) after Congress had explicitly frozen the money for fear it would fund attacks against civilians (Sources: American Thinker, The Independent [UK])

Miscellania

But remember: he will not rest until all Americans have jobs, affordable homes, green-energy vehicles, and the environment is repaired, etc., etc., etc.

Doug Ross @ Journal

Updated: French President Hollande coming to epicenter. Here’s why. Here’s the schedule.

Netanyahu meets with Hollande on a previous state visit to Paris.

Netanyahu meets with Hollande on a previous state visit to Paris.

French President Francois Hollande is making a three day visit to the epicenter next week. He will arrive on Sunday and depart Tuesday. During that time, he will meet with top Israeli leaders in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He will also meet top Palestinian leaders in Ramallah.

The Arab-Israeli peace talks will be a key part of his agenda. The top priority will be discussing the on-going nuclear negotiations with Iran which restart on November 20th. Last week France played a crucial role in stopping what it called a “sucker’s deal,” and urging the P5+1 group (U.S., UK, Russia, China and France, plus Germany) to slow down and be more careful with the negotiations.

Here is Hollande’s schedule, according to local media reports.

  • Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres will greet the French dignitaries at Ben Gurion Airport at around 1 pm on Sunday. As in the visit of US President Barack Obama in March, the three leaders will hold a ceremony on the tarmac before heading for the capital.
  • In Jerusalem, Hollande will plant a tree in the garden of the President’s Residence and hold a first meeting with Peres.
  • The French president’s next stop will be Mt. Herzl, where he will lay a wreath at the grave of Theodor Herzl and place a stone on the grave of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and his late wife Leah.
  • Accompanied by Peres and Netanyahu, Hollande will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and lay a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance.
  • At around 6 pm, Hollande will arrive at the Prime Minister’s Office for a tête-à-tête with Netanyahu, which is scheduled to last for about an hour and a half. On the agenda: Iran, Iran and yet more Iran.
  • Netanyahu, who has been adamant in his opposition to the interim deal the international community is considering signing with Tehran, will try his utmost to convince Hollande to stand his ground during upcoming rounds of negotiations.
  • After their meeting, the two leaders will hold a joint press conference and then proceed to dine together.
  • Not far from the Prime Minister’s Residence, the French ministers, including Fabius and Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, will have dinner with their Israeli counterparts at the King David Hotel.
  • On Monday morning, Hollande will meet with French clergymen in the Church of St. Anne, in Jerusalem’s Old City, which the Ottomans donated to France in 1856.
  • From there, Hollande and Fabius will continue to Ramallah for meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
  • The French president is also expected to lay a wreath at the grave of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died in 2004 in a French hospital and whose remains were recently examined for traces of poisoning.
  • In the late afternoon, Hollande will address the Knesset plenum, which will convene for a special session in his honor. Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich are also scheduled to speak.
  • Later on Tuesday, Hollande will hold another meeting with Peres before attending a state dinner at the President’s Residence, in the company of the prime minister, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
  • On Tuesday morning, Hollande will lay stones on the graves of the victims of the March 2012 attack at a Jewish school in Toulouse — Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, his two children Gavriel and Arieh, ages 5 and 4, and Miriam Monsonego, age 7.
  • From Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuchot cemetery, where the Sandlers are buried, the guests from Paris will drive to Tel Aviv for business-related events. Peres, Holland and Netanyahu will give speeches related to bilateral trade, economic cooperation and innovation.
  • Hollande will then meet with members of the French community in Israel at Tel Aviv University at an event which will mark the conclusion of his visit.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

UPDATED: Putin smells blood in the water. On Syria crisis, Russian leader uses moment to seize global leadership from Obama.

putintotherescue-drudge(Washington, D.C.) — Vladimir Putin smells blood in the water.

Sensing a political vacuum on the global stage — one created by the weakness, dithering and vacillation of President Obama and Secretary Kerry — the Russian leader is seizing the moment to become the dominant world leader.

Consider the moves Putin has made in recent days. He has:

Now Putin has seized on what may have been an off-the-cuff stumble by Secretary Kerry to throw a monkey wrench into the Obama war plans. Rather than leading, the White House and State Department find themselves responding to the Kremlin.

Obama looks like a war-monger. Putin is playing the hero, offering a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis.

Obama wanted a Congressional vote to use military force in Syria. Now Putin has turned the tables and has Obama and his team on defense, changing their plays, not quite sure how to proceed, and looking even weaker, vacillating all the more.

“In what looks like an off-the-cuff blunder, Secretary of State John Kerry might have accidentally given Russian President Vladmir Putin the opportunity to muddy the international diplomatic waters and buy his friends in Syria some time,” notes one news analysis. “During a press briefing on Monday, Kerry said that Assad could avoid American air strikes by giving up all his chemical weapons within a week. Within hours, the State Department was forced to walk Kerry’s new red line back with the claim that he was making a “rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons he has denied he used.”

“It seems, then, reasonable to conclude that Kerry spoke out of turn,” notes the story. “Kerry was not authorized to offer Syria an ‘out’ or a new ultimatum. But Kerry’s hypothetical hyperbole appears to have already backfired. In an obvious desire to make Kerry pay for his flub and throw a wrench in Obama’s determination to go to war with Syria, Putin has seized upon Kerry’s hypothetical and called on Syria to accept Kerry’s offer and turn over all of its chemical weapons. No one believes Assad would ever willingly give up his chemical weapons, but should he agree to an offer the Obama administration did not mean to make, it could stall American action for weeks and even months. Syria is already warming to the idea. This complication could be a major blow to all of the Obama administration’s prepared plans to punish Assad for using the weapons and to change the balance of power in the ongoing Syrian civil war.  Public opposition to Obama’s war is already surging. Weeks or months from now, after the torturous international diplomatic process that no one believes would end with Assad giving up the chemical weapons that keep him in power winds down, it is doubtful Congress or the American public would be ready to stomach a renewed push for war.”

The Washington Post is now reporting that “President Obama on Monday called a Russian proposal for Syria to turn over control of its chemical weapons to international monitors in order to avoid a military strike a ‘potentially positive development,’ that could represent a ‘significant breakthrough,’ but he said he remains skeptical the Syrian government would follow through on its obligations based on its recent track record.”

“Between the statements that we saw from the Russians — the statement today from the Syrians — this represents a potentially positive development,” Obama said in an interview with NBC News, according to a transcript provided by the network. “We are going to run this to ground.  [Secretary of State] John Kerry will be talking to his Russian counterpart. We’re going to make sure that we see how serious these proposals are.”

The Post noted that “deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken told reporters Monday  that the United States ‘would welcome a decision and action by Syria to give up its chemical weapons.’ But he expressed skepticism that Syria would do so.  In response to the Russian proposal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed a Senate test vote authorizing military force in Syria that was planned for Wednesday. Hours earlier, in London,  Secretary of State John F. Kerry sketched out a transfer-of-control scenario similar to the Russian proposal, then dismissed it, after being asked by a reporter whether there was anything that Assad could do to avoid an attack. ‘Sure, he could turn over every bit of his weapons to the international community within the next week, without delay,’ Kerry said. ‘But he isn’t about to.’ Kerry also sparked criticism by commenting that any U.S. strike would be “an unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.’”

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* To learn more about the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 & 39 — what’s known as the “War of Gog & Magog,” involving a Russian-Iranian attack on Israel through Syrian and Lebanese territory — please click here.

* To read my study notes on Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49, please click here.

* Christians shouldn’t sit on the sidelines in the Syria crisis. Here are 4 things we can do.

* Follow the latest news & analysis on Twitter — @JoelCRosenberg

* To learn more about the New York Times best-selling novel, Damascus Countdown, please click here.

* To learn more about The Joshua Fund — and/or make a tax deductible contribution to bless Israel and her neighbors with food, clothing, medical supplies, and other humanitarian relief, including war preparations; to provide humanitarian aid to refugees fleeing Syria and encouragement and support for Arab Christians assisting the Syrian people; and to educate Christians around the world about how to be a blessing to the people of the epicenter — please visit our website, www.joshuafund.net.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog