Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials say

Obama-angry-10

Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials say

PM ‘will pay price’ for spat over Congress address; Obama said to have asked him to tone down pro-sanctions rhetoric; Wash. Post: Kerry’s enthusiasm for defending Israel may wane

BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF January 23, 2015, 9:21 am 330

NEWSROOM

The White House’s outrage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to speak before Congress in March — a move he failed to coordinate with the administration — began to seep through the diplomatic cracks on Friday, with officials telling Haaretz the Israeli leader had “spat” in President Barack Obama’s face.

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

net

In his address the Israeli leader is expected to speak about stalled US-led nuclear negotiations with Iran, and to urge lawmakers to slap Tehran with a new round of tougher sanctions in order to force it to comply with international demands. The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday went to the rare length of issuing a press statement to deny claims, cited by Kerry, that its chief Tamir Pardo had told visiting US politicians that he opposed further sanctions.

Haaretz reported that Obama had personally demanded that Netanyahu tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric in a phone call between the two last week. The president has said a sanctions bill would cripple negotiations with Iranian leaders at a critical stage, and has threatened to veto such a bill should it come through.

The Washington Post reported that Netanyahu’s apparent disrespect for the US leadership was particularly offensive to Secretary of State John Kerry, who over the past month had made frenzied efforts on Israel’s behalf on the world stage — making dozens of calls to world leaders to convince them to oppose a UN Security Council resolution which would have set a timeframe for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“The secretary’s patience is not infinite,” a source close to Kerry told the Post. “The bilateral relationship is unshakable. But playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.”

The White House said Thursday that Obama would not meet with Netanyahu when he travels to Washington, with a spokeswoman citing a “long-standing practice and principle” by which the president does not meet with heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections. Kerry will also not meet with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu will be in Washington in part for a March 3 address to a joint session of Congress. House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak to Congress without consulting the Obama administration.

The White House initially reacted icily to Netanyahu’s plans to address Congress, an appearance apparently meant to bolster opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran as it is currently shaping up, as well as opposition to new sanctions against Tehran.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested Wednesday that Netanyahu and Boehner had broken with protocol in not informing Obama of the prime minister’s travel plans.

“We haven’t heard from the Israelis directly about the trip at all,” he said, adding the White House would “reserve judgment” about any possible face-to-face meeting until explanations are made.

white house

“The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he is traveling there. That is certainly how President Obama’s trips are planned,” explained Earnest.

“So this particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”

Speaking several hours after Earnest, top US diplomat Kerry said Netanyahu was welcome to give a speech at “any time” in the United States. But Kerry agreed it had been a “little unusual” to hear about the Israeli leader’s speech to US Congress next month from the office of Boehner and not via the usual diplomatic channels.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, said that Boehner blundered when he invited Netanyahu to address Congress amid sensitive negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program and in the shadow of Israel’s elections.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, meets with US president Barack Obama, at the White House, Washington DC on October 01, 2014. (Photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

“If that’s the purpose of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit two weeks before his own election, right in the midst of our negotiations, I just don’t think it’s appropriate and helpful,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday at her weekly news conference. The speech, Pelosi suggested, could give Netanyahu a political boost in elections a few weeks later and inflame international talks aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel is scheduled to hold elections on March 17.

Netanyahu confirmed Thursday that he would address Congress in early March. He was initially slated to speak on February 11, but changed the date so he could attend the AIPAC conference.

“The Prime Minister is expected to arrive in the US at the beginning of March and will also participate in the AIPAC conference,” read a statement from the PMO. “The speech in front of both houses of Congress will give the prime minister the opportunity to thank President Barack Obama, Congress, and the American people for their support of Israel.

“I look forward to the opportunity to express before the joint session Israel’s vision for a joint effort to deal with [Islamist terrorism and Iran’s nuclear program], and to emphasize Israel’s commitment to the special bond between our two democracies,” Netanyahu said, according to the statement.

Israel and the United States are close allies, but personal relations between Obama and Netanyahu have reportedly deteriorated over the years.

The pair have publicly clashed over Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and about how to tackle Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

Obama’s allies fear Netanyahu’s March trip could be used by Israel and by Republicans to rally opposition to a nuclear deal, undercutting years of sensitive negotiations just as they appear poised to bear fruit.

In November the already faltering ties between the leaders were served a new blow when an anonymous US official was quoted calling Netanyahu a “chickenshit” in an article published by journalist Jeffrey Goldberg in the American magazine The Atlantic. The article portrayed the rift between the United States and Israel as a “full-blown crisis.”

Obama blames Europe not Muslims for terrorism

Europe needs to better integrate Muslim communities: Obama

PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2015 2:42 AM
US President Barack Obama answers questions at a press conference in the East Room of the White House on Jan 16, 2015, in Washington, DC. — PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Europe must do more to better integrate its Muslim communities, and not “simply respond with a hammer”, US President Barack Obama said Friday in the wake of last week’s terror attacks in France.

“Our biggest advantage, major, is that our Muslim populations – they feel themselves to be Americans,” Obama told a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“There are parts of Europe in which that’s not the case. And that’s probably the greatest danger that Europe faces… it’s important for Europe not to simply respond with a hammer and law enforcement and military approaches to these problems.”

Related:

slander

Obama Will Never Stand With Figures Who Insult Muslims

By Jim Geraghty

January 13, 2015 10:19 AM

Why didn’t President Obama go to Paris?

Monday brought a lot of quickly discarded excuses. 1) The excuse that the United States was adequately represented, as suggested by Kerry’s claim that critics were “quibbling” because the U.S. ambassador attended. White House press secretary Josh Earnest eventually retreated on that one. 2) The claim that there were security concerns, which suggested the security measures taken to protect the French president, U.K. prime minister, and Israeli prime minister were somehow insufficient. Also note that the entire point of the march was to send a message to the world that leaders will not be intimidated by extremists who threaten to kill them. 3) Complete and total staff incompetence: “White House aides were so caught off guard by the march’s massive size and attention that they hadn’t even asked President Barack Obama if he wanted to go.”

The simplest explanation — and one that doesn’t contradict option 3 — is that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to put his personal stature and credibility on the line to support something like Charlie Hebdo. Since those awful attacks, we’ve witnessed a lot of allegedly intellectual leftists offer versions of “the attacks were terrible, but —” and then explaining why Hebdo was offensive, hate speech, and unnecessary provocation, foolish, etc., and imply that the magazine isn’t really worth defending and that the world would be a better place if these immature, impudent cartoonists would stop making fun of one of the world’s great religions.

There’s very little evidence to suggest that Obama disagrees with this progressive intellectual reaction, that while satire of Islam is theoretically legal, the consequences of enraging Muslims is too much trouble and risk to be worthwhile. We saw this in the response to Hebdo before, and the infamous YouTube video that the administration cited as a scapegoat for the Benghazi attacks. To a lot of progressives, while depicting Muhammad or mocking Islam shouldn’t be banned, it should be discouraged, and a presidential appearance at that rally and march would be too close to an official endorsement of the magazine and its contents.

As then–White House press secretary Jay Carney put it in 2012 while discussing the French magazine’s Muhammad cartoons:

We don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. And I think that that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offense in the Muslim world.

Obama would never support going into a magazine and shooting people. But he’s afamously thin-skinned public figure who thinks he has a particularly powerful connection and understanding of the Muslim world because he spent some childhood years in Indonesia. He is so mono-focused on “de-escalating” tensions with the Muslim world that he thinks about how he would advise ISIS. The last thing President Obama is going to do is take some sort of personal action that indicates a real show of solidarity with cartoonists who offend Muslims.

 

Duke backs down, cancels Muslim call to prayer from chapel tower

 Duke copy

Duke backs down, cancels Muslim call to prayer from chapel tower

by Todd Starnes

Duke University has abandoned its plan to transform the bell tower on the Methodist school’s neo-gothic cathedral into a minaret where the Muslim call to prayer was to be publicly broadcast.

“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

Duke University draws fire as it announces weekly Muslim call to prayer

Starting this Friday, Duke University plans to have a regular Muslim call to prayer on campus. Most students support religious diversity, but off-campus critics are concerned by what it symbolizes.

Christian Science Monitor

As of Friday, residents of Durham, N.C., near the Duke University Chapel bell tower will now hear the tones of a male Muslim Students Association member chanting the Muslim “adhan” or “call to prayer” at 1 p.m. each week.

 “On campus among students and faculty the response has been overwhelmingly positive,“ says Duke spokesman Keith Lawrence in a phone interview.

And… unleash the ignorant haters! (I think this is great) — Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University http://t.co/imWV0M2BTK— Emily (@expatemily) January 14, 2015

“Those responding from the outside, particularly on social media like Twitter, have been mixed with some negativity that has begun to feed off of itself,” Mr. Lawrence adds.

I wonder how Duke or atheist would feel if Christians wanted to recite the lords prayer once a week?… http://t.co/J09Ojp5ScA— Bill LuMaye Show 850 (@BillLuMaye) January 14, 2015

Via @WRAL: Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University http://t.co/Vw97l0tjQc More capitulating. The sound of Satan. WHY?— A Mountain (@annie_amountain) January 14, 2015

The chant, which announces the start of the group’s jummah prayer service, which takes place in the chapel basement each Friday at 1 p.m., lasts about three minutes and will be moderately amplified, according to a Duke University press release.

Imam Adeel Zeb, Muslim chaplain at Duke says in a phone interview that the addition of the chant was in the works months prior to the militant Islamist attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and are in no way in response or politically motivated.

Muslim students at Duke are supported by the university through the Office of Student Affairs’ Muslim Life department, which hosts religious services, community service projects, and interfaith events. The Center for Muslim Life provides on-campus social and spiritual meeting spaces for students as well as opportunities for counseling and advising.

“This is not about politics,” Mr. Zeb says. “This is part of Duke’s mission to promote religious diversity on campus.”

Zeb adds that he “did not hesitate for a moment” or waver at all in the plan following the Paris attacks or after learning about negative feedback on Twitter.

“As always, I advise my students to respond to negativity by being very positive and loving in their character,” Zeb says. “It is a tradition and an honor to carry on the chant and call to prayer.”

“Duke is in the minority for having he call to prayer,” Zeb says. “I don’t know of many others doing it.”

He adds that the service is open to the public,

The words will be chanted in Arabic, then spoken in English by either male or female students over the public address system, according to Zeb who offers the following English translation of the Adhan:

God is Most Great. God is Most Great.

God is Most Great. God is Most Great.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

Come to prayer. Come to prayer.

Come to Success. Come to Success.

God is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.

There is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

Zeb says that he has spent the past week training seven male students in the proper intonation, rhythm, and pronunciation of the chant. The adhan is traditionally performed by males unless it is a call to an all-female gathering, in which case, Zeb says, a woman would call the adhan.

“The adhan is the call to prayer that brings Muslims back to their purpose in life, which is to worship God and serves as a reminder to serve our brothers and sisters in humanity,” Zeb explains. “The collective Muslim community is truly grateful and excited about Duke’s intentionality toward religious and cultural diversity.”

“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life and a Christian, is quoted in a press release. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”

Maher on Islam: “When There’s This Many Bad Apples, There’s Something Wrong With The Orchard”

bill-maher

Maher on Islam: “When There’s This Many Bad Apples, There’s Something Wrong With The Orchard”

HBO’s Bill Maher discusses the Paris terror attack and the threat of radical Islam with author Salman Rushdie, who received a fatwa from Ayatollah Khomeini, businesswoman and political commentator Carly Fiorina, and Democratic strategist Paul Begala.

Maher listed off some of the major attacks pulled off by Muslim extremists since 9/11 saying, “when there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard.”

“We tend to forget how often it happens and we’re Americans so we don’t want to single out people, but when you look at that list just since 9/11. We had the Madrid bombings in ’04; London in ’05; Mumbai; the Kenyan mall attack; Benghazi, which was one of 20 cities that erupted when that movie the Innocence of Muslims was on the internet; ISIS; Boko Haram, who killed an entire village this week; Pakistan this year, last year, killing all those kids at school; Canada, the parliament; Australia, that guy,” Maher said.

Maher also cited a report 60 Minutes did last fall on Muslim men accosting female Londoners about the way they dressed.

Relevant transcript below:

BILL MAHER, “REAL TIME” HOST: This was kind of a dark week for humor and for free speech and make no mistake about it our very way of life is threatened and under attack. But, you know me, I’m a cockeyed optimist. I want to look on the bright side and actually I feel like there was a bright side this week. I saw a reaction from non-Muslims and Muslims alike that I’ve never seen before when s— like this went down. Do you think we’ve reached a tipping point where people have just had enough of this s—?…

MAHER: We tend to forget how often it happens and we’re Americans so we don’t want to single out people, but when you look at that list just since 9/11. We had the Madrid bombings in ’04; London in ’05; Mumbai; the Kenyan mall attack; Benghazi, which was one of 20 cities that erupted when that movie the Innocence of Muslims was on the internet; ISIS; Boko Haram, who killed an entire village this week; Pakistan this year, last year, killing all those kids at school; Canada, the parliament; Australia, that guy.

And that’s just the terrorists, let’s not forget also governments. That’s the thing that I think gets lost. It’s inside the establishment and it’s outside. Saudi Arabia today, a blogger gets a 1,000 lashes —

RUSHDIE: They flogged the blogger for saying something that a priest didn’t like.

MAHER: Right.

FIORINA: And let’s not forget Syria slaughtering 300,000 of their own citizens.

MAHER: Right, but I mean like Turkey. The president of Turkey said, “Women are not equal to men. Our religion has a defined position for women, motherhood.”

I can’t imagine a Western government leader saying that. And what we’ve said all along is, and have been called bigots for it, is when there’s this many bad ideas, there’s something wrong with the orchard…

MAHER: There should be a distinction because obviously the vast majority of Muslims would never do anything like this, but they share bad ideas. This is the thing that caused the big raucous when Ben Affleck was here was that Sam Harris said Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas and everyone went f—ing nuts on this side of the panel. But it is!

The guy who shot up — these two guys who shot up the cartoonist the other day they were avenging the prophet when they did it. A bad idea. To martyrdom, a bad idea. Women as second class citizens, a bad idea. And unfortunately the terrorists and the mainstream share a lot of these bad ideas.

In a related story:

Ohio Man Arrested for Alleged ISIS-Inspired Attack Plot on US Capitol

PHOTO: A flag of the Islamic State is seen on the other side of a bridge at the front line of fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Islamist militants in Rashad, on the road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, Sept. 11, 2014.

The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for allegedly plotting an Islamic State-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he hoped to set off a series of bombs aimed at lawmakers, whom he allegedly considered enemies.

Christopher Lee Cornell -– also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah -– was arrested earlier today on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official.

ISIS: Trail of Terror
U.S.Homeland Warns of ISIS Retaliation in US by Sympathizers
Tracking ISIS: Homegrown Terror Threat

Government documents say the FBI first noticed Cornell after he voiced support for violent “jihad” on a Twitter account.

Further investigation revealed his intent to attack the U.S. Capitol, and he planned to detonate pipe bombs there and open fire on any employees and officials after the bombs went off, according to government documents.

The FBI and Department of Homeland security issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country, notifying them of the case.

“The alleged activities of Cornell highlight the continued interest of US-based violent extremists to support designated foreign terrorist organizations overseas, such as ISIL, by committing terrorist acts in the United States,” the bulletin read. “Terrorist group members and supporters will almost certainly continue to use social media platforms to disseminate English language violent extremist messages.”

Obama Will Never Stand With Figures Who Insult Muslims

slander

Obama Will Never Stand With Figures Who Insult Muslims

By Jim Geraghty

January 13, 2015 10:19 AM

Why didn’t President Obama go to Paris?

Monday brought a lot of quickly discarded excuses. 1) The excuse that the United States was adequately represented, as suggested by Kerry’s claim that critics were “quibbling” because the U.S. ambassador attended. White House press secretary Josh Earnest eventually retreated on that one. 2) The claim that there were security concerns, which suggested the security measures taken to protect the French president, U.K. prime minister, and Israeli prime minister were somehow insufficient. Also note that the entire point of the march was to send a message to the world that leaders will not be intimidated by extremists who threaten to kill them. 3) Complete and total staff incompetence: “White House aides were so caught off guard by the march’s massive size and attention that they hadn’t even asked President Barack Obama if he wanted to go.”

The simplest explanation — and one that doesn’t contradict option 3 — is that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to put his personal stature and credibility on the line to support something like Charlie Hebdo. Since those awful attacks, we’ve witnessed a lot of allegedly intellectual leftists offer versions of “the attacks were terrible, but —” and then explaining why Hebdo was offensive, hate speech, and unnecessary provocation, foolish, etc., and imply that the magazine isn’t really worth defending and that the world would be a better place if these immature, impudent cartoonists would stop making fun of one of the world’s great religions.

There’s very little evidence to suggest that Obama disagrees with this progressive intellectual reaction, that while satire of Islam is theoretically legal, the consequences of enraging Muslims is too much trouble and risk to be worthwhile. We saw this in the response to Hebdo before, and the infamous YouTube video that the administration cited as a scapegoat for the Benghazi attacks. To a lot of progressives, while depicting Muhammad or mocking Islam shouldn’t be banned, it should be discouraged, and a presidential appearance at that rally and march would be too close to an official endorsement of the magazine and its contents.

As then–White House press secretary Jay Carney put it in 2012 while discussing the French magazine’s Muhammad cartoons:

We don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. And I think that that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offense in the Muslim world.

Obama would never support going into a magazine and shooting people. But he’s afamously thin-skinned public figure who thinks he has a particularly powerful connection and understanding of the Muslim world because he spent some childhood years in Indonesia. He is so mono-focused on “de-escalating” tensions with the Muslim world that he thinks about how he would advise ISIS. The last thing President Obama is going to do is take some sort of personal action that indicates a real show of solidarity with cartoonists who offend Muslims.

Reprisals Feared as Charlie Hebdo Publishes New Muhammad Cartoon

Continue reading the main storyVideo

Charlie Hebdo Editors Explain New Cover

 

The editors of the satirical newspaper discussed the cover of the first issue after the attack on their offices, which depicts the Prophet Muhammad crying.

 

PARIS — Muslim groups and scholars in France and elsewhere voiced concerns on Tuesday that a satirical newspaper’s first cover since the attack on its journalists last week could ignite dangerous new passions in a debate pitting free speech against religious doctrine.

One of Egypt’s highest Islamic authorities, Dar al-Ifta, warned that the new cartoon, depicting the Prophet Muhammad, would exacerbate tensions between the secular West and observant Muslims. Death threats circulated online against the surviving staff members of the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.

The offices of the newspaper were attacked last Wednesday in apparent retaliation for routinely publishing cartoons lampooning Muhammad. Some interpretations of Islamic law forbid images of the prophet.

Survivors of the attack had said they would proceed with their next issue and again depict Muhammad.

The cover of the new issue — already widely seen on the Internet — will be published on Wednesday in a print run of up to three million copies, compared with a typical print run of 60,000 copies. It shows Muhammad displaying the slogan that has become the symbol of resistance to Islamic militants: “Je Suis Charlie,” or, “I am Charlie.” He is shown weeping under a headline that reads: “All is forgiven.”

Muslim organizations in France issued a joint statement on Tuesday expressing concern about the “numerous anti-Muslim acts observed these days,” and calling on the authorities to guarantee the security of mosques.

The statement on Tuesday also commented on the new Charlie Hebdo cover, urging French Muslims to “remain calm and avoid emotive or incongruous reactions incompatible with dignity,” while “respecting freedom of opinion.”

In Egypt, Dar al-Ifta, which issues religious edicts, called on the French government to “announce their rejection of this racist act that attempts to raise religious strife and sectarianism, and deepen hatred.”

The blunt admonition, from a pillar of the mainstream Sunni Muslim establishment in the Arab world’s most populous country, recalled the pronouncements of Egyptian clerics in 2006 when cartoons depicting Muhammad were published in European newspapers, prompting a massive outpouring of protest — some of it violent — in many parts of he Muslim

Read why Obama and White house deliberately snubbed the Paris Rally

Obama’s Paris snub wasn’t an oversight

BY BYRON YORK | JANUARY 12, 2015 | 4:33 PM

The uproar over whether President Obama or another top administration official should have attended the massive unity rally in Paris has obscured an important point about the White House’s reaction to the latest terror attacks in Europe. The administration no-shows were not a failure of optics, or a diplomatic misstep, but were instead the logical result of the president’s years-long effort to downgrade the threat of terrorism and move on to other things.

“The analogy we use around [the White House] sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama told the New Yorker magazine in a January 2014 interview. The president was referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria but was also suggesting in a broader sense that a number of post-9/11 offshoot terrorist organizations aren’t worth the sort of war-footing mobilization that took place in the George W. Bush years.

Seven months earlier, Obama made an extended case for downgrading the terrorist threat in a May 23, 2013, speech at the National Defense University. He mentioned al Qaeda 24 times in the speech and argued that America’s victory over the organization behind 9/11 was nearly complete.

“Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat,” Obama said. “Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us.”

Yes, there will be threats in the future, Obama acknowledged, but they will be smaller. “We must take these threats seriously, and do all that we can to confront them. But as we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”

The implication of Obama’s speech was that Americans must live with a certain level of threat, as long as it does not approach 9/11 levels, and otherwise just move on.

Meanwhile, the White House from nearly the beginning of the president’s term made clear it did not want to refer to Islamic jihad as either Islamic or jihad. In 2010, a New York Times article noted that top White House officials “have made a point of disassociating Islam from terrorism in public comments, using the phrase ‘violent extremism’ in place of words like ‘jihad’ and ‘Islamic terrorism.’ ”

Obama’s supporters, weary of Bush’s focus on terrorism and eager to tackle a variety of domestic issues, cheered the president on. After the Defense University speech, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson wrote, “President Obama wisely avoided the phrase ‘mission accomplished’ in his major speech last week about the ‘war on terror,’ but columnists aren’t obliged to be so circumspect: It is time to declare victory and get on with our lives.”

Fast forward to January 2015. The attackers at Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Hyper Cacher kosher market in Paris would undoubtedly qualify as JV-level terrorists under Obama’s new classification. But their work was enough to shock Europe and motivate more than a million people to gather behind dozens of heads of state at the unity rally Sunday.

Is that what getting on with our lives means?

The White House reaction to the attacks in France, going back to the first reports of shots fired at Charlie Hebdo, has been noticeably subdued. Obama had scheduled last week as a time to roll out some upcoming State of the Union proposals in trips to Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee. When world events intruded, the president stubbornly stuck to his schedule, mentioning France only briefly before introducing his plan for free tuition at community colleges.

Then came the unity march. No, it was not essential that Obama himself attend. But there’s no doubt he should have sent Vice President Joe Biden — why is there a VP, if not to go to big foreign events? — or at least Secretary of State John Kerry.

Even as the march wound its way through Paris, the White House sent out yet another sign of its unseriousness. On Sunday morning, the press office announced the president will host a “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism” on Feb. 18. The plan is to bring together “social service providers, including education administrators, mental health professionals, and religious leaders, with law enforcement agencies to address violent extremism as part of the broader mandate of community safety and crime prevention.”

As the world watched images of black-clad, AK-47-wielding terrorists killing Parisians, Obama proposed to meet the threat with social service providers.

So when the president chose not to attend the Paris march, nor to send the Vice President or Secretary of State, the problem wasn’t a tin-ear sense of public relations. It was Obama’s actual attitude toward the terror threat facing not only Europe but the United States. We’ve dealt with the big stuff, Obama has declared, now let’s move on.

It sounded good — until the bullets started flying.

Obama, Biden, Holder, top U.S. officials no-shows at Paris unity rally

Obama, Biden, Holder, top U.S. officials no-shows at Paris unity rally

FRANCE-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-DEMO  SD285

The U.S. attorney general, in Paris for a terrorism summit with French President Francois Hollande, did not join world leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the march and rally that drew a million people days after 12 were shot at satirical paper Charlie Hebdo. Others such as Obama and Vice President Biden were also not in attendance.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Sunday, January 11, 2015, 2:18 PM
U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder (l.) was in France, but did not go to the the massive unity rally in Paris on Sunday.

OLIVIER HOSLET/EPA

More than 40 European leaders and almost every French official turned out forthe massive unity rally in Paris Sunday — but there was no sign of the U.S.

Neither President Obama or Vice President Biden made the trip to Paris, although dozens of other world leaders and officials put ceremony aside and jostled for space amid the crowds in a stirring show of support against terrorism.

The U.S. did send Attorney General Eric Holder to attend a pre-march terrorism summit convened by French President Francois Hollande.

President  Obama was apparently not in France, though his public schedule was empty the day of the massive gathering.
President Obama was apparently not in France, though his public schedule was empty the day of the massive gathering.

KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

Holder, 63, joined with Hollande in condemning the recent Paris attacks in the strongest possible terms and said the U.S. will hold another terrorism summit in D.C. in February.

But his support apparently stopped there — because he wasn’t seen at the emotional “Je Suis Charlie” rally afterward that attracted 1.3 million. Across France, nearly 4 million people turned out in similar demonstrations.

As chanting spectators filled the Place de la Republique, the only U.S. dignitary present was the U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley.

Vice President Joe Biden also did not attend the rally.
Vice President Joe Biden also did not attend the rally.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

“Attorney General Holder — a Cabinet level official — is representing the United States at the security meetings in Paris today. He is joined by the DHS Deputy Secretary (Alejandro) Mayorkas. The United States is represented at the march by Ambassador Hartley,” a senior Obama administration official said.

The lack of U.S. leadership was glaringly apparent as Hollande linked arms with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, and dozens of other world leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

But an administration official said Obama had made his support known in other ways.

“As far as public signs of French solidarity from the U.S. — don’t forget several public statements from the President, his call to Hollande and a condolence stop to the French embassy,” the official said.

From left:  Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France's President Francois Hollande and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.PHILIPPE WOJAZER/APFrom left: Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France’s President Francois Hollande and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

It’s not clear why America’s President didn’t attend. Obama’s public schedule was empty Sunday, as was that of Vice President Joe Biden, one of the president’s most frequent surrogates.

Secretary of State John Kerry — a natural stand-in given his love of all things French and fluency in the language — was in India on Sunday, meeting with the Prime Minister to set the stage for President Obama’s visit there in a few weeks.

Netanyahu to world leaders: I want to see outrage over this massacre

Netanyahu copy

Netanyahu to world leaders: I want to see outrage over this massacre

PM says Hamas, Islamic Movement, PA are spreading blood libel against Israel and its Jewish citizens, which fuel the ongoing campaign of violence.

Ynet, Agencies, Hassan Shaalan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called on world leaders to denounce the attack in a Jerusalem synagogue that claimed the lives of four worshipers.

“I call on all the leaders of countries in the Western world: I want to see outrage over this massacre. I want to see denunciation,” he said at a press conference in Jerusalem Tuesday night.

Two terrorists wielding meat cleavers, knives and guns arrived at the compound on Harav Shimon Agassi Street, which includes a synagogue and yeshiva (rabbinical seminary), and carried out two attacks in two locations.

While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, Netanyahu said this was not enough.

 “We are in the midst of a terror campaign focused on Jerusalem. In the middle of Shacharit, while wrapping in tallit and tefillin, four rabbis were slaughtered, four innocent and pure Jews. The animals who committed this massacre came charged with vast hatred from wide-raging incitment against the Jewish people and its country,” Netanyahu said.

“Hamas, the Islamic Movement and the Palestinian Authority are spreading countless of libels and lies against the State of Israel. They say the Jews are defiling the Temple Mount. They say we mean to destroy the holy sites there, and that we mean to change the praying arrangements there. It’s all a lie. And these lies have already exacted a very steep price,” he added.

“Yesterday, a bus driver from East Jerusalem committed suicide. The pathological report’s findings, which were released to the public, prove it unequivocally. But this did not prevent those inciting to spread these blood libels that he was murdered by Jews. And this incitement played a part in the shocking massacre this morning.”

 Earlier in the day, Netanyahu warned that Israel would “respond harshly” to  the attack, calling it a “cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers.”

Security forces inside the synagogue (Photo:Reuters)
Security forces inside the synagogue (Photo:Reuters)

Netanyahu’s comments were echoed by Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz who said that “the terrorists wielded axes, but the voice was that of Mahmoud Abbas.”

The scene of the attack (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The scene of the attack (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 An official Hamas statement said that the attack was a response to the death of bus driver Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni, who was found hanged at a Jerusalem bus terminal Sunday night. Police said that he had committed suicide, a statement dismissed by some.

Other Israeli politicians reacted strongly to the attack, also suggesting that Israel’s response would be fierce.

 “These are no longer isolated incidents – we are at war,” said Shas leader Aryeh Deri, while Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat urged “the government to allocate all forces and resources; we will not let terror win.”

President Reuven Rivlin said that Israel was “experiencing a coordinated campaign; this isn’t a coincidental sequence of events.” He added that “this hour demands national responsibility and unity, and coping together — both with terrorism and with other challenges that face us.”

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett also denounced Abbas, saying that he “has declared war on Israel, (and) we must respond accordingly.”

The wounded are evacuated (Photo: Kobi Nachshoni)
The wounded are evacuated (Photo: Kobi Nachshoni)

But Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino sounded a note of caution in comments from the site of the attack. “We currently have no magic solution for these kinds of attacks,” he said.

“The terrorists will be defeated,” Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich said. “I call on citizens not to take the law into their own hands.”

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni warned that the attack should not be connected to the Islamic State, stating that it was a Palestinian attack with a nationalist motive.

Likud MK Danny Danon said that  ‘Netanyahu must take charge and re-establish security for the citizens of Jerusalem.’

Meanwhile, Likud MK Miri Regev, who proposed legislation to change the status quo on the Temple Mount – a move vehemently rejected by the Muslim world – told Ynet that, “If this kind of incident had occurred in a mosque, the entire world would be against us.”

MKs from the main Arab parties provided a different point of view. Hadash chairman Mohammad Barakeh, Ibrahim Sarsour of Ra`am-Ta`al, and Jamal Zahalka of Balad, condemned the attack and expressed sorrow for the bloodshed.

They said that the cycle of violence could only end only through negotiation. They stressed that the attack stemmed from lack of hope and of a political horizon, which they saw as Netanyahu’s responsibility.

SOURCE: NETANYAHU SCOLDED OBAMA IN PHONE CALL ON IRAN DEAL.

SOURCE: NETANYAHU SCOLDED OBAMA IN PHONE CALL ON IRAN DEAL

by JOEL B. POLLAK 25 Nov 2013, 1:29 PM PDT 2973POST A COMMENT

“The prime minister made it clear to the most powerful man on earth that if he intends to stay the most powerful man on earth, it’s important to make a change in American policy because the practical result of his current policy is liable to lead him to the same failure that the Americans absorbed in North Korea and Pakistan, and Iran could be next in line.”

That was the message conveyed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to President Barack Obama in a private telephone call Sunday to discuss the interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program, according to a senior Israeli lawmaker in Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, as reported by the Jerusalem Post.

The White House’s own official statement on the telephone call made no mention of any disagreement being aired, merely referring to “their shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu said that he would send a high-level diplomatic team to the U.S. to lobby for a tough final agreement with Iran that sees that country’s entire nuclear enrichment program dismantled.

In a development that may be related, British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned Israel not to interfere with the emerging deal, perhaps voicing a sentiment shared by Obama and other diplomatic partners.