Thoughts on Torah, working, living in Israel and how they go together.
I'm very unhappy about civil liberties, pleased with health care and climate, have mixed feelings on the economy, and still in a wait and see mode on Israel and the mideast. But given my only alternative in November was McCain, I still wouldn't change my vote then.
His policies are nearly the same as the former administration's but he is executing the policies differently.The direction he has taken is one that asks everyone for feedback, and he incorporates chunks of the feedback into the policies. I think that is positive and populistic and inclusive and constructive, even though I strongly disagree with several policies that prevented me from voting for him (I voted for an independent candidate). His methoic is a distinctly different method of governorship than the former administration.Regarding Israel - nearly all former Presidents have applied the same exact pressure and rhetoric and ultimatums and threats and pseudo-praise towards Israel. Obama is maintaining the same "stop building settlements" rhetoric that has been flung towards Israel since Israel captured Judea/Samaria in 1967 and began rebuilding up the West Bank, from Nixon to Ford to Carter to Reagan to GHWB to Clinton to GWB to Obama.
Obama is applying a lot more pressure and threats then previous Presidents. You get the feeling that he has absolutely no use for Israel.
More pressure than George H.W. Bush with his threatened suspension of loan guarantees his selling Lebanon to the Syrians, and his secretary of state James "F* the Jews" Baker? Not so far.
Yes, I think Obama will put more pressure on Israel then Bush I. Just listen to his speech today in Cairo.
Obama put more pressure on Muslims/Arabs than Israel.He categorically denounced and rejected antisemitism and Holocaust-deniers, especially Arabic/Islamic antisemitism and Holocaust denial, he vehemently rejected Islamic terrorism, he labeled "resistence" fighting as outright murder/terrorism, he indirectly labeled antisemitism as an act of terrorism, he indirectly dismissed both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas as terrorist dictatorships that terrorize/murder both Israelis and Muslims/Arabs, and most importantly he castigated the majority moderate Muslim world for essentially doing nothing to counter extreme radical Islam.He indirectly slapped down both Palestinian governments by saying that just because they were democratically elected did not mean they were democracies. Too many people keep screaming that Hamas are democratic because they were elected Democratically, and therefore the West should engage them and stop treating them as terrorists. Obama's response was that Hamas pretended to be democratic to get elected but then continued their reign of oppression and terrorism, and the US would therefore continue to reject them because they were intolerant and uncompromising.About the Holocaust he said that denying it in any manner was baseless, ignorant, and hateful, as well as threatening Israel with destruction and propagating stereotypes about Jews.He also said that Palestinian "resistance" fighting and terrorism negated moral authority.His only criticism of Israel was the settlement expansion issue, which, again, has been the same empty rhetoric thrown at Israel by US Presidents since 1967.
What pressure has Obama put on the Arabs? Has he threatened to withhold money from the PA, Egypt, etc? Has he threatened not to sell them arms? All of the above he has done to Israel. There is a big difference between words and actions. The Arab wolrd will ignore his words, what will Obama do then?
His pressure is for them to either side with the US and support Israel or to be categorized as terrorists and no longer receive any financial support from the US.It's nothing but empty rhetoric, the same exact rhetoric thrown at Israel (stop settlements or no more support), but the support always continues and even expands despite the rhetoric and threats.The US has dramatically expanded aid to Israel since 1999 straight through to the present, and the US dramatically (and idiotically) expanded aid to Palestinians after the temporary "you elected Hamas so no money for you" "ban".Nothing Obama says foreign policy wise is relevant: he's another figure head, the Arab world Israelis nod and smile to him, then they continue playing the same dangerous game they've been playing for 60+ years.
Edit: The US has dramatically expanded aid to Israel since 1992 when Clinton was elected President...
Jacen is, of course, talking out his a**. US aid to Israel has been steadily declining for over a decade, from 1.2 billion in 1998 to 168 million in 2007. http://qesdb.usaid.gov/cgi-bin/broker.exe?_service=default&unit=N&cocode=3ISR+&_program=gbkprogs.report_country_year.sas&x=27&y=17Meanwhile, aid for Egypt has declined only slightly, from 833 million to 670 million in the same period - notably, currently over 4x as great as aid to Israel. Aid to Jordan has climbed from 89 million to a peak over a billion in 2003, and today 350 million, still twice aid to Israel.Beware of blowhards bashing O'Bama.
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