Tag Archives: politics

France24 debate on Syria+ Red Tie

8 May

Well folks, here is the first part of the France 24 debate which I participated in last night about Syria.

A big thank you to all the friends on Facebook who helped me pick the red tie. More than 25 of you voted. I am lucky to have such great personal stylists :)

http://www.france24.com/en/20130507-debate-part-1-sarin-gas-syria-israel-war-obama-red-line?page=214

What does it mean to be “Pro-Israel in the US?”

6 Mar

When it comes to being pro-Israel in the US, the two leading organization which represent two very different views are AIPAC and JStreet. 

However I have yet to see a debate between representatives of these two organizations.

There are of course other organizations, some of which are to the right and left of AIPAC and Jstreet.

For example, there is the Emergency Committee for Israel, which is more conservative than AIPAC. This organization was in the news recently for being against the appointment of Chuck Hagel as US Secretary of Defense.

In May 2012, prior to the US elections, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and Emergency Committee for Israel Chairman Bill Kristol had a debate.

Issues discussed were “the Jewish vote, the state of pro-Israel advocacy in America, and the future of what it means to be pro-Israel”.

I highly recommend watching the debate, as it addresses some very crucial issues for the pro-Israel community in the US as well how opinions with regards to Israel are changing.

This is something which we in Israel can  ignore at our peril.

Goodbye, My Dear Rabbi

5 Mar

Rabbi Menachem Froman. May he rest in peace.

Today Rabbi Menachem Froman died, aged 68.

He was a leading advocate of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

For years he lived and taught at the settlement of Tekoa, where he became one of the leading voices among settler rabbis for peace.

I never met Rabbi Froman, but I wish I had.

The first time I heard about him was when I was watching a video clip about his visit to a Palestinian village after a Mosque had been attacked by terrorists in late 2011. I have posted it below.

I was moved by his anger against the terrorists, as well as his sympathy for the victims.

I can just about imagine how I would have felt if my synagogue in Tehran had been attacked by terrorists. How sickened and angry I would feel to pick up burned piece of prayer books, to look at burned out walls and to read insults against holy Jewish prophets sprayed on the walls. And how I would have wanted a local Muslim religious leader to come and show sympathy to my community while condemning the terrorists. This is how all minorities want to be treated. When they are targets of terrorism because of their race and religion, they want to feel a sense of solidarity with the majority. They want to feel that they are not alone.

Well today I belong to the majority and Rabbi Froman’s words in Qusra against the terrorists and his solidarity with the Palestinian minority exemplifies the values which I was taught as a human being and as a Jew.

The video and his words still move me.

Rest in Peace, Rabbi Froman.

Israel Coalition Talks: Anyone Remember Iran?

24 Feb

According to a recent survey, if elections were held again in Israel, Likud Beitenu would lose ten seats (fall from 32 to 22) while Yair Lapid would gain 11 seats (from 19 to 30), thus making Yesh Atid the biggest political party in Israel.

And why the big jump?

It seems that Lapid’s insistence that Netanyahu accepts his plan for equal draft laws for all in Israel before entering Netanyahu’s coalition government is paying off. This and his ability to form a strong coalition with Naftali Bennet have made life very difficult for Netanyahu, and this seems to be impressing voters.

As I wrote before, there are quite a few aspects of Naftali Bennet’s political platform which I am against. But I must admit that Bennet’s unity with Lapid and his insistence and steadfastness against joining Netanyahu unless he allows Lapid into the coalition plus his demand for equal draft laws for all in Israel have been quite impressive.

In this regard, Bennet deserves a thumbs up. He is showing that domestic issues in Israel which many voted for are important to him.

Neither Lapid nor Bennet have any political experience, yet their unity is making some of the seasoned politicians in Israel sweat. Quite impressive.

Netanyahu needs Lapid. A government without him will most probably consist of ultra right-wing elements, which will bring even more isolation upon Israel. It could also collapse soon as there is little chance that such a government would allow Livni to offer much compromise to the Palestinians. This could translate into her leaving the coalition, thus making new elections more inevitable than before.

One thing is becoming clear: when it comes to unequal draft laws in Israel, changes are upon us. Enough is enough.

p.s – anyone remember Iran? because not a word about it is being mentioned in the coalition talks. Of course at the next Aipac conference Netanyahu will most probably talk about it as if Israel stands on the point of annihilation, but as you can see, here in Israel the reality is different.

Impact of Assassination Of Iran Official in Syria

15 Feb

A senior Iranian IRGC official was recently assassinated in Syria

Who was he?

What impact will his death have on Iran’s policies with regards to Syria?

My latest article tries to explain these important questions and more.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/iranian-general-hassan-shateri-assasinated-syria-hezbollah.html

Khamenei reject American proposal for direct negotiations

7 Feb

Today Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei rejected America’s latest offer for direct negotiations with Iran.

Below is the video clip in Farsi with English subtitles where Khamenei explains why he rejected this offer.

From his body language it seems to me that he is under a lot of pressure.

These are not easy days for the supreme leader of the Iranian regime.

Ahmadinejad and Larijani are tearing each other apart, the economy is losing millions a day because of sanctions while cronyism is increasing.

Khamenei has to balance about the 10 different things at the same time. Then there is also the question of his ideology and historical view point towards the US. All will be explained in due course.

Meanwhile here is the clip:

My Tough Debate on Russia Today

3 Feb

Last Thursday I took part in a debate on Russia Today’s Cross Talk program.

It was about Iraq and I was invited to give a more regional, especially Iran focused perspective.

On this program they usually bring 3 people, plus the host. Two generally believe that its mainly the fault of the West and its allies, and one believes the opposite.

So basically it was my opinion against that of the two other people

But sometimes it felt like 1 against 3, as the host seems to feel the same as the two other guests.

You can see and decide for yourself. I think I held my own against the other three. It certainly was not easy.

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