Posted: May 28th, 2011 | Author: noam | Filed under: In the News, media, The Right, the US and us | Tags: Barack Obama, bbvisit, michael oren, Natan Eshel, shalem center, sheldon adelson, Uzi Arad, yaakov amidror | Comments Off
The gambling billionaire, who publishes the pro-Netanyahu “Israel Hayom” tabloid, said he objects to an agreement with any of the current Palestinian leaders
Sheldon Adelson, Israel Hayom publisher (photo: 7th Eye / cc-by-nc-sa)
Unlike the confrontation between the White House and Jerusalem over the settlements during the administration’s first year, I think that the current rift has more to do with tones and personal mistrust than actual policy differences. More than anything, it seems that President Obama’s Middle East speech was meant to help Israel avoid isolation at the UN, but Netanyahu overreacted, and later decided to play tough, mainly for political reasons. As I wrote yesterday, it worked out for him quite well.
What do people around the prime minister really think of Obama? A good example was given just before Netanyahu’s visit to the United States, in a phone interview Jewish Week’s Gary Rosenblatt conducted with Gambling Billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
Apart from being a personal friend of the Netanyahus, Adelson is the publisher of the pro-Netanyahu tabloid Israel Hayom (“Israel Today”), currently the most widely read paper in Israel (speculations held that the paper was started by Adelson to help Netanyahu personally). Many of Netanyahu’s men were on Adelson’s payroll until recently: The head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Nathan Eshel, was a deputy manager at Israel Hayom before joining the Neyanyahu campaign; former National Security Advisor Uzi Arad was part of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Research; the current NSA, Yaakov Amidror, was a pundit for Israel Hayom; the ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was a fellow at Adelson’s conservative think-tank, the Shalem Center.
And what does Adelson think of Obama? Here it goes:
Any of the Republican hopefuls “are going to be 180 degrees” different from President Obama in terms of “what’s good for this country and for Israel,” Adelson said, adding that Obama is “the worst president” for Israel.
“All the steps he’s taken against the state of Israel are liable to bring about the destruction of the state,” he asserted.
Like Netanyahu, Adelson will praise peace, but object to the international community’s definition of the two-state solution:
“Can you make peace with people whose sole mission is to destroy you?” he asked. “You don’t have someone who wants to make peace with you.”
He said that for the Palestinian leadership, “the two-state solution is a stepping stone for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people,” and he sees no distinction between Hamas, the terror group that controls Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
“They sat with [PLO leader Yassir] Arafat for 40 years,” Adelson said of Abbas and Fayyad. “When he was planning terror, did they recuse themselves and leave the room?”
He said he saw no chance for peace as long as Palestinian children from the age of 3 are taught that “a Jew is a swine and ape” and should be killed.
“I favor peace,” he said, “but to be pro-Israel you also need to have a position vis a vis Israel’s enemies. And no reasonable person would make Israel sign with people pledged to destroy them.”
Posted: December 15th, 2009 | Author: noam | Filed under: The Right, the US and us | Tags: abu mazen, Benjamin Netanyahu, ehud olmert, israel hayom, J-street, Kadima, Likud, Meretz, michael oren, shalem center, taglit, yisrael hayom | Comments Off
Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, believes that supporting a two states solution and a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, or opposing the war in Gaza, are illegitimate positions, which open the door for no less than the distraction of Israel. J street, the pro-peace lobbing group which advocates such ideas, is in Oren’s view “a unique problem”.
Addressing a breakfast session at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s biennial convention December 7, Ambassador Michael Oren described J Street as “a unique problem in that it not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments. It’s significantly out of the mainstream.”
After a speech that touched on the spiritual basis for and the threats to the state of Israel, Oren issued an unscripted condemnation of J Street.
“This is not a matter of settlements here [or] there. We understand there are differences of opinion,” Oren said. “But when it comes to the survival of the Jewish state, there should be no differences of opinion. You are fooling around with the lives of 7 million people. This is no joke.”
If I were one of Meretz or Labor’s member, or even Kadima’s, this would have been enough for me to demand for Dr. Oren to be sent back to Jerusalem. These parties hold some of J Street’s views (in Meretz’s case, probably all of them), so Oren is practically accusing them of “fooling around with the lives of 7 million people”. Even if he didn’t cross the line of talking about elected members of the Knesset, he got very close to it, considering the fact that Meretz, Labor and Kadima even sent representatives to the J Street convention.
James Besser touched this point on his blog at The Jewish Week site, when he wrote that “[according to the ambassador's approach], guys like Rabin and Ariel Sharon must have been secretly anti-Israel.”
It is no surprise that Oren is turning out to be the Likud’s ambassador to Washington, rather than Israel’s. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Oren was an associate researcher on the Shalem Center, the rightwing think tank and publishing house which is financed by Benjamin Netanyahu’s close friend, gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson (who is also the publisher of the free rightwing tabloid Israel Hayon). When Netanyhau returned to the PM office, he appointed people from the Shalem Center and Israel Hayom to senior positions in his administration. These are the hardcore ideologists behind Israel’s current policies. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 7th, 2009 | Author: noam | Filed under: elections, In the News, The Right, The Settlements, the US and us | Tags: avigdor liberman, Barak Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Danny Ayalon, George W. Bush, michael oren, nathan eshel, neo-cons, republican party, settlements, shalem center, sheldon adelson | 2 Comments »
cross-posted with FPW.
Is the Israeli government ready to come out of its shell and respond to President Obama’s Middle East plan?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced today at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting that he will present his answer to Obama’s speech in Cairo next week. The PM intends to hold his own “major diplomatic speech,” in which he will discuss “our principles for achieving peace and security.” According to Haaretz, the speech will probably be given in the Bar Ilan university near Tel Aviv, where Netanyahu will receive an honorary doctorate on June 16th.
In the past few weeks, Netanyahu has faced growing criticism– even from his supporters – for not preparing himself for the shift in the American administration’s policy. When Washington started sending signals – and later on, explicit demands – with regards to the settlements issue and the two-state solution, the Israeli government responded with panic. Instead of presenting his own vision of the future of the Middle East – even as some sort of lip service, just to get the Americans off his back – the PM made it seem like there is no partner in Jerusalem.
It is clear today that the new Israeli government has failed to appreciate the magnitude of the changes happening in Washington. Part of the reason is poor timing: the Obama team has been preparing a new policy since November. Netanyahu had just a month in office before he met the new president. One could guess that the fact that the first person to leave office after the Israeli elections was the Israeli ambassador in Washington didn’t do much good either.
Read the rest of this entry »