Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Netanyahu Wins Likud Leadership, says: "we'll continue to show responsible leadership"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a convincing victory in Tuesday's race for the leadership of the Likud party for the fifth time, with an overwhelming 74 percent of support, according to initial results.

In a victory speech he made shortly after initial results came in, Netanyahu clarified that the general elections for the Knesset are still a long way off.

In his speech, the Prime Minister thanked the Cabinet ministers for working on behalf of Israel, and also thanked Knesset members, mayors and party activists.
“I thank you all for your confidence and the renewed support you have given me,” Netanyahu said, adding that the Likud is a movement which “is committed to settle in the land of Israel and is committed to the future of Israel.”

"The real Likud won today. We proved that our strength lies in our unity. We will continue to show responsible leadership and take the lead in education, the economy, and security for the sake of all citizens in the State of Israel."

“There’s still time until the elections to the Knesset,” he said to the sound of loud cheering. “We proved that the Likud is a strong and united movement. It is a democratic, open, transparent, national, liberal movement, which respects the law and abides by its responsibility to the State of Israel.”

“We will continue to lead the country in unity and with responsibility for all its citizens. We are facing great challenges that no other country faces, and I believe that together we shall overcome them, through the Likud."
The polling stations closed at 11:00 p.m. (Israel time) Tuesday evening with about only about 50 percent of voters having taken part. Final results are expected later, but initial counts found that Netanyahu won the most votes in most of the polling stations in the country. Feiglin, however, made a good showing in some areas of Judea and Samaria, such as Elon Moreh, where he received 127 votes out of 130 and in Har Bracha, where he received 285 votes compared to four received by Netanyahu.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Obama campaign unveils video: 'America and Israel: An Unbreakable Bond' with testimonials from Israeli leaders

JTA reports:

President Obama's reelection campaign unveiled a video featuring testimonials from Israeli leaders a day after he raised $500,000 from Jewish donors.

The video, e-blasted Friday to Jewish supporters by David Axelrod, a top campaign official, intersperses speeches by Obama to Jewish audiences and at the United Nations with testimonials culled from news broadcasts.

Among those speaking are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli ambassador to Washington Michael Oren, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres and former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy.

Much of the seven-minute video addresses the close security relationship between the countries, although portions -- notably Oren's comments -- say there is agreement also on Middle East peace talks.

President Obama at Jewish fundraiser: "Israel's security is non-negotiatable."

Speaking at a fundraiser for 100 Jewish donors in New York Thursday evening, President Obama has again told supporters he is committed to strong U.S. military cooperation with Israel.
“Since I’ve been in office, we have unequivocally said that Israel’s security is non-negotiable, and that we will do everything that’s necessary to make sure that Israel is able to thrive and prosper as a secure Jewish state, Part of that has been to make sure that we’ve got the strongest military cooperation that we’ve ever had between our two nations. That’s not my opinion, by the way, that’s the Israeli government’s opinion.”
According to a report by The Jewish Daily Forward, 100 Jewish supporters attended the event, which raised upwards of half a million dollars.

Regarding Iran, Obama said his administration is supporting “an unprecedented campaign of sanctions and pressure.”
“We’re not going to tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of this Iranian regime, And we’ve been able to organize folks like China and Russia that previously would have never gone along with something like this. And it’s been so effective that even the Iranians have had to acknowledge that their economy is in a shambles. When I came into office, Iran was united and the world was divided. And now what we have is a united international community that is saying to Iran, you’ve got to change your ways.”
In an off-the-record question and answer session, Obama “made very clear that he’s serious about prohibiting Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Alan Solow (former chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and one of the event’s hosts) said. Though the president maintained that the hopes for achieving those ends are through sanctions, he said that the Iranians are aware that all options are on the table

Thursday, January 19, 2012

*Election 2012* Mitt Romney making inroads among Jewish voters in Key State Florida

Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is making considerable inroads into Florida’s Jewish community according to a newly released poll conducted by the Florida Coalition of Independent Jewish Congregations (FCIJ).

The poll, released Tuesday, indicates that 52 percent of the state’s registered Jewish voters would support a Romney-led Republican presidential ticket. That’s big news in a state which has seen Jewish voters traditionally and almost without exception support Democratic candidates. If those poll numbers hold up, it would mark a sea change in Florida’s political landscape.

“Florida’s Jewish voters – five percent of the Sunshine State’s electorate - particularly those in South Florida, have always been a mainstay of the Democratic vote in every presidential election,” said political analyst, Bob Allen. “But the general perception among Florida’s community – and that of American Jews as a whole - is that Obama has betrayed their trust and is in real danger of losing some of his 78 percent of the Jewish vote he won in 2008.”

“The President’s willingness to dismantle Israel to pre-1967 borders and his readiness to negotiate with Iran have left a bitter taste in the mouths of Jewish voters,” says Allen. “His overt snub of Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visited the White House in 2010 also is a sore spot for American Jews.”

Romney, who has repeatedly attacked Obama’s record on Israel saying the president’s actions have “endangered one of America’s closest allies,” echoed his unflagging support for the Jewish state last week at a rally in West Palm Beach saying that he would “stand with our friends.”

Romney’s staunch support for Israel and his steadfast opposition to a nuclear Iran are messages that resonate with all segments of the Jewish electorate.

“He hasn’t wavered in his message regarding Israel and the middle east in general,” said Jeff Goldenblatt, 19, a sophomore at Florida International University in Miami. “He’s a conservative guy but with a demonstrated willingness to move towards the center politically. But I don’t think he’ll change his stance on Israel, unlike what Obama has done.”

A Quinnipiac University poll on Wednesday showed that if Romney were to win the GOP presidential nomination, he could be in a very close race in Florida against Obama.

“In a potentially close Florida race between Obama and Romney, a migration of Jewish voters from Democratic to Republican could have a huge impact,” said Allen. “Jews vote. They’re a potent, reliable political bloc that can swing elections. Particularly in Florida.”

In general, The Israel Factor panel predicts Mitt Romney to get around 43% of the Jewish vote Nationally in November, as the Republican nominee.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Poll shows Netanyahu facing a likely revolt in party elections

Paying the price for governing, and taking a more pragmatic approach during the past 3 years in office, PM Netanyahu is well suited to win the Likud chairmanship primaries set fro Jan. 31. But may face some embarrassment from Moshe Feiglin,
emerging as a protest vote candidate from the right.

Moshe Feiglin, who is challenging Netanyahu for leadership of Likud in the party's primaries two weeks from now, cited a favorable poll Tuesday morning as evidence that his chances of seriously embarrassing Netanyahu are high, Arutz Sheva website reports.

In a poll conducted by polling company Ma’agar Mochot, about 26 percent of Likud members not affiliated with Feiglin's faction agreed that "it is important to vote for Moshe Feiglin in the upcoming primaries, even though it is clear that Binyamin Netanyahu will win, just so that the right wing inside Likud will gain strength."

A press release from Feiglin's Jewish Leadership faction noted that the faction numbers about 9 percent of the overall Likud membership.

Adding the 26 percent who agreed with the statement cited above to those 9 percent, the faction explained that "this brings his total support to about 35 percent in the party, [with] Netanyahu at 51 percent, and 14 percent undecided or unsure."

According to the grassroots Likud website likudnik.co.il, Feiglin even has a chance of beating Netanyahu within the Likud Druze sector, which is known to be very right wing in its political leanings. Another grassroots site, likudshely.co.il, is reporting a widespread phenomenon of Netanyahu supporters refusing to turn out for him in protest, or even pledging to vote Feiglin in an act of defiance over Netanyahu’s refusal to legalize outposts in Judea and Samaria.

Netanyahu - King of Israel! Poll shows Likud with a commanding lead over rival parties

After a week of dramatizing the entry of a new political factor that could tilt the next election and prevent Netanyahu from winning a third term. A new poll sees Likud strengthening, Yair Lapid fading and Kadima imploding (via Globes).

A new poll by Geocartography Knowledge Ltd. finds that the Likud would win 33 Knesset seats were elections held today, while Kadima under MK Tzipi Livni would sink to 11 seats, and the Labor Party under MK Shelly Yacimovich would win 13 seats. The Likud has 27 seats in the current Knesset, Kadima has 28, and Labor has 8.

The poll found that Shas would fall to eight seats from its current 13, and Israel Beiteinu under Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman could gain one seat to reach 16 seats. The Arab parties would win 11 seats.

Meretz would win four seats, one more than today; the New National Religious Party would be unchanged at three seats; United Torah Judaism would gain one seat to six seats; and the National Union would win two seats, half its current seats.

Geocartography finds that the Yair Lapid effect is fading. He would win 13 Knesset seats if elections were held today, down from 20 seats in the immediate aftermath of his announcement two weeks ago that he was entering politics.

The poll found that the big losers in Lapid's entry into politics - Kadima, Labor, Likud, and Israel Beiteinu - have regained some of their support. The poll also found that Noam Shalit's decision to run on the Labor ticket has not helped the party.

"Lapid's decline in support is natural. After the initial excitement comes the reflection, which may reflect a genuine influence of some of the negative reaction, and possibly an ebbing of the enthusiasm among potential voters after he publicly announced his ideas. After all, not everyone has read his commentary pieces in "Yediot Ahronot". Time will tell," said Geocartography co-CEO Prof. Avi Dagani.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

*Election 2012* In Florida, Mitt Romney pledges to stand with Israel

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama for his stance on Israel on Thursday, telling a Florida crowd that if elected he would "stand with our friends," Reuters reports.
"This president has found it pretty sensible to be critical of our friends," Romney told a Palm Beach County crowd that included many Jewish voters.

"He went to the United Nations and criticized Israel for building settlements. He had nothing to say about Hamas' 20,000 rockets into Israel," Romney said. "We will stand with our friends."

Romney's message, delivered ahead of Florida's January 31 primary, resonated with Sholom Ciment, a rabbi from Boca Raton, another wealthy Florida enclave.

"I appreciate the fact that he just made a pledge to stand proudly by Israel today. The past years, Israel has not been treated as the trusted ally of stature that it is," said Ciment, who plans to vote for Romney.

Harlan Janowitz, a Jewish voter and home healthcare worker from West Palm Beach, said he supports Obama and predicted he would win in November if the economy improves a bit, if U.S. troops continue to come home and "if nothing blows up in Israel and the Middle East."

"The pro-Israel cause here has worried about Obama," Janowitz said.

The American Messenger - Congressman Bob Turner visiting Israel

The guy that shocked the nation with a stunning victory that was protrayed as a message to president Obama on his Israel policy, Congressman Bob Turner in on a weeklong trip to Israel, meeting with high ranking Israeli officials. Turner told Hamodia that he had already visited years ago for touring, so he wanted to focus on policy this time.
“It is my goal to see as many officials as possible and visit some of the areas that we need to know something about, that it would be good for a congressman to know something about,” Mr. Turner said.

Mr. Turner’s dramatic entrance to Congress representing the seat that produced for the Democrats a vice-presidential candidate (Geraldine Ferraro in 1984) and the current third-ranking senator (Chuck Schumer) allowed him access to prized committees normally off-limits to someone who ranks dead last in seniority.

Mr. Turner’s mentors – Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairpersons of the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees, respectively – arranged for him to be included in their groups. As a veteran, he was also placed on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

“Most of these things go in the pecking order of seniority, and I am kind of on the bottom of the list,” Mr. Turner said.

Mr. Turner had told Hamodia in August that he would seek to join those three committees if he were elected.

However, the main impact his election was supposed to have had – the “shot across the bow” to President Barack Obama (in former New York Mayor Ed Koch’s words when he crossed party lines to endorse Mr. Turner) – was a better environment for Israel in Washington.

Saying that he would never know what is in “the hearts and minds of men,” Mr. Turner says that it is hard to say if he has already had an impact.

“But I think I’ve been on the right side of a number of issues, in regard to foreign aid distributions, U.N. support, Iranian sanctions,” he said. “I think that some of those restrictions that we put on foreign aid and the U.N. have had a positive effect on Israel’s relationships internationally.”

“There,” Mr. Turner added, “I hope I am just a voice, but a helpful voice.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

*Election 2012* America Hayom - Adelson shakes up Republican race and Jewish Republican vote

Jewish Billionaire Sheldon Adelson has become the central of the Republican race.

According to Tablet Mag. Multi-billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson's $5 million contribution to a pro-Newt Gingrich political action group, dedicated to taking down frontrunner Mitt Romney, Is a surprising maneuver that could complicate the Republican race and even the Republican Jewish establishment, which has largely stayed neutral or backed Romney.
"Adelson’s reasons remain unclear. His right-wing Israel HaYom newspaper has been a crucial backer of Prime Minister Netanyahu. He has donated to a penumbra of Jewish and Israeli causes—some right-wing and some not political. His various foundations have given more than $100 million to Taglit-Birthright. And, as the Forward first reported last month, he is a strong Gingrich backer, despite Romney’s general support among the GOP Jewish donor class (which mirrors the broader Republican establishment). While Adelson’s case for Gingrich, when he has made one, is predicated on Gingrich’s Israel stance—Adelson recently seconded Gingrich’s claim that the Palestinians are an “invented” people—nobody is really saying Romney is bad on Israel. Which makes Adelson’s willingness spend this much money—pocket change in actual capital, a whole lot in political capital—to sink Romney even after Romney has done much to secure the nomination all that more perplexing.

But whatever the reason, Adelson is now central to the Republican race. This insures that his own core issue—namely, securing U.S. support for Israel and backing of Netanyahu—will continue to factor in the primary fight and perhaps the general as well..."
Another Republican getting traction and gaining in on Iowa win, is Rick Santorum. With a pro Israel record on hand, Santorum is attracting attention especially among Jewish Republicans that are giving him a second look, yet his social conservatism could be a tough sell for Jews in the general election.

Santorum may have his work cut out for him in attracting Jewish support, Ron Kampeas reports:
"Pro-Israel insiders say the Santorum campaign is now aggressively reaching out to Jewish givers who helped him when he was a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.

Santorum’s stumbling block, they say, is his hard-line take on social issues like abortion, gay rights and church-state separation -- not a huge deal when he was one senator among a hundred but a bigger factor for donors considering presidential contenders.

“The same groups are not going to support you for president as for senator,” a major pro-Israel donor, who contributed to Santorum’s Senate runs, said he told the candidate last summer.

Lonny Kaplan, a New Jersey businessman and a past president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has donated the maximum to Santorum’s campaign -- $2,500 -- and says he’s readying a pitch to fellow pro-Israel givers.

“He can appeal to a lot of independents, he's got the right economic message,” Kaplan said in an interview.

Santorum also calls for tripling the personal tax deduction per child; freezing spending on Medicaid, food stamps and other social welfare programs; turning Medicare into a voucher program for beneficiaries to buy their own private insurance; and adjusting Social Security eligibility and benefits.

Kaplan said that Santorum would now need to emphasize his economic and foreign policy messages if he wanted to win Jewish support.

“In terms of social issues, he has strong views, but he needs to also get out what he does for people,” Kaplan said.

During his two terms in the Senate, from 1995 to 2006, Santorum had a positive working relationship with Jewish communal groups in his state, earmarking federal funding for projects they supported, among them the naturally occurring retirement communities, or NORCs, pioneered by the Jewish federations system.

“His office was great in terms of helping to find money for projects,” said Robin Schatz, director of government affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Santorum was attentive to the Jewish community -- and not just in election years. He convened town hall meetings in Jewish community centers on issues such as health care.

“He was very accessible,” Schatz said. “He had a great sense of humor.”

Santorum has stood out from the Republican field with his vigorous opposition to calls from his fellow candidates to slash foreign aid -- calls that have been criticized by some supporters of Israel.

During a November debate, Santorum assailed his rivals for “talking about zeroing out foreign aid and humanitarian aid in particular,” warning that such an approach would be self-defeating.

“America is that shining city on the hill. It is the city that comes to the aid of those in trouble in the world,” Santorum said. “We have done more good for America in Africa and in the Third World by the things that we have done, and we have saved money and saved military deployments by wisely spending that money -- not on our enemies but on folks who can and will be our friends.”

Perhaps Santorum’s deepest appeal to Jewish backers is his steadfast pro-Israel posture. As a freshman senator in 1996, he helped shape an earlier installment of Iran sanctions legislation. He also has taken a tough line toward the Palestinians, explaining while campaigning in Iowa that the West Bank “is legitimately Israeli country” and that “all the people that live in the West Bank are Israelis, they're not Palestinians."

More pronouncedly than any other candidate, he has been supportive of possibile military action against Iran, even delving into particulars.

“I would say to every foreign scientist that’s going into Iran to help them with their nuclear program, ‘You will be treated as an enemy combatant,’ ” he said recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Working with Israel, he added, “We will degrade those facilities through airstrikes and make it very public that we are doing that.”

Yet while his Middle East views may play well with some Jewish voters and donors, it remains to be seen whether they will be enough to overcome the hesitance many have regarding his positions on social issues.

“Some of his very militant stands on issues that have to do with choice, with homosexuality -- it made some people in the community uncomfortable,” Schatz said.

The hard-edged way in which he expressed his views on such issues helped fell him in 2006, when he lost his Senate re-election bid by 18 points to Democrat Bob Casey, also an opponent of abortion rights.

One Jewish Romney supporter said that Santorum’s stances on social issues should rule him out for consideration not just as a presidential candidate but also a Republican running mate.

“Santorum on the ticket would kill us in Florida,” the Romney backer said."

Warming up towards Elections? Lapid and Shalit enter politics, Likud maintains majority

Veteran Israeli journalist Yair Lapid has left his job as a Israel's Channel 2 Friday evening news anchor to enter politics.

It is expected that Lapid, who made the announcement Sunday, will form his own independent party with a liberal bent.

Polls have shown that a Lapid-led party could garner the second most votes in a Knesset election, behind Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, and that it would likely take the most votes away from the Kadima Party.

Meanwhile, Noam Shalit, father of Gilad Shalit, who was released from captivity in Gaza in October, announced Monday that he would run for a place on the Labor Party list for the next Knesset elections.

“Following years of a public battle, during which I got to know Israel society deeply, both its beautiful and ethical sides, I have decided to join public life,” he told reporters.

Earlier this week, Channel 10 reported on a poll that was commissioned by the Dialogue Institute. According to the poll, Netanyahu wins the most support (36 percent) as most suitable for the office of prime minister among the current heads of Israel’s four largest parties. Trailing him substantially is Shelly Yachimovich (17%), followed by Lieberman (14%) , and lagging behind is Livni (13%).

A survey conducted by Maagar - Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting Institute Ltd. commissioned for The Orly & Guy Morning Program - Channel 10 TV and conducted by telephone on 8 January 2012 in the afternoon and evening after Yair Lapid announced he is entering politics,showed the National camp with a majority of 66 seats if elections were to be held today, yet should raise some eyebrows in Likud, if one party decides to switch sides, and join the Lapid/Labor left-center coalition.

Full Poll results (current Knesset seats in [brackets]:

12 [28] Kadima headed by Livni
27 [27] Likud
14 [13] Labor headed by Shelley Yichimovitz
02 [---] Ehud Barak Independence Party
07 [---] Party lead by Yair Lapid
05 [---] Party lead by Arieh Deri
07 [11] Shas
17 [15] Yisrael Beiteinu
04 [03] Jewish Home/NRP)
06 [05] Yahadut Hatorah
03 [03] Meretz
05 [04] National Union
11 [11] Arab parties

National camp total: 66 Left: 43 Arabs: 11

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sec. of State Audition? Sen. Kerry to meet with PM Netanyahu and top officials

As confusion in the middle east continues and the Race for the White house kicks off, Senator John Kerry who heads the Senate Foreign relations committee is expected to meet with PM Netanyahu and defense minister Barak in Jerusalem this week.

The Associated Press and Israel Hayom reports:
Two senior U.S. officials, Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, are visiting Israel this week, where they are expected to meet with a host of top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The political echelon in Jerusalem has refused to disclose the issues Kerry and Lieberman are expected to discuss with the Israeli officials during their visit.

Officials in Jerusalem consider Kerry's visit to Israel important, given his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs. Israel and Egypt are the two largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid.The U.S. has also, in recent weeks, signed significant arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, including advanced military platforms.

Lieberman is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Furthermore, there is an assessment within the foreign ministry that Kerry may be in the running to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State should President Barack Obama win a second term.

Positive atmosphere, No breakthrough - in renewed Israeli/Palestinian peace talks

AP reports:

No breakthroughs emerged Tuesday from the first meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in more than a year, the foreign minister of host Jordan said, adding the two sides agreed to keep talking and meet next week.

The minister, Nasser Judeh, said the talks were held in a positive atmosphere. Although there were no breakthroughs on matters of "substance," he said, "the important thing is the two sides have met face to face."

"We agreed that the discussions will be continuous," he said, "and will take place here in Jordan."

A diplomat who attended the larger meeting said the talks were "serious."

"It was a brainstorming session in which both sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, showed eagerness to restart peace negotiations," the diplomat said.

During the meeting Attorney Molcho conveyed a message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he should take the opportunity to return to the negotiating table.

The meeting primarily addressed ways to create a direct line of communication between Netanyahu and Abbas. Israel expressed willingness to accept the Quartet's conditions which place a one year deadline on negotiations. It is possible Abbas and Netanyahu will meet soon.

The Jordanian FM noted that Erekat presented his outlook on borders and security and that Molcho received a Palestinian mission statement and promised to study it in the next few days.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Republican candidates talk tough on Iran before Iowa caucus

(Jpost, Jacob Kornbluh).Republican candidates offered strong words on Iran on Monday – the day before Iowa holds the first vote for the GOP presidential nomination.

“We need to have our missile systems capable and ready to deliver. We need to send a very strong signal that the United States is on high alert and we will do whatever it takes,” Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota told The Early Show on CBS.

“What we need to do is take a very aggressive posture toward letting Iran know that we mean business, that we don’t want them to seek a nuclear weapon,” she said.

Bachmann also criticized US President Barack Obama for putting distance between America and Israel, endangering the Jewish state in the face of the threat from Iran.

Bachmann’s comments followed Rick Santorum’s own harsh comments on Iran on Sunday. The former US senator from Pennsylvania told NBC’s Meet the Press that the message to Tehran should be, “You either open up those facilities, you begin to dismantle them and make them available to inspectors, or we will degrade those facilities through air strikes.”

Campaigning across the State of Iowa, Mitt Romney opened every rally speech On Iran. Romney said recent news that the hostile nation has developed a nuclear rod and tested a surface-to-air missile points to a failed U.S. foreign policy. "He said he was going to engage Iran. ... Well, we now know how well that engagement policy worked. What's happened is those crippling sanctions never got put in place. When voices of dissent went to the street, he was silent. When the people of Iran wondered if there was an American military option that was being considered, it was clear that that was not something that was on the table."

*Election 2012* On Eve of Iowa Caucuses, Republican Jews Can’t Decide Between Romney and Gingrich

Tomorrow night's Iowa cauacus that may provide the American public with a much clearer picture of who is to become the 2012 Republican nominee, leave Republican Jews in Iowa make up their mind whom to vote for, Algemeiner reports:
"Will Rogers, a 15 year veteran of Republican campaigns both nationally and statewide in Iowa, who previously worked for Newt Gingrich’s 2012 run, says Republican Jews in the state are divided mostly between Romney and Gingrich.

“I have been talking with a lot of Jewish members looking to participate in the caucuses and I don’t get a clear consensus leaning in one direction or another”, he said. “Chabad just hosted a bagel luncheon with Newt Gingrich yesterday. I don’t feel the crowd left there feeling that they were going to vote for Newt. The vast majority of Jews in the Republican party like what Newt has to say but they’re far from convinced that he’s the right person to vote for.” On Romney, he said “I think Romney attracts Republican Jews here too…. he holds many of the political views of the established Republican base which many Jews are a part of – he is also professional, well educated and holds a conservative ideology in terms of government”.

A third of Iowa’s Jewish population of 6000 is expected to take part in Tuesday night’s caucuses.

“With a large percentage of Evangelical Christian organizations here, the nominees are very supportive of Israel, and so we find that the politicians talk about it a lot”, Rogers told the Algemeiner. Someone like Newt who has a great relationship with Sheldon Adelson and has always been supportive of Israel in Congress may seem like a good choice, but many Jews here in Iowa are having trouble deciding."

Opinion: Ron Paul Should Not Be Ignored nor Dismissed

Congressman Ron Paul's PR people approached Israeli Social Media, Public relations and Marketing expert Joel Leyden to help secure the Jewish vote for his campaign.

This after Paul's Newsletters were revealed and after a series of debates in which he dismissed the threat of a nuclear Iran and pledged to stop foreign aid to Israel.

Here is what Joel Leyden writes how he thinks voters should deal with Ron Paul's surge, after being approached:
"For the most part, I have ignored Ron Paul. Knowing him mostly as a racist lunatic. That is until this week when his PR people approached me to help secure the Jewish vote for his campaign.

That many who are just reaching voting age or are just beyond it, from Iowa, Connecticut and New York to Virginia, Arizona and Texas, really like Ron Paul. When you ask them why, they have no idea.

When you ask them if they are aware that he is associated with the KKK and neo-Nazis, they respond with an open mouth and blank stare.

Who is Ron Paul?

In these newsletters one can see who the real Ron Paul is. A medical doctor who cares for babies or a blatant racist who calls African Americans - Blacks "animals" who only behave when picking up their welfare checks. Ron Paul called the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King a “gay pedophile".

As for the Jews, he would not have sent US troops to fight the Nazis, liberate Jews from the Holocaust, blames the Jewish people and the CIA for 9/11 and would allow Iran to nuke Israel, which according to Ron Paul, should not exist.

Ron Paul and his PR campaign people say that they support Israel. They even created a Facebook page entitled Ron Paul Zionists for Israel. They visited me on Facebook and said in the most glowing terms that they would allow Israel to do whatever it wished if they got my vote. What they did not say to me is that Ron Paul would stop all aid to Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East. A small Jewish nation that trains US troops before they land in Iraq or Afghanistan and coordinates almost every security issue with Washington in defense of democracy against Islamic Jihad or Muslim Holy War against Jews and Christians.

As Ron Paul's social media team sweet talks me and begs me to "look at the issues" they fail to mention that on page 317 of his book, “Liberty Defined,” Ron Paul writes about the influence of the Israel government on the US and the “apartheid conditions that Palestinians are subjected to.”

For Paul would try to destroy America's INTEL (Intelligence) agencies, stripping the CIA, the NSA and US military Intelligence of any power to act to defend the US. He would allow Iran to build nuclear weapons that would be used against Israel, France, the UK and any other part of Europe that disagrees with Iran. Ron Paul defends Iran and states that it is not going nuclear. This is in sharp contrast to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which recently confirmed that Iran is indeed producing nuclear weapons.

He supports and is supportive of such racist organizations as the American Nazi Party, the white supremacist StormFront, the National Socialist Movement, the John Birch Society, the Ku Klux Klan, Holocaust deniers and neo-Confederates. The racism and conspiracy theories of Ron Paul have driven some people to violence. Not only have Ron Paul’s racist supporters endorsed him and his views, he has endorsed them through his positions on the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement, without disavowing the support he gets from racists. This is guilt by racism.

Many have advised me to simply ignore Ron Paul. That he is of no consequence and by giving him attention I provide him with a platform. I disagree....

To ignore Paul would be equal to have ignored Adolph Hitler. Both men use nationalism and fear tactics to gain support. And a powerful, psychotic ability to twist the truth. With regards to Israel, after Paul's PR team gave up telling me how much that they support Israel, in frustration, they began to show their real colors by attacking me as a Jew, calling Israel an Apartheid state and saying that Israel keeps Gaza in a prison. That the US taxpayer should stop supporting Jews in Israel. But that is no surprise as Islamic terror groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah actually support Ron Paul. Perhaps they were the ones posting on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

It is not so much how dangerous and out of touch with reality Ron Paul might be, but rather how effective his delivery system is, a professional PR machine which needs to be confronted.

So for those of you who cherish Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, Harry Potter, Jeff Black, Justin Bieber and the Vampire Diaries, think twice before you vote in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, New York or California. If you want to vote against Barack Obama, make your protest vote with a candidate who is not a racist. Do your research!..."

*Election 2012* Sarah Palin: Ron Paul Is Pro-Israel, He Just Wants To Protect Them In A Different Way

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appeared on Fox News with Eric Bolling and discussed Ron Paul's foreign policy as it relates to the state of Israel, Palin defended Dr. Paul on the topic of Israel, saying that he's pro-Israel, but in his own way.

*Election 2012* Gingrich: Idea of Jews giving up on Israel and moving to the US - 'Rational Idea'

Video uploaded by Opposition researcher and reporter for BuzzFeed, Andrew Kaczynski:

Newt Gingrich responds to a CSPAN caller's question about the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2006. Gingrich responds that the entire region was once part of the Ottoman Empire, and neither state existed, that Israelis have live in the region for over 3000 years, and that idea of all the Jews in Israel getting up and moving the US, while wrong, is a rational idea.

Major US Jewish Orgs slam Top Dem Think Tank for Anti-Semitic Rhetoric.

(JPost) — The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League weighed in last week on the mushrooming anti-Israel scandal surrounding a group of bloggers working for the US think tank Center for American Progress - CAP (run by the co-chair of Obama’s transition team, John Podesta).

Jason Isaacson, the AJC’s director of government and international affairs, told The Jerusalem Post by e-mail on Friday that “think tanks are entitled to their political viewpoints – but they’re not free to slander with impunity. References to Israeli ‘apartheid’ or ‘Israel-firsters’ are so false and hateful they reveal an ugly bias no serious policy center can countenance.”

He called on CAP to “disavow them and put a stop to them.”

CAP, which has an estimated annual budget of $38 million, formulates policy suggestions about the Middle East for the Democratic party and politicians.

Zaid Jilani wrote on Twitter, where he is identified as a blogger for CAP website ThinkProgress, “So DC ‘liberals’ are going to spend a lot of time defending Obama against the charge that he’s not supportive enough of Israeli apartheid.”

In an earlier Twitter item, Jilani termed US supporters of the Jewish state “Israel- Firsters.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and NGO Monitor in Jerusalem blasted Jilani and CAP for stoking hatred of Jews

Abbas appoints Palestinian terrorist released in Shalit deal as adviser

Gen. Mahmoud Damara, a terrorist released from Israeli prison in October as part of the Gilad Shalit deal is appointed as President Abbas adviser, Israel Hayom reports:
"Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed a convicted terrorist, previously jailed in Israel and released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap in October, as the newest adviser in his office in Ramallah, Israel Radio reported Monday.

Gen. Mahmoud Damara was one of the leaders of Fatah's Force 17 special operations terror unit, which was later absorbed into the PA's national security apparatus and is known to have been involved in terror.

Damara was charged with initiating shooting attacks and bombings against Israelis through Force 17. He himself even fired RPG missiles at Israel Defense Forces tanks during the second Intifada.

Under Damara’s guidance, members of the Ramallah unit have carried out 25 shooting attacks in Jerusalem, Ramallah and other parts of the West Bank, killing eight Israelis and wounding more than 20 in recent months, the Israeli army said in a document released Thursday.

In the deadliest confrontation, an Israeli woman and two soldiers were killed in shoot-out in the West Bank, the military said. The unit, which had allegedly operated with other militants, was also accused of setting off roadside bombs and firing mortars at Jewish settlements.

Damara ”supplied the members of the organization with armaments and defined the policies for terrorist attacks,” the Israeli military has claimed.

The IDF arrested Damara in 2006 in a surprise operation, and in 2010 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. While still in prison, Abbas promoted him to the rank of general. In October, he was released in the first phase of the Shalit deal, which saw 1,027 Palestinian prisoners released from jail in exchange for the Israeli soldier, who had been held in Hamas captivity for more than five years.

The general, who once barricaded himself - together with late PLO leader Yasser Arafat - within the Muqata [Arafat's compound in Ramallah] during an IDF raid, was most recently employed in Abbas's office as an assistant to the adviser on district affairs.

On Monday, Abbas issued a presidential decree on Damara's appointment to the position."

Ed Koch says NY9 election message was received in Washington

(4:32 min.)

*Election 2012* Newt Gingrich tells the Des Moines Jewish community: “Overwhelmingly, Republican voters are concerned about Iran."

Shmuel Rosner reports from the campaign trail in Iowa:
Gingrich "spent an hour or so with the Jewish community of Des Moines – that is, with the Jews wanting to hear him in this relatively intimate setting. A couple of tables, rabbis (Reform and Orthodox healthily mixing) – and one columnist.

Gingrich already said that he would not vote for Ron Paul if the Texan happens to win the nomination – in the short conversation we had following the event he told me he doesn’t believe such a thing could happen. But he finds it necessary to go back to this topic in the meeting with the Jewish Iowans. It is crucial he says that “we” (by “we” he might have meant the US, or the GOP) will not have “leaders who believe that Iran is not important”.

Gingrich seemed to remind his listeners that voting on Tuesday is the only way to stop Paul’s recent surge, an idea that finds some receptive audiences among Des Moines Jews. I was spending Friday evening at the B’nai Jeshurun Temple where I heard from a couple of people, among them registered Democrats, that they intend to vote “against Paul” in the caucuses (they will have to switch to do that). I asked Gingrich later if he was not concerned by the fact that so many GOP voters find Paul an acceptable candidate, if this doesn’t weaken the Republican position on all foreign matters, Israel included. His answer was sharp: “As Republicans learn more about Paul’s positions he would drop” – namely, his numbers would drop. Gingrich believes that “overwhelmingly, Republican voters are concerned about Iran” and would not buy Paul’s apologetic tone regarding this crucial matter (for more on this, read all about Jewish voters and the Ron Paul effect).

Gingrich himself was asked the predictable question about the necessity of an attack on Iran and gave the rehearsed answer: “I would not tolerate a nuclear Iran”. A preemptive strike should be a last resort measure. “If we got to a point of no alternative, I’d prefer a [military] strike to a nuclear Iran”. The “long term” solution, though, is “regime change”. His solution for the Palestinians’ continued “war” – Gingrich doesn’t see how “eleven missiles fired at Israel in one month” (November) can be considered otherwise – doesn’t go this far and is more tactical. He doesn’t seem to regret the “invented people” episode, and goes into a long explanation of the complexity of the situation. For any peace to be achieved Palestinians would have to be convinced first that Israel is not going anywhere, ever.

His remedy is simple: cut “all funding” for the Palestinians. He’d cut it without much hesitation. “The North defeated the South” only after understanding that there’s a need for “total war” – and that is the way to go with the Palestinians today, so Gingrich believes. He is “worried a lot less” about the Saudi aircraft deal, he told us. The Saudis “are terrified by Iran” and he “suspects that the Israelis privately approved the deal..."

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Republican Majority Leader: President Obama has sent mixed signals to Israel

speaking on CBS 60 Minutes House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor said the president has sent Israel "mixed signals.

Cantor also addressed American Jews tendency to vote for Democrats:

ELECTION 2012: The GOP Nightmare: Ron Paul

A Day before Republicans get to vote in the first of a set of primaries to determine their nominee that will take on Obama and in hope of regaining the Presidency - the outcome is all but clear, the latest polls show a tight race in Iowa between Mitt Romney and Taxes congressman Ron Paul.

"The worst thing that could happen to the GOP (Grand Old Party) is a split," says Boaz Bizmot. "Paul, a leading figure in the Tea Party Movement, could embarrass the party by winning the Iowa caucuses. The Libertarian candidate, who aims to isolate the U.S. from the rest of the world and even stop providing foreign aid to Israel, has not softened his stance. He has even managed to steal Michelle Bachman's campaign manager. Former House Speaker Gingrich has declared unequivocally that he would not vote for Paul in November. American Jews' worst nightmare is a choice between Paul and Obama in November. It is reminiscent of the choice between Jacques Chirac and Jean-Marie Le Pen in France in 2002. Chirac won the election with 80% of the vote."

"Ron Paul is a very scary situation and I thought it was incredibly good that Newt Gingrich denounced him...as a very dangerous guy who he would not vote for," Mayor Ed Koch said in an interview to Aaron Klein. "Ron Paul had issued a newsletter, they say twenty years ago, but what difference does it make, he hasn’t repudiated those comments or done anything to separate himself from it, which in affect at the time was for the destruction of Israel. I believe Ron Paul is a very dangerous candidate who has made with his newsletter statements that are anti-black, anti-Jew and engaged in the bashing of gays."