Americans for Peace Now (AFPN)opposesthe broad-based sanctions approach against Iran that Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, favors.
This afternoon Berman spoke at an AFPN lunch in Los Angeles and directly responded to AFPN’s position. Berman argued his approach is the most likely peaceful means of preventing Iran from going nuclear, and that more limited sanctions that would target “leaders” in the hope of not affecting the Iranian public, would not be effective.The video (accessible herefor email subscribers) follows:
Seth Lipsky, the legendary editor of the Forward and the New York Sun, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, and the author of the new book "The Citizen's Constitution" -- a book equally erudite and entertaining -- will be at the Skirball in Los Angeles on February 1 at 7 p.m. RSVP here for an important evening.
NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams features a report on Israeli efforts in Haiti – “how one nation came in there and set up shop almost immediately.” Two minutes worth watching (email subscribers can click here):
Monday evening, approximately 500 people gathered at the Plaza Hotel in New York for the 80th Birthday Roast of Norman Podhoretz to benefit COMMENTARY magazine.
Editor in Chief John Podhoretz was the Master of Ceremonies and the roasters included Mark Steyn, Charles Krauthammer, Roger Hertog, George Wiegel, Orson Bean, Jackie Mason, William Bennett and Henry Kissinger.
It was an elegant evening of humor, reminiscences and tributes, of which the following is only a portion of one -- the last five minutes of Bill Bennett’s roast/tribute (the video is here for email subscribers).
At the request of JCI, the Claremont Review of Books has made the Correspondence section of its latest issue available on the web without charge, so JCI could link to the exchange at the end of the section between Harry V. Jaffa and reader Kenrick W. Hackett on “Israel and Natural Law.”
The exchange was a result of the “Open Letter to President Obama” regarding Israel that Jaffa had published in the prior issue of the Review, which challenged Obama's characterization in his Cairo speech of the West Bank/Judea-Samaria as "occupied." Hackett's letter in turn both challenges and supports Jaffa’s analysis, and Jaffa's response covers several historical points with a lucidity that is rare in the current discourse on Israel.
The exchange deserves to be read in its entirety, but the following is an excerpt from Jaffa’s discussion:
For a historical perspective on Palestine we should look back upon Mark Twain's visit to the Holy Land in 1867. It was, he wrote, a land of kites and crows with virtually no signs of human civilization. This devastating blight remained unbroken until the 1890s when in the wake of Russia's pogroms Jews bought land from the Ottoman Turks, and began the incredibly toilsome task of turning an apparently unredeemable desert into the Garden of Eden it eventually became. This process, which owed nothing to the Arabs, was begun before World War I. . . .
In World War I, the Allies destroyed the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman empires. . . .Seeking Jewish support was a policy of the Allies even before America's entry into the war. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 must also be seen in this context.
The British made promises to both Arabs and Jews to support the war against the Ottoman Turks. The contribution of the Jewish Legion in Sir Edmund Allenby's army was certainly not less than that of the more celebrated Arab irregulars under the command of T.E. Lawrence. There has been a large literature on whether the British sufficiently honored their wartime promises. However, out of the remains of the Ottoman empire (outside Turkey) 98% has been fashioned into Arab states, among them Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Transjordan.
The last was carved out of what had become the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine of 1922, to provide another monarchy for the Hashemites. It remained Transjordan until 1948, when it crossed the Jordan and occupied the West Bank. It was originally regarded as the Arab Palestinian state, while the remainder of the Mandate was considered the Homeland of the Jews. Yet on three separate occasions this remainder was further subdivided to provide a second Arab state in what had been the Palestine Mandate. On each of these occasions the Jews accepted the subdivision but the Arabs did not.
The Holocaust has proved beyond a rational doubt the necessity of a place for persecuted Jews to find refuge. The justification of Israel goes beyond this, however. To compare Israel with the neighboring Arab states—notwithstanding the trillions of dollars of squandered oil wealth—we need to ask the Connecticut Yankee to return to King Arthur's court and remind us of the difference between our own civilization and one untouched by science and democracy, and by the laws of nature and of nature's God.
President Obama’s error in his Cairo speech was to confuse the necessity of the modern state of Israel after the Holocaust with the justification for that state, which precedes the twentieth century and both World Wars and has its roots both in biblical and modern history (as the entire Hackett-Jaffa exchange makes clear).
It is ironic that the Arabs lost far more land by trying to wage genocidal wars in 1948 and 1967 than if they had simply accepted a small state of Israel on a partial sliver of the land to which it in fact had superior claims in the entire land west of the Jordan River.