Thursday, January 25, 2007

2008 candidates on Israel and more

Mark Warner will not be a candidate in 2008 despite some rumors that were surfacing a while back after Sen. Bayh dropped out of the race.

Senator Jim Bunning believes that Anne Northup will appeal to the rest of the state. I'll say this in response. No candidate from Louisville has ever been elected to the position of governor and I highly doubt that it will happen in 2007 despite the sitting governor's lack of popularity.

The big story at this past week's Herzliya Conference was the threat of Iran. It's no surprise at all. Iran is a serious threat to the free world. The problem lies in how we will address that problem.
At Israel’s premier strategic forum this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was invoked more often than Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Tehran dwarfed Tulkarem, and nuclear proliferation trumped suicide bombs.

The central role of the Iranian threat at this year’s Herzliya Conference, sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), reflected the shift in Israel’s strategic agenda over the last 12 months. If a year ago, Israelis were still debating unilateral pullbacks and settlement dismantlement, the month-long war with Hezbollah and the escalating showdown over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions now figure as the primary challenge for Israeli policy makers.[...]

U.S. presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, John Edwards and John McCain, along with Newt Gingrich, were in Israel, seemingly competing to see who can be most strident in defense of the Jewish state during personal or video appearances at the conference here, just north of Tel Aviv.

The four politicians called for ways to prevent Iran’s government from acquiring nuclear weapons. While stressing the strong U.S.-Israel ties, the presidential hopefuls all agreed that the U.S. has to ratchet up sanctions on Iran and leave the possibility of a military attack “on the table.”

Romney, who served one term as governor of Massachusetts, called for economic sanctions against Iran “at least as severe” as those imposed on South Africa during its apartheid era. He compared the challenge posed by Iran and militant Islam to the clash of the West with 20th century conflicts with fascism and totalitarian communism.

“It is time for the world to plainly speak these three truths,” Romney said at the conference. “One, Iran must be stopped. Two, Iran can be stopped, and three Iran will be stopped.”

Gingrich, who spoke by a satellite video link, said that the existential danger to Israel has never been higher since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The former House speaker also said that many in Israel as well as the U.S. don’t fully appreciate the nature, size or scope of the threat posed by Iran.

“I have two grandchildren,” said Gingrich, “and I think there is a greater danger of them dying in an action than I faced during the cold war.”

For presidential hopefuls, the conference gives them an opportunity to float policy positions and reach out to Jewish voters.[...]

Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) said he supported exploring a strengthening of ties between Israel and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as a means of easing Israel’s insecurity.

“A friendly democracy under siege should be closer partners to the world’s most successful security alliance,” he said, speaking via a satellite link. “American support for Israel should intensify. The enemies are too numerous, margin of error too small, and shared values too great.”

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), the only Democratic presidential hopeful to address the conference, sounded similar notes of toughening sanctions and the threat of military force. But he was the one speaker to suggest that the U.S. needs to open a dialogue with Iran.

“I support being tough, but I think it’s a mistake strategically and ideologically not to engage them on this issue,” he said. “American should engage directly on this issue.”
Here's more on President Jimmy Carter's speech at Brandeis. However, here's how Kenneth Stein, a historian and former friend of the president, sees things.

The 2007 Wendell Ford Dinner has been set for February 24, 2007 at the Clarion Hotel in Louisville. My guess is that all of the Democratic candidates for governor will be there.

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson and his fellow mayors have asked senators in Washington for more aid.
With major cuts in federal aid to cities in recent years, the mayors can do only so much, Abramson and the others said.

The mayors said they were deeply disappointed that President Bush, in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, talked about violence on the streets of Baghdad but not about rising violence in the streets of American cities.

The State of the Union "was not a list of every ongoing commitment and important issue before the president," White House spokesman Blair Jones said later. "The president remains dedicated to working with Congress to provide … (funding for successful) programs dedicated to fighting crime and bettering community development."

He said those commitments will be reflected in the president's budget proposal next month.

But Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, two of a dozen Democratic senators who met with the mayors, said they share the urban leaders' concerns.

"What about the safety of our citizens here at home?" Bayh asked.

Stabenow said Bush's per-capita spending on Baghdad would equal $11 billion in funding for American cities.
Enough already!

Naomi Ragen is taking the lead in Israel to end the segregation of bus lines.
Orthodox novelist Naomi Ragen is leading efforts by Israeli women to end sexual segregation on some bus lines in Israel.

Ragen and five other women this week petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to order the national bus lines not to go along with demands from fervently Orthodox communities that female commuters sit in the back and dress modestly.

The biggest bus company, Egged, says that 30 of its lines are segregated by gender at the passengers’ request.

Ragen told Israel Radio that her campaign was prompted by the experience of being ordered to the back of a bus by a male passenger.

“The driver didn’t even open his mouth in my defense,” she said.

“I got off the bus with the dreadful, dreadful feeling that in my country I have to take a public bus home that is under Taliban rule.”
The candidates for president in 2008 have already started to outreach to prospective supporters within the Jewish community. With regards to Democrats running, it appears that almost all of them have pro-Israel voting records or have gone on record with policies in favor of Israel.

Some rare maps of Israel have been found and posted online.

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