Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Israeli-related news

I've got emails out with most, if not all, Democratic presidential campaigns asking as to where they stand on issues relating to Israel, especially when it comes to moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

Today is the big face-off at Brandeis University except that it's not exactly a face-off. If it were an actual face-off, I have no doubt that Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz would win it. When it comes to the issue of Israel, Dershowitz knows what he is talking about and believe me, I can say that not as oppinion but fact.

Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is touring Israel.
Romney, who just ended a term as Massachusetts governor, is addressing this week’s influential Herzliya Conference, which draws top Western policymakers to discuss the Middle East.

He will also have private meetings with top Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

His tour is sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Romney was to have visited Israel this summer during the war with Hezbollah, but had to postpone his trip because of difficulties with a massive Boston construction project.
Filmmaker Jonathan Demme is willing to risk arrest to film Jimmy Carter confronting his critics while at Brandeis.

A new poll shows that Americans support sanctions against Iran even if it means increasing gas prices by nearly twenty percent. Some of the major findings are below:
-Majority of Americans want end to Palestinian terrorism and recognition of Israel before a new Palestinian state is formed;
-73 percent of Americans support the international community placing and enforcing economic and diplomatic sanctions against Iran, even if those measures increases fuel costs in the United States by 20 percent;
-86 percent of Americans support a ban on all international weapons sales to Iran;
-72 percent of Americans are worried that Iran might develop nuclear weapons.
Israel is looking to join NATO according to a report in the Jerusalem Post.
The paper is being drafted by an interministerial committee made up of representatives from the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry and headed by the National Security Council. The committee plans to complete the paper by the end of February and present it to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for approval.

Meanwhile Monday, in an exclusive interview, former Spanish prime minister Jos Mar a Aznar told the Post that "Israel needs to join NATO as soon as possible."

According to Aznar, the Iranian threat serves as "an excellent occasion to enforce [Israeli] deterrence by making Israel a member of NATO."

The former Spanish leader and current president of the FAES Spanish think tank said that if Israel became a member of NATO, "the perception in Iran would change, knowing that it's not only Israel [they are dealing with], but all of NATO."

Aznar said that NATO needed to change its focus to counter the growing threat of global terrorism.

"The threat today is terror and we need to restructure NATO to deal with this threat," he said.
Here's how Senator John Edwards viewed things relating to Israel while he was at the Herzliya Conference.
"Iran is serious about its threats," former US Senator John Edwards told the Herzliya Conference at the Interdisciplinary Center on Monday.

"The challenges in your own backyard -- represent an unprecedented threat to the world and Israel," said the candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, referring mainly to the Iranian threat.

In his speech, Edwards criticized the United States' previous indifference to the Iranian issue, saying they have not done enough to deal with the threat.

Hinting to possible military action, Edwards stressed that "in order to ensure Iran never gets nuclear weapons, all options must remain on table."[...]

Edwards also spoke against the Palestinian Authority, saying the Hamas government was no partner, and that Israel should make efforts to strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against Hamas.

He also said the Palestinian government must know that foreign aid should not be take for granted, and that the US and Europe must do everything possible to make sure the money does not go to terrorists.

Until Israel has a real partner, according to Edwards, Israel has the right, and indeed the obligation to defend itself, and should be strengthened militarily, politically, and economically.

In a further display of support for Israel, Edwards went so far as to suggest that Israel should even be made a member of NATO, saying it was only natural that the organization would seen to include Israel next.

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