UPDATES 10 am Israel time, Wednesday, September 25 2013:
*For the most part it was a great day in Jerusalem yesterday, the joy of which was only tempered by our inability to ascend to the Temple Mount. What was especially wonderful was the outpouring of support for Israel from visitors around the world who marched and sang their support for this country. Here are a few photographs that your humble servant took yesterday:
After walking going down into the valley, we came and walking around the Old City to on the left of the above photograph, we entered the Old City through a narrow passage way that leads to the Zion Gate:
Next we visited the Tomb of King David:
From there it was to the beautiful Tifereth Israel Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter where the Tefilat ha Kohanim (Birkat Kohanim) ceremony was taking place:
Afterwards, we went down to the Kotel–where we were informed that we were unable to go to the Temple Mount. We then exited through the Muslim Quarter and began walking through Jerusalem’s streets. Everywhere there were sukkot–this was one of my favorites on a city sidewalk close to the old Post Office building:
But as I have already written, we ran into supporters of Israel everywhere we went–and from everywhere in the world. This particular group was from the United States:
What can you say about President Obama’s speech before the United Nations yesterday? Self-serving? Devoid of historical perspective? Factually wrong? How about all of the above?
Here is your humble servant’s list of the top 10 most absurd Obama statements given to the self-righteous multitude in New York City.
1. “For much of my time as President, some of our most urgent challenges have revolved around an increasingly integrated global economy, and our efforts to recover from the worst economic crisis of our lifetime. Now, five years after the global economy collapsed, thanks to coordinated efforts by the countries here today, jobs are being created, global financial systems have stabilized, and people are being lifted out of poverty.”
Barack Obama will never get off of the campaign trail. “The worst economic crisis of our lifetime”–the only thing missing here was the mention of former president Bush. People are being lifted out of poverty? According to the World Hunger Organization, 870 million of the world’s 7.1 billion people are chronically undernourished–a number that remains unchanged over the last 5 years. The gap between rich and poor is greater than ever--and one of the main places this is true is in the United States where poverty is increasing.
2. “Beyond bringing our troops home, we have limited the use of drones so they target only those who pose a continuing, imminent threat to the United States where capture is not feasible, and there is a near certainty of no civilian casualties. We are transferring detainees to other countries and trying terrorists in courts of law, while working diligently to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. And just as we reviewed how we deploy our extraordinary military capabilities in a way that lives up to our ideals, we have begun to review the way that we gather intelligence, so as to properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies, with the privacy concerns that all people share.”
Limited use of drones? Near certainty of no civilian casualties? Working diligently to close Guantanamo Bay? Properly balance the legitimate security concerns with privacy concerns? It’s almost as if Obama is living in some delusional world in which he believes that no one reads the newspapers or watches television. Your humble servant is not criticizing the use of drones or collecting intelligence–but for Obama to act as if all of these actions are happening to a “limited extent” is bizarre.
3. “As a result of this work, and cooperation with allies and partners, the world is more stable than it was five years ago.”
The United States in conjunction with its allies has made the world a more stable place under Obama? Where? In Africa? In the Middle East? Virtually everywhere in which the U.S. has been engaged or has disengaged under Obama is now demonstrably less stable. Take a look at Iraq–now that the U.S. is gone, 100 Iraqis are being killed everyday. Look at what Obama has wrought in Egypt.
4. “Just as significantly, the convulsions in the Middle East and North Africa have laid bare deep divisions within societies, as an old order is upended, and people grapple with what comes next. Peaceful movements have been answered by violence – from those resisting change, and from extremists trying to hijack change. Sectarian conflict has reemerged.”
Obama simply has it all wrong. Sectarian conflict has always existed in the Middle East–the only thing that kept a lid on it were dictatorships such as those of Hosni Mubarak and the Assad family. What old order has been upended?
5. “As we pursue a settlement, let us remember that this is not a zero-sum endeavor. We are no longer in a Cold War.”
What planet is Barack Obama living on? Certainly not the same one as Vladimir Putin who is intent on reestablishing Russia as a global power to rival the United States.
6. “What does this mean going forward? In the near term, America’s diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. While these issues are not the cause of all the region’s problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace.”
How can anyone now say with a straight face that the Arab-Israeli conflict is a source of any of the region’s instability? Algeria? Tunisia? Egypt? Syria? Lebanon? the Gulf States? Somalia? Sudan? Are any of these conflicts caused by the Arab-Israeli problem? It is simply amazing that Obama clings to the demonstrably false notion of what makes the Middle East tick. And to conflate Iran’s nuclear weapons acquisition program with the Arab-Israeli conflict?
7. “Meanwhile, the Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, and President Rouhani has just recently reiterated that the Islamic Republic will never develop a nuclear weapon.”
Your humble servant would like to recommend that President Obama take a crash course in Farsi–so he can understand what “the Supreme Leader” (can you believe that Obama referred to Khamenei in this way?) and Rouhani are saying for local consumption in Iran.
8. “Earlier this year, in Jerusalem, I was inspired by young Israelis who stood up for the belief that peace was necessary, just, and possible, and I believe there is a growing recognition within Israel that the occupation of the West Bank is tearing at the democratic fabric of the Jewish state.”
What a joke. As israelstreet pointed out at the time, Obama spoke at a convention center in Jerusalem in which he handpicked the students who could attend. No one who disagreed with his viewpoint was allowed in the building. For example, students from Ariel University were specifically denied entrance. Obama was doing nothing except preaching to the choir–and he wants to claim these handpicked, leftist students are representative of a trend in Israel? Maybe he should talk to those of the same age who are serving in the IDF–some of the ones who buried their friend Sgt. Gal Tobi two days ago.
9. “Already, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have demonstrated a willingness to take significant political risks. President Abbas has put aside efforts to short-cut the pursuit of peace and come to the negotiating table. Prime Minister Netanyahu has released Palestinian prisoners, and reaffirmed his commitment to a Palestinian state.”
Again, this is just pathetic. Obama praises Abbas for doing nothing–just showing up at the “negotiating table”. And he praises Netanyahu for releasing Palestinian murderers back on the street so they can kill more Israelis.
10. “Friends of Israel, including the United States, must recognize that Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state depends upon the realization of a Palestinian state.”
The way that Obama always tries to manipulate the international audience to oppose any resolution of the conflict short of a Palestinian state under the guise of being a “friend of Israel” is sickening.
Your humble servant could go on and on, but the point is that anyone who stands in the bully pulpit of the United Nations and claims that the Israeli-Arab conflict is a core cause of instability in the Middle East, and claims that Palestinian murderers should be released, and claims that the only resolution to the conflict is the Palestinian one, is a person devoid of any knowledge of history and a person who is no friend of Israel.