Friday, April 28, 2023

04/28 Links Pt1: “Foreign Aid” to Israel is bonanza for the US; GOP Plan to Stop a Second Iran Nuclear Deal; DeSantis Tells Israelis US Should Let Them Govern Themselves

From Ian:

“Foreign Aid” to Israel is bonanza for the US
The U.S. does not give foreign aid to Israel — the U.S. makes an annual investment in Israel, giving US taxpayers a return of several hundred percent.

While Israel is a grateful recipient of U.S. military systems, it also serves as a battle-tested, cost-effective laboratory for the U.S. defense and aerospace industries, (employing 3.5 million Americans). This enhances U.S. performance on the battlefield and the U.S. economy, national security and homeland security.

Here are a few examples.

In defense: The Israeli Air Force flies the U.S.'s Lockheed-Martin’s F-16 and F-35 combat aircraft, providing both Lockheed-Martin and the U.S. Air Force with invaluable information on operations, maintenance and repairs, which is then used to manufacture a multitude of upgrades for next-generation aircraft. Just the F-16 itself has been improved by several hundred Israeli-driven upgrades, sparing Lockheed-Martin 10-20 years of research and developments, which amounts to billions of dollars.

Israel is the Triple-A store for Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, G.D., Northrop Grumman, and many other U.S. defense and aerospace companies. This enhances the image of these companies abroad and multiplies their export markets, because other countries assume that if Israel — with its unique national security challenges — uses these companies’ products, they must be of high quality.

The U.S. is also trained by Israeli experts in neutralizing car bombs, suicide bombers and IEDs, and US combat pilots benefit greatly from joint maneuvers with their highly experienced Israeli counterparts.

In intelligence: According to a former head of the U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Gen. George Keegan, the U.S. would have to establish five CIAs to procure the intelligence provided by Israel (the CIA’s annual budget is around $15 billion).

According to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, (Chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees), the scope of Israeli intelligence shared with the U.S. exceeded that provided by all NATO countries combined. Israeli intelligence helped foil sinister plots against the U.S., secured airliners and airports and provided vital data on advanced Soviet/Russian military systems.

Israel is a unique force multiplier for the U.S., helping to extend America’s strategic reach, so it can secure vulnerable pro-U.S. Arab oil-producing regimes and deter wars and terrorism. With Israel’s help, the U.S. can do this without deploying additional troops, which is not the case with countries like Japan and South Korea, in addition to 100,000 US troops in Europe.

Gen. Alexander Haig, who served as NATO’s Supreme Commander and U.S. Secretary of State, and Adm. Elmo Zumwalt assessed that “Israel is the largest U.S. aircraft carrier, which does not require American soldiers on board, cannot be sunk and is deployed in a most critical region – between Europe, Asia and Africa - sparing the U.S. the need to manufacture, deploy and maintain a few more real aircraft carriers and additional ground divisions, which would cost the U.S. taxpayer some $15 billion annually.”
‘March of the Million’ shatters opposition claim nation opposes judicial reform
The “March of the Million” near the Knesset in Jerusalem on Thursday evening may not have hit its target (organizers say 600,000 attended; police say 200,000), but it succeeded in putting to bed opposition claims that Israelis are united against judicial reform. It also provided much-needed backing to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s beleaguered government.

Supporters of reform have been slow to respond to months of protests against it, which have forced the coalition back on its heels, leading Netanyahu to pause the process and enter into negotiations with the opposition under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog.

Those favoring reform worry that the result will be a watered-down version of the legislation. Among the crowd’s chants at the rally: “Stop being afraid” and “We don’t want compromise.”

Of the many politicians and right-wing figures who addressed the assembled, the biggest cheers went to the chief architects of judicial reform: Justice Minister Yariv Levin of Likud and Knesset Member Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionism Party, who chairs the parliament’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

“Over 2 million Israelis voted six months ago in the real referendum: the election. They voted in favor of legal reform,” declared Levin. “We are here on this stage with 64 mandates to right an injustice. No more inequality, no one-sided judicial system, no court whose judges are above the Knesset and above the government.

“We are told that if the reform passes there will be a dictatorship. There is no bigger lie than that. Show me a single democracy in which the legal advisers decide [government policy] instead of the government,” said Levin, adding to cheers, “I will do everything in my power to bring the desired change to the judicial system.

“If someone were to tell me a few years ago that in 2023 there would be such a broad consensus in Israeli society for the need for judicial reform and that the situation today isn’t democratic, I would have told him he was delusional,” Rothman said. “Correcting the judicial system is my life’s mission and I will continue to promote it in every way.”

‘Horrified’: NYC Lawmakers Refusal to Back Antisemitism Resolution Draws Fierce Condemnation
The New York City Council on Thursday passed a resolution declaring April 29 as “End Jew Hatred Day,” but the decision of six council members, one of whom represents a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, to oppose or abstain from voting on the measure has drawn outrage from federal legislators.

Brooklyn council members Shana Hanif (D), who represents Borough Park and Park Slope, and Sandra Nurse (D), who represents Bushwick, each voted “no,” while Charles Barron (D), democratic socialist Alexa Viles (D), Rita Joseph (D), and Jennifer Gutiérrez (D) all abstained from Thursday’s vote.

Shahana Hanif, who is the first the first Muslim woman elected to the council, denied on the floor of the body that voting against the measure makes her antisemitic, calling the accusation “extremely disrespectful” while insisting, “I continue to show up for our Jewish colleagues and communities.”

Hanif’s office did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.

Barron, who has asserted that “the Semites are black” and has compared Israel’s military actions to the Holocaust, describing Gaza as a “death camp,” has been accused for years of being antisemitic by organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Last June, he disrupted a city council hearing on antisemitism, shouting that Israel is a “terrorist state.”

Barron, Joseph, and Gutiérrez did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.

Another of the abstainers, Jennifer Gutiérrez, in a 2021 questionnaire by New York Jewish Agenda, which is part of the left-wing Progressive Israel Network, did not answer a question about her position on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Gutiérrez claimed nonetheless that she was committed to “fighting antisemitism wherever we see it.”

DeSantis Tells Israelis US Should Let Them Govern Themselves
During a keynote speech in Jerusalem, Republican governor Ron DeSantis (Fla.) advocated for America to "respect Israel’s right to make its own decisions about its own governance," a position in contrast with President Joe Biden’s pressure on the country to halt its judicial overhaul.

"You’re a smart country, you figure it out," DeSantis told a crowd at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem Thursday, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding. The likely presidential candidate is on a tour of four countries, potentially looking to boost his foreign policy résumé ahead of a campaign announcement.

"It shouldn’t be for us to butt in to these important issues," DeSantis said. He declined to comment on the country’s potential judicial overhaul pushed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that has sparked protests in recent weeks.

DeSantis told reporters following the speech "that the United States should be a strong ally to Israel, but we should not butt into their internal affairs."

The governor spoke about his achievements in Florida and his prioritization of a relationship with Israel. "Maintaining a strong Israel relationship has been a priority for me during my time in elected office," he said.

DeSantis's remarks come as Biden has criticized Netanyahu's proposed judicial overhaul, saying in March that "they cannot continue down this road" and that he is "very concerned." Netanyahu and his government argue the country’s courts are activist institutions that need reforms, including allowing the parliament to override the Supreme Court's decisions.

Biden told Netanyahu to "walk away" from the proposal and said he isn’t inviting the prime minister to the White House in the near future. The Washington Free Beacon reported in March that Biden’s State Department is funding an anti-Netanyahu organization responsible for fueling the protests against the reforms.

"Hopefully the prime minister will act in a way that he can try to work out some genuine compromise, but that remains to be seen." Biden said last month.

DeSantis dines with Miriam Adelson, other GOP megadonors in Jerusalem
Florida Governor and presumptive presidential nominee Ron DeSantis was spotted dining in Jerusalem this week with Israeli-American billionaire Miriam Adelson.

She was among several major Republican donors at the dinner hosted Wednesday by Larry Mizel, an American businessman who helped found the Museum of Tolerance where the meal was being held. Mizel was the finance chairman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign office in Colorado during the 2016 race.

DeSantis sat in between Mizel and Adelson, according to Axios, which broke the story.

Miriam and her late husband, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, backed DeSantis during his successful 2018 gubernatorial run, donating $500,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC.

DeSantis is likely seeking Adelson’s support once again, as he is expected to announce his candidacy for president in the coming weeks, though he faces an uphill battle.

Adelson is a longtime admirer of former US president Donald Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who has already thrown her hat in the 2024 race.

The Israel Guys: Ron DeSantis Visit’s Israel and Says U.S. Should STAY OUT Of Israel’s Business
Ron Desantis visits Israel this week, and says some incredible things concerning Israel. We’ll take a look at his trip and what his future with America might look like.

Israel’s electricity grid may have been hacked after losing power this week.

Just before recording this show there was another attempted terrorist attack in Samaria.

The Israel Guys: MAINSTREAM Media BLASTS Israel On Its 75th Birthday
In the world of constant bad news sometimes we forget that the global media is having a hay day destroying Israel's image on the world stage. What's really going on here in Israel? & Is Israel really as divided as it seems?

The Surprising Origins of the Palestine Post

Republican vying for Rep. Lee’s seat blasts her ‘no’ vote on Israel resolution
In the 2022 midterm election cycle, millions of pro-Israel dollars poured in trying to keep Pittsburgh-area Democrat Summer Lee off Capitol Hill.

She prevailed, though the situation could become tricky for the congresswoman in 2024 after she was one of 18 Democrats to vote against a resolution honoring Israel on its 75th birthday and encouraging the expansion of the Abraham Accords, which 401 of her colleagues supported.

Lee, whose anti-Israel rhetoric during her campaign has turned to action in Congress, drew the ire on Wednesday of a potential opponent, who slammed her vote as “outrageous and immoral.”

“Does Summer Lee not know why Israel exists? Does she not care?” asked Republican congressional candidate James Hayes. “There can be no doubt that Summer Lee stands with antisemites like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. All pretense has been cast aside by this despicable, hateful vote.”

Lee, who joined other members of “The Squad” of progressive, anti-Israel lawmakers in penning a letter last month to the Biden administration calling on restrictions on aid to Israel, has in the past questioned Israel’s right to defend itself. She also criticized Israel’s reaction to the more than 4,000 rockets launched for 11 days by terror groups based in the Gaza Strip in May 2021.

Lee’s “no” vote on Tuesday’s resolution came in the early days of jury selection for the trial of the suspect in the Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation mass shooting, noted Hayes, who intends to challenge Lee next year in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District.

Israel, Japan Sign Working Holiday Visa Agreement
Israeli and Japanese diplomats recently signed a work-vacation visa agreement allowing Israelis to spend up to one year in Japan while working.

According to the terms of the agreement, 200 Israelis per year aged between 18 and 30 will be able to obtain a year-long visa that will allow them to combine work with language study in Japan during their stay. It is an employment-based nonimmigrant visa.

Additionally, Israeli high-tech, cyber, health, and agriculture personnel will be able to obtain work visas for Japan.

Visa applicants face a number of basic requirements including a clean criminal record and medical insurance.

This agreement follows the launch of a direct El Al flight between Tel Aviv and Tokyo, an initiative spearheaded by the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo.
Despite Economic Headwinds, New Jersey-Israel Trade Increased 11% in 2022
Trade between the Garden State and the Jewish state, which is valued at $1.72 billion, was up 11% between 2021 and 2022, and was more than 9% higher than the average increase in trade between New Jersey and other nations during the same time frame.

That’s according to the New Jersey-Israel Commission, which parsed data released this week from the US Census Bureau.

New Jersey exports to Israel grew 8.5%, from $461 million in 2021 to $500 million in 2022, and its Israeli imports increased by 9%, from about $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion, according to the data.

That growth in exports to Israel came amid a substantial decline in exports to other countries; the COVID-19 pandemic, however, brought about changes that strengthened Israel’s and New Jersey’s relationship, Andrew Gross, executive director of the New Jersey-Israel Commission, told JNS.

Israeli technology executives moved from New York to New Jersey during the pandemic, according to Gross. “In foreseeing Israeli tech continuing to expand outward from Israel, they see New Jersey as one of the most convenient places,” he said.

The East Coast state’s “tremendous energy” promoting bilateral ties with Israel, including a new New Jersey business attraction office established last month in Tel Aviv, has played a role, he said.
IDF troops detain terror suspect in Jenin, clash with Palestinian gunmen
Israeli troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Friday morning during an arrest raid, according to the military and Palestinian media reports.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops entered Jenin to arrest a Palestinian man wanted for his alleged involvement in terror activity and arms dealing, after receiving intelligence about the suspect’s whereabouts from the Shin Bet security agency.

The suspect was detained, and a cache of firearms, weapons parts, and other military equipment was seized, the IDF said.

Amid the raid, Palestinian gunmen opened fire and hurled explosive devices at troops, the military said. No soldiers were reported hurt.

Footage published by Palestinian media outlets showed a convoy of Israeli military vehicles entering Jenin, with one apparently coming under fire.

Gunfire could be heard across the city in other amateur videos shared online.

Israeli Forces Thwart Palestinian Terror Attack in Samaria
Israeli forces thwarted a Palestinian terrorist attack on Thursday at the Gitai Avisar Junction near the city of Ariel in Samaria.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, a soldier shot and “neutralized” the terrorist, who initially attempted to carry out a car-ramming attack before exiting his vehicle armed with a knife.

Medics said that the terrorist died.

The assailant crashed into a Palestinian person’s vehicle, lightly injuring the latter. No Israelis were injured in the attack.

The military launched an investigation into the incident.

Palestinian teen shot dead by IDF troops during clashes in West Bank
A 16-year-old Palestinian was killed by live fire during clashes with Israeli soldiers near the West Bank town of Tuqu’, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said Friday.

Palestinian media outlets identified the teen as Mustafa Amer Sabah.

According to media reports, Sabah was shot in the chest and taken to a hospital in Bethlehem, where he died of his wounds.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military told The Times of Israel that troops had initially opened fire into the air and used riot dispersal means against a number of Palestinians hurling stones near Tuqu’.

“After the rioters continued to approach the troops and hurl stones in a way that endangered the troops, the force responded by with live fire,” the spokesperson said, adding that some of the suspects were hit by the gunfire.

The Israel Defense Forces said it was aware of Sabah’s death, and a military source said he had been involved in previous rioting.

The IDF said it was continuing to investigate the circumstances of the incident.

Hamas Armed Wing to Stop Crypto Fundraising Over ‘Hostility’ Against Donors
The armed wing of Gaza’s terror group Hamas said Thursday it would stop receiving fundraising via the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, citing an increase in “hostile” activity against donors.

Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the Palestinian enclave’s most powerful armed faction that has fought several wars with Israel over the years, said the move “comes out of concern about the safety of donors and to spare them any harm,” adding that it had seen an increased effort to prevent people and groups from sending it Bitcoin funds.

The group also renewed its call for “continued donation to Qassam and the resistance by all available means.”

Gaza economist Mohammad Abu Jayyab told Reuters the decision implied that Hamas feels as though Israel could reveal the identities of donors or reach their wallets, and were therefore seeking to protect them.

For years, policymakers and regulators worldwide have voiced concern over the illegal use of crypto, from money laundering to the financing of terrorism.

Bitcoin and other crypto tokens offer high levels of anonymity. Yet, technological developments have made it easier for authorities to track the movement of crypto as well as those who are behind such transfers.

Overlooking Israel from Lebanon border, Iran’s FM says ‘Zionist collapse’ is near
Iran’s foreign minister toured Lebanon’s border with Israel Friday during a visit to the Arab nation, and was documented looking out at the Jewish state his regime regards as an archenemy.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian took the tour with a number of Lebanese parliamentarians and members of the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, after meeting with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

Amir-Abdollahian said Nasrallah assured him that “the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance [to Israel] are in their best condition ever,” according to Iranian media reports.

He said the two also discussed the recent Iranian-Saudi deal to restore diplomatic ties, and its effect on the region.

At the lookout point toward Israel from the town of Maroun al-Ras, Amir-Abdollahian said “positive developments in the region will lead to the collapse of the Zionist entity,” adding that “Zionists understand only strength.”

The minister said Iran continues to “support the resistance in the face of the Zionist enemy” and will back Lebanon “even in difficult days.” He also planted a tree in the area.

The Iranian diplomat’s visit could be seen as something of a response to Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s trip to Turkmenistan last week, where he opened an embassy just a few miles from the border with Iran.

Inside The House GOP Plan to Stop a Second Iran Nuclear Deal
Congress is readying a bevy of bills that would effectively kill any hope the Biden administration has of inking a revamped nuclear deal with Iran, according to sources briefed on the matter.

House Republicans on Friday will begin rolling out a series of six bills designed to expand sanctions on Iran and curtail the White House’s ability to waive sanctions in future deals, according to copies of the legislation exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The bills, sponsored by members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, target Iran’s military, government leaders, and financial sector.

The legislative blitz comes as the Biden administration works to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Though the Biden administration publicly claims negotiations with Iran are on standby, lawmakers close to the issue maintain that the White House is still working behind the scenes to secure a new nuclear deal. These talks may have inspired Tehran to step up its military activity and attacks on the United States, the Free Beacon reported this month.

Study Committee chairman Kevin Hern (R., Okla.) said the legislative blitz is a warning to the White House that Republicans have "not forgotten about the Biden administration’s continuing attempts to re-enter the Iran deal."

Winning approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate could pose a challenge, given Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's hesitance to interfere in the White House's diplomacy with Iran. But the study committee's national security task force, led by Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.), will "play an integral role" in selling the bills to Democrats and Republicans in both chambers, Hern said. The Republican lobbying campaign will include an "extremely aggressive" push to get the bills included in this year's National Defense Authorization Act, the yearly spending bill that is jointly authored with the Senate, according to several Republican aides.

The study committee’s package would prevent the Biden administration from using executive authority to unilaterally lift sanctions on Tehran—just as the Obama administration did when it skirted Congress to ink the original accord. One of the primary vehicles to stop a new deal is a bill spearheaded by Rep. John James (R., Mich.) that would deem any agreement with Iran as a formal treaty that requires congressional approval. With a split Senate, the Biden administration would likely fail to attract the two-thirds necessary for a treaty to be enacted. This bill alone would neuter diplomacy, stopping the White House from making good on any promises to Tehran.

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