What Would Cause President Obama to Cancel a Fundraiser? By Myra Adams

What “tragedy” would be horrific enough for President Obama to cancel his usual schedule of speeches, lunches and fundraisers?

A commercial airliner shot down over Ukraine with Americans aboard? No.

How about a terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11, killing our ambassador and three others? No.

Perhaps news that Israel has begun a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip? No way.

Obviously our president believes that any change to his schedule is a sign of weakness (and God forbid our commander in chief appear weak).

So today, despite the breaking news of possible Russian involvement with the missile attack against a Malaysian Airlines airliner carrying 295 passengers, crew and over 20 Americans, President Obama forged ahead with his previously planned infrastructure speech in Delaware. (But first he paused for a few seconds to say, “looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.” ) Then he proceeded as normal, including some lighthearted remarks.

Afterwards, he grabbed a burger and fries (“I’m starving” he was quoted as saying), and tonight he will attend a few fundraisers in New York. Just a typical day in the life of our 44th president. Obama is aiding world tranquility after all!

Therefore, my question is what kinds of national or international “tragedies” would cause President Obama to cancel his fundraisers, partisan speeches and visits to burger joints?

Here is my list of the top five:

1. News that Beyonce and Jay Z are divorcing.

2. His favorite golf course was attacked by al-Qaeda.

3. Lebron James unexpectedly retired.

4. Air Force One was hijacked by the Tea Party.

5. A tsunami destroyed his August vacation compound on Martha’s Vineyard.

Now it’s your turn to add a few of your own…..


The collapse of a ceasefire plan for Israel and Hamas would be a moment to test the Jewish state’s super-weapon — Caroline Glick. Or, more precisely, her idea of a one-state plan for peace in the Middle East.

Glick laid out the plan in a book called “The Israeli Solution.” Her idea, which I wrote about in March, is to absorb into a single state — Israel — all of the West Bank and the Arab and Jewish populations who live there.

It’s as controversial as an idea can get. She leaves aside Gaza, where there is no Israeli presence and which is ruled by Hamas. Yet her plan for the West Bank fairly begs to be put on the table after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s press conference Friday.

Jeffrey Goldberg, one of the Mideast beat’s savviest columnists, characterized Netanyahu as abandoning his own support for a two-state solution.

It’s not, Goldberg reports, that Netanyahu “renounced his rhetorical support for a two-state solution. He simply described such a [Palestinian] state as an impossibility.”

In this sense, the premier is catching up to Glick. She counted more than a dozen two-state schemes over the past century (including nine that America got behind). All have been foiled by Palestinian Arab rejectionists.

So what — apart from endless war — might be possible? What Glick proposes goes back to the original aspiration of Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl, for Arab and Jewish amity in a Jewish state with a Jewish majority.

Glick’s critics see her plan as a recipe for a bi-national state, that is, an end to Zionism.

Netanyahu, in an interview with Goldberg earlier this year, called opposition to a bi-national state “the first point of consensus in Israel.”

The fear is that Arabs would soon outnumber Jews in the new, larger state — inevitably ending Israel as a Jewish state.

The One-State Solution By Stephen Green

Israel annexing the West Bank in its entirety — it’s the kind of thing you’re not supposed to say out loud in polite company. And yet today we have two columnists saying that’s exactly what might happen. Let’s start with Seth Lipsky in today’s New York Post:

The collapse of a ceasefire plan for Israel and Hamas would be a moment to test the Jewish state’s super-weapon — Caroline Glick. Or, more precisely, her idea of a one-state plan for peace in the Middle East.

Glick laid out the plan in a book called “The Israeli Solution.” Her idea, which I wrote about in March, is to absorb into a single state — Israel — all of the West Bank and the Arab and Jewish populations who live there.

It’s as controversial as an idea can get. She leaves aside Gaza, where there is no Israeli presence and which is ruled by Hamas. Yet her plan for the West Bank fairly begs to be put on the table after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s press conference Friday.

And then at Tablet, we have fellow PJM columnist David “Spengler” Goldman:

A one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is upon us. It won’t arrive by Naftali Bennett’s proposal to annex the West Bank’s Area C, or through the efforts of BDS campaigners and Jewish Voice for Peace to alter the Jewish state. But it will happen, sooner rather than later, as the states on Israel’s borders disintegrate and other regional players annex whatever they can. As that happens, Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria is becoming inevitable.

The central premise of Western diplomacy in the region has been pulled inside-out, namely that a resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue was the key to long-term stability in the Middle East. Now the whole of the surrounding region has become one big refugee crisis. Yet the seemingly spontaneous emergence of irregular armies like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now rampaging through northern Mesopotamia should be no surprise. The misnamed Arab Spring of 2011 began with an incipient food crisis in Egypt and a water crisis in Syria. Subsidies from the Gulf States keep Egypt on life support. In Syria and Iraq, though, displaced populations become foraging armies that loot available resources, particularly oil, and divert the proceeds into armaments that allow the irregulars to keep foraging. ISIS is selling $800 million a year of Syrian oil to Turkey, according to one estimate, as well as selling electricity from captured power plants back to the Assad government. On June 11 it seized the Bajii power plant oil refinery in northern Iraq, the country’s largest.


In the many press briefings that have rolled out of the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, one of the most bizarre formulations involves hopes of a deal providing assurance that — as senior officials like to put it — “the Iranian nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

You might suppose that this is a trademark phrase of Iranian senior officials, dangling oxymorons like bait in front of desperate western diplomats. But no. That quote is from the U.S. secretary of State, John Kerry, at a press availability in Vienna, on Tuesday. Kerry had just finished attending a special even-higher than high-level round of Iran nuclear talks in the Austrian capital — where the nuclear haggling has been a full-time industry in the run-up to the Sunday, July 20 deadline for a deal (a “deadline” that may be extended into next year). In his brief remarks to the press [1], Kerry managed to work in four variations on this vision of an “exclusively peaceful” Iranian nuclear program, excerpted here (boldface, mine):

President Obama has made it a top priority to pursue a diplomatic effort to see if we can reach an agreement that assures that the Iranian nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

Over the past few days, I have had lengthy conversations with Foreign Minister Zarif about what Iran is willing to do and what it needs to do to not only assure the community of nations, but to adhere to what the foreign minister himself has said repeatedly are Iran’s own limited objectives: not just to declare that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon, but to demonstrate in the actions they take beyond any reasonable doubt that any Iranian nuclear program, now and going forward, is exclusively for peaceful purposes.


Playing pool in Colorado rather than visiting the Texas border is not very presidential.
With less than four months to go until Election Day, Democrats increasingly have no confidence in the Obama White House’s political instincts. As a result, more and more Democratic candidates are avoiding the president when he comes to their neighborhood. Senator Mark Udall famously avoided showing up with Obama at a fundraiser in the senator’s honor in Colorado last week. John Foust, the Democratic congressional candidate in a suburban Virginia district just outside Washington, D.C., snubbed the president this week by failing to show up for a presidential event in his area.

Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas was flabbergasted by Obama’s petulant refusal to visit the Texas border last week, calling him “aloof” and “detached” and his decision “bizarre.”

The Virginia Progress PAC, a Democratic committee supporting Senator Mark Warner, issued a list of talking points for potential donors that laid out the challenge the Obama albatross represents for Democrats this fall: “The 2014 midterm elections are shaping up to be similar to the wave elections of 1994 and 2010, particularly with an unpopular President and an unpopular piece of major legislation that will serve as a referendum on the sitting President. . . . A difficult political climate coupled with the rising unpopularity of President Obama could affect the Democratic brand as a whole and hurt Senator Warner.”

Bob Beckel, a former Democratic campaign consultant, said on Fox News this week that he spoke with a Democrat “intimately involved in [Obama’s] campaigns, both of them.” The message was sobering: “He said you have to know what it’s like to get through [presidential counselor] Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama, and I think that’s a tough deal for anybody on a staff to do. . . . [Obama] lives in a zone that nobody else goes to.”

Indeed, Democrats are becoming increasingly vocal about their concern that their president is isolated and not connecting with the political reality around him. “The Democratic party is like a wedding party with the common goal of getting to the ceremony on time,” a former Democratic congressman told me. “There is a caravan of cars, but the lead car is driven by a guy who is weaving in and out of traffic and is dangerous to the other cars behind him. Do you follow the guy you agreed to follow, or do you make your own way to the wedding? More and more people are leaving the caravan.”

All of Washington is talking about our detached president — one who would go to two fundraisers in New York last night after a plane carrying 23 Americans was shot down over Ukraine. In 2012, Obama famously flew off to fundraisers in Las Vegas the day after the Benghazi attack killed our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.


The news:
“Israeli tanks followed by soldiers rolled into the Gaza Strip after 10 days of aerial bombardment as Israel began an open-ended operation in Palestinian territory vowing to establish a new “reality” with militant group Hamas. The operation began at about 10 p.m. local time Thursday and by Friday morning one Israeli soldier and 14 Palestinian militants were dead, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Gaza officials said that the death toll for the conflict rose to 260 dead, with nearly 2,000 injured, figures they say includes high numbers of civilians.”

These sentences are excerpts from Menachem Begin’s address on Israel’s Independence Day in 1948:

“Citizens of the Hebrew State, soldiers of Israel, we are in the midst of battles. Much blood will be spilled. Fortify yourselves. Strengthen your morale. There is no other way. We cannot buy peace from our enemies with appeasement. There is only one kind of ‘peace’ that can be bought — the peace of the graveyard, the peace of Treblinka.

Be brave of spirit and ready for more trials. We shall withstand them. And you, brothers of the fighting family, do you remember how we started? You were alone and persecuted, rejected, despised and numbered with transgressors. But you fought on with deep faith and did not retreat. You were driven to the gallows but went forth with a song. But for the time-being, let us think of the battle, for only the outcome of the battle will decide our fate and future.

We shall be accompanied by the spirit of those who revived our nation, Zeev Benjamin Herzl, Max Nordau, Joseph Trumpeldor and the father of resurrected Hebrew heroism, Zeev Jabotinsky. We shall be accompanied by the spirit of David Raziel, greatest of the Hebrew commanders of our day; and by Dov Gruner, one of the greatest of Hebrew soldiers. And in this battle, we shall break the enemy and bring salvation to our people, tried in the furnace of persecution, thirsting only for freedom, for righteousness and for justice.

God, Lord of Israel, protect your soldiers… Grant blessing to their sword…..On to battle. Forward to victory. “

The Truth about Gaza -Rarely Does International Politics Present a Moment of Such Moral Clarity. By Charles Krauthammer

Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza ceasefire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.

“Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel–Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent “cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows Hamas’s proudly self-declared raison d’être: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

Apologists for Hamas attribute the bloodlust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? There is not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli in Gaza. Does no one remember anything? It was less than ten years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling diehard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted it settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military, and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians.

There was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel’s desire to leave the West Bank too and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.

And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.


Is Israel drifting away from the West? That was Hugo Rifkind’s claim in his column in the magazine last week. Hugo wrote:

‘Israel drifting away. Never mind whose fault it is; that’s a whole other point. But it’s happening. It’s off. No longer does it exist in the popular imagination as our sort of place. Once, I suppose, foes and friends alike regarded it as a North Atlantic nation, but elsewhere. Then a western European one, then, briefly, a southern European one. When was it, do you think, that Israel stopped being regarded as fundamentally a bit like Spain? Early 1990s? Then they shot Yitzhak Rabin, and Oslo didn’t happen, and it set off, perhaps via a sort of listless Greek interim, towards the Orientalish bafflingness of somewhere like Turkey.’

Let’s leave aside that ‘they’ (‘they shot Yitzhak Rabin’? as opposed to lone assassin, Yigal Amir, who remains in an Israeli prison, serving a life sentence after his trial by an Israeli court). And let’s also leave aside the notion that Oslo ‘didn’t happen’ for any reason other than that the terrorist leader Yasser Arafat was unwilling to give up his USP.

What is more interesting is this idea of Israel drifting away from the West. In his heartfelt and admirably frank piece Rifkind says of Israel: ‘I like it far more than Syria, China, Zimbabwe and plenty of other countries, but less than I do north London.’

I can understand why Rifkind and other westerners, Jewish and non-Jewish, might feel more culturally aligned to North London than to Israel. North London isn’t my thing, but life there seems fine. There seem to be few existential questions beyond the discussion of house prices and whether people can afford to send the kids private. Life is easy, life is good. Not especially noble, but nice.

Israel shares many of these characteristics. But it is also a nation which currently has to do what people in countries like this one — even people in North London — used to have to do but seem to have forgotten about: it has to fight for its survival. Israel is surrounded by enemies, as we have been for much of our history. But today we like to think that enemies are a thing of the past. There are no enemies, just phobias we haven’t been cured of yet.

Today Israel is also distinguished by a deep sense of its values and ethics as well as a profound awareness of their source — things we also used to have. Deep questions of survival, the tragedy and triumph of the past, present and future remain the stuff of every Israeli house I have ever been to, though are rarely heard among the residents of North London. So yes, these are very different lives.


America is about protecting the rights and freedoms of its individual citizens. In doing so, it allows them to pursue their dreams within the confines of a society that functions under the rule of law, without fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, sex or political affiliation. A government that is comprised “of the people, by the people, for the people” is, by definition, more concerned with individual liberties than administrative efficiency. As such, it has long served as a beacon for the aspirant. We all know of stories from the thousands of men and women who came to these shores with nothing but a few dollars to their name, yet who stayed, saw needs, worked hard and built fortunes.

But America is more than that. It is also a lodestar for the oppressed. More than any other nation, America is compassionate. “Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses,” are words on a plaque on an inner wall of the Statue of Liberty – America’s great symbol of immigration. But, keep in mind, in 1903 when that plaque bearing Emma Lazarus’s words was erected the promise of aid embedded in her words would be from individual donations. Laws for public assistance had yet to be enacted. Ms. Lazarus was not thinking of the government when she wrote those words; she was expressing the compassion of the people.

Today, about half the federal budget, or roughly $1.8 trillion, goes to social service programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment, food stamps and disability payments, veteran benefits and other social programs. Additionally, according to the National Philanthropic Trust, individual Americans donated $241.32 billion to a variety of charitable causes in 2013. Because of government involvement, the definition of poor has changed dramatically from when I was young. And that has been a good thing. But it has come at a cost. One has only to drive on New York’s pothole-infested streets, or deplane at LaGuardia Airport to experience our crumbling infrastructure. One has only to consider the test scores of our students to understand how poorly we have prepared our youth for the dynamic world they will inherit.


The country had little choice after Hamas rejected a ceasefire.

Israeli ground forces moved into the Gaza Strip Thursday, and it’s hard to see what other choices the country’s leadership had to defend its citizens from the terror group Hamas’s unrelenting missile attack.

Israel agreed Tuesday to a cease-fire proposal from Egypt and held its fire for six hours. Hamas kept firing throughout the day, while raising its demands. Among them: That Israel release Hamas prisoners and transfer funds to help Hamas pay its employees. “We will continue to bomb until our conditions are met,” said a Hamas spokesman, a statement intended to defy Jerusalem and Cairo.

Israel warned Palestinian civilians to move out of harm’s way, but there will inevitably be civilian casualties because that is part of Hamas’s political-military strategy. “For your safety you have to evacuate your house as soon as possible,” goes one telephoned Israeli warning. “Go to the center of the city before 8 o’clock in the morning on Wednesday.” But Hamas hides its immense arsenal of ever-longer range rockets in hospitals, mosques and, as we learned Thursday, even U.N. administered schools.

This will surely lead to condemnation of Israel in some international precincts, but this time Israel should stay the course until it achieves its strategic objective of neutralizing Hamas’s missile attacks. Two previous bouts of fighting in 2009 and 2012 failed to do this because Hamas was allowed to survive as the dominant power in Gaza. That needs to change this time.

This does not require a full occupation of Gaza. But it does mean seizing a zone to prevent the underground smuggling from Egypt of munitions and longer-range rockets into Gaza. It also means targeting Hamas’s military and political leadership through drone strikes and commando raids.

The claim will be made that Israel is merely making Hamas stronger and alienating moderate Palestinians. But Israel spent over a year trying to negotiate with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas under U.S. auspices, only to see Mr. Abbas abandon those talks in favor of a “unity pact” with Hamas. In any case Mr. Abbas has not exercised authority in Gaza since Hamas seized control in 2007.