…the rejection rate for U.S. visa applications filed by Israeli nationals between the ages of 21 and 27.
The concern centers on young Israelis planning to travel in the United States after the completion of their compulsory military service but before they complete their educations.
The refusal rate for Israeli visa applicants, while fluctuating somewhat from year to year, has risen from 2.5 percent in fiscal 2007 to 9.7 percent last year, according to State Department figures.
I didn’t really want to post on this, but since Barack Obama feels the need to spout off on it…
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House tomorrow, President Barack Obama will tell him that his country could face a bleak future — one of international isolation and demographic disaster — if he refuses to endorse a U.S.-drafted framework agreement for peace with the Palestinians. Obama will warn Netanyahu that time is running out for Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy. And the president will make the case that Netanyahu, alone among Israelis, has the strength and political credibility to lead his people away from the precipice.
In an hourlong interview Thursday in the Oval Office, Obama, borrowing from the Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel, told me that his message to Netanyahu will be this: “If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?” He then took a sharper tone, saying that if Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach.” He added, “It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.”
Good. Shame it’s not a literal spanking:
A new bipartisan bill introduced Thursday in the House would strip all federal funds from any U.S. academic institution that decides to boycott Israel, according to a copy of the newly filed legislation obtained by the Free Beacon.
The introduction of the bill marks the first time that Congress has sought to level harsh economic penalties on federally funded universities that seek to boycott the Jewish state.
…and institutions and individuals who participate in it should be ashamed of themselves. Glenn Reynolds thinks that the best way to hit the ASA over this is the “withdrawal of funding to attend ASA events:” I’ll add that this can very easily be the soft option… and no, I’m not going to tell you what the harder options are. I want it to be a surprise and most of you can already guess, anyway.
Yes, there’s a contradiction there. I do that, sometimes.
There is a saying: People are always most conservative about the things that they care about. Senator Charles Schumer apparently cares quite a good deal about our ally Israel not being consumed in a nuclear fire. His remarks Sunday night about Iranian sanctions:
Via Hot Air, including a partial transcript. Spoilers: Schumer’s for more sanctions, and is worried about what will happen to Israel if Iran gets a nuke. Like most of the rest of the country, mind you. (more…)
Applications of pro-Israel groups for tax-exempt status are routinely routed to an antiterrorism unit within the Internal Revenue Service for additional screening, according to the testimony of a Cincinnati-based IRS agent.
Asked by investigators whether “all pro-Israel applicants went to the terrorism unit,” Muthert responded, “Probably . . . foreign activity, pro-Israel — if it is any type of foreign activity, it will go to the antiterrorism area.” Screeners like Muthert must consult the list of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Treasury Department office that enforces economic and trade sanctions, and “the terrorist list . . . because a lot of organizations will create charities to funnel the money to terrorist countries.”
That indeed is what CNN is reporting.
The United States believes Israel has conducted an airstrike into Syria, two U.S. officials tell CNN.
You know, I remember a time when the Israelis would simply tell us if they had or not. Of course, there’s a whole lot of other things I remember as working more smoothly before… oh, say, 2009 or so.
PS: On the bright side, they should start doing that again in… oh, say, 2017 or so.
As in, he’s suddenly discovering that believing in shadowy Jewish conspiracies – pardon me: the ‘Jewish lobby’… wait, no, that’s not really better – anyway, Chuck Hagel is right now getting a spotlight put upon him in response to the rumor that he’s being considered for Secretary of Defense. A spotlight, in fact, that perhaps Chuck Hagel has not had to date. Along those lines, Wall Street Journal op-ed writer Bret Stephens notes:
…[W]hatever other political pressures Mr. Hagel might have had to endure during his years representing the Cornhusker state, winning over the state’s Jewish voters—there are an estimated 6,100 Jewish Nebraskans in a state of 1.8 million people—was probably not a major political concern for Mr. Hagel compared to, say, the ethanol lobby.
Just some things to keep in mind:
- Chuck Hagel has a problem with Israel. Specifically – and as per the, um, National Jewish Democratic Council – Chuck Hagel has a real problem with supporting Israel over the terrorist groups that have been trying to destroy Israel within my lifetime, and probably yours as well. It was reported that American Jewish leaders gave administration staffers an earful about this Thursday night; the President should keep that in mind. And that Hagel’s views on Israel are NOT mainstream.
- Chuck Hagel tried to stab SENATOR-ELECT Deb Fischer (R) in the back. Via Pejamn Youzehzadeh‘s new site (check it out) comes a reminder that, just before the election, Hagel went to Nebraska to try to torpedo the election of Deb Fischer to the US Senate by flashily endorsing Bob Kerrey. This was, of course, unsuccessful (as National Review noted, Hagel isn’t exactly a native Nebraskan anymore; as I’ll note, neither is Kerrey); but the fact that it happened should serve as an indication that there is no need to give Chuck Hagel any more of a pass on issues than you would any other creature of the Obama administration.
- Chuck Hagel wants to drastically change policy on our national defense. As in, he wants to drastically cut our nuclear arsenal. How this stance will jibe with the Obama administration’s stubborn resistance to missile defense (the reduction of nukes assumes a vigorous missile defense system) is theoretically still up in the air, but presumably Chuck Hagel really, really wants to be Secretary of Defense.
- Chuck Hagel tried to stab Senator Pat Toomey (R) in the back, too. Hagel endorsed Joe Sestak for that Pennsylvania Senate race – allegedly largely over Israel policy, as well.
- Chuck Hagel advises a bank allegedly under investigation for violating sanctions against Iran. The Washington Free Beacon broke this one yesterday: to be fair, Deustche Bank is currently denying everything about said investigation, including the fact that it exists. It did not, however, deny that it had bought itself a former US Senator for its executive board. It’s what’s legal that’s the crime, huh?
- There are whispers of election fraud in Chuck Hagel’s past. Keywords: “Hagel, American Information Systems.” I mention this not because I believe those rumors; but because I want to see the conspiracy theorists on the Left squirm a little when they contemplate that if Hagel gets nominated they’re going to have to fall in line and support him anyway. Which the Left will still do, of course – but at least this way they can do it with gritted teeth.
“Run” is sufficient. This is the big leagues, kids: and the one problem with being hidden in the shadows is that nobody notices when you disappear.
PS: Google “Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh” some time, folks. And note what happened to the core team involved there. Spoiler warning: not a damned thing.
Seriously, what the heck was Mother Jones thinking? Were they thinking? It’s hard to tell.