Thursday, October 23, 2008
Jihad on J Street:
What is J Street?
By Morrie Amitay
Founder, Washington Political Action Committee
The current election cycle witnessed the creation of .J Street. and the J
Street PAC. J Street describes itself as the .political arm of the
pro-Israel, pro-peace movement. seeking to .change the direction of
American policy in the Middle East and to broaden the public and policy
debate in the U.S. about the Middle East..
J Street was formed to give a political voice to the more established
.blame Israel first. groups, such as - Americans for Peace Now, Brit
Tzedek V.Shalom and the somewhat less critical Israel Policy Forum. To no
surprise, J Street.s creation was heralded as a .much needed, important
new development. by American Arab lobbyist and fanatical Israel critic,
James Zogby of the Arab American Institute.
This Congress, J Street took .pride. in supporting resistance to a
.dangerous. non-binding House resolution (H.Con. Res. 362) -- co-sponsored
by 280 members of the House -- .expressing the sense of Congress regarding
the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and
the vital national security interests of the United States by ban.s
pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony..
The J Street PAC makes contributions and endorses members of Congress and
candidates based on J Street.s principles. This year J Street PAC endorsed
the following House members; Tom Allen (in his race against the very
pro-Israel Senator Susan Collins of Maine), Earl Blumenaur, Charles
Boustany, Lois Capps, Steve Cohen, Susan Davis, Bill Delahunt, Donna
Edwards, Keith Ellison, Bob Filner, Rush Holt, Betty McCollum, David
Price, Jan Schakowsky, Adam Schiff, Joe Sestak, Rob Wexler, and John
Yarmuth. Also endorsed was the challenger to pro-Israel Senator Gordon
Smith of Oregon.
A large number of J Street PAC endorsed members of Congress have some of
the poorest Israel/Middle East related voting records in the House.
Accordingly, many are also among the 33 House Members in the 110th
Congress Pro-Arab .Hall of Fame. as determined by the virulently
anti-Israel, .Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs.. Of interest
also is that while J Street PAC claims to be .non-partisan. there was only
one Republican (Boustany of LA) .pro-Israel. enough for them to endorse.
As a matter of policy, the Washington PAC has decided not to contribute to
Members of Congress and candidates who accept endorsements by J Street
PAC. We hope that truly pro-Israel political contributors will do
Morris J. Amitay
2. Palestine? Never hoid of da bum!
3. New tactics for campus jihadniks:
4. Send torpedoes, fast!
5. Happy Orange Day:
6. Jewish Press endorses McCain:
7. From the Wall Street Journal: From the Beirut Bombing to 9/11
Liberal assaults on the executive branch have made us vulnerable.
By ROBERT F. TURNER
Twenty-five years ago today a terrorist truck bomb in Beirut, Lebanon,
killed 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers, and wounded more than 100
others. Had it not been for crass political partisanship, and efforts by
Sen. Joe Biden and other congressional liberals to usurp the
constitutional powers of the president, the loss of life in Beirut may
have been avoided.
In part because it did, Osama bin Laden concluded that America could not
accept casualties and ordered the 9/11 attacks. Similar congressional
usurpation of presidential power over foreign intelligence played an
important role in guaranteeing the success of those attacks.
This story goes back at least to November 1973, when congressional
liberals pushed through the War Powers Resolution -- which claimed
congressional control over all use of military force abroad -- overriding
a presidential veto. (All seven American presidents since then have shared
the view that that statute is unconstitutional.)
President Reagan sent the Marines to Beirut as part of a multinational
peacekeeping operation that included forces from Great Britain, Italy and
France. The purpose was to help maintain peace while the feuding factions
tried to negotiate an end to years of strife. Nevertheless, Democrats --
particularly in the Senate -- decided to turn the deployment into a
partisan issue in preparation for the 1984 elections. They demanded under
the War Powers Resolution to know exactly when the troops would return
Gen. P.X. Kelley, the commandant of the Marine Corps, respectfully
cautioned the Foreign Relations Committee that a partisan debate about
placing time limits on the deployment would encourage hostile forces
inimical to the "life and limb of the Marines." Senior Democrats denounced
this warning as a "ludicrous argument" designed to "intimidate the
Congress and to frighten the American people."
Referring to the assertion that the Senate debate would encourage attacks
on Marines, Sen. Biden said, "My response to that is that may be true . .
. but until we . . . invoke the War Powers Act," we are always going to be
"beaten over the head by every administration that says 60 days is not
enough time." In the end, only two Senate Democrats voted on Sept. 29,
1983, to "authorize" the continued deployment.
Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam announced during the
congressional debate that America was "short of breath." And as reported
in U.S. News & World Report, American intelligence intercepted a message
between two radical Muslim militia groups that read: "If we kill 15
Marines, the rest will leave." At sunrise on the morning of Oct. 23, 1983,
a terrorist truck bomb crashed into the Marine Headquarters in Beirut and
exploded. Early the following year, the surviving Marines were withdrawn.
During a 1998 interview with an ABC News reporter in Afghanistan, Osama
bin Laden declared that this withdrawal proved Americans can't accept
casualties. It was obviously a consideration in his decision to order the
9/11 terrorist attacks. But the conventional wisdom, that those deadly
attacks resulted from "an intelligence failure," doesn't tell the full
A major reason we failed to detect the 9/11 attacks in advance was
because, beginning in the 1970s, Congress launched a major public attack
on the intelligence community. Mr. Biden, for example, was one of 17
senators to vote on Oct. 2, 1974, to make all covert operations (even
espionage in some cases) unlawful. In 1986, he bragged in a New Republic
interview that he'd personally blocked planned covert operations during
the Reagan administration simply by threatening to leak them. (That
statement calls to mind John Jay's observation, in Federalist No. 64, that
because Congress could not be trusted to keep secrets, the Constitution
left the president "able to manage the business of intelligence as
prudence might suggest.")
In 1978, Congress continued its intrusion into presidential powers by
enacting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), making it a
felony for intelligence professionals to monitor communications between
foreign terrorists abroad and individuals within the U.S. without first
getting a special warrant. But in a unanimous opinion, the appellate court
established by FISA observed that every court to decide the issue had held
the president has "inherent authority" under the Constitution "to conduct
warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information," adding:
"We take for granted that the President does have that authority . . ."
Congress failed to anticipate in FISA the dangers posed by a terrorist
like Zacarias Moussaoui -- which is why FBI agents were unable to examine
the contents of Moussaoui's laptop computer and perhaps prevent the 9/11
attacks. Michael Hayden, then Director of the National Security Agency
(NSA), later expressed his "professional judgment" that had these legal
constraints (FISA) not existed "we would have detected some of the 9/11 al
Qaeda operatives in the United States" prior to the attacks, and "we would
have identified them as such."
As we pause today to honor the memory of the 241 brave young Marines who
lost their lives in 1983, Americans should vow that political partisanship
should never again be permitted to endanger our country and its armed
Mr. Turner is a constitutional scholar who served as acting assistant
secretary of state for legislative affairs in 1984-85.
9. Can I hold the sword?
10. Ex-Israeli academics go a-jihading: