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April 21, 2017

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 21, 2017 PAGE 5A By Karen McDonough When Mark Rosenblatt touched down at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv April 5 and powered on his cell phone, he got the surprise of his mobile technology life. Rosenblatt received a text message from his cell phone carrier, Verizon, reading, "Welcome to Palestine." "I did a double take," ~aid Rosenblatt, a high-tech con- sultant from Edgemont, N.Y. He had traveled to Israel to see his daughter, who is studying in a master's degree program at Bar-Il~n University. "I was shocked that an American company was fall- ing into some BDS rhetoric,', Rosenblatt said. According to the most recent study of the wireless market by the research firm Strategy Analytics, Verizon was America's largest cell car- rier at the end of 2016. Verizon spokesman Scott Charlston told in a statement that Ben Gurion Airport "is close to the Israeli border [with the West Bank] and there are cell sites and wireless signals from differ- ent providers on both sides. In general, customers living in or visiting border areas occasionally recelve awireless signal from a cross-border provider. When powering up or leaving airplane mode, the phone connects to the strongest signal available at the time." Charlston also pointed to a similar situation in 2015 involving T-Mobile, in which a customer from the Phila- delphia area was greeted with a "Welcome to Palestine" message when he turned on his cell phone in Israel, the Jewish Exponent reported at the time. To Rosenblatt, that's not an acceptable answer. "Most of Israel is close to a border," he said. "Verizon should be able to handle this challenge, it has to happen all the time. I'd like to hear Verizon admit that it can do better and then do better." Andrea Levin, executive director of the CAMERA me- dia watchdog group, said that private corporations "should get their facts straight like anyone else. There is no state of Palestine. If the Palestinian Authority (PA) were to agree to two states for two peoples, that might be a possibility, but PA President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly said no. Why is Verizon pretending otherwise?" Verizon did not specify to why the company recognizes "Palestine" as a location. In 2012, the United Na- tions granted the Palestin- ians "non-member observer state"recognition, entailing basic but limited participa- tion in the activities of the U.N. General Assembly. Yet Shimon Mercer-Wood, a spokesman for the Consul- ate General of Israel in New York, explained that no Palestinian political entity meets the requirements specified in the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, a treaty establishing the criteria for statehood under interna- tional law. The Montevideo .Conven- tion, signed in Uruguay in December 1933, entered into force one year later. For the Palestinians to claim they qualify for statehood under international law "is a viola- tion of the Oslo Accords, which stipulate Palestinian state- hood is subject to final status negotiations," Mercer-Wood told "I can only hope the infor- mation in the monthly bills they (Verizon) send their subscribers is more accurate," he said. Letters To The Editor We are a diverse community and we welcome your letters and viewpoints. The views and opinions expressed in the opinion pieces and letters published in The Heri- tage are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Heritage Florida Jewish News or its sta~ The Heritage reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, content, and accuracy. And respectful of lashon hara, we will not print derogatory statements against any individual. Please limit letters to 250 words. Send letters to P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to news@ India can assist U.S. in solving Syria problem Dear Editor: The international law which has permitted the United States (without UNSC approval) to carry out a mis- sile attack in Syria against the crime of chemical attack and his government, can, as a logical conclusion, permit the U.S. (without UNSC approval) to arrest Pres. Assad and his government and produce them before an International Court for the war crime of on citizens~ by' Pres. Assad - using chemical weapons, and simultaneously to fill the vacuum by installing another government in Syria through elections. The U.S. military strike in Syria should not be a merely punitive action, rather it should lead to a permanent Syria solution because Syr- ians have already suffered a lot during last seven years in the name of'Arab-spring' and now they should get succor by installing democracy in Syria by the U.S. and its Allies. The U.S. has already ac- cused Russia of complicity (Russian soldiers were alleg- edly at Shayrat air base when Chemical attack took place) with Syrian President Assad and his government in the chemical attack in which ~- 86 civilians (including children) have reportedly died and many more still injured / suffering. Therefore it will serve no purpose if this matter is taken to UNwhere at-least Russia (if not China) will use their veto to stop any U.S. initiative to find a permanent solution to the gory Syria problem. Therefore the U.S. should proceed alone along with allies (from Christian and Muslim countries) whichever wants to join 'US-led Peace Keep- ing Force (PKF) and Election machinery (m/cry),' which will ensure a free and fair election in Syria after bringing peace, and thereafter prepare voter list in Syria, in a time-bound program of say one year. For this 'US-led PKF and Election m/cry', India, which (with much smaller popula- tion) provided about 2 million persons (mostly military) to Britishers during World War I & II each, now with population of about 1.3 bil- lion people (with about 200 million Muslims) can eas- ily provide approximately 10 million persons (including for Election m/cry). If this Indian contingent in 'US led PKF and Election m/cry' is composed of mostly Indian Muslims (both Sunnis and Shias) then it will easily win the confidence and trust of Syrians and it will go a long way in bringing peace and stability to Syria. This model can be emulated later on in other troubled countries. It is assumed that Indian Muslims do not want ISIS and other terrorist organizations to survive in Syria. Rather they want these terrorists to be eliminated from Syria etc. Therefore Indian Muslims (combined of Sunnis and Shias with other Indians) should immediately organize demonstrations at District and State headquarters and also at Jantar-Mantar Delhi and request the government of India (GOI) to ask the U.S. to constitute said PKF and Election m/cray in Syria. Moreover their delegation (combined of Sunnis and Shias with other Indians) should meet with the GOI to request that India should offer persons (even up-to 10 million or more) to 'US-led PKF and Election m/cry' and for which this Muslim delegation should tell GOI that Indian Muslims are prepared to provide the entire requirement of these 10 million Indians. Nothing will be better service of Islam by Indian Muslims (if they really care for Islam given by Prophet Mohammad through Quran) than helping 22 million pro- fusely bleeding and weeping beleaguered Muslims of Syria including their women, chil- dren and old people. Hem Raj Jain, author of "Betrayal of Americanism" Bengaluru, India From page 4A levied sanctions on Russia on Dec. 26. Ignatius reported that in their conversations the subject of those sanctions arose, but that Flynn made no policy determination regarding how the Trump administration would view the sanctions upon enter- ing office. In other words, Flynn did nothing wrong. He did his job. But immediately after the story was published, Flynn was tarred and feathered as a Russian agent. He entered office with Trump on Jan. 20, but was declared "con- troversial," "embattled" and "compromised" from his first day in office. The innuendos followed Flynn like a cloud until he was forced to resign, less than three weeks after entering the White House. Regardless of whether or not Flynn did anything wrong--and no evidence has been proffered to sug- gest that he did anything wrong--his loss was a severe blow to the Trump admin- istration. In one fell swoop, the Obama administration's weaponization of foreign intelligence intercepts had brought down the national security adviser. This .brings us to 2015, and the fight in Washington and throughout the U.S. about Obama's nuclear deal with Tehran. In the 2015 operation, the White House allegedly used intercepted communications between U.S. citizens and Israeli dip- lomats and between Israeli diplomats in Washington and Jerusalem to defame opponents of the nuclear deal. Lawmakers and pri- vate citizens were repeat- edly subjected to condem- nations in the media where unnamed administration sources questioned their loyalty, alleged that they were serving the interests of aforeign power against the U.S., and that in the case of lawmakers, they were bought and paid for by rich Jewish donors. Speaking to Smith, a pro-Israel activist who had participated in the battle against the nuclear deal explained how the White House operation worked. "At some point, the ad- ministration weaponized the NSA's [National Security Agency's] legitimate moni- toring of communications of foreign officials to stay one step ahead of domestic political opponents .... "We began to notice that the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coin- cidence being amplified by our paranoia. After a while, it simply became our work- ing assumption that we were being spied on." Weaponizing intelligence reports was only one way that the Obama adminis- tration abused its power to weaken, silenceand criminalize its domestic opponents. Weaponizing the IRS was another way. And just as Obama's IRS was used to hound conser- vative groups that opposed Obama's domestic agenda, so it was used to discriminate against pro-Israel groups that opposed Obama's Middle East policies. The most well-known case of such abuse was the IRS's failure to approve the request for nonprofit status submitted by Z Street, a pro-Israel educational or- ganization. After being told by the IRS that its application for nonprofit status was being subjected to "special scrutiny" due to its Israel- centric agenda, and the fact that it advocated views that "contradict those of the administration," Z Street sued the IRS for viewpoint discrimination. The IRS attempted to get the case dismissed, but a panel of three irate federal judges rejected its request. After slow rolling its re- sponse to the lawsuit, ahead of Obama's departure from office, the IRS suddenly ap- proved Z Street's request for nonprofit status, seven years after it was first requested. At the same time, the IRS continued to refuse to provide Z Street with the documents that informed its decision to discriminate against it. And it refused to explain how its decision to discriminate against U.S. citizens in its tax policies on the basis of their political opposition to the adminis- tration's policies was legal. There are several aspects of the story of Obama's abuse of power, and the fact that Israel and its U.S. allies were key targets of that abuse, that are important beyond the domestic discourse in the U.S. First, the Obama admin- istration's abuse of foreign intelligence to wage political warfare against pro-Israel activists and lawmakers who support Israel during the Iran battle tells us that the Obama administration viewed supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel alliance as its political enemies. This is remarkable. Moreover, the fact that Z Street and other US non- profit groups that espouse positions on Israel at odds to the Obama administra- tion's views were specifically targeted for discrimination by the IRS indicates that the Obama administration's political war against US sup- port for Israel was all-encom- passing. It wasn't limited to the realm of foreign policy. It related as well to the abil- ity to Americans to educate their fellow citizens on the need for a robust partnership with a strong Israel. The second thing that we learn from our deepening understanding of the Obama administration's apparent weaponization of the federal bureaucracy as a means to defeat and undermine its political opponents is that apparently, Obama's top aides deliberately acted to undermine Trump's ability to govern. This is particu- larly apparent in everything related to foreign policy. As Adam Kredo from The Washington Free Beacon has documented, in its last months, the Obama admin- istration ensured that the National Security Council's budget would be depleted, in order to deny the Trump administration the abil- ity to hire new staffers. It hired political appointees into the civil service and then burrowed them in the National Security Council and other key government departments, to undermine and discredit the Trump administration from within. For instance, in its waning days, the State Department extended Yael Lempert's tenure at the National Se- curity Council for two years. Lempert is a foreign service officer notorious for her rabid opposition to Israel. In another example, last July, Obama moved Sahar Nowrouzzadeh from his National Security Council, where Nowrouzzadeh served as Iran director, to the State Department, where he isnow in charge of policy planning on Iran and the Persian Gulf. As professional foreign service officers, both Lem- pert and Nowrouzzadeh are essentially impossible to fire or move. In an interview with PBS following Nunes's revela- tions, Susan Rice falsely de- nied that the Obama White House had "unmasked" incoming Trump admin- istration personnel whose conversations with foreign- ers were intercepted by the intelligence community. After denying the charges, Rice was asked her view of Trump's foreign policy so far. Rice responded derisively. She noted that despite Trump's criticism of the Obama administration's lackadaisical and stalled campaign against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the policy the Trump adminis- tration is enacting against ISIS on the ground is es- sentially the same policy that the Obama administration implemented, "as it should be," she added, with a smirk. In reality, if indeed Trump is implementing Obama's ISIS policy, his failure to enact a new policy there, and indeed, the perceived chaos and disarray of his foreign policy across the board, is not a function of Trump's incompetence or of the inex- perience of his advisers. To the extent that Trump has failed to date to enact a clear foreign policy, this week's disclosures strengthen the sense that his failure owes primarily to the-deliberate subversion of his administra- tion by his predecessor. Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. Caroline Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC, the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post and a contributor to the Jewish World Review.