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Israel Film Fest in Los Angeles- Part 2: What it says about the culture - and the complexity of disseminating films on broadcast and cable TV

What the Festival and its movies reveal about this besieged, liberal oasis, and the complexity of getting the stories seen by new-eyes on broadcast and cable TV.

Playlist (manually advance-able) features:

Mr. Omer Hazan from "Don't Wait for Me;"

Mr. Ehud Bleiberg, Producer of "Image of Victory;"

Ms. Agam Schuster from lesbian relation film, "Two;"

Ms. Daphna Ziman from CineMoi Satellite and Cable Channel;

Mr. David Suissa, publisher of The Jewish Journal of L.A. newsmagazine;

Mr. Shimon Sheves, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's Chief of Staff, now businessman. Mr. Sheves' mother lived in the Kibbutz Nitzanim;

Mr. Mike Burstyn, director, "Azimuth," and foreign language dubbing chief for Netflix; 

Plus a "the making of" promotional clip from "Berenshtein" filmmaker Roman Shumonov about the Berenshtein film produced by Ronen Machlis Balzam;

And, a panel discussion between Fest director Meir Fenigstein and Mr. Balzam. 

Henry Winkler, joined by Jewish, "Happy Days" pals, provide welcomed spark to revived Israel Film Festival in Hollywood

Henry Winkler as orthodox dad in "Chanshi"
Henry Winkler portrays a Hassidic father in an Israel-set TV series, "Chanshi" resulted in the Israel Film Festival recognizing him with a Career Achievement Award at the Festival's launch in Los Angeles. And the Festival honored the actor, director, producer by reunion with his fellow "Happy Days" Jewish alumni.

Happy Days' surviving Jewish cast-members (sans the late, Tom ("Howard Cunningham") Bosely) reunited as Henry Winkler was honored with Career Achievement by the Israel Film Festival. Anson (Potsie Webber) Williams and Don (Ralph Malph) Most attended in support of colleague, Winkler.

Elon Gold, Mark Feuerstein, Anson Williams, Henry Winkler, Meir Fenigstein, and Don Most attend the 35th Israel Film Festival in L.A. Sponsor Luncheon at Four Seasons Hotel L.A, April 29, 2022
Mr. Winkler regaled the mostly Israeli-American audience with a show and tell from his trip to the Holy Land, where he filmed segments for the Israeli-American co-production of "Chanshi" and was given a tour of the country, courtesy of the Israeli government.

I.F.F. director Meir Fenigstein; Humanitarian awardee David Wiener; Israeli Southwest Consul General Dr. Hillel Newman; and Career Achievement Awardee Henry Winkler

Festival supporter, Daphna Ziman (co-founder of the Cinemoi TV Channel) presented the Humanitarian Award to philanthropist David Wiener, who (unlike a number of his family members) survived the Auschwitz Holocaust death camp. 

Mike Burstyn, Daphna Ziman, David Wiener, and
Meir Fenigstein pose for Humanitarian Awarding

Mr. Wiener lifted himself by his bootstraps sufficiently to establish a real-estate portfolio which enabled him to support Zionistic causes, such as the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles and occasionally in New York and Miami. In his acceptance speech, he stressed the importance of maintaining pride in our Jewish identity. This is a dynamic reconfirmed by actor Mark Feuerstein, who played Henry Winkler's son in "Royal Pains," a USA Network series about boutique doctors in The Hamptons. Mr. Feurerstein told JooTube how he continues to stand strongly Zionistic and doesn't perceive that that Hollywood casting or production has held it against him.

Mark Feurerstein admires the Festival's poster

The Israel Film Festival returns beginning Thursday 6 May for 2 weeks in Los Angeles. Henry Winkler, Anson Williams, and Don Most reunite for his Lifetime Achievement Award. Winkler stars in Israeli-American series, "Chanshi." Just how Jewish are the co-stars in their upbringings? How about prolific show director, Garry Marshall?

The festival runs for two weeks from 7 May through 26th. To read details, please refer to the schedule and synopses available, along with movie trailers at https://IsraelFilmFestival.com/

While other Christian denominations pursue B.D.S., the NRB - Nat'l Religious (Christian) Broadcasters Assoc advocates FOR Israel

Israeli Folk Dancers entertained Nat'l Christian Broadcasters Assoc. in 2014

The National Religious Broadcasters Association ("N.R.B.") is comprised of primarily of Christian radio and television broadcasters and program providers. The annual N.R.B. conventions we have attended over the past dozen years typically include Israel - whether as a current events topic in lecture sessions, or at expo booths from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism that feature travel and tour operators. From time to time, the Association will issue a public statement regarding Israel, such as in 2016, when the Association, under President Dr.

Jerry Johnson, urged President Barack Obama and Members of Congress to make it clear to the world that the United States is and will remain Israel’s tried and true friend.

"When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington, DC, next week, I urge President Barack Obama and Members of Congress to make it clear to the world that the United States is and will remain Israel’s tried and true friend.”In the wake of recent oppression and violence in the Middle East, Johnson further commented, “The democratic principles upheld by Israel offer Christians and other persecuted groups in the region a hope for peace and liberty. We cannot allow that beacon of freedom to be darkened.”


In 2018, ten major U.S. Christian denominations Went a step beyond statements of affirmation, i.e,

they are now materially participating, to some degree, in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement, which aims to hold Israel "accountable to international law." These are the Alliance of Baptists, Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Mennonite Church USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), Roman Catholic Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, as well as the World Communion of Reformed Churches (a confederation that overlaps some of the above).

Since some Christian denominations do advocate B.D.S. towards Israel, at the N.R.B.'s Proclaim Convention in Anaheim March 2019, we asked N.R.B. spokesman, James A. Smith about the N.R.B. publicly reiterating its support for Israel and praising the Trump Administration's moves to rectify the political isolation of Israel.

"The NRB Board of Directors at their annual meeting this year adopted another resolution unanimously supporting the right of Israel to exist, commending the Trump administration for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, for commending the Trump administration for declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel and many other aspects of this matter the fifth resolution of this kind in five years that demonstrates there is no lessening of support for Israel within NRB. Israel remains a core concern and conviction for many NRB members that hasn't changed that's not going to change and it's a very important issue for our members."

"It would be probably be safe to say that evangelical Christians dominate religious broadcasting because evangelicals dominate the religious landscape in America in many different ways. But it is true that there are many other kinds of broadcasters in America - some of which are not Evangelical - some of which are not even Christian, let alone Evangelical. But Evangelical broadcasting is very strong in the United States, as represented in the strength of N.R.B.

At NRB's Israel's 70th Independence tribute luncheon, we asked Gordon Robertson why CBN produces pro-Israel news and documentaries- and why their's have consistently been the most reliably objective - - not distorted by anti-Zionist leftist propagandists, an endemic problem among mainstream international news reporters and outlets. 

JooTube asked Mr. Robertson, "How is it that the mainstream (Associated Press, Reuters and the international broadcasters) don't seem to get what your Jerusalem Bureau-Chief, Chris Mitchell, can see so plainly?

Mr. Robertson replied, "Well, I think a lot of it has to do with if you want access within the Palestinian Authority then essentially you have to play it from their point of view. So if you want to have those interviews in Ramallah, they will hold it against you if you report things accurately from an Israeli point of view. So that's, I think, the main reason you see it - and it's nothing new in covering the Middle East. We saw it with Saddam Hussein before he was overthrown in Iraq - that if you wanted to get an interview with him there were certain requirements. So we like our independent voice, we like that we're Christian, and we just want to report accurately on what's happening in Israel!

Democrats' gift to power-mad Putin - at the expense of Israel & US' European allies

US Amb. to Israel Thomas Nides joined by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Rep. Adam Schiff (part of a delegation of a dozen congressional lawmakers visiting Israel) declared "US remains ironclad ...
in our support of Israel's security and its regional stability" (AP Photo: Wed 16 Feb 2022)

CBN News reports:

"The visit comes amid tense negotiations in Vienna between world leaders and Iran to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which restricted Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The deal collapsed in 2018 after former US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned it.

Since then, the US has reimposed sanctions and Iran has dramatically ramped up its nuclear activities, amassing a stockpile of enriched uranium that goes well beyond the limits set by the original nuclear deal.

While the US and Israel agree that Iran should never become a nuclear power, they have deep differences over how to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel opposes the nuclear agreement, arguing that it doesn’t go far enough to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions or address Iran’s missile capabilities and support for terror groups in the region. Meanwhile, the US wants to renew and expand the original accord to address Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Israel has said it is not bound by the nuclear agreement and has threatened military action against the Islamic republic. Iran insists its nuclear program is only for civilian purposes.

During her visit, Pelosi also reiterated the Biden administration’s commitment to Palestinian statehood, which is opposed by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett."

Concomitantly on Feb 16, '22, Abby Liebing, Associate Reporter for Western Journal, reported

As tensions between Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and NATO continue, it is affecting the Mediterranean world as well as Europe’s energy sector. The U.S. is pulling its support for an Israeli underground natural gas pipeline that would run from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

Many are predicting this will simply cause more problems in the region. Moreover, this decision from the Biden administration undercuts Israel, one of America’s most steadfast allies.

Pres. Donald Trump's administration supported the EastMed Pipeline, but the Biden administration has environmental and economic concerns about the project, Reuters reported.

The proposed pipeline would have given Europe an alternative to its heavy dependence on Russian gas. It would have conveyed about 10 billion cubic yards of Israeli and Cypriot natural gas to Europe via Greece and Italy each year, according to The Hill.

Recently, Europe has been suffering from an energy crisis, which has led to soaring natural gas and electricity prices. Since Russia is Europe’s main supplier, the current geopolitical tensions with Ukraine and the U.S. have given Moscow the ability to further spike prices.

Now, the Biden administration has effectively ended all hopes for the EastMed Pipeline.

Analyst Ariel Cohen called this a “strategic mistake.”

“This is a disastrous decision that imperils European security and opens the door for further Russian energy hegemony in European gas markets,” Cohen wrote for The Hill. “It should be reversed.”

While the U.S. cited economic and environmental concerns in its opposition to the pipeline, Israeli outlet Haaretz pointed to the Biden administration’s fear of Russia as the real heart of the issue.

“A pipeline that will bring Israeli gas to Europe could anger Russian President Vladimir Putin, who would lose some of his customers. Even though the amount of gas that Israel could supply to Europe is minuscule compared to the needs of countries on the continent, a project of this nature would influence the arm-wrestling between Moscow and Washington,” Haaretz reported.

Some are accusing Biden of trying to appease Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as well as Putin.

Erdoğan has always maintained that Israel should have to sell its gas to Europe through Turkey, according to the Gatestone Institute. The EastMed Pipeline would have bypassed Turkey.

“The Americans do not want the pipeline because Ankara might get angry,” said Theofrastos Andreopoulos, a defense analyst.

Meanwhile, Russia is interested in dominating the European energy market.

Democratic lawmakers have actually supported Nord Stream 2, a Russian gas pipeline to Europe, and stopped Republicans from imposing sanctions that would have hurt it.

For this, Republicans have condemned Democrats and the Biden administration.

“The reversal on the EastMed pipeline becomes only more hypocritical and offensive given the fact that President Biden continues to clear the path towards completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” GOP Reps. Gus Bilirakis of Florida and Nicole Malliotakis of New York wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The Biden administration’s decision to kill the Israeli pipeline, which would have countered Russia’s energy dominance in Europe, will simply make security issues in the region worse — at the worst possible time.

Marilyn Bergman, legendary lyricist and longtime ASCAP head, passes at 93

Marilyn Bergman, the Oscar-winning lyricist who teamed with husband Alan Bergman on “The Way We Were,” “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” and hundreds of other songs, died at her Los Angeles home Saturday. She was 93.

She died of respiratory failure not related to COVID-19, according to a representative, Jason Lee. Her husband, Alan, was at her bedside when she died.

The Bergmans, who married in 1958, were among the most enduring, successful and productive songwriting partnerships, specializing in introspective ballads for film, television and the stage that combined the romance of Tin Pan Alley with the polish of contemporary pop. They worked with some of the world’s top melodists, including Marvin Hamlisch, Cy Coleman and Michel Legrand, and were covered by some of the world’s greatest singers, from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson.

“If one really is serious about wanting to write songs that are original, that really speak to people, you have to feel like you created something that wasn’t there before — which is the ultimate accomplishment, isn’t it?” Marilyn Bergman told The Huffington Post in 2013. “And to make something that wasn’t there before, you have to know what came before you.”

Alan Bergman (before he addressed the audience at the L.A. Jewish Film Festival a few years ago) discussed with JewTube their body of work (e.g., "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life") and Jewish cultural and artistic influences on them. He opined on why so many Jewish-Americans made careers in the arts - writing, music, theater, and film.

Their songs included the sentimental Streisand-Neil Diamond duet “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” Sinatra’s snappy “Nice ’n’ Easy” and Dean Martin’s dreamy “Sleep Warm.” They helped write the uptempo themes to the 1970s sitcoms “Maude” and “Good Times” and "Alice" collaborated on words and music for the 1978 Broadway show “Ballroom.”

But they were best known for their contributions to films, turning out themes sometimes remembered more than the movies themselves. Among the highlights: Stephen Bishop’s “It Might Be You,” from “Tootsie”; Noel Harrison’s “The Windmills of Your Mind,” from “The Thomas Crown Affair”; and, for “Best Friends,” the James Ingram-Patti Austin duet “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?”

Alan and Marilyn Bergman share Oscars with
Marvin Hamlisch for "The Way We Were" in 1974
Their peak was “The Way We Were,” from the Streisand-Robert Redford romantic drama of the same name. Set to Hamlisch’s moody, pensive melody, with Streisand’s voice rising throughout, it was the top-selling song of 1974 and an instant standard, proof that well into the rock era the public still embraced an old-fashioned ballad.

Fans would have struggled to identify a picture of the Bergmans, or even recognize their names, but they had no trouble summoning the words to “The Way We Were”:

“Memories, may be beautiful and yet / What’s too painful to remember / We simply choose to forget / So it’s the laughter / We will remember / Whenever we remember / The way we were.”

The Bergmans won three Oscars — for “The Way We Were,” “Windmills of Your Mind” and the soundtrack to Streisand’s “Yentl” — and received 16 nominations, three of them in 1983 alone. They also won two Grammys and four Emmys and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Fellow composer Quincy Jones called news of her death crushing. “You, along with your beloved Alan, were the epitome of Nadia Boulanger’s belief that ‘an artist can never be more or less than they are as a human being,’” he tweeted.

“To those of us who loved the Bergmans’ lyrics, Marilyn takes a bit our our hearts and souls with her today,” tweeted Norman Lear, creator of “Maude” and “Good Times.”

Marilyn Bergman became the first woman elected to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and later served as the chair and president. She was also the first chair of the National Recorded Sound Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

Streisand worked with them throughout her career, recording more than 60 of their songs and dedicating an entire album, “What Matters Most,” to their material. The Bergmans met her when she was 18, a nightclub singer, and soon became close friends.

“I just love their words, I love the sentiment, I love their exploration of love and relationships,” Streisand told The Associated Press in 2011.

On Saturday, she posted a picture of herself with the Bergmans on Twitter, saying they were like family, as well as brilliant lyricists.

“We met over 60 years ago backstage at a little nightclub, and never stopped loving each other and working together,” Streisand wrote. “Their songs are timeless, and so is our love. May she rest in peace.”

Like Streisand, the Bergmans were Jews from lower-middle-class families in Brooklyn. They were born in the same hospital, Alan four years earlier than Marilyn, whose unmarried name was Katz, and they were raised in the same neighborhood and were fans of music and movies since childhood. They both moved to Los Angeles in 1950 — Marilyn had studied English and psychology at New York University — but didn’t meet until a few years later, when they were working for the same composer.

The Bergmans appeared to be free of the boundaries and tensions of many songwriting teams. They likened their chemistry to housework (one washes, one dries) or to baseball (pitching and catching), and were so in tune with each other that they struggled to recall who wrote a given lyric.

“Our partnership as writers or as husband and wife?” Marilyn told The Huffington Post when asked about their relationship. “I think the aspects of both are the same: Respect, trust, all of that is necessary in a writing partnership or a business partnership or in a marriage.”

Besides her husband, Bergman is survived by their daughter, Julie Bergman, and a granddaughter.

Written by Hillel Italie. AP media writer David Bauder contributed to this report.

For more information see Marilyn and Alan Bergman's website.

Eyewitnesses to (and scholars of) Israel's founding contradict allegations of illegitimacy

On the 29th of November 1947, the UN General Assembly voted on Resolution 181, adopting a plan (the United Nations' 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine) to partition the British Mandate into two states, one Jewish, one Arab.  Israel's Foreign Affairs Agency characterizes it's significance :

UN General Assembly Resolution 181 remains relevant even today for three key reasons: Resolution 181 confirmed the 1922 recognition by the international community that the Jewish people deserve their own state, a Jewish state, in their historical homeland. The resolution called for the establishment of two states for two peoples - Jewish and Arab - between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, each fulfilling the national aspirations of its respective populations. That formula remains Israel's position with regards to peace negotiations.

Then as now, a Palestinian state can only be established through compromise and mutual recognition. The refusal by the Arab population of the mandate territory to accept Resolution 181 demonstrated that they were not interested in establishing their own state if it meant allowing the existence of a Jewish state. This opposition to acknowledging the right of a Jewish state to exist still lies at the core of the conflict.

The U.N. partitioned Palestine into territories for a Jewish and a Muslim state

Recently in Los Angeles, Steven Geiger's "Mensch Foundation" reprised their 2017 commemoration of the Partition plan at their annual Mensch Awards. This year's live panel discussion was introduced by an informative, 9-minute documentary, "The Story of a Vote: November 29, 1947" by Israel-based history chroniclers, Eric Weisberg and Pereg Levy of Toldot Yisrael. Their advisor, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, participated in the panel discussion regarding the issue - along with fellow scholars, Israeli-American Prof. Judea Pearl of U.C.L.A., and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, assistant dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The discussion, viewable here (edited by  Jewish Life TV), was moderated by Stanley Goldman, a professor at Loyola Law School.

Dr. Judea Pearl, UCLA Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence opines in this exclusive video interview at the event to JooTube's questions:

What did it mean when the U.N. ratified their Partition Plan for Palestine on Nov 29, 1947 -- and what does it say, which contradicts Palestinian allegations that Israel was established on upon sovereign Palestinian Arab state?

Why haven't Palestinian politicians accepted Israel's offers for developing an independent sovereign, and stop pilfering payments of international aid?

How can the EU, U.N., and America advocate for an Israeli-ceded, Palestinian state - before the Islamist politicians permanently stop inciting Jew-hatred and reconquering Jews' sovereignty in Israel?  Click for answers here:


In "The Most Legitimate State on Earth" (Tablet Magazine, Nov 28th, '21) writer Liel Leibovitz asks and answers:

International recognition to the Jewish right to an independent state- ratified by the U.N. 74-years ago on Nov 29th, 1947

Prof. Judea Pearl and Steven Geiger commemorate UN's 70th
Anniversary of Partitioning Palestine for a Jewish Israel 
at Sinai Temple ceremony, L.A. 27 Nov '17
  (Republished to commemorate this significant date in Jewish history): Hungarian-American, Steven Geiger's Mensch Foundation commemorated The U.N.'s Partition Plan for Palestine anniversary with a  dramatic reading and panel discussion before an audience at Los Angeles' Sinai Temple in November '17. He will reprise this event tonight, Monday 29 November.

"November 29 – the Jewish Thanksgiving Day" by Judea Pearl - Jerusalem Post, November 27, 2017

"Finally, let us remind the Arab world that the UN voted for two states, not for a Jewish state only.

"For several years now, I have been campaigning to declare November 29 the Jewish Thanksgiving Day; a day where we give thanks to Lady History and to the many heroic players who stood behind the historic UN vote of November 29, 1947, an event which has changed so dramatically the physical, spiritual and political life of every Jew in our generation.

I have argued that Jewish communities in every major city in the world should invite the consuls general of the 33 countries who voted yes on that fateful day to thank them publicly for listening to their conscience and, defying the pressures of the time, voting to grant the Jewish nation what other nations take for granted – a state of its own.  . . .

This year, on its 70th year anniversary, I will celebrate November 29 by myself, if needed, and if you and you community care to join me, it would make the celebration so much more meaningful."

Israeli-American actor/director, Mike Burstyn, dramatically reads "The U.N.'s Vote" to Partition Palestine - which recognized Jewish Israel:

Judea Pearl recalls UN's partitioning Israel & Arab Palestine
The Jews accepted it and the Muslims rejected it, although it gave them 70 percent of Mandate Palestine. Prof. Judea Pearl, born in Palestine, looks back and assesses our fight against anti-Zionists today.

Prof. Michael Berenbaum on the credit-due Pres. Harry Truman in recognizing Israeli sovereignty. Historian, Dr. Michael Berenbaum relates the circumstances surrounding the U.N. vote to Partition Palestine into one Arab and one Jewish state. Recorded at Sinai Temple commemoration, Nov 27, 2017. Prof. Judea Pearl looks on from Dr. Berenbaum's left side. The late, Prof. Michael Bazyler (z't'l) looks on from his right.

Let us give thanks to the 33 countries who voted yes on the spectacular turn that Jewish history took in November 1947, and for the dignity, pride and self-image that every Jewish soul has enjoyed since.

Let us give thanks to Eddie Jacobson, president Harry S. Truman’s friend and former business partner from Kansas City, who risked that friendship and wrote to Truman on October 3, 1947: “Harry, my people need help - and I am appealing to you to help them.”

Let us give thanks to Albert Einstein who pleaded, albeit unsuccessfully, with Jawaharlal Nehru, then prime minister of India, to vote for “the august scale of justice.”

Let us thank Cardinal Spellman, head of the Catholic Church in New York City who, days before the vote, used his personal influence in Latin American countries urging them to vote yes.

Let us thank the many ordinary yet courageous people, from Peru to the Philippines, who understood the collective responsibility that history bestowed upon them in 1947, and used everything in their power, from person - al pleading to arm twisting, to get their governments to vote yes.

Let us thank 33 ethnic communities in our hometowns and remind them that we Jews do not forget friends who stood with us on the side of justice – we give thanks and ask for nothing in return.

And while we thank history for its miracles, let us remind ourselves and others of a few basic facts.

Let us remind the world that Israel is there by historical right, not by force or favor.

Let us remind the UN what kind of institution it once was, and let us do it this month when, in Orwellian mockery, the UN Human Rights Council elected Congo, Qatar and Pakistan to join the anointed guardians of human rights.

Let us refresh our memories with all the arguments, pro and con, regarding the idea of a Jewish state; arguments that our enemies have mastered to perfection, and that we have naively assumed to be no longer necessary, to the point of delinquent forgetfulness.

Let us express ceremonially what we have tacitly understood for quite some time, that Israel remains the only uniting force among world Jewry, without which collective Jewish identity would cease to exist.

Finally, let us remind the Arab world that the UN voted for two states, not for a Jewish state only, as their spokesmen claim, and that the option of Palestinian statehood is still on the table, waiting for them to internalize the meaning of the word “coexistence” and to learn to utter the words: “equally legitimate and equally indigenous.”
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What Obama & Biden's Middle East negotiators could learn from prior American & Israeli diplomats

Where Netanyahu and Trump teams were went right on stabilizing the Middle East

At the recent Republican Jewish Coalition leadership meeting in Las Vegas, Brian Hook (former Senior Advisor to Secretaries of State in the Trump administration)  and Israel's U.S. Ambassador Ron Dermer reveal why Trump's Iran & Middle East policies were so vital - and how the Biden Democrat administration can keep from messing it up again.

RJC Chair Norm Coleman; Iran expert, Brian Hook; and Israel's former US Amb. Ron Dermer



During the Trump Administration, Brian Hook served as Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, and Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff. He was a key official on the team that negotiated peace agreements between UAE-Israel, Bahrain-Israel, Sudan-Israel, and Morocco-Israel, known collectively as the Abraham Peace Accords.

Transcribed from taped discussion: Brian Hook: "When we (Republican administration) were in office we inherited the Iran nuclear deal. Which, I think, you know many of our partners in the region who then later made peace with Israel - Bahrain and U. A. E. - thought this was a betrayal.

And when American foreign policy doesn't stand with our friends and deters our adversaries, a lot of bad things happen. And so we reversed that policy. We decided to stand with Israel, stand with our Gulf partners, deter and counter Iran, and it was very hard to do that inside the Iran deal because you can't touch the oil! Oil is the lifeblood of the Iranian regime and under the (Democrats') Iran nuclear deal you can't sanction their oil! You can't sanction their their petro-chem, you can't sanction metals...  John Kerry was essentially acting as the president of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce! 

That's what the (Democrats') deal does to you!  It makes you a champion of the Iranian economy. Which is the banker for Hezbollah, Hamas, P.I.J., and all sorts of terrorist activity around the world. President Trump understood, uniquely, that in order for us to have leverage over this regime, we have to get out of the deal.

We got out of the deal and then we were able to take, you know, Iran is 3% of the world's oil supply. That's $50 billion dollars a year in revenue- the oil! When we came into office, they were at 2.7 Million barrels of oil a day and we took them down to 70,000 barrels! And when you do that, the downstream consequences are magnificent because it causes Hassan Nasrallah to have to do fundraising-drives because his banker is out of money. It puts Hamas on an austerity budget. 

I think getting, look, the deal also has already started expiring. When we were in office, the arms of the U. N. Arms Embargo expired. The deal's gonna keep expiring, There really is no deal left to join. So I'm a little baffled by the whole theory of the case. And I'll close on at least on this part of Iran. A successful Iran policy needs just a couple of components. You have to have maximum economic pressure; The credible threat of military force to defend our interests; Diplomatic isolation, and Standing with the Iranian people who really do hate this regime. And so those are the four pieces and if you have that in place you can really, I think achieve some pretty significant results."

Former Israeli Amb to US Ron Dermer reveals the problems of the Biden regime's policy towards Iran nuclear weaponizing. (Filmed on Shabbat, Amb. Dermer's observing Orthodox Judaism precludes him from using a microphone).

R.J.C. Nat'l Chairman Sen. Norm Coleman
Sen. Norm Coleman, R.J.C. chairman:

"President Trump took a lot of grief for canceling pulling us out of the Iran deal. In fact, I had a conversation at breakfast one time with General Mattis, US Secretary of Defense, who was telling me what a disaster would be for Israel if we pulled out of the the the J. C. P. O. A.  Talk to us about the regional context of what that deal originally, how it impacted Israel the region. Talk about pulling out and talk about where we should go next. "

Amb. Ron Dermer:  "First thing, before I answer your question about Iran, I want to say something about my colleague, Brian. Now Brian was a Special Envoy dealing with Iran and he also was intimately involved in the Abraham Accords. He's the only person in the administration who's dealing with both issues - who I dealt with on a day-to-day basis on both issues. Brian Hook today has a security detail on him. Now, former presidents have a security detail, former vice-presidents have a security detail, occasionally a former Secretary of State has a security detail. It is, I think, unprecedented that a Special Envoy - after the end of an administration - has a security detail on him. And the reason he has a security detail on him is that, day after day in his job, he confronted the enemies of America and the enemies of Israel. And I think we should all show him a deep debt of gratitude!  [Applause and standing ovation].

Now I want to remind people why the Iran deal was so dangerous and why it remains dangerous today. And why the decision of President Trump, in my view - Senator Cruz said it yesterday I agree with him. It was the most important foreign policy decision that Pres. Trump made - to pull out of that Iran deal!  [Applause]

The Iran deal does not block Iran's path to a bomb. That's what was said in 2015 - it was a lie then and it's a lie today. It paves Iran's path to a bomb because the restrictions it puts in place are automatically removed in about 10 to 15 years. And in those two words automatically removed you understand why Israel was opposed to this deal. Because 10 or 15 years, as Prime Minister Netanyahu said in his speech to Congress, that's a long time in the life of politics but it's a blink of an eye in the life of a nation. We are over six years beyond the nuclear deal and everybody's talking about going back. What would going back do? Well, right now they say "well Iran is closer to getting a nuclear bomb" right?

Because it's three months away from having the fissile material. So let's go back into the deal and let's move a few months back. All you do is take two steps back so that in a few years Iran will have no breakout time to a bomb!
In year 12, the breakout time of the nuclear deal - that's 2027 year twelve.  In 2027, the breakout time - which is defined as acquiring the fissile material necessary for a bomb - the breakout time is close to zero! And those are not my words - those are the words of former President Obama in a moment of candor on NPR radio where he said, "In year 12, the breakout time will be close to zero." We cannot accept a deal that would be a glide path for Iran which vows to destroy the State of Israel, and works every day to destroy the State of Israel and leads chants of  "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" we cannot allow them a glide path to nuclear weapons! That's why it has to be opposed.
Now in addition to that, not only did it not solve the nuclear problem it created a much worse regional problem. Because it it fueled Iran's campaign of conquest and carnage throughout the Middle East by allowing them (as Brian said) to sell oil on the financial markets! That's the big money of the deal!

The big money was not that signing bonus and people argued 'is it $50 billion - is it $100 billion?' 

What Brian said is right - every single month, Iran was getting another $4-5 Billion dollars. And it wasn't using that money to establish a G.I. Bill for returning members of the Revolutionary Guard! [Laughter]
  It was doing this to fuel its aggression in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Gaza! 

And that's why the decision was so important. But just remember the timeline: 
President Trump refused to re-certify the deal in October 2017. It took about 10 months. Then it was another eight months or so before he decided to withdraw from the deal which was May '18. But there were still waivers on the sale of oil at that time and it was allowing Iran to sell 1,000,000 barrels a day!

It was only in May 2019 when those waivers were removed -  that you actually had maximum pressure on Iran and as Brian said, within a few months you took them from 2.8 3 million barrels a day to a couple hundred thousand barrels a day - it's a huge shift! And it was drying up their resources. So Iran only faced maximum pressure for a year and a half.  But they had a lifeline - and the lifeline was that every single person who was running for president on the other side of the aisle was telling them "we are going to go back into this deal." Instead of actually standing with that decision and showing to the Iranians that no matter who you're going to elect here in the United States we're going to continue this maximum pressure policy, they did the opposite and they said basically 'Help is on the way!'

And now we find ourselves in a situation where the Iranians are not even willing to go back into the deal because you know what they think? They're going to get an even better deal from this administration and it's a very dangerous situation the United States should do exactly what Brian said -  you need a credible military threat - without that diplomacy will not work. You need to keep maximum economic pressure. And the third element which Brian also mentioned - is you have to reach out to the people of Iran. They are not your enemy, they are not Israel's enemy, they are the enemy of that regime.

They have virtually no support from the outside world and I hope that in Congress and other American leaders and other leaders around the world will reach out directly to the Iranian people because they're our hope if we're going to avoid a potential military confrontation. We might have to move in that direction there might be no choice. And I hope that whomever is sitting in the Prime Minister's chair in Israel will make the decision that they have to make in order to secure the Jewish future. Thank you!"
Sen Norm Coleman:  "One more question on Iran, as a segue to the Abraham Accords. In many ways could one argue that that by doing the original JCPOA in which they didn't tell the Israelis negotiating with Iran, didn't tell the Saudis that they were negotiating with Iran. Obama told the Saudis that you've got to learn to live with Iran in the neighborhood. That's like telling a family of of six kids they've got to learn to live with the pedophile who's living next door to them. Please talk to me about Iran's malign activities and talk to me about how that kind of kind of fits in to then coming together and ultimately achieving one of the greatest achievements of oury time which really is the Abrahamic Accords. Ambassador Dermer, I'll turn to you first... "
(Continues in video):

Remembering Kristallnacht - Holocaust Museum L.A.

A Zoom webinar from Holocaust Museum - L.A.
During the night of November 9, 1938, violent anti-Jewish pogroms broke out across Germany and its incorporated territories including Austria. Nazi officials concealed the organized nature of the attack in which mobs desecrated synagogues, vandalized Jewish-owned businesses, murdered 91 Jews, and sent 30,000 Jewish men to concentration camps. 

As a nationwide, brutal mass attack on Jews simply based on their ethnicity, Kristallnacht was a significant turning point in the Holocaust. 

Join us to hear from German Holocaust survivor Paul Kester, historian Dr. Alan Steinweis, author of “Kristallnacht 1938,” and Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Los Angeles Stefan Schneider to mark the anniversary. 

Click to register: Tuesday 9 November  - 6pm E.T/5pm C.T./4pm M.T./3pm P.T.

Rabbi Meir Kahane remains a target for those who do not understand him - 31-years after assassination by NYC's W.T.C.-bombing crew

Op-ed by Meir Jolovitz in Israel National News

He was a radical. And anti-establishment And he hated to see the Jew as victim after the bitter memory of a Holocaust when too few acted.

As part of the prepublicity for the most recent of a series of books that have been written during the past thirty-five years about Rabbi Meir Kahane, Internet sites dedicated to Israeli or Jewish affairs offered their readers a new invective, a preview of what I consider an academic diatribe. Three decades after the murder of the controversial rabbi, it seems transparent that the intent was to disparage and disgrace the man and his memory. In doing so, the truth fell victim. The truth about Kahane. And “Kahanism.”

The most recent manifestation of several previous studies of this type was the release of Shaul Magid’s Meir Kahane: The Public Life and Political Thought of an American Jewish Radical. The Dartmouth College professor, who is also affiliated with the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, presents us with a 296-page assault on a man whose place in modern Jewish history will long outlive all the attempts at armchair psychiatry.

Magid targets a reading audience which knows neither the real history of radical Jewish politics of the 1960s, 70s and 80s America, nor of the nationalist politics in Israel from 1970 through 1990. His study – of a man and his impact – offers a portrait that works only if one is unaware of the political, social, and psychological dynamics that fueled that generation of political activists – and their movement.

This work, to my mind, contains historical mistakes, non-facts written as facts. Space prohibits a detailed cross-examination which would expose research whose conclusion was already know, but the author describes what he sees as historic facts in such a manner that any reasonable reader will see how they corroborate his thesis.

Rabbi Meir Kahane was a radical. He was anti-establishment. But he also hated to see the Jew as victim. And he employed the bitter memory of a Holocaust that raged when too few acted. He too-often saw the world as black and white, and he responded accordingly, and angrily. He became the resident militant rabbi against an American backdrop whose landscape had become politically-charged. True, True, And true. In the face of societal and political issues affecting Jews, if Rabbi Meir Kahane did not exist – someone needed to invent him.

And, it seems, if one couldn’t find an author to castigate him – someone needed to invent one. Every number of years. Now, we have the most recent iteration with the publication of Meir Kahane: The Public Life and Political Thought of an American Jewish Radical.

Rabbi Meir Kahane was indeed controversial. Because he needed to be. Because no other American Jewish spokesman gave a damn about the growing anti-Semitism that targeted so many Jews in the streets of New York. And because too few others had addressed the issue of the persecution of Soviet Jewry for fear that they would upset those establishment people who preferred quiet diplomacy. The same diplomacy exercised by Franklin Roosevelt’s court Jews.

The problem that the rabbi confronted then – more than fifty years ago when he established the Jewish Defense League – was the trouble he caused when his actions made noise. But it was a noise that needed to be heard.

Of course Rabbi Meir Kahane wasn’t the only innovator among Jews who stood up, historically, to rebel against anti-Semitism. But he was a voice representing a small minority – of another minority. As others before him had been. His heroes were Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Yosef Trumpledor, Menachem Begin, Shlomo Ben Yosef, Dov Gruner, Meir Feinstein, and their compatriots of the Irgun and Lehi in Eretz Yisrael.

It was their memory that motivated him – this too-small select group of modern Jewish warriors whose names were sadly unknown, or unspoken, in too-many Jewish homes. Certainly not in America. It was not, as Magid’s book would intimate, some psychobabble about the Black Panthers in New York or Chicago. For the rabbi – not yet a radical – it was about Jews standing up to be counted. However few.

But establishment Jewish leadership attacked him – vilified him – because if he was right, then they were wrong.

We recall that Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, in the pre-State days, had denounced Ze’ev Jabotinsky as 'Vladimir Hitler'. Not because Jabotinsky was, as others had argued, history's most misunderstood Zionist. It was because his methods were considered extreme (read: unpopular, and sometimes militarist) by the Jewish establishment. And of course, tragically, history proved him right. Yes, Jabotinsky was right.

In Israel – during this period, the exploits of Rabbi Kahane in America were viewed, in the circles that mattered, as brazen. And heroic.

In the Soviet Union – the exploits of Rabbi Kahane and his JDL “hoodlums” were seen as brazen. And heroic.

In the poor sections of New York – where the ADL was not found – JDL leader Rabbi Kahane was seen by the frightened and forgotten senior citizens who his JDL members protected, as brazen, and heroic.

But, in the opulent offices of the American Jewish leaders – he was seen as brazen; and the enemy.