Is the Swamp swallowing Trump? (2) 1

We continue our discussion, started in the post immediately below, of the Swamp swallowing President Trump, now looking at changes in his avowed foreign policy towards Israel, Egypt, Iran and North Korea.

This is from an article by Ryan Mauro at Clarion Project:

Israel and its supporters in the West are seeing danger signs coming from parts of the Trump Administration. Since taking office, the camp that views Israel as a liability and “root cause” of Islamic extremism has been gaining ground. That camp is at odds with those who view the Islamist ideology as the root cause and believes it must be defeated for there to be peace in the Middle East.

The biggest danger sign for America’s best ally in the Middle East came with the recent release of the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism. It blamed Israel for sparking terrorism while applauding the Palestinian Authority’s counter-extremism efforts.

The report frames Palestinian terrorism as a response to Israeli misconduct, with no attribution to an Islamist ideology or culture with a genocidal desire to wipe Israel off the map. Palestinian terrorism is essentially presented as a form of “resistance” motivated by legitimate grievances against Israeli actions. In other words, the terrorists are misguided freedom fighters.

The identified “continued drivers of violence” are listed as a “lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.” The treatment of the Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, was mostly positive. The report lauded its efforts in combating extremism and claimed that it had minimized the incitement of violence by Palestinian Authority officials and institutions. It went so far as to say that incitement is now “rare” and “the leadership does not generally tolerate it.”

The State Department report undermines President Trump’s position on Israel.

The report by Tillerson’s State Department is even more hostile to Israel than the one issued under [Obama’s Secretary of State] Kerry, who furiously blasted Israel on his way out of office.

In fact, the State Department report spends more time assigning blame for terrorism to Israel than to Qatar, a massive sponsor of terrorism and extremism. One cannot help but wonder if Tillerson’s pro-Qatar position and business ties to the Qatari regime had something to do with it.

While the State Department plans a 28% cut in foreign aid to places around the world, State is planning to increase its aid to the Palestinian Authority.

State Department documents leaked to the media in April show it plans a 4.6% increase to the West Bank run by the terrorism-inciting Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip run by Hamas. A total of $215 million in aid is allotted for 2018.

The Palestinian Authority uses half of the foreign aid it receives to sponsor terrorism. It is increasing its compensation for terrorists in Israeli prisons by 13% and its financial aid to families of killed terrorists by 4%. The total amount of these two allotments is $344 million. …

On June 1, the Trump Administration backtracked on his vow to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, at least for the time being. No firm commitment to moving the embassy was made, despite Trump’s campaign promise.

Secretary Tillerson’s influence is widely seen as being responsible for the flip-flop. In May, Tillerson set off alarm bells for friends of Israel by refusing to commit to fulfilling Trump’s campaign pledge. He said that Trump’s promise has to be weighed against the considerations of the parties involved in the peace process. 

The “peace process” that has never advanced one inch towards peace and never could, but has become a ritual ceremony with implications of mysterious magical potency that will produce a sweet splendor at the end of days when a trumpet shall sound, and is not seriously expected by anyone ever to produce a result in reality.

In other words, Tillerson would rather upset Trump’s voters whom he made the promise to than upset Israel’s enemies, who are also America’s enemies.

Tillerson makes it sound as if an Arab government that genuinely gave up its genocidal ambitions would resurrect its genocidal ambitions because of where an American diplomatic facility is positioned. If that’s all it takes to trigger an Arab regime into a genocidal frenzy, then that regime was never truly interested in peace in the first place.

There are also danger signs in the staffing of the State Department.

In June, Tillerson appointed Yael Lempert as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Egypt and the Maghreb. According to her bio, she was previously in the Obama Administration’s National Security Council from 2014 to May 2017, serving as the Senior Director for the Levant, Israel and Egypt and a Special Assistant to President Obama.

This means that Tillerson’s high-level appointee served as an official involved in the tension between the U.S. and Israel that reached its peak as the Obama Administration came to an end. She also was centrally involved in the Obama Administration’s policy towards Egypt that favored the Muslim Brotherhood.

One report quoted a former Clinton official as saying:

Lempert is considered one of the harshest critics of Israel on the foreign policy far left. From her position on the Obama NSC, she helped manufacture crisis after crisis in a relentless effort to portray Israel negatively and diminish the breadth and depth of our alliance. Most Democrats in town know better than to let her manage Middle East affairs. It looks like the Trump administration has no idea who she is or how hostile she is to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

In December 2014, when Lempert was on the Obama Administration’s National Security Council, she met with anti-Israel activist Michael Sfard. He has been paid by the Palestinian Authority to act as an expert witness in terrorism trials in its defense. He also works in an organization that seeks to put Israeli officials and soldiers on trial for war crimes.

Under Trump, Lempert was involved in putting pressure on Israel to suspend its settlement construction.

Another State Department official to watch is Michael Sfard, who was Secretary of State John Kerry’s consul to Jerusalem. In March, Jordan Schachtel broke the story that Tillerson appeared to have chosen Ratney to oversee the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio.

Ratney is currently the Special Envoy for Syria, so his reassignment either hasn’t happened yet or the administration has changed its mind. He is, however, currently involved in talks with Israel regarding Syria for the Trump Administration.

National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster was asked twice whether the Western Wall is part of Israel and he refused to answer. He replied, “That’s a policy decision”. 

The peculiar non-answer appears significant in light of how the National Security Council is being staffed as McMaster shapes the office to his liking.

Kris Bauman was chosen in May as the top adviser on Israel for the National Security Council. Tellingly, the person he was replacing was the aforementioned Yael Lempert.

Daniel Greenfield reviewed Bauman’s 2009 dissertation and found highly disturbing content.

He blamed Israel and the West for failing to see “Hamas’s signals of willingness to moderate” and turning Gaza “into an open-air prison” instead of engaging Hamas. He advocated a policy that includes “Hamas in a solution,” dismissing Hamas’ oft-stated pledge to destroy Israel and kill Jews

Bauman cites The Israel Lobby, a book that purports to disclose how Israel secretly manipulates the U.S. institutions of power from behind-the-scenes. He says the Israel Lobby “is a force that must be reckoned with, but it is a force that can be reckoned with.”

Bauman  … blames the peace process for failing on Israel and the West because each offer “overwhelmingly favored Israeli interests.” Prime Minister Netanyahu is blamed for “inciting Palestinian violence” and deliberately undermining the prospects for peace.

A consistent theme appears in Bauman’s thesis: Israel is the instigator of terrorism. To defeat terrorism, stop Israel. And now he is in a strong position in the National Security Council to try to make that happen.

A cut in aid to Egypt must have been Tillerson’s decision, again apparently out of harmony with President Trump’s preference. (We are against all foreign aid, but if it’s going to be handed out, Egypt under President al-Sisi is a far worthier recipient than the Palestinian Authority which uses it to pay Hamas and imprisoned terrorists.) President Trump is friendly towards al-Sisi –  for the right reasons, that he is against the Muslim Brotherhood – the major jihad promoters whom Tillerson is strongly for! Trump spoke to al-Sisi to re-affirm their friendship, after Tillerson and Jared Kushner had completed their awkward visit to Egypt  and moved on to disturb and dismay the Israelis.

On North Korea, Tillerson contradicts Trump on US policy.

Vox reports:

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said North Korean threats to respond to a US strike with nuclear weapons “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” rhetoric that no previous American president has ever used with North Korea. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to cool things down, saying “nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours”.

“Americans,” the secretary said, “should sleep well.”

That soothing rhetoric lasted all of a day. On Thursday, top Trump aide Sebastian Gorka said … that Tillerson was not actually speaking for White House. Trump’s threats, Gorka said, were deadly serious.

“You should listen to the president,” Gorka said. “The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical.”

Gorka got major reinforcement later in the day from President Trump, who said that his past statement “maybe wasn’t tough enough.”

But Gorka is gone from the White House and Tillerson remains.

On Iran, Tillerson has maneuvered the President into keeping the unsigned agreement that Obama made with that evil regime; the “deal” that allows the mullahs to become a nuclear armed power after a few years. Candidate Trump promised during his campaign for the presidency that he would dismantle it. He has re-certified it, albeit with reluctance.

To be continued …   

  • liz

    The State Department “blamed Israel for sparking terrorism while applauding the Palestinian Authority’s counter extremism efforts”.
    This mirrors exactly the Democrats and the media’s attitude toward conservatives in the U.S. – they are blamed for sparking the violence of Antifa and Blacklivesmatter, etc, while those groups are praised for bravely standing up to racists and fascists. They even present Palestinian terrorism as a form of “resistance”, just as they present leftist mobs like Antifa as “the Resistance”.
    It appears that both Tillerson and McMaster are just going to continue Obama’s anti-Israel, pro-terrorist agenda, and undermine Trump’s.
    So what’s going on here? Is Trump in agreement with all this, or is he being hijacked, as in some sort of coup? Something is definitely not right.