Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: TIP CEO: AIPAC Represents Americans Who “Understand the Value of the U.S.-Israel Alliance”

Posted by Tip Staff - February 14, 2019

TIP CEO: AIPAC Represents Americans Who “Understand the Value of the U.S.-Israel Alliance”
Pompeo in Warsaw: Bond Between U.S., Israel is "Stronger than Ever"
Military Intelligence: Hamas Willing to Risk All-Out War with Israel in Order to Get Aid
First Israeli Spacecraft, Beresheet, to Examine Magnetic Properties of Lunar Rocks

TIP CEO: AIPAC Represents Americans Who “Understand the Value of the U.S.-Israel Alliance”

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D – Minn.) has once again been accused of anti-Semitism and castigated by members of both parties, this time for suggesting on Sunday that politicians only support Israel because of financial contributions from pro-Israel groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

In an interview with NPR’s Peter Overby on Wednesday, The Israel Project’s CEO and President, Josh Block, observed that in her comments, Omar had misrepresented the nature of pro-Israel groups in the United States and had maligned the U.S.-Israel relationship, which, he said, is based on shared values and interests.

“Omar tweeted that it's, quote, 'all about the Benjamins.' And by that, she meant AIPAC. The PAC in AIPAC, though, doesn't stand for political action committee. It's public affairs committee,” Overby said, introducing Block.

Block then explained that AIPAC “is a lobby that represents Americans who support the U.S.-Israel alliance.” He clarified that “it itself, as an organization, does not make endorsements. It doesn't contribute to campaigns. It doesn't contribute to candidates - none of those things. In fact, it doesn't even have a PAC.”

Overby, in return, noted that AIPAC has more than 100,000 members and spent around $3.5 million on lobbying in 2018, making it a powerful player in the pro-Israel community.

“That's the thing about what it is that makes AIPAC so special,” Block observed. “It's the relationships that exist - real ones between actual constituents, Jews and non-Jews and members of Congress who understand the value of the U.S.-Israel alliance.”

Critics have condemned Omar’s statement as anti-Semitic because they say it entertains age-old canards about Jews using their money to manipulate governments.

“The pro-Israel lobby, which spans from J Street to the Zionist Organization of America to local grassroots groups around the country, is built on the strength of ordinary Jewish and Christian Americans - indeed, the pro-Israel group with the largest membership is Christians United for Israel,” Aiden Pink observed in The Forward.

Read more at The Tower.

Pompeo in Warsaw: Bond Between U.S., Israel is "Stronger than Ever"

In a tweet sent from the Warsaw Summit to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East, which was attended by Israeli Prime Minister and diplomats representing more than 60 nations, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared a message of support for Israel, saying, "The bond between our nations is stronger than ever."

Before the summit started, Pompeo met with Netanyahu and said, "you can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran. It’s just not possible. They’re a malign influence in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq, the three H’s: the Houthis, Hamas, and Hizballah. These are real threats; there are others as well. But you can’t get peace in the Middle East without pushing back against Iran."

However, at the summit, the secretary of state looked more broadly at the challenges in the Middle East.

"As a testament to our seriousness of purpose, I want to reflect on the historic dinner that took place last night. Arab and Israeli leaders were in the same room, sharing a meal and exchanging views," Pompeo said in his opening remarks. "They all came together for a single reason: to discuss the real threats to our respective peoples emanating from the Middle East. The United States seeks a new era of cooperation between all of our countries on how to confront these issues. It’s why we’ve organized this ministerial."

The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu offered a similar assessment about the significance of the gathering.

“What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of combating Iran.” Netanyahu said after meeting with Yusuf bin Alawi, the foreign minister of Oman.

Read more at The Tower.

Military Intelligence: Hamas Willing to Risk All-Out War with Israel in Order to Get Aid

The Islamist terrorist group Hamas, which exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, may initiate an all-out confrontation with Israel in the near future to coax the international community into sending aid to the poverty-stricken enclave, an Israeli security report said on Wednesday.

The Times of Israel reported that based on the annual assessment of the Israeli military intelligence's research division, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are preparing for a potential full-blown military escalation in Gaza provoked by Iranian-backed Hamas or Tehran’s other proxy, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second largest terror group in the Strip.

While the report stressed that the most severe long-term threat to Israel emanates from the north – from Iran’s terror proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Islamic Republic’s military entrenchment in Syria – the army believes that the more immediate threats may come from Gaza.

The report anticipates that Gaza-based terrorist groups will try to infiltrate Israeli territory to carry out attacks or launch rockets at short-distance Israeli targets. Violent Hamas-led riots have been taking place along the border with Israel since March 30, 2018. Some of the rioters threw makeshift bombs, Molotov cocktails, and rocks at Israeli soldiers, while others burned tires to create a smokescreen to breach the border fence and infiltrate into Israel.

“Gaza, as it is noted in the annual intelligence assessment, is the most volatile region, and there is a risk of terror group’s initiating action [against Israel]. The chief of staff identified an improvement of readiness in that region as a top priority,” the military said.

According to the report, Hamas and PIJ have grown frustrated with the lack of response to the violent riots and believe that “only an extreme move” will help the groups achieve their goals. They hope to receive, during a small-scale war and under pressure from the international community, better economic incentives from Israel.

Read more at The Tower.

First Israeli Spacecraft, Beresheet, to Examine Magnetic Properties of Lunar Rocks

After eight years of preparations costing $100 million, the SpaceIL Israeli unmanned spacecraft “Beresheet” (Genesis) is tentatively scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on February 21 and reach the rocky surface of the moon six to eight weeks later following multiple orbits around Earth.

Prof. Oded Aharonson of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Department hopes to be at the launch along with the other seven members of SpaceIL International Science Team he heads.

The team members – from Israel, France and the United States — put scientific instruments aboard Beresheet to take measurements that they hope will shed new light on one of the basic enigmas about the moon:

Although rocks collected by Apollo missions were found to be magnetic, the moon’s iron core does not generate a global magnetic field as does the Earth’s iron core.

“On Earth the rocks are magnetized from the global magnetic field, but how and when did the lunar rocks get magnetized? If we can measure the magnetism of these rocks, we can begin to understand how and when this magnetism arose,” Aharonson tells ISRAEL21c.

Scientists have various theories about how a temporary magnetic “dynamo” may have been generated on the moon, perhaps from repeated asteroid impacts or from the long-ago dynamo action of the iron core that is now cool. But nobody knows how long that dynamo lasted.

“As we find younger and younger rocks – say 2 billion years old instead of 3 billion years old — that still have a magnetic signature, then we conclude the dynamo must have been alive for longer than previously hypothesized.

We’re motivated by this basic science question, to help us understand the universe around us,” says Aharonson, who earned his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(via Israel21c)

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