Why President Trump should be careful in listening to Ronald Lauder regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sunday, May 14, 2017. It is Mother’s Day, and an old man is very slowly walking North on Madison Avenue. Roughly a block behind him a Maybach Mercedes limousine is following in equidistance and close to the curb. Appearing sad and lonely on Mother’s Day, and not even looking at the storefronts he is passing, the man seems to get his daily exercise, closely watched by his driver.

He is Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, once Assistant Secretary of Defense, U.S. ambassador to Austria under President Ronald Reagan, failed candidate for Mayor of New York City (losing to Rudi Giuliani in the Republican primary), philanthropist, art collector and founder of the Neue Museum on 86th Street and Fifth Avenue. Scion of the Lauder clan and Chairman Emeritus of Estée Lauder Companies, and, because he has known President Donald Trump for decades, he, currently, plays an outsized role in U.S. foreign policy that nobody knows about.

President Trump is known to be a good listener. On complicated subjects (and practically every issue reaching the President of the U.S. is highly complex since easier to resolve matters are handled at lower administrative levels), he also likes receiving diverse opinions. But he is also known to be easily swayed by the last opinion he hears. On February 15 of this year (Valentine’s Day) President Donald Trump welcomed Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House for their first face-to face-meeting and, as it turns out, and unreported by the media, Ronald Lauder played a very important role in that meeting.

On the surface, and as the usually divided mass media in this case unanimously reported, the meeting went exceedingly well; but Israeli sources tell a different story: Shortly before arriving at the White House, the Israeli delegation learned that Ronald Lauder succeeded in seeing the President in the Oval Office just before Netanyahu’s arrival at the White House. This immediately raised concerns because a, once very close political and personal relationship between Lauder and Netanyahu, had crumbled, as Netanyahu, increasingly, had realigned with another U.S. billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate. Initially a vocal supporter of the conservative Likud party in Israel, Lauder developed strong ties to Benjamin Netanyahu. In 1990, during Netanyahu’s first term as prime Minister, he even served as secret go-between in negotiations with Hafez-al- Assad, then the President of Syria.

After failing in his attempts to get elected Mayor of New York City, Lauder initiated a new business career, separate from the Lauder cosmetic empire by investing in real estate and media properties mostly in former Communist countries, like Hungary (where his family came from), Romania and Poland but he also made a major investment in Channel 10, one of two licensed commercial television channels in Israel at the time.

A 2015 report by Amir Teig in Israel’s strongly left-leaning Haaretz newspaper suggested that Lauder abandoned that investment 11 years later, losing some $130 million. Concomitantly, according to the same article, his business empire in Eastern Europe crumbled, “leading to his distancing from circles of power and seriously damaging his statesmanlike image.” Teig also noted that “when Netanyahu and Lauder were on good terms, the broadcaster (Channel 10) received what it wanted; and when Lauder and Netanyahu had a falling out – then the Prime Minister made things as difficult as he could for the station.”

The cooling relationship between Netanyahu and Lauder was replaced by an increasingly close personal and political relationship between Netanyahu and Adelson, who made major media investments in Israel, and whose media properties aggressively supported Netanyahu (and do so still today). Lauder, according to Teig, never hesitated to use his political standing in the Jewish community as President of the World Jewish Congress to enhance his own private business interests (as his personal conflict with the Hungarian Prime Minister Urban over one of his investments in Hungary well demonstrated, not always to the advantage of the world’s Jewish communities). Using his pulpit as president of World Jewish Congress, Lauder, after his falling out with Netanyahu, also did not hesitate to publically criticize the Israeli Prime Minister on political matters pertaining to the State of Israel. Their falling out became personal.

This explains concern by members of the Israeli delegation when they found out that Lauder had arranged a meeting with President Trump, and had left the Oval Office literally only minutes before Netanyahu’s arrival. Their concerns were confirmed, when the Israeli delegation learned from White House sources that Lauder badmouthed the Israeli Prime Minister and “had warned Trump from trusting Netanyahu,” had accused Netanyahu (and not, as one would have expected, Palestinian President Abbas) “of being responsible for the break down in peace talks with the Palestinians,” of “ subverting the idea of a two-state solution,” and had “strongly recommended against moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem,” as Trump had promised in his election campaign as one of his first steps after being elected President.

Though the Trump – Netanyahu meeting was still remarkably friendly in comparison to the chilly, at times almost hostile meetings between Netanyahu and President Obama, it dampened Israeli expectations, which, up to that point, had been, as Israeli sources noted, “likely greatly exaggerated.” One of the reasons why they had been exaggerated was a visit to the White House a few days earlier by Sheldon Adelson, in which Adelson had given Trump exactly the opposite assessment of Netanyahu and his policies.

The announced delay in moving the embassy to Jerusalem and some other signals the Trump administration has been giving to the Israeli government during the Washington visit, and since (like a warning about settlement expansions), appear to suggest that Lauder’s influence on Trump appears to have outweighed Sheldon Adelson’s, even though the latter had been the biggest single donor to Trump’s campaign and inauguration.

This is, of course, on one hand good news because it suggests that Trump is not influenced by donations to his campaign. On the other hand, it, however, is worrisome, – not only because it questions how real Trump’s pre-election commitment to Israel really is but also, because it, once again, reinforces the message that to be the last to whisper into Trump’s ears before a decision is made, appears to be very important.

The deepest cause of concern lies, however, in that Lauder’s obvious history of self-aggrandizement and abuse of the position as President of the World Jewish Congress for personal gains, now points toward the possibility that he, in his personal animus toward Netanyahu, may endanger the State of Israel. If a Jewish leader from the political left would have done what Lauder did, he, rightly, would be accused of treason toward the State of Israel. That an alleged Likudnik, like Lauder, would do this is, however, simply, beyond comprehension.
Time to resign as President of the World Jewish Congress, Mr. Lauder! And for President Trump, this is one more example that people you trust must, first, be very carefully vetted.

The Canary

The real motivations behind Obama’s deal with Tehran

CANARY IN THE MINE BLOG - Obama's deal with Teheran Iran

Former Vice President Cheney was not alone when he wondered what on earth had possessed President Obama to pursue a deal with Iran.

This is, indeed, an interesting question, especially since most commentators in the media are offering only superficial, and mostly irrelevant, answers. Yes, of course, like every president, Obama is concerned with his legacy. He views himself as a contemporary of Ronald Reagan, who significantly influenced the country beyond his two terms in office. In defending the agreement with Tehran, Obama claimed Reagan as an example in negotiating weapon reduction agreements with the hostile Soviet Union, when defending his own determination of reaching a “verifiable” agreement with Iran.

Obama is, however, historically wrong in comparing his Iran deal to either Reagan’s negotiations with the Soviets or to Nixon’s decision to develop a relationship with Mao Zedong’s China. While both, indeed, were hostile countries to the U.S., neither:

– supported worldwide terrorism
– held U.S. hostages
– publically threatened to exterminate another member state to the United Nations/close ally of the U.S.
– generated a street mob yelling “death to America” while negotiations took place

A much better analogy for Obama’s deal with the Iranian ayatollahs is, therefore, Chamberlain giving up the Czech Sudetenland to Hitler. History, of course, recorded the tragic consequences of Chamberlain’s appeasement of Nazi-Germany in the “name of peace.”

So, why would an obviously intelligent president who, one can hope, is aware of history, make such a tragically wrong decision?

The Canary’s has attempted to analyze President Obama’s psychological makeup based on his upbringing, ideological roots and formative teachers in previous posts. This approach allowed us to correctly predict his future behavior on a good number of occasions. A similar analysis, indeed, offers compelling explanations for his outrageous behavior in reaching the recent agreement with Tehran.

Before Obama’s reelection we suggested that though he was trying to obfuscate many of his true ideological believes to get reelected, Obama was basically a third-world multinationalist. Many colleagues, scholars and pundits strongly disagreed with our analysis, though by now, a good number among them have reached similar conclusions. Re-elected and facing a Republican-controlled Congress, Obama has since shaken off the restrictive shackles of an election-driven, political middle ground, and is increasingly willing to “come out of the closet” as the Afrocentric, multi-nationalistic, Marxist ideologue he is.

We also previously noted that in unique contrast to almost every president before him, Obama does not want as stronger, more self-assured America. He despises the fact that, since the Soviet Union’s collapse, America has become the only dominant world power. He was brought up to believe that a dominant America is a mortal threat to the rest of the world, especially the developing world. A principal goal of his foreign policy has been to “diminish America’s footprint” in the world.

For this reason, his administration established the policy of “leading from behind,” which explains why the U.S. military is facing unprecedented levels of military budget cuts.

To weaken the U.S. is, however, not enough if America’s footprint is to be significantly diminished: Other powers have to be concomitantly strengthened if competing power centers to the U.S. are to arise in the world. Internationalists like Obama and Secretary John Kerry, therefore, not only don’t mind that Iran will, ultimately, go nuclear and grow more powerful politically and militarily. They actually welcome a more powerful Iran with nuclear capabilities in the Middle East as a potential balancing force to what they currently perceive as the excessive power of the U.S.

Since the Soviet Union collapsed, scholars of international relations almost uniformly agree that the previously bipolar world has become unipolar, dominated by the unmatched economic and military power of the U.S. This can only be changed if the U.S. is weakened and other nations are given the opportunity to ascend. The ascent of an U.S. ally, like Israel, would be unsatisfactory. A multipolar world can only be reestablished through the ascent of nations inherently hostile to U.S. power.

This explains not only the otherwise completely irrational agreement with Iran but also the administration’s timid behavior towards an increasingly belligerent Russia and an overreaching China: both, of course, also future contenders for newly arising power centers. And it also explains why the Obama administration heavily invests in relations with Communist Cuba and Socialist Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Obama’s views himself as a visionary internationalist who is helping to establish a new world order that benefits the poor and oppressed all over the globe. In doing so, he not only attempts to match but also to exceed Ronald Reagan’s increasing historical importance as the U.S. president primarily responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent rise of the U.S. as the world’s single dominant power. Obama’s real goal for his presidency is, therefore, to outdo President Reagan’s achievements by reversing them and, in doing so, re-establish a multi-centric global power structure.

With such a worldview, the Iran deal, indeed, makes perfect sense. Time to realize what President Barack Hussein Obama’s foreign policy goals really are before it may be too late!

We Were Right: Obama Will Do Everything to Destroy Israel

Canary in the Mine: Obama 1

“We predicted outright confrontation between Obama and the Jewish state for the time period after the November elections in our pre-election profile series on Obama. We then also noted the considerable influence the Rev. Wright exerted on Obama’s worldview. However, even we underestimated the degree of antagonism Obama would publicly demonstrate against Israel and the country’s leadership. He very obviously cannot help himself.”

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Why Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress Matters

Canary in the Mine: Netanyahu

While Democrats may feel blindsided by the arrangement, Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, planned secretly by Republicans, huge implications for American Jewry:  U.S. Jews, who have historically favored Democrats over Republicans, will not only be able to see where the Democratic Party really stands in regard to Israel but, by extension, toward Jewry in general.

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Israel in Crisis: Will the United States Continue to Support Netanyahu?

Canary in the Mine: Netanyahu

The Democratic Party started to shift away from supporting Israel during the 2012 Democratic Convention, when Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa faced fierce resistance from the floor in attempting to reinsert the longstanding recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel into the official Party Platform.

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A History of Judaism and the Political Left

Canary in the Mine: Judaism

The French journalist Jacques Mallet du Pan (1749-1800) is credited with coining the adage “la révolution dévore des enfants” or “the revolution devours its children.” This observation was initially made in commenting on the excesses of the French Revolution (1789-1799) and has been used repeatedly throughout history in times of upheaval.

Jews have been leading figures of social movements and social revolutions throughout history. Eli Barnavi, Professor of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University, recently noted in an article on Jewish Socialism in Europe that over the last 200 years, every generation of Jews has generated a small group of activists who fought for a type of social utopia: In Germany, Jews were the pioneers of the socialist workers’ movement after the industrial revolution, when Moses Hess introduced Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to Historical Materialism. Marx and Engels, of course, co-authored the Communist Manifesto in 1848, and Engels financially supported Marx while the latter wrote Das Kapital.

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