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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Adar 26, 5769, 3/22/2009

      Iran Disses Obama


      US President Barack Obama may have made an unprecedented video appeal to Iran on Friday in an effort to improve relations, but the Ayatollahs wasted little time in rejecting it out of hand.

      Speaking less than 24 hours after Obama's extraordinary plea for "constructive ties", Tehran's so-called Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, dismissed the move as little more than just "a slogan".

      Here is how the Times of London reported it: "A familiar chant of “Death to America” echoed around a religious shrine in the northeastern city of Mashhad as Khamenei complained that Obama had “insulted the Islamic republic of Iran from the first day”. He added: “If you are right that change has come, where is that change? Make it clear for us what has changed.”

      Khamenei continued with the usual harangue about US sanctions against Iran and its support for "the Zionist regime", in effect dissing the President and his attempt to lay the groundwork for dialogue between the two countries.

      But by all accounts, Obama and his aides remain undeterred. As the Times noted, "President Barack Obama intends to press ahead with efforts to open a dialogue with Iran", despite the "apparent setback" of Khamenei's remarks.

      Translation: Washington intends to waste still more time and effort trying to talk to the Ayatollahs, even as the latter move ever more closer to obtaining nuclear weapons capability. And so, while the countdown proceeds towards a nuclear Iran, Obama insists on continuing to play the fiddle. Let's just hope that the West doesn't end up burning as a result.