Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

February 1, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Unmasking the Insurgents - Rod Nordland, Tom Masland, and Christopher Dickey (Newsweek)
    A growing array of soldiers and security men from Saddam's devastated military, members of his old Baathist regime, rebellious desert tribesmen, fierce nationalists, common thugs, and a relatively few itinerant fanatics from around the Muslim world have come together to challenge American power in Iraq.
    This is not one insurgency, but many.
    Saddam had put aside hundreds of millions of dollars (some sources claim billions) and enormous weapons caches to support a guerrilla war, and prepared secret cells of younger officers from his military and intelligence services.
    The well-funded Baathists appear to have made Syria a protected base of operations. "The Iraqi resistance is a monster with its head in Syria and its body in Iraq," said a top Iraqi police official.
    The resistance includes Yemenis, Syrians, Palestinians, and even some European citizens, as well as an especially large numbers of young Saudis.
    Most of the suicide bombers in Iraq whose identities have been ascertainable in the last six months were from Saudi Arabia.


Groups Condemn University of Toronto "Israeli Apartheid Week" - Beth Duff-Brown (AP/Washington Post)
    A University of Toronto lecture series titled, "Israeli Apartheid Week," organized by the Arab Students' Collective, is drawing condemnation from Jewish groups in a country where anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise.
    "Is the University of Toronto hosting a free and scholarly exchange of ideas, or a racist rally masquerading as an academic conference?" asked Alastair Gordon of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies.
    Frank Dimant, vice president of B'nai Brith Canada, said the university had shown "cowardice" by not banning the event.


Palestinian Police Force Boosted by an English Ulster Veteran - Stephen Farrell and Ian MacKinnon (Times-UK)
    Jonathan McIvor, a chief superintendent with 22 years' policing experience in London and Ulster, is now helping the Palestinians to rebuild and modernize their police infrastructure.
    The task of the EU Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and image of the PA's 18,600-strong police force, two-thirds of which is in Gaza.
    "Since Oslo and the road map, the focus has been on what the Palestinian police needed to do to ensure Israeli security," said McIvor.
    "But it's equally an important part to provide a police service that ensures safety and security for the Palestinian people. These are not mutually exclusive."


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. to Abbas: Militants Must Ultimately be Disarmed
    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Monday that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas would ultimately need to disarm the militant groups. "A cease-fire can help end the violence, but ultimately we need to dismantle those terrorist organizations that exist," he said. (Reuters)
  • Rice: No Peace Without Viable Palestinian State
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday: "Without a Palestinian state that is viable, that can represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people, there really isn't going to be a peace for either the Palestinian people or for the Israelis....We're going to be working with the parties, now that they've begun to make those fundamental choices, to push forward toward the date when we have a two-state solution. And I think it's in our grasp."  (State Department)
  • In Netherlands, Anti-Islamic Polemic Comes With a Price - Keith B. Richburg
    Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, 41, is among the more provocative critics of radical Islam and immigrants in the Netherlands. Since the execution-style killing last November of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, Wilders now travels everywhere with six bodyguards. He cannot sleep in his own home and sees his wife twice a week, at a safe house. A video clip on Internet chat sites has a soundtrack of Arabic song and automatic-weapons fire, and a photograph of the intended target: Wilders. "We are in an undeclared war," he says. "These people are motivated by one thing: to kill everything that we stand for."  (Washington Post)
  • White House Letter: Bush Borrows a Page from Natan Sharansky - Elisabeth Bumiller
    "I felt like Sharansky's book [The Case for Democracy] just confirmed what I believe," Bush said in an interview in the Oval Office last Thursday. "He writes it a heck of a lot better than I could write it, and he's certainly got more credibility than I have. After all, he spent time in a Soviet prison and he has a much better perspective than I've got." "That thinking, that's part of my presidential DNA," Bush said. "I mean, it's what I think; it's a part of all policy. Yes, it'll be in the State of the Union. It's in the Inaugural Address....It is part of my philosophy."  (International Herald Tribune)
  • Arafat's Ramallah Tomb a Shrine - Mitch Potter
    The tomb of Yasser Arafat grows more elaborate with each passing day. A shrine is rising from the rubble of the Mukata, replete with landscaped gardens, newly transplanted mature olive trees, and Palestinian flags framing a steel-and-glass burial chamber whose doors open toward the holy city of Mecca. Sakher Habash, 67, a member of the central committee of Arafat's Fatah movement and its recognized chief ideologue, is now executive director of the National Committee for Immortalizing the Symbol of the Immortal Leader Yasser Arafat, overseeing a 50-person committee charged with reinventing the Mukata compound as a kind of Arafat theme park. (Toronto Star)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to PA: Gaza Deployment Insufficient - Margot Dudkevitch
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told PA security advisor Muhammad Dahlan on Monday that the deployment of PA forces in Gaza was insufficient, as terrorist cells continued to fire at Israeli targets. A barrage of eight mortar shells was fired at Gush Katif on Monday, damaging a home in Neveh Dekalim. The defense minister demanded a committed crackdown on terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, which would include all groups, including the small ones; rounding up and interrogating suspected terrorists; and collecting illegal arms and shutting down arms manufacturing factories.
        Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in response to the shooting of a Palestinian girl. However, Israel said jubilant Palestinian rifle fire celebrating the return of pilgrims from Mecca killed the girl.
        On the West Bank Monday, an Israeli citizen was wounded after a Molotov cocktail hit his car near Migdalim, a soldier was wounded by a pipe bomb in Hebron, shots were fired at IDF troops near Jenin and Kadim, an explosive device was discovered on the Tunnel Road from Jerusalem to Gush Etzion, and several Israeli cars were stoned near Beitar Ilit. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Falash Mura Immigration Rate to Double
    The government decided Monday to double the rate of absorption of the Falash Mura - Ethiopian descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity and have since returned to Judaism - from 300 to 600 per month so that as many as 20,000 can arrive by the end of 2007. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Message From Iraq - Editorial
    A long silenced majority of ordinary Iraqis defied threats of deadly mayhem to cast votes for a new, and hopefully democratic, political order. All who claim to be fighting in the name of the Iraqi people should now recognize that - in an open expression of popular will - Iraqis have expressed their clear preference that these battles be fought exclusively in the peaceful, constitutional arena. Today, along with other Americans, whether supporters or critics of the war, we rejoice in a heartening advance by the Iraqi people. (New York Times)
  • Europe Wakes Up - Editorial
    In recent weeks police in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands have rounded up dozens of terrorist suspects. According to intelligence reports, security services have thwarted a dozen major terrorist attacks in Europe since September 11. Intelligence experts believe Europe is targeted for two reasons: ideology and opportunity. Islamist terrorists still consider Europe part of the hated and infidel West. In addition, Islamic terrorists - some of whom carry European passports - can hide and move about much more easily amid Europe's large Muslim and Arab populations than they can in the U.S.
        In Spain, where the government thought that withdrawing its troops from Iraq after last year's Madrid train bombings would take it off the terrorist target list, security services have since foiled Islamist attacks against the main criminal court and Madrid's soccer stadium. Embarrassment over finding some of their nationals among the terrorists killed by U.S. forces in Iraq has also led governments in Europe to step up efforts to stop the recruitment in their countries of suicide bombers for the jihad in Iraq. (Wall Street Journal, 1Feb05)
  • Columbia's Darkest Hour - Martin Kramer
    I applaud Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon's decision to cancel his appearance at a conference scheduled for Thursday at Columbia University on the Arab-Israeli peace process, in the wake of the documentary film "Columbia Unbecoming," in which Jewish students tell of faculty intimidation over Israel. It must have been a difficult call. It's the mission of Israeli diplomats to make Israel's case, and in pursuing that mission, they seek to stand on any podium. A speech at Columbia is precisely the sort of event that an Israeli ambassador covets - in normal times. The writer is senior associate at Tel Aviv University's Dayan Center. (New York Sun, 27Jan05)
  • Observations:

    Fagin and Blair - William Rees-Mogg (Times-UK)

    • Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist includes the anti-Semitic persona of Fagin, a stereotypical Jew portrayed as avaricious, ruthless, and cunning. The Mail on Sunday published two striking photographs side by side. The first is a picture of Barry Humphries actually playing Fagin. The second is a Labour Party poster of Conservative leader Michael Howard, doctored to fit the Fagin image.
    • We are intended to associate Mr. Howard with Fagin, that is, with a sinister Jewish criminal as seen by anti-Semites. This is part of the Labour pre-election campaign.
    • There is never any excuse even for mild anti-Semitism; it is a dangerous and virulent poison. The trouble is that anti-Semitism works only too well. There are several times more Muslim voters than Jewish voters; they are part of the target audience. Labour wants to destroy Mr. Howard as a political leader by using his Jewishness against him. They know to a hair's breadth what they are doing.
    • Of course, any anti-Semitism has been denied; the purpose of the operation is to raise the controversy and then withdraw. But the Fagin image will linger on, and those voters who do not like Jews will have been reminded of their prejudice, by modern advertising techniques and, alas, even by this article. But it is a dirty, dirty, dirty business and it disgraces both the Labour Party and the Prime Minister.


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