Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 25, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

U.S., Israel Eye Solution to Palestinian Kassam Rockets - Martin Sieff (UPI)
    With little fanfare, Israel is pushing ahead with major U.S. high-tech corporate partners on a new design to protect the Jewish state from extremely short-range Palestinian missiles.
    The U.S. missile systems maker Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has joined the Boeing and Israel Aircraft Industries consortium in Israel's Short-Range Ballistic Missile Defense (SRBMD) tender, intended to adapt the technology of the Arrow anti-ballistic missile to intercept short-range Kassam rockets.

Islamist Protest in NY: "Mushroom Cloud Is on the Way"  (WorldNetDaily)
    A New York rally by the Islamic Thinkers Society outside the Israeli consulate Thursday featured chants of "The mushroom cloud is on its way! The real holocaust is on its way!"
    Signs included "Islam will Dominate" and a picture with an Islamic flag flying over the White House.

Penn State Censors Terror Exhibit - Jessica Remitz (Penn State Collegian)
    Three days before his 10-piece exhibit - "Portraits of Terror" - was scheduled to open, Penn State student Josh Stulman received an e-mail message from the School of Visual Arts that said his exhibit on images of terrorism "did not promote cultural diversity" or "opportunities for democratic dialogue" and the display would be cancelled.
    The exhibit, Stulman said, raises questions concerning the destruction of Jewish religious shrines, anti-Semitic propaganda, and cartoons in Palestinian newspapers.

    See also Jewish Candidate Accused of "Conflict of Interest" in Student Election - Kyle Gordon (Canadian Jewish News)
    During a student council election at the University of Western Ontario, members of the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Club (SPHR) charged that candidate Noah Farber, president of the Israel Action Committee (IAC), had a history of working against Palestinian human rights.
    A student committee of which Farber was a member had filed a complaint when SPHR celebrated the UN International Day of Solidarity on Nov. 29, 2004, by erecting a mock "Apartheid Wall."

Palestinians Debate Women's Future Under Hamas - Brenda Gazzar (Women's eNews)
    Since Hamas' parliamentary victory, there has been a debate about the Islamist organization's intentions toward women.
    Some women's rights activists see hints of a more restrictive attitude in an increasing number of signs posted by Islamic organizations on Palestinian buses urging Muslim women to dress modestly and wear the veil.
    Secular activists worry about the new minister of women's affairs, Maryam Salleh, an Islamist. "She will develop and promote programs to convert women" to a more Islamic lifestyle, said Walid Salem, director of the Palestinian Center for the Dissemination of Democracy.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • 34 Killed in Egyptian Sinai Resort Bombings - Michael Slackman
    Three blasts tore through Dahab, a resort town on the Sinai Peninsula, on Monday, killing 34 people and wounding more than 115. (New York Times)
        See also Dahab Terror Attack Indicative of Egypt's Failure - Ze'ev Schiff
    Al-Qaeda was behind Monday's terror attack in Dahab. Egyptian authorities recently informed the U.S. that they eradicated an al-Qaeda base in Jabal Hilal in central Sinai. Yet, despite Egyptian efforts, al-Qaeda continues to operate adjacent to the border with Israel. Al-Qaeda is also trying to set up a base in Gaza to enable it to infiltrate into Israel to carry out strikes. Egypt is concerned that some of the explosives are being smuggled into Sinai from Saudi Arabia. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Sinai Becoming a Preferred Target for Terror - Yossi Melman
    The Gulf of Aqaba coastline of Sinai is becoming Egypt's weak spot for terrorists who adhere to the ideal of global jihad. Previous terror attacks include the Taba Hilton in October 2004 and Sharm el-Sheikh in July 2005. Sinai is located close to countries in which al-Qaeda cells operate - Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iraq - and its border with the Gaza Strip is relatively easy to breach. (Ha'aretz)
  • Terror Threat Puts U.S. Jewish Community on Alert - Ori Nir
    Following a threat last week by the Palestinian Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades to target "Zionists outside Palestine," a national Jewish community terrorism alert system has been activated to determine whether Jewish institutions should take extra security precautions. The Secure Community Network, assembled a year ago by the Presidents Conference and the United Jewish Communities, links national organizations and local affiliates to law enforcement authorities in Washington and around the country. "Our Secure Community Network people have been in touch with law enforcement officials and are on top of" possible implications of the threat, said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. (Forward)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Holocaust Day Suicide Bombing Attack Foiled - Efrat Weiss
    IDF soldiers on Monday detained a terrorist in a taxi north of Jerusalem who was planning to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel. Security officials said: "A terror attack on Holocaust Day or the next day was prevented." Security forces are dealing with 76 terror warnings, including 20 concrete ones. (Ynet News)
  • Defense Minister Mofaz: "Iran Constitutes an Existential Threat" to Israel - Roee Nahmias
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, speaking Monday at the inauguration of the Center for Iran Studies at Tel Aviv University, discussed the four main challenges Israel is facing - Iran, the Hamas government, Syria, and the global Jihad. "We cannot remain indifferent, let alone on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, to statements coming from Tehran by one of the most extreme leaders since Hitler, who denies the Holocaust and calls to destroy Israel. We must take it seriously," he said.
        "Iran constitutes an existential threat on three levels: Extreme leadership, missile capability, and intent to acquire nuclear weapons. Lately the Iranians are doing their utmost to progress in two programs - the open civilian nuclear program and the secret military nuclear program. I'm not sure the West has all the information about both." Mofaz also revealed that since the beginning of 2006, Iran transferred $10 million to terror groups. "This is fuel for terrorist organizations to continue attacks." (Ynet News)
  • Abbas Threatens to Dismiss Hamas Cabinet - Khaled Abu Toameh
    PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday told Turkey's CNN TV that he did not rule out the possibility of dissolving the Hamas cabinet unless it agreed to negotiate with Israel. "Everyone must know that, according to the law, I have the power to do so," he said. Abbas said Hamas "must face the reality" and negotiate with Israel, and that the Palestinians would not be able to survive without foreign aid. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • its Own Words - Editorial
    Hamas has never wanted an independent Palestinian state living peacefully beside Israel. It wants Israel either cleansed of Jews or with Jews tolerated only as virtual slaves. When Hamas talks about temporary ceasefires or truces with Israel, the key word is "temporary." Hamas cannot accept a lasting peace with Israel because it cannot accept Israel.
        In Canada, at least, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has figured out what Hamas really is and what it really believes. That's why he has rightly decided to cease all direct Canadian aid to the Palestinian Authority unless and until Hamas renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to exist. (Winnipeg Sun)
  • Why We Fear Iran - Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
    Most of the Arabs outside of the Gulf region believe that Iran's possession of a nuclear weapon is a positive development that achieves a balance of power with Israel. The Gulf Arabs, however, believe that the power of Iranian nuclear deterrence represents the biggest danger of a military threat. There is no real potentiality other than Iran using the nuclear weapon against the Gulf, or threatening its use to obtain large concessions.
        When the Gulf was preoccupied with the liberation of Kuwait, Iran suddenly occupied the remaining part of the Abu Musa Island, which belongs to the United Arab Emirates. It has also engaged in military clashes with all the Gulf countries except the Sultanate of Oman. The writer, general manager of Al-Arabiya television, is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • U.S. State Department's Human Rights Reports Based on Biased Claims
    On March 8, 2006, the U.S. Department of State released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, including an assessment of the human rights situation in "Israel and the occupied territories." The 2005 Country Report still relies heavily on allegations from problematic NGOs that display a consistent anti-Israel political bias, publish claims that lack credibility, and ignore the complexities of human rights requirements in the context of mass terror.
        These highly politicized NGOs include the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC), the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), B'Tselem, Adalah, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. The uncritical repetition of the claims and allegations of these NGOs severely undermines the credibility of the U.S. State Department's Human Rights Reports. (NGO Monitor)
  • Wolves in Sheep's Clothing on an Extremist Islamic Mission - Miranda Devine
    There is a new wave of sophisticated, articulate Islamic fundamentalists trying to spread the word among moderate Muslims in Sydney. Young men with neatly trimmed beards, broad Australian accents, and fluent in Arabic, they appear to be fully assimilated, second-generation Australians. But they belong to a political group called Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) that calls for the creation of a global Islamic state, or caliphate, under strict sharia law. The message is one of division, non-assimilation, and rejection of the values of the "kafir" - non-Muslims. (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
  • Observations:

    Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day

    Why Isn't Israel Willing to Take Risks? - Yosef (Tommy) Lapid (Jerusalem Post)

    • "Why isn't Israel willing to take risks?" EU ambassadors asked recently at a meeting in Tel Aviv. After all, Israel is so strong, and the Palestinians are so weak, and the threats voiced by Arab leaders are for internal consumption only.
    • There is one difference between us, I answered them, and it is does not permit us to rely on anyone other than ourselves, and it is the reason why we will not and cannot take chances. That element is the Holocaust.
    • If a new Holocaust were to occur here, you would surely protest and express regret and you would even establish an orphanage or two to take in the poor Israeli children that survive. And, in your minds, you would be wondering why it's always the Jews that invite such catastrophes.
    • We lost six million of our people in the Holocaust. Israel currently has six million Jews living in it. We will not be deterred by the threats of our enemies; nor will we listen to the advice of our friends. We will not rely on anyone else. For us, that is the most important lesson of the Holocaust.

          See also Begin, Germany, and the Holocaust - Yehuda Avner
      Prime Minister Menachem Begin told a meeting of Jewish leaders on Holocaust Memorial Day in 1981: "I know how my mother, my father, my brother, and my two cousins - one four years old, one five years old - went to their deaths. My father was the secretary of the Brisk [now Brest-Litovsk] Jewish community. He walked to his death at the head of 500 Jews. They all sang 'Hatikva.'...The Germans pushed them into the River Bug. They opened fire with machine guns from both sides, and the river became red with blood....So, yes, I don't deny it - I live with this. It colors everything I do." (Jerusalem Post)

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