Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Poll: Americans Want PA to Recognize Israel (JTA)
Holocaust Honor for Arab Who Saved Jews from Nazis - David Sharrock (Times-UK)
Iraq Learns from Yad Vashem - Smadar Perry (Ynet News)
Hizbullah Perfume - Annia Ciezadlo (New Republic)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
North Korea is helping Iran to prepare an underground nuclear test. Under the terms of a new understanding between the two countries, the North Koreans have agreed to share all the data and information they received from their successful test last October with Teheran's nuclear scientists, and to assist Teheran's preparations to conduct its own - possibly by the end of this year.
Senior Western military officials are deeply concerned that the North Koreans' technical superiority will allow the Iranians to accelerate development of their own nuclear weapon. "We have identified increased activity at all of Iran's nuclear facilities since the turn of the year," said a senior European defense official. (Telegraph-UK)
See also Strange Bedfellows - But Dangerous Nonetheless - Editorial (Telegraph-UK)
The Hizbullah-led opposition cut roads in Beirut and across Lebanon with burning tires, uprooted trees, incinerated cars and barricades to enforce a strike Tuesday aimed at toppling the government, paralyzing the country and embarrassing Lebanese officials ahead of an international aid conference. The army rarely intervened to break the blockades. At least three people were killed in towns north of Beirut, and more than 100 were injured before the opposition declared an end to the strike. (Washington Post)
See also Old Christian Rivalry Moves into Lebanon Streets - Tom Perry
Supporters of Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, who backs the government, scuffled in several Christian areas. (Reuters)
See also Paris Meeting to Show International Support for Lebanon's Government - Benny Avni
Secretary-General Ban is aiming to demonstrate how the UN can help rejuvenate Lebanon's war-scarred economy, at a UN-led international donor conference Thursday in Paris, but opposition leaders in Beirut will attempt to portray the conference as a foreign conspiracy. (New York Sun)
Former President Jimmy Carter told an audience at Brandeis University on Tuesday that he stood by his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and that he had been disturbed by accusations that he was anti-Semitic. He said a sentence in which he seemed to suggest that Palestinians would not have to end their suicide bombings and acts of terrorism until Israel withdraws from the territories "was worded in a completely improper and stupid way," adding: "I have written my publisher to change that sentence immediately. I apologize to you personally, to everyone here."
He said: "I have never claimed or believed that American Jews control the news media. That is ridiculous to claim." He said "a lot of support for Israel comes from Christians like me who have been taught since they were three years old to honor and protect God's chosen people."
After Carter left, Alan M. Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor who has sharply criticized the book, spoke. "There are two different Jimmy Carters," Dershowitz said. "You heard the Brandeis Jimmy Carter today, and he was terrific. I support almost everything he said. But if you listen to the Al Jazeera Jimmy Carter, you'll hear a very different perspective." (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
"I do not believe the current Sunni concern over the Shi'ite nuclear weapons program in Iran will lead to some sort of covert Saudi, Egyptian, American, Israeli modus vivendi to protect ourselves together against the Shi'a," former CIA director James Woolsey told the Herzliya Conference on Monday. "The Wahhabis, al-Qaeda, the Vilayat Faqih in Teheran, although often lethally competitive with one another in the way the Nazis and communists were in the 1930s, are capable of unification," Woolsey asserted. Following his speech, Woolsey told journalists, "there is a very substantial likelihood that if the diplomatic approach failed - and I think it will - and non-violent regime change [in Iran] won't work, there is no alternative except for the U.S. to use force." (Jerusalem Post)
See also U.S. Political Leaders Rip Iran in Herzliya Conference - Herb Keinon and Tovah Lazaroff
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, addressing the Herzliya Conference by video, said, "Israel is facing the greatest danger for its survival since the 1967 victory....Three nuclear weapons is a second Holocaust." "We have enemies who are quite explicit in their desire to destroy us. They say it publicly, on television, on Web sites. We are sleepwalking through this as though it is all a problem of communications," he said.
Asked about the Palestinian issue, Gingrich said the West needed to discriminate between "people who are willing to live with us, and people unwilling to live with us." He said there was "no elegant way to say to Hamas, 'why don't we meet and have a really long weekend together and learn how to be friends.' If someone says to you, 'I am determined that not a single Jew remain,' I think it is useful to take them at their word. And if the choice is your survival or their survival, I think you should pick you." Other U.S. political leaders addressing the conference included former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, and Sen. John Edwards. (Jerusalem Post)
On Jan. 17, 2007, Texas Federal Court judge Sam Sparks dismissed as "wholly frivolous" and "baseless" Palestine Children's Welfare Fund (PCWF) and Riad ElSolh Hamad's defamation suit against NGO Monitor and others. Among the Gaza-based PCWF's activities, documented in an NGO Monitor report, is a children's drawing contest. The judges rewarded, almost without exception, entries that featured fierce and violent hatred of Israel. (NGO Monitor)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
"The sanctions and international pressure are having an effect [on Iran]," says Joseph Cirincione, a nonproliferation expert at the Center for American Progress in Washington. "The sanctions are hurting Iran's economy, especially by [sowing] doubts among international investors and discouraging their involvement in the Iranian economy....At the same time, the pragmatists and reformers are using the sense of Iran's growing international isolation to strike back at Ahmadinejad, but for reasons unrelated to the nuclear issue." (Christian Science Monitor)
To learn why a resurgent Taliban is fighting American and NATO troops to a military draw in Afghanistan, you have to go to the frontier region on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Our colleague, Carlotta Gall, found that Quetta, Pakistan, is an important rear base for the Taliban, and that Pakistani authorities are encouraging and perhaps sponsoring the cross-border insurgency, a role that Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, denies.
Positive results will be limited as long as Afghanistan's much more populous and powerful neighbor, Pakistan, provides rear support and sanctuary for the Taliban insurgency. Pakistan is now the third-largest recipient of American foreign aid. The very least Washington should be demanding of President Musharraf is that he enforce an immediate halt on Pakistani military support for the Taliban insurgents who are crossing the border and killing American troops. (New York Times)
Will Iran Pay a Price for Denying the Holocaust? - John Vinocur (New York Times, 23Jan07)
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