Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


August 16, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Studying Two Dozen "Clusters" of Possible Homegrown Muslim Terrorists - Brian Ross, Richard Esposito and Maddy Sauer (ABC News)
    U.S. law enforcement officials say they have identified more than two dozen "clusters" of young Muslim men in the northeast U.S. who are on a path that could lead to homegrown terror.
    "Any one of those clusters may be capable of carrying out a terrorist action that will result in fatalities," said Rand Corporation terrorism expert Brian Jenkins.
    A new report by the NYPD intelligence division, "Radicalization in the West and the Homegrown Threat," plots "the trajectory of radicalization" and tracks the path of a non-radicalized individual to an individual with the willingness to commit an act of terror.
    The report cites at least 10 well-known recent cases where authorities have thwarted plots developed either wholly or in a very large part by homegrown "actors" inspired by al-Qaeda.
    See also The Making of a Homegrown Terrorist - Christopher Dickey (Newsweek)

Iran Building Ties with Nicaragua - Joachim Bamrud (NewsMax)
    Nicaragua's new left-wing president has begun building a strategic alliance with Iran.
    The president, Daniel Ortega, headed the Sandinista junta that ruled Nicaragua with the support of Castro's Cuba and the Soviet Union back in the 1970s and 1980s.
    Iran is set to pump nearly $500 million into Nicaragua to build a new hydroelectric project, invest in a new port and build 10,000 new houses, Ortega announced in early August.
    "An Iranian embassy in [Nicaraguan capital] Managua is worrisome for Nicaragua's neighbors because Iran doesn't travel alone: It comes with terror and terrorist organizations, such as Hizbullah," warns Jaime Daremblum, a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute.

Israel Protests European Parliament Plan to Host Anti-Israel Conference (Reuters/San Diego Union-Tribune)
    Israel's ambassador to the EU wrote to the president of the European Parliament last week urging reconsideration of plans to host a conference at the end of August under the auspices of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which was established in 1975 and Israel considers anti-Israel.
    The leader of the Conservative group in the European Parliament, Timothy Kirkhope, said he was concerned that the event might be used to provide a platform for Hamas.
    "That would be unhelpful for the Israelis and also to the Palestinians themselves," he said.

Indian Muslim Leaders Visit Israel (
    Maulana Jamil Ilyasi, president of the All India Organization of Imams and Mosques, is leading a delegation of Indian Muslim leaders visiting Israel.
    The visit is sponsored by Project Interchange, an institute of the American Jewish Committee, in coordination with the Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council.
    "We are coming with the message of peace and goodwill from Indian Muslims who believe in the Indian tradition of resolving issues through dialogue and peaceful means," said Ilyasi.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Rejects Calls to End Isolation of Hamas - Donald Macintyre and Anne Penketh
    Tzipi Livni, Israel's Foreign Minister, denounced calls for talks with Hamas by warning that "any compromise with terror, any compromise with these extremists" could undermine the new government set up in the West Bank by Mahmoud Abbas. Livni said: "I know that it looks tempting and I know that the international community is eager to see a kind of understanding between Hamas and Fatah." But she warned at a news conference with her visiting Japanese counterpart, Taro Aso: "This is wrong. This is a mistake. Big mistake. Huge." (Independent-UK)
        See also Italy Stresses Quartet Conditions for Hamas Dialogue
    Italian Premier Romano Prodi telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday after his comments about having a dialogue with Hamas drew sharp criticism from Israel and praise from Hamas. In the phone call, Prodi stressed that Hamas must fulfill conditions set out by the Quartet of Mideast peace negotiators before negotiations can resume: recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and accept existing agreements. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Backlash Over Book on Policy for Israel - Patricia Cohen
    The forthcoming publication of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by Professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt is stirring a backlash, with several institutions backing away from holding events with the authors. An article last spring in the London Review of Books outlining their argument - that a powerful pro-Israel lobby has a pernicious influence on American policy - set off a firestorm of charges of anti-Semitism and shoddy scholarship.
        Opponents are prepared. The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control by Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, includes a foreword by former secretary of state George P. Shultz who says the notion that pro-Israel groups "have anything like a uniform agenda, and that U.S. policy on Israel and the Middle East is the result of their influence, is simply wrong....This is a conspiracy theory pure and simple, and scholars at great universities should be ashamed to promulgate it." (New York Times)
  • Hamas: Goal of Resistance Is to Wipe Israel Off the Face of the Earth
    Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan said in an interview on the Iranian TV channel Al-Kawthar on August 6, 2007: "We are making the preparations for a confrontation...because the final goal of the resistance is to wipe this entity [Israel] off the face of the Earth. This goal necessitates the development of the capabilities of the resistance, until this entity is wiped out." (MEMRI)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel, Washington Sign New Defense Agreement - Barak Ravid
    Israel and the U.S. on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a new American defense package for Israel. The U.S. will transfer $30 billion to Israel over 10 years, compared with $24 billion over the past decade. Israel is slated to receive the first payment in October 2008, amounting to $2.55 billion. That sum will grow each year by $150 million until it reaches $3.1 billion in 2011. In addition, the agreement permits Israel to convert into shekels 26.3 percent of the aid money, thereby enabling it to procure defense equipment from Israeli companies. The rest of the aid must be used to purchase equipment from American military industries. (Ha'aretz)
  • UN Security Council to Reject Israeli Request to Expand UNIFIL Role
    The UN Security Council will reject an Israeli request to expand UNIFIL's mandate in southern Lebanon against Hizbullah, Israel Army Radio reported Thursday. Israel wants UNIFIL troops to be granted new rules of engagement to take a more "proactive" role against Hizbullah and expand its field of operations from open areas to cities and towns. Israel also asked that UNIFIL troops be allowed to open fire against Hizbullah operatives, and not only after they are fired upon. According to the report, the Security Council will reject the request due to safety concerns for its personnel on the ground in southern Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah Legislator Convicted as Accomplice in Tel Aviv Suicide Bombing - Ali Waked
    Jamal Tirawi, a Fatah member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was convicted on Wednesday of having been an accomplice in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv in March 2002 in which an Israeli woman, Rachel Tcherkhi, was killed. According to the indictment, the suicide bomber that blew himself up in a coffee shop in the city made his way to Israel from Tirawi's Nablus home. Tirawi is also accused of recruiting potential suicide bombers. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Uncovers Gaza Tunnel Intended for Terror Attack - Amos Harel and Yoav Stern
    The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday uncovered a tunnel under an area of tomato greenhouses in the northern Gaza Strip, which was dug to facilitate a terror attack on Israel. The opening of the tunnel was uncovered 700 meters from the Gaza-Israel border, on the outskirts of Beit Lahia. On Wednesday an Israeli civilian was wounded after being hit by shrapnel from a mortar shell near the Erez Crossing. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket that struck Israel's western Negev Wednesday evening. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hamas Rules: The Talibanization of Gaza - Jonathan Schanzer
    Witness the Talibanization of Gaza: According to Fatah officials, Professor Sana al-Sayegh, a teacher at Palestine University in Gaza City, was kidnapped two weeks ago by Hamas and forced to convert to Islam against her will. Meanwhile, Ala Aklouk, a senior Muslim cleric in Gaza City asked by Hamas to look into the case, said the professor converted to Islam of her free will. "She was too afraid to inform her family that she had converted to Islam," he said. Other Christians now fear for their lives, and are making plans to flee.
        Al-Qaeda Links? In 2006, Hamas Interior Minister Said Sayyam stated that he would not order the arrests of operatives who carried out attacks against Israel. This was tantamount to an invitation for al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups to join Hamas in its war against Israel. Embattled PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has since stated that al-Qaeda maintains a presence in the West Bank and Gaza. Gaza has never been idyllic. But, under Hamas, as one New York Times reporter notes, "Gaza looks like Somalia: broken and ravenous." Hamas conquered Gaza by force. It will need to maintain its grip on power by force. This is the beginning of the Talibanization of Gaza, and the end of hope for the rule of law. The writer, a former Treasury intelligence analyst, is Director of Policy at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington. (National Review)
  • How I Escaped Islamism - Shiraz Maher
    For almost four years I was on the front line of British Islamism serving as a regional officer in northeast England for Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist group committed to the creation of a puritanical caliphate. My time in Cambridge was a turning point. I was studying for a doctorate, researching the development of Islamic political thought in late colonial India. I surveyed a wide range of Muslim opinion, among whom Abul Kalam Azad was a leading figure. He explained how Islam obliged Muslims to create a harmonious society and was adept at offering lucid explanations from the texts of the Koran to show a secular state was validated through Islam.
        By the start of 2005 mentally I was no longer an Islamist. Then my nightmare was realized. I watched as London came under attack on July 7, 2005, by four British Muslims who claimed 52 innocent lives. This was the cauldron of Islamist hate boiling over. Just as the divisive message of political Islam has been spread by young men across Britain, there is now a growing number of former activists leading the charge against the ideas that we once helped to promote. (Times-UK)
  • Observations:

    Hamas Optimism vs. Fatah Despair - Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor)

    • Among many young Gazans there is excitement for a Palestinian enclave that fully embraces the principles of their Islamic Resistance Movement without the interference of Fatah rivals. In talking to Fatah members in the West Bank, however, a picture of despair, disorganization, and exhaustion emerges.
    • "Audiences in the U.S. have a strong feeling of black and white and they're betting on which side will win based on whether it agrees with them," says Mouin Rabbani, an analyst at the International Crisis Group. "But there's an issue that is overlooked: The virtual disintegration of Fatah."
    • Neither side has shown themselves to be paragons of democracy. In the West Bank, hundreds Hamas activists have been jailed for their political beliefs since June, gunmen out of uniform are frequently seen on city streets, and the local security forces are seen by many average citizens as unruly thugs.
    • Qadura Fares, a member of Fatah's young guard, says: "Fatah needs radical surgery, but the patient is very frail. If you meet with 200 Fatah representatives, they'll all tell you the same thing. Corruption is our big problem. But, of course, some of those 200 are among the corrupt. Are they going to give up their positions? It doesn't look like it."
    • One adviser to the Bush administration says that when Fatah leaders come to Washington they invariably talk about what the U.S. should do to weaken Hamas, rather than present new initiatives to further the interests of the Palestinian people.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert