Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


July 17, 2008

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Decoding Iran's Air Defense System (Strategy Page)
    Recent Israel Air Force exercises near Greece apparently also involved Greek S-300 surface-to-air missile systems of a type similar to those that Russia has provided to Iran.
    Russia sold the C-300 to Cyprus in 1998, but Greece ended up with them to settle a dispute between Cyprus and Turkey.
    Although the S-300 systems the Iranians have are of more recent design, the Greek systems provided the Israelis with practical experience in dealing with S-300 defenses.

A Word of Advice for Samir Kuntar - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
    A small word of advice for Samir Kuntar. Ask your comrades in the PLO and Hizbullah what was the ultimate fate of various killers of Israelis and Jews years after they thought their actions were forgotten.
    For example, what happened to the killers of Israel's athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and their masterminds? The last of them died in unnatural circumstances 24 years after that horrific massacre.
    So learn from the past and draw your conclusions.
    See also Nasrallah Will Not Die a Natural Death - Rebecca Anna Stoil (Jerusalem Post)
    MK Yisrael Hasson, who was also a former Shin Bet assistant director, said: "None of them will be absolved. Whoever bathed in Jewish blood, whoever attacked the honor and independence of the State of Israel, will not be able to tell their grandchildren anything, because they will never get to that stage."
    "I have no doubt that Nasrallah will not die a natural death. The State of Israel will settle its accounts with him. He knows that better than we do."

PA Must Pay Terror Victims - Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa W. Lappen (Washington Times)
    The PA recently asked U.S. federal courts to reopen cases it lost after refusing to defend itself against terror-funding charges. Judgments would come from U.S. and international aid, the PA argues.
    In both cases, Palestinian terrorists murdered American citizens.
    "The United States supports just compensation for victims of terrorism from those responsible for their losses," said U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Carl Nichols.
    It's time justice be done and the courts force the PA to pay every dime they owe the victims' families.

France Denies Citizenship to Veiled Muslim Woman - Angela Charlton (AP/Washington Post)
    A Muslim woman who sheaths herself in a head-to-toe veil was denied French citizenship because she had not assimilated enough into the society.
    On June 27, France's highest administrative body, the Council of State, ruled that the woman had "adopted a radical practice of her religion incompatible with the essential values of the French community, notably with the principle of equality of the sexes, and therefore she does not fulfill the conditions of assimilation" listed in the country's Civil Code as a requirement for gaining French citizenship.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran and U.S. Signaling Chance of Deal - Glenn Kessler
    President Bush's decision to shift policy and send Undersecretary of State William Burns to nuclear talks with Iran this weekend in Geneva was made after increasing signs that Iran was open to possible negotiations and that international sanctions were having an impact on the Islamic republic, U.S. officials said Wednesday. Secretary of State Rice pushed for the move in a meeting on Monday of Bush's top aides, and Bush's support suggests he increasingly is determined to put aside a possible military strike in an effort to reach a deal to end Iran's nuclear program in his final six months in office.
        In 2006, the initial package of incentives included only a vague reference to Iran's security concerns. The new package, by contrast, offers to negotiate extensive security commitments, including supporting Iran in "playing an important and constructive role in international affairs." The administration has also supported EU foreign policy chief Solana's concept of a "freeze for a freeze" that blurs the lines between suspension of uranium enrichment and discussion. Under Solana's plan, preliminary talks could begin as long as Iran does not expand its nuclear program. Then formal negotiations would begin as soon as Iran suspended enrichment. (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. Plans to Station Diplomats in Iran - Ewen MacAskill
    The U.S. plans to establish a diplomatic presence in Tehran with an interests section - a step toward setting up a full embassy - for the first time in 30 years. President Ahmadinejad said Iran would consider favorably any request aimed at boosting relations between the two countries. (Guardian-UK)
  • Saudi-Backed Interfaith Meeting Opens in Spain - Paul Haven
    King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia kicked off an interfaith conference in Madrid on Wednesday The conference includes David Rosen, a prominent Irish-Israeli rabbi. However, Rosen is not listed as an Israeli in conference literature. Critics say the Saudis are the last people who should be hosting a meeting on religious tolerance. Wahhabism - the version of Sunni Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia - is considered one of Islam's most conservative strains. (AP)
        See also Organizer's Past Raises Questions about Madrid Interfaith Conference - Steven Emerson
    The interfaith conference in Madrid was organized by a man accused of working with a senior al-Qaeda financier who unabashedly supports Palestinian suicide bombings. Abdullah al-Turki organized the conference on behalf of the Muslim World League (MWL), where he is secretary general. The MWL was created by the Saudi royal family in 1962 to "promote Islamic unity" and spread Wahhabi doctrine. In the week following the 9/11 attacks, al-Turki told a radio interviewer that U.S. policy was responsible for the attacks. Bob Blitzer, who served as the FBI's domestic terrorism chief in the 1990s, said he was troubled by a conference purported to be about interfaith dialogue being organized by a group charged with spreading Wahhabism, whose principal organizer is alleged in court papers to have ties to al-Qaeda.
        The gathering is expected to attract dozens of American-based Muslims, including Sayyed Syeed and Ingrid Mattson from the Islamic Society of North America, Ibrahim Hooper and Nihad Awad from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, as well as six U.S. rabbis. (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Abbas Congratulates Kuntar's Family - Ali Waked
    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday congratulated the family of released Lebanese murderer Samir Kuntar. (Ynet News)
  • The War Is Now Over - Eyal Ben Reuven
    The return of Israel's two abducted soldiers marks, in practice, the end of the Second Lebanon War. The special Jewish moral sensitivity of Israeli society to all matters pertaining to its responsibility for soldiers sent on a mission is especially prominent in the face of the orchestrated cries of joy in Lebanon on the occasion of the return of Hizbullah's "hero," the murderer Samir Kuntar. One matter is beyond all else: The duty to do everything in order to locate our captives and MIAs and bring them home, even if the price is painful and outrageous. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Ben Reuven served as the deputy head of Northern Command during the Second Lebanon War. (Ynet News)
  • Peres: Moral Victory Is Israel's - Ronen Medzini
    Addressing the tragic return of kidnapped troops Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, President Shimon Peres on Wednesday stressed the difference between Israel and Hizbullah. "There are victory celebrations in Lebanon. They are stepping out with drums and dances to greet Kuntar the murderer who crushed the skull of four-year-old Einat with his gun and shot her father in cold blood....In Israel, the nation is in tears." (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A High Price to Ensure that No One Is Left Behind - Bronwen Maddox
    This may be the last of the extravagantly lopsided prisoner swaps between Israel and Hizbullah. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet that after this deal - and any future one with Hamas for the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, believed to be held in Gaza - Israel should work out new guidelines for itself in swaps. The asymmetry contains the unspoken suggestion that one Israeli, even if dead, is worth more than a dozen of the other side. But, as Olmert said, the time may be coming for Israel to extract itself from a commitment that can put it at a disadvantage to its opponents, since such deals may encourage kidnapping. (Times-UK)
  • Lessons of the Hizbullah Prisoner Swap - Shlomo Avineri
    Throughout the negotiations, Israel did not know whether the two abductees were alive or dead, and conducted the talks without knowing what it would receive in exchange for the Lebanese prisoners. In any future case, Israel must announce that it will not begin negotiations without knowing whether the captives or abductees are dead or alive. At the same time, Israel must insist that representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross be permitted to see the captives and submit an official report on their condition, according to the requirements of international law. This principle can be adopted now in the case of Gilad Shalit in Gaza. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Hidden Face of Political Islamism - Dean Godson
    Behind the cultural soft power of the Islam Expo in London is political hard power. The organizers gave floor space to the genocidal regime in Sudan and to the "Cultural Section" of the Iranian Embassy and the Algerian junta. The directors of Islam Expo include Azzam Tamimi, a supporter of Hamas suicide bombings in Israel, and Ismail Adam Patel, who believes that women in the West who are raped share responsibility with their attackers. No wonder Hazel Blears, the feisty Secretary of State for Communities, decided last week that this was not a place where any minister should be seen, and most of her Muslim colleagues in the Labour Party backed her.
        Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, is in serious trouble over a grant of £215,000 given to the Scottish Islamic Foundation, headed by one of his advisers, Osama Saeed. Saeed, a Scottish National Party parliamentary candidate and a speaker at Islam Expo, has described Hamas suicide attacks as "martyrdom operations" and has supported the creation of a modern caliphate, or pan-Islamic state. Are non-violent political Islamists part of the solution or part of the problem? The writer is research director of the Policy Exchange think tank. (Times-UK)
  • Observations:

    Explaining the Prisoner Exchange - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)

    • Much of what makes Israel unique and different needs to be understood to explain the grisly prisoner exchange that took place on Wednesday. Israel freed a child-murderer and four prisoners of war, along with nearly 200 bodies of assorted terrorists and infiltrators, for coffins bearing the remains of two IDF reservists.
    • No other country in the world would have made such a deal. But no other country in the world bears the scars that Israel does, nor the almost absolute knowledge that there will be other wars to fight in this generation, and that people we all know will be called upon to do the fighting.
    • It is in the preparations for the next confrontation with Hizbullah that the swap comes into play. Each soldier must know that when he goes into battle, the country will do everything, but everything, in its power to bring him back home if something untoward occurs.
    • This explains why IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi was such a fierce advocate of the deal, even though he - more than anyone else - knows the risk this may pose for future soldiers.
    • Israel's ethos of never leaving a soldier behind also comes, to a great degree, from a sense of communal obligation following the Holocaust - a feeling that whenever Jews are in danger, everything, but everything, must be done to try to save them, if only because so little was done back then.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert