Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Sunni Sheikh Qaradawi Warns of Iranian Shiite Threat - Jonathan D. Halevy (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)
Iran Aims to Surpass Saudi Oil Refining (Media Line/Jerusalem Post)
Iran Displays Salman Rushdie's Coffin - Tom Gross
Danish T-Shirt Company Convicted of Supporting Palestinian Terror Group - Mikkel A. Bahl (Ha'aretz)
In Iran, Barbie Seen as Cultural Invader - Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor)
Anti-Semitism in Austrian Universities - Ruth Contreras (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at Israel on Thursday, saying the Jewish state would not survive, even if it gave up land for a Palestinian state. "I have heard some say the idea of greater Israel has expired," Ahmadinejad said. "I say that the idea of lesser Israel has expired, too." Ahmadinejad will travel to New York next week to attend the UN General Assembly. The Iranian president repeated previous anti-Israel comments, calling the Holocaust a "fake" and saying that Israel is perpetrating a holocaust on the Palestinian people. (AP)
See also Ahmadinejad: Israelis Should Go Back to "Countries of Origin"
Iranian President Ahmadinejad said Thursday in Tehran: "Although we distinguish between the people (Jews living in Israel) and the Zionist (Israeli) regime, we neither acknowledge an Israeli government nor a nation....We have no problems with these people (Israelis) but they should leave the occupied territories, leave them to their genuine owners and get back to their countries and homes where they originally came from." (DPA)
See also Ahmadinejad Hones Hate Message in General Assembly Lead-Up - Benny Avni (New York Sun)
With Iranian President Ahmadinejad slated to come to New York next week for the annual opening of the UN General Assembly, Jewish groups will be campaigning both privately and publicly against the Iranian regime. The centerpiece of the public effort will be a mass protest rally Sep. 22 at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, across from the UN.
On the genocide issue, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs will host a "Conference on State-Sanctioned Incitement to Genocide: What Can Be Done?" in Washington on Sep. 23, highlighting Tehran's abysmal human rights record and the forecasts of Israel's destruction by Ahmadinejad. "The idea is that Ahmadinejad is in violation of the most important human rights convention, the Genocide Convention, and as a result should be treated accordingly," said Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center. "There has been a growing number of voices who accept this determination." (JTA)
See also below Observations: Taking Ahmadinejad at His Word - Malcolm Hoenlein (New York Jewish Week)
A federal grand jury in Miami has indicted 16 foreign individuals and companies in a broad conspiracy to send restricted dual-purpose U.S. electronics and other items to Iran for use in roadside bombs against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The indictment, issued Sep. 11 and unsealed Wednesday, followed an investigation after U.S. forces in Iraq discovered improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, that included U.S.-manufactured components. Charges were brought against six Iranians, and two other people living in Germany and Malaysia. Five indicted companies were said to be based in Dubai, two in Malaysia and one in Iran. None of the indicted people is in custody. (Washington Post)
About 500 members of a Palestinian security force loyal to Mahmoud Abbas crossed into Jordan on Thursday for U.S.-funded training. An initial battalion returned to the West Bank in late May. The training is conducted by Jordanian police at the Jordanian International Police Training Center near Amman. (Reuters)
In the wake of a terrorist attack on the American Embassy in Yemen, Ali Soufan, a retired FBI agent who investigated the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, is urging America to hold the Yemeni government accountable for letting jihadists out of prison. Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility for the embassy attack, and Yemeni authorities arrested 25 suspects who they said were affiliated with al-Qaeda. Islamic Jihad in Yemen is believed to be a spin-off of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the organization that has effectively merged with al-Qaeda and was founded by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.
Wednesday's attack in Sana'a killed 17 people, among them Susan Elbaneh, 18, from Lackawanna, N.Y., who was in Yemen to be married. Her family said she was a relative of Jaber Elbaneh, one of the FBI's most wanted terrorism suspects. The New York Sun reported Thursday that American intelligence officials believe the Yemeni governorates that border Saudi Arabia have emerged as a safe haven for al-Qaeda. (New York Sun)
See also Bin Laden's Organization Regroups in Yemen - Eli Lake (New York Sun)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Professor Uzi Arad, founding director of the IDC's Institute for Policy and Strategy, told a roundtable on nuclear non-proliferation in Brussels on Monday: "The covert Iranian enrichment program of Natanz was revealed in 2002. For four years the international community stonewalled and delayed the U.S. effort to stop the Iranian program, and the result was that the process of UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions began only in 2006, four years too late, while the Iranians proceeded to install centrifuges and reach enrichment capability. Just imagine where we might perhaps have been today if only the steps that have been adopted since 2006 had been taken four years earlier, or in 2003 on the heels of the effects of the U.S. operation in Iraq to take advantage of them."
"We have irreversibly lost crucial time in the international effort to convince Iran to suspend its nuclear weapons program, and this is what has gotten us to where we are today, which is a deteriorated situation." (Ynet News)
On Thursday, Sderot mother Dena Cohen was the first resident of that city to address the UN Human Rights Council and to give them an intimate portrait of what it was like to live under the constant rocket threat from the Palestinians in neighboring Gaza. Cohen, 22, who has a one-year-old son, said, "Every night, before falling asleep, I face the same dilemma. What will happen if a rocket falls on my son's room?" "We have fifteen seconds between the alarm and the explosion. Fifteen seconds to run to the closest shelter."
During the winter a rocket fell near their home, shattering the windows. A shard from that rocket injured their neighbor, Osher Twito, 8, who lost his leg as a result. His brother, 18, was also seriously wounded, Cohen told the Council. "I will never forget their cries. Every time the alarm sounds, I know that this situation can happen again, or even end more tragically," Cohen said. "I would like to ask: Does my baby not have the right to be protected? Does he not have the right to life?" said Cohen. (Jerusalem Post)
The Israeli airline Arkia secretly flew Jordanian soldiers to hurricane-ravaged Haiti last week in a specially chartered flight for the UN. Jordanian soldiers participate in UN peacekeeping and observer missions in Haiti. Arkia has chartered flights on behalf of UN peacekeepers in the past after the company won a tender issued by the world body. (Ha'aretz)
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced the death of Mohammad Adel Shamiyah, 21, on Thursday. Shamiyah was killed in a "military maneuver for the brigades in Khan Yunis early on Thursday morning," according to a statement released by the group. (Maan News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has won the leadership of the Kadima party. Livni said what European governments wanted to hear: that she will keep talks with the Palestinians going. But the only fair expectation of the outcome is close to zero. That is partly for the familiar reason that Israel's extreme democracy does not often deliver governments with the power to push through decisions that a minority detests. Livni's struggles to form a government will soon illustrate that point.
Equally, the split in the Palestinian leadership between Fatah and Hamas may make it pointless to talk only with the former. The U.S. and EU are unwilling to talk directly to the militant Islamic group and hoping that pouring aid on Fatah (while invoking irrelevant comparisons with Northern Ireland) will make Hamas go away. A brief look at the group's control of West Bank schools and services is enough to reckon that it won't.
The deeper questions are whether enough Israelis still see the conflict with the Palestinians as so urgent a threat, and whether their leaders will spare attention from the Iranian nuclear drama. The idea of Iranian leaders, claiming divine direction, sending a nuclear missile to Tel Aviv is inescapably menacing. (Times-UK)
There are four main dilemmas in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that seem almost impossible to resolve:
Borders and security: The old concept of a demilitarized Palestinian state can no longer satisfy Israel because new weapons - including rockets and advanced antitank and antiaircraft missiles - have entered the arena and these new weapons can easily bypass any monitoring arrangement.
Refugees: The "right of return" quandary is a dispute over historical narrative rather than an actual practical problem.
Settlements: Neither the Palestinians nor many Israelis believe that Israel will be able to dismantle the bulk of its large settlements and relocate the 100,000 people who currently live there. The "pie" that has to be divided is too small, and neither side is ready to give up vital areas.
Jerusalem: Many Israelis do not believe that the Palestinians will be able to prevent Hamas from taking over the West Bank. Israel could not tolerate the possibility of Hamas controlling an area located a few hundred meters from some of the nation's most important holy sites and government institutions. Maj. Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland is former head of the Israeli National Security Council. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
"Undercover Mosque: The Return," part of UK Channel 4's "Dispatches" series, was a follow-up to an investigation last year in which preachers in a number of British mosques were filmed making anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks, and extolling the virtues of terrorism. The new investigation focused on one of the mosques featured in the 2007 program, the Regent's Park Mosque in central London. It found that, despite promises by the mosque authorities to take action against the extremists, nothing much had changed. An undercover reporter - herself a Muslim - filmed female preachers calling on worshippers to kill non-believers and Jews, and ordering them not to associate with people from other religions. The mosque's bookshop was continuing to sell DVDs featuring extremist clerics calling on Muslims to wage jihad.
It's one thing listening to male preachers spouting hatred - those raving madmen with their Rasputin beards. It's something else to hear soft-spoken teenage girls with London accents debating whether a homosexual should simply be stoned to death, or be thrown off a cliff and then stoned to death. If this is what's going on in the ladies' wing, you have to wonder what the men are up to.
The program revealed that the religious authorities in Saudi Arabia were responsible for training the extremist preachers, and for supplying books and other teaching material. The Saudis have been spending tens of millions of pounds exporting their Wahhabist brand of Islam around the world, and, outside of Pakistan, it's hard to imagine there's a country in which they've enjoyed the kind of success they're having in Britain. (Pajamas Media)
Watch the Program (YouTube)
There is a dormant track of the Middle East peace process that offers a regional approach to the challenges: multilateral negotiations. The international conference in Madrid in 1991 established the foundation for the Middle East peace process. The U.S. and the Soviet Union convened the conference as the first step in a process to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, initiate bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab states, and begin multilateral negotiations on transnational issues confronting the Middle East.
At a subsequent conference in Moscow the following year, the 36 participants organized the multilateral track into five working groups to focus on particular regional issues: arms control and regional security, water issues, environment, refugees and economic development. Today, restarting the multilateral working groups offers a chance to reinvigorate the stagnant peace process. Moreover, the issues the working groups address are more relevant than ever. (Guardian-UK)
Waleed Korayem, an Egyptian university student, clicks through cyberspace venom and passionate screeds of Muslims debating Islam and democracy in the Middle East. "Facebook is reflecting what's happening in Muslim society," Korayem said. "I'm engaged in dialogue between Islamists and secularists. But there's too much tension. No one wants to revise his opinions. It's turned into a screaming war. Islamists speak to me as a disbeliever. They want to convert me. They quote verses of the Koran as if to awaken me." Young Muslims are "resorting to this virtual world because we have no space in the actual world," he adds. (Los Angeles Times)
Taking Ahmadinejad at His Word - Malcolm Hoenlein (New York Jewish Week)
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