Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
11 Terror Alerts Ahead of Yom Kippur - Efrat Weiss
Report: Iranian Intelligence Figure Replaces Mughniyeh in Lebanon (Maariv-Hebrew)
NGOs Exploit International Law to Bash Israel - Shelly Paz (Jerusalem Post)
"Americans" Forced to Land in Iran Were Lost Hungarians - David Blair
Bank of Israel Cuts 2009 Growth Forecast - Adrian Filut (Globes)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza on Tuesday blamed what it called a "Jewish lobby" in the U.S. for the global financial crisis. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said the crisis was due to "bad administrative and financial management and a bad banking system put into place and controlled by the Jewish lobby." He said the lobby "controls the U.S. elections and defines the foreign policy of any new administration in a manner that allows it to retain control of the American government and economy."
The Anti-Defamation League said last week that the U.S. financial crisis has provoked an outpouring of anti-Semitism. "The age-old canards about Jews and money are always just beneath the surface," said ADL national director Abraham Foxman. (AFP)
Former director of international treaties in the Egyptian foreign ministry Ibrahim Yossri, 65, went to court on Tuesday to demand that Egypt halt natural gas exports to Israel, Al Jazeera reports. A $2-3 billion agreement to supply natural gas to Israel was signed by Egypt in June 2005. The 15-year agreement, which is renewable, governs the transfer of gas at $2 per cubic foot - a price well below the market benchmark of $14.
Tharwat Shalabi, an oil reporter in Egypt, said in June: "Egypt is committed to providing Israel with energy under the Camp David accords. It stopped exporting oil, and now it has to replace it with gas." Earlier this year, Yehya al-Gamal, an Egyptian campaigner against the deal, said: "It's not about the price of gas, it's whether we should export it to them [Israel] in the first place." (Al-Jazeera-Qatar)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert concluded an official visit to Moscow after meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Olmert said the sides had agreed to set up a forum that would "upgrade their strategic dialogue," and that the discussions would touch on Israel's concerns about potential Russian arms sales to Israel's enemies in Iran and Syria. Medvedev said that "he opposes a nuclear Iran" and expressed "sharp criticism" of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric toward Israel, Olmert said. "He said Russian policy will continue to be one that will never, in any circumstances, hurt Israel's security." (Ynet News)
Israel is backing a PA bid to reassert control over Hebron, a senior Palestinian defense official told Ynet on Monday. He said Israel has authorized the deployment of 250 armed members of the Presidential Guard and an identical number of police officers. The PA is hoping to add another 500 troops from the national force. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has pointed to Hebron as the West Bank city most likely to fall into Hamas' grip. (Ynet News)
Syrian President Bashar Assad marked the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War with visits to memorials, where he placed flowers on the graves of Syrian soldiers who were killed in the fighting. About 4,000 Syrians lost their lives during the 18 days of battle. In Cairo, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called on Egyptians to use the "spirit of October" in order to bring more economic prosperity to the country. Israel Army Radio quoted an Egyptian media source urging the Egyptian government to release classified documents about the war to help maintain the "heritage of the great Arab victory." The Arab world has traditionally framed the Yom Kippur War as a victory. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
For much of the Western media, Ahmadinejad is the main culprit of Iran's ills today. But this analysis is incorrect, if only because it exaggerates Ahmadinejad's importance and leaves out the country's single most powerful figure: Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader. Khamenei, who has held the post since 1989, is the head of state, the commander in chief, and the top ideologue. Blaming Iran's problems on Ahmadinejad inaccurately suggests that Iran's problems will go away when Ahmadinejad does.
Tehran's policy of meddling in the business of its neighbors has very little to do with Ahmadinejad; this has always been the approach favored by the supreme leader. Iranian officials have said, for example, that the 33-day war between Hizbullah and Israel during the summer of 2006 was conducted under Khamenei's guidance. By calling for the destruction of Israel and denying the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad has given the world a pretext to mobilize against Iran. Yet Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the revolution's leader, also used to say, "Israel must cease to exist." He did not believe that the creation of two independent states with equal rights, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, could bring peace, and argued, "Israel is a cancerous tumor, and it has to be destroyed." Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's president for much of the 1990s, also made statements opposing Israel's existence.
Although denying the Holocaust has been an initiative of Ahmadinejad's, it is unlikely that he would make such a claim without the supreme leader's consent. The writer is an Iranian journalist and dissident who was imprisoned in Tehran from 2000 to 2006 and whose writings are currently banned in Iran. (Foreign Affairs-Council on Foreign Relations)
Real power in Iran is in the hands of the clerics who formulated Iran's broad, well-thought-out and very serious religious and political worldview. It is Shi'ite in design, not Persian. Their program is not born of imagined slights or misdeeds by a particular U.S. president, and a new president will not reverse it. They don't want to be our friends; they do want us not to be in their way.
The nuclear quest began with the shah, was adopted by the Islamic Revolution and has proceeded through "reformist" and "reactionary" Iranian presidents. Ahmadinejad is nastier, but no more important than the others. Nuclear capability is a tactical goal in the strategic quest for regional hegemony and expansion of Shi'ite Islam.
Inside Iran, the clerical police are the guardians of "public morality." They are the ones who hang homosexuals and stone adulterers. They arrest and "disappear" student leaders, ban books, monitor phone calls, break up demonstrations and persecute the Bahai. The writer is the senior director for security policy at The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs in Washington. (JTA)
America's Interests in the Middle East - Martin Kramer (Middle East Strategy at Harvard)
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