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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
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UN: People in Gaza Aren't Starving - Patrick Martin (Globe and Mail-Canada)
Calls in Iran to Topple Egyptian, Saudi Regimes - Y. Mansharof (MEMRI)
Israel: Hamas Representative Not Identified in Guardian Column - Anshel Pfeffer (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
Norway - A Paradigm for Anti-Semitism - Manfred Gerstenfeld (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Ahmad Khatami, the Friday prayer leader at Tehran University, slammed U.S. president-elect Barack Obama's criticism of Hizbullah. "If Obama wants to decrease hatred, he has to stop making worthless comments," Khatami said. Obama said he would make clear to Tehran that its nuclear program was "unacceptable," along with support of Hizbullah and the Palestinian group Hamas, and its "threats against Israel." (AFP)
See also Nasrallah Thanks Iran for Support - Abe Selig
An Iranian university in the Isfahan region granted Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah an honorary doctorate in political science last week. On the occasion, Nasrallah expressed his gratitude to the Islamic Republic for its support. He said the victories Hizbullah has scored against Israel were a direct result of Iranian support. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Gates: Relations with Iran to Remain Tense - Yochi J. Dreazen and Margaret Coker
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has long advocated diplomatic engagement with Iran, an idea that is also a top priority of the incoming Obama administration. But at a high-profile security summit in Bahrain on Saturday, Gates accused Iran of fomenting instability in Iraq and continuing to pursue both nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Iran's "every move seems designed to create maximum anxiety in the international community," he said. The upshot is that the frosty U.S.-Iranian relationship seems unlikely to thaw anytime soon. (Wall Street Journal)
Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters massed in Gaza City on Sunday to mark the 21st anniversary of the Islamist movement's founding. Ismail Haniya, the head of the Hamas administration in Gaza, boasted that "Hamas is stronger and will remain stronger because it draws its strength from God." Top Hamas official Mahmud Zahar boasted that the group had grown "from a support base of a few thousand people to a backing of millions in Arab countries and around the world." "It has succeeded in striking at Israel's national security." (AFP)
See also Israeli Prisoner Ridiculed at Hamas Rally - Khaled Abu Toameh
During Sunday's massive Hamas rally, a Hamas member dressed as kidnapped IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Shalit was led to the stage by Hamas militiamen where he pleaded for his life in Hebrew. "I miss my father, I miss my mother," the "soldier" declared as thousands of Hamas supporters shouted, "We will never recognize Israel." Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Olmert, called the skit "another example of [Hamas] cruelty and inhumanity." (Jeruaslem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Hamas does not plan to extend its truce with Israel beyond Dec. 19, the Damascus-based head of Hamas' political bureau, Khaled Meshal, said on Sunday. Israel informed Egyptian mediators on Sunday that it would like to extend the truce. Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry's political-security department, noted that Israel rejects Hamas' view that the truce is set to expire this Friday. The agreement reached last June included no expiration date, he insisted. Gilad said Israel will support extending the truce only if Hamas once again enforces a complete cease-fire. In recent weeks, though it has largely refrained from firing at Israel itself, Hamas has allowed other Palestinian groups to do so almost daily. On Sunday, Palestinians fired one Kassam rocket and three mortar shells at Israel. (Ha'aretz)
An Iranian Red Crescent vessel due to set sail for Gaza this week carries a "hidden agenda," providing cover for an attempt by Tehran's al-Quds Force to spread its influence and possibly ferrying intelligence agents, Prof. Raymond Tanter, president of the Washington-based Iran Policy Committee, warned on Saturday. Iran's Red Crescent Society and other Iranian charities, such as the Imam Relief Committee and the Persian Green Relief Institute, were all "agents of the Iranian regime to carry out its subversive activities," Tanter said. "In Iraq, the Red Crescent operates as a cover for the Quds Force." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Before Barack Obama "engages in aggressive personal diplomacy" with Iran, he'd be better off first allowing Iran's economic crisis to take its toll on the mullahs before getting down to serious business. Ahmadinejad's populist expenditure policies, coupled with the unprecedented collapse of the oil market, have driven Iran into an economic tailspin, leaving the country more vulnerable to focused economic sanctions than it has been in thirty years. When oil was at $150 a barrel, Iran's government spent the windfall as if there were no tomorrow. Now Iran finds itself in a precarious financial position with oil at $46.
Iran is no superpower. Its GDP is less than 2% of that of the U.S. Its military is puny; Iran fought Saddam Hussein for eight years and could not advance even 100 miles into Iraq. A rush to negotiate would only embolden the mullahs, extract unnecessary concessions from the U.S. and subject Iranians to clerical rule for the foreseeable future. The new administration would be wise to back-burner serious negotiations with Iran for a while. The writer is the Iran professor of international business and international affairs at George Washington University. (Los Angeles Times)
The more the media covers terror attacks, the more we encourage them. The media makes a living because of terror. The media must have drama, tension, excitement and horror so that anxious people buy more newspapers and watch more television. At the same time, terrorism needs the media to bring horror and fear into every household in the world. The terrorists realized that in order to create a spectacular display, they need to kill Westerners, and hurt Jews as "added spice." We certainly have to report such tumultuous events, but we must restrain the sensationalism of the coverage.
When Israel was faced with devastating suicide bombings, our media gradually lessened the coverage, refraining from close-up shots, miserable relatives, and other harsh scenes. This neutralized some of the horror and achievements of terror. The Americans greatly censored the September 11th attacks. No body was shown on the screens, names were not published, and funerals were not seen because America takes into account national morale and the enemy's glee.
Here is a small comfort: Every time we see such horrific international attacks, this strengthens Israel and its arguments, and positions the Palestinians, Hamas, and Hizbullah in a wholly different context; not as a local phenomenon, but rather as part of a global terror offensive. The writer is a lecturer in Arab Law and Middle East Politics at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. (Ynet News)
A bitter, year-long feud has shaken al-Qaeda's ideological pillars. Sayyed Imam, an esteemed theoretician of jihad whose ideas helped shape al-Qaeda's ideology, continues to attack Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's no. 2. "Zawahiri's support among jihadis is still strong, but he is losing the media battle to convince the public that al-Qaeda is winning," says William McCants, a Washington area-based analyst of militant Islamism who monitors al-Qaeda Web activity.
In Nov. 2007, Imam released Rationalizing Jihad in Egypt and the World, a book that refuted al-Qaeda's terrorist tactics and ideology and was especially critical of Zawahiri. Zawahiri responded in March with Exoneration, a book charging that Imam lacked credibility because he wrote from an Egyptian prison and was supervised by U.S. intelligence. Last month, Imam's reply to Zawahiri, a book titled Denudation of the Exoneration, was serialized in Cairo's Al Masri Al Youm newspaper. In it Imam vigorously rejects the victimization theme in jihadist thinking. "The cause of Muslims' problems is Muslims themselves," Imam writes. (Christian Science Monitor)
Israel Responds to IAEA's Letter on Syria's Nuclear Site - Nili Lifshitz (Wall Street Journal)
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