Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


April 20, 2009

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Commemorates Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yad Vashem)
    See more below

Iran Tells U.S. to Respect Its Courts in Journalist Spy Case (Reuters-Washington Post)
    President Obama said on Sunday he was "deeply concerned" for the safety of jailed Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, who was charged with espionage, and urged Tehran to free her, saying he was confident she was not involved in spying.
    In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said Monday: "It is an international norm that one should respect the rulings issued by the court....I'm sure some American officials have also studied law."

Canadian Charged with Trying to Export Nuclear Devices to Iran - Mike Funston (Toronto Star)
    A Toronto man has been charged with attempting to ship devices to Iran that can be used to make enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.
    Mahmoud Yadegari, 38, a Canadian citizen who emigrated from Iran in 1998, is charged with attempting to procure and export to Iran 10 pressure transducers, RCMP Insp. Greg Johnson said.
    The charges followed a tip to U.S. agents from a Boston-area company that sold the $1,100 devices to a Canadian.
    The devices were shipped to Toronto by truck and were bound for Dubai and then to Iran, Johnson said.

India Launches Israeli-Built Spy Satellite (AFP)
    India put an Israeli-built spy satellite into orbit Monday, aimed at boosting its defense surveillance capabilities in the aftermath of the Mumbai militant attacks.

Is Iran's New Drone Really an Israeli Aircraft? (Ha'aretz)
    The Iranian state-run news agency Press TV ran a story on its website this week praising the unveiling of an Iranian-made drone that bears a striking resemblance to an Israeli-made drone.
    This week on the Maariv website, the photo of the Iranian drone is shown next to a remarkably similar photo from Israel Aerospace Industries of the Heron 1 Israeli drone.
    The two photos appear to be exactly the same, with the angle of the shot and the clouds in the background identical in appearance.

Israel's Dubious Irish Visitor - Geoffrey Alderman (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams recently journeyed to "Palestine," there to meet and make friends with Fatah and Hamas party members.
    It reconnected Sinn Fein with its revolutionary Marxist roots, reminding the party faithful of its proud history of military collaboration with those intent on the destruction of the Jewish state.
    Sinn Fein's military wing, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, was funded by the Libyan government and shared training facilities with the Palestine Liberation Organization. During the recent Gaza conflict, Sinn Fein was unapologetic in calling for a comprehensive boycott of Israeli goods and services.
    This is in stark and sad contrast to the comradeship between Zionists and the founders of the Irish nationalist movement.
    Eamon de Valera, a leader of the Easter 1916 "rebellion" against British rule, Sinn Fein's president from 1917 to 1926 and later President of the Irish Republic, was actually hidden from his British pursuers in Dublin by Yitzhak Herzog, later the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, who had himself supported Irish independence.

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

  • U.S. Shuns "Durban 2" UN Racism Conference
    The U.S. announced Saturday it will not attend a UN conference on racism set to start Monday in Geneva. State Department Spokesman Robert Wood says the U.S. will boycott the conference "with regret" because of objectionable language in the meeting's draft declaration. (VOA News)
        See also Obama Defends Boycott of UN Racism Meeting
    President Barack Obama said Sunday: "I would love to be involved in a useful conference that addressed continuing issues of racism and discrimination around the globe," but the inclusion of anti-Israel language in the draft final communique was "completely hypocritical and counterproductive." "We expressed in the run-up to this conference our concerns that if you incorporated, if you adopted, all the language from 2001, that's just not something we can sign up for," he said. (AFP)
        See also Australia Joins UN Racism Conference Boycott (Reuters)
        See also Netherlands Boycotts Racism Conference (Radio Netherlands)
        See also Germany Joins Boycotters of UN Racism Meeting (AP)
        See also Britain Facing International Isolation for Failing to Join Western Boycott - Bruno Waterfield (Telegraph-UK)
  • Israeli Prime Minister: Recognition of Israel as Jewish State Not a Precondition for Restarting Peace Talks
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not setting recognition of Israel as a state for the Jewish people as a condition for restarting peace talks with the Palestinians, his office said on Monday. "The prime minister has never made the recognition of Israel as a state of the Jewish people a precondition to peace negotiations and dialogue with the Palestinians," said a statement from Netanyahu's office. But "the recognition of Israel as a Jewish country is a matter of principle largely accepted in Israel and the world, without which it is impossible to make progress in the peace process and reach a peace agreement." (AFP)
  • Will Congress Agree to Ease Conditions on Aid to Palestinians? - Adam Graham-Silverman
    The administration is looking for a way to keep aid flowing if the Palestinians form a government that includes elements of Hamas, the militant anti-Israel group that controls Gaza. Obama wants to alter language in the fiscal 2009 spending law that makes the State Department worry about the possibility of a cutoff of aid to the Palestinian government should Hamas join Fatah in a power-sharing arrangement.
        Benjamin Chang, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the change "would prohibit assistance to a government that does not accept the Quartet principles but would preserve the president's flexibility to provide such assistance if that government were to accept and comply with the Quartet principles," referring to requirements that a Palestinian government accept Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and abide by prior Israeli-Palestinian agreements. The new request appears to shift the burden of meeting the conditions from Hamas to the PA government.
        In a meeting in Israel on Thursday with Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), who heads the House Appropriations subcommittee with authority over funding for diplomatic efforts, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon warned, "We cannot allow these funds to reach the hands of the terrorists." (Congressional Quarterly)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • New Israeli Government Formulating Policy on Peace Negotiations - Haviv Rettig Gur
    Despite media reports of disagreement between Israeli and American officials over the new Israeli government's attitude regarding preconditions for renewed peace negotiations, Jerusalem has yet to formulate specific positions on these issues, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said. He told Army Radio that the government's diplomatic policy should be ready by the time Prime Minister Netanyahu travels to Washington in late May for a meeting with President Obama. Officials in Jerusalem said Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell last week accepted Israel's request for a month or so to work on its new policy.
        Mitchell's staff is said to view the Arab peace plan as a basis for negotiations, something Israel has rejected in the past. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The Arab Peace Initiative: A Primer and Future Prospects - Joshua Teitelbaum (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Sharansky to Head Jewish Agency - Itamar Eichner
    The Prime Minister's Office announced on Saturday that Prime Minister Netanyahu will recommend the appointment of Natan Sharansky as chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the organization in charge of immigration and absorption of Jews from the diaspora. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Egypt Versus Hizbullah: They Really Don't Like Each Other
    In a sign of a deepening rift between differently aligned camps across the Middle East, Egypt's authorities claim to have busted a spy ring run by Hizbullah on Egyptian soil. The Lebanese group is allied to a front which embraces Syria, Iran and Hamas, and espouses confrontation with Israel. Exposure of a Hizbullah cell feeds the fears of many Sunni Arab governments that Shia Iran is using the group to extend its influence at their expense.
        Egypt's state prosecutor has charged 25 people with forming a cell to smuggle weapons across Egypt's border with Gaza, monitor shipping in the Suez Canal and plot attacks against Egypt itself. Government-owned newspapers in Cairo say the cell planned terrorist attacks on Egyptian resort hotels, targeting Israeli tourists with the aim of stoking general unrest and prompting a military coup. Other Egyptian press reports assert that a round of arrests in December netted four members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Just as Nasrallah's unsubtle call for Mubarak's overthrow annoyed even some of the Egyptian president's foes at home, the revelation of Hizbullah intrigue raises questions about the group's intentions. (Economist-UK)
  • Egypt's Campaign Against Iran Sends Washington a Signal - David Pollock and Mohammad Yaghi
    Cairo is sending a signal to Washington that the "nuclear file" is not the only - or even the most urgent - aspect of the Iranian threat. The timing of Egypt's latest, very public, moves against Hizbullah clearly reflects that Cairo is taking sides in an increasingly polarized pan-Arab debate on Iranian influence in the region. Especially striking is Cairo's outspoken challenge not just to Hizbullah, but also to its Iranian patrons. Egyptian Foreign Minister Abu al-Ghait has repeatedly used strident language that charges non-Arab Iran with the illegitimate desire to exploit Hizbullah to become "the queen of the whole Arab region," reflecting genuine anxiety not only about Iran's own activities, but also in regard to the new U.S. willingness to engage Tehran. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Iran Doesn't Want to Negotiate - Emily B. Landau
    In the past, the lack of international determination was skillfully exploited by Iran to gain the valuable time it needed to push its nuclear program forward. Even facing Obama's attempt to reach out, Iran continues to stall, playing for time. Obama's policies may defuse the nuclear crisis not by getting Iran to back away from its nuclear ambitions, but by containing it through deterrence, and limiting its potential to cause direct damage with nuclear missiles by beefing up missile defense capabilities throughout the region. But this would not indicate success - it would rather signify failure.
        It would also leave the Middle East exposed to the major fear that states in the region harbor - not a calculated Iranian attempt to strike with nuclear weapons, but rather the enhanced and dangerous regional clout that Iran would gain by achieving nuclear status. Indications of the havoc that Iran can wreak are already being felt region-wide. The writer is director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Project at the Institute for National Security Studies of Tel Aviv University. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Pakistani Dilemma - Caroline B. Glick
    Given the failure of the U.S.'s political strategies of securing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal by supporting Pakistan's government, and fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, it is becoming apparent that the only sure way to prevent the Taliban/al-Qaeda from taking control over Pakistan's nuclear weapons is to take those weapons out of commission.
        The situation in Pakistan of course is similar to the situation in Iran. There, as Iran moves swiftly towards the nuclear club, the U.S. on the one hand refuses - as it does with Pakistan - to make the hard but essential decision to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. And on the other hand, it warns Israel daily that it opposes any independent Israeli operation to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2009 (Yad Vashem)

    On Monday evening, Israel will begin to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day. Six torches will be lit at Yad Vashem in memory of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. These are the torchlighters - who survived the Holocaust as children and lost their entire families:

    • Identical twin sisters Iudit Barnea and Lia Huber from Transylvania suffered the infamous medical experiments of Josef Mengele at Auschwitz.
    • Mirjam Schuster from Moldova was imprisoned with her family at Balki, where out of more than 10,000 inmates, only a few hundred survived.
    • Esther Debora Reiss-Mossel from Holland was sent to Bergen-Belsen at age six.
    • Solomon Feigerson from Latvia survived numerous execution operations and labor camps.
    • As the Germans gathered Jews in the ghetto's central square and shot them one by one, Shimon Greenhouse from Belarus and his father, Yekutiel, stood there, their hands clasped. When Yekutiel was shot, he dragged his young son down with him, and Shimon remained beneath his dead father, dazed and covered with blood, for a full day.
    • Lea Paz from Poland was pushed by her mother, Gusta, out through a narrow opening in the side of a train car carrying them to the Belzec death camp.

          See also The Untold Stories of the Holocaust - Ethan Bronner
      In the Ukrainian town of Berdichev, Jewish women were forced to swim across a wide river until they drowned. In Telsiai, Lithuania, children were thrown alive into pits filled with their murdered parents. In Liozno, Belarus, Jews were herded into a locked barn where many froze to death. People know of Auschwitz, but little has been known about the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of smaller killing fields across the former Soviet Union where some 1.5 million Jews met their deaths. Over the past few years, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and research center in Israel has been investigating those sites, and the work, gathered under the title "The Untold Stories," is now being made public on the Yad Vashem website. (New York Times)
          See also Tattoos from Auschwitz Horror Reunite Lost Inmates - Aron Heller (AP/Washington Post)
          See also The Mascot
      A young Jewish boy who fled into the woods after his family was killed by the Nazis was later captured by Latvian SS soldiers who, not knowing he was Jewish, made him their mascot. (60 Minutes-CBS News/YouTube)

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert