Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Ahmadinejad: Zionist Regime Will Be Uprooted - Dudi Cohen (Ynet News)
Iranian Presidential Candidate Wanted in Argentina Jewish Center Attack - Jason Keyser (AP)
U.S. to Reassure Allies on Iran Outreach - Lara Jakes (AP)
Life in Gaza Not Back to Normal (Economist-UK)
Syria Tightens Internet Monitoring (Reuters/Ynet News)
The Politics of Intimidation in Venezuela - Melanie Kirkpatrick (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The new government of Israel is seeking to reorient the country's foreign policy, arguing that to rely purely on the formulas of trading land for peace and promising a Palestinian state fails to grasp what it views as the deeper issues: Muslim rejection of a Jewish state and the rising hegemonic appetite of Iran.
Israel's effort to switch the discussion to Iran is likely to be met in Washington with the assertion that it is precisely because of the need to build an alliance to confront Iran that Israel must move ahead vigorously with the Palestinians as well as with the Syrians. "It will be a lot easier to build a coalition to deal with Iran if the peace process is moving forward," said a senior American official. When a senior American official was told that the Israelis did not view the Iranian and Palestinian problems as linked, he replied, "Well, we do."
Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to tell President Obama at their meeting in Washington on May 18 that ultimately the goal was a Palestinian state, but that such a state was far in the future because Palestinian institutions and economic development required a great deal of work - as well as investment from Arab states - and that Palestinian education and public discourse needed to be more oriented toward coexistence. (New York Times)
See also Top Obama Aide: Ability to Confront Iran Depends on Progress with Palestinians - Yitzhak Benhorin
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told AIPAC leaders Sunday that the ability to confront Iran depended on the ability to make progress on the Palestinian front. He said the foundation for an agreement must be security for Israel and a sovereign state for the Palestinians.
Despite reports on a "softening" in the American approach towards Hamas, Emanuel said the U.S. expects Hamas to accept the international Quartet's principles - recognizing Israel and past agreements and renouncing terror. (Ynet News)
See also below Observations: Israeli Concessions Will Not Soften Iran, They Will Have the Opposite Effect - Interview with Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon (Jerusalem Post)
"We do want to see peace and do understand that long-term peace and stability will entail a two-state solution," Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said in an interview Sunday. Israel will honor the previous government's commitments and accept the 2002 Roadmap peace plan, which calls for the creation of a Palestinian state, he said. However, "under the present circumstances I think it would be ill-advised," for Israel to hold talks with Syria. "We would like to have assurances that at the end of the day the Syrians will stop supporting terror and also, no less importantly, the very radical regime in Tehran." Iran is "trying to derail" any progress toward peace, Ayalon said, by supporting Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon. (Bloomberg)
Federal prosecutors Friday abandoned an espionage-law case against two former lobbyists for a pro-Israel advocacy group. In asking a judge to dismiss charges against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, formerly of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), officials said recent court rulings had made it unlikely that they would win. The two men were charged in 2005 with conspiring to obtain classified information and pass it to the Israeli government and journalists from the Washington Post and other news organizations - the first civilians not employed by the government charged under the 1917 espionage statute.
Rosen said Friday that the case was politicized and pushed by government officials "who have an obsession with leaks...and an obsession with Israel and the theory that it spies on America." (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Dr. Michael Oren has been appointed Israel's ambassador to the U.S., replacing the current ambassador, Salai Meridor. The U.S.-born Oren, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center, immigrated to Israel in the 1970s. He is the author of Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East and Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present. (Ynet News)
See also About Michael Oren - Dan Gordon
Michael Oren is a major in the same reserve unit in the IDF in which I serve as a captain. I can tell you a bit about the man. I have served in two wars with him. (American Thinker)
Air Force reservists who operate the Arrow and Patriot missile defense systems have begun spending one day a week on duty to sharpen their skills, amid fears that in a conflict with Iran, dozens of long-range missiles would be fired at Israel. "We are preparing for barrages, split warheads and other surprises and therefore we need to retain a high operational level by everyone, including reservists," a top IAF officer said. The scenarios that are drilled include the firing of large barrages at Israel from different countries at once, and the need for the operator to decide which missile to intercept first and at what stage of its flight.
Meanwhile, the French newspaper L'Express reported Sunday that Israeli fighter jets recently conducted a drill above the Strait of Gibraltar, some 3,000 km. from Israel, included a mid-air refueling drill. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Four years, millions in legal fees and a half-dozen conspiracy theories later, the Justice Department dropped its case against the two former AIPAC staffers. Now where do Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman - and everyone else besmirched, including California Democrat Jane Harman - apply to get their reputations back? Attorney General Eric Holder deserves credit for dropping the charges, though we wish he had also announced that the case should never have been brought.
The core of the prosecution's case concerns a memo sent to the men from Defense Department analyst Larry Franklin - now serving a 12-year prison sentence - about internal White House deliberations on Iran policy. The government also used Franklin (whose main offense was taking classified documents home) to plant an apparently bogus story with Weissman claiming that American and Israeli lives were in imminent danger. The planted story, putting the defendants in a moral quandary - share classified information and save lives; keep it secret and let people die - is the worst form of entrapment. This prosecution needs to be understood in the context of the aftermath of the Iraq invasion and the swirl of conspiracy theories about "neocon" and Jewish influence over U.S. policy. (Wall Street Journal)
See also Answers Sought in Ex-AIPAC Staffers' Case
U.S. Jewish leaders want answers as to why two former AIPAC officials were targeted for a federal investigation. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of President of Major American Jewish Organizations, questioned "the justification" for the case and the decision to bring charges under a law that had barely been used in more than 90 years. "You don't want to reopen the whole case, but you have to look at the damage that was done," Hoenlein said. Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said information revealed in the pre-trial process has "raised grave concerns that a serious injustice and abuse of power was involved in this case." (JTA)
See also U.S. Made Right Call Dropping Bogus Israel Spy Case - Editorial (New York Daily News)
Every U.S. president has sought rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, all presidents discover they are powerless to resolve differences with Tehran when Iran's leadership does not desire it. The Islamic Republic is an ideological entity. It roots sovereignty not in the will of its citizens but upon the notion that the supreme leader acts as a place holder for the Hidden Imam. To deflect responsibility for failure, it pays to have an enemy to rally masses around the flag. Iran's leadership has determined that the U.S. - the "Great Satan" - is it.
Meaningful rapprochement would mean the regime's demise. Therefore, Iranian authorities impose ever more obstacles. Ahmadinejad's recent speech at Geneva and the arrest of Iranian-American journalist Roxanna Saberi are just the beginning. The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (bitterlemons-international.org)
Israeli Concessions Will Not Soften Iran, They Will Have the Opposite Effect - Interview with Minister for Strategic Affairs Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon (Jerusalem Post)
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