Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at www.dailyalert.org|
August 20, 2009
Jordan Convicts Two of Plotting to Kill Israeli Businessman (AP-Ha'aretz)
PA Academic: No Jewish Connection to Western Wall - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
African Refugee Gets Free Heart Operation in Israel - Dan Even (Ha'aretz)
A Vision for the Future of Jerusalem - Interview with Nir Barkat by Annie Lowrey (Foreign Policy)
Saudi Women Can Drive, Just Let Them - Wajeha Al-Huwaider (Washington Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has called Iran-Syria unity the symbol of resistance in the region. "The result of this unity is evident in the Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq issues and also in the entire region," he said during a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Tehran on Wednesday. Khamenei said the tide has turned in favor of the resistance. President Ahmadinejad said, "Today the world has realized that Western theories are not working anymore and that is why it needs the help and cooperation of Syria and Iran."
Assad congratulated Ahmadinejad on his victory in the June 12 presidential election, saying, "I have come here today to congratulate you and the Iranian nation. I believe what happened in Iran was an important event and a great lesson for foreign powers." (Tehran Times-Iran)
Cost overruns, court rulings and a decline in violence have led Israel to slow construction of the West Bank security barrier, and many analysts predict the project will not be completed. The last substantial work on the barrier was finished in 2007. While 40% of the barrier's 420-mile planned route remains unfinished, Israeli military officials and politicians credit the barrier with a decline in suicide bombings originating from the West Bank. The last one was 18 months ago. (Washington Post)
In a legal first, Australia's most notorious Holocaust denier, Fredrik Toben, has been jailed for three months following the failure of his appeal for contempt of court arising from breaches of Australia's anti-vilification laws. The sentence follows seven years of Toben repeatedly ignoring court orders requiring him to remove racist material from his Adelaide Institute website.
According to the Federal Court, Toben's website suggested the Holocaust did not occur, that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz, that Jewish people who believed in the Holocaust were of limited intelligence and that they have exaggerated the number of Jews killed during World War II to profit from what he described as "a Holocaust myth." (The Australian)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
One hundred Jewish leaders and Holocaust scholars have harshly criticized Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in a letter to the Egyptian embassy in Washington, for "giving the red carpet" on July 12 to his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for the mass killings in Darfur in western Sudan. "We hope to persuade President Mubarak that Bashir deserves to be isolated and arrested," said Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington. (Ha'aretz)
Hamas' suppression of the Jund Ansar Allah group in Gaza last week highlights the growth of al-Qaeda-style Salafi Islamism among a segment of the Palestinian population. Jund Ansar Allah did not emerge suddenly, or in a vacuum, and its defeat does not mark the final word on this matter. A myriad of small, armed Salafi groupings exist in Gaza, part of a broader subculture estimated to command the loyalty of at least 50,000 people and probably many more.
The Taliban style of dress adopted by supporters of Salafism is becoming increasingly familiar in Gaza. Salafi activity is reportedly well-financed, with money coming in from the Gulf. As one source put it, "millions of petrodollars are flowing in every month." Most experts believe that the al-Qaeda network is present to only a very limited extent in Gaza. The al-Qaeda idea, however, is flourishing, with a large number of Salafi groups competing to be considered the "official franchise" of al-Qaeda in Gaza. The writer is a senior researcher at the Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC, Herzliya. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
It is the declared policy of the Obama administration that the U.S. should talk to enemies as well as friends. So why not talk to al-Qaeda? It's not as if al-Qaeda isn't willing to deal. "Whether America escalates or de-escalates this conflict, we will reply in kind," Osama bin Laden said in 2002. Bin Laden renewed his offer in 2006, and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri made it again earlier this month. But aren't al-Qaeda's demands outrageous, and nonnegotiable to boot?
Iran is bargaining over a nuclear program that it has no right to possess. In America, we prosecute extortion rackets. We don't recognize, as an unalterable fact, the rights of local mafias to hold neighborhoods hostage. We do so because we know that to do otherwise is to import the law of the jungle into civil society. The world at large is not America, and we can't bust every extortion racket in it (though we can bust a few). But neither are we obliged, by self-interest or self-respect, to be played by every extortionist who comes our way, seeking the prestige of our company and the things we have to offer in exchange for being kept safe from harm. This is why we know better than to talk to al-Qaeda. This is why we should know better than to talk to the Irans and North Koreas of the world. (Wall Street Journal)
In Obama's first seven months, the Saudi kingdom has stymied or stalled administration efforts on multiple fronts - from the peace process to Iraq to Guantanamo. The White House is scrambling to win cooperation and avoid affront, but, in the end, the problem may simply be that Obama needs the Saudis more than they need him. It's true that the Saudis fear Iran and welcome U.S. efforts to stop its nuclear program. But the Saudis are equally suspicious that Obama will cut a deal with Tehran that leaves Riyadh feeling more threatened than ever by Shia power.
At the same time, the industrialization of China and India means that the Saudis have plenty of other customers for their oil. And, if there's anything that motivates King Abdullah and his kin above all else, it is fear of an uprising by the Saudi "street." That means that the Saudis will always take care to champion - and demagogue - the Palestinian cause, making them difficult partners in pursuing Middle East peace. (New Republic)
Iran's aggressive search for U.S. technology, particularly for its military programs, is quite evident from the number of U.S. export control prosecutions over the past several years. One of the major problems is that few other countries take this issue as seriously as the U.S. Most countries, including some of Iran's major trading partners, do not devote significant resources to investigating or prosecuting export control violations. In Germany, for example, a public prosecutor has stated that his country has only uncovered "the tip of the iceberg" of the black market activity involving Iran's nuclear program. In fact, media reports suggest that certain goods leaving Germany are bound for Iran's defense industrial complex with little inspection at the border.
Success depends on better understanding how Iran is procuring illegal goods - with its various front companies and agents around the world - and mobilizing other countries to move forward on this front. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Why Is Palestinian Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State Important? - Shlomo Avineri (Ha'aretz)
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