Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Via Smartphone


August 24, 2009

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Swedish Daily Publishes Second Article on "IDF Organ Harvesting" (Ynet News)
    The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published a second article Sunday accusing the IDF of harvesting Palestinian organs.
    In the West Bank village of Imatin, 19-year-old Bilal Ahmad Ghanem was killed during a clash with Israeli soldiers in 1992. Aftonbladet published what it said was a photo of the body, which had a scar running from the neck down to the abdomen.
    Soldiers said the body had undergone an autopsy. The family, however, claims Bilal's organs had been stolen.
    The Israeli government said Sunday that it expects the Swedish government to officially condemn the Aftonbladet report. Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "We do not want the Swedish government to apologize, we want it to issue a condemnation."
    See also Swedish Funding of Anti-Israeli Demonization (NGO Monitor)
    Sweden's role in funding numerous highly politicized NGOs fuels the conflict, rather than promoting peace.
    The Swedish government funds NGOs that pursue Palestinian political goals under the guise of "human rights" and "international law," and demonize Israel with inflammatory rhetoric.

British Academic Declared Israel Guilty of "War Crimes" Before Joining UN Gaza Fact-Finding Mission - Jonny Paul (Jerusalem Post)
    Geneva-based UN Watch submitted a legal brief to the UN last week calling on the UN fact-finding mission to Gaza to disqualify London School of Economics law professor Christine Chinkin over prior statements she made that bring her impartiality into question.
    In a letter published in the Sunday Times in January during the Gaza war, Chinkin declared Israel as the aggressor and perpetrator of "war crimes."

Hamas' Gaza War Victory Festival in Damascus (MEMRI)
    In March 2009, Hamas held a festival at the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Syria, to mark "the victory of the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades," its military wing, in the 2008-9 war with Israel in Gaza.
    The festival included a photo exhibit and the screening of films showing the Al-Qassam Brigades at their training camps; distribution of videos about the Brigades' operations during the war; and an evening poetry program featuring poets and children's choirs from across the Arab world.
    There were also speeches by military and political activists from the resistance movements, who praised the resistance and martyrdom operations while condemning the Palestinian Authority and various Arab countries.
    See also Hamas Summer Camps Celebrate Gaza War Victory (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    Hamas ran 700 camps this summer throughout Gaza which were attended by 100,000 Palestinian youths.
    This year as well, news agencies operating in Gaza published photographs of youths undergoing semi-military training.
    The theme chosen for the camps: "Victory for Gaza, Glory for Jerusalem," to express Gaza's "victory" in December-January fighting, which was "the first step toward liberating Jerusalem and all Palestine."

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

  • Israel Weighs Iranian Threat - Paula Hancocks
    Israel makes no secret that it sees Iran is its biggest threat. Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, said: "The IAEA has inspected the known nuclear sites of Iran, but it's believed they still have other clandestine nuclear sites where they may be enriching uranium or they may be pursuing a plutonium route like the North Koreans, so there's a certain amount of uncertainty in any assessment in the timeline of an Iranian bomb." "What is a prime minister of Israel supposed to do when he sees that threat growing to his east?"
        Efraim Kam, an Israeli analyst on Middle East affairs, estimates that theoretically Iran could develop a nuclear bomb within the next year. "My personal view is that Iran would not do it because they understand that Israel does have a nuclear arsenal. It has to take that into account, and because the U.S. will deter Iran as well. If you ask me, 'can you guarantee they will not use it?' then no I can't."  (CNN)
  • Iran Seeks to Expose U.S. Human Rights Violations - Thomas Erdbrink
    Iranian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to create a $20 million fund intended in part to expose human rights violations by the U.S. Passage of the bill suggests the depth of mistrust that remains between the nations as Iran faces a September deadline to respond to President Obama's offer for talks. Iranian lawmakers said the legislation was in retaliation for what they consider similar action by the U.S. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Sees Progress in U.S. Talks on Settlement Freeze - Barak Ravid
    Israeli envoys who have met with U.S. officials on a freeze in West Bank settlement construction have told senior government officials in Jerusalem that the two sides are closing the gaps in their respective positions on the matter. A source in Jerusalem said Saturday night that several further rounds of talks will be necessary, culminating in a meeting between Netanyahu and Obama in September, in order to reach a final understanding on the future of settlement construction. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Democratic Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman: Obama Demand for Settlement Freeze "Mistaken" - Barak Ravid
    The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman (D-Cal.), said during a closed meeting with Jewish leaders in Los Angeles last week that the Obama administration is making a mistake in demanding Israel completely freeze construction in the settlements. Berman said Israel and the U.S. are close to reaching an agreement that will "be face-saving for everyone." A political source in Jerusalem said Friday that ultimately it is likely the freeze will be for nine to 12 months and would not apply to eastern Jerusalem or include most of the housing units already under construction.
        "PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is waiting for the U.S. to present him Israel on a platter," Berman told the Jewish leaders. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Foreign Minister: "We Are Looking for a Way to Continue Normal Life"
    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman discussed building in the territories and Jerusalem on Army Radio on Sunday: "We are really not looking for confrontations or friction. We are looking for a positive way to continue normal life, natural life, also in Judea and Samaria, and to try to help the United States stabilize the entire region and, perhaps, to change a little the direction of the Muslim world. We are open, we want to reach understandings, agreements, also based on previous agreements and understandings."
        "Today, in the western part of the city [of Jerusalem], in Jewish neighborhoods, thousands of Arabs live - they rent apartments, they buy apartments, they build apartments. Private people initiate a private project, purchase land legally, acquire all the necessary permits from the Planning Commission, and the courts also confirm that everything is according to law. What exactly should the State of Israel do here? Pass laws restricting Jews in Jerusalem?"  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Blood Libel Goes Mainstream - Barry Rubin
    On Aug. 18, Aftonbladet, Sweden's largest newspaper with close ties to the Swedish Social Democratic Party, published an article saying that Israel's army deliberately kidnaps Palestinian civilians and then murders them so it can cut out and sell their organs to sick people needing transplants. The Swedish story is based on Palestinian sources - like so many slanders of Israel which are widely purveyed. At least the competing newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, blasted the article which it says is an anti-Semitic blood libel without a shred of evidence.
        What does this incident tell us? That there is no limit to the insanity of how Israel is treated nowadays in so many supposedly responsible intellectual circles. It also tells us that anyone of decency and good intentions should start re-examining right now their credulity in accepting anti-Israel slanders. All this bashing and chipping away at Israel's reputation; this unfair blaming; this blindness toward the goals, behavior, and ideology of radical Islamist forces and Palestinian intransigence is promoting an anti-Semitism beyond anything seen in the Western world since 1945. The time has come to realize that anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, absurd misrepresentation of Israel and the effort to wipe it off the map are all tightly intertwined.
        We have seen the rise of a systematic industry in wild anti-Israel claims by Palestinians which are repeated without evidence by the Western news media. Palestinians make up charges, tell them to sympathetic reporters or academics or "human rights'" officials who don't demand evidence, and then are widely spread through other willing executioners of truth whose low degree of professionalism and high level of politicization make them conducive to becoming collaborators in the enterprise. The fact that none of these accusations is ever ultimately proven correct seems to have no effect on the industry. The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. (Rubin Report)
        See also Guilty Until Proven Innocent - Ilya Meyer
    The Aftonbladet article's author, Donald Bostrom, freely admits that he has no evidence of any of his allegations but says it is up to Jews and Israelis to prove themselves innocent. An interesting twist - Jews are guilty until they prove themselves innocent. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gaddafi Is a Clown, But No One Is Laughing - Amir Taheri
    Col. Muammar Gaddafi will soon celebrate the 40th anniversary of the coup that made him master of Libya and the longest-lasting dictator in the world today. At his side will be Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, the "mass murderer" whose release from prison in Scotland on compassionate grounds is billed in Libya as a victory over imperialism. Al-Megrahi, a distant relation of Gaddafi, always claimed his innocence. Had he admitted responsibility for the Lockerbie tragedy he would have implicated the entire Libyan regime headed by the very colonel who has become the toast of Western leaders.
        Over the past 40 years the colonel has had something like a trillion dollars in oil revenues to play with. That much money could have done wonders in a nation of four or five million. However, visitors to Libya would be struck by the rundown aspect of public infrastructure and the widespread poverty. What did Gaddafi do with all that money? (Times-UK)
        See also Libya Tactics Change, But Goal Doesn't - Alan Cowell (New York Times)
        See also FBI Director Condemns Lockerbie Bomber's Release
    FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, wrote to Scottish Minister Kenny MacAskill regarding the release of the Lockerbie bomber: "I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of 'compassion.' Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law. Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that regardless of the quality of the investigation, the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process, and sentence appropriate to the crime, the terrorist will be freed by one man's exercise of 'compassion.'"  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Observations:

    A Mideast Test for President Obama - Jackson Diehl (Washington Post)

    • As the UN General Assembly meets in late September, President Obama aims to announce the opening of a new negotiating process between Israelis and Palestinians, along with "confidence-building" steps by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and a number of Arab governments.
    • Though Obama will not offer a specific American "blueprint" for a peace settlement - as a number of Arab governments have urged him to do - he will probably lay out at least a partial vision of the two-state settlement that all sides now say they support, and the course that negotiations should take.
    • More significantly, he intends to set an ambitious timetable for completing the peace deal - something that will please Arabs but may irritate Israel.
    • Several Israeli and Arab officials I spoke to last week depicted the effort as a waste of the new administration's time and political capital.
    • Obama's Mideast envoy, former senator George J. Mitchell, has become embroiled in protracted and publicly fractious negotiations with the Israeli government over whether and for how long it will freeze Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, have repeatedly and publicly dismissed the idea of taking steps toward normalization of relations with Israel.
    • Both sides seem fairly confident that Mitchell and Netanyahu will reach a deal on the settlement issue; but it will be a messy compromise that will be time-limited and probably fall short of the complete halt in building that the administration has repeatedly sought.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert