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|
September 9, 2009
Iranian Missiles in South America? The Emerging Axis of Iran and Venezuela - Robert M. Morgenthau (Wall Street Journal)
Al-Qaeda's Threat Has Not Gone Away - Andy Hayman (Times-UK)
Experts or Ideologues? Human Rights Watch's Focus on Israel (NGO Monitor)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow on Monday to discuss Russian arms sales to arch-foes Iran and Syria, Yediot Ahronot reported Wednesday. (AFP)
See also Netanyahu Pays Secret Visit to Russia - Barak Ravid
A senior Jerusalem official confirmed Wednesday that Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Russia on Monday in order to discuss the Kremlin's arms deals with Iran and Syria, and the transfer of Russian military hardware to Hizbullah. Israel reportedly presented Russian officials with evidence that a great deal of Russian weaponry was making its way to Hizbullah, posing a serious threat to Israel. (Ha'aretz)
White-turbaned cleric Mehdi Karroubi, 72, was a confidant of Ayatollah Khomeini and served seven years as speaker of parliament. In the wake of Iran's disputed presidential election, he has become the fiery heart of a protest movement that has shaken the republic's foundations. On Tuesday, Iranian authorities stormed his party's headquarters and arrested Mohammad Davari, editor of his website. They also arrested Ali-Reza Beheshti, a top aide to Karroubi's ally Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
Karroubi's popular daily newspaper was shut down weeks ago. Hard-line commanders of the Revolutionary Guard and President Ahmadinejad have repeatedly called for his arrest. Karroubi has called for opposition supporters to join in street rallies Sept. 18 during Quds Day celebrations, an annual march in support of Palestinians and against Israel. (Los Angeles Times)
See also Iran's Revolution? The Hardliners Won - Simon Tisdall
What happened to the Iranian revolution of 2009? The hardliners won. A raid on the Tehran office of vanquished presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, crude threats against leading opposition figures, pre-emptive arrests of students returning to university, more fierce rhetoric aimed at foreign "plotters" - these are the latest unpleasant manifestations of the regime's retrenchment. Ahmadinejad's reviving confidence is evident, too, in his mockery of Western countries keen to revive talks about Iran's nuclear program. Is Iran taking Western concerns seriously? No, it is not.
Two choices remain. One is to admit the Israelis may be right in arguing that military action is the only sure way to hinder or stop Iran's nuclear advances. The other is to do nothing - and hope that Iran's repeated assurances that it does not seek the atom bomb are true. (Guardian-UK)
Egypt's Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, 71, seemed like a shoo-in to become UNESCO's next director general. But as pre-election maneuvers got underway this week at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, Hosni's chances were clouded by a chorus of charges that he is the wrong man for the job - specifically that he is filled with unremitting hatred for Israel and has long played a key role in Egypt's stultifying censorship bureaucracy. The controversy has put the U.S. and other Western allies of Egypt in an uncomfortable position. Egyptian President Mubarak has made Hosni's election a point of honor for his government.
A senior administration official in Washington said, "There's no way we can support this guy....We did everything we could to get the Egyptians to support another candidate." However, Israeli Foreign Ministry officials dropped their opposition after Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Cairo in May seeking Mubarak's cooperation in preventing arms smuggling to Gaza and other issues important to the Jewish state. Voting begins Sept. 17 and can last several days. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, told the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism Tuesday: "The good news is that there is deterrence before Hamas and Hizbullah, based on the image that Israel is intent on destroying each of them." However, he warned that the threat from Hizbullah would become more severe if Iran obtained nuclear weapons. "It won't be a terror threat but a military threat based on deterrence, and they will have a free hand in committing a large-scale terror attack without fear of an Israeli response." (Ynet News)
See also Gilad: Syria Losing Clout over Hizbullah (Reuters-Ha'aretz)
U.S. military officials were briefed by Egyptian security officials Tuesday about U.S.-backed counter-smuggling efforts at the Gaza border. The U.S. officials came to check the installation of sensing equipment designed to locate underground tunnels used by smugglers. Egyptian security sources said the underground sensors along the border has already begun to work and had successfully discovered some tunnels. (Maan News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Palestinian refugee camp committees complained to the UN that a proposed change to the Gaza school curriculum "confirms the Holocaust and raises sympathy for Jews." The camp committees said they "categorically refuse to let our children be taught this lie created by the Jews and intensified by their media." Children in Gaza are raised on a diet of unreasoning, bitter hatred against Jews, the better to inspire them to grow up to be radicals, terrorists and suicide bombers. Learning about the Holocaust might introduce more beneficial emotions, like empathy, understanding and compassion. Start down that road, and who knows where it could lead. Peace, perhaps. (Washington Times)
"Tel Aviv is built on destroyed Palestinian villages" observes an ad hoc committee of artists and filmmakers heaping scorn on the Toronto International Film Festival for daring to program a Tel Aviv segment, as Israel's biggest city marks its 100th anniversary. While the UN awarded Tel Aviv to Israel more than six decades ago, the subtext is that Tel Aviv is akin to an illegal Jewish settlement.
Anti-Israel diatribes are becoming a bore: Complaints against the Royal Ontario Museum for showing Israel's biblical Dead Sea Scrolls; "Israel Apartheid Week" for high-minded student activists; public employee union locals calling for a boycott of Israeli academics; and the latest Pride parade featuring a float that attacked gay-friendly Israel for apartheid policies (ignoring other Middle Eastern regimes that persecute gays).
What a strange plot twist: Canadian filmmakers who pay lip service to free expression trying to bring the curtains down on Israeli filmmakers whose art is tainted by their Tel Aviv origins. But why not castigate city hall for twinning Toronto with Chongqing, given China's human rights abuses? Or demand that Toronto sever its "friendship" links with Volgograd because of Russia's political sins? Tel Aviv, it seems, makes for a more tempting target. (Toronto Star)
See also Boycotting Israeli Films Is Just the Beginning - James Morton and Karen Mock
The usual suspects are deploring the Toronto Film Festival's spotlight on Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv can indeed be highlighted as a beautiful city by the ocean, founded near Jaffa a century ago by idealists who dreamed of Jews being accepted as just another nation among nations. Secular and diverse, Tel Aviv is a success story. Ironically, Israel is the only state in the Middle East where films are made freely and without censorship of any sort. Its film industry benefits Israelis of all racial and religious backgrounds. It is the only country in the region where a film festival like the Toronto Film Festival could be held. (National Post-Canada)
The UN has just rolled out a new, overhauled website and the amount of UN webspace dedicated only to Palestinian claims is huge. There is the "UN Information System on the Question of Palestine," and the anti-Israel "NGO network on the Question of Palestine." Added to that is the material churned out by the only UN Division focused on a single people - the UN Division on Palestinian Rights. Then there is the UN Human Rights Council, which has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all other 191 UN states combined. The writer is director of Touro University's Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. (New York Daily News)
Observations: Elliott Abrams vs. Jimmy Carter: Round Two
Terrorism Prevents Palestinian State - Elliott Abrams (Washington Post)
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