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|
May 20, 2010
The Man Who Trained the Times Square Bomber - Adnan R. Khan (Macleans-Canada)
Germany Stops Shipment to Iran - David Crawford and Joe Lauria (Wall Street Journal)
Drill to Simulate Massive Rocket Attack on Israel - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
France to Fine Muslim Women with Full-Face Islamic Veils - Edward Cody (Washington Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Obama administration announced an agreement on Tuesday with other major powers, including Russia and China, to impose a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. The announcement came a day after Iranian leaders announced their own tentative deal, with Turkey and Brazil, to turn over about half of Iran's stockpile of nuclear fuel for a year, part of a frantic effort to blunt the campaign for harsher sanctions.
On Wednesday, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that the draft resolution is far from completion. An official in the Russian Foreign Ministry said, "Our position [on Iran] is, give them another chance." (New York Times)
See also U.S. Proposes New Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran - Edith M. Lederer
The draft resolution would ban Iran from pursuing "any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons," freeze assets of nuclear-related companies linked to the Revolutionary Guard, bar Iranian investment in activities such as uranium mining and prohibit Iran from buying several categories of heavy weapons. (AP-ABC News)
The sanctions resolution now being debated in the UN Security Council calls for countries to "exercise vigilance" in dealing with Iran's central bank. American and European officials said Wednesday that the reference could give them a legal basis in the future for choking off financial transactions between Iran and banking centers in Europe and elsewhere. (New York Times)
During a meeting Tuesday between President Obama and Jewish members of Congress, Obama sought to quell concerns that he would impose a peace plan on Israel without the country's consent, two attendees said. Jewish members, led by New York's Eliot Engel and Connecticut's Joe Lieberman, pressed Obama on their impression that he is putting more pressure on Israel than on the Palestinian side in peace talks, and asked about recent calls on Obama to jumpstart the process with an "Obama plan."
"I cannot impose a settlement," Obama said. "Israel is a sovereign nation and the notion that I would or could do that is simply wrong." Obama told the group that the rift between the U.S. and Israel has been overstated and stressed that the American commitment to Israel's military superiority is unabated. (Politico)
See also Jewish Dems Get a Chance to Vent to Obama - Laura Rozen
One can hardly turn around in Washington the past three weeks without running into another Jewish outreach event by the Obama White House. (Politico)
Twelve Republican senators are calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to impose "prompt punitive" sanctions against Syria for threatening Israel by supplying long-range Scud missiles to Hizbullah terrorists. They noted that the new missiles put every Israeli city in range of attack. (Washington Times)
See also Rebuilding the "Box" around Syria - Firas Maksad (Los Angeles Times)
The Obama administration is looking for ways to build up "moderate elements" within Lebanese Hizbullah, John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, said on Tuesday. "There are certainly the elements of Hizbullah that are truly a concern to us....And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements," Brennan said. Hizbullah is branded a "foreign terrorist organization" by the U.S. (Reuters)
See also State Department Denies Change in Policy toward Hizbullah (Naharnet-Lebanon)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Senior PLO official Nabil Shaath said Wednesday that the Palestinians must strive for the isolation of Israel in the international community, attempt to expel it from the UN and prevent a deepening of Israeli ties with the EU. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Report: PA to Ask NATO and U.S. to Defend It from Israel
The Palestinian Authority will ask that NATO and the U.S. commit to "defending the Palestinian state from Israel," Al-Quds al-Arabi reported Palestinian sources as saying Wednesday. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel rejected a proposal from Qatar to allow it to bring construction materials into Gaza in exchange for renewing diplomatic relations with Israel after Egypt made clear its opposition to the plan. Relations between Qatar and Egypt are tense, in part because of the sharp criticism of Egypt voiced on Al Jazeera television, which is owned by the emirate's ruling family. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Even as Iranian leaders argue that they will ignore any and all pressure from the U.S. and its allies, the record demonstrates otherwise. This week's trilateral agreement reached by Iran, Brazil, and Turkey to refuel the Tehran Research Reactor was transparently done with the goal of forestalling sanctions at the UN.
Iran has had high hopes that Russia would block attempts by the West to slow its nuclear progress. But instead, Moscow has grown increasingly frustrated with Tehran. Beijing also does not seem particularly willing to buck the West on behalf of the Islamic Republic. Iran is not negotiating with Brazil and Turkey because it prefers these two nations as international partners. Rather, Tehran had no choice: its previous, and preferred, interlocutors no longer bought the line that, this time, the Iranians would really cooperate. The writer is deputy director for research at the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Supporters of the initiative to divest from U.S. companies that sell arms to Israel stand accused of seeking to deny Israel the basic human right of self-defense by singling out Israel rather than opposing arms sales in general; of seeking to deny Jews the right to cultural self-determination in a country of their own by minimizing Hamas treachery and supporting its aim to destroy Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; of seeking to deny Jews self-respect by attributing to the Jews alone the power to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict; asserting a false analogy between democratic Israel and apartheid South Africa; and shamelessly asserting the vicious libel that the IDF intentionally targets innocent Palestinian children.
If one country is denied the right to self-defense, all countries can be denied that right; if one national culture is forbidden, then all cultures can be subjected to ideological discrimination; if one people is despised, then all peoples can be despised; and if one group is unsafe, then everyone is unsafe. The writer is Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor at UC Berkeley and Professor of Philosophy of Education, University of Haifa. (Jerusalem Post)
A Diplomatic Game of Chicken with Iran - David Ignatius (Washington Post)
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Today's issue of the Daily Alert was prepared in Israel on Isru Chag.