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|
June 16, 2010
U.S. Deploys Tech Firms to Win Syrian Allies - Jay Solomon (Wall Street Journal)
Poll: Palestinians Oppose Proposed Ban on Work in Settlements - Khalil Shikaki (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research)
Hizbullah Financier Arrested in Paraguay (AFP)
British Inmates Convert to Islam for Jail Perks - Richard Ford (Times-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
A spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that the secretary general remains "hopeful" that the world body will approve an international inquiry into the Gaza flotilla incident - on top of Israel's own domestic investigation - after it received overwhelming support in a closed Security Council meeting Tuesday. The U.S. position on the panel - amid intense support for it among UN members - has been to wait and see what Ban proposes. "As we always do, we will work hard to make sure that Israel is not treated unfairly at the UN," a U.S. official said. (Politico)
Western nations rebuked Iran for its human rights record Tuesday after overcoming an attempt by Iran and its Muslim allies to block the statement from being read aloud at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The statement won the backing of all 27 EU nations and more than two dozen other countries. It expressed concern over a "lack of progress in the protection of human rights in Iran," including "the violent suppression of dissent, detention and executions without due process of law, severe discrimination against women and minorities including people of Baha'i faith, and restrictions of expression and religion." (AP-Washington Post)
See also UN Human Rights Council Coddles Iran - Anne Bayefsky
Just as Iranians were reminded of their stolen June 2009 election and continued oppression, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a decision on human rights in Iran that was a sentence long and contained no condemnation whatsoever. The context was a review by the Council of Iran's human rights record, as part of the Council's consideration of all 192 UN states. The "outcome" was a sentence identical for dictatorships and democracies alike, in which the Council merely refers to a bundle of documents containing praise, criticisms and responses without drawing any conclusion attributable to the Council itself. (Weekly Standard)
Several members of Congress have called on the State Department to investigate any passengers aboard the Gaza-bound aid flotilla trying to enter the U.S. A group of people affiliated with the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, known as IHH, who were aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, is planning a U.S. speaking tour in the coming weeks. "The IHH, the flotilla's sponsoring organization, has long been known for its affiliations with terrorist organizations, including Hamas and al-Qaeda," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). "It is the responsibility of our government to ensure that terrorists, and those who support terrorist activities, not be allowed to enter the United States."
He was joined by Reps. Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney, Anthony Weiner and Charles Rangel, all Democrats from New York, at a news conference organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. More than 23,000 people have signed a JCRC of New York petition calling for an investigation of the flotilla passengers. Rep. Weiner said, "Our existing laws are clear and we ought to follow them - anyone that aids and abets terrorism cannot be issued a visa." Rep. Engel said, "The United States must stand with Israel as it seeks to carry out legitimate acts of self-defense." Those aboard the flotilla "should be condemned by the world as supporters of the Hamas terrorist organization, not celebrated as humanitarian activists." (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Tony Blair, the Quartet's envoy to the Middle East, hailed Tuesday the Israeli cabinet's expected approval on Wednesday of a plan to allow more aid into Gaza. The plan, formulated jointly by Blair and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, includes the formulation of a blacklist of goods that will not be allowed into Gaza, particularly items that could be put to use in manufacturing weapons; the entry of building materials for UN-sponsored construction projects; and Israel's agreement to consider stationing EU as well as PA monitors at border crossings to inspect incoming goods.
"It will allow us to keep weapons and weapon materials out of Gaza, but on the other hand to help the Palestinian population there," Blair said. "The policy in Gaza should be to isolate the extremists but to help the people." Now, after the easing of the blockade and the change in policy, "we will have to redouble our efforts to release [kidnapped soldier] Gilad Shalit," he added. Blair has met with the prime minister three times over the past ten days, in addition to numerous telephone conversations, to discuss easing the civilian blockade of Gaza while meeting Israeli security concerns. (Ha'aretz)
Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) director Yuval Diskin said on Tuesday that Hamas was busy buying up land within municipal Jerusalem. He told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Israel's Islamic Movement were competing over influence and presence in east Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)
The PA is outraged over a visit to Gaza earlier this week by Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa. "This visit legitimizes the Hamas coup," an official said. "We need to remind the Arab world and the international community that Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip through a bloody and violent coup." PA President Mahmoud Abbas met separately in Sharm e-Sheikh on Tuesday with Moussa and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and relayed to them his deep concern over attempts to recognize Hamas' authority in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
After 9/11, I was among those hailing the Turkish model as the antidote to "Bin Ladenism." Indeed, the last time I visited Turkey in 2005, my discussions with officials were all about Turkey's efforts to join the EU. That is why it is quite shocking to come back today and find Turkey's Islamist government seemingly focused not on joining the EU but the Arab League - no, scratch that, on joining the Hamas-Hizbullah-Iran resistance front against Israel. I exaggerate, but not that much.
Turkey's Erdogan today is the most popular leader in the Arab world. Unfortunately, it is not because he is promoting a synthesis of democracy, modernity and Islam, but because he is loudly bashing Israel and praising Hamas instead of the more responsible Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. It is very troubling when Erdogan decries Israelis as killers and, at the same time, warmly receives in Ankara Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the bloodshed in Darfur, and while politely hosting Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose government killed and jailed thousands of Iranians demanding that their votes be counted. (New York Times)
As more and more facts emerge about what took place aboard the Marmara, the identity of some of its members, and their violent agenda, many Israelis and their supporters feel at once more vindicated and more outraged at the ferocity of the international criticism that was unleashed. Many Israelis felt - more palpably than in decades - that it was not only Gaza that was under a kind of siege, but Israel itself. Many were astonished not just by the hypocrisy and fury of Israel's critics, but by the estrangement from some of its erstwhile friends. Israel, it seemed, belonged to a special category of "guilty before proven guilty."
Israel has always had, and will always have, its detractors and its enemies. But the question is whether we have the imagination and the passion to develop a range of responses that prevent the advocates of delegitimization from dictating the agenda. Perhaps we will have the wisdom to see that Israel's adversaries are turning the revival of Jewish and Zionist identity from an aspiration into an imperative. Perhaps their assault on Israel's legitimacy can help renew our own dedication to Israel's calling as a vibrant Jewish and democratic state, one that is a source of pride and meaning for Jews everywhere and a source of inspiration, leadership, and moral example for the world.
Israel needs to focus on inspiring confidence in the sincerity of its intentions, the morality of its motives, and the integrity of its actions. Israel needs a reputation that gives it the benefit of the doubt. It needs for serious people to be able to testify to the country's wisdom, reason, and moral integrity and to affirm with certainty that these qualities will be brought to bear in grappling with the painful dilemmas that Israel faces. The writer, former legal advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute. (Shalom Hartman Institute)
Can a Nuclear Armed Iran be Deterred? - Amitai Etzioni (Military Review)
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