Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 27, 2010
Turkey Working to Prevent Lebanese Flotilla to Gaza - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
France Upgrades Diplomatic Ties with Palestinians - Jenny Barchfield (AP-Washington Post)
Israel Dispatches Police Team to Aid Haiti (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Explosion Outside Swedish Synagogue (World Jewish Congress)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The European Union ordered its toughest economic sanctions yet against the Iranian government on Monday, including "a comprehensive and robust package of measures in the areas of trade, financial services, energy, transport as well as additional designations for visa ban and asset freeze." European energy companies and insurers affected by the new controls promised to comply. (New York Times)
See also Canada Imposes New Sanctions on Iran - Juliet O'Neill (Montreal Gazette-Canada)
"Recent public statements by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, which distort Russia's objective approach and our independent, constructive policy towards the Iranian nuclear program...are absolutely unacceptable to us," the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday. "We believe that instead of fruitless and irresponsible rhetoric, the Iranian leadership should take specific, constructive steps towards settling the situation as soon as possible." Moscow approved new sanctions after Iran failed to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities. (RIA-Novosti-Russia)
"Israel would like to express its ongoing concern regarding the proliferation of ballistic missiles from (North Korea), and to encourage the international community to strengthen its efforts in response to these dangers," Israel's UN mission said in a letter to the North Korea sanctions committee released on Friday. "Israel is particularly concerned by the dangerous effects of the proliferation activities of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) on the stability and the peace efforts in the Middle East," said the letter.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in May that a shipment of North Korean weapons, including rockets and rocket-propelled grenades, seized in Thailand last December was headed for Islamist groups Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon. He also said North Korea was providing Iran and Syria with aid for their missile programs. (Reuters-MSNBC)
On July 13, 2010, MPs from the Lebanese opposition led by Hizbullah prevented parliament from approving a France-Lebanon agreement for cooperation in the areas of internal, civil, and administrative security - even though the agreement had already been effectively approved by both the government and by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.
Opposition MPs rejected the agreement's first clause, which calls for French-Lebanese cooperation in "the fight against terrorism," because, they said, France's definition of the term "terrorism" was vastly different from the Lebanese and the Arab definition. The opposition MPs demanded that the agreement include the definition of terrorism from the 1998 Arab League Accord to Fight Terrorism, which distinguishes between "terrorism" and "resistance," and states that "armed struggle against foreign occupation" is not considered terrorism. (MEMRI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
A military helicopter carrying six Israeli soldiers and one Romanian crashed Monday in mountainous terrain in central Romania during a joint exercise with the Romanian air force. Local sources said seven bodies had been recovered by rescue forces at the crash site, including four Israeli pilots and two mechanics. (Ynet News)
The Palestinian Authority is determined to sabotage attempts to upgrade the ongoing proximity Middle East peace talks with direct negotiations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday. On Sunday Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that "direct talks can commence as early as next week," adding that Israel had an "understanding with the Americans that we must move into direct negotiations immediately and without further delay."
Regarding future security arrangements, Netanyahu said that the "arrangements reached with the Palestinians must be such as to withstand any changes in the political and security Middle East map" and must "stand the test of time." The prime minister also said he had no intention to extend the 10-month West Bank settlement construction freeze. (Ha'aretz)
See also U.S. Presses Abbas to Resume Direct Peace Talks - Karin Laub
Senior U.S. envoy George Mitchell warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he must move quickly to direct talks with Israel if he wants President Obama's help in setting up a Palestinian state, according to an internal Palestinian document obtained by the Associated Press on Monday. Mitchell told Abbas he should seize the fleeting opportunity and not waste time, the memo said. (AP-Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Despite being under four sets of binding sanctions resolutions by the UN Security Council, Iran has learned to manipulate that institution. Iran gained a seat in April on the UN's Commission on the Status of Women. Iran sits on the 36-member executive board of the UN Development Program. Iran actually chaired the UNDP executive board last year, during the thick of the bloody protests in which Tehran's mullocracy was beating, jailing and killing protesters calling for democratic development in Iran. Iran also sits on the boards of both the UN children's agency (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP).
Iran is a vice chair of the executive council of the UN's Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and sits on two major commissions of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), including the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Iran sits on the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development. At the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the Legal Subcommittee is currently chaired by the head of the Iranian Space Agency, Ahmad Talebzadeh. Iran also sits on the governing council of the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR), and on the governing boards of the UN Environment Program and the UN Human Settlements Program. The writer is a journalist in residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Forbes)
Supporters of a boycott of Israel seldom focus on China or Syria or Zimbabwe - regimes that systematically violate human rights. Boycotters are saying, "We consider your country so intrinsically reprehensible that we are going to treat all of your citizens as pariahs." Because Israel is a refuge for Jews persecuted everywhere else, this kind of existential challenge is hard to disassociate from anti-Semitism. When people are trying to murder you because of your religion, it is difficult to credit the bona fides of those who merely want to shun you because of your government. (Newsweek)
See also Israel Boycott Call Backfires - Hilary Leila Krieger
A call to boycott Israeli-made Ahava products in a Maryland beauty supply store backfired last week when pro-Israel activists countered by purchasing the shop's entire Ahava inventory. When the pro-Palestinian group Sabeel DC organized a boycott call at Ulta in Silver Spring last Saturday, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington sent out an action alert urging supporters to visit the store and buy Ahava. "They cleaned the shelves out. It was the best Ahava sales weekend the store has ever seen," said Arielle Farber, director of Israel and international affairs for the council. (Jerusalem Post)
See also UK Police Intervene at Anti-Israel Demonstration - Robyn Rosen
Shop-owners have had to call in the police as demonstrations and counter-demonstrations outside the London branch of the Israeli skincare shop Ahava - famous for its Dead Sea products - have driven away customers. One shopkeeper said that protesters were "running down the road chasing people with flyers." (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
Leaks on Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan Could Lead to Goldstone-Style Prosecutions Against Britain, U.S. - Robin Shepherd (Jerusalem Post)
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