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 24, 2010
Russia Cuts Off Major Arms Sales to Iran - Fred Weir (Christian Science Monitor)
Israeli Delegation Absent During Obama's UN Speech Because of Jewish Holiday (Los Angeles Times-USA Today)
Officials: Terror Threat from Americans Is Growing - Jason Ryan and Pierre Thomas (ABC News)
Italy Seizes Iranian Explosives Bound for Syria (Al Jazeera-Qatar)
Islamists Force Spanish Nightclub to Change its Name - Soeren Kern (Hudson Institute-New York)
Yemen Sacks National Chess Team for Israel Game (Reuters-Gulf News-UAE)
Israeli Tourists Renounce Turkey, Choose Greece - Christos Loutradis (Hurriyet-Turkey)
The Terror Translators - Alan Feuer (New York Times)
The Controversy on the Lost Jewish Accounts in Swiss Banks
and Its Aftermath - Simon Erlanger (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
Increase in Dutch Anti-Semitism - Jennifer Lipman (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Obama told the UN General Assembly on Thursday: "Israel's settlement moratorium has made a difference on the ground and improved the atmosphere for talks. And our position on this issue is well known. We believe that the moratorium should be extended. We also believe that talks should press on until completed."
"Those of us who are friends of Israel must understand that true security for the Jewish state requires an independent Palestine - one that allows the Palestinian people to live with dignity and opportunity. And those of us who are friends of the Palestinians must understand that the rights of the Palestinian people will be won only through peaceful means - including genuine reconciliation with a secure Israel....Those who have signed on to the Arab Peace Initiative should seize this opportunity to make it real by taking tangible steps towards the normalization that it promises Israel."
"Those who long to see an independent Palestine must also stop trying to tear down Israel. After thousands of years, Jews and Arabs are not strangers in a strange land. After 60 years in the community of nations, Israel's existence must not be a subject for debate. Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people. It should be clear to all that efforts to chip away at Israel's legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States. And efforts to threaten or kill Israelis will do nothing to help the Palestinian people. The slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance - it's injustice." (White House)
View Video (White House)
See also Obama Devotes UN Address to Middle East Peace - Laura Rozen
President Obama devoted the bulk of his address to the UN General Assembly Thursday to the Middle East peace process - 1,060 words out of a 4,090 word speech, to be precise. Obama's heavy emphasis on the Middle East peace process reveals "his determination to do this and to persuade others of how much importance he attaches to it; but also that as [his] domestic travails increase looking toward the midterms, he, like many of his predecessors, look to foreign policy as the area where he'll have more latitude," former U.S. Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller said. Obama "sees this as his signature issue," Miller added. (Politico)
In his speech to the UN on Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad challenged the U.S. assertion that Islamic terrorists carried out the 9/11 attacks, and suggested that elements within the U.S. government may have orchestrated the attacks to justify military aggression on behalf of Israel. The remarks triggered an immediate walkout by the U.S. delegation and its allies, who accused the Iranian leader of engaging in an anti-Semitic rant. "Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people, Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable," said Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for the U.S. mission to the UN.
Ahmadinejad claimed a theory held by the majority of Americans is "that some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grip on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime." (Washington Post)
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton suggested on Tuesday that Russian immigrants in Israel pose an obstacle to a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. "An increasing number of the young people in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem. It's a different Israel. Sixteen percent of Israelis speak Russian," he said.
Clinton recalled a 2000 conversation he had with then-Israeli Cabinet Minister and former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky in which he asked why Sharansky could not support the Camp David peace proposal he helped broker. Sharansky's response, according to Clinton, was, "I can't vote for this, I'm Russian....I come from one of the biggest countries in the world to one of the smallest. You want me to cut it in half. No, thank you."
In Israel, reaction to Bill Clinton's remarks has been extremely critical. Sharansky denied ever making such comments to Clinton and added, "I am particularly disappointed by the president's casual use of inappropriate stereotypes about Israelis, dividing their views on peace based on ethnic origins." Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman noted that Clinton "forgot who turned down his far-reaching offer which demanded painful concessions from Israel's side. It was, in fact, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat." (CNN)
See also Knesset to Discuss Bill Clinton's Comments (Jerusalem Post)
A bipartisan group of senators is circulating a new letter urging President Obama to speak out publicly to pressure the Palestinian leadership not to abandon the Middle East peace talks. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly stated that he will withdraw from the negotiations if settlement construction resumes, but Israeli leaders have been equally adamant that they will not extend the moratorium.
"Neither side should make threats to leave just as the talks are getting started," the senators wrote. "Following the brutal murder of four innocent Israeli civilians by Hamas militants at the start of the negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not abandon the talks." "Many in Congress...want the Palestinian leadership to stop making what they see as threats and to put public pressure on the Palestinian Authority to move their position," said one Capitol Hill insider. (Foreign Policy)
See Text of Letter (Foreign Policy)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Jerusalem District Police Commander Aharon Franco on Wednesday backed an Israeli security guard who shot an east Jerusalem resident to death in Silwan. "According to an initial investigation, the guard encountered a preplanned ambush which put his life in danger, prompting him to open fire." The killing sparked Arab riots in the capital, with rioters throwing firebombs and rocks at Israeli security forces and civilians. Four buses were badly damaged, as were private vehicles. Palestinians also hurled stones from the Temple Mount at Jewish worshippers below. (Ynet News)
See also Israeli Security Guard Escapes "Lynching" - Melanie Lidman
The security guard was driving in a vehicle when he encountered trash bins blocking his route. Ofer Rosenman, manager of the security company, told Channel 2 News that Palestinians surrounded the vehicle. "They threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, so the guard exited his vehicle and shot in the air and then shot at one of the people after he felt that they wanted to kidnap him." The security company called it a "lynch" situation. Police found two knives on the body of the victim, who had a previous criminal history. (Jerusalem Post)
View Photo Gallery of Arab Riots in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post)
See also Why We Don't Have Peace - Jennifer Rubin
An Israeli security guard travels through a section of the nation's capital (no, east Jerusalem is not a "settlement"). Palestinians set upon him, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. Afraid for his life, the guard shoots in self-defense, killing one assailant. The Palestinians commence a riot, injuring innocent Israelis. The world blames Israel.
Israelis can only make peace with those who want it and are prepared to put down the guns, the stones, the knives, the rocks, and the Molotov cocktails to build a civil (in both senses of the word) society. We'll have peace, as commentator Rachel Abrams elegantly described it, when and if Palestinians "can renounce once and for all the creeping Islamism that would sooner see them suffering the miseries and oppression of twelfth-century religious and cultural practice than thriving in a modern society; if they can cast off at last the self-strangling mythology of their own victimhood; and if they can shed their century-old yearning to set the blood of their Jewish neighbors flowing in the streets." (Commentary)
The UN Human Rights Commission released a report on Wednesday which said that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, killing nine activists, earlier this year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said the UN report was biased and distorted, adding that the group responsible for the report was "obsessed with targeting Israel." "The entire world saw videos of soldiers coming onto the deck of the Marmara ship into a pre-planned, violent ambush of terror-supporters who tried to kill with clubs and knives," Netanyahu said. (Ha'aretz)
See also Turkey Lauds UN Report on Gaza Flotilla (Ha'aretz)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, now nearing the end of his term, will be remembered for rehabilitating the military following the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The problem, he stresses, was with the IDF thinking at the time - that it needed to prepare for limited warfare and not all-out war. "By preparing for conventional war, soldiers and commanders will know how to derive the skills they require for counter-terror operations," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Obama administration's Iran policy was premised on the idea that we would reach out to the Iranians. That strategy was premised on the idea that the Iranians would be willing to talk, to engage. It doesn't appear as if they are. The reality is that the Iranian regime has as its core a kind of anti-Americanism, and maybe that's the DNA and it's just very difficult for them to move out of it.
For whatever reason, they are not willing to play ball, so the Obama administration is left to figure out, in the absence of Iranian cooperation, what's the best strategy. So they've pushed sanctions. But it remains to be seen whether in the short-term sanctions will produce the ultimate goal, which is to make the Iranians cut some kind of a deal on the nuclear issue. (CNN)
Iran is wracked by widespread unrest, anti-government street demonstrations, rising inflation, high unemployment, in addition to the ongoing deleterious effects of economic sanctions by the U.S., UN and EU in response to Iran's nuclear program. Jamsheed Choksy, a professor of Iranian and international studies at Indiana University, notes that Iran's annual GDP growth rate has dropped from 4.7% in 2005 to 1.5% last year. Inflation has remained in double digits for the past half decade. Last year inflation peaked at 25.6%. Meanwhile, unemployment has risen from 10.3% in 2005 to 12.5% in 2009 and is projected at 15% for 2010. Subsidies for gasoline, natural gas, electricity, water, bread, rice, cooking oil, milk, sugar, transportation services and medicine are believed to account for 25% of the country's GDP, or $100 billion. (International Business Times)
What are we willing to do to stop Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards from having nuclear weapons? Are we willing to get damn serious about sanctions? Go to the mat with the Chinese, Russians, Turks, Venezuelans, and Swiss who try to augment their trade with the Islamic Republic? Are we willing to start talking about an oil embargo? Are we willing, finally, to support those Iranian democratic dissidents who've quietly asked for our assistance? Start the hard and dangerous work that's necessary to support dissidents in a denied area where transgressions will get them raped or killed? Are we willing to credibly threaten the use of force against Khamenei if he does not stop the nuclear program? The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (New Republic)
Farzad Farhangian, who spent 23 years in the Iranian diplomatic service, defected last week from his job as press attache at the Iranian embassy in Brussels, becoming the third veteran Iranian diplomat to publicly quit this year. His message today: "I want [the regime] to be overthrown." His colleague Hossein Alizadeh, who had worked for the Iranian foreign ministry for 21 years, left the post of second-in-command at the Iranian embassy in Helsinki. Their defections follow that of Mohammed Reza Heydari, who had served for 20 years in the foreign ministry until January, when he resigned as consul at Iran's embassy in Norway.
All three men now openly support Iran's democratic opposition. Heydari has remained in Norway to run the Green Embassy Campaign, which speaks out on behalf of his nation's democratic dissidents. "We came from within the system, all three of us are war veterans," says Heydari. "There's also a lot of dissatisfaction within the Revolutionary Guard, the Intelligence Ministry and organizations like state TV and radio. There are a lot of people who are working undercover. It looks like they are working for the regime, but they are working for us - their heart is with the Green movement." (Wall Street Journal)
Robert Aumann, winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize for economics for his work in game theory, told me in his office at the Center for the Study of Rationality at Hebrew University, "I'm for the two-state solution, or something like that. But what we are doing does not promote that." When it comes to the Arab-Israeli peace process, Aumann believes that the problem isn't that the Israelis and Arabs don't want peace, but rather that the Israelis and their U.S. patron believe they are playing a one-time game, whereas the Arabs see themselves as playing a repeated game. Jerusalem and Washington are in a hurry to conclude negotiations immediately, whereas the Arabs are willing to wait it out and keep playing the same game. The result is that Israel's concessions have brought no peace.
Poker players are familiar with the principle: Don't show your hand with chips still on the table. "The players must not be too eager for immediate results," Aumann said. "The present, the now, must not be important. If you want peace now, you may well never get peace. But if you have time - if you can wait - that changes the whole picture; then you may get peace now." "Israel must act with patience and with long-term vision, even at the cost of not coming to any present agreement and continuing the state of belligerence, in order to improve its position in future negotiations." As the Arab novelist Abdul Rahman Munif once observed, showing your interest in an item immediately triples the merchant's price.
There can be no co-existence if one person isn't willing to negotiate as hard as the other. The appeaser will always be swallowed up and simply cease to exist. It is stubbornness rather than the willingness to make immediate concessions that brings about successful negotiations. (Tablet)
Resolution 194, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 11, 1948, at the time of Israel's birth, certainly did not guarantee an unconditional "right of return" - that is, the right of Palestinian Arab refugees to return to Israel. Nor did it specifically mention Arab refugees, thereby indicating that the resolution was aimed at all refugees, both Jewish and Arab. Instead, Resolution 194 recommended that refugees be allowed to return to their homeland if they met two important conditions: 1. That they be willing to live in peace with their neighbors. 2. That the return takes place "at the earliest practicable date."
The resolution also recommended that for those who did not wish to return, "Compensation should be paid for the property...and for loss of or damage to property" by the "governments or authorities responsible." It is important to note that the Arab states: Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen, voted against Resolution 194. In addition, the fact that plural wording is used - "governments or authorities" - suggests that the burden of compensation does not fall solely upon one side of the conflict. Because seven Arab armies invaded Israel, Israel was not responsible for creating the refugee problem. When hundreds of thousands of Jews, under threat of death, attack and other forms of persecution, were forced to flee Arab communities, the State of Israel absorbed the overwhelming majority of them into the then-fledgling nation. (Myths and Facts)
If there is ever to be some semblance of peace in the Middle East, it cannot be achieved with Iran's Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime remaining in power. The Iranian theocracy has evolved into a classic dictatorship-police state. Its religious credentials were shredded long ago by its recognition as the world's leader in state-sponsored terrorism and its imposition of Shariah law by jihad wherever possible. Iran's continued support for the Hizbullah and Hamas terrorist groups undermines any meaningful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. (Washington Times)
George Bisharat, in "A True One-State Solution" (Washington Post, Sept. 3), presents a series of falsehoods as facts. Among them: "A de facto one-state reality has emerged with Israel effectively ruling virtually all of the former Palestine." Except during British Mandatory Palestine (1920-1948) there was no "former Palestine," no country or province by that name. Jordan, created by Great Britain in 1921, rules 77% of former mandatory Palestine, Israel about 16%. Most of the West Bank Arab population is effectively administered by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and all of it in Gaza by the Iranian-supported Hamas.
"By settling roughly 500,000 Jews in east Jerusalem and the West Bank," Israel has been "eliminating the land base for a viable Palestinian state." Since Israel reunified Jerusalem as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War, the Arab population has grown faster than the Jewish sector. At Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, and after the 2007 Annapolis summit, the Palestinian leadership rejected statehood on more than 95% of the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for peace with Israel. (CAMERA)
Everyone has heard of the powerful Israel lobby, but few are aware that there is an equally powerful Arab lobby that has historically acted to frustrate U.S. efforts to make peace. The Arab lobby today is comprised of two main constituencies: the oil lobby comprised of Saudi Arabia, State Department Arabists, and oil and defense companies; and a domestic lobby focused on the Palestinian issue represented by Arab- and Muslim-Americans, non-evangelical Christians, academics and Arabists.
The Arabists see Israel as a major irritant in relations with the Arab world, one that must be pressured to make concessions to satisfy the demands not only of the Palestinians but, more importantly, the Saudis. The Saudis have historically been spoilers. After giving personal assurances to President Carter that they would support the Camp David Accords, the Saudis betrayed him and opposed the negotiations, ostracized Egypt, and financed the most radical parties acting to sabotage the agreement. During George W. Bush's terms, Saudi backing for Hamas helped weaken PA President Mahmoud Abbas. With the additional support of Iran, Hamas now has control of Gaza and rejects any peace agreement with Israel. The writer is the author of The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance that Undermines America's Interests in the Middle East (HarperCollins, 2010). (Washington Times)
Imagine You're the Prime Minister of Israel - Ambassador Michael Oren (Atlantic Monthly)
Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., delivered the following sermon at Washington synagogues on Yom Kippur:
Today's issue of the Daily Alert was prepared in Israel on Chol Hamoed Sukkot.
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