Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Daily Alert app on Android
August 31, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Persian Interpreter Tampers with Morsi's Speech - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    Egyptian President Morsi's speech in Tehran on Thursday at the Non-Aligned Movement summit may not have been the same speech heard by the Islamic Republic's citizens on national television and radio.
    One Iranian website wrote that "in an unprecedented action, the interpreter falsified part of Morsi's speech, declining to translate Morsi's severe attack on the Syrian president's regime."
    The Iranian interpreter translated Morsi's criticism of Assad's regime as a statement in support of Assad: "There is a crisis in Syria and we must support the ruling regime in Syria."
    When Morsi went on to discuss events in Arab states where the Arab Spring played a part, the translator exchanged the word Syria with Bahrain.
    Iranian media also confirmed changes to speeches delivered by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN General Assembly President Nasser Abdul Aziz on the Syrian crisis.

    See also Egypt's Morsi Shocks the Mullahs - Amir Taheri (New York Post)
    With his speech at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, Egypt's new president, Muhammad Morsi, drew a line in the sand against Iran.
    First, the Egyptian leader took care not to allow any hint of anti-Americanism.
    Next, he asserted that the uprising in Syria is "an extension of the Arab Spring" - not "an American-Zionist conspiracy," as Khamenei claims - and threw Egypt's support behind the uprising.
    To Khomeini-Khamenei Shiites, Sunni Muslims are "deviants," partly because they venerate the first caliphs of Islam - Abu-Bakr, Omar and Osman.
    In the Khomeinist version, all three betrayed the Prophet by preventing his cousin Ali from succeeding him.
    Morsi in his speech saluted "the Prophet and his successors," naming the first caliphs, one by one. The sound of those three names would send shockwaves down the spine of any mullah who has one.
    Not surprisingly, Tehran television interrupted its live broadcast of Morsi's address with a gas-company ad.

Qatar Gas Falls Victim to Computer Virus Attack - Camilla Hall and Javier Blas (Financial Times-UK)
    Qatar's RasGas, one of the world's largest producers of natural gas, has become the second major state-owned Middle East energy company to be hit by a severe computer virus in weeks.
    Saudi Aramco, the world's largest crude oil producer, was also attacked by a computer virus.
    Both attacks affected only office computers, and production and export of oil and gas were unaffected.

Daily Alert Blog
    Selected features from the Daily Alert for busy readers

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

The Sunni-Western Alliance Against Iran - Walter Russell Mead (American Interest)
    The alliance of convenience between Sunni Islamists, America, and the West against Iran remains the most important geopolitical fact in the Middle East today.
    For now, Israel is not the center of Middle Eastern politics.
    The big Sunni countries, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, want to expel the Persians from their midst and chase their power out of the Arab world - before they turn to other problems.
    Iran's power grab in the region, combined with its nuclear program, makes it the biggest object of fear for many of its neighbors.
    The U.S. shares its neighbors' concern, and it should cooperate to limit Iran and frustrate its attempt to dominate the Middle East.

The Geography of Iranian Power - Robert D. Kaplan (Stratfor)
    Virtually all of the Greater Middle East's oil and natural gas lies either in the Persian Gulf or the Caspian Sea regions. The only country that straddles both energy-producing areas is Iran.
    Tehran's revolutionary order constitutes a richly developed governmental structure with a diffusion of power centers; it is not a crude one-man thugocracy like the kind Saddam Hussein ran in neighboring Arab Iraq.
    What limits Iran's appeal is the persistence of its suffocating clerical rule. The Technicolor is gone from the Iranian landscape under this regime and has been replaced by grainy black and white.
    Iran's imperial ambitions are for the time being limited by the very nature of its clerical rule.

Balancing Limited Choices to Protect Israeli Lives - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Dean of the Hebrew University Law School Yuval Shany told a recent StandWithUs conference in Jerusalem for 60 foreign law students that when deciding whether and where to criticize Israel, foreign observers should try to understand that most issues involved balancing limited choices and the clash of human rights of different individuals.
    He said that whenever a party advised Israel not to employ a particular defense because of the impact it would have on Palestinian or other foreign civilians, they needed to understand that there was a real-life cost to the rights of Israeli civilians.

Muslims and Christians Brawl in Jerusalem - Nir Hasson (Ha'aretz)
    Police are investigating a massive brawl between Muslims and Christians on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem on August 20.
    The battle involved dozens of participants throwing stones and wielding iron bars. A number of people were injured, homes were damaged and cars vandalized.
    The brawl started when dozens of Muslims stormed a housing complex built for young couples by Jerusalem's Christian community.
    The attack was stopped when other Muslim residents of the area intervened.

Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East
    Explore over 10 years of Daily Alert - since May 2002.

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert - and want to share it with friends - please click Forward in your email program and enter their address.

Daily Alert Blog 
Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 

Related Publication:
Israel Campus Beat
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UN: Iran Doubles Underground Nuclear Capacity - Fredrik Dahl
    Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges it has in an underground bunker, a UN report said on Thursday. The IAEA said the number of centrifuges at Fordow had more than doubled to 2,140 from 1,064 in May. The IAEA also said Iran had produced nearly 190 kg. of higher-grade enriched uranium since 2010, up from 145 kg. in May. Washington says there is still time for diplomatic pressure to work. (Reuters)
        See also Report on Iran Nuclear Work Puts Israel in a Box - Jodi Rudoren and David E. Sanger
    The International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday offered findings validating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's longstanding position that while harsh economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation may have hurt Iran, they have failed to slow Tehran's nuclear program. If anything, the program is speeding up. But the agency's report has also put Israel in a corner, documenting that Iran is close to crossing what Israel has long said is its red line: the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a location invulnerable to Israeli attack. (New York Times)
        See also Report: Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran (International Atomic Energy Agency)
  • Ayatollah Khamenei: Palestine Belongs to the Palestinians
    Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei told the Non-Aligned Summit in Tehran on August 30: On the basis of a horrible Western plot and under the direction of England in the 1940s, an independent country with a clear historical identity called "Palestine" has been taken away from its people through the use of weapons, killings and deception and has been given to a group of people the majority of whom are immigrants from European countries.
        Even now after 65 years the same kind of crimes marks the treatment of Palestinians remaining in the occupied territories by the ferocious Zionist wolves. Our standpoint is that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians. All the Palestinians who have suffered from years of exile should return to their country. (Ayatollah Khamenei-Iran)
  • UN Chief Denounces Iran to its Face over Calls to Destroy Israel
    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon denounced Iran at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran on Thursday for calling for the destruction of Israel and denying the Holocaust. "I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust," he said. "Claiming that Israel does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms is not only wrong, but undermines the very principles we all have pledged to uphold," he added.
        Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli expert, said, "In the history of the Islamic Republic, nobody has challenged the supreme leader's position on Israel in front of him, and in such a manner....This is likely to have long-term reverberations and consequences inside Iran's halls of power."  (NBC News)
        See also Remarks of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Iran (United Nations)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Rocket from Gaza Hits Israeli Home in Sderot - Yanir Yagna
    A rocket exploded in Sderot in southern Israel on Friday morning, hitting a house. No one was wounded. Limor Aflalo, the owner of the house, told Ha'aretz this was the second time a rocket has hit her home. The rocket broke the roof and then landed in her neighbor's garden. The mayor of Sderot, David Buskila, said Friday, "Sometimes there are lulls but the shooting has gone on for 12 years now. There was a miracle here."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Barak: Egypt Clearly Trying to Control Sinai Terror
    It is clear that Egypt is trying to gain control over terrorism in Sinai, and Israel must respect and allow this attempt, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio on Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Illegal Arab Building Defies Supreme Court Ruling - Ari Briggs
    The illegal "building intifada" being waged by the Palestinian Authority on state lands in Area C of the West Bank has become the latest battleground. This unlawful land theft is being carried out with the full support of the EU, foreign aid organizations and the UN. The PA has sought to unilaterally extend its control over undeveloped land in an attempt to pre-empt the outcome of any negotiations, or to do away with the need for them completely.
        The claim of Arab shepherds from Yata in the South Hebron Hills, near the ancient Jewish town of Sussiya, has become a cause celebre of foreigners and locals wishing to harm Israel. In truth, they are squatters illegally trying to grab state lands. They all have permanent homes in Yata and are encouraged by the PA to grab land. The land has only served as grazing land and the caves found there are used as temporary dwellings by the shepherds for one month a year during the grazing season, as proven by aerial photo archives.
        The squatters falsely claim they have been forced to build illegally because of the limited number of building permits approved by the Civil Administration (CA). In fact, the CA has approved over 100 new town plans for Area C in the past 10 years, including Khirbet Tawani, only five km. north of Sussiya. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The War for Area C - Seth Frantzman
    Area C in the West Bank is an abstract invention of the Oslo agreement which divided the West Bank into three sections. The area includes all 121 recognized Jewish communities in the West Bank with a population estimated at 270,000. Area C comprises 62% of the West Bank, or 3,482 sq. km., an area slightly larger than Yosemite National Park in the U.S., and includes the Judean Desert where Israeli military reservations are located. Area C is the place where the land is still in dispute. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • The "Deterrence Works" Fantasy - Charles Krauthammer
    Deterring Iran is fundamentally different from deterring the Soviet Union. You could rely on the latter but not on the former. Did the Soviet Union in its 70 years ever deploy a suicide bomber? Iran's clerical regime rules in the name of a fundamentalist religion for whom the hereafter offers the ultimate rewards.
        It's one thing to live in a state of mutual assured destruction with Stalin or Brezhnev, leaders of a philosophically materialist, historically grounded, deeply here-and-now regime. It's quite another to be in a situation of mutual destruction with apocalyptic clerics who believe in the supremacy of the afterlife and holy war as the ultimate avenue to achieving it.
        The Soviet quarrel with America was ideological. Iran's quarrel with Israel is existential. The Soviets never proclaimed a desire to annihilate the American people. For Iran, the very existence of a Jewish state on Muslim land is a crime, an abomination, a cancer with which no negotiation, no coexistence, no accommodation is possible.
        Israel, a speck on the map, is a "one-bomb country." A tiny nuclear arsenal would do the job. The confident belief that the mullahs are like the Soviets is a fantasy. (Washington Post)
  • The Dangers of Accepting Iran as a Nuclear Threshold State - Dore Gold
    Waiting to the very last minute to act against Iran until it actually crosses the nuclear threshold carries a steep diplomatic price for the U.S. Over time, many states, especially in the Persian Gulf, will conclude that the U.S. will never take any action against Iran, even though the Iranian threat is growing. As the UAE ambassador to Washington, Yusuf al-Otaiba, has warned: "There are many countries in the region who, if they lack the assurance the U.S. is willing to confront Iran, will start running for cover towards Iran."
        He was essentially saying that as time goes on, if there are growing doubts about American resolve to destroy the Iranian nuclear program, and Tehran succeeds in "decoupling" the Arab states from Washington, then the U.S. alliance structure in the Arabian Peninsula might eventually collapse.
        Students of international politics may recall the distinction drawn by U.S. academics, like Kenneth Waltz, between states that seek to unite and "balance" a common threat by creating an alliance, and states that give up and get on the "bandwagon" of their adversaries. Accepting Iran with a threshold nuclear capacity will eventually result in Arab states getting on the Iranian bandwagon. The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Israel Hayom)
  • Morsi's Just Not that into Iran - Geneive Abdo and Reza H. Akbari
    Egyptian President Morsi's performance at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran disappointed his Iranian hosts. Ever since Morsi announced he would make the trip to Tehran, Iran's propaganda machine had been working overtime. Iranian state media has gone out of its way to exaggerate the importance of Morsi's trip by publishing frequent updates during his brief visit. For the past week, the Iranian media has published statements, declarations, and interviews all making the same point: Morsi's trip declares Iran the winner in the war against the West.
        Morsi's decision to take the opportunity offered by Iran to embrace the Syrian uprising against Assad put the Iranian regime in something of a bind. Morsi refused even to say clearly if relations with Iran will be upgraded. Despite their optimistic rhetoric, Iranian officials realize now that they are likely to gain far less than they had hoped from the Arab uprisings.
        Furthermore, the cost of restoring ties with Iran for Egypt would be great. Not only would this alienate the U.S. and Israel, but also relations with Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, would be severely damaged. Morsi clearly understands the importance of maintaining good ties in the Gulf - aid is at stake. His first diplomatic mission after he became president was to Saudi Arabia to replenish Egypt's diminishing currency reserves.
        Tehran's desperation for a relationship with a disinterested Egypt speaks volumes about its declining place in the hearts of the Arab world. Geneive Abdo is director of the Iran program at the Middle East Institute where Reza H. Akbari is a research associate. (Foreign Policy)
  • Iran at the Brink - Editorial
    Four months ago, the Obama administration radiated optimism that a deal could be struck curbing the most dangerous parts of Iran's nuclear program. Not only has Iran not agreed to stop its production of higher-enriched uranium, but it has increased its stockpile by 30% since May and has doubled the number of centrifuges installed at an underground production facility near Qom. Meanwhile, terrorist attacks by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Lebanon's Hizbullah have targeted Israeli diplomats and tourists in half a dozen countries.
        Most U.S. diplomacy now appears to be directed at persuading Israel to hold off on a strike at least until next year, though that could mean allowing Iran's nuclear capabilities to advance to the point where only U.S. military action would be effective. (Washington Post)
  • The NAM Meeting's Chilling Message - Herb Keinon
    The world is trying to dissuade Israel from any type of military action in Iran by arguing: "The sanctions are biting, Iran is feeling the heat, it is feeling isolated. Just give us more time." Isolated? Really? The attendance of two kings, 27 presidents, numerous foreign ministers and the UN secretary-general at the Non-Aligned Movement Conference in Tehran does not send a message of isolation.
        Had at least some countries stayed away, had the UN secretary-general boycotted the meeting, Israel's leadership may have been able to conclude that the diplomatic front was indeed working, and that Iran was indeed isolated. But today, that argument will be much more difficult to make in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Other Issues

  • Who Killed Rachel Corrie? - Lenny Ben-David
    The first accounts and affidavits after the accident state that Corrie was sitting or kneeling on the ground, not standing. A colleague related: "She did not 'trip and fall' in front of the bulldozer. She sat down in front of it."
        Corrie's colleagues told Newsweek's Joshua Hammer in a 2003 Mother Jones article: "For two hours we attempted at great risk to ourselves to obstruct and frustrate the bulldozers in their work." Said another: "Several times we had to dive away at the last moment in order to avoid being crushed. This continued for about two and a half hours....At one point, Will from the United States was nearly crushed."
        Why would the "internationals" risk their lives in such a way? Hammer explained that the ISM members had decided to take their confrontation with the IDF up a notch to prove themselves to the local population: "An anonymous letter was circulating which referred to Corrie and the other expatriate women in Rafah as 'nasty foreign bitches' whom 'our Palestinian young men are following around.' That morning [of Corrie's death], the ISM team tried to devise a strategy to counteract the letter's effects. 'We all had a feeling that our role was too passive,' said one ISM member. 'The idea was to more directly challenge the Israeli military dominance using our international status.'"  (Times of Israel)
  • Egypt and the Peace Treaty with Israel - Liron A. Libman
    The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt allows the review and amendment of the security arrangements by mutual agreement. Egypt can reasonably argue that the security circumstances in Sinai have changed due to the establishment and strengthening of terrorist strongholds by local and foreign organizations.
        International law determines that even a fundamental change of circumstances which has occurred with regard to those existing at the time of the conclusion of a treaty, and which was not foreseen by the parties, may not be invoked as a ground for terminating or withdrawing from the treaty, unless some exceptional conditions were fulfilled. In any case, international law specifically states that such a cause cannot be grounds to terminate a treaty that establishes a boundary. Egypt cannot hold the territorial gains achieved in the peace treaty while shaking off its obligations under it. The writer, an IDF colonel (res.) and an attorney, is a former head of the IDF's International Law Department. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Sinai, the New Egypt, and the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty - Alan Baker (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israeli Athletes Compete at London Paralympic Games - Aaron Kalman
    Israel is something of a sporting empire in the Paralympics, ranks 13th overall in the history of the Games. At the 2012 London Paralympic Games which began Thursday, Israel will have 25 athletes, aged 20-60, competing in nine different disciplines.
        Moran Samuel, 31, was a member of Israel's national basketball team when at 24 she suffered a rare spinal stroke. But she didn't give up her love of sports and kept playing basketball with the national wheelchair team.
        Sharpshooter Doron Shaziri is one of team Israel's most decorated members, with six Paralympic medals. He was injured by a landmine at age 20 while serving in southern Lebanon. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Scientist Diagnoses "Superbugs" - Avigayil Kadesh
    Prof. Nathan Citri, 91, a retired Hebrew University microbiologist, wondered why the desperate call of the World Health Organization for a way to contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria remained unanswered, and hospitals continued to be hotbeds for these deadly "superbugs." He and his late wife developed a prototype for bedside kits that detect and identify resistant bacteria from blood or urine samples, yielding lifesaving information within minutes. In the past year, a contract was signed with a British company to produce his resistant-bacteria ID kits, administered through Hebrew University's tech transfer company, Yissum. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Grandpa Helped Install the Gas Chambers - Nissan Tsur
    Barbel Pfeiffer, 42, traveled to Auschwitz last week with 50 other descendants of Nazis and Nazi collaborators. Her grandfather was one of those who installed the camp's electrical system and gas chambers. Heinz Reuss, a leader of TOS Ministries, the network of Protestant churches that organized the visit, said he views the trip as a way to show solidarity with Israel. "It's true that there is still anti-Semitism in Germany, but there are also a lot of people who stand against anti-Semitism and support Israel," he says. "We want to break the silence not only about our family histories, but also to speak loud against anti-Semitism." Members of the German delegation included descendants of Wehrmacht soldiers, SS officers and others involved in the genocide. (Times of Israel)

Calling People "Holocaust-Obsessed" Is the New Holocaust Denial - Ron Rosenbaum (Slate)

  • The claims that some are "holocaust-obsessed" is the new fashionable meme for those who don't want to be overly troubled by the memory of the death camps and looming threats of a second holocaust.
  • You can always tell one of this new breed of Holocaust denier by the way they claim that careful parsing of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threat to "wipe Israel off the map" doesn't really mean he wants to harm a single hair on the head of a single Jew.
  • I discovered that the euphemism "Final Solution" had been used by the Nazi party as far back as 1931. But there were those back then who didn't want to see through the euphemism, just as there are those who don't want to see through the sinister euphemisms in Ahmadinejad's pronouncements today.
    See also Are Jews Who Fear Iran Obsessed with the Holocaust? - Jeffrey Goldberg (Bloomberg)
  • Ron Rosenbaum, who is undeterred by the accusation "Holocaust-obsessed," has just published the most important essay I've read this year.
  • A member-state of the United Nations, Iran, regularly threatens another member-state, Israel, with annihilation. It's important to bear in mind a fundamental asymmetry: Israel doesn't seek Iran's elimination. Iran seeks Israel's.
  • Regime apologists will note that Iranian leaders talk about the elimination not of "Israel" but of the "Zionist regime." But without the "Zionist regime" - which is to say, the democratically elected government of Israel - the Jews would face immediate dispossession, and perhaps much worse.
  • Is it obsessive for a group of people who not long ago saw a third of their number slaughtered to worry when the leaders of Iran call Israel a cancerous tumor? Or is it the natural and appropriate response of a people who, conditioned by history, choose to err on the side of caution?
Support Daily Alert
Daily Alert is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy. No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news. To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert