Stung by "Argo," Iran Backs Conference Denouncing Hollywood - Thomas Erdbrink (New York Times)
Earlier this month, 130 foreign guests were brought to Tehran by the Iranian government to discuss what they said was the hidden agenda behind major American movies - an ideology they called "Hollywoodism."
Former U.S. senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) said Hollywood had brainwashed its audiences into thinking negatively about Iran.
Hassan Abbasi, an Iranian political strategist known for his theory that the American cartoon figures Tom and Jerry are part of a Zionist conspiracy, warned that popular TV series like "The Simpsons," "Lost," and "South Park" "entertain us, but indoctrinate us at the same time."
Anti-Iranian "movies are weapons of mass destruction against humanity," said Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, a French lawyer who married the terrorist Carlos the Jackal in a prison ceremony in 2001.
Is Territorial Discontinuity a Real Obstacle to a Palestinian State? - Giovanni Quer (Jerusalem Post)
Is territorial contiguity really essential to the formation of a state?
States with a discontinuous territory interrupted by seas or by other states include
Russia (with Kaliningrad in European territory), the U.S. (with Alaska), Denmark, Philippines, Japan, Malaysia and Oman.
In the West Bank, territorial fragmentation due to the presence of Israeli settlements has not impeded the growth of the Palestinian economy and society.
Intel Israel More than Doubles Exports - Tova Cohen (Reuters)
Intel's Israeli subsidiary more than doubled its exports in 2012 to $4.6 billion and is seeking to bring manufacturing of the company's next generation of chips to Israel.
Intel's exports, which rose 109% from $2.2 billion in 2011, were boosted by the start of production of chips using 22 nanometer technology at its Kiryat Gat plant, which is now operating at full capacity.
Intel, the world's No. 1 chipmaker, is Israel's largest private employer, with 8,542 workers, up 10% from 2011. The company has two plants as well as four research and development centers. The company accounted for 20% of Israel's high-tech exports last year.
Search for Jews of Kaifeng - Gidon Elazar (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
With no synagogue or rabbi since the mid-19th century, until very recently the descendants of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng had almost completely assimilated into the Chinese world around them.
In recent years, however, some members of the community have begun to examine and explore their Jewish roots.
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- Bulgaria Seeks EU Action on Hizbullah - Laurence Norman and Naftali Bendavid
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov called on Monday for Hizbullah to face consequences for its link to the July 2012 bus bombing in Burgas. "We will want to have collective measures in the European Union to make sure that this doesn't happen" again. Monday's call for action from the Bulgarians likely will add pressure on holdouts in the EU to take official action against Hizbullah.
Asked whether he believed Hizbullah should be added to a terrorist blacklist, Mladenov said, "given the fact that we have already made quite firm statements where we believe the responsibility for that attack lies, I think the answer is quite obvious." (Wall Street Journal)
- Human Rights Group Adopts Hamas' Version of Gaza Fighting - Paul Alster
Human Rights Watch has issued a report accusing Israel of "violations of the laws of war" during its November Gaza offensive in response to thousands of indiscriminate cross-border rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad into Israel. Israel Defense Forces officials say they went to unprecedented lengths to limit the number of civilian casualties, despite strong evidence that Hamas often used willing and unwilling civilians as human shields.
According to Hamas' own figures, around 160 Palestinians died during the Israeli operation. HRW's figures indicate not less than 117 of those were active combatants. (Fox News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Report: IDF to Set Up Field Hospital on Syrian Border - Ilan Ben Zion
Israel Channel 10 television reported Monday that the IDF is preparing to erect a field hospital near Israel's border with Syria on the Golan Heights in order to treat wounded Syrian nationals. The decision was taken after Israeli troops evacuated seven wounded Syrians to an Israeli hospital after they had approached the border and appealed for help. The field hospital will enable Israel to provide further medical assistance without having to bring the Syrians into Israel for treatment.
(Times of Israel)
- Israel Supplies Turkey with New Military Equipment - Anshel Pfeffer
Israel has supplied advanced electronic warfare systems to the Turkish Air Force, marking the first transfer of military equipment since relations between the two countries deteriorated in the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010.
The deal was confirmed on Monday by a senior Israeli defense source who said it was approved due to American pressure as well as Israeli attempts to improve relations with Turkey.
Boeing, which supplied Turkey with four new Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, ordered electronic warfare systems for the Turkish aircraft from ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries.
- More Gazans Joining Rebel Forces in Syria, Palestinian Refugees from Syria Arrive in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
The number of Palestinians from Gaza who are traveling to Syria to join the anti-regime forces is on the rise, Palestinian sources revealed Monday. Sources told the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper that most of the Palestinians who have joined the rebels were members of radical Salafi and Jihadi groups in Gaza. Some used to belong to Hamas before joining more radical Islamist groups.
In a separate development, 70 Palestinian families from refugee camps near Damascus have arrived in Gaza, Al-Quds reported.
- Targeting Tehran's Euros - Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer
U.S. financial sanctions have already curtailed much of Iran's dollar-denominated business. In response, Tehran has transferred billions of dollars in foreign exchange reserves into euros. Target2 is the European Central Bank's proprietary electronic interbank payment system. The ECB's own guidelines bar access to Target2 by those engaged in "money laundering and the financing of terrorism, proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities and the development of nuclear weapons delivery systems." This describes the Iranian regime to the letter.
However, numerous Iranian banks, and foreign banks handling euro transactions on behalf of Iran, can still access the Target2 system. Now some ECB officials have indicated that they are prepared to bar Iran from the system. The U.S. Congress is prepared to use an upcoming Iran sanctions bill to give European regulators a legislative push to do what they know is right. Mr. Dubowitz is executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Schanzer, a former U.S. Treasury terrorism finance analyst, is vice president for research at FDD.
(Wall Street Journal Europe)
- The End of the American Era in
the Middle East? - Yoel Guzansky
The U.S. administration's announced intention to
allocate resources and attention to Asia, coupled with
proven difficulties in implementing
its policy in the Middle East, does not necessarily indicate a U.S.
abandonment of the region. The U.S. still has a number of major
interests in the Middle East that continue to play a significant role in
U.S. policymaking and stand to influence the future course of American
action in the region.
The notion that the U.S. will be completely independent of Middle
East oil is far from reality. While the U.S.
is expected to supply all of its energy needs
by the end of the next decade, even then it will
continue to be dependent on the global economy,
which is liable to be harmed - and to harm the U.S. as well - if
oil sources in the Middle East do not continue to supply the demand
of states such as South Korea, Japan, India, and China.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
- Why Europe Won't Name Terrorists - Benny Avni
Under pressure from Washington, Europe is finally edging toward calling Hizbullah - one of the world's leading terrorist organizations - a terrorist organization. Some in Paris and Berlin say that Hizbullah is part of Lebanon's legitimate political-party structure. Yet the Shiite group and its allies managed to gain majorities in Lebanon's parliament only after assassinating Christian or Sunni opponents.
But the Europeans also have more practical reasons to avoid confrontation with Hizbullah. France, Italy and others sent thousands of troops for the UN mission deployed in southern Lebanon after the 2006 Israeli-Hizbullah war. Upsetting the terrorists could lead to major confrontations that would endanger these soldiers.
(New York Post)
- Turkey-Israel: The Status Quo Is the Better Alternative - Shmuel Rosner
Although Israel might wish otherwise, there is little reason to believe that Turkey will change its tune regarding bilateral relations in the near term. Bottom line: Turkey seems determined to keep its relations with Israel chilled. Israel tends to think that if there will be change in the status quo, it might be for the worse. While in the U.S. there's some confusion about Turkish policy, amending Turkish-Israeli relations is no longer at the top of Washington's agenda in Ankara.
(Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program Must Be Stopped - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Jewish Agency Board of Governors on Monday:
- The development of nuclear weapons by Iran will change the balance of power irrevocably in the world. When people with unlimited ambitions of aggression get weapons of unlimited power, the demon is uncorked, and it's happened before.
- It is the greatest mistake to assume that people will behave rationally when they're fundamentally irrational and when you give them the power of mass death. Iran is seeking the power of mass death, and it's enough to see what they're doing now to realize what they'll do then. What they are doing now is conducting a worldwide web of brazen, unabashed terror across a dozen countries.
- And they're arming their poisoned tentacles of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah with tens of thousands of rockets and deadly weapons. They're threatening not only the security of Israel but the security of every regime in the Middle East, and certainly the flow of oil from this region.
- Certainly their development of nuclear weapons will spark a nuclear arms race. It will make the Middle East a nuclear tinderbox. It will change the world.
- They're getting closer to the red line that I had set at the UN. They're building centrifuges that enrich the uranium needed to make nuclear bombs at three times the pace, so that they could cross that red line and get to a high enrichment of 90%-enriched uranium within a much shorter time.
- Sanctions alone will not stop the nuclear program of Iran. They have to be coupled with a robust, credible military threat. If they are not, there's no chance to stop it. And if it doesn't stop it that way, then it will have to be stopped another way.
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