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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
December 17, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Abbas: Don't Boycott Israel - Yoel Goldman (Times of Israel)
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas stunned reporters and Palestinian activists in South Africa last week when he stated that the Palestinians do not support a boycott of Israel.
    Abbas did advocate boycotting Israeli products made in the West Bank, "but we do not ask anyone to boycott Israel itself."
    "We have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel."

Photos: The Middle Eastern Snowstorm, Viewed from Space - Max Fisher (Washington Post)
    The white areas on the land are snow, not clouds. See the snow covering Israel's Galilee, Jerusalem, and the West Bank mountain ridge.

Defaming Mandela, Defaming Israel - Benjamin Pogrund (Ha'aretz)
    The death of Nelson Mandela triggered a media avalanche which inaccurately singled out Israel for its trade with apartheid South Africa. That is 100% inaccurate.
    The South African Institute for Race Relations estimates that in 1986, trade with Israel was about $214 million, with arms sales a further $272 million to $544 million.
    In contrast, two-way trade with the U.S. at that time was $3.32 billion - repeat, billion - with Japan at $3.27 billion and Britain $2.52 billion.
    The Soviet Union cooperated to ensure that South Africa's De Beers company could maintain its world hold on the price of diamonds and thus helped to keep apartheid in place.
    Moreover, apartheid was able to survive because South Africa received all the oil it needed from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and other oil states.
    As for arms, South Africa also bought from Britain, France, Spain and the U.S., and enjoyed nuclear cooperation with France, the U.S., and West Germany.
    The writer was deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg.

In Syria, the Children of Al-Qaeda - Joby Warrick (Washington Post)
    The video of a training camp posted by al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria shows hooded recruits in camouflage shooting at targets or marching in formation under the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
    But look closer and the "fighters" appear quite small. The tallest are barely chest-high to their instructors. A photo of the recruits without their hoods confirms that all of them are young boys.
    They are "Zarqawi's Cubs," the youth brigade of Syria's most fearsome Islamist rebel group.
    In the soundtrack, Arab voices sing: "Oh mother, don't be saddened by my leaving," explaining that the boys are going to fight "for the sake of defeating the Jews."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • EU to Ease Sanctions as Soon as Iran Curbs Nuclear Work - Justyna Pawlak
    EU governments pledged on Monday to suspend some sanctions against Iran as soon as the UN nuclear watchdog verifies that Tehran has curbed its atomic work under last month's Geneva agreement. In a statement, EU foreign ministers said Iran had to implement its side of the deal in good faith. "For its part, the Council is committed to...suspend those EU sanctions as set out in the (agreement) immediately after the IAEA has verified the implementation of the nuclear-related measures by Iran."
        However, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague cautioned: "While we have reached the interim deal, the details of implementation remain to be negotiated and there will be many difficulties." Hague also said Western governments would keep up economic pressure on Iran. "We have to maintain our vigilance on sanctions and maintain the sanctions that we are not suspending so that Iran has a clear incentive to make a comprehensive deal."  (Reuters)
  • Car Bomb Hits Hizbullah Stronghold in East Lebanon
    A suicide bomber detonated a vehicle near a Hizbullah base in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon on Tuesday, causing an unspecified number of casualties. The bombing appeared to be related to a series of reprisal attacks over Hizbullah's role in the civil war in neighboring Syria. Footage aired on Lebanese television showed several badly damaged vehicles, including the charred, twisted wreckage of an overturned jeep. Last month, two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, killing 23 people. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • White House Consults Israeli Officials on Final-Status Iran Nuclear Deal - Michael Wilner
    The White House began consulting Israeli officials in Washington last week on terms of a comprehensive solution to Iran's nuclear program that Israel would find acceptable. U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, along with her deputy Tony Blinken, held a series of meetings on Thursday and Friday with Israeli National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen and his team. The meetings come after President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed by phone to "begin consultations immediately" regarding a comprehensive solution with Iran.
        "During the meetings, the U.S. team reaffirmed President Obama's goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," the White House said in a statement. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Aid Workers Caught Up in South Sudan Coup Attempt - Lazar Berman and Yafa Yaakov
    Israeli aid workers in South Sudan sought shelter with members of other international NGOs after a group of soldiers attempted to stage a coup against the government on Monday. IsraAID director Shachar Zahavi said Israel was coordinating with the French and American embassies in Juba, as well as with the Israeli Foreign Ministry. (Times of Israel)
  • Poll: Most Palestinians Think Peace Talks with Israel Are Dead - Khaled Abu Toameh
    57% of Palestinians expect the talks with Israel to fail, according to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion published Monday. 51% expressed opposition to the talks with Israel, while only 33% supported their continuation. 56% said they did not expect the negotiations to lead to peace and expect a fresh confrontation with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • American Studies Professors Decide that Democratic Israel Deserves a U.S. Boycott - Jonathan Marks
    The national council of the American Studies Association (ASA) voted unanimously to endorse a resolution to boycott Israel and send it to the full membership for a vote. On Monday the ASA announced that 66% of its members voted in favor of the boycott.
        It is heartening that eight past presidents of the American Studies Association, along with more than 50 other members, signed a letter calling the resolution "discrimination pure and simple."
        We can expect to continue to be distracted from the profound problems facing American higher education by the attempts of a determined minority to ensure that scholars who have no special knowledge of or insight into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict put their credentials in the service of the anti-Israel fringe. The writer is a professor of politics at Ursinus College. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
        See also American Studies Scholars Now Israel-Free - Jonathan Chait
    Israel is by no plausible standard among the world's worst human-rights violators. American Studies Association president Curtis Marez, asked to defend the singling out of Israel, supplied an answer that must be considered a minor classic. Marez did not dispute that many nations, including many of Israel's neighbors, are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than Israel's, but he said, "one has to start somewhere."
        If you are going to start somewhere, wouldn't it make sense to start at the top of the list of worst human-rights offenders? (New York Magazine)
        See also Boycotting Israeli Universities: A Victory for Bigotry - Alan M. Dershowitz (Ha'aretz)
  • The U.S. and Iran - Anthony H. Cordesman
    It still remains far from clear that sanctions and negotiations can stop Iran from moving toward a nuclear weapons capability. Iran is building up its long-range missile forces and is steadily building up its capabilities for asymmetric warfare in ways that can be used to deliver a wide range of attacks. It also continues to use its Al Quds force, intelligence services, and diplomats to pose a growing threat to the Arab states and Israel and to seek an axis of influence that includes Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
        Accordingly, the U.S., its Arab allies, and Israel may still face a point where they will have a grim choice between preventive strikes and forming a de facto coalition to contain Iran. (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
        See also U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Sanctions, Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change - Anthony H. Cordesman, Chloe Coughlin-Schulte, and Bryan Gold (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
  • Palestinian Red Line - Efraim Inbar
    The Palestinians leaked a letter to the media that PA President Mahmoud Abbas sent to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterating Abbas' complete opposition to recognizing "Israel as a Jewish state," declaring it a "red line" that the Palestinians would not cross.
        This "red line" is about the essence of the conflict. The Palestinian position amounts to denying the Jews the right to establish their state in their homeland. It also indicates that the Palestinians are not ripe for reaching a historic compromise with Zionism, the Jewish national revival movement. A stable peace based on mutual recognition is not in the cards.
        This is in stark contrast to Israel, which recognized the "legitimate rights of the Palestinians" back at the September 1978 Camp David Accords. The writer is professor of political studies and director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. (Israel Hayom)

Schooling the ASA on Boycotting Israel - Nitsana Darshan-Leitner (Times of Israel)

  • The American Studies Association's resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions violates international, federal and state law in the U.S., leaving the ASA and its membership open to both civil and criminal liability.
  • The law in New York, where so many ASA members reside and work, defines boycotts as "unlawful discriminatory practice," and that any decision to "refuse to buy from, sell to or trade with, or otherwise discriminate against any person, because of...creed...[or] national origin" is unlawful. Even calling for or inciting a boycott against someone because they are Israeli could subject you to criminal prosecution.
  • In addition, the Ribicoff Amendment to the Tax Reform Act of 1976 makes it a federal violation to "participate in or cooperate with an international boycott."
  • To deny someone a voice because of their nationality is discrimination, indeed racism. To target only Israeli professors and colleges without considering the racist hate, violence and anti-Semitic incitement that permeates and infests Palestinian academic institutions displays a political illiteracy that should shame these professors.
  • We will not hesitate in seeking all legal avenues against those who employ discrimination against the Jewish state in this way.

    The writer, an Israeli civil rights attorney, is the founder of the Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center.

        See also Tax-Exempt Status of American Studies Association to Be Challenged - William A. Jacobson
    ASA can spew all the venom it wants at Israel, but once it becomes a participant as an organization in an academic boycott of Israel based on unlawful and/or discriminatory grounds, ASA has ceased acting for charitable or educational purposes and is not entitled to tax preferences. The writer is Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. (Legal Insurrection)

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