Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with the Fairness Project
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 11, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Saddam Building Supergun - Michael Smith

    Iraq is building a 33ft-long supergun capable of firing biological or chemical shells with equipment from German companies, German prosecutors said Wednesday.
    Two businessmen from Pforzheim will go on trial next January, accused of being the middlemen in an Iraqi operation to procure machine tools to drill the gun's barrel.
    The disclosure is further evidence of Saddam Hussein's attempts to build delivery systems for his weapons of mass destruction.
    The new gun, which has a 209mm bore, would have a range of more than 35 miles, twice that of the largest British artillery piece, and would pose a substantial threat to thousands of allied troops expected to be sent to Kuwait. "Guns of this calibre are capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction," the German prosecutors said. (Telegraph - UK)

Debunking "Research" on Emotional Problems of Palestinian Children (Lancet - UK)

    In their report on emotional problems of children living in war zones, Abdel Aziz Mousa Thabet and colleagues (May 25) commit the error of inferring causality from a cross-sectional analysis.
    Their conclusion, that their findings are evidence that children's emotional responses to different kinds of exposure to political violence are acute and severe, is not justified.
    Similar reasoning would lead to the conclusion that low-calorie drinks cause obesity, since many obese people drink these beverages.
    The association of emotional problems in Palestinian youths with living in a strife-ridden area does not show that either is the cause of the other. A plausible alternative explanation is that the educational, political, religious, and social environment in which Palestinian children are raised causes emotional problems and the continuing conflict in the region.
    Textbooks demonize Jews and encourage violence against them. Palestinian leaders review squads of kindergarten students adorned with mock explosive belts. Palestinians have been described as having "grown intoxicated with the idea of power through death. They are exalting the most vicious acts of their own young."
    Children who grow up knowing their parents' fondest hope is for them to become suicide or homicide bombers cannot be expected to perform normally on standard tests of emotional wellbeing.
    Is it any wonder that products of this society have emotional problems? I would argue that this sociological milieu is responsible for the emotional problems Thabet and colleagues note, and that the continuing conflict is not the cause, but the inevitable result, of a generation of people raised to hate.
    Jonathan Shuter, M.D.; Montefiore Medical Center, New York

Baghdadis Waiting for War - Salim Yassine

    Six years ago, before the introduction of the UN oil-for-food program, it was nigh on impossible even to find car tires and windscreens in Baghdad outside the black market. But today, the Iraqi capital is full of luxury cars and four-wheel-drive vehicles, sold at lower prices than in the countries from which they are imported, thanks to the Iraqi government's policy of imposing low customs and registration taxes.
    Elsewhere in the city, shops selling domestic appliances have so much stock that salesmen stack their goods on the pavements to draw in potential buyers.
    The UN embargo slapped on Iraq 12 years ago for invading Kuwait has created a new class of wealthy Iraqis. (Middle East Online - UK)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Congress Gives Bush Authority to Attack Iraq
    The U.S. Senate voted 77-23 and the House of Representatives 296-133 to authorize the president to "use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq." The president needs no further congressional approval to deploy troops, order airstrikes, and wage a ground war with Iraq. The bipartisan endorsement of Bush's Iraq strategy shows how dramatically the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, have changed U.S. foreign policy and altered views about preemptive military action to disarm hostile regimes. (Washington Post)
        Text of Joint Congressional Resolution (New York Times)
  • French Admit Oil Tanker Was Attacked
    The French government said tonight that the explosion that crippled a French supertanker in Yemen on Sunday was most likely caused by a terrorist attack. A team of French, American, and Yemeni technical experts examined a hole in the side of the tanker and decided that the damage probably was caused by an external blast that drove a hole inward. (New York Times)
  • Poll: Americans Support Israel
        According to a new poll of American attitudes toward Israel conducted by the Tarrance Group, 54% of Americans support Israel and its policies and actions toward Palestinian terrorism; just 29% are opposed.
        Jews are the most unified in their support of Israel (85%), while support drops to 46% among Democrats and 45% among self-identified liberals. Support for Israel among Republicans is 67%, and 61% among self-identified conservatives.
        Some 62% of conservative Christians say they support Israel, and among conservative Christian men this figure jumps to 77%. Among Catholics and Protestants, support for Israel exceeds 50%.
        Of those individuals who are "anti-Israel," three-quarters (76%) believe that the Israelis and the Palestinians are equally to blame for the current conflict. (Stand for Israel - International Fellowship of Christians and Jews)
  • Wolfowitz: Risks of Post-Saddam Iraq Exaggerated
    Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz: We heard eleven years ago about how the Middle East would go up in flames if there was a war with Iraq. I believe, frankly, that the risks of dealing with a post-Saddam Iraq are not only exaggerated, but are largely misstated. There's every reason to believe that this is going to be a liberation of the Iraqi people, not a war against the Iraqi people. (U.S. News/Department of Defense)
  • Barak: Destroy World Terror or Be Destroyed By It
    Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told a crowd at Yale University Thursday that the war against terrorism must be unrelenting. "Destroy world terror or be destroyed by it," he said. "The greatest risk now lies in inaction." Barak said the conflict is not about occupation, it's about terror. (Hartford Courant/AP)
  • Palestinians Hint Revision in Strategy
    A document distributed to State Department officials by a Palestinian delegation in Washington this week hints at a radical new tactic: dropping their longstanding demand for an independent Palestinian state and instead seeking full citizenship within Israel. Demographic trends indicate that the number of Arabs in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip will exceed the number of Jews within a decade, meaning that Israel could not grant all Palestinians citizenship without jeopardizing its identity as a Jewish state.
        Bush administration officials said they were startled by the Palestinian suggestion and immediately balked at its implications. Said one administration official who saw the Palestinian document, "If you buy into it, you're basically buying into the destruction of Israel." (Chicago Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • 20,000 March in PA Show of Force in Gaza
    In the biggest display of Palestinian firepower in years, 20,000 police officers and militiamen marched Thursday in the funeral procession of a police colonel - a clear warning to his Hamas killers that they must end their challenge to Arafat's government. The men, many of them armed, represented all the secular Palestinian factions and security units, a demonstration that Arafat's backers still have much more firepower than does Hamas. (Jerusalem Post/AP)
        See also PA Moves to Deal with Hamas
    Senior officers in the Palestinian police have left the West Bank for the Gaza Strip with instructions from Arafat to revive the police force's organizational framework. Other indications of a large-scale move against Hamas in Gaza include a declaration of a state of emergency and the cancellation of holidays for the police force.
        Negotiations between Hamas and Fatah representatives in Gaza continue on finding a formula to end the crisis. A senior Fatah source said: "Despite the present confrontation, in the current intifada the Hamas has been the military and political partner of the Fatah in the confrontation in the Gaza Strip, which is not yet over." (Ha'aretz)
  • Abu Mazen: First Stop the Violence - Ben Caspit
    There was nearly complete agreement between the position taken by Ariel Sharon during his recent visit to Moscow and that of Abu Mazen who arrived a few days later. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov reported to Secretary of State Colin Powell that Abu Mazen told a meeting of Arab ambassadors in Moscow that Arafat made a serious mistake when he didn't prevent the outbreak of the intifada and led it instead. He said he and others warned Arafat repeatedly, but were ignored. Abu Mazen said the intifada had brought the Palestinian people great hardship, serious failures in all areas, loss of direction, and deadlock.
        Abu Mazen said he and many other Palestinian leaders recognize the need to agree to Israel's request: to bring about a complete end to violence of all types, as a first step. Only after there is total quiet will it be possible to revive the political process, he said. (Maariv)
  • IDF Uproots Hamas Infrastructure in Ramallah
    Israeli forces operated against the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure in the Ramallah area on Thursday night, arresting 50 Hamas members in 20 villages - all without firing a shot and with no casualties on either side. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • EU Lining Up Behind U.S. View on Arafat - Aluf Benn
    The European Union is slowly moving closer to the American view of the Palestinian Authority and its chairman, Yasser Arafat, according to reports reaching Jerusalem. Earlier this week Arafat hosted the EU's foreign policy coordinator, Javier Solana, at his office in Ramallah, where Solana reportedly delivered a stern warning and urged Arafat to transfer the reins of power to someone else. Moreover, senior EU and UN officials have recently been saying in private conversations that Arafat is an obstacle to reforming the PA and must be replaced. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iraqi Regime Change and the Kurdistan Regional Government - Barham Salih (Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government)
    Since it became an autonomous region in 1991, Kurdistan has taken advantage of its relative freedom from the tyranny of Baghdad. As a result, Kurdish culture has blossomed, media outlets have boomed, and the number of schools, physicians, and universities in the region has increased dramatically.
        The Iraqi people look with pride at what has been achieved in Kurdistan and wait for the day in which they can emulate it. Iraqis feel that the day of liberation is near, and they hope that the international community will soon perceive their readiness for change and their willingness to pay the price for such change. The Kurdish people have no future alone; they must fight with the rest of the Iraqi people for a unified Iraq. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • A Question of Anti-Semitism - Jonathan Alter
    Funny how campus activists never seem to mention, say, Syrian occupation of Lebanon. They bemoan capital punishment in the United States but say nothing when the Palestinians routinely execute suspected collaborators, including the mothers of young children. They single out Israeli human-rights abuses that pale next to those of their Arab neighbors, which we know less about because of press restrictions. (Newsweek)

    Weekend Features:

  • Israel is Like Family
    Israeli lecturer Avraham Infeld came to Brown as part of a tour of campuses sponsored by Hillel International. "The intifada is not Israel," he said. "Israel is the relationship between the people and the dream and the memory they have." "Being Jewish is knowing you have a memory that is longer than your own life."
        "We can't just teach the modern situation. We need people to feel a part of the Jewish people. To love Israel demands understanding your relationship to the Jewish people and the relationship of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel."
        "People think that everything Israel does, you have to support it. I do not agree." But it is important for Jewish students to love Israel, he said - unconditional love like that of family members. "We're taught to like Israel, but we forget to love it. Liking depends on behavior. Love is part of the relationship," he said. "And that sense of love is not dependent on Israel's behavior." (Brown Daily Herald)
  • U.S. Musicians Bring a Gift to Israel
    In response to reports that musicians were cancelling appearances in Israel, acoustic guitarist and Artistic Ambassador for the U.S. State Department Steve Hancoff organized the "Gift to Israel" solidarity tour, along with klezmer-bluegrass clarinet and mandolin master Andy Statman and rock guitarist Peter Himmelman, the son-in-law of Bob Dylan. Opening with a special performance in Jerusalem attended by emergency service workers from throughout the country, the 18-show tour was made possible by the United Jewish Communities, the Trust for Jewish Philanthropy, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
        Hancoff says he has never before met with the negative reaction he received in response to the "Gift to Israel" tour. "I played in Saudi Arabia recently and nobody condemned me for going, despite the oppression of women there. I played in Sri Lanka during the civil war and no one said a word," he said. "Yet, I've been vilified for this show in Israel. There is something poisonous and abhorrent about how the world views Israelis...or perhaps more accurately, Jews." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Talking Points:

    International Religious Freedom Report - 2002 (U.S. State Department)

    • Saudi Arabia - Freedom of religion does not exist in practice. Only Muslims can be citizens. The government prohibits the public practice of non-Muslim religions. Non-Muslim worshippers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture for engaging in overt religious activity that attracts official attention.
    • Egypt - Anti-Semitic articles and editorials are published in privately owned papers and, to a lesser extent, in the government press, and have increased since 2000.
    • Syria - Jews are barred from government employment and are the only religious minority whose passports and identity cards note their religion. The Syrian press, which the government tightly controls, occasionally publishes anti-Semitic articles, and there were reports of minor incidents of harassment and property damage against Jews in Damascus.
    • Iraq - The government for decades has conducted a brutal campaign of killings, summary execution, arbitrary arrest, and protracted detention against the religious leaders and followers of the majority Shi'a Muslim population and has sought to undermine the identity of minority Christian (Assyrian and Chaldean) and Yazidi groups.
    • Iran - The Jewish community has been reduced to less than one-half of its prerevolutionary size. With the government's anti-Israel policies and the trial of the 13 Jews in 2000, many Jews have sought to limit their contact with or support for the State of Israel out of fear of reprisal. Recent anti-American and anti-Israeli demonstrations have included the denunciation of "Jews," as opposed to the past practice of denouncing only "Israel" and "Zionism."
    • Sudan - The forced abduction of women and children and the taking of slaves, particularly in war zones, and their transport to parts of central and northern Sudan, continued. Some children from Christian and other non-Muslim families, captured and sold into slavery, were converted forcibly to Islam.
        See also State Department Blasted for Lauding PA's "Religious Tolerance" - Melissa Radler (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel and the PA, lumped together in a section of the State Department report titled "Israel and the occupied territories," were both lauded for generally respecting freedom of worship. But criticism of Israel took up most of the 15-page section.

    "Buy Israel" Campaign

    The Conference of Presidents has partnered with the Israel Economic Mission in North America, the Israel Export Institute and others to launch a major promotion of Israeli goods, beginning with Fine Foods from Israel. The "Buy Israel" campaign is intended help identify products exported by Israel, increase their availability and accessibility in the American market, improve their image, and help them be more competitive.

    The immediate goal is to create a nationwide web-based consumer guide for the retail consumer. The web site will help American shoppers identify local supermarkets and grocery stores that sell Israeli foods. Tell us of stores in your area that sell Israeli foods. E-mail the name and full address of each store to Lily Zagorsky at the Israel Economic Mission, [email protected]. �

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