Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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December 19, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Ford Foundation Ends Funding of Anti-Israel Group - Edwin Black (JTA)
    "The Ford Foundation has notified LAW [The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment] of its decision to cease funding and to demand return of its unspent grant funds," wrote Ford's vice president of communications, Alex Wilde.
    LAW officials in Jerusalem confirmed that last month they received notification from Emma Playfair, Ford's representative in Cairo, that further expenditures of foundation monies were not authorized and that the unspent balance was to be returned.
    Wilde stated that the foundation also has notified some 30 other LAW donors that it had suspended the organization's funding.
    Wilde ruled out the possibility that LAW could obtain monies via the Palestinian NGO Network, which Ford also funds.
    PNGO "will be subject to our new and expanded worldwide program of grantee audits, our continuing investigation into the events surrounding the Durban conference, and new grantee contract language that prohibits any organization receiving Foundation funds from promoting or engaging in violence, terrorism, bigotry, or the destruction of any state."

Saddam Loyalists Infiltrated U.S. Operations in Iraq - Martha Raddatz (ABC News)
    Agents for deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein have penetrated the U.S. command in Iraq.
    Among the documents found in Saddam's briefcase when he was captured last weekend was a list of names of Iraqis who have been working with the U.S. - either in the Iraqi security forces or the Coalition Provisional Authority - and are feeding information to the insurgents, a U.S. official said.
    "We were badly infiltrated," said the official, adding that finding the list of names is a "gold mine."

Saddam Rants - Niles Lathem (New York Post)
    A defiant Saddam Hussein is making outrageous statements to CIA interrogators, claiming his government never surrendered - and that he would win by a landslide in new Iraqi elections.
    "He is trying to assume an aura of authority," said Ret. Col. Patrick Lang, former Middle East chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who has spoken to several former colleagues familiar with the interrogation sessions.
    Dr. Jerold Post, a George Washington University professor of psychiatry who helped the CIA develop a psychological profile of Saddam before the war, said, "Now, his defenses are back in place and he appears to be very much concerned about burnishing his image and his place in history."

U.S. to Steer Iraqi Arms Experts to Peaceful Jobs - Judith Miller (New York Times)
    The State Department said Thursday that it was starting a two-year program that could spend some $22 million to help provide several hundred former Iraqi weapons scientists and technicians with nonmilitary jobs in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq to prevent them from working for countries of concern or for terrorist groups.

Bin Laden Had Direct Role in Turkish Bombings, Suspect Claims - Elizabeth Davies (Independent-UK)
    Osama bin Laden was behind the suicide attacks in Turkey which claimed 62 lives in Istanbul last month, according to a suspect under interrogation.
    Bin Laden directed the Turkish militants to attack a military base in Turkey used by the U.S., but they were foiled by tight security and bombed civilian targets instead, Turkish officials said.
    The bombers "planned and carried out the attack independently after receiving the blessing of bin Laden," said a Turkish intelligence official.

Fitch Revises Israel's Foreign Currency Outlook to "Stable" (Globes)
    Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, Tuesday revised the outlook on Israel's long-term foreign currency rating from Negative to Stable.
    Fitch's analsts wrote: "The foreign currency rating action acknowledges the continued stability and in some cases improvement in Israel's external indicators, an improved macroeconomic policy mix following measures taken in May and contained in the 2004 budget, an improved external environment, and signs of economic recovery."

Israel's No-Fail Orchestra - Cecelia Porter
    Smashing: There was no other word for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Sunday at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington. (Washington Post)

El Al Adds Flights as Tourism to Israel Increases - Paul Lungen (Canadian Jewish News)
    El Al is adding a fourth weekly flight from Toronto to Israel - and is planning to add a fifth in the spring - reflecting a surge in tourist traffic to the Jewish state.
    The increased El Al traffic is part of a broader trend that has seen the Israeli tourism industry begin to bounce back after a slump of more than two years attributable largely to security concerns.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel May Draw Border Unilaterally
    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Thursday that Israel would act on its own if the Palestinians do not take effective steps toward peace in coming months. Sharon outlined what he called a "disengagement plan" that includes moving settlements from deep inside Palestinian-claimed areas, redeploying Israeli troops along a security line, and creating a provisional boundary with Palestinians, unless there is progress toward implementing the U.S.-backed diplomatic initiative known as the road map. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also below - Observations: What Prime Minister Sharon Said
  • White House Reaction to Sharon's Speech
    White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Thursday: "First of all, we are pleased to hear Prime Minister Sharon's strong reiteration of his support for the road map as the way forward. He, Prime Minister Sharon, said it is 'the best way to achieve true peace.' We are also pleased, as well, that he repeated what he said at Aqaba - 'It is not in our interest to govern you. We would like you to govern yourselves in your own country.'...The plan the administration supports is the road map, because that is the way to get to the President's vision that he outlined on June 24, 2002, here in the Rose Garden, of two states living side by side in peace and security." (White House)
        See also U.S. Praises Much of Sharon's Remarks (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Arab Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Burning Down NY Synagogue
    An Arab man who was convicted of hate crimes for burglarizing and burning down Temple Beth El in Syracuse, N.Y., on Oct. 13, 2000, was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison. Raussi Uthman, 30, also must pay $856,278 in restitution. "This sentence has nothing to do with your heritage," Judge Joseph Fahey told Uthman, who claimed he was being discriminated against. "It is based solely on your conduct. It is the same sentence I would impose on a Nazi, Ku Klux Klansman, or any bigot that would have burned down a house of worship. My only regret is that it can't be longer." His accomplice, Ahed Shehadeh, who is serving a five-year sentence for burglary and aiding and abetting an arson, testified that Uthman dedicated the arson to God, crying out in Arabic, "I did this for you, God!" (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
  • In Russia, Terrorism Becomes a Fact of Life
    Each day Moscow police receive 15 to 75 calls from panicked residents reporting possible terrorist threats. Over the past 14 months, about 470 people have died in terrorist attacks in Moscow, Chechnya, and other parts of southern Russia. The Russian government blames nearly all of the violence on Chechen separatists and insists they have been aided by Arab terrorist groups tied to al-Qaeda. Many stores and restaurants in central Moscow post guards at the door, a habit from the mid-1990s when mafia hits were more common. Today the guards are trained to look out for female suicide bombers - "black widows," the term the tabloid press uses in warning that a phalanx of them is on the way to the capital. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Injured in West Bank Shooting Attack
    An Israeli man was lightly injured Thursday after shots were fired at his car on the Trans-Judea Highway near Hebron. Also Thursday, shots were fired at an Israeli car traveling near Morag in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Three Iraqis Indicted for Planning Terror Attacks Against U.S. and Israeli Targets in Jordan - Ahmad Kreishan
    The Jordanian State Security Court on Thursday indicted three Iraqis for allegedly planning to attack U.S. and Israeli targets in Jordan. The three suspects smuggled into Jordan a large quantity of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, anti-personnel rockets, and machineguns. (Jordan Times)
  • EU Thwarts PLO's Anti-Israel Move in UN - Shlomo Shamir
    EU countries foiled a PLO initiative to challenge Israel's credentials at the UN. EU representatives told PLO Ambassador Nasser al-Kidwa that exploiting the routine votes on country credentials crossed "a red line." French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin ordered the French delegation to oppose the PLO legation's resolution, and the legation said it would not seek a vote at this stage. Israeli Ambassador Danny Gillerman said, "the Palestinian failure to challenge Israel's credentials is a victory for Israeli foreign policy." (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Killing Him Softly - Charles Krauthammer
    In the old days the conquered tyrant was dragged through the streets behind the Roman general's chariot. Or paraded shackled before a jeering crowd. Or, when more finality was required, had his head placed on a spike on the tower wall. Iraq has its own ways. In the revolution of 1958, Prime Minister Nuri Said was caught by a crowd and murdered, and his body was dragged behind a car through the streets of Baghdad. We Americans don't do it that way. Instead, we show Saddam Hussein - Lion of the Tigris, Saladin of the Arabs - compliantly opening his mouth like a child to the universal indignity of an oral (and head lice!) exam. Brilliant. Nothing could have been better calculated to demystify the all-powerful tyrant.
        It was a deeply important historical moment. At stake is the fate of an idea of singular malignancy that has cost the Arabs not just countless innocent lives but a half-century of progress. Hussein was the most aggressive and enduring exemplar of a particular kind of deformed radical pan-Arabism that appealed to the greater glory of the Arab nation, and promised a great restoration. It was important that the god-king of pan-Arabism be shown as the pathetic coward he was. The Arab media had to admit that this was the greatest psychological blow to Arab nationalist pretensions since the similarly vainglorious Gamal Abdel Nasser was routed by Israel in six days in June 1967. (Washington Post)
  • Wielding Pens as Swords, Arabs Finish Off Hussein - Nora Boustany
    If U.S. soldiers did not kill Saddam Hussein last weekend, Arab columnists finished him off with vengeance, felling the myth of the former Iraqi president as a brave hero and savior and savaging him as a cowardly capitulator. In one of the most remarkable transformations in Arab commentary, the torrent of venom this week did not single out the U.S. or its troops, but focused on the deceptive legends Hussein had spun to fuel false pride among sympathizers. (Washington Post)
  • The Twilight of the Tyrants - Peter Ford
    The former Iraqi president's capture, and his coming trial, are doubtless blows to bloodstained autocrats elsewhere. The world is becoming a more dangerous place for despots. But even where the rock of dictatorship has been lifted in other parts of the world, the seedling of democracy often struggles to take root. One quarter of the world's 192 nations are today "not free," down from 43% of countries in 1973, according to a report released Thursday by Freedom House, a New York-based human rights group that has been measuring political rights worldwide for 30 years. "Absolute dictatorship is becoming less and less common," says Adrian Karatnycky, author of the report. "Over the last 30 years, 45 [more] free countries have appeared on the global map."  (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Justice and Saddam Hussein - Jeff Jacoby
    The trial of Saddam will lay the vast record of his sadism and bestiality before the world. One purpose of Saddam's prosecution and trial will be to make it searingly clear that the U.S.-led war in Iraq was a great blessing. It brought to an end one of the most evil regimes in human history. For the first time, the tyrant's victims - those who survived - will have the chance to appear on the world stage and speak of Saddam's inhumanity to a rapt international audience. It is Saddam and his accomplices who will be in the dock at the Baghdad trials. But in a sense, those who willingly turned a blind eye to their crimes will be on trial, too - the politicians and intellectuals and journalists and businessmen who preferred to overlook or excuse the savagery of the Ba'athists. (Boston Globe)
  • The 80-20 Fallacy - Ze'ev B. Begin
    On September 9, 1993, the chairman of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, wrote an official letter in English to the prime minister of Israel, which said: "The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security." In the wake of this, Israel's security forces in 1994-1995 left the cities of the Gaza District, Judea and Samaria, with a detailed agreement of 314 pages in English, signed under international auspices and promising Israel quiet. Plans being mooted promise that Israel within the 1949 lines will enjoy tranquility on the basis of a Jewish majority of 80%. However, withdrawal to those lines, with or without an agreement, will not only fail to bring peace with our neighbors: It will also fail to bring quiet within the boundaries of the State of Israel.
        After the withdrawal, the winning formula will be applied: additional pressure to get Israel to move to the "internationally legitimate" lines of 1947 in Galilee and to sever from Israel its areas that are heavily populated by Arabs. Jews with good intentions are likely to make some creative proposals for the problem of Galilee, such as, in stage one, autonomy for the Arabs there, the evacuation of small and isolated hilltop communities, and a safe-passage road to Jenin. (Ha'aretz)
  • Lethal Gestures - Dan Diker
    Since the unilaterally announced Palestinian hudna (cease-fire) of June 29, 2003, 85 Israelis have been killed and 417 wounded in Palestinian terror attacks. Rabbi Dr. David Appelbaum, a global authority on emergency medicine, and his daughter Nava, who was to have been married the following day, were murdered at Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem on September 9, 2003, by a Palestinian who had been released from detention on February 2, 2003, as a "gesture." Israeli gestures in the absence of Palestinian security measures have had proven lethal consequences for Israeli civilians and soldiers alike. Improving the economic situation of the Palestinians is important, but the precipitous removal of security measures can cost lives. This point should be remembered before Israel is asked again to undertake similar risks in the future. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Egyptians Begin Asking: After Mubarak, What? - Glenn Frankel
    During his 22 years in power, Mubarak has never chosen a vice president. He has joked that he could never find anyone qualified for the post. The real reason, many analysts say, is that the ultra-cautious leader - who came to power after Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamic radicals in 1981 - did not want to create a potential rival. Now many Egyptians say they fear that if Mubarak died suddenly, Egypt could be left rudderless. (Washington Post)

    Weekend Features:

  • Podhoretz: "Neocon" Conspiracies Anti-Semitic - Abigail Radoszkowicz
    The charge that the Bush administration's foreign policy is being directed by a neoconservative American-Jewish cabal is "fantasy and anti-Semitic mythology," said Norman Podhoretz on Thursday in a talk at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Enemies of the Bush doctrine of democratization of the Arab world have found it useful and convenient first to suggest and then to say openly that Jewish neoconservatives in the administration have done just that at Israel's behest, explained Podhoretz. "Ipso facto, they no longer had to argue the case for regime change on its merits." "The future of Jewish security in Israel and in the diaspora depends on the success of Bush's noble endeavor," Podhoretz said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • College Film Festival: Kill the Jews - Tatiana Menaker
    Watching the films at the San Francisco State University film festival "Exploring the Israeli-Palestinian Issue through Film," I saw that Palestinian Arabs have become professional victims and actors in the "Israelis-and-Jews-Are-Horrible-Child-Murderers" series. An absurd reality emerges from these "documentaries." Smiling children, well fed by UNRWA, enthusiastically pose for cameras, throwing Molotov cocktails and heavy rocks from slings. Even in the most peaceful and idealistic documentary, a young boy asked what he wants to do when he grows up is prompted by his father: "Kill the Jews!" What exactly do they mean by the "Liberation of Palestine"? It's Israel they're talking about. To liberate Palestine you need to exterminate five million Jews. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • New Generation Finds It's Hip to be Hebrew - Paul Harris
    Last week style bible Time Out New York devoted its cover story to "'The New SuperJews," with a photograph of Jewish actor Adam Goldberg ripping open his shirt to reveal a Superman suit. The magazine profiled 10 Jewish-Americans who were reinventing their culture in cutting edge fields. Goldberg, a star of "Saving Private Ryan" and "A Beautiful Mind," tops the list with his lead role in the controversial movie "The Hebrew Hammer." Goldberg plays a super-cool Jewish private eye who drives a Cadillac painted in the colors of the Israeli flag. U.S. bookshelves are bulging with new-generation Jewish fiction whose characters revel in their Jewishness rather than shun it.
        "Young Jews are...telling the previous generation they made a mistake. You should not give up your identity. You should celebrate it," said Professor William Helmreich, an expert in ethnic relations at City University of New York. The rise of Jewish pride comes when there are fears of a growth of anti-Semitism in America. Over the past 30 days there have been eight serious anti-Jewish crimes in Brooklyn, ranging from swastikas daubed on houses to vandalism against Jewish centers and a synagogue. (Observer-UK)
  • Observations:

    Speech at the Herzliya Conference - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
    (Prime Minister's Office)

    • Like all Israeli citizens, I yearn for peace. I attach supreme importance to taking all steps which will enable progress toward resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians. However, if the Palestinians do not make a similar effort toward a solution of the conflict I do not intend to wait for them indefinitely.
    • A full and genuine implementation of the Roadmap is the best way to achieve true peace. The Roadmap is the only political plan accepted by Israel, the Palestinians, the Americans, and a majority of the international community. The concept behind this plan is that only security will lead to peace. And in that sequence. Without the achievement of full security within the framework of which terror organizations will be dismantled, it will not be possible to achieve genuine peace. There will be no peace before the eradication of terror.
    • I have committed to the President of the United States that Israel will dismantle unauthorized outposts. With regard to construction in the settlements, there will be no construction beyond the existing construction line, no expropriation of land for construction, no special economic incentives, and no construction of new settlements.
    • I appeal to the Palestinians, as I said at Aqaba: it is not in our interest to govern you. We would like you to govern yourselves in your own country. A democratic Palestinian state with territorial contiguity in Judea and Samaria and economic viability, which would conduct normal relations of tranquility, security, and peace with Israel.
    • However, if in a few months the Palestinians still continue to disregard their part in implementing the Roadmap, then Israel will initiate the unilateral security step of disengagement from the Palestinians. The unilateral steps which Israel will take will be fully coordinated with the United States. These steps will increase security for the residents of Israel and relieve the pressure on the IDF and security forces in fulfilling the difficult tasks they are faced with. We are interested in conducting direct negotiations, but do not intend to hold Israeli society hostage in the hands of the Palestinians.
    • The Disengagement Plan will include the redeployment of IDF forces along new security lines and a change in the deployment of settlements, which will reduce as much as possible the number of Israelis located in the heart of the Palestinian population.
    • Settlements to be relocated are those which will not be included in the territory of the State of Israel in the framework of any possible future permanent agreement. At the same time, in the framework of the Disengagement Plan, Israel will strengthen its control over those same areas in the Land of Israel which will constitute an inseparable part of the State of Israel in any future agreement.
    • Israel will greatly accelerate the construction of the security fence. The rapid completion of the security fence will enable the IDF to remove roadblocks and ease the daily lives of the Palestinian population not involved in terror.
    • The Disengagement Plan is a security measure and not a political one. The steps which will be taken will not prevent the possibility of returning to the implementation of the Roadmap and reaching an agreed settlement. Obviously, through the Disengagement Plan the Palestinians will receive much less than they would have received through direct negotiations as set out in the Roadmap.

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