Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.


May 6, 2004

To contact the Presidents Conference:
[email protected]

In-Depth Issues:

Does Syria Have Atomic Centrifuges? - Louis Charbonneau (Reuters)
    Some members of the Bush administration believe Syria has centrifuges that can purify uranium for use in bombs.
    Last week, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton said Adbul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea, had "several other" customers.
    Western diplomats in Vienna said Bolton was clearly referring to Syria.
    Several Western diplomats have been saying for months that Syria was a customer of Khan's.
    "Syria certainly had contact with Khan," said a non-U.S. Western diplomat, adding that suspicions of Syrian research in atomic weapons have existed for decades.

Saudi-Funded Islamic Activist Shapes Public School Lessons on Religions - Paul Sperry (WorldNetDaily)
     Susan L. Douglass, a top textbook consultant shaping classroom education on Islam in American public schools, taught for at least a decade at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Va., which teaches Wahhabism through textbooks that condemn Jews and Christians as infidels and enemies of Islam.
    The school is funded and controlled by the Saudi government.
    Douglass, a practicing Muslim, has edited manuscripts of world history textbooks used by middle and high school students across the country.
    She's also advised state education boards on curriculum standards dealing with world religion, and has helped train thousands of public school teachers on Islamic instruction.
    Critics complain that Douglass has convinced American textbook publishers and educators to gloss over the violent aspects of Islam to make the faith more appealing to non-Muslim children.

Arab League Protests Vienna's Herzl Square Plans (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    The Arab League Tuesday protested Vienna's plans to name a city square after Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, urging reconsideration for the sake of "good relations" with the Arab world.
    Representatives of Vienna's 120,000 Muslims also said they were against the plan, which will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Herzl's death on July 3.
    Herzl, a Hungarian-born Jewish writer, campaigned for a Jewish state after his experiences with anti-Semitism, first in Austria, then as a journalist covering the French trial of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish army captain framed by anti-Semitic conspirators.
    Herzl was buried in Vienna in 1904, and reburied in Israel in 1949 after the founding of the Jewish state.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bush: America Will Help a Peaceful Palestinian State
    President Bush told Al Arabiya television on Wednesday: "I stood up in front of the world and said that the Palestinian people ought to have their own state. I'm the first President to have ever said that....I have not changed my vision of two states living side-by-side in peace....[The] statement coming out of the Quartet, which is a part of the road map process, says, let's work together to give the Palestinians hope. And my commitment to the Palestinian people is, when peaceful leaders emerge, when people are willing to fight off terror, they will have a great opportunity to see this state emerge. And America will help."  (White House)
  • Amnesty Condemns Gaza Murders as Crimes Against Humanity
    The deliberate killing by Palestinian armed groups of a pregnant woman and her four young daughters shows once again that these groups utterly disregard the most fundamental principles of international law, notably the absolute prohibition on the targeting of civilians. Amnesty International condemns these murders in the strongest terms. Such deliberate attacks against civilians, which have been widespread, systematic, and in furtherance of a stated policy to attack the civilian population, constitute crimes against humanity, as defined by Article 7 (1) and (2)(a) of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. (Amnesty International)
        See also NPR Blames Mother and Daughters for Their Own Murders
    NPR's Julie McCarthy blamed the victims for their own slaughter, stating: "There was ample evidence yesterday to show that their [the settlers] continued presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed." There is no justification whatsoever within international law that justifies the killing of civilians simply because they live in territory which others claim. (CAMERA)
        See also below Observations - Jeff Jacoby (Boston Globe)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Thwarts Attempted Attack on Northern Border
    IDF troops operating on Har Dov, on the Israeli-Lebanese border, thwarted an attempted infiltration attack early Thursday by two groups of armed men, reportedly members of Hizballah, who were approaching an IDF post. IDF troops opened fire at the men, who escaped. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IAF Planes Respond to Hizballah Artillery Fire in Southern Lebanon - Uri Ash
    Israel Air Force planes hit two Hizballah artillery positions in southern Lebanon Wednesday, after they fired at targets in northern Israel. No casualties were reported on either side. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. to Announce Sanctions Against Syria - Melissa Radler
    The Bush administration will announce sanctions against Syria in the coming days. "We have assurances from the administration that in the coming days, sanctions against Syria will be announced and that they [the administration] will act based on the legislation passed by Congress," said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, on Wednesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • UN to Support Palestinian Sovereignty over Eastern Jerusalem - Shlomo Shamir
    The UN General Assembly is expected on Thursday to approve a resolution put forth by Nasser Al-Kidwa, the Palestinian observer to the UN, according to which the Palestinian nation has the right to self-determination and sole sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)
  • Five Charged in Neo-Nazi Plot to Bomb Munich Synagogue
    German prosecutors Wednesday charged three women and two men with being members or supporters of a neo-Nazi organization that, they say, plotted to bomb the dedication ceremony last year at a new Munich synagogue. (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • PA Police Official Resigns, Citing Corruption - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Col. Majed Abu Shamaleh, head of the criminal investigations department in the PA Civil Police Force in Gaza, resigned on Monday, citing widespread corruption in the PA security forces as the primary reason. He said he was particularly frustrated by the fact that he was unable to pursue investigations against senior Palestinian officials suspected of involvement in corruption and crime. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Gaza Will Remain Engaged with Israel - Ehud Ya'ari
    As of this moment, there is no "disengagement plan" for the Gaza Strip. There is a plan for withdrawal, both from the Jewish settlements and from army facilities. But the way it is to happen means that the Strip, with its 1.2 million residents, will be one big fenced-off prison camp, very much engaged with Israel, which will hold the keys to all its gates. Since Gaza, as we know, is not capable of surviving on its own resources, responsibility for what happens there will rest, at least partially, on Israel's shoulders.
        With Netzarim and the settlement bloc of Gush Katif gone, the Palestinians are likely to transfer the bulk of their terror activity to an artillery campaign aimed at Israeli border communities such as the city of Sderot. They are already busily planning for this, manufacturing improvised mortars and Qassam rockets. Further down the line they may obtain rockets that would put Ashkelon within range too. Arafat has no desire to see the withdrawal from Gaza mark the end of his intifada. It will also be impossible to operate in Gaza against his wishes. The Palestinians see the planned evacuation of the Gaza Strip as a victory, as the realization of the undeclared goal of the intifada - the acquisition of territory and a sort of sovereignty in the absence of an agreement and concessions to Israel. (Jerusalem Report)
  • A New U.S.-Saudi Rift? - Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
    Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has startled Bush administration officials by blaming "Zionists" for recent terrorist acts in the kingdom. Abdullah's comments were cited by stunned Bush administration officials and other Mideast watchers as an ominous sign of possible new tensions in the U.S.-Saudi alliance. "We've seen these remarks and, if the crown prince in fact made them, we would strongly disagree with such an assertion and consider it unhelpful," a State Department official said. "It's terribly disappointing that they [the Saudi rulers] resort to this kind of stuff," says Edward Walker, a former veteran U.S. diplomat and now president of the Middle East Institute, a Washington-based group that has received funding from Saudi Arabia. "If the Saudis are going to continue to deny reality and live in a dream world, then their regime will be short-lived," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). (Newsweek)
  • Europe Still Doesn't Get It - David Matas
    Last week's OSCE conference on anti-Semitism was strange because the meeting was silent on the principal cause of contemporary anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism has flared up in Europe today because anti-Zionist propaganda attacks the Jewish people. The anti-Semitism that is anti-Zionism is as common in polite European society today as Aryanism was before the Second World War. It permeates respectable political parties and mainstream journals. Yet, in Berlin, the link between the existence of Israel and contemporary anti-Semitism was never drawn. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
  • Observations:

    Abandoning Gaza Won't End Terrorism - Jeff Jacoby (Boston Globe)

    • In NPR's warped moral calculus, Tali Hatuel and her four daughters are in early graves not because Palestinian culture celebrates the mass murder of Jews but because Jews have no business living among Arabs. If NPR reporter Julie McCarthy had been reporting from Birmingham in September 1963, would she have blamed the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on the provocative "presence" of the four black girls who died in the explosion?
    • If the past decade - the era of the "land for peace" delusion - has made anything clear, it is that the more Israel concedes to the Palestinians, the worse Palestinian terror becomes. Abandoning Gaza will not make the Arabs more peaceful. It will simply strengthen their conviction that Israelis can be defeated through terrorism and make Gaza a more effective staging-area for attacks on Jews.
    • The only workable recipe for lasting Middle East peace is the difficult one of remaking Palestinian society from the bottom up. Of destroying its poisonous culture of violence, death-worship, and Jew-hatred. Of educating its people for democracy and tolerance. Of replacing its cruel and corrupt rulers with leaders genuinely committed to moderation.
    • Only when - only if - such a transformation takes place will the Palestinians be ready for statehood. To confer sovereignty on them now would be disastrous, a guarantee of violence for years to come. If there is one thing a regime that can call the execution of a mother and her four daughters "heroic" doesn't need, it is a reward.

    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message to:
        [email protected]
    To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
        [email protected]