Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 27, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Iran Threatens to Wipe Israel Off the Map (Maariv International)
    Iran will "wipe Israel off the face of the earth" if it or the U.S. attacks its nuclear facilities, Masud Yazaiari, spokesperson of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, warned Monday.

The Triumph of the East - Anthony Browne (Spectator-UK)
    Dr. al-Qaradawi, the controversial Egyptian imam who was recently fawned over by the Mayor of London even though he promotes the execution of homosexuals, the right of men to indulge in domestic violence, and the murder of innocent Jews, also wants to conquer Europe.
    Don't take my word for it, just listen to him on his popular Al-Jazeera TV show: "Islam will return to Europe. The conquest need not necessarily be by the sword. Perhaps we will conquer these lands without armies."
    Dr. al-Qaradawi is also the spiritual guide of the hardline Muslim Brotherhood, which is growing across Europe, and whose leader Muhammad Mahdi Othman 'Akef declared recently, 'I have complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America."
    Saudi Arabia - whose flag shows a sword - seems unabashed about its desire for Islam to take over the world.
    Its embassy in Washington recommends the home page of its Islamic affairs department, where it declares: "The Muslims are required to raise the banner of jihad in order to make the Word of Allah supreme in this world."

    See also Qaradawi: "There is No Dialogue between Us and the Jews Except by the Sword and the Rifle" (MEMRI)
    Prominent Sunni cleric Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi explained his objections to including Jews in the May 2004 Conference of Islamic-Christian Dialogue in Doha on his weekly program on Al-Jazeera television (July 13, 2004).
    Al-Qaradawi explained, "There is no dialogue between us except by the sword and the rifle."

Spain Considering Plan to Subsidize Mosques - Renwick McLean (International Herald Tribune)
    The Spanish government has begun formal discussions on a proposal to subsidize mosques in an effort to make them less dependent on financing from extremist groups abroad, according to government officials.
    Spanish investigators say the terrorists who blew up trains in Madrid on March 11, killing 191 people, attended mosques that had ties to Wahhabism, a puritanical form of Islam that is the predominate doctrine in Saudi Arabia.
    Jesus Nunez Villaverde, director of the Institute for the Study of Conflicts and Humanitarian Action, told the Spanish parliament two weeks ago that Spain had "closed its eyes to the implications of Wahhabism as a doctrine, which I insist is fundamentalist, which violates human rights."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iraqi Leader: No Normalization with Israel
    Baghdad will not make any moves to normalize relations with Israel before other Arab nations do so as part of a Mideast settlement, Iraq's interim prime minister Ayad Allawi said Monday. In Washington, deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said, ''I think it's up to Iraq and the government of Iraq to determine how best to move forward with its diplomatic relations. And we'll leave it to them to do that.'' (AP/Boston Globe)
  • Iran Starts Atom Tests in Defiance of EU Deal
    Iran has broken the seals on nuclear equipment monitored by UN inspectors and is once again building and testing machines that could make fissile material for nuclear weapons, Western sources revealed Monday. Teheran's move breaks a deal with European countries under which Iran suspended "all uranium enrichment activity." (Telegraph-UK)
  • Christians Fear Persecution in New Iraq
    Even as secular Iraqis worry about the growing tide of Islamic fundamentalism, so long repressed under Saddam Hussein, their Christian compatriots are anxious about their place in the new world around them, one that often sees them as collaborators with their American occupiers. The new Iraq seems destined to be dominated by a mix of Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites, leaving many Christians wondering if it is time to leave. Of the 750,000 Christians in Iraq, the majority are Chaldean Roman Catholic, the rest Syrian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, and Assyrian. Christians were able to practice their faith in relative security, free from persecution, under Saddam. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF: Gaza Turmoil Aids Terror - Margot Dudkevitch
    The current turmoil in Gaza serves the interests of Palestinian terror groups who are concerned that any change in the Palestinian leadership will lead to their disarmament and restrict their ability to launch attacks against Israel, said a senior IDF officer. "The situation serves the interests of Hamas and other terrorist organizations, and they are keen that Arafat remains in power so that they can continue instigating terror. Anarchy and street fighting strengthen their position rather than weaken it," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Journalists Receive Death Threats - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Palestinian journalists covering the ongoing PA crisis complained over the weekend that they had received death threats from the various feuding parties. As a result, many of them said they have stopped covering the internecine fighting. "We were told that any journalist who goes to the rally [in Gaza City last week against Arafat's decision to appoint his cousin, Musa Arafat, as overall commander of the security forces] will meet the same fate as Nabil Amr," said a journalist who works with an international news organization. Amr, a Palestinian legislator, was shot and severely wounded in Ramallah last week after he called for reforms. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jordan Valley Terror Attack Foiled - Uri Glickman
    IDF forces foiled a suicide bombing slated to be carried out in the Jordan Valley, according to details released for publication Saturday. Following intelligence information, IDF forces apprehended three Islamic Jihad operatives near Nablus including the would-be bomber, Shadi Drajma, 24. The 15 kg bomb-belt to be used in the attack was found following their interrogation. According to defense officials, "The failed plan testifies to the fact that the terror organizations are focusing their efforts in areas where the security barrier has yet to be completed - like the Jordan Valley." (Maariv International)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Assessing the Current Challenge to Arafat - David Makovsky
    The fact that the movement against Arafat is driven by his former supporters, rather than by Israel and the U.S., gives it particular potency. The breakdown of law and order in the West Bank and Gaza has arisen amid Arafat's unwillingness to follow the first phase of the Quartet Roadmap for peace, which calls for the PA to place its security services under the control of the prime minister and interior minister.
        According to his colleagues, Arafat believes - as other Arab rulers do - that he would risk being toppled if he shared security authority. Even if the scope of the opposition appears deeper than it has in the past, one should not underestimate Arafat's various techniques for withstanding challenges to his authority. The writer is director of the project on the Middle East peace process at the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
        See also Arafat Would Rather Die Than Implement Reforms - Danny Rubinstein
    The turmoil surrounding Arafat comes entirely from within the upper ranks of the Fatah movement - the Palestinian ruling party. Arafat might pretend that he is transferring governmental powers and implementing reforms, but in practice, nothing will change. He would rather die than implement any reforms that would mean giving up his powers. He still personally signs checks in every sphere that is not subject to external supervision by donor nations. He continues to manipulate all the people around him, and continues to rule just as he did in the past. (Ha'aretz)
  • Foreign Ministry: Arafat's International Standing Plummets - Diana Bahor-Nir
    The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem has received reports from Egypt and Sweden on a change in attitude by the local media toward Arafat. The Israeli Embassy in Stockholm reported that in recent weeks a series of articles and commentaries have concluded that while revolutionary leaders such as Nelson Mandela in South Africa have succeeded in becoming statesmen, Arafat has not, and that he is blocking the development of a Palestinian state. One journalist wrote in Expressen: "Arafat is finished, I write this with joy."
        The Israeli Embassy in Egypt reported that the Egyptian media increased the tone of disparagement of Arafat over the weekend and gave prominence to Muhammad Dahlan's criticism of Arafat. A number of senior Egyptian commentators compared Arafat to Saddam Hussein, as someone who sought to benefit himself and not his people, and in the end lost everything. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Scrutinizing the Saudi Connection - Gerald Posner
    The 9/11 Commission Report is less than reassuring about Saudi Arabia, which it calls, in a gross understatement, "a problematic ally in combating Islamic extremism." The report makes no mention of an October 2002 study by the Council of Foreign Relations that draws opposite conclusions about the role of Saudi charities and how "Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem."
        On Sept. 13, 2001, a private jet flew from Tampa, Fla., to Lexington, Ky., before leaving the country later that same day. On board were top Saudi businessmen and members of the royal family, including Prince Ahmed bin Salman. Nephew to King Fahd, Prince Ahmed was later mentioned to American interrogators in March 2002 by Abu Zubaydah, a top Qaeda official captured that same month. By failing to address adequately how Saudi leaders helped al-Qaeda flourish, the commission has risked damaging its otherwise good work. (New York Times)
        See also Who's Right on the War on Terrorism? - Dore Gold (ICA/JCPA)
  • Observations:

    The Real Enemy is Not Terror, It's an Ideology - David Brooks (International Herald Tribune)

    • After describing a widespread intelligence failure, the 9/11 commission has redefined the nature of America's predicament. Americans are not in the middle of a war on terror. Instead, we are in the midst of an ideological conflict.
    • We are facing a loose confederation of people who believe in a perverted stream of Islam. Terrorism is just the means they use to win converts to their cause.
    • It seems like a small distinction - emphasizing ideology instead of terror - but it makes all the difference, because if you don't define your problem correctly, you can't contemplate a strategy for victory.
    • When you see that our enemies are primarily an intellectual movement, not a terrorist army, you see why they are in no hurry. With their extensive indoctrination infrastructure of madrasas and mosques, they're still building strength, laying the groundwork for decades of struggle.
    • As an ideological movement rather than a national or military one, they can play by different rules. There is no territory they must protect. They never have to win a battle but can instead profit in the realm of public opinion from the glorious martyrdom entailed in their defeats.
    • The 9/11 commission report argues that we have to use intelligence, military, financial, and diplomatic capacities to fight al-Qaeda. But the bigger fight is with a hostile belief system that can't be reasoned with but can only be "destroyed or utterly isolated."

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