Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 5, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Some Say Iran's Weapons Come from Russia - Lee Keath (AP/Washington Post)
    Iran has unveiled with great fanfare a series of what it portrays as sophisticated, homegrown weapons - flying boats and missiles invisible to radar, torpedoes too fast to elude.
    But experts said Tuesday it appears much of the technology came from Russia and questioned Iran's claims about the weapons' capabilities.
    Still, the armaments, tested during war games by some 17,000 Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, send what may be Iran's real message: its increased ability to hit oil tankers if tension with America turns to outright confrontation.
    "They know that if you sink one tanker in the Strait of Hormuz you can stop all shipping there, because the waters are quite shallow," said Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born, Israel-based analyst.

Saddam Hussein Charged with Genocide in 50,000 Deaths - Edward Wong (New York Times)
    The Iraqi court trying Saddam Hussein announced Tuesday that it had charged him with genocide, saying he sought to annihilate the Kurdish people in 1988, when the military killed at least 50,000 Kurdish civilians and destroyed 2,000 villages.

Israel Embassy Opposes Move by U.S. Drug Companies Against Israel - Ran Dagoni (Globes)
    On Friday, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) asked the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to keep Israel out of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), alleging that Israel does not provide adequate intellectual property protection for U.S. ethical pharmaceutical companies operating in the country.
    In response, Israel has launched an energetic campaign against classification as a violator of intellectual property rights. Embassy of Israel in Washington deputy chief of mission Jeremy Issacharoff said, "The matter is a top priority for the Embassy."

Israeli Shay Doron Helps Maryland Win NCAA Women's Basketball Title (Ha'aretz)
    Israeli Shay Doron helped the University of Maryland win the NCAA women's basketball championship Tuesday.
    See also Doron Comes from Israel to Help Lead Maryland Women to Title - Filip Bondy (New York Daily News)
    Doron is a criminal justice major with a 3.7 grade-point average at College Park.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Tells UN His People Want Peace - Edith M. Lederer
    The Palestinian foreign minister said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday that the new Hamas-led government believes its struggle against Israel is just, but it wants to live side-by-side in peace with its neighbors. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Zahar Denies Recognizing Israel's Right to Exist
    PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar denied on Wednesday that he agreed to recognize Israel's right to exist. He claimed that a letter he wrote to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan did not mention Israel or the concept of two states living side-by-side in peace, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Rice: Hamas Needs to Get Strong Message from World
    U.S. Secretary of State Rice said on Tuesday: "We need to make certain that Hamas gets a very strong and consistent message from the world that until they have accepted certain requirements, they are not going to be welcomed into the international community." Rice told the House Appropriations Committee, "The great majority of responsible states, and I would say even states in the Arab world, are saying to Hamas that it cannot be business as usual as long as they do not accept the three requirements: recognize the right of Israel [to exist], renounce violence, and commit to disarmament." (Xinhua-China)
  • U.S. Says Saudi Individuals Still Funding Terrorism - Caroline Drees
    Saudi Arabia must do a better job at ferreting out major individual donors who continue to fund terrorism abroad, including in Iraq, Stuart Levey, the Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Tuesday. "Is money leaving Saudi Arabia to fund terrorism abroad? Yes." "Undoubtedly, some of that money is going to Iraq. And it's going to Southeast Asia and it's going to any other place where there are terrorists." Asked whether there was a gap between Saudi government rhetoric and the implementation of policy, Levey replied: "I've got to say that there's a lag....And we'll see if there's a gap." (Reuters/ABC News)
  • Syria Imposing Stronger Curbs on Opposition - Michael Slackman
    Syrian officials are aggressively silencing domestic political opposition while accommodating religious conservatives to shore up support across the country. Security forces have detained human rights workers and political leaders, and in some cases their family members as well. The Syrian leadership's actions reflect at least in part a growing sense of confidence due to shifts in the Middle East in recent months, especially the Hamas victory in Palestinian elections, political paralysis in Lebanon, and the intense difficulties facing the U.S. in trying to stabilize Iraq and stymie Iran's drive toward nuclear power. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Chinese Deny Forming Ties with Hamas - Herb Keinon
    Spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Israel Lu Jing on Tuesday denied Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar's claim that he had been invited to China. He also said he did not know of any intention to invite a Hamas official in the near future.
        Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, "If Hamas can get recognition without changing its positions, there is no chance it will become more moderate." Israel has informed the Chinese and other nations of its position that Hamas should be denied international legitimacy until it recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism, and accepts previous agreements with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Palestinian Suicide Bombers Nabbed - Efrat Weiss
    IDF forces operating in the West Bank town of Nablus Wednesday detained two Palestinians, a man and a woman, who planned to carry out a suicide bombing attack in Israel. (Ynet News)
  • Five Palestinian Rockets Land Near Ashkelon - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired five Kassam rockets Tuesday at southern Ashkelon. Two landed near Kibbutz Zikim, one fell in Kibbutz Karmiya, one near Nativ Haasara, and the fifth landed in Ashkelon's industrial zone, just south of the town. "A great disaster was prevented today," a source at the industrial area stated. "The rocket landed near a stockpile of highly inflammable materials."  (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Al-Qaeda's Master Plan - Olivier Guitta
    In a recent interview with the pan-Arabic daily Al Hayat, PA Chairman Abu Mazen's recognition of al-Qaeda's presence in Gaza and the West Bank, coupled with his warning of the "destruction of the whole region" because of the terrorist entity, only confirms what Israeli security services have been saying for months: al-Qaeda is fast expanding in the neighborhood. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar acknowledged al-Qaeda's Gaza presence in a Sep. 2005 interview in Corriere della Sera. In a Feb. 11, 2006, interview with the French daily Liberation, Ahmed Fatfat, the new incoming Lebanese interior minister, revealed details about al-Qaeda's presence in his country. The Kuwaiti daily Al-Seyassah of Feb. 9 seconded Fatfat's assertions.
        The fact that al-Qaeda is infiltrating countries surrounding Israel fits totally in its master plan as exposed by Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein in his recent book Al-Zarqawi: Al-Qaeda's Second Generation (only available in Arabic). Hussein explains that al-Qaeda's final goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate in seven phases. The third phase, called "The Rising," advocates heavy attacks against Israel. (TCS Daily)
        See also Is Al-Qaeda Targeting Israel? - Editorial (Washington Times)
  • Egypt and Darfur - Eric Reeves
    Last week, the Arab League held its annual summit in Khartoum, a venue that was a symbolic victory for Sudan's genocidal government. Arab League members have played an unfortunate role in the Darfur genocide: Along with China, they have been among the only governments consistently to defend Khartoum, as happened again last week when the Arab League announced it would support Sudan's opposition to the deployment of UN troops to Darfur.
        Few countries have provided more diplomatic or political cover for the National Islamic Front regime than Egypt. The Arab League has served mainly as an extension of Egyptian foreign policy and it was no surprise last week when former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa was named to a second five-year term as secretary general. (New Republic)
  • Observations:

    Yes, It's Anti-Semitic - Eliot A. Cohen (Washington Post)

    • John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" is indeed a wretched piece of scholarship, but is it anti-Semitic?
    • If by anti-Semitism one means obsessive and irrationally hostile beliefs about Jews; if one accuses them of disloyalty, subversion or treachery, of having occult powers and of participating in secret combinations that manipulate institutions and governments; if one systematically selects everything unfair, ugly or wrong about Jews as individuals or a group and equally systematically suppresses any exculpatory information - why, yes, this paper is anti-Semitic.
    • I am a public intellectual and a proud Jew; sympathetic to Israel and extensively engaged in our nation's military affairs. In a week my family will celebrate Passover with my oldest son, the third generation to serve as an officer in the U.S. Army. He will be home on leave from the bomb-strewn streets of Baghdad. The patch on his shoulder is the same flag that flies on my porch.
    • Other supposed members of "The Lobby" also have children in military service. Impugning their patriotism or mine is not scholarship or policy advocacy. It is merely, and unforgivably, bigotry.

      The writer is a professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

          See also Terrorism, the Iraq War - Now We Can Blame One Mysterious, Powerful Group - David Aaronovitch
      To summarize Mearsheimer and Walt, terrorists aren't America's enemy, they're Israel's. Rogue states armed with nuclear weapons aren't America's problem, they're Israel's insofar as they're anybody's. And rogue states wouldn't be mad enough to assist anti-American terrorists to carry out plans for mass destruction - even though one did just that five years ago. (Times-UK)
          See also Job Move Not Linked to Article on Israel - Stephen M. Walt
      Your editorial on our article analyzing the impact of the Israel lobby contained a factual error regarding the end of my term as academic dean of the Kennedy School. I began a three-year term in July 2002, and agreed to a one-year extension. The faculty was officially notified in mid-February, nearly a month before the article in question appeared, that I would step down at the end of the academic year. There is, in short, no connection whatsoever between these events. (Financial Times-UK)

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