Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 1, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Experts: Reuters Jeep Not Hit by Missile - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
    Representatives of two armored vehicle manufacturers cast doubt on claims by Reuters that its armored vehicle had been struck by an Israeli air strike in Gaza, saying photographs of the damaged jeep were not consistent with the Reuters claim.
    See also below Observations: The Media War Against Israel - Melanie Phillips

Israeli Children Head Back to War-Battered Schools - Allyn Fisher-Ilan (Reuters/Washington Post)
    Hizballah rockets left a quarter of the classrooms unfit for use in the Renanim school for disabled children in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona.
    Hizballah rockets destroyed or damaged more than 30 schools along with thousands of homes and public buildings.

Palestinians Aim to Learn from Hizballah - Joshua Mitnick (Washington Times)
    Gunmen from the militant Palestinian Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade say they envy Hizballah even as they despair of their own inability to defeat Israeli forces.
    "Even though we feel our capabilities are depleted...[and] our generation feels a little demoralized, the next generations will not stop," said gunman Abu Ameed, who used a nickname for fear of arrest by the Israeli military.
    Israeli officials and analysts have expressed concern that Palestinian militants will try to replicate Hizballah's tactics and "Lebanonize" areas such as the Gaza Strip by smuggling advanced weapons and building bunkers.
    "In Lebanon the resistance is united," Ameed said. "But here everyone started to look out for themselves."

Hizballah Advertises "Divine Victory" - David Enders (Washington Times)
    Along roads in and out of Beirut, Hizballah has mounted a massive advertising campaign with red signs bearing slogans such as "the divine victory" and images ranging from angry Lebanese standing on the rubble of their homes to Hizballah guerrillas standing next to Katyusha rocket launchers.

Groups Promoting Jewish-Arab Unity Set Back by War - Orly Halpern (Globe and Mail-Canada)
    The overwhelming majority of Jewish Israelis backed the war in Lebanon wholeheartedly, believing that Hizballah threatened the existence of the state, while Arab-Israelis largely opposed the war.
    "This war released the genie from the bottle," said Elie Rekhess, director of the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Co-operation at Tel Aviv University. "It gave expression to the identity dilemma of the Arabs in Israel."
    Many of the 180 or so Arab-Jewish co-existence groups in Israel have stopped activities since the war.

What American Airport Security Can Learn from the Israelis' Behavioral Profiling System - Jonathan V. Last (Weekly Standard)
    The Israelis are generally regarded as having the safest air travel in the world because, instead of searching for weapons, they use behavioral profiling to search for terrorists.
    The success of the "behavior-pattern recognition" (BPR) pilot program at Boston's Logan Airport, instituted by Israeli security consultant Rafi Ron, prompted the TSA to adopt it under the moniker SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique), and it is now in effect at a dozen American airports.

Israeli Media Attitudes toward the Holocaust - Interview with Yair Sheleg (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Israel's drama-infested reality has stimulated interest in the Holocaust.
    The conflict with the Palestinians and the accompanying casualties have caused a new generation of Israelis to understand the fragility of life. This has made Holocaust Memorial Day an important annual event, even for the young.
    With the ceremonies and publicity, the Holocaust has gained respect in Israeli society and has become an expression of its Jewish character.

U.S. Open: To Israeli Tennis Player, Winning Is Service to Her Country - Liz Robbins (New York Times)
    Shahar Peer, 19, Israel's top tennis player who is ranked 21st in the world, saw the Israeli flags around the court and felt uplifted by the fervent crowd.
    Bounding with natural optimism, Peer hopes to do the same for her country in the U.S. Open.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Highly Enriched Uranium Found at Iranian Plant - Elaine Sciolino
    The International Atomic Energy Agency reported Thursday that inspectors had discovered new traces of highly enriched uranium at an Iranian facility. Thursday was the deadline set by the Security Council for Iran to freeze its enrichment-related activities. Iran's failure to comply means that it is vulnerable to further punitive action, perhaps economic and political penalties, either by the entire Council or a smaller group of countries led by the U.S. (New York Times)
        See also Iran Defies Deadline on Nuclear Program - Dafna Linzer (Washington Post)
  • Bush: "We Must Not Allow Iran to Develop a Nuclear Weapon"
    President Bush said Thursday: "This summer's crisis in Lebanon has made it clearer than ever that the world now faces a grave threat from the radical regime in Iran. The Iranian regime arms, funds, and advises Hizballah, which has killed more Americans than any terrorist network except al-Qaeda. The Iranian regime interferes in Iraq by sponsoring terrorists and insurgents, empowering unlawful militias, and supplying components for improvised explosive devices. The Iranian regime denies basic human rights to millions of its people. And the Iranian regime is pursuing nuclear weapons in open defiance of its international obligations."
        "We know the death and suffering that Iran's sponsorship of terrorists has brought, and we can imagine how much worse it would be if Iran were allowed to acquire nuclear weapons....So far, the Iranian regime has responded with further defiance and delay....There must be consequences for Iran's defiance, and we must not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon." (White House)
  • As Lebanon's Troops Deploy, Hizballah Stays Put - Edward Cody
    Heeding the UN cease-fire resolution, the Lebanese army has deployed between the Litani River and the Israeli border. But to all appearances, the deployment has not displaced Hizballah, that Israel and the U.S. say must be destroyed as an armed force if peace is to return. During a drive through the border region, Hizballah flags often flew alongside Lebanese flags. Hizballah members staffed reconstruction offices, held town council meetings, and stood at their own checkpoints in what seemed to be cordial coexistence with the recently arrived army troops. No weapons were visible except those carried by the soldiers. (Washington Post)
  • Hizballah Training Child-Martyrs
    Hizballah has recruited over 2,000 innocent children aged 10-15 to form armed militias. Before the recent war with Israel, these children appeared only in the annual Jerusalem Day celebrations, and were referred to as the "December 14 Units," but today they are called "martyrs." These are children barely ten years old, who wear camouflage uniforms, cover their faces with black camouflage paint, and swear to wage jihad.
        The children are selected by Hizballah recruitment officers based on one criterion: They must be willing to become martyrs. The first lesson that the children are taught by Hizballah is "The Disappearance of Israel," and it is always an important part of the training program. Na'im Qasim, deputy to Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, told Radio Canada: "A nation with child-martyrs will be victorious." (MEMRI/Roz Al-Yusuf-Egypt)
  • EU: Hamas Must Change Before Any EU Talks
    Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said on Friday Hamas would need to change before the EU could talk to the Palestinian militant movement in an effort to revive the Middle East peace process. "We have to be prepared to talk to anyone...but not before they (Hamas) recognize preconditions." Among those were recognizing Israel and giving up violence, said Tuomioja, whose government currently holds the rotating EU presidency. "We have to put pressure on Hamas to change," he added. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • 60,000 Rally for Release of Kidnapped IDF Soldiers - Lili Galili
    More than 60,000 people thronged to Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Thursday night to call for the release of abducted IDF soldiers Gilad Shalit, Udi Goldwasser, and Eldad Regev. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Kills "Terrorist Mastermind" in Nablus - Josh Brannon
    IDF forces operating in Nablus early Thursday killed Fadi Kafisha, 29, commander of Fatah's Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades in the city and a "terrorist mastermind" who was financed and directed by Hizballah. "He was the chief fugitive in Nablus, an explosives expert, and responsible for many attacks, " said Col. Amir Braum, commander of the Shomron Brigade. IDF officials said Kafisha was the West Bank's chief bomb "engineer" who personally assembled dozens of explosive belts in the past year. "Since the end of the war in the north, there has been an escalation in the activities of terror organizations in Nablus," Braum said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Police Capture Armed Palestinian at UK Embassy - Roni Singer-Haruti
    Police special forces stormed the British Embassy in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening and captured a Palestinian man who had been holed up inside for eight hours, claiming to have a gun and demanding political asylum. Police said the forces seized and disarmed the man after he laid down his pistol for a second to eat food they had given him. After the arrest, the authorities discovered that the weapon was plastic. Nadim Injaz, 28, a resident of Ramallah and former police informant, told Israel Channel 2 television that he would rather die than return to the West Bank, where he feared Palestinian militants would kill him. He said West Bank militants told him that he would only be allowed to return to Ramallah alive if he attacked Israelis. "I don't want to kill children," he said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Arab Assessments of the War in Lebanon
    The Arab media published differing assessments regarding the outcome of the war. Many writers declared that Hizballah had won, and that its resistance is a source of pride for the Arab and Muslim nations. Others stated that both Hizballah and Lebanon had received a crushing blow in this war, which had been conducted indirectly by Syria and Iran, and denounced the lack of self-criticism in the Arab world.
        Zaghlul al-Najjar wrote in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram on Aug. 14: "Imagine what would [happen to Israel] if all the Arab countries around it fired rockets on it simultaneously and decided to put an end to its crimes and its filth. [If this happens], this criminal entity which threatens the entire region with mass destruction will not continue to exist on its stolen land even one more day."
        Dr. Shamlan Yusuf al-'Isa wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa on Aug. 14: "We must recognize that we are backward people in third-world countries, and that Israel can only be defeated through science and knowledge."
        Muhammad al-Seif wrote in the Saudi daily Al-Iqtisadiyya on Aug. 14: "The war currently being waged in Lebanon has shown that many of our Arab intellectuals have a serious problem [in defining] the criteria for victory and defeat. Some of them are still convinced that Hizballah, despite its losses, has brought a humiliating defeat upon Israel and has shattered the myth of Israel as an invincible state. The problem repeats itself, in the exact same form, in every war fought by the Arabs. The criterion for victory is: As long as the emblem, or the heroic commander, still lives, [the outcome is pronounced to be] a victory - regardless of the consequences of the war for the peoples' property and loss of lives and capabilities."
        Abd al-Mun'im Sa'id, director of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Research, wrote in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram on Aug. 21: "[We too] must form an Arab investigation committee, official or unofficial, that will investigate the crisis and the war, as Israel is doing....Nasrallah said at the beginning of the war that his party will be the spearhead of the Arab and Muslim nation in liberating Palestine. Who appointed him to this role?"
        "Many questions arise as to [Hizballah's] military performance, such as why it did not fire its Zilzal, Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles, which it [promised] to fire in retaliation if Beirut was attacked....The most important question of all is why the rockets used by Hizballah were of such limited effectiveness that some 30 rockets had to be fired for every Israeli victim (some being Arabs). This ratio makes the war very expensive, and [we] should consider equipping the rockets with a mechanism to improve their accuracy." (MEMRI)
        See also Hizballah's Rocket Campaign Against Northern Israel: A Preliminary Report - Uzi Rubin (with 14 photos and map) (ICA/JCPA)
  • The War in Lebanon from the Palestinian Perspective - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
    During the Israel-Hizballah war in Lebanon, Palestinian society expressed three recurring reactions: profound identification with Hizballah, celebration of both the perceived Hizballah victory and the humiliation of Israel, and seeing Hizballah tactics as a role model for the Palestinians. Two-thirds of Palestinians said they wanted "Hizballah alone to handle the negotiations over the [three Israeli] soldiers," even though one was kidnapped by Palestinians and is being held in Gaza. The Palestinians put more trust in Nasrallah to succeed on their behalf than their own leaders.
        Palestinians see the war as a turning point in which the "resistance" to Israel proved its ability, from which the Palestinians will now learn. There has been much detailed discussion in the Palestinian media about tactics and strategies that the Palestinians must implement, including analyses of Hizballah's fighting methods. (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • Hizballah's "Victory" - Charles Krauthammer
    Hizballah may have won the propaganda war, but on the ground it lost. Badly. Hizballah lost hundreds of its best fighters. A deeply entrenched infrastructure on Israel's border is in ruins. The great hero has had to go so deep into hiding that Nasrallah has been called "the underground mullah." As the dust settles, the Lebanese are furious at Hizballah for provoking a war that brought them nothing but devastation - and then crowing about victory amid the ruins.
        The Arabs know where their interests lie. And they do not lie with a Shiite militia that fights for Iran. Hizballah is in no position, either militarily or politically, for another round. Nasrallah's admission that the war was a mistake is an implicit pledge not to repeat it, lest he be completely finished as a Lebanese political figure. (Washington Post)
        See also No Victory for Hizballah, Say Lebanese Christians - Patrick Bishop (Telegraph-UK)
  • Amnesty International Redefines "War Crimes" - Alan Dershowitz
    Amnesty International has announced that Israel was guilty of a slew of war crimes for "widespread attacks against public civilian infrastructure, including power plants, bridges, main roads, seaports, and Beirut's international airport." But Amnesty is wrong about the law. Israel committed no war crimes by attacking parts of the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon. The strategy of destroying some infrastructure was particularly imperative against Hizballah. Israel first had to ensure that its kidnapped soldiers would not be smuggled out of the country, then it had to prevent Hizballah from being re-armed by Syria and Iran.
        As law professor David Bernstein has written: "The idea that a country at war can't attack the enemy's resupply routes has nothing to do with human rights or war crimes, and a lot to do with a pacifist attitude that seeks to make war, regardless of the justification for it or the restraint in prosecuting it, an international 'crime.'" In other words, if attacking the civilian infrastructure is a war crime, then modern warfare is entirely impermissible, and terrorists have a free hand in attacking democracies and hiding from retaliation among civilians. Terrorists become de facto immune from any consequences for their atrocities.
        The more troubling aspect of Amnesty's report is their inattention to Hizballah. If Israel is guilty of war crimes for targeting civilian infrastructure, imagine how much greater is Hizballah's moral responsibility for targeting civilians. But Amnesty has not issued a report accusing Hizballah of war crimes. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Iranian Backlash Against Iran's Role in Lebanon - Azadeh Moaveni
    One morning this week in my Tehran neighborhood, the local bakery failed to open. The small crowd outside concluded that the Iranian government had sent all the country's flour to Lebanon. That people so readily accepted that their government would forsake their daily loaf for a distant Islamic cause speaks to the overwhelming bitterness these days in Tehran. Most people are convinced the government is spending outrageous sums on the Lebanese. Nightly news broadcasts that Iranians watch on their illegal satellite dishes have shown Hizballah doling out thick stacks of cash, courtesy of Iran, infuriating the majority of Iranians who are barely scraping by. The more Ahmadinejad panders to public sentiment in the Arab world, the more Iranians feel neglected. (TIME)
  • Doing the Enemy's Work - David Warren
    The two Fox News journalists held hostage in Gaza were released after their captors had made tapes of them dressed as Arabs and announcing they had changed their names and converted to Islam. Two years ago, an heroic Italian captive, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, asked to make whimpering statements as part of the video of his execution in Iraq, ripped at his hood and instead declared, "This is how an Italian dies!" to his contemptible captors. He must have upset them: for they shot him instead of sawing off his head. In making his stand for human dignity, he also turned one of their propaganda videos into one of ours.
        Why did Fatah make the video in Gaza? They made it to show the whole Muslim world, via satellite television, what wimps these Westerners are. That they'll do anything at all to save their lives. That is the substance of most Islamo-fascist propaganda: that the West consists of straw men, of men easily pushed over. (Ottawa Citizen/RealClearPolitics)
  • Observations:

    The Media War Against Israel - Melanie Phillips (

    • The behavior of the Western media during the Iranian/Syrian/Hizballah war against Israel has constituted a major, world-wide scandal, and one which has the capacity to derail the efforts of the West to defend itself. Much of the most incendiary media coverage of this war seems to have been either staged or fabricated. Why?
    • There is the reliance upon corrupted news and picture agencies which employ Arab propagandists as stringers and cameramen. There is the herd mentality of the media which decides collectively what the story is. There is the journalists' fear for their personal safety if they report the truth about terrorist outfits. There is the difficulty of discovering the truth from undemocratic regimes and terrorist organizations. There is the naive inability to acknowledge the depths of human evil and depravity.
    • But the big answer is that the Western media transmit the lies of Hizballah because they want to believe them. And that's because the Big Lie these media tell - and have themselves been told - about Israel and its place in history and in the world today has achieved the status of unchallengeable truth.
    • The plain fact is that Western journalists were sent to cover the war being waged against Israel from Lebanon as a war being waged by Israel against Lebanon. And that's because that's how editors think of the Middle East. Thus history is inverted, half a century of Jewish victimization is erased from public consciousness, victims are turned into aggressors, and genocidal mass murderers are turned into victims.
    • Thousands of rockets were fired at northern Israel, hundreds every day, many times more than were daily fired at Britain during the Blitz - but this was barely reported in Britain because journalists were told to ignore it all since that wasn't the story their editors wanted.
    • The impact of the lies and distortions transmitted by the mainstream media in inflaming the already pathological hatred of the West within the Arab and Muslim world is incalculable. The mainstream media's vilification, demonization, and delegitimization of Israel, based on outright fabrications and malevolent distortions, is imperiling the very existence of the country that is the front line of defense of the free world.

          See also A Mike, a Camera, But Not One Clue - Ike Seamans
      In the Israeli-Hizballah shootout, there is no doubt who lost the media war. Israel was savaged by many American print and TV reporters for aggressively defending itself against a ruthless enemy, while Hizballah received a free pass by journalists in its territory for fear of retribution. Most TV correspondents covering the latest imbroglio have scant experience in the region and have demonstrated exceptionally weak comprehension of combatants, issues, strategies - even geography - and an inability to provide context. Far too much TV reporting (especially on cable) has been riddled with mistakes, hype, and fantasy.
          If this is the future of network Middle East coverage, I, as a retired NBC correspondent and Israel bureau chief, suggest this warning be affixed when appropriate: "Correspondent Tab DeLovely just arrived at the Lebanese border. Doesn't know diddly, but spins a tantalizing tale. This may be disturbing to viewers seeking accurate news." (Miami Herald)
          See also Terrorist Theater Tricks - Caroline Glick
      What are we seeing when we watch events from the Middle East on our television screens? Is it news or is it terrorist theater? (Jerusalem Post)

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