Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 13, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hamas May Send Operatives to Iran for Training (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas representatives were in Teheran on Thursday discussing the possibility of training its operatives in Iran, Israel Television Channel 2 reported.

Muslim Admits Planning Dirty Bomb Attack in UK - Duncan Gardham (Telegraph-UK)
    Dhiren Barot, a British Muslim arrested in August 2004, on Thursday admitted plotting a series of terrorist attacks in the UK including one involving a radioactive "dirty bomb." 
    He also pleaded guilty to planning attacks against the IMF, World Bank, and financial institutions in New York, Washington, and Newark.
    Edmund Lawson, QC, told Woolwich Crown Court, south London: "These plans to carry out explosions at those premises with no warning were basically designed to kill as many innocent people as possible."

Prison Jihad? How Radical Islamic Charities Exploit Their Access to the Prison System - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (Weekly Standard)
    Islamic extremist literature often finds its way into the U.S. prison system and thus influences inmates' religious education.
    The International Al Haramain organization was formed as a private charity in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1992 to foster Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia's austere brand of Islam.
    When I worked for the group, it had offices in more than 50 countries and an annual budget of $40-50 million. Today, Al Haramain has been merged into the Saudi National Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad.
    Al Haramain had a prison dawa program that was ideally structured for terrorist recruitment.
    Prisoners would initiate contact with the U.S. branch of Al Haramain by writing to request Islamic literature. Afterwards, they were sent a number of pamphlets and a questionnaire.
    All of the information - the inmates' names, prisoner numbers, the facilities where they were held, their release date, the address they would be released to - was entered into a massive database that contained over 15,000 names.

Barak Missile Gets Full Marks from Indian Navy (Times of India)
    Between 2002 and 2006, the Indian Navy conducted 14 tests of the Barak-I anti-missile defense (AMD) system installed on its frontline warships.
    The result: 12 successful, two unsuccessful. The two tests which went awry were caused by "human error" and "a technical malfunction," not due to any systems failure.
    "Barak-I is by far the best system we have to protect our warships from sea-skimming missiles like Exocet and Harpoon acquired by Pakistan and others," said a senior officer.
    Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee confirmed on Wednesday that there was no government move to blacklist Israeli companies involved in the Barak deal signed during the previous NDA regime.

Foreign Investment in Israel at Record Levels - Zeev Klein (Globes)
    Foreign investment in Israel rose 68% in January-September to $16.8 billion, an all-time high, the Bank of Israel announced Sunday.
    At the current rate, foreign investment in Israel in 2006 will total $20 billion.

Hebrew U. First Among Universities Outside the U.S. and Britain for Registering Biotechnology Patents - Dudi Goldman (Ynet News)
    The Hebrew University in Jerusalem ranked 12th in the world for the number and quality of patents it registered during the year 2005 in the field of biotechnology.
    This puts Hebrew U. in first place among universities outside of the U.S. and Britain.
    The study, published by the Milken Institute in Los Angeles, examined 424 universities around the world.

Having a Baby with a Government's Blessing, In-Vitro Pregnancies Boom in Israel - Carolynne Wheeler (Globe and Mail-Canada)
    Israel is home to one of the world's most aggressive, state-supported fertility drives, spurred in equal parts by biblical calls to reproduce and the demographic realities brought on by a country trying to prop up its birthrate against a booming and sometimes hostile population next door.
    Every Israeli woman, regardless of marital status, is entitled to have two children through in-vitro fertilization, no matter how many courses of treatment it takes, and Israel performs more IVF than anywhere else in the world.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran's President Says Sanctions Would Prompt "National Celebration"
    Iran's hard-line President Ahmadinejad said Wednesday, "The day sanctions are imposed on Iran by its enemies would be a day of national celebration for the Iranian nation." He said previous sanctions had not stopped Iran from achieving its goals. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council agreed Tuesday to start working on UN sanctions against Iran next week, but failed to bridge differences on the severity of the measures, diplomats and officials said. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Mashaal: Hamas Won't Recognize Israel - Albert Aji
    Exiled Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal said Thursday at a news conference in Damascus that "Hamas will not surrender...and will not recognize Israel." Mashaal called on Arab governments to "break the siege" over the Palestinians - the cutoff of aid by the U.S., Israel, and much of the West to the Palestinian government unless Hamas renounces violence, recognizes Israel, and accepts past peace agreements. (AP/Washington Post)
  • U.S. Businessman Gets Seven Years for Terror Ties - David Koenig
    A Dallas businessman was sentenced Thursday to nearly seven years in prison for having financial ties to a high-ranking terrorist and for making illegal computer exports to countries that support terrorism. Ghassan Elashi, 52, was convicted during two separate trials on 27 counts, including conspiracy and money laundering. Elashi faces a third trial in February for his role in helping run the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Muslim charity that federal agents shut down in 2001 after the government accused it of funneling millions to the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (AP/Boston Globe)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Leadership Briefed on Iranian Nuclear Threat - Ronny Sofer
    At a meeting convened by Prime Minister Olmert Thursday, heads of the secret services presented briefings on the Iranian issue with estimates that Iran would possess a nuclear bomb within two to seven years. During the briefings, it was made clear that Iran views the weak international response to the latest developments in North Korea as a green light to continue its activities. (Ynet News)
  • EU Aid to PA Expands to $816 Million
    The EU said Wednesday it was giving $816 million in aid to benefit 160,000 Palestinian families this year in a program that bypasses the Hamas-led government. The fund offers a $339 monthly allowance to poorer Palestinian families, pensioners, and civic workers whose paychecks disappeared when international donors halted direct aid payments after the militant Hamas group won Palestinian elections. "Despite direct aid to the Palestinian Authority having been suspended...the EU's contribution remains high, higher than in an average year," EU spokeswoman Emma Udwin said. "We are talking about quite a large amount of money." (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Hits Hamas Rocket Crew in Gaza - Amos Harel
    An Israel Air Force aircraft struck a car in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, killing a local Hamas commander and two other Hamas operatives, the group said. The Israel Defense Forces said it attacked the militants on their way to firing Kassam rockets at Israel and that the car was full of rockets. The group had been responsible for firing rockets at Israel on Thursday, the IDF said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • North Korea and Iran - Editorial
    North Korea's claim to have tested a nuclear weapon can only heighten concern that the regime might try to transfer nuclear weapons technology to a terrorist group or a rogue regime like Iran. Given North Korea's extensive history of providing missile technology and weaponry to a wide array of serial proliferators and rogue states - including Iran, Syria, Libya, and Pakistan - it is clear that the communist government, desperate for foreign exchange to prop up a collapsing economy, has little reluctance to sell destabilizing military items to anyone who can afford them. (Washington Times)
  • What to Do About Iran - Bruce Berkowitz
    News of North Korea's nuclear test should make Americans worry all the more about Iran, the "other" proliferation challenge. Even if we do wrangle an agreement from Iran, it will be hard to monitor and impossible to verify. Tehran will have the incentive to prepare the groundwork for a sudden breakout, or to develop a concealed parallel program - just as North Korea apparently did after signing the Agreed Framework that was supposed to end its nuclear weapons program in 1994.
        We need to focus more on deterring Iran, and we need to start now, even as we continue to oppose the Iranian nuclear program and hinder it however we can. First, make nuclear weapons less attractive to the Iranian public. Currently Iranians are only being presented the security and prestige benefits of a nuclear program. They need to become more familiar with the costs and risks. Iranian leaders must understand that if they trigger a nuclear war, they will be held responsible for the destruction of 5,000 years of Persian culture. The writer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. (New York Sun)
  • Is Israel in America's Interest? - Martin Kramer
    U.S. support for Israel is not primarily the result of Holocaust guilt or shared democratic values; nor is it produced by the machinations of the "Israel Lobby." American support for Israel underpins the pax Americana in the eastern Mediterranean. It has compelled Israel's key Arab neighbors to reach peace with Israel and to enter the American orbit. The fact that there has not been a general Arab-Israeli war since 1973 is proof that this pax Americana, based on the U.S.-Israel alliance, has been a success. From a realist point of view, supporting Israel has been a low-cost way of keeping order in part of the Middle East, managed by the U.S. from offshore and without the commitment of any force. It is, simply, the ideal realist alliance.
        In contrast, the problems the U.S. faces in the Persian Gulf stem from the fact that it does not have an Israel equivalent there, and so it must massively deploy its own force at tremendous cost. The U.S. acts in this region not in the interests of Israel, but to keep the world's great reserves of oil out of the grip of the West's sworn enemies. (Azure-Shalem Center)
  • Still a Strategic Asset for the U.S. - Efraim Inbar
    Washington still understands that Israel remains its most reliable ally in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean. There is no other state in the region where an American airplane can count with certainty on being welcomed in the near future. American allies such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey all have a record of denying the U.S. military use of their facilities. Moreover, the stability of their regimes cannot be taken for granted. Israel is one of the few countries in the world that does not see U.S. primacy in international affairs as a troubling phenomenon. In fact, Israeli foreign policy displays an unequivocal pro-American orientation.
        The American military uses Israeli training installations and has continuous access to Israeli intelligence, military experience, and doctrine. Similarly, the greater American effort to defend its homeland from terrorist threats has intensified U.S. cooperation with Israel. The writer is professor of political science and director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Invite Disaster, Yet Again - Richard Z. Chesnoff
    Anyone with even an iota of sense would take one look at the loss of Lebanese life and property caused by Hizballah's war on Israel and steer clear of provoking Israel's army again. Instead, Hamas is reportedly studying the Lebanese war to figure out ways to adopt Hizballah's fighting tactics. The results are bound to be a new nightmare not just for Israel, but for the Palestinian people themselves. Where is the silent Palestinian majority? To come forward and demand their representatives stop wasting money on arms and bombs, stop denying Israel's existence - in short, stop hating and start building. (New York Daily News)
  • Legal Expert: Israel Justified in Self-Defense - Sarah Dajani
    Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorist groups, even when its actions harm innocent civilians, Fordham University law professor Avi Bell told students Thursday. "I have a human right not to be killed. I have the right to call on the state to protect me from being killed." Since Hizballah's intent is to "kill a people...because of their national identity, Israel is required to attempt to take control of these people and bring them to justice as well as to foil their attempted acts of genocide." Bell said that the techniques Israel employs in its fight against terrorism all fall within the law and Israel's need to defeat terrorism outweighed the dangers of collateral damage. (Daily Princetonian)
  • When Will EU Shun Hizballah Terrorists? - Aaron Resnick
    As countries join the UN mission meant to bolster the cease-fire in south Lebanon between Israel and Hizballah, the European Union continues to block implementation of one of its own counterterrorism programs aimed at breaking official ties with terrorist groups and seizing any European-based terrorist assets. Even in the wake of Hizballah rocket attacks that killed dozens of Israeli civilians and sent hundreds of thousands into shelters or fleeing northern Israel this summer, the 25-member EU has yet to classify Hizballah as a terrorist organization.
        Brussels may feel it has influence over Hizballah because of historical ties to the Middle East. But EU unwillingness to declare it a terrorist organization when it has killed, injured, kidnapped, and terrorized thousands of Americans, Europeans, and Israelis furthers the EU's reputation as a weak actor on international security. If the EU will not now consider Hizballah a terrorist organization, when will it ever? (Baltimore Sun)

    Weekend Features

  • The Holocaust's Arab Heroes - Robert Satloff
    Not a single official textbook or educational program on the Holocaust exists in an Arab country. In Arab media, literature and popular culture, Holocaust denial is pervasive and legitimized. Yet when Arab leaders and their people deny the Holocaust, they deny their own history as well - the lost history of the Holocaust in Arab lands - which includes stories of heroism by some who took great risks to save Jewish lives.
        From June 1940 to May 1943, the Nazis, their Vichy French collaborators, and their Italian fascist allies applied in Arab lands many of the precursors to the Final Solution. These included not only laws depriving Jews of property, education, livelihood, residence, and free movement, but also torture, slave labor, deportation, and execution. Thousands of Jews were consigned to more than 100 brutal labor camps, many solely for Jews. If U.S. and British troops had not pushed Axis forces from the African continent by May 1943, the Jews of Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and perhaps even Egypt and Palestine almost certainly would have met the same fate as those in Europe.
        Arab collaborators were everywhere. Without the help of local Arabs, the persecution of Jews would have been virtually impossible. But not all Arabs joined with the European-spawned campaign against the Jews. The few who risked their lives to save Jews provide inspiration beyond their numbers.
        Arabs welcomed Jews into their homes, guarded Jews' valuables so Germans could not confiscate them, shared with Jews their meager rations, and warned Jewish leaders of coming SS raids. The sultan of Morocco and the bey of Tunis provided moral support and, at times, practical help to Jewish subjects. And there is strong evidence that the most influential Arab in Europe - Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris - saved as many as 100 Jews by having the mosque's administrative personnel give them certificates of Muslim identity, with which they could evade arrest and deportation.
        Arabs need to hear these stories - both of heroes and of villains. They especially need to hear them from their own teachers, preachers, and leaders. The writer, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is author of Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands (PublicAffairs). (Washington Post)
  • German Turk Takes on Anti-Semitic Islamic Propaganda - Ofri Ilani
    Aycan Demirel, 38, emigrated from Turkey 16 years ago. In today's Germany, his decision to confront radical Islam places him on the frontlines of one of the stormiest social debates the country has known. According to Demirel, the recent expressions of anger by radical Muslims in Germany are just the tip of the iceberg of what he terms the "culture of hate" in Muslim communities. Daily exposure to a "barrage of anti-Semitic Islamist propaganda" led him two years ago to found KIGA (Kreuzberger Initiative gegen Antisemitismus), whose local activists - of German, Turkish, and Arab origin - work with schools and youth centers to fight anti-Semitism, primarily in Muslim communities. (Ha'aretz)
  • Movie Review: Survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - Vered Levy-Barzilai
    On May 10, 1943, three weeks after the outbreak of the revolt, next to 22 Prosta Street in Warsaw, dozens of people emerged from a sewer main, their clothes tattered, their bodies emaciated and stinking, and staggered over to a truck. Dozens of fighters who came out of the sewer were saved. "Hamordim ha'ahronim" ("The Last Fighters"), a documentary by Yael Kipper-Zaretzky and Ronen Zaretzky, which premiered at the Haifa Film Festival, tells the story of the group's heroic struggle through the words of six survivors. They are lucid and articulate. In meetings with the members of the group, it takes only a moment to bring them back "there": The truth is that they never really left. Their dead walk among them in colors as bold and prominent as in life, perhaps even more so. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Deconstructing Memory and History: The Jewish Military Union (ZZW) and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - Dariusz Libionka and Laurence Weinbaum
    The Warsaw Ghetto uprising remains one of the best-known chapters of the Shoah, and the heroism of the insurgents continues to inspire. However, scholarly treatment of the Jewish Military Union (ZZW), founded in the ghetto by elements of the Zionist Revisionist Movement, is still incomplete. (Jewish Political Studies Review)
  • Startling Revelations from on High - Ross Culiner
    A helicopter flight over Israel, an increasingly popular component of the tourist experience for those who can afford it, can be a revelation. The vantage of height brings into clear focus the extreme fragility of Israel's predicament. No sooner is one airborne from Tel Aviv, when the hills of the West Bank, on the other side of the narrow waistline of the state, loom into view. A good two-thirds of Israelis live and work in a thin, 10-mile-wide sliver of land. What one sees is a lowland network of urban conglomerations locked between the sea on one side and Palestinian West Bank population centers like Tulkarm and Kalkilya on the other. (Canadian Jewish News)
  • When Disease Can Heal - Marian Lacy
    It's surprising, and a little morbid, that peaceful and thorough coexistence in Israel takes place where death is often near - in the internal medicine ward where I work. As my first day wore on, I realized that our patients are Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs, Jews, immigrants from the former Soviet Union and even Argentineans. But this diversity is not as astounding as the acceptance and goodwill with which the patients and hospital staff live. The hospital witnesses birth and death, disease and recovery, but the most important healing it sustains is that of an entire nation. The patients at Nazareth Hospital are not classified by their race or native language; there are not separate rooms for Jews and Arabs. The writer is a student at the University of Arizona volunteering at Nazareth Hospital. (Arizona Daily Wildcat)
  • Observations:

    Hizballah Will Rebuild Unless Borders Enforced - Tom Lantos (Forward)

    • Last week, by a vote of 411 to 5, the House of Representatives passed my resolution stating that Lebanon should enforce its border with Syria to eliminate the illicit arms trade that fuels Hizballah, and that it should seek a robust international force deployment to do that. Without such a move, another Hizballah-provoked war will break out, with horrendous consequences for the people of Lebanon, Israel, and the entire region.
    • The Lebanese government fully understands that the flow of weapons from Syria and Iran to Hizballah must end, or they will once again find their nation at war, not of their own making. But at the same time, the Lebanese leaders are petrified of what may happen if they finally confront Syria's dictator.
    • Hizballah's missiles and other major weapons come from Syria and Iran, and virtually all of them are smuggled in via Syria. To keep these weapons out of its house and out of Hizballah's hands, Lebanon must hermetically seal its border to illegal arms shipments.
    • Lebanon's border with Syria must be reinforced. Otherwise, arms will flow easily to the terrorists and, at a time of their choosing, they will attack. They care neither for peace in the region nor for Lebanese sovereignty. They care only about increasing their own power and, in their own way but with substantial help from others, wiping Israel off the map.

      Rep. Tom Lantos of California is the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee.

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