Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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December 12, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Israel Slams Iran Holocaust Conference - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
    A two-day conference of prominent Holocaust deniers taking place in Tehran is an attempt by Iranian President Ahmadinejad "to pave the way psychologically" for the Western world to accept that another Holocaust is possible, Yosef Lapid, the chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, said Monday.
    Lapid, a Holocaust survivor, said Ahmadinejad was following in the footsteps of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, who turned Jews into parasites worthy of being murdered.

Saudi Ambassador Abruptly Resigns, Leaves Washington - Robin Wright (Washington Post)
    Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., resigned and left Washington Monday after only 15 months on the job.
    His abrupt departure is particularly striking because his predecessor, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, served in the position for 22 years.
    Turki has increasingly been rumored as a possible replacement for his ailing older brother, Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister.

Jews Remember Jeane Kirkpatrick as Friend of Israel, Moral Beacon - Ben Harris (JTA)
    Jeane Kirkpatrick, who died Friday at age 80, was an ardent defender of the State of Israel in one of the world's least hospitable environments.
    Kirkpatrick was a vocal supporter of Israel both at the UN - where she was America's first female envoy - and in other forums.
    "She was a great friend of Israel, of the Jewish people," said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
    Hoenlein noted that Kirkpatrick never ran for public office and her positions emerged not from calculations of political expediency, but "purely out of her deep conviction and belief."

U.S. to Double Emergency Equipment Stored in Israel - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    The U.S. Congress has approved doubling the stockpiles of American military equipment stored in Israel in case of an emergency in the Middle East. Israel is also allowed to use the stockpiles in case of emergency, and much of the American equipment was used in the summer war in Lebanon.
    The value of the equipment now stored in Israel amounts to $100 million and the American government approved doubling its value to $200 million in the coming year.

Taliban and Allies Tighten Grip in North of Pakistan - Carlotta Gall and Ismail Khan (New York Times)
    Islamic militants are using a recent peace deal with the government to consolidate their hold in northern Pakistan, vastly expanding their training of suicide bombers and other recruits and fortifying alliances with al-Qaeda and foreign fighters, diplomats and intelligence officials say.
    The result is virtually a Taliban mini-state.
    The area is becoming a magnet for an influx of foreign fighters who are wresting control from local tribes and spreading their influence to neighboring areas.
    This year more than 100 local leaders, government sympathizers, or accused "American spies" have been killed, several of them by beheading.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Pledges $250 Million to Hamas-Led PA - Sarah El Deeb
    Iran has pledged $250 million in aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government, the latest sign of increasingly close ties between the Islamic group and Tehran, PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Monday at the end of a four-day visit to the Iranian capital. (AP/Forbes)
  • Iranian Students Heckle President
    Iranian students disrupted a speech by President Ahmadinejad on Monday at the Amir Kabir Technical University by lighting fireworks and burning his portrait. (BBC News)
  • Rice Warns Syria and Iran over Lebanon Protests
    U.S. Secretary of State Rice rejected calls to deal directly with Damascus and Tehran as part of efforts to end the crisis in Iraq and said the two states should have no doubts about Washington's commitment to the embattled government of Lebanon. "In no way is the U.S. going to get into a situation where it is even a conceivable notion on the part of Syria or Iran that the future of Lebanon would somehow be compromised for other interests of the U.S.," she said. "We understand who Lebanon's enemies are and those that are trying to bring down the Siniora government," Rice said. (AFP/Yahoo)
        See also Siniora Stands Fast - David Ignatius
    Watching the demonstrations in Beirut with seeming serenity is Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, the man the Hizballah protesters are targeting. During our discussion on Monday he was the picture of calm and confidence. "We all have to realize we have Iran on our borders," Siniora explains. "But Iran has to understand it cannot impose things on the Arabs." The hard edge of Siniora's strategy is that he is prepared to play the sectarian game, too.
        On Sunday there was a huge counter-rally in support of the government by angry Sunnis in the northern city of Tripoli. "They don't have the numbers," Siniora said of the Hizballah-Aoun alliance. The Sunni trump card is rarely discussed but universally understood: Syria, a crucial ally of Hizballah, is an overwhelmingly Sunni country. If the Syrian-Iranian alliance squeezes the Sunnis in Lebanon too hard, there is likely to be a backlash inside Syria. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Shoot IDF Soldier in West Bank - Amos Harel
    An Israel Defense Forces soldier was moderately wounded on Monday when Palestinians opened fire on an IDF convoy in the West Bank town of Kabatiyeh, south of Jenin. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Opens Fire on Fatah Demonstrators in Gaza, Wounds Four - Avi Issacharoff
    Hamas security forces opened fire on stone-throwing Fatah demonstrators in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, wounding four Fatah activists on Tuesday, one day after the killing of three children of a Fatah-linked official. (Ha'aretz)
  • Different Lebanese on Israel's Northern Border - Yaakov Katz
    Along the Lebanese side of Israel's northern border are the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). The soldiers, wearing short-sleeved T-shirts and camouflage pants, have set up outposts where Hizballah guerrillas used to stand provocatively before the war. The Lebanese soldiers see the Israeli reporters and begin to get serious; they put on their vests and rifles that had been collecting dust next to their tent. Hizballah, which used to have dozens of outposts right along the fence, is nowhere to be seen.
        The IDF's orders are also different. Nowadays, the IDF will open fire immediately at any armed Hizballah member approaching the border. A high-ranking member of the IDF General Staff said Sunday that it will take Hizballah at least a year to return to its size and strength before the war. The group sustained heavy losses during the war - at least 500 guerrillas were killed and over a thousand were wounded. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • An Offensive Conference by an Offensive Regime - Editorial
    As if to declare its bravura defiance of what the West considers to be fundamental civilized values, Iran has convened a Holocaust denial conference. President Ahmadinejad of Iran has personally endorsed the meeting, which is taking place at an Iranian foreign ministry institute with the full imprimatur of his government. He has made it a hallmark of his political regime not only to declare political opposition to Israel, but also to threaten its existence in the most lurid and bellicose terms.
        This is a regime that some in Washington and London seem to believe may be trusted to participate in achieving a just and peaceful settlement in Iraq. Iran under its present leadership is a dangerously hateful and malevolent force whose intentions in the Middle East can never be other than malign and destabilizing. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Tehran's Holocaust Lesson - Anne Applebaum
    Surely Iran's denial of the Holocaust cannot be serious. Unfortunately, Iran's president is deadly serious: Holocaust denial is his personal passion, not just a way of taunting Israel, and it's based on his personal interpretation of history. Questioning the reality of the Holocaust has long been another means of questioning the legitimacy of the State of Israel. If the Shiite Iranians are looking for friends, particularly among Sunni Arabs, Holocaust denial isn't a bad way to find them.
        Yes, we think we've institutionalized the memory of the Holocaust, we think this particular European horror has been put to rest, and yet the near-destruction of the European Jews, in a very brief span of time, by a sophisticated European nation using the best technology available, was, it seems, an event that requires constant reexplanation. (Washington Post)
  • The Iraq Study Group Report - Bret Stephens
    The Iraq Study Group report suggests that the U.S. seek the cooperation of Syria and Iran, its two principal enemies in the region, on the theory that neither country wants chaos on its border. It's an interesting idea, given that sowing chaos on their borders is precisely what both countries have been doing in Iraq, and elsewhere, for years. The Bush administration overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein largely as a way of "signaling" that it was no longer prepared to countenance a Middle East of terrorism-sponsoring regimes. Now the ISG announces that not only is the U.S. prepared to deal with those regimes, but that it will do the bidding of one of them, Syria, by again putting maximum pressure on Israel to abandon the Golan Heights. (Wall Street Journal, 12Dec06)
        See also Iraq Study Group Report a Misleading Fantasy - Youssef Ibrahim
    The recommendation of renewed commitment to a comprehensive, American-mediated Arab-Israeli peace process leaves anyone with experience in the region simply dazed. How can we expect millions of Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, secularists, and former Baathists - now fighting over oil revenues, influence, and distribution of power - to cease and desist just because America brokered an agreement thousands of miles away between the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs? (New York Sun)
  • If Israel Falls, the West Follows - Saul Singer
    A radical Islamic front, led by Iran and including Hizballah, Hamas, and al-Qaeda, is making a bid to expand its brand of theocratic rule throughout the Muslim world, with the aim of dominating the West as well. If the U.S. retreats in the face of this challenge, militant Islamism will advance. Israel may or may not be the first victim of this advance, but we will not be the last. As the 9/11 attacks illustrated, the Islamists have tired of pretending that Israel is their only, or even primary enemy. For an Iranian-dominated Muslim world, Israel is the hors d'oevre; America and Europe are the meal. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    The Big Lie About the Middle East: Arab Nations Don't Care about the Palestinians - Lisa Beyer (TIME)

    • No sensible person is against peacemaking in the Holy Land. But in lumping the Iraq mess in with the Palestinian problem - and suggesting the first could not be fixed unless the second was too - the Baker-Hamilton commission lent credibility to a corrosive myth: that the fundamental problem in the Arab world is the plight of the Palestinians.
    • It is a falsehood perpetuated not just by the likes of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, who came late to the slogan after their actual beefs -Saddam with his neighbors; bin Laden with the Saudi royals - gained insufficient traction in the Arab world. The mantra is also repeated in parts of the State Department, in various think tanks, by editorial writers and Sunday talk-show hosts.
    • But the pan-Arabism that once made the Palestinian cause the region's cause is long dead. In a decade of reporting in the region, I found it rarely took more than the arching of an eyebrow to get the most candid of Arab thinkers to acknowledge that the tears shed for the Palestinians today outside the West Bank and Gaza are of the crocodile variety. Palestinians know this best of all.
    • To promote the canard that the troubles of the Arab world are rooted in the Palestinians' misfortune does great harm. It encourages the Arabs to continue to avoid addressing their colossal societal and political ills by hiding behind their Great Excuse: it's all Israel's fault.
    • One might argue that if the Arab dictators were deprived of the Great Excuse, they might begin to rule with greater concern for their constituents' needs. But why should they be allowed to wait - in the meantime cynically selling their people the Israel Myth - especially since the wait is apt to be long?
    • The Baker commission report's airy prescription for frog-marching Israelis and Palestinians into new peace talks perpetuates another persistent fiction: that U.S. involvement is the key to a breakthrough. That contradicts the real-life story of all three of the major peace agreements Israel has signed, with the Egyptians, Palestinians, and Jordanians. Each was the result of bold initiatives not by Washington but by local leaders, when conditions were ripe. In all three cases, the accords were the product of negotiations begun in secret behind the backs of the Americans.

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    The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations joins in inviting leaders of the member organizations to a special symposium:

    Bring Ahmadinejad to Justice for Incitement to Genocide!

    Featuring important national and international legal scholars who will discuss the repeated threats by President Ahmadinejad of Iran in violation of the 1949 Genocide Convention. Among those who will address this timely and critical issue are:

    Ambassador John Bolton, Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the UN
    Amb. Dore Gold, Former Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations
    Professor Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School
    MP Irwin Cotler, Former Minister of Justice of Canada
    Amb. Meir Rosenne, Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States
    Amb. Eytan Bentsur, Former Director General, Israel Foreign Ministry
    MK Danny Naveh, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
    Professor Ruth Wedgewood, Johns Hopkins University
    Martin Peretz, The New Republic

    Thursday, December 14
    10:00 am - 12:00 noon

    New York County Lawyers' Association
    14 Vesey Street, (between Broadway and Church Street)
    Lower Manhattan

    Seating is limited so please respond immediately to (212) 339-6993 or [email protected]