Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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December 14, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hamas and Iran Developing Strategic Relations - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
    After Palestinian Prime Minister Haniyeh's recent visit to Tehran, Israeli defense experts see Iran seeking to form a strategic alliance with Hamas similar to its relationship with Hizballah, in which the "final word" is Tehran's.
    Iran recently committed to transfer $250 million to pay wages for civil servants and members of security forces affiliated with Hamas.
    "These gifts are not free," Israeli security sources said. "The Iranians are expecting returns: a rise in influence among the Palestinians and Hamas compliance to their orders."
    Hamas is continuing to expand its arsenal, and its security organizations have been recruiting deserters from Fatah-affiliated groups.

Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Mijal Grinberg and Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets into Israel Thursday morning despite the cease-fire declared last month. One of the rockets damaged property at a kibbutz.

Israelis Warned of Al-Qaeda Terror Alert in Goa, India (Ha'aretz)
    "The al-Qaeda organization is planning to carry out attacks in the region of Goa in India in the next two weeks," the Anti-Terror Unit in the Prime Minister's Office warned Wednesday.

Palestinian Stabs Israeli Security Guard (Ynet News)
    A man working as a security guard was seriously wounded Wednesday after being stabbed in the neck by a Palestinian near the Kalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem.
    See also IDF Foils Terror Attack - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
    IDF soldiers east of Nablus spotted a suspicious Palestinian vehicle Wednesday and found an explosive device in the trunk weighing 8 kilograms.

Lebanese Government Rallies Answer Hizballah's - Anthony Shadid (Washington Post)
    In the test of wills that Lebanon's crisis has become, the government is mobilizing its sectarian constituencies - usually Sunni Muslim - as a veiled warning to Hizballah and its Shiite Muslim followers not to go too far in a campaign the government's supporters variously portray as a coup d'etat, an attempt to grab power for the Shiite community, or a ploy to deliver leverage to Iran and Syria.

EU Considers Paying Palestinian Police - Wafa Amr (Reuters)
    The European Union will consider making direct payments to Palestinian policemen who have gone without full salaries since Hamas took power in March, an EU aid chief said on Wednesday.
    But Hans Duynhouwer, head of the EU program that provides aid to low-wage Palestinian workers, played down the chances of the EU agreeing to pay security services across the board as requested by Mahmoud Abbas.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israeli Prime Minister Asks Pope to Urge Christians to Protest Holocaust Denials - Alessandra Rizzo
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked Pope Benedict XVI during their meeting at the Vatican on Wednesday to urge Christians to protest Holocaust denials. On Tuesday, the Vatican issued a statement calling on people to remember the Nazi campaign of extermination: "The Shoah was a great tragedy before which we cannot remain indifferent.... The memory of those horrible events must remain as a warning for people's consciences."  (AP/Washington Post)
  • Moves to Charge Ahmadinejad with Incitement to Genocide - Mark Turner
    A 68-page study produced by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists argues that Iranian President Ahmadinejad's declaration that "Israel should be wiped off the map" is part of a hate campaign punishable under international law. Remarks by Ahmadinejad, including one in which he reportedly questioned whether Zionists were human beings, "constitute direct and public incitement to genocide," the study alleges. "While the Hutus in Rwanda were equipped with machetes, Iran, should the international community do nothing to prevent it, will soon acquire nuclear weapons," it notes.
        Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, said that while "most people think of [legal proceedings against] genocide in terms of setting up tribunals after the crime has been committed," the challenge was to stop genocide before it begins. "What specifically can be done? Let the Security Council meet and discuss the issue," he said. (Financial Times-UK)
        See also Full Text: Referral of Iranian President Ahmadinejad on the Charge of Incitement to Commit Genocide (IAJLJ/JCPA)
  • Clerics Posing Threat to Ahmadinejad - David R. Sands
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad faces a potential setback at the hands of the nation's traditional conservatives in elections Friday for a government oversight body that will one day choose a successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Several allies of fundamentalist Ayatollah Mohammed Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, a spiritual and political adviser to Ahmadinejad, have been blocked by the country's religious establishment from running for the 86-seat Assembly of Experts.
        "The old conservatives among the clerics are trying to hold onto their ability to steer the Islamic revolution, and they are not supporting Ahmadinejad's way," said A. William Samii, an Iranian political analyst with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Mehdi Khalaji, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Ayatollah Khamenei sent a clear signal in the run-up to Friday's vote that he wanted to rein in Ahmadinejad's fundamentalist allies, who have pushed an aggressive line on Islamic practice, Israel, and confrontation with the U.S. (Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Supreme Court: Targeted Killings of Terrorists Is Legal - Dan Izenberg
    A panel of three High Court of Justice judges ruled unanimously Thursday against a petition asking it to declare that the policy of targeted killings of terrorists was illegal. The court determined that those who were on their way to commit an attack against the IDF or civilians or had planned an attack or were in between carrying out a series of attacks were fair targets.
        The court cited Article 51(3) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions which states: "Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities." Thus, the court said, a civilian who takes direct part in hostilities does not enjoy the protections granted to a civilian and is subject to the risks of attack like those to which a combatant is subject. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Peres: Israel to Transfer PA Taxes Only If Hamas Stops Funding Terror - Moti Bassok
    Vice Premier Shimon Peres told British Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn on Wednesday that Israel will transfer tax revenue collected for the PA only once it is confident the money will not be used to finance terror against Israel. Peres said Hamas continues to give millions of dollars to terror organizations instead of providing food and medicine for the Palestinian people. It is now clear to the entire world that Hamas prefers terror and war to dialogue, recognition of Israel, and peace, he said. Peres said he expects Britain to act alongside the international community in a clear and resolute manner against Hamas, Hizballah, and Iran, and prevent them from establishing a fundamentalist hegemony in the region. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Deep Roots of Denial for Iran's True Believer - Michael Slackman
    Ahmadinejad actually seems to believe that the volumes of documentation, testimony, and living memory of the Nazi genocide are at best exaggerated and part of a Zionist conspiracy to falsify history so as to create the case for Israel. As a former member of the Revolutionary Guards, he was indoctrinated with such thinking, a political analyst in Tehran said, and as a radical student leader, he championed such a view. Now he has a platform to promote the theories. Iran's two-day Holocaust conference this week included no attempt to come to terms with the nature of the well-documented Nazi slaughter, offering only a platform to those pursuing the fantasy that it never happened.
        Some see a more ambitious agenda reflected in Ahmadinejad's high profile on the issues of Jews, the Holocaust, and Israel. "It is for public consumption in Arab countries," said Mustafa El-Labbad, editor of Sharqnameh, a magazine on Iranian affairs published in Cairo. "It is specifically directed toward deepening the gap between the people and their regimes and toward embarrassing the rulers so that the regional power vacuum, especially after Iraq, can be filled by Iran." (New York Times)
  • Iran's Great Pretender - Editorial
    The conference for Holocaust deniers hosted by Iran's President Ahmadinejad is a transparent polemical stunt. What is important to Ahmadinejad is not any issue of historical truth, but to deny the legitimacy of Israel. His reason for presenting himself as the world's foremost denier of Israel's right to exist has less to do with the best interests of the Palestinians than with his strategy for making Iran a regional superpower. The aim is to win over Sunni Arab populations, thereby deterring Arab regimes from opposing Iran's nuclear program and resisting the spread of Iranian influence from Baghdad to Beirut. (Boston Globe)
  • Carter's Book Is a Disservice to Peace - David Makovsky
    Jimmy Carter's most recent book will not help the Palestinians. Carter perpetuates the fictions that have helped create the current state of affairs: demonization of Israel, distortion of history, and an overall sense of victimhood that puts no premium on Palestinian accountability.
        Carter apparently minimizes terrorism in order to make it possible to blame Israel for malevolence. Carter would have us believe that ill will on Israel's part led it to suddenly begin building a fence in 2002 after 35 years without security barriers. But in fact it was Hamas that effectively built the barrier by inundating Israel with suicide bombings that claimed an estimated 1,000 lives between 2000 and 2004. After the barrier was built, the amount of suicide attacks dramatically decreased. The writer is a senior fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (U.S. News)
  • Observations:

    Holocaust Denial Can Be Dangerous - Editorial (Los Angeles Times)

    • Iran wrapped its two-day gathering of neo-Nazis, hard-line racists, and half-baked historians with a rousing speech from Iranian President Ahmadinejad on Tuesday who said that Israel's days were numbered.
    • Although it's tempting to shrug off a gathering of fourth-rate intellects, the conference illustrated a present and growing danger to the international community: Iran is on the path to becoming a nuclear power. Any promise to "remove" its neighbors from the map must be taken seriously.
    • Ahmadinejad's rejection of the thousands of written and oral testimonies of Holocaust survivors, reams of scholarship, films, photographs, diaries, and detailed Nazi archives has nothing to do with evidentiary standards and everything to do with playing to the extremists in his regional audience.
    • To Ahmadinejad, attacking the legitimacy of the Holocaust allows him to attack the legitimacy of Israel, which was created by the United Nations as a result of the Holocaust. If the first act didn't happen, then the second act wasn't necessary.

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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]