Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 17, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

IDF Chief of Staff Resigns - Amos Harel and Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
    Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz announced his resignation Tuesday against a backdrop of investigations into the war against Hizbullah last summer.
    The deputy chief of staff, Moshe Kaplinsky, will act as interim head of the armed forces.
    See also Text: Letter of Resignation - Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz (Ynet News)

Jury Sees Tape from London Bomb Attempt Showing Suspect on Subway Trying to Set Off Device - Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adam (Washington Post)
    The security video showed a London subway car crowded with midday riders, a man with a backpack among them. Suddenly, a large puff of dust shot out of his pack.
    British prosecutors played the video to a jury in London on Tuesday. The man was Ramzi Mohammed, 25, one of six men on trial for conspiracy to murder commuters on July 21, 2005.
    The dust was from a bomb hidden in his backpack. Its detonator fired but the shrapnel-laced main charge failed to explode.

TV Documentary Exposes Extremism in UK Mosques - Jonny Paul (Jerusalem Post)
    A number of UK mosques are being used to incite hatred, bigotry and intolerance, a Channel Four television documentary revealed Monday.
    Secretly filmed during a 12-month investigation, "Undercover Mosques" contained sermons showing preachers proclaiming the supremacy of Islam, preaching hatred for Jews and Christians and for Muslims who do not follow their extreme beliefs, and predicting an imminent jihad.
    British Muslims must "dismantle" British democracy - they must "live like a state within a state until they are strong enough to take over," said one preacher.
    The investigation showed the influence of Wahhabism, an extreme Saudi Arabian interpretation of Islam, throughout the UK.
    The program also showed how Saudi universities are recruiting young Western Muslims to train in their extreme theology, who are then sent back to the UK to spread the teachings.

Why Is Egypt Airing Insurgent TV from Iraq? - Sarah Gauch (Christian Science Monitor)
    Al Zawraa television, the face of Iraq's Sunni insurgency, shows roadside bombs blowing up American tanks and insurgent snipers taking aim and firing.
    All this blatant anti-Americanism is broadcasting 24/7 on an Egyptian government-controlled satellite provider, Nilesat, even though Iraq and the U.S. have asked Egypt to pull the plug.

Using Modern Methods to Hunt Nazis - Ori Raphael (Jerusalem Post)
    Harvard law student William Gray, 24, from Munster, Indiana, volunteered for two months at the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem.
    On Gray's first day, he was "handed a name and they told me to see what I could do. Within the hour, I located the suspect," employing search techniques he learned in law school.
    In his first month, Gray located four suspected Nazis living in America.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Ahmadinejad Facing Growing Domestic Criticism - Robert Tait
    In an unprecedented rebuke, 150 Iranian parliamentarians signed a letter blaming President Ahmadinejad for raging inflation and high unemployment and criticizing his government's failure to deliver the budget on time. They also condemned him for embarking on a tour of Latin America at a time of mounting crisis. The signatories included a majority of the president's former fundamentalist allies, now apparently seeking to distance themselves as his prestige wanes.
        MPs also criticized Ahmadinejad's role in the UN Security Council dispute over Iran's nuclear program. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is said to blame Ahmadinejad for last month's UN resolution imposing sanctions in Iran. "Ahmadinejad's golden era is over and his honeymoon with the supreme leader is finished. He has problems even meeting the supreme leader," said Iranian political commentator Eesa Saharkhiz. (Guardian-UK)
  • Arab States Signal Iran to Avoid Meddling in Iraq - Glenn Kessler
    A group of eight Arab nations on Tuesday joined the U.S. in issuing a veiled warning to Iran against interfering in Iraq's affairs. The statement, written in diplomatic jargon, warned against "destabilization" of the Persian Gulf and expressed support for the "principle of noninterference." It was supported by Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE. (Washington Post)
  • Iran Replaces EU as Top Donor to Palestinians - Conal Urquhart and Ewen MacAskill
    Ahmed Yusuf, an adviser to Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, said Hamas ministers had received promises of donations amounting to £500m in recent travels around the Muslim world. The largest pledge was from Iran. This latest example of Iran's increasing influence will add to the panic gripping the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states about the speed of Tehran's expansion as a regional power. (Guardian-UK)
  • Palestinian Parliament Shuts Down - Karin Laub
    Tuesday's session of the Palestinian parliament was to have been the first in four months. It was canceled because a dozen Hamas legislators preferred to go on a trip to Indonesia instead, and the deputy speaker believed he wouldn't get a quorum. The extended break has largely gone unnoticed by a jaded public. "The public doesn't feel the absence of the legislative council didn't do its job," said political scientist Ali Jerbawi. The legislature hasn't passed any laws since Hamas' election a year ago. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF General: Hizbullah Claim of Victory "Bizarre" - Hanan Greenberg
    Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Gantz, Commander of the IDF's Ground Forces, speaking at Tel Aviv University on Tuesday, tried to explain the "strange phenomenon" of Hizbullah's perceived victory during the second Lebanon war. "It's bizarre to me that Hizbullah claims victory in the war, after they lost between 500 to 800 operatives, sustained severe damage to their long-range missile launching capabilities, and had thousands of sites in Lebanon destroyed, which will take them years to rebuild," he said. According to Gantz, in order to achieve a better result in combat in the future, we must bring about an undisputed result, which is sharp, tangible, clear and quick. (Ynet News)
        See also IDF Video: How to Foil a Terror Attack - Hanan Greenberg
    See the IDF thwart an attempt this week by three Palestinian gunmen to plant roadside bombs near the Erez crossing in northern Gaza. (Ynet News)
  • Survey: Israeli Patriotism Remains Strong - Amir Mizroch
    Israeli Jews are just as patriotic following the Second Lebanon War as they were in 2005, according to a survey by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. In some instances, the survey found a small rise in the level of Israelis' emotional identification with the country, especially among residents of the North who withstood a month of Hizbullah rocket barrages. In the December survey, 67% defined themselves as "Israeli patriots," a number similar to last year's survey. Most Israelis are in agreement about the values and characteristics that make up the definition of a "patriot" - a willingness to fight for your country, the Hebrew language, Jerusalem, a love of the nation and living in Israel.
        Patriotism, it seems, advances with age, with 84% of those 60 years and older describing themselves as patriots in contrast to 51% of those between the ages of 18-29. 92% said they were willing to fight for their country; 83% said they were very proud of being Israeli. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Vindicating Larry Franklin - Eli Lake
    When President Bush announced the new Iraq strategy last week, acknowledging that Iran was effectively at war with us in Iraq by supplying terrorists with advanced improvised explosives, my thoughts turned to Lawrence Franklin. Nearly a year ago, this Pentagon Iran analyst was sentenced to almost 13 years in a federal prison after he pleaded guilty to discussing classified information with two former lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Franklin, it turns out, was trying - unconventionally - to influence a debate in the administration in 2003 over a national security policy directive regarding Iran. He provided AIPAC's Iran specialists with his own list of specific instances of how Iran was sending teams from its Quds Force to sow terror, kill American soldiers, and pose a threat to Israeli operatives in northern Iraq.
        He hoped his list could find its way to the National Security Council, through the two lobbyists, to counter the intelligence from other channels suggesting that Iran had an interest in stabilizing Iraq. Franklin, a Persian speaker, now parks cars and works odd jobs as he awaits final word on the jail sentence he earned for trying to get word of all this to the president. (New York Sun)
  • Rebooting the "Peace Process" - Editorial
    Arab diplomats like to say that 80% of the Middle East's problems would disappear with a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is a fiction, and a self-serving one: It lets Arab rulers off the hook for their own malfeasance, and implies that America's Middle East policy should start and end in Jerusalem. Condoleezza Rice seemed to bow to this reasoning by announcing Monday that she would attend a three-way summit with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in order to reboot the "peace process."
        Israel cannot make peace until it has a negotiating partner that both accepts its right to exist in security and enjoys sufficient power to keep in check those terroristic forces who don't. There is no question of Mahmoud Abbas' powerlessness. He holds no sway over the democratically elected murderers of Hamas, and he has lost much of his traditional control over the Fatah faction. Hardly the right conditions for a "final settlement."
        The administration should use Rice's mission as a justification to ask for Arab concessions: "You want us to be more involved in the peace process? Fine. Now let's talk about the rest of the Middle East." There are many things Arab states could do to be helpful: cracking down on terrorists and terrorist financing; supporting American diplomacy against Iran's nuclear program; trying to peel Damascus away from Tehran. (National Review)
  • The New Mideast Alignment - Barry Rubin
    The Middle East has undergone a dramatic shift in alignments. On one side are Hizbullah, Iran, Syria, and Hamas - and on the other side, virtually every other Arab state, whose interests parallel those of Israel and the U.S. All the Arab states except Syria oppose Iran getting nuclear weapons. They all support the current Lebanese government.
        PA chief executive Mahmoud Abbas is and will always be someone who lacks the power to do anything. Moreover, despite lots of chatter about new elections, Fatah has done absolutely zero to revitalize or unite itself. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Correcting Carter's 242 Distortion - Andrea Levin (Jerusalem Post)

    • Jimmy Carter's error-ridden new book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid includes myriad untrue statements of a kind newspapers routinely correct.
    • Carter writes on p. 57: "The 1949 armistice demarcation lines became the borders of the new nation of Israel and were accepted by Israel and the United States, and recognized officially by the United Nations." This is false. The "1949 armistice" lines did not become the "accepted" borders of Israel. Nor did Camp David and Oslo specify a withdrawal to these alleged borders.
    • Carter writes on p. 215 that "[An option for Israel is] withdrawal to the 1967 border specified in UN Resolution 242 and as promised in the Camp David Accords and the Oslo Agreement." Yet Britain's Lord Caradon, who introduced the resolution on November 22, 1967, after months of discussion in the wake of the Six-Day War, has explicitly emphasized the very opposite of Carter's claims: "We knew that the boundaries of '67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers; they were a cease-fire line of a couple decades earlier. We did not say the '67 boundaries must be forever."
    • Other publications that have made the same error, suggesting Resolution 242 calls for Israel's return to the pre-1967 armistice lines, have corrected it. The New York Times, during the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations at Camp David in the summer of 2000, did so three times, published three corrections, and has not repeated the error.
    • Carter writes on p. 62: "The Israelis have never granted any appreciable autonomy to the Palestinians." But after 1993 and the Oslo agreements, Palestinians achieved "appreciable autonomy," attaining control of political, civic, security, medical and media institutions and gaining all of Gaza and 40% of the West Bank.
    • So pervasive is Carter's antipathy toward Israel that any expectation of redress of the factual errors by the author himself is clearly futile. The question is why a publisher such as Simon and Schuster should be exempt from fact-checking a book billed and sold as non-fiction history - and from issuing forthright corrections when such serious errors have been printed.

      The writer is Executive Director of CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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