Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 23, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Sidestep UN Sanctions (Jerusalem Post)
    Iran's Revolutionary Guards are using cover companies to get around UN sanctions against the country's nuclear program, exiled Iranian Ali Reza Jafar Zadeh said Wednesday.
    Jafar Zadeh exposed Iran's secret nuclear program in August 1992.

Summer Camp in Gaza Teaches Uncompromising Message - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
    Summer camp for Palestinian children in Gaza isn't all swimming and soccer. At the Hamas camp, attended by 60 children, organizer Hussein al-Talaa said the message was uncompromising.
    "We teach them...that we reject any partition of (Palestine), whether through agreements or by force."
    Frolicking in a playground at the Hamas camp, children burst into song. "A Hamas man does not fear death, a Hamas man acts for the sake of religion," they sang.
    At the nearby Fatah camp, children sing songs praising Fatah fighters killed in combat with Hamas two months ago.

Turkish, U.S., Israeli Maneuvers Begin in Mediterranean (Dunya-Turkey)
    Joint maneuvers commenced Wednesday between Turkish, U.S. and Israeli air and navy forces in international waters in the eastern Mediterranean.
    The maneuvers will continue for four days and included 10 warships, four helicopters and four rescue aircraft.

Israel, EU Renew Science and Technology Cooperation - Ari Syrquin (Jerusalem Post)
    The EU and Israel agreed last month to renew their science and technological cooperation, giving Israeli researchers, universities and companies full access to the EU's Seventh Research Framework Program (FP7).
    Israeli researchers will be able to receive funding on an equal footing with researchers from EU's member states.
    "Israel's association to the Framework Program has proved to be of mutual benefit for both sides over the last couple of years. Whereas the European Research Area will benefit from the renowned excellence of the Israeli research community, Israel will gain full access to the biggest research program in the world," said EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik during the signing ceremony in Brussels.

Britain Bans Gaza Football Team (BBC News)
    A Palestinian football team has been banned from playing in Britain, because officials apparently believe they will not return to Gaza.
    The Gaza under-19s team had been invited to play by British football clubs Chester City and Blackburn Rovers, but the team's visa applications were rejected after every member failed to meet entry criteria.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Tehran Says It Has Designed a "Smart Bomb"
    Iran has developed a 2,000-pound "smart bomb," the official Islamic Republic News Agency said Wednesday. The bomb has a guidance system, is operational, and can be dropped from F-4 and F-5 jets that were supplied by the U.S. before the Islamic Revolution of 1979. (Reuters/New York Times)
  • Judge Rebukes Holy Land Trial Defendant - Jason Trahan
    U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish threatened to bar Ghassan Elashi, the Holy Land Foundation's former board chairman, from the courtroom Monday at the trial of Holy Land officials charged with sending millions of dollars to the Hamas terrorist group. Judge Fish said: "It was reported to me that [Mr. Elashi said] 'This trial is an extension of a Zionist conspiracy.'" He said federal law allows defendants to sit in on their own trials, but "it can be waived" if there are disruptions. (Dallas Morning News)
  • U.S., Israeli Holocaust Institutes Get Nazi Records from Germany
    Custodians of a vast German archive dealing with Nazi concentration camps on Monday transferred copies of millions of files to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Yad Vashem Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, providing Holocaust survivors with a record of their persecution. The world's most extensive archive regarding Nazi concentration camps is managed by the International Tracing Service (ITS), an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross. "These documents reflect the most despicable operations of the Nazi era," ITS director Reto Meister said Tuesday. (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Army Given Wider Authority to Combat Gaza Terror - Yaakov Katz
    The IDF has been given a longer leash in combating terrorism in Gaza. The IDF's Southern Command is under orders to use all available defensive and offensive measures to prevent rocket attacks on Israel, and has carved out something of a "security zone" two kilometers into Gaza in response to Palestinian attacks. The IDF is displaying improved ability to quickly "close circles" - translating and utilizing real-time intelligence in immediate operations. In the past three months, there have been close to 80 IDF operations, some covert, inside Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to Buy Advanced U.S. Patriot Anti-Missile System - Arieh Egozy
    The Israeli Air Force will buy advanced U.S.-made Patriot PAC-3 missiles from Lockheed Martin, capable of intercepting aircraft and long-range ballistic missiles, including the type used by Syria. Israel is currently using the PAC-2 system. In the new system, capable of intercepting aircraft, rockets and cruise missiles, each launcher is equipped with 16 missiles instead of four. The decision to acquire the new system was based on the progress made by Syria and Iran in the field of fighter jets, and on the fact that the Syrian army has recently obtained longer range missiles. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket Wednesday evening that landed near the Israeli town of Sderot. Another rocket landed near a western Negev kibbutz. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also 110 Palestinian Rocket Attacks in Two Months - Joshua Mitnick
    In the past two months, the Israel Defense Forces counted 110 Palestinian rocket attacks and 170 mortar attacks into Israel. Even if most of the attacks are being carried out by militant groups other than Hamas, such as Islamic Jihad, Israel's army says it will hold Hamas responsible. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • God's Jewish Warriors - CNN's Abomination
    CNN's "God's Warriors," hosted by Christiane Amanpour, is a three-part series intended to examine the growing role of religious fundamentalism in today's world. Unfortunately, the first program in the series, "God's Jewish Warriors," is one of the most grossly distorted programs to appear on mainstream American television in many years. It is false in its basic premise, established in the opening scene in which Jewish (and Christian) religious fervency is equated with that of Muslims heard endorsing "martyrdom," or suicide-killing. There is, of course, no counterpart among Jews and Christians to the violent jihadist Muslim campaigns underway across the globe, either in numbers of perpetrators engaged or in the magnitude of death and destruction wrought. While in reality Jewish "terrorism" is virtually non-existent, the program magnifies at length the few instances of violence or attempted violence by religiously-motivated Jewish individuals - including having to go all the way back to 1980.
        Disproportionate reliance on partisan voices, some extreme figures, skews the message dramatically. Jimmy Carter and John Mearsheimer, chief proponents of the discredited canards about Jews subverting American national interests to those of Israel, are repeatedly and respectfully interviewed. (CAMERA)
  • Iran and the Hamas Takeover in Gaza - Bruce Riedel
    The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security along with their Hizbullah partners have been training key Hamas officers for years and would have had every reason to encourage them to thwart King Abdullah's Mecca accord between Hamas and Fatah and the danger it represented to their interests. It is likely the IRGC and MOIS helped with the military planning of the Hamas takeover in Gaza and may have expanded their presence in Gaza since June. Al-Qaeda also made abundantly clear its opposition to the Mecca agreement and used its position at the center of the global Sunni jihadist movement to encourage Hamas to repudiate it and to kill Mohammad Dahlan in particular. The writer is a senior fellow in the Saban Center at Brookings. (
  • Arming Israel Lessens Nuclear Danger - Ariel Ilan Roth
    Critics such as John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue in their forthcoming book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, that subsidized sales to Israel, like the one announced in July, are evidence of the chokehold that pro-Israel lobbyists exercise on broader U.S. foreign policy in the volatile Middle East. In reality, these subsidized sales are not so much a chokehold as a cork: Supplying Israel with large quantities of advanced conventional weapons keeps the Mideast nuclear genie in its bottle for a little longer. This is precisely what the U.S. wants and an incontestable national strategic interest. (Baltimore Sun)
  • Observations:

    Understanding the U.S.-Israel Alliance: An Israeli Response to the Walt-Mearsheimer Claim - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Contrary to the assertions of Professors Stephen Walt of Harvard University and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, who claim that no compelling strategic argument can explain American support for Israel, which they argue has been promoted by "the unmatched power of the Israel lobby," the two countries have, in fact, developed strong strategic ties over the years that have evolved into a unique alliance.
    • As early as December 27, 1962, President John F. Kennedy told Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir: "The United States has a special relationship with Israel in the Middle East really comparable only to what it has with Britain over a wide range of world affairs." During the Cold War, the U.S. and Israel had a joint strategic interest in defeating the aggression of Soviet-backed rogue states in the Middle East. This began when Nasser's Egypt intervened in the Arabian Peninsula in 1962, through Yemen, and in 1970 when Syria invaded Jordan.
    • Presently, U.S.-Israeli defense ties have grown even tighter. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on March 15, 2007, USEUCOM commander General Bantz J. Craddock stated that Israel was America's "closest ally" in the Middle East and that it "consistently and directly" supported U.S. interests. This professional evaluation of the U.S.-Israel relationship flies in the face of Walt and Mearsheimer's assertion that Israel is a "strategic burden" that does not serve the American national interest.
    • Because many elements of this strategic relationship are kept secret - particularly in the intelligence field - it is difficult for academics and pundits to assess the true value of U.S.-Israel ties. Nonetheless, General George F. Keegan, a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence chief, disclosed in 1986 that he could not have obtained the same intelligence that he received from Israel if he had "five CIAs." During his interview, at which time the Cold War was still raging, he added: "The ability of the U.S. Air Force in particular, and the Army in general, to defend whatever position it has in NATO owes more to the Israeli intelligence input than it does to any single source of intelligence."

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