Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 4, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Assad: 1967 Borders Stretch to Tiberias (Reuters)
    "What is on the agenda is the return of all land," Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in remarks published Tuesday in Al-Bayan.
    "If the question of water is intended for (Syria to) give up the 1967 borders that stretch to Tiberias [on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee], then there will never be a compromise on the 1967 borders."

A Critique of Radicalism Is Building in the Muslim World - Christopher Dickey and Owen Matthews (Newsweek)
    Important Muslim thinkers, including some on whom bin Laden depended for support, have rejected his vision of jihad. Once sympathetic publics in the Middle East and South Asia are growing disillusioned.
    As CIA Director Michael Hayden said last week, "Fundamentally, no one really liked al-Qaeda's vision of the future."

Muslim Seminary in India Issues Fatwa Against Terror - Bappa Majumdar (Reuters)
    The ultra-conservative Darool-Uloom Deoband Muslim seminary in New Delhi, India, which is said to have inspired the Taliban, issued a fatwa on Saturday against terrorism.
    Thousands of clerics and students cheered as rector Habibur Rehman read out a statement: "The religion of Islam has come to wipe out all kinds of terrorism and to spread the message of global peace."

Judge Overturns Convictions of Three Islamic Charity Leaders - Rodrique Ngowi (AP)
    U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Saylor IV on Tuesday threw out the government's case against a former Islamic charity leader and partially overturned the convictions of two others, ruling prosecutors failed to prove all the charges.
    The three were convicted in January of duping the U.S. government into awarding their Boston-based organization, Care International Inc., tax-exempt status by hiding its pro-jihad activities.

Anti-Semitic Incidents in Canada Hit Record High in 2007 - Rhonda Spivak (Ha'aretz)
    Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada hit a record high in 2007, according to a recent report by the League of Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada.
    The group recorded 1,042 anti-Semitic incidents in Canada in 2007, up 11.4% since 2006. A 59.1% increase was noted on Canadian college and university campuses.
    The study showed that over the past 10 years anti-Semitic incidents have jumped 400% in Canada.
    Synagogues were targeted in 2007 in 22 incidents, in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Richmond, British Columbia, Hamilton and Barrie, Ontario.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Rice: U.S.-Israel Alliance Based on Kinship
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference on Tuesday: "Because of citizens of conscience like all of you, our alliance with Israel will forever be rooted in a fellowship of families, of friends, and of faith - deepened by a shared culture of tolerance and a pioneer spirit - and elevated by interests reinforced by common ideals. This is the true foundation of the U.S.-Israel alliance. It is enduring. And we reject any attempt to reduce it to crude conspiracy theories."
        "Our kinship with Israel gives us Americans a visceral understanding and sympathy for how Israel's confidence is tested when it comes to security. I remember all-too-well the awful days of 2001 and 2002, when Israelis feared that every bus ride, every night out, was another Passover massacre waiting to happen. And I know the anguish and anger that all Israelis feel, and that we Americans feel, as the terror of random rockets still rains down on innocent people in towns like Sderot and Ashkelon. The thought that our Israeli allies might live in fear and insecurity is simply unacceptable to our nation."
        "When people used to say...'One person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter,' it was the United States that said: No. The intentional murder of innocent people is wrong everywhere at all times."  (State Department)
  • Ahmadinejad Attacks Jews at UN Food Summit in Rome - Malcolm Moore
    Arriving in Rome for the UN Food Summit, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said: "The people of Europe have suffered the most harm from Zionists and today the costs of that falsified regime, whether political or economic, are on Europe's shoulders." "People love what I say because they are trying to save themselves from the oppression of Zionists," he added. This is Ahmadinejad's first trip to a major European nation. Italy has refused to hold any talks with him, but was powerless to deny him entry to a UN event. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Rome's Jews Protest Ahmadinejad's Visit
    The Jewish community in Rome conducted a spontaneous march on Tuesday, in protest against Iranian President Ahmadinejad's visit. "We want to thank the Italian government, especially Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, for not welcoming him, and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini for deciding not to meet with the Iranian ambassador," the spokesman for the Jewish community said. He also commended the Vatican, "which decided to prevent the Iranian president from meeting the pope."  (Ynet News)
  • Report: Palestinian Textbooks Progress toward Positive Portrayal of Jews Erased by Hamas - Diaa Hadid
    Authors of Palestinian school textbooks took small steps toward softening their harsh portrayals of Jews and Israel under the rule of Mahmoud Abbas - but progress was quickly reversed after Hamas won a 2006 election, according to a report released Tuesday by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE) and the American Jewish Committee. Arnon Groiss, author of the report, "Palestinian Textbooks: From Arafat to Abbas and Hamas," said that Hamas issued a grade 12 textbook in which Jews are likened to snakes, and fighting for the sake of Palestine is praised effusively. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Barak: Hizbullah Setting Up Fortified Positions Along Border - Yuval Azoulay
    Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who toured Israel's northern border Tuesday, said that Hizbullah is setting up fortified positions in villages along the Israel-Lebanon border while continuing to grow stronger and collect weapons. He said Hizbullah is also setting up positions in 150 villages deep within southern Lebanon. He added that the strategic positions were established in clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war with Hizbullah.
        "The Syrians are working in intimate cooperation with Hizbullah, and they are in large part responsible for the transfer of weapons and supplies to Hizbullah. The ultimate responsibility, as far as we're concerned, lies with Hizbullah on the one hand, and with the Iranians and the Syrians on the other," Barak said. On the recently renewed negations between Israel and Syria, he said, "Initial contact with the Syrians is aimed at determining whether there will be proper conditions in the future to launch direct negotiations and discuss all the issues. But the issues themselves require, like in any negotiations, some tough concession. That means difficult decisions on [Syrian President] Assad's part as well as on ours." (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Wounds Five in Israel - Hanan Greenberg
    Five people sustained shrapnel wounds Tuesday after a Palestinian rocket landed outside a packing factory in an Israeli community, near the residence quarters of foreign laborers employed there. Four foreign workers and an Israeli were wounded. (Ynet News)
        See also Farmers Fear Losing Foreign Workers to Rocket Threat - Yonat Atlas (Ynet News)
  • New Jerusalem Neighborhoods Are Not Going Anywhere - Herb Keinon
    The announcement on the eve of Jerusalem Day of the construction of 884 housing units in Jewish neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem - in Pisgat Ze'ev and in Har Homa - shores up a key Israeli policy point: The Jerusalem neighborhoods established beyond the 1967 lines are not going anywhere.
        Everyone has to go through the motions, at least publicly, but neither the Palestinian foot-stomping, nor the UN's tongue-clucking, or even the U.S.'s finger-wagging genuinely fazes anybody. If, according to current signals, settlements like Ma'ale Adumim, Efrat and Givat Ze'ev will remain a part of the State of Israel under the shelf-agreement being negotiated, does anyone really believe that neighborhoods closer to Jerusalem such as Pisgat Ze'ev, Har Homa, Ramot and Gilo won't? (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Time for Radical Pragmatism - Thomas L. Friedman
    Israel cannot cede control over any part of the West Bank without being assured that someone credible is in charge. Rockets from Gaza land on the remote Israeli town of Sderot. Rockets from the West Bank could hit, and close, Israel's international airport. That is an intolerable risk. The only way to balance the Palestinians' need for sovereignty now with Israel's need for a withdrawal now, but without creating a security vacuum, is to enlist a trusted third party - Jordan - to help the Palestinians control whatever West Bank land is ceded to them. (New York Times)
  • There Is a Military Solution to Terror - Bret Stephens
    For the week of May 16-23, there were 300 "violent incidents" in Iraq. That's down from 1,600 last June and the lowest recorded since March 2004. Al-Qaeda has been crushed by a combination of U.S. arms and Sunni tribal resistance. In Colombia, the number of FARC guerrilla attacks is down by more than two-thirds since 2002. In the face of a stepped-up campaign by the Colombian military (funded, equipped and trained by the U.S.), the group is now experiencing mass desertions. This news explodes the mindless shibboleth that there is "no military solution" when it comes to dealing with insurgencies. On the contrary, it turns out that the best way to end an insurgency is, quite simply, to beat it.
        The deeper problem here is the belief that the best way to deal with insurgents is to address the "root causes" of the grievance that purportedly prompted them to take up arms. But what most of these insurgencies seek isn't social or moral redress: It's absolute power. Beating an insurgency allows a genuine process of reconciliation and redress to take place. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Winning Counterinsurgency War: The Israeli Experience - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror (ICA/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Observations:

    Why Iranians Like America Again - Azadeh Moaveni (Christian Science Monitor)

    • Although their leaders still call America the "Great Satan," ordinary Iranians' affection for the U.S. seems to be thriving these days, at least in Tehran. This is evident in people's conversations, their insatiable demand for U.S. products and culture, and their fascination with the U.S. presidential campaign. Liking the U.S. is also a way for Iranians to register their frustration with their own firebrand president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
    • I lived in Iran until last summer and experienced all the reasons why Ahmadinejad has replaced the U.S. as Iranians' top object of vexation. Under his leadership, inflation has spiked at least 20%, thanks to expansionary fiscal policies which inject vast amounts of cash into the economy. Interminable lines have accompanied the government's new gas-rationing scheme.
    • Ahmadinejad has also resurrected unpopular invasions into Iranians' private lives. Newspapers announced that police would begin raiding office buildings and businesses to ensure that women were wearing proper Islamic dress. Police swept our street to confiscate illegal satellite dishes.
    • At the height of his popularity, Ahmadinejad successfully rallied public support around Iran's nuclear program with catchy slogans. But its defiance failed to win Iran much more than the disagreeable whiff of global-pariah status, moving many Iranians to reconsider the costs of nuclear enrichment. Of course, a minority of Iranians still hate the Great Satan. But the strain of anti-Americanism in Iran is more mellow than the rage found elsewhere in the Arab and Muslim world, and the Palestinian cause is less deeply felt in Iran.
    • Those old enough to remember the shah's era are nostalgic for the prosperity and international standing Iran once enjoyed; those born after the revolution see no future for themselves in today's Iran and adopt their parents' gilded memories as their own.

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