Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 22, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

New Bulldozer Attack in Jerusalem Wounds 11 (Jerusalem Post/Ha'aretz)
    A bulldozer driver went on a rampage in central Jerusalem on Tuesday, wounding at least 11 people.
    The driver was shot dead by border policemen.
    On July 2, an Arab resident of eastern Jerusalem rammed a bulldozer into cars, buses and pedestrians in the capital, killing three people and wounding at least 45 others.

State Department Intervening Repeatedly with Israel on Minor Palestinian Issues - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
    Senior officials in the U.S. State Department, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have repeatedly complained to Israel recently over relatively minor Palestinian issues that it would have ignored until a few months ago, Israeli officials say.
    One such case occurred two weeks ago, when the daughter of Palestinian parliamentarian Hanan Ashrawi sought to visit Israel. After several years of living in the U.S., her residency in eastern Jerusalem had lapsed.
    Assistant Secretary of State David Welch phoned senior Israeli officials to demand they intervene.
    Another case involved an eviction order issued to an eastern Jerusalem family over nonpayment of rent. Officials from the U.S. consulate visited the family and the State Department demanded that Israel prevent the eviction.
    The stunned Israelis responded that the eviction had been upheld by the High Court of Justice. Moreover, they said, this was an internal affair.
    A senior Israeli official said the person behind this growing American criticism is the U.S. consul in Jerusalem, Jacob Wallace.
    "Every week, he receives dozens of complaints from Palestinians and transfers them to Washington without examination," the official said. "He's really inflaming the atmosphere."

The Saudi Monologue - Editorial (New York Sun)
    Even Rabbi Michael Lerner, who was positive about the Saudi religious dialogue conference in Madrid overall, conceded in an e-mail that "The Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and others who were in attendance here were props."

Muslim Moles - Editorial (Investor's Business Daily)
    An alarming number of Arabs and Muslims have landed sensitive government jobs only to be caught later spying for the enemy.
    Federal prosecutors say Fairfax County Police Sgt. Weiss Rasool, an Afghan immigrant, tipped off a fellow mosque member that he was under FBI investigation. When agents went to arrest the terrorist, they found him and his family destroying evidence.
    Thanks to post-9/11 data-sharing, local police like Rasool now have access to classified FBI files on terror suspects maintained with the National Crime Information Center system.
    In May, the Energy Department revoked the security clearance of an Egyptian-born nuclear physicist because of "conflicting allegiances."
    Waheeda Tehseen, an EPA toxicologist whose husband worked for Pakistani intelligence, turned out to be an al-Qaeda fundraiser.

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

  • British Prime Minister Promises Backing for Israel in Face of Iran Nuclear Threat - Nicholas Watt and Julian Borger
    Gordon Brown on Monday recalled the Holocaust in a blunt warning to Iran to end its "totally abhorrent" threat to destroy Israel and abandon plans to develop nuclear weapons. In the first speech by a British prime minister to the Israeli Knesset, Brown declared Britain would stand by the country when its "very right to exist" was under threat. Brown's remarks will be seen as a signal that Britain could be prepared to support a military strike against Iran if all other diplomatic routes fail, including a tightening of sanctions. (Guardian-UK)
        See also below Observations: British Prime Minister Addresses Knesset (British Prime Minister's Office)
  • UK Promotes Academic Links with Israel - Anthea Lipsett and Jessica Shepherd
    British academics will be encouraged to conduct research with their Israeli peers as Prime Minister Gordon Brown signed a £740,000 academic exchange scheme during his trip to Israel on Monday. The Britain-Israel research and academic exchange partnership (BIRAX) will award scientific research grants to junior academics - from postdoctoral students to mid-career researchers and lecturers. The government is keen to promote links between the two countries to play down attempts by British academics to boycott Israeli academics. (Guardian-UK)
  • Rice Says Iran Not Serious at Nuke Talks - Matthew Lee
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran on Monday of not being serious at weekend talks about its disputed nuclear program despite the presence of a senior U.S. diplomat, and warned it may soon face new sanctions. Rice said Iran had given the run-around to envoys from the U.S. and five other world powers. She said all six nations were serious about a two-week deadline Iran now has to agree to freeze suspect activities and start negotiations or be hit with new penalties.
        At Saturday's meeting, Rice said that instead of a coherent answer, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili delivered a "meandering" monologue. "People are tired of the Iranians and their stalling tactics," she said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Radical Islamists in Gaza: "Compared to Us, Hamas Is Islamism Lite" - Ulrike Putz
    Abu Mustafa, 33, holds the key to an ideology that many are turning to in Gaza: Salafist jihadism, a belief in the most radical form of Islam. He says the Salafis now number up to 5,000 people. Members are receiving weapons training and are schooled in both dogma and strategy. Salafis - sometimes referred to as Wahhabis - seek to live a life governed by the laws of religion.
        To make their vision a reality, Abu Mustafa and his men are willing to fight - and they are willing to slaughter innocent bystanders. For those who don't want to accept the hegemony of Islam, holy war is the only recipe. "We have to fight - just like our brothers on Sept. 11," Abu Mustafa says. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hamas Using Truce to Plant Mines in Gaza - Amnon Meranda
    Hamas has been taking advantage of the truce in order to plant mines in wide areas in the Gaza Strip, Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday. Diskin also said, "Hamas today has missiles which can reach Kiryat Gat, and maybe even Ashdod." He added that Hamas was interested in maintaining the truce in order to stabilize its power and rule. "The truce is enabling Hamas to get stronger. They have not abandoned their long-term plans. They were not required to stop the smuggling and return (kidnapped soldier) Gilad Shalit in return [for the truce]." According to Diskin, there is no other way but to control the area. (Ynet News)
  • Israel to Establish New Arab City in the Galilee - Yoav Stern
    The Israeli Cabinet voted on Sunday to form a ministerial committee to focus on the establishment of a new Arab city in the Galilee. Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadele (Labor) said the decision demonstrated the government's recognition of the Arab population's equal rights, and hoped it would strengthen Israeli Arabs' sense of belonging to the country. Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit has said: "The aim is a modern city that any young couple will be able to buy a house in and live there, as in any other modern city in the world." (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Despite Saudi Promises, Textbooks Filled with Hate - Eli Lake
    A new study from the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute finds that Saudi textbooks are filled with the austere supremacism of the Wahhabi sect of Islam, despite promises from the kingdom in 2006 to alter them. Jews, Christians, and non-Wahhabi Sunni Muslims are described in many of the textbooks as enemies of the true faith and infidels. The report coincides with a conference the Saudi monarch is sponsoring in Madrid, at which he appeared to want reconciliation between the clerics of the Muslim world and their counterparts among Christians and Jews.
        Nearly two years ago, the State Department waived a series of sanctions suggested under the International Religious Freedom Act after America and Saudi Arabia came to an arrangement whereby Riyadh promised to excise the intolerance of their textbooks by the start of the fall 2008 school year. The director of the Center for Religious Freedom, Nina Shea, said the State Department should consider sanctions against Saudi Arabia. (New York Sun)
  • Israel Cannot Stop Iranian Nuclear Program by Itself - Bernard Gwertzman
    Asked about a possible Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites, Gary Sick, who served as the Iran officer in the National Security Councils of the Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations, responded: "Israel cannot do the job by itself and would have to have American assistance not only to carry it out, but also to follow up. Clearly, one quick strike like the bombing of the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981 cannot do it. And it's hard to believe that Israel could carry out multiple bombing raids, even if they decided to try to do it without U.S. assistance....So, in the end, you are probably making it more likely that Iran will get a nuclear weapon, perhaps even faster, and probably the Iranian people will gravitate around this hard-liner government that they don't particularly like out of national support." (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • Talking to Iran - A Dubious Mission - Amir Taheri
    The Khomeinist regime is unlike any of its neighbors. Its ambition is to reshape the Middle East, and later the rest of the world, after its own fashion. And, since the U.S. also wishes to create a new balance of power in the Middle East, the two rival ambitions are bound to clash at some point. Everyone has been talking to the mullahs for 30 years in the hope of changing their behavior. But the problem isn't the regime's behavior, but its nature. A regime that is at war against its own people on a daily basis can't make peace with others. (New York Post)
  • Sunni-Shiite Relations - Reza Zia-Ebrahimi
    The "Shiite crescent" - an alliance of Shiite Iran with Arab Shiite movements in Iraq and Lebanon allegedly committed to dominating the Middle East - has become a popular intellectual shortcut to explaining Muslim affairs in the West. Yet the theory ignores the complexity of religious, national, local and tribal allegiances that include, exclude or overlap one another throughout the region. In an interesting twist, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - two Shiites - are considered the most popular foreign leaders in overwhelmingly Sunni Egypt (and probably most of the Middle East), according to a poll by the Ibn Khaldun Center in Cairo.
        The Saudi religious establishment holds sway over many radical Muslim circles, thanks to its worldwide network of mosques, and usually adheres to a puritan and intolerant version of Sunni Islam. Many young Saudis who engage in jihad in Iraq are motivated, among other things, by fervent anti-Shiite sentiments. (International Herald Tribune)
  • Observations:

    British Prime Minister Addresses Knesset (British Prime Minister's Office)

    Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, told the Knesset in Jerusalem on Monday:

    • Let me tell the people of Israel today: Britain is your true friend. A friend in difficult times as well as in good times; a friend who will stand beside you whenever your peace, your stability and your existence are under threat; a friend who shares an unbreakable partnership based on shared values of liberty, democracy and justice. And to those who mistakenly and outrageously call for the end of Israel let the message be: Britain will always stand firmly by Israel's side.
    • My father was a Minister of the Church who learned Hebrew and had a deep and life-long affection for Israel. For three decades he was a member of - and again and again Chairman of - the Church of Scotland's Israel Committee. And he traveled back and forth to Israel twice every year, often more. I am proud to say that for the whole of my life, I have counted myself a friend of Israel.
    • To those who question Israel's very right to exist, and threaten the lives of its citizens through terror, we say: the people of Israel have a right to live here, to live freely and to live in security. And to those who believe that threatening statements fall upon indifferent ears we say in one voice: that it is totally abhorrent for the President of Iran to call for Israel to be wiped from the map of the world.
    • Just as we have led the work on three mandatory sanctions resolutions of the UN, the UK will continue to lead - with the U.S. and our EU partners - in our determination to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons program. We stand ready to lead in taking firmer sanctions and ask the whole international community to join us.

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