Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 24, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Egypt Destroys Tunnel under Border with Gaza, Killing Palestinians (AP/Los Angeles Times)
    Palestinian officials said Tuesday that Egyptian forces blew up a smuggling tunnel with five people inside, killing at least two of them.
    Palestinians use dozens of tunnels under the border between Gaza and Egypt to smuggle in weapons, cash and contraband. In recent months, 42 people have been killed in tunnel collapses.

Syria Bolsters Forces on Lebanese Border - Alia Ibrahim (Washington Post)
    Syria has reinforced its military presence along its border with northern Lebanon, raising political concerns in Beirut.
    Politicians in Beirut said they believed the Syrian government was using the troops to register its concern about the activities of Islamist fighters in northern Lebanon.

Speaking Words of Wisdom - Interview with Paul McCartney - David Horovitz (Jerusalem Post)
    Ahead of his Tel Aviv concert on Thursday, Paul McCartney spoke to the Jerusalem Post:
    Q: How worried have you been about the Islamists' threats - saying you shouldn't come and play here?
    McCartney: You have to realize that any high profile event brings with it some worries. But...I think that most people understand that I'm quite apolitical and that my message is a global one and that it is a peaceful one.
    See also McCartney Arrives in Israel for Concert (BBC News)

Toronto Bans Part of Holocaust Exhibition Over Link with Ahmadinejad - Melissa Leong (National Post-Canada)
    Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies want the city of Toronto to reconsider its decision to prohibit an exhibition that compares Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler.
    "The Making of a War Criminal" was to be one of four travelling educational exhibitions being shown in schools and on city-owned property.

Angola Children Return Home after Surgery in Israel (Angola Press Agency)
    Two of the four Angolan children who had been sent to Israel with heart problems in July returned on Monday to Luanda after successful surgeries.

Israel Cashing In on Caviar Crisis - Charly Wegman (AFP)
    In the past, the Caspian Sea was the world's main source of caviar, but overfishing and pollution have led to dwindling yields, triggering a caviar crisis.
    Israel is cashing in on the crisis by farming Osetra sturgeon at Kibbutz Dan in the north.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Ahmadinejad Rails Against Zionists, U.S. at UN - Claudia Parsons
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed against "Zionist murderers" in a speech to the UN on Tuesday and vowed to resist American bullying and defend Iran's right to nuclear power. After a long discourse on God, justice and morality, Ahmadinejad said a small number of "deceitful" Zionists were manipulating Americans and Europeans. He dwelled on what he described as Zionist control over international "financial and monetary centers."  (Reuters/Washington Post)
        See also At UN, Protesters Target Iran on Rights - Nora Boustany (Washington Post)
  • Bush: UN Should Do More to Fight Terrorism - Tom Leonard
    In his final speech to the UN, President Bush told UN members they needed to do more to fight terrorism. He noted that UN members too often decried terrorist outrages after the event instead of preventing them from happening in the first place. He pointed out that regimes "like Syria and Iran" continued to sponsor terror. "As the 21st century unfolds, some may be tempted to assume that the threat has receded. This would be comforting. It would be wrong," he said. "The terrorists believe time is on their side, so they've made waiting out civilized nations part of their strategy. We must not allow them to succeed." (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Iran's Leader Gives Thumbs Down During Bush Speech - Terence Hunt
    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashed a thumbs-down Tuesday as President Bush denounced Tehran as a sponsor of global terrorism. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Russia Won't Meet with U.S. on Iranian Nuclear Program - Steven Lee Myers
    Russia said Tuesday that it would not participate in a meeting with the U.S. this week to discuss Iran's nuclear program, effectively scuttling the meeting. Russia and the U.S., with China, Britain, France and Germany, had been scheduled to meet Thursday in New York to discuss additional punitive actions against Iran in the wake of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency criticizing Iran's failure to fully answer questions about its nuclear activities. Russian officials had already made clear that they did not support new sanctions beyond three rounds already approved by the UN Security Council. (New York Times)
  • Argentina Asks Iran to Hand Over Suspects in 1994 Jewish Center Bombing
    Argentine President Cristina Fernandez asked Iran at the UN on Tuesday to hand over several citizens suspected of planning the deadly 1994 bombing of an Argentine Jewish center, so they can face trial. Argentina has asked for the arrest of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven other Iranians on charges they masterminded the blast, which killed 85 people. Interpol has issued arrest orders for six of the suspects. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Charge Ahmadinejad with Incitement to Genocide - Natasha Mozgovaya
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements professing a desire to "wipe Israel off the map" are sufficient to serve as the basis for charges of incitement to genocide, two prominent former diplomats from the U.S. and Israel said on Tuesday. Dore Gold, Jerusalem's former envoy to the UN, and former U.S. ambassador Richard Holbrooke are among a group of scholars, lawmakers, and survivors of genocide from Rwanda and Sudan who gathered in Washington on Tuesday for a conference examining the plausibility of bringing the Iranian president before an international tribunal.
        "If the West will fail to respond to Iran's incitement to genocide, Iran will feel it can act. Deterring Iran now is vital," said Gold. Speakers said Ahmadinejad's pronouncements are alarmingly similar to the coded statements of incitement that preceded the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsis in 1994, which the international community failed to prevent. (Ha'aretz)
        See also below Observations: Conference on Incitement to Genocide - Summaries of Key Presentations
  • Terrorist Who Drove Car into Israeli Pedestrians Was Hamas Member - Etgar Lefkovits
    The terrorist who rammed his BMW into a group of soldiers in central Jerusalem on Monday was a member of Hamas, according to the Palestinian Ma'an news agency. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ahmed Qureia: Violence "Legitimate" If Talks Fail
    Palestinian chief negotiator Ahmed Qureia cautioned on Tuesday that violence could erupt if peace talks with Israel collapse. "If the talks reached a dead end, what do we do? Capitulate? Resistance in all its forms is a legitimate right," said Qureia. Asked whether he was saying the Palestinians might resume suicide bombings and attacks inside Israel, Qureia responded: "All forms of resistance." (Reuters/Ynet News)
        See also Palestinian Negotiator Denies Calling for Violent Resistance - Barak Ravid
    Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia said his words were taken out of context and that he meant only political resistance, rather than resistance involving violence. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Ahmadinejad in New York - Editorial
    A man like Ahmadinejad revolts Americans. When he acceded in 2005, many of the ex-hostages taken captive in 1979 identified the new president as one of their tormentors. Americans may also remember stories about the Austrian investigation into Ahmadinejad's role in the assassination of a Kurdish Iranian leader. Finally there is the record of the Iranians themselves. Their foreign policy consists largely of financing, directing, and supporting terrorism throughout the Middle East and beyond. Their military in an important sense does not wear a uniform other than the suicide bomb vest. (New York Sun)
  • Report Seeks Engagement with Muslims by Diplomacy - Laurie Goodstein
    A group of 34 American leaders including former secretary of state Madeleine Albright will release a report in Washington on Wednesday, "Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World," calling for more diplomatic engagement, even with Iran and other adversaries, and a major investment in economic development in Muslim countries to create jobs for alienated youth. It calls on the next president to appoint a special envoy within the first three months to jump-start negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
        One-third of the group were Muslim Americans. The members were selected by the sponsoring organizations, Search for Common Ground and the Consensus Building Institute, which both promote nonviolent conflict resolution. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    Conference on State-Sanctioned Incitement to Genocide: What Can Be Done? (Conference of Presidents-Genocide Watch-Jerusalem Center)

    From an international conference in Washington on Tuesday:

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