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November 23, 2009

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In-Depth Issues:

Columbia, Rutgers on Iran-Controlled Foundation's Gift List - Isabel Vincent (New York Post)
    Anti-Israel, pro-Iran university professors are being funded by a shadowy multimillion-dollar Islamic charity that the feds charge is an illegal front for the repressive Iranian regime.
    The Alavi Foundation has given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to Columbia University and Rutgers University for Middle Eastern and Persian studies programs that employ professors sympathetic to the Iranian dictatorship.
    "We found evidence that the government of Iran really controlled everything about the foundation," said Adam Kaufmann, investigations chief at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
    Federal law-enforcement authorities are in the midst of seizing up to $650 million in assets from the Alavi Foundation, which they charge funnels money to Iran-supported Islamic schools in the U.S. and to a syndicate of Iranian spies based in Europe.
    The foundation donated $100,000 to Columbia University after the school agreed to host Iranian leader and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to the foundation's 2007 tax filings.
    Rutgers professor Hooshang Amirahmadi, former head of the school's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and president of the American-Iranian Council, unabashedly has touted Hizbullah and Hamas as legitimate organizations and not terrorists.

Gilo: A Residential Suburb of Jerusalem Since 1971 - Maurice Ostroff (Jerusalem Post)
    Gilo is very different from the outposts in the West Bank.
    It is not in east Jerusalem, as widely reported, but in southwest Jerusalem within the municipal borders.
    It is a Jerusalem neighborhood with a population of around 40,000.
    The ground was bought by Jews before WWII and settled in 1971.
    There is no inference whatsoever that it rests on private Arab land.

Useful Reference:

The UN Gaza Report - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center)
    Expanded text of Amb. Gold's presentation at Brandeis during an exchange with Justice Richard Goldstone, Nov. 5, 2009:
    "The language used by the UN Gaza Report, with its allegations about 'deliberate' Israeli attacks on civilians, maligns Israeli society as a whole, for the Israel Defense Forces (the IDF) is a citizen's army, an army which is made up of the people of Israel.
    The IDF has been imbued for generations to avert civilian casualties at all costs."

    See also An Open Letter to Richard Goldstone - Trevor Norwitz (Commentary)
    The writer teaches at Columbia University Law School.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Stages War Games, Sits on West's Nuclear Offer - Thomas Erdbrink
    Iran's army and Revolutionary Guard staged large-scale air defense war games on Sunday in an effort to show off the country's deterrence capabilities amid rising pressure from the West over its nuclear program. (Washington Post)
        See also Frustration as Iran Stalls on Deal - Steven Erlanger
    Senior officials from Western powers meeting in Brussels discussed the possibility on Friday of new sanctions on Iran for flouting the UN Security Council's demands. "We are disappointed by the lack of follow-up to the three understandings reached" in Geneva on Oct. 1, the officials said Friday in a statement. Iran has "not responded positively to the IAEA proposed agreement for the provision of nuclear fuel for its Tehran research reactor," the statement said. Nor has Iran "engaged in an intensified dialogue" with the West about its nuclear program. Iran also failed to meet the group again by the end of October, as it had agreed to do. (New York Times)
  • Abbas, Fayyad Sidestep New PA Elections - Howard Schneider
    Palestinians are turning to an unelected group of political insiders instead of holding new elections in order to keep the Palestinian Authority government working after its term expires in January. The PLO Central Council is slated to meet in December to authorize Mahmoud Abbas to remain the movement's chief political figure and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to continue running the day-to-day affairs of government. Abbas' term expires Jan. 24, but election officials have ruled that a planned vote cannot take place while the Islamist Hamas rules Gaza. (Washington Post)
  • Fighters and Explosives in Baghdad Came from Syria
    Investigations into massive suicide bombings in Baghdad on Oct. 25, in which more than 150 people died, indicated that explosives or fighters were coming across from Syria, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, said Wednesday. (Reuters)
  • Israel Hits Gaza Weapons Facilities
    The Israel Air Force Saturday hit two weapons-manufacturing facilities in Gaza and a smuggling tunnel in the Rafah border area, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. Israel said it targeted the sites in response to the firing of a Kassam rocket at the Israeli town of Sderot earlier Saturday. About 15 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza last month, the military said. (CNN)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • President Peres Meets with Egyptian President Mubarak
    President Shimon Peres told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Sunday: "The government of Israel is prepared for a solution of two states for two peoples, with the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. We want to live in peace and mutual respect with our Palestinian neighbors. We seek peace and condemn the path of terror led by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who wants to impose Iranian hegemony in the Middle East with bombs and threats."  (President's Spokesperson-Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Islamic Jihad, PFLP Against Holding Fire at Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Despite Hamas' announcement that Palestinian groups have agreed to halt rocket attacks on Israel, three factions in Gaza said they were not aware of any agreement in this regard. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine strongly denied that its members were part of a cease-fire agreement. The group's armed wing, the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, said it remained committed to the "option of confrontation and resistance." A spokesman for Islamic Jihad in Gaza said it was inconceivable that the Palestinians would agree to stop the "resistance."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fayyad: Eastern Border of Palestine Is Jordan - Ali Waked
    As opinions are being voiced in Jerusalem that the Jordan Valley will remain under Israeli control even after a Palestinian state is formed, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Sunday that Jordan will be the eastern border of the state that will be established. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel's Requirement for Defensible Borders - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Reason Iran Can't Be Trusted - Mamoun Fandy
    Should the West trust Iranian promises? The short answer is "no." Taqiyya is the Shiite religious rationale for concealment or dissimulation in political or worldly affairs. At one level it means that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can tell himself that he is obliged by his faith not to tell the truth. In Iran, the teachings of Shiite Islam govern all aspects of society, and taqiyya is one of the key elements of the Shiite faith. While many outsiders are surprised by Iran's concealment of its nuclear installations, those who study the Shiite faith and recognize the signs of taqiyya are not.
        Taqiyya requires the faithful to be deceitful at times of weakness. The teachings of Jafar al-Sadiq, the sixth Shiite imam, emphasize taqiyya as a political tool. "Befriend people on the surface, and keep your grudges and intentions hidden," he advised. The writer is director of the Middle East program at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • It's Up to Netanyahu - Jim Hoagland
    Israelis are newly confident of U.S. support, which rattles the Arabs. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got a cold shower from Obama when he visited Washington in May. He was told that he should accept the principle of a Palestinian state, which he grudgingly did last summer. But Netanyahu emerged from a Nov. 9 White House meeting with Obama able to claim credibly that the two men had talked as allies about Middle East peace and Iran's nuclear program - with Obama setting a new end-of-December deadline for his engagement efforts with Tehran to produce results.
        Whatever the Goldstone [Gaza] report's merits - and they are lessened by its deliberate demonization of Israel's motives and milquetoast exculpations of Hamas' actions - it seems to have been written with no feel for the political consequences it would bring for the peace process. The report also ignored the concern that it would create at the Pentagon and in other Western military headquarters with forces fighting guerrillas who use civilian populations and infrastructure as shields in modern asymmetrical warfare. On Capitol Hill, misgivings about Netanyahu were buried in a reflexive gathering around Israel under UN-inspired attack. The Goldstone fracas also helped push the politically sensitive Obama White House back toward a more supportive, traditional U.S. attitude toward Israel. (Washington Post)
  • Taking the Edge Off War - Hugh Dellios
    The new indoor playground for children in Sderot, less than a mile from the border with Gaza, offers unique attributes beyond its horizontal climbing wall, mini-soccer field and convertible disco/movie theater. It also offers six bomb shelters and rocket-proof, anti-shockwave walls. The mayor says Sderot is a quieter place since the Gaza operation eleven months ago, and is targeted by only one or two rockets a month.
        Mayor David Bouskila, in the U.S. to meet donors who paid for the heavily fortified recreation center which opened in June, shared his front-row view of life with rockets. "The building of the recreation center is something that gives our children for the first time the opportunity to play without fear." "For eight years we (wanted) the army to go into Gaza. No country can let its citizens suffer for eight years. When (UN special investigator Richard) Goldstone put out his report, I asked him where he was over the last eight years. Where was the UN when children died in Sderot?"  (Chicago Tribune)
  • Observations:

    Making Israel Disappear - Vincent Carroll (Denver Post)

    • "In the world inhabited by Palestinian children there is no Israel," says Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch ( in Jerusalem.
    • The anti-Israeli content of Palestinian textbooks has been a longstanding concern for anyone who yearns for a permanent political settlement, but surely those books have improved since Yasser Arafat's death in 2004. Not really, says Marcus. If anything, he says, they devote more space than ever to depicting conflict with Israel as a solemn religious duty aimed at liberating a Muslim land.
    • Remember, we're talking about textbooks chosen by the Palestinian government led by the allegedly moderate Mahmoud Abbas, not the overtly jihadist Hamas. The PA media are full of similar Islamist references that offer no room for compromise, and that honor terrorists and suicide bombers as national heroes.
    • No less ominous is what Marcus describes as the PA's "infrastructure of hate," the relentless depiction of Jews as evil - as conspirators spreading AIDS, for example, or undermining the foundations of the Al-Aqsa mosque.
    • Naturally, Jews poisoned Yasser Arafat, too - or at least that is what children are told. In a TV tribute to Arafat earlier this month, one youngster unconsciously presented the essence of this paranoid vision: "He died from poisoning by the Jews. Well, I don't know what he died from, but I know it was by the Jews."

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