Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at www.dailyalert.org|
November 24, 2009
Ahmadinejad Seeks Political Gains in Latin America - Ben Knight (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
Iran's Nuclear Program Spurs a Gulf Arms Race - Richard Spencer (Telegraph-UK)
NATO Reassures Algeria over Israeli Role in Ship Searches - Habib Toumi (Gulf News-Dubai)
Mastermind of Mumbai Attack Preaches at Mosque in Pakistan - Zahid Hussain (Times-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran's government has announced a variety of new ideological offensives to discredit its opponents and re-educate Iran's population. It is implanting 6,000 Basij militia centers in elementary schools across Iran to promote the ideals of the Islamic Revolution, and it has created a new police unit to sweep the Internet for dissident voices. A company affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards acquired a majority share in the nation's telecommunications monopoly this year, giving the Guards de facto control of Iran's land lines, Internet providers and two cellphone companies. And in the spring, the Revolutionary Guards plan to open a news agency with print, photo and television elements. (New York Times)
See also Leading Iranian Reformer Jailed for Six Years - Martin Fletcher
Former Iranian vice president and leading reformer Mohammad Ali Abtahi has been sentenced to six years in prison for fomenting unrest after President Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in June. During the election this year, Abtahi was an adviser to Mehdi Karroubi, one of the defeated candidates. He was arrested four days after the June 12 vote. On his last blog post he called the election a "huge swindle." Abtahi was not seen again until he and 100 others appeared at a televised mass trial on August 1, where he read out a statement saying that the election was fair and that the subsequent demonstrations were part of a reformist plot to seize power. Fahimeh Mousavinejad, his wife, said that he had lost 40 lb. during 44 days in solitary confinement, and appeared to be drugged. (Times-UK)
After more than five months of going it alone, Iran's opposition Green Movement is reaching out to the U.S. for help. Via public and private channels, the Obama administration has received several appeals in recent weeks to take a stronger stand against human-rights abuses in Iran, avoid military action, and impose more aggressive sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards and its vast business interests. (TIME)
Federal officials on Monday unsealed terrorism-related charges against eight new suspects they say were key actors in a recruitment effort that led young Americans to join al-Shabaab, a violent insurgent group in Somalia with ties to al-Qaeda. The recruitment operation largely focused on Somali-American men from the Minneapolis area. The recruits attended training camps in Somalia run by Somali, Arab and Western instructors, who taught them to use machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and indoctrinated them with anti-American and anti-Israeli beliefs, according to court documents.
There are indications that enlistment continues. Last month, the Nevada Highway Patrol stopped a rental car carrying five young Somali men who said they were en route to a wedding in San Diego. A lawyer with knowledge of the case said three of the men soon crossed the Mexican border, en route to an airport. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel's National Security Council is cooperating with the American National Security Agency on the subject of Iranian nuclearization, Council head Uzi Arad told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday. Arad added that Israel was making efforts - some coordinated with the Americans - to speed up the diplomatic process with the Palestinians. While Arad said Israel was ready to renew talks with Syria without preconditions, the emphasis was currently on the Palestinian process. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket into southern Israel on Monday, despite a recent declaration by Hamas that militant groups had reached an agreement to halt cross-border rocket fire. (Ha'aretz)
According to a study released Monday, the 23,000 immigrants who came to Israel since 2002 with the assistance of Nefesh B'Nefesh have generated government revenues of NIS 989 million, while they cost the state an estimated NIS 528 million, the study states. Thus, the net financial contribution of the group's immigrants to Israel's economy is NIS 461 million. The impact they've had on the local tourism industry - by attracting visitors to Israel - is thus far estimated at NIS 347 million. Taken together with their personal savings, "the overall positive financial impact of Nefesh B'Nefesh on the Israeli economy exceeds NIS 1 billion." (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Michael B. Oren, explained Monday why Israel has become so obsessively focused on winning the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas in Gaza since 2006. Oren declined to comment on news reports suggesting that Shalit's release could be imminent, saying there had been false alarms in the past. However, he said, "to understand Gilad Shalit is to understand the State of Israel and who we are."
Nearly all young Israelis go into the army. "It's not just some distant force. It's us, it's our family, it's our kids. The Shalit family is our family," he said. "And even though we may have to release people who may further endanger us, we also have to know that when we send our children out to the battlefield to defend our country, should they fall captive, we're going to do everything possible to secure their release." (Boston Globe)
Non-governmental organizations using the language and frameworks of human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians are often a hidden channel for external influence in Israeli foreign and security policies. Much of the funding for political lobbies that claim to be based in Israeli "civil society" comes from foreign sources - particularly European governments, including the European Commission. This externally funded NGO network is far more powerful than other Israeli organizations that do not enjoy similar support from foreign governments.
This study provides a detailed analysis of the activities of more than twenty Israel-based NGOs that receive funding from European governments. One such group that promotes Palestinian claims to Jerusalem and targets Jewish housing initiatives received 67% of its 2007 NIS 4 million budget from foreign government sources.
The principle of free speech must be preserved, together with limiting the ability of foreign governments to both manipulate domestic politics and to undermine Israel's international legitimacy. European governments should end the secrecy which characterizes their funding decisions for political NGOs, and clear principles for any continued support of these lobbies should be established. (NGO Monitor)
Most Israelis believe the key to enduring peace in the Middle East is convincing Israel's adversaries that ejecting Israel through force is an impossible task not worth pursuing. As the Palestinian-American political scientist Hilal Khashan's work on Arab attitudes toward peace has shown, the willingness of Arabs to make peace with Israel is a direct function of their perception of Israel's invincibility. The Iranian nuclear program threatens this perception.
An additional threat posed by Iran's nuclear program is its potential to unleash a cascade of proliferation in the Middle East, beginning with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The development of nuclear weapons by these countries would pose a grave danger to the Jewish state, despite the fact that Egypt has signed a peace treaty with Israel. This is because leaders who have reconciled themselves to Israel's existence have done so because they believed Israel was strong but unlikely to endure in the long term.
Just as an Iranian nuclear capability would imply a nuclear guarantee for anti-Zionist proxies, an Egyptian or Saudi nuclear capability would reduce incentives for other Arab states to make peace with Israel because, shielded under an Arab nuclear umbrella, they would no longer fear catastrophic defeat or further loss of territory. The writer is associate director of National Security Studies at Johns Hopkins University. (Foreign Affairs)
Peres: Look Who's Judging Israel's Record on Human Rights (Defense News)
Israeli President Shimon Peres said in an interview Monday:
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