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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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November 11, 2010

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In-Depth Issues:

Behind an Israeli Strike in Gaza, Help from Egypt - Karl Vick (TIME)
    Mohammad Namnam, a senior commander of the Army of Islam in Gaza, linked to al-Qaeda, was tracked and killed on Nov. 3 in a missile strike after Israeli security operatives learned that he was preparing a terror attack on U.S. forces stationed at El Gorah, about a dozen miles west of Gaza, in the Sinai Desert.
    The source of the tip was Egyptian intelligence, which gleaned news of the plot from Army of Islam operatives captured earlier in Sinai.

U.S. Blocks Iran's Bid for Seat on UN Women's Rights Panel - Neil MacFarquhar (New York Times)
    The U.S. orchestrated the defeat of Iran's push to gain a seat Wednesday on the board of the new UN organization dedicated to gender equality, with its ambassadors approaching dozens of foreign ministries to argue that the Islamic republic's human rights record would send the wrong message about the new body.
    Iran got just 19 votes from the members of UNESCO, and was defeated by East Timor which received 36 votes.

Listen to Conference of Presidents on Radio
    Malcolm Hoenlein co-hosts the John Batchelor radio show on Thursday nights from 10-11:30 p.m. EST on WABC 770 AM.

Chilean Miners to Visit Israel for Christmas (AP)
    Israel says the 33 Chilean miners who captured the world's attention surviving 69 days in a collapsed mine have accepted an Israeli invitation to visit the Holy Land for Christmas.
    Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Thursday that Israel offered the miners an all-expenses-paid, weeklong tour of Christian holy sites and other attractions over the holidays.
    Palmor says the Chilean ambassador has confirmed the miners would come.

Loyalists Sweep Jordan Election after Opposition Boycott - Ahmad Khatib (AFP)
    Jordanians voted in large numbers to elect a parliament dominated by pro-government loyalists, with 13 women winning seats, after a boycott by opposition Islamists, official results showed on Wednesday.

U.S. to Store Another $400M in Emergency Military Equipment in Israel - Anshel Pfeffer (Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. government is to move an additional $400 million worth of military equipment to emergency storage in Israel over the next two years, bringing the value of U.S. equipment stockpiled in Israel to $1.2 billion by 2012.
    The equipment, which includes smart bombs, will be at Israel's disposal in an emergency. Israel used such U.S. weaponry during the Second Lebanon War.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Clinton Nixes Unilateral Move for Palestinian State - Jill Dougherty and Laurie Ure
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday the U.S. does not support a unilateral move by Palestinians to declare a Palestinian state. "We do not support unilateral steps by either party that would prejudge the outcome of such negotiations," Clinton said. "We have always said, and I continue to say, that negotiations between the parties are the only means by which all of the outstanding claims arising out of the conflict can be resolved."  (CNN)
        See also Palestinian Authority to Get $150 Million Additional U.S. Aid to Pare Debt - Flavia Krause-Jackson
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday said the U.S. gave $150 million in direct aid to help the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority close its budget deficit. "This underscores the strong determination of the American people and of this administration to stand with our Palestinian friends even during difficult economic times as we have here at home," Clinton said. (Bloomberg)
        See also U.S. Details $739.9M in Aid to Palestinians for 2010 (State Department)
  • Netanyahu Lauds Close U.S.-Israel Security Cooperation
    Prime Minister Netanyahu told Fox Business Channel in an interview on Wednesday: "I think there is fundamental misunderstanding about the close nature between Israel and the United States. It is so close and it's something that is mirrored by all leaders and by all governments, whether in the United States or in Israel....We have had security cooperation in the last year that people don't know about but I think has surpassed all previous levels."
        "The outgoing Congress was friendly to Israel. The incoming Congress is friendly to Israel. I think basically that's a constant in the relationship between Israel and the United States."
        "The only way you're going to conclude a successful peace negotiation is if you actually engage in it. And I'm disappointed with the fact that the Palestinian Authority has found ways not to negotiate. to seek a detour, to somehow go to the UN or go to the Security Council, or go elsewhere in avoiding the critical negotiation that we have to engage in."  (Fox Business Channel-Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Clinton Criticizes Israeli Plans for Building in Jerusalem - Robert Burns
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday criticized Israel's latest building plans in east Jerusalem, calling the proposed construction "counterproductive." "The United States was deeply disappointed by the announcement of advance planning for new housing units in sensitive areas of east Jerusalem," Clinton said, a day before she was scheduled to meet in New York with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP)
        See also Palestinians Want UN Session on Israeli Construction - Mohammed Daraghmeh
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants a UN Security Council session to discuss Israeli settlement construction, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Wednesday. (AP)
  • Ahmadinejad: Iran Nuclear Right Is Non-Negotiable - Parisa Hafezi and Ramin Mostafavi
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that Iran's right to nuclear capabilities was non-negotiable, ahead of proposed talks with major world powers on its controversial atomic program. "We have repeatedly said that our (nuclear) rights are not negotiable....We only hold talks to resolve international problems," Ahmadinejad said. (Reuters)
        See also Iran Accuses IAEA of Leaking Information to U.S.
    Iran's president has accused the UN nuclear watchdog of leaking information to the U.S. and says that's the reason Tehran refuses to allow international inspectors unannounced access to the country's nuclear facilities. (AP-Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Air Force Jet Crashes in Negev, Two Feared Dead - Yaakov Katz
    Israel Air Force pilot Maj. Amihai Itkis, 28, and navigator Maj. Emmanuel Levi, 30, were feared dead on Wednesday after their F-16I fighter jet crashed during a training flight in southern Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Attack IDF Patrol on Gaza Border - Anshel Pfeffer
    Two bombs that exploded along Israel's border with Gaza on Wednesday targeted a passing Israel Defense Forces patrol, the army confirmed. Army patrols of the area later uncovered a third bomb. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. (Ha'aretz)
  • Mediterranean Summit Canceled Again Due to Arab Boycott Threat - Barak Ravid
    French national security adviser Jean-David Levitte told his Israeli counterpart Uzi Arad on Tuesday that the Union for the Mediterranean conference planned for Nov. 21 in Barcelona had been canceled for the third time because Arab states threatened to boycott if Israel was invited. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Netanyahu Seen Prepared to Stand His Ground on Jerusalem - Ron Bousso
    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said Tuesday there was "no connection between the peace process and the planning and building policies in Jerusalem." Aaron David Miller, a Middle East expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, said Netanyahu is determined "to make it unmistakably clear to the Americans that Jerusalem was never a part of this understanding and will not be a part of it in the future. There's no question that he's prepared to stand his ground....The administration got itself on the wrong track by concentrating on settlements and not on dealing with the core issues. And now they are boxed in."  (AFP)
        See also "Building in Jerusalem Is as Natural as Breathing" - Marc Tracy
    Aaron David Miller told me that since we are talking about Jerusalem here: "Building in Jerusalem is as natural as breathing." To be fair to Netanyahu: It is nigh impossible to imagine a final deal that does not include some sort of Israeli sovereignty in all of Jerusalem; east Jerusalem was never included in any freeze deal; and even the freeze deal that was reached a year ago has since expired. "Building in Jerusalem was never considered off-limits by either the government of Israel or frankly - with respect to the Obama administration, they basically acquiesced in it," Miller noted. (Tablet)
  • Israel Continues Building in Its Own Capital - Jennifer Rubin
    "Never helpful." That's how Obama described Israel's continued building in its own capital. Obama has elevated settlements as the end-all and be-all of negotiation. Unlike every other administration that managed to avoid escalating the issue, Obama insists on exacerbating it. The inevitable Palestinian intransigence and European heckling followed. (Commentary)
  • Are Relations between Syria and Iran Cooling Off? - Zvi Bar'el
    Syria appears to have been responsible for confiscating a large shipment of explosives that Iran was planning to send to Hizbullah via Italy. Last week veteran Lebanese correspondent Huda al-Husseini reported in Asharq Al-Awsat that a container holding seven tons of RDX explosives was confiscated from the deck of the cargo ship Finland in an Italian port on September 22 while on its way from Iran to Syria. The explosives, which had been sent by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, can be used as ammunition for M-302 and M-600 missiles. Employees of the Syrian Defense Ministry were reported to be the ones to inform on Iran to the Italian authorities about the illegal cargo.
        Feelings of suspicion and discomfort are apparently developing among Syria, Iran and Hizbullah, and the cargo in Italy is only one part of that trend. Just as Syria does not intervene publicly or ostentatiously in Iraqi affairs - an area considered to be under Iranian influence - so Damascus expects Tehran to refrain from intervening too crudely in Lebanese affairs, at least not in a manner that portrays Lebanon as an Iranian protectorate rather than a Syrian one. But Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon, the presence of Revolutionary Guards there, and the transfer of explosive materials from Iran to Syria in a way that puts Damascus under scrutiny raise questions about the quality of relations between the two countries. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    Stand Up to Those Who Delegitimize Israel - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (National Post)

    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a conference on combating anti-Semitism on Monday:

    • Anti-Semitism has gained a place at our universities, where at times it is not the mob who are removed, but the Jewish students under attack. And, under the shadow of a hateful ideology with global ambitions, one which targets the Jewish homeland as a scapegoat, Jews are savagely attacked around the world - such as, most appallingly, in Mumbai in 2008.
    • Harnessing disparate anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western ideologies, anti-Semitism targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so.
    • We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is. Of course, like any country, Israel may be subjected to fair criticism. And like any free country, Israel subjects itself to such criticism. But when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack - is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization, the 3 Ds, it is a responsibility to stand up to them.
    • And I know, by the way, because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the United Nations, or any other international forum, the easy thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric, to pretend it is just being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of "honest broker." There are, after all, a lot more votes in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand.
    • But, as long as I am Prime Minister, whether it is at the UN or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are, in the longer term, a threat to all of us.
    • As I said on the 60th anniversary of its founding, the State of Israel appeared as a light in a world emerging from deep darkness. Against all odds, that light has not been extinguished. It burns bright, upheld by the universal principles of all civilized nations - freedom, democracy, justice.
        See also Poll: French Canadians Differ in Attitude to Jews - Elizabeth Thompson
    A poll commissioned by the Association for Canadian Studies found that only 34% of French-speaking Canadians felt Jews shared their values, compared to 73% of English-speaking Canadians. (Montreal Gazette-Canada)

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