Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
June 28, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Heritage Site Is Jewish, Not Just Palestinian - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)
    On Monday, the New York Times reported about the effort by Palestinians to have the village of Battir designated as a World Heritage site because of the ancient terraced irrigation system there.
    But this completely ignores the Jewish heritage of the area. Battir is not just a Palestinian village with an old irrigation system but was the site of the ancient Jewish fortress of Betar, the site of the last organized resistance to Roman rule in 135 CE during the Bar Kochba revolt.
    Moreover, far from being a remnant of the Roman presence, the irrigation system predates their presence and is clearly the product of biblical-era Jewish settlement.
    A main point here is the willful erasure of the Jewish connections of a place that Palestinians are seeking to have honored for its historical significance.
    If UNESCO is to grant this site the World Heritage designation, it should, at the very least, declare it to be important to the history of both Jews and Palestinians.

Senior Hamas Operative Assassinated in Damascus - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    Kamal Ranaja, a senior Hamas operative also known as Nizzar Abu-Mujhad, was assassinated in Damascus, the Islamist terror group announced Wednesday.
    Al-Mayadeen TV reported that Ranaja had served as an aide to Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas member responsible for smuggling weapons into Gaza from Iran, who was assassinated in Dubai in 2010.
    The Syrian opposition claimed President Assad's regime was responsible for Ranaja's assassination.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Representative Won't Speak to Israeli Journalist - Thomas Joscelyn (Weekly Standard)
    News channel France 24 hosted a panel Monday night to discuss Egypt's first civilian president, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi. One of the guests on the panel, via satellite from Cairo, was Nader Amram, a member of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political party.
    When Amram learned that an Israeli journalist was also included on the panel, he protested and launched into a mini-diatribe about how Israel is the real problem in the Middle East.
    The panel's host pointed out that the two countries are at peace.

U.S. Bars Business with Four in Hizbullah Drug-Money Laundering Link (Reuters)
    The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday banned Americans from doing business with three Lebanese-Venezuelans and a Lebanese man it accused of helping to launder drug money to benefit Hizbullah.
    The Treasury Department said the group was linked to Lebanese drug kingpin Ayman Joumaa, who was indicted in December.
    Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen described Joumaa's network as "a sophisticated multi-national money-laundering ring, which launders the proceeds of drug trafficking for the benefit of criminals and the terrorist group Hizbullah."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Hardens Stance in Iran Nuclear Talks - Laura Rozen and Barbara Slavin
    Briefings by diplomats whose countries took part in the Moscow talks with Iran on June 18-19 portrayed the meetings as a "dialogue of the deaf." Iran's chief nuclear negotiator did express willingness to discuss stopping enrichment of uranium to 20%, but the West also insisted that Iran ship out its stockpile of more than 100 kg. of 20%-enriched uranium and close Fordo, a fortified enrichment facility built into a mountain near Qom - treating the three demands inseparably, as a package.
        "Both sides are looking to buy time, but for entirely different reasons," said Ali Vaez, an Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group. "The West appears to be waiting for the new onerous sanctions to sink in and render Iran more amenable to compromise. In mirror image, Iran seemingly believes that President Obama will be in a better position to offer genuine concessions after reelection."  (Al Monitor)
  • UN Secretary-General Condemns Iranian Vice President's Anti-Semitic Remarks
    In response to the vice-president of Iran's anti-Semitic speech at a UN forum on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson said Wednesday: "The Secretary-General has on many occasions called on Iranian officials to refrain from these kinds of anti-Semitic statements. He does so again in response to these latest reported comments. He believes it is the responsibility of leaders to promote harmony and understanding and he deeply regrets expressions of hatred and religious intolerance."  (UN Secretary-General)
  • Syria Has Arrested Tens of Thousands
    While the world's attention has been focused on the military escalation in Syria, the government has also waged an unrelenting campaign of arrests that has snared tens of thousands of people, according to lawyers and activists in Syria. The arrests have focused on two groups: secular activists, including those organizing humanitarian aid, and men and boys from towns the Syrian Army has besieged. Those arrested are dumped into a system devoid of meaningful judicial process or oversight, and are subject to torture. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Commander Found Guilty of Killing 46 Israelis - Chaim Levinson
    Hamas military commander Ibrahim Hamed, 47, was found guilty on Wednesday by an Israeli military court for the deaths of 46 people in terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada. Arrested in 2006, Hamed masterminded a string of deadly attacks at Cafe Moment, Hebrew University, and Zion Square in Jerusalem and the Rishon Letzion pool hall attack. He was also responsible for failed bids to blow up an oil refinery and rail lines. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Manufactured Rockets in West Bank - Elior Levy
    A Hamas website on Wednesday published an interview with Ahmed Akram Salmi, an operative released from prison in April and returned to Gaza, who described efforts to manufacture Kassam rockets in the West Bank at the beginning of the Second Intifada. He described how rockets and explosives were produced at a facility near Ramallah. "The most obvious rocket targets were the Knesset building, Ben-Gurion Airport, and other cities, the most prominent of which was Tel Aviv," he said.
        The cell manufactured close to 20 "Kassam 1" rockets with a range of 5 km. ready to be fired. Then a fire erupted in the factory, detonating the explosives and ending the rocket production. (Ynet News)
  • U.S., Israel Discuss Iran Nukes, Syria WMDs - Yaakov Katz
    The joint U.S.-Israel Defense Policy Advisory Group met on Wednesday in Tel Aviv to discuss ways to ensure Israel's military edge in the region. The U.S. was represented by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James Miller. The main focus of the talks was Iran's nuclear program as well as Israeli concerns that Syria's sophisticated weaponry and chemical arsenal will fall into rogue hands. Discussions were also to focus on continued U.S. support for Israel's missile defense systems. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Time to Tighten the Noose on Iran - Robert McNally
    Iran's stance at the recent Moscow talks shows that the current sanctions are too weak. As Iran's defiance continues, the time has come to increase pressure on Tehran. The U.S. and allies should implement a quarantine-and-release strategy that severs Iran's oil exports and offsets the loss of supply with higher Saudi production and strategic stock draws.
        The time for intrusive sanctions has arrived. Tehran should face an ultimatum with a short timeline: comply fully with all UN Security Council resolutions on its nuclear program or the U.S., EU and any like-minded countries will use all means necessary to halt Iran's international commerce, excepting humanitarian goods and food. The writer was senior director for international energy on the U.S. National Security Council under George W. Bush. (Financial Times-UK)
  • The Voice of Iran - Elliott Abrams
    The Iranian vice president's anti-Semitic speech at a UN forum is significant because it reminds us that the assumptions behind the nuclear negotiations with Iran are questionable at best. Those assumptions include the belief that Iran's regime will make the sorts of "rational" calculations the governments of the EU and U.S. would make in their place.
        How do we factor in irrational hatred of Jews? How do we weigh a deep desire to destroy the Jewish state? How do we calculate the effect of beliefs that seem to us in the West to be preposterous, ludicrous, impossible? Just because we think it irrational for Iranian officials to make such speeches, or wreck their economy to pursue nuclear weapons, or threaten Israel, does not mean that such things are not happening and will not happen. (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • No More Illusions about Egypt after Mubarak - Yossi Klein Halevi
    The electoral victory of Egypt's radical Muslim Brotherhood marks the end of one era of Western wishful thinking about the Middle East while bringing a new era of self-delusion in its place. Although Mubarak plundered his people, held sham elections and ignored growing Egyptian poverty and unemployment, the West spent decades treating him as a force for stability, even progress.
        Mubarak faced little international criticism for turning the Egypt-Israel peace agreement into a farce. Under his regime, there was virtually no Egyptian tourism to Israel or joint business ventures. Egyptians who did visit Israel were subjected to harassment after returning home. The state-owned media was among the Arab world's most viciously anti-Jewish, promoting Holocaust denial and portraying Israel as the new Nazi Germany. Still, Israelis sensed Mubarak was right when he warned that the most likely alternative to his rule was radical Islam.
        Some in the West say governing will temper the Muslim Brotherhood. Similar hopes were expressed when the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, seized power in Gaza in 2007. But since then, Hamas' rule has become increasingly authoritarian, with opponents imprisoned and tortured.
        Just recently, the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, called the creation of Israel "the worst catastrophe ever to befall the peoples of the world" and urged Arab armies to confront Israel. Yet these and other incendiary statements tend to go underreported in the West. The writer is a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. (Globe and Mail-Canada)

Iran Declares War Against the Jewish People - Alan M. Dershowitz (Gatestone Institute)

  • Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi cited the Talmud in support of his claim that Jews believe that they are racially superior and that "God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them." These bigoted claims would be laughable if they did not have such a long and disturbing history.
  • They must be taken seriously in light of the fact that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and has already called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map. Moreover, Iran's surrogate, Hizbullah, has invited all the Jews of the world to move to Israel so that it will be easier to destroy them in one fell swoop.
  • Taken together, these statements and actions constitute a clear incitement to genocide, which is explicitly prohibited by international law and by the rules governing the International Criminal Court.
  • Professor Irwin Cotler, the former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, has drafted a brilliant brief making the case for indicting the Iranian leaders for inciting genocide against the Jewish people. Vice President Rahimi's speech constitutes additional evidence of that crime, if any were needed.

        See also Referral of Iranian President Ahmadinejad on the Charge of Incitement to Commit Genocide - Justus Reid Weiner (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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