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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
November 6, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Turkey Should Be Placed on Trial, Not Israel - Nitsana Darshan-Leitner (Times of Israel)
    It is the Turkish government which needs to be tried for the deaths of the Islamic terrorists on the Mavi Marmara and not IDF officials.
    The Turkish leader Erdogan was the one who allowed these extremists from al-Qaeda, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to launch a naval expedition against Israel, a country that Turkey was not at war with.
    The UN has investigated the Israeli coastal blockade of Gaza and has determined that it was in full compliance with international law.
    Erdogan must be tried for his liability over the deaths of the terrorists and the serious injuries to Israeli servicemen.
    The writer is founder and director of Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center.
    See also Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla - Steven G. Merley (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    See also The Legal Basis of Israel's Naval Blockade of Gaza - Ruth Lapidoth (Jerusalem Center)
    See also The Myth of the Siege of Gaza - Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi (ICA-Jerusalem Center)

Report: Suicide Bomber Kills 50 Syrian Security Men - Mariam Karouny and Tom Perry (Reuters)
    An Islamist suicide car bomber killed at least 50 Syrian security men at a base in Hama province on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
    It said a fighter from the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda-inspired group, was responsible.

Decline of Iranian Currency Triggers Jump in Tourists - Jason Rezaian (Washington Post)
    Foreign purchasing power is at an all-time high in Iran due to a plunge in the value of the Iranian currency, the rial - resulting in a jump in tourism by international travelers.
    Between 2004 and 2010, tourism in Iran grew by 13%, compared with an average growth of 3% worldwide, according to the UN World Tourism Organization.
    The number of foreign tourists in Iran reached 3 million last year, contributing more than $2 billion to the economy.
    The vast majority of Iran's visitors come for religious reasons, making pilgrimages to Shiite holy sites.

Immigration of India's Bnei Menashe to Resume - Gabe Fisher (Times of Israel)
    The Israeli government has quietly decided to approve, after a five-year hiatus, the continued immigration of the Bnei Menashe, a tribal group based in northeastern India and Burma that claims descent from the lost tribe of Menashe.
    About 1,700 members of the tribe already reside in Israel, with an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 Bnei Menashe remaining in India and Burma.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Turkey Puts Israeli Officers on Trial in Absentia - Selcan Hacaoglu
    Turkey will try former Israeli military chiefs in absentia beginning Tuesday for ordering a raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship in 2010, publicly prolonging a dispute between the former allies. Nizar Amer, spokesman for the Israeli embassy, called the trial "a political show with no judicial credibility." Israel, which has expressed regret for the loss of lives, says activists attacked its commandos with metal rods and knives. (Bloomberg)
  • UN: Iran Not Cooperating on Nuclear Weapons Probe - Edith M. Lederer
    UN nuclear chief Yukio Amano told the UN General Assembly on Monday that Iran is not cooperating with an investigation into suspected secret work on nuclear weapons. Talks between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have intensified this year after an IAEA report in November 2011 said it had "credible information that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." "However, no concrete results have been achieved so far," Amano said.
        "Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities," Amano said. "Therefore, we cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."  (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Three IDF Soldiers Injured in Blast on Gaza Border - Elior Levy
    Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were injured Tuesday in an explosion near the border fence with Gaza near Kibbutz Nirim. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Jeep Hit by Syrian Gunfire - Yoav Zitun
    An IDF patrol vehicle sustained damage after being hit by Syrian gunfire Monday during a routine patrol of the border with Syria in the Golan Heights. It is believed that the fire was part of clashes between Syrian security forces and rebels. (Ynet News)
  • Brotherhood Dictatorship in Egypt? Not So Easy - Zvi Mazel
    Having conquered parliament and the presidency in less than a year, the Muslim Brotherhood thought Egypt was theirs. They may have been a little hasty. Forces long kept dormant by the Hosni Mubarak regime are waking up. Independent media is criticizing the government on a daily basis, and government-owned newspapers sometimes follow suit.
        Egyptians are no longer afraid, and take to the streets to express their dissatisfaction and demand changes. No Friday goes by without a demonstration in Tahrir Square, and similar protests are held throughout the country. Opposition forces called for a mass protest on Friday, October 19, proclaiming, "Egypt does not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood." The Brotherhood organized a violent counterdemonstration. The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Egypt. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran's Fake Anger - Ali Alfoneh
    A man in uniform inciting the crowds in front of the "Den of Espionage," the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, promises "10 kilograms of gold to any historian who can prove that there is a regime more criminal than the regime of the United States." This year the regime commemorated the anniversary of the seizure of the embassy on Friday, Nov. 2, rather than Nov. 4, utilizing the Friday prayers to fill the crowds.
        The regime's difficulty in mobilizing the public is hardly surprising. The majority of Iranians were not even born at the time of the seizure of the U.S. embassy, and most young Iranians have a firmer belief in the American dream of making a decent living in the U.S. than in the regime's unfulfilled promises. Should the U.S. embassy ever reopen in Tehran, the visa application line would be longer than any "spontaneous" anti-American rally. The writer is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (Commentator-UK)
  • Engaging the Muslim Brotherhood - Eric Trager
    Rather than put conditions on America's generous package of economic and military aid, the U.S. has often appeared to believe that through deeper engagement, it can build friendlier relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and convince it to soften its hostile, intolerant views. A new RAND report, "The Muslim Brotherhood, Its Youth, and Implications for U.S. Engagement," states: "Engagement offers both sides an opportunity to dispel misunderstandings."
        However, the argument for engaging the Brotherhood ignores some important facts. The Brotherhood is a deeply ideological outfit with a historically anti-Western outlook. It seeks to establish an Islamic state in Egypt, has long opposed Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, and holds deeply intolerant views towards religious minorities. Young members are subjected to a rigorous five-to-eight-year process of internal promotion, repeatedly tested on their completion of the Brotherhood's educational curriculum.
        Closed, theocratic organizations do not become moderate when they are embraced unconditionally. They moderate when they are being squeezed and find themselves without other options. The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Weekly Standard)
  • How Will History Judge Abbas? - Michael Koplow
    PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is constantly being influenced by larger forces beyond his control. He needs to appear moderate in order to secure any concessions from Israel and to keep the flow of donor money coming from the U.S. and Europe. At the same time, he also needs to maintain credibility among Palestinians and cannot be seen as a mere stooge of the U.S. and Israel - not to mention that he is fighting a rearguard action against Hamas.
        Leadership means taking a stand. In some ways Abbas has been more willing to stand up for peace than his predecessor, Yasser Arafat - and in others ways, he has been a graver disappointment. It is also undeniable that he has undermined himself with self-defeating positions such as refusing to negotiate absent a set of preconditions that have only weakened his hand. (Atlantic)

Iran: Sanctions Biting, Nuclear Program Progressing - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • With the sanctions on Iran tightening in recent months, its leadership has been trying to project business as usual. Iran is waging an extensive propaganda campaign at home, emphasizing that the sanctions have not harmed Iran's oil exports and indeed are strengthening its local production in many areas.
  • Yet the sanctions constitute the greatest economic, political, and governmental challenge Supreme Leader Khamenei has faced since the end of the Iran-Iraq War. Ahmadinejad's government did not prepare in time for the intensity and scope of the sanctions. They probably assessed that, in light of the ongoing crisis of the Western economies, the likelihood of biting sanctions on the oil and banking sectors was low.
  • In response to the intensifying sanctions and the ongoing foreign-currency crisis, domestic criticism of Ahmadinejad's government's poor performance has mounted. Critics in the Majlis (parliament), the media, and the religious establishment claim the Western-imposed sanctions have had only a minor effect on the economy and the problem mainly lies in the flawed performance of those entrusted to run the Iranian economy.
  • Iran is now beginning to pay dearly for its heavy dependence on oil revenues. Although this dependence was no secret to the Iranian leadership, they wrongly assessed the seriousness of the West. Thus, Iran's leadership now faces a higher potential than in the past of renewed public unrest backed by the religious establishment. Indeed, most of Iran's senior clerics have withdrawn their support for Ahmadinejad and his supporters ahead of the upcoming presidential elections in June 2013.
  • The Iranian regime has been encouraged by its successes so far in advancing its nuclear program (including the reported completion of the installation of centrifuges at the Fordo uranium enrichment site) and by the changes that are reshaping the Middle East. There is great doubt whether the challenges Iran faces will lead the current leadership to revise its nuclear policy and its preparedness for compromise with the West on the nuclear issue.
  • Since the effects of the sanctions are evident, in the West there are those who will exploit this fact to defer military action against Iran in order to give the sanctions "just another chance" to work. Iran will continue to promote the different components of its nuclear program and is prepared to pay the price of sanctions, believing it will be able to contain any popular protests as it has done in the past and to rely on the West's eagerness to avoid any military action.

    IDF Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael (Mickey) Segall is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Terrogence company.

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