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,
March 7, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Muslim Brotherhood: "No Weapons for Hamas via Smuggling Tunnels" - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    Issam al-Haddad, a senior Muslim Brotherhood official who serves as Egyptian President Morsi's adviser on foreign affairs, said that Egypt will not permit the flow of weapons to Gaza via the smuggling tunnels since that will undermine stability in the Sinai Peninsula.
    An Egyptian court recently ruled that all tunnels on the Gaza border should be destroyed since they threaten Egypt's security.
    Brotherhood deputy supreme guide Khairat al-Shater said, "Egyptian support of the Palestinian factions by way of weapons is likely to incite a war between Egypt and Israel."
    "The entrance of Egypt into a war with Israel is not something that is accepted on the street."

Video: The "Tunes for Peace" Concert at the UN with Israeli Singer Rita (United Nations)
    Watch the entire March 5th concert.

Is Erdogan Out of Step with Turkish Public Opinion? - Burak Bekdil (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    At a UN event devoted to dialogue between the West and Islam, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said, "Islamophobia ought to be considered a crime against humanity just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism." World leaders were "shocked." I am shocked at their being shocked.
    Let me refresh your memories: We are talking about a prime minister who is the winner of the 2010 Moammar Gaddafi Human Rights Award; a country where half the population votes for him, 65% adore his foreign policy; where only 4% have a favorable opinion of Jews, 41% believe Judaism is the most violent religion in the world, and only 9% think Arab groups had carried out 9/11. Welcome to Turkey!

Ohio Buys $42 Million of Israel Bonds - Ed Wittenberg (Cleveland Jewish News)
    Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has purchased $42 million in Israel Bonds, the largest single government purchase of Israel Bonds in U.S. history. The purchase was completed March 1.
    "We believe this is a sound investment for the taxpayers of Ohio and consistent with our strategy of investing in safe and strong securities," Mandel said on March 4.

Israeli Windsurfer Lee Korzits Secures Another World Championship (Ha'aretz)
    For the third consecutive time, Israeli windsurfer Lee Korzits took first place at the RS-X World Championships in Buzios, Brazil, on Tuesday.
    Israeli contender Maayan Davidovich placed second.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Syrian Rebels in Golan Heights Hold UN Peacekeepers Hostage - Floyd Whaley and Gerry Mullany
    Insurgent fighters from Syria on Wednesday seized 21 Filipino UN peacekeepers who were patrolling the Golan Heights region between Syria and Israel. A group called the Martyrs of Yarmouk claimed responsibility and said the peacekeepers would be held until Syrian government forces withdrew from the area. (New York Times)
        A spokesman for the rebel forces accused the UN peacekeepers of working with the Syrian army to try to suppress the insurgency. "The Syrian regime, the UN and the European countries are all collaborators with...the Zionists, Israel and America," he said. (Reuters-Hurriyet-Turkey)
        See also Syrian Rebel Group Now Claims It Rescued, Not Kidnapped, UN Observers - Liz Sly and Colum Lynch (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Envoy Walks Out of Nuclear Meeting over Iran's Israel Remark - Fredrik Dahl
    The U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Joseph Macmanus, walked out of an agency meeting on Wednesday in protest when Iran's representative accused Israel of "genocide," diplomats said. Officials from Canada and Australia also left the meeting. Earlier, Macmanus had accused Iran of a "commitment to deception, defiance, and delay" in addressing IAEA concerns about possible nuclear weapons-related research. (Reuters)
  • Canada Warns of "Consequences" If Palestinians Take Israel to International Criminal Court - Mike Blanchfield
    Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told the AIPAC conference on Sunday that Palestinians will feel "consequences" from Canada if they pursue Israel at the International Criminal Court. Baird issued the warning just as the federal government considers whether to end hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian humanitarian aid to the Palestinians when it expires at the end of this month.
        "We were very clear from the outset that further actions, like we've seen at UNESCO, like we've seen at the United Nations, particularly at the International Criminal Court, will be ones which will not go unnoticed and will have certainly consequences in the conduct of our relations with the Palestinian Authority," Baird said. "We hope that they will honor the commitments that they made that they would not do that."  (National Post-Canada)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Turns Back Plague of Locusts - Aaron Kalman and Ron Friedman
    Israel's spraying of agricultural fields on Wednesday succeeded in turning the tide in a millions-strong locust invasion from across the Egyptian border, the Agriculture Ministry said. (Times of Israel)
  • Peres to EU: Condemn Terror, Not Settlements - Joshua Davidovich
    Israeli President Shimon Peres pushed back against recent EU condemnation of Israeli settlements Wednesday, saying terror, not construction, was the real obstacle to peace. "The EU can help us in putting an end to terror by condemning Hamas because they are the center of terror, the same for Hizbullah," he said in Brussels. "I don't take this criticism, that, because of the settlements, we lost the chance of implementing the two-state solution."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Peres to Europeans: How Would You Act in Our Place? - Greer Fay Cashman
    No other country has faced the dangers and paid the price for its existence as Israel has, President Shimon Peres said Wednesday in Brussels. He then asked Israel's European critics: "How would you behave were you in our place?" "Israel was established 65 years ago, and since then has gone through seven wars - I don't know another country that has withstood that degree of danger and paid such a high price in life."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Shi'ite Terror Network Targeting Israelis Overseas - Yaakov Lappin
    A global Shi'ite terrorism network made up of Iranian Quds Force operatives and Hizbullah continues to target Israelis overseas, the National Security Council's counterterrorism bureau warned on Wednesday. The bureau is urging Israelis to stay away from Sinai. In addition, Turkey, Kenya, Nigeria and Azerbaijan have an "ongoing potential threat."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Myth of the Missed Opportunity in Israeli-Arab Peace - Akiva Eldar
    Prof. Elie Podeh of the Department of Islam and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University contends that historians tend to use the term "missed opportunity" in the context of diplomatic contacts between Israel, the Arab states and the Palestinians, despite the fact that to begin with there was no real chance of their success.
        In a research study soon to be published, Podeh examined 30 diplomatic initiatives from 1919 to 2008 in relation to four parameters: the leaders' legitimization from their public; their determination to pursue peace; the extent of confidence that exists between the sides; and the involvement of a third party.
        Podeh says that 20 of the cases did not have the requisite conditions which allow for their failure to be considered a "missed opportunity." One of them is the London Agreement (reached in 1987 in secret negotiations between then-foreign minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein). He notes that Peres did not have any legitimization to reach agreement over the territories, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir had no motivation to sign it and the Americans were unwilling to become seriously involved. In other words, three of the four conditions that define an opportunity were missing.
        "Not every failure to reach agreement is a missed opportunity," Podeh explains. "In order to point at a missed opportunity, one must make sure that the sides were truly interested."  (Al-Monitor)
  • Canadian Minister Denounces "Israel Apartheid Week" - Jason Kenney
    On March 4, Jason Kenney, Canada's Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement regarding "Israel Apartheid Week" activities: "I share the concerns of other Canadians about the reckless and overheated rhetoric associated with anti-Israel activities on many Canadian university campuses, and the toxic manner in which these activities are often carried out. There is no better example than the so-called 'Israel Apartheid Week' (IAW). Its organizers and participants have a regrettable history of promoting and holding events in ways that disregard the security and rights of Jewish faculty and students, censor other points of view, and limit academic discourse."
        "Operating under the guise of academic freedom, Israel Apartheid Week is a misleading attempt to delegitimize and demonize the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East."  (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)

End the Arab Boycott of Israel - Ed Husain (New York Times)

  • I recently visited Israel and the West Bank for the first time. I am Muslim and in Muslim communities around the world to visit Israel is to support "the Zionist entity" and risk social isolation. Not only is this mind-set outdated, it is self-defeating.
  • The Arab League began its boycott of Zionist goods back in 1945. In reality, the Gulf states and others circumvent this policy, but the Arab and Muslim masses have yet to break free from the mind-set of boycotting all things Israeli.
  • I abandoned Muslim groupthink and went to Israel because there is a new momentum in the region. Egypt's former grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, and the prominent scholar Habib Ali al-Jifri broke ranks and went to Jerusalem last April. They justified their visit on scriptural grounds, citing the Prophet Muhammad's encouragement for believers to visit the Holy Land.
  • Muslim leaders in Jerusalem welcomed both men and Palestinian imams called for the end of the Arab boycott on Al Jazeera. The voice of the Palestinian imams who want to see an end to the boycott needs to be amplified.
  • Without a shift in attitudes, Israel's security concerns will never be allayed. Humanizing Israel to Arabs - by addressing anti-Semitism in school textbooks and in sermons at mosques, and by permitting Arab citizens to visit and trade with Israel - are requisite first steps.

    The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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