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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
May 7, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Recruiting Volunteer Troops for Syria (Times of Israel)
    The Iranian regime has launched a public campaign to recruit volunteers to fight alongside Assad regime forces and Hizbullah in Syria, according to the Iran-Israel Observer, run by Israel-based, Iranian-born commentator Meir Javedanfar.

Church of Scotland Says Jews Have No Claim to Holy Land (JTA)
    The Church of Scotland has published a paper denying that "scripture" provides a basis for Jewish claims to Israel.
    The paper, entitled "The Inheritance of Abraham," rejects "claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory."
    The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said Friday that the paper is "an outrage to everything that interfaith dialogue stands for" and "reads like an Inquisition-era polemic against Jews and Judaism."
    "The arrogance of telling the Jewish people how to interpret Jewish texts and Jewish theology is breathtaking," the council said.
    See also Church of Scotland Report Linked to Anti-Israel NGO (NGO Monitor)
    The Church of Scotland's report rejecting the connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is strongly influenced by its "partner," Sabeel, a radical Palestinian-Christian organization that is a major actor in the anti-Israel BDS campaign.
    "Sabeel promotes both 'Palestinian liberation theology' and 'replacement theology,' a belief that the Jewish people have forfeited its status as the people of God, themes that dominate the Church of Scotland's report," said NGO Monitor President Prof. Gerald Steinberg.
    "It is very disturbing that some 'enlightened' nations financially support Sabeel's beliefs that repudiate Jewish peoplehood and self-determination."

BBC Repeats Assad's Propaganda to Slur Israel - Tom Gross (Mideast Media Analysis)
    Israel reportedly carried out air strikes in Syria that destroyed highly sophisticated Iranian weapons headed for Hizbullah.
    While Israel was destroying the infrastructure of terror, the BBC headlined the incident: "Israeli Strikes on Syria 'Coordinated with Terrorists'" - repeating Assad's view of events.

British Archives: Palestinians Are Responsible for Their Refugee Problem - Barry Rubin (PJMedia)
    According to declassified British Archives documents from early 1948, British officials in the Palestine Mandate reported:
    "The [Palestine] Arabs have suffered a series of overwhelming defeats.... Jewish victories...have reduced Arab morale to zero and, following the cowardly example of their inept leaders, they are fleeing from the mixed areas in their thousands."
    This is confirmation from hostile British official sources of what Israel has been saying for 60 years: that the origin of the Palestinian Arab refugee problem was due to the actions of the Palestinian Arabs themselves: first, their leaders' decision to reject the partition into Arab and Jewish states, then their decision to go to war, and then their disorganization and poor leadership.
    Today, as in 1948, the Zionist side is more eager for the existence of an independent Palestinian state living in peace than is the Palestinian Arab leadership.
    See also British Officials Predicted War - and Arab Defeat - in Palestine in 1948 - Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian-UK)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • White House: Assad Regime Behind Chemical Weapons Use - Jim Kuhnhenn
    The White House asserted Monday that it's highly likely that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, not the rebel opposition, was behind any chemical weapons use in Syria. White House spokesman Jay Carney says there is certainly evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria. He added, "We are highly skeptical of suggestions that the opposition could have or did use chemical weapons....We find it highly likely that any chemical weapon use that has taken place in Syria was done by the Assad regime."
        With regard to the airstrikes in Syria, Carney said: "The transfer of sophisticated weapons to terrorist organizations like Hizbullah is certainly a concern and a threat to Israel, and they have the right to act in their own sovereign response to those concerns." Asked whether the U.S. had been forewarned about the strikes, Carney said: "We are in close coordination as a matter of course with the Israelis, and continue to be."  (AP-TIME)
  • Israel Tries to Lower Tensions with Syria after Airstrikes - William Booth
    Israeli military commanders and government officials were taking pains to try to lower tensions with Syria after reports of two Israeli air attacks on military targets and suspected weapons depots near Damascus. Israeli officials, who have neither asserted nor denied responsibility for the airstrikes, said Monday that their fight was not against Assad or the rebels but against Hizbullah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006 and is closely allied with Iran and Syria.
        "There are no winds of war," Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, head of the Israel Defense Forces Northern Command, said Monday. (Washington Post)
  • Hizbullah Steps Up Involvement in Syria - Sam Dagher and Joshua Mitnick
    Hizbullah fighters joined Syrian government forces in the siege of the rebel-held town of Qusayr on Monday, local residents said, deepening the Iran-backed group's involvement in Syria's civil war. Hizbullah fighters have emerged in different parts of Syria with numbers ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 fighters, a U.S. official said. This bolsters Assad "in a huge way," he said.
        Hizbullah's "immersion in Syria is a reminder that its main job is to be Iran's strike force in the region," said Khattar Abou Diab, political science professor at the University of Paris. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Everywhere an Iranian Embassy Exists, They Plan Terror on Jews, Israelis - Ilan Gattegno
    Brig.-Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel, former head of Israel's Counter Terrorism Bureau, told Army Radio on Sunday: "Everywhere there is an Iranian embassy, there is usually one person, and probably more, directly involved in planning terrorist activity against Jewish and Israeli targets....The larger the Iranian embassy, the bigger the terror threat."  (Israel Hayom)
        See also Iran Stepping Up Preparations for War with Israel - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
  • The Truth Behind West Bank Checkpoints
    Security checkpoints are used to prevent terror attacks before would-be Palestinian attackers have a chance to enter Israel. The number of checkpoints in the West Bank was reduced from 40 in July 2008 to just 12 in October 2012. Furthermore, these checkpoints are only used some of the time and the frequency of checks is dependent on the security threat at the time.
        The main roads linking Palestinian cities are freely accessible and free of security controls. A Palestinian civilian can travel from Jenin in the northern West Bank to Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, without encountering a single military checkpoint.
        The checkpoints have proven to be effective barriers against weapons smuggling. In 2012, there were 475 attempts to smuggle weapons into Israel and 1,147 attempts to enter Israel with forged ID cards. In addition, dozens of people were arrested in possession of explosives. Thus, the ongoing presence of these checkpoints remains necessary. (Israel Defense Forces)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Some in Arab World Happy that Israel Attacked Assad's Forces - Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
    Despite Egyptian and Iranian condemnation, it is certain that the Syrian people were happy that Assad's warehouses and forces were shelled, regardless of Israel's reasoning. We were happy that Israel attacked Assad's forces and warehouses because the attack will speed up the collapse of the regime. It will also deprive the regime of weapons that would have been used to kill more Syrians.
        Two years' worth of massacres against tens of thousands of unarmed Syrians has revealed the biggest lie in this nation's history: the lie of resistance. Syria's conflicts have never really been aimed at Israel and have certainly never been aimed at defending Palestine, as our minds were hijacked to believe. Hizbullah's operations against Israel have nothing to do with protecting Lebanon and defending Palestine. Hizbullah is merely an Iranian brigade which has been founded for more than 30 years to serve the aims of the Ayatollah's regime in Tehran. (Al Arabiya)
        See also Israel Strikes a Blow to Conventional Arab Thinking - Elhanan Miller
    The Israeli strikes on Iranian missiles en route to Hizbullah in Syria have left Arab observers conflicted. While many have been hoping for a decisive military strike against President Assad, few expected or wished for it to come from Israel. One Damascus-based Twitter commentator wrote: Israel "is still my enemy....But when an enemy does a neat job, I admit it."  (Times of Israel)
  • The "Moderate" Muslim Brotherhood and the Jews - Michael Rubin
    Egyptian Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most respected figures in Sunni Islam, refused to attend an inter-faith dialogue conference in Doha on the grounds that Jewish representatives had been invited. For many in the West, Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood acolyte, is a "moderate," and was once welcomed into the UK on those grounds, despite his infamous endorsement of suicide attacks in the wake of 9/11.
        Qaradawi's refusal to participate in an interfaith discussion in an Arab country if Jews were present is yet one more exhibit of the core problem in the region: Islamist intolerance. Until the U.S. puts educational reform and combating religious incitement front and center of its policy in the region, any other diplomacy is just wasted effort and ineffective against a growing tidal wave of intolerance and hate.  The writer, a former Pentagon official and senior lecturer at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (Commentary)
  • To Call Israel an Apartheid State Is an Attack on Truth - Eoghan Harris
    Last Thursday, the Teachers' Union of Ireland called for an academic boycott of Israel. The motion, passed unanimously, referred to Israel as an "apartheid state." But there is not the slightest comparison between South Africa and Israel. South African non-whites under apartheid were separated by law. They could not vote, form parties or serve in government. The notion that a non-white woman could give birth in the same hospital as a white South African woman would be literally beyond the imagination of anyone in apartheid South Africa.
        By contrast, Israeli Arabs, who make up 20% of Israel's population, are full citizens. They can vote, form parties, hold government posts, become civil servants and lawyers. The judge who sentenced a former Israeli prime minister for sexual transgressions was an Arab. Some apartheid. From birth there is no apartheid in Israel. Jewish and Arab babies are born in the same delivery room, looked after by the same doctors and nurses. Jewish and Arab mothers recover side by side in adjoining beds. Some apartheid. To call Israel an apartheid state is an attack on truth. As wrong as teaching that 2+2 makes 5. (Independent-Ireland)

Rewriting the Rules with Syria and Hizbullah - Eyal Zisser (Israel Hayom)

  • The foreign media has focused on Israel's determination to prevent the transfer of game-changing weapon systems from Syria to Hizbullah. Yet the alleged Israeli attack on multiple Syrian installations has more to do with rewriting the rules of the game that have governed Israel's interaction with Syria and Hizbullah over the past two decades.
  • Until recently, Israel has opted to avoid preemptive attacks on weapons convoys lest such a move trigger a painful Syrian retaliation. Israel's new approach is not just a consequence of impending deliveries of advanced weapon systems; it was motivated by the new window of opportunity presented by the Syrian revolution.
  • The Syrian civil war has increased Israel's freedom of operation to levels not seen in years. The Syrian military is now singularly focused on the survival of the Assad regime as it counters the rebels. Thus, its ability to retaliate in the face of an Israeli strike has been severely compromised.
  • Furthermore, Israel hopes to disconnect Hizbullah from the Syrian oxygen tank that Hassan Nasrallah has relied on for so many years. Hizbullah is gradually becoming entangled in the Syrian quagmire, as is clearly evident by the almost daily funerals it holds for its fighters. It certainly does not want to open another front with Israel.

    Prof. Eyal Zisser, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.

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