Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
March 11, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Activist: "Israel Is Not an Apartheid State" - Katharine Child (Times Live-South Africa)
    Palestinian Bassem Eid, 56, grew up in a refugee camp in east Jerusalem but does not blame Israel for those difficult years. He blames Jordan for removing 500 people from the old city in Jerusalem in 1966 and creating the camp.
    In fact, he says he would rather be a Palestinian refugee in Israel than in Syria, Lebanon or Jordan.
    "Israel is not an apartheid state," he said. "It's a democracy. Arabs are treated at the best hospitals and study at the best universities in Israel. Did that happen during apartheid?"
    Eid, a human rights activist and political analyst, was brought to South Africa by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies to counter the messages being put out during Israel Apartheid Week.
    He said that outside interference and calls for boycotts of Israel make the Palestinian-Israeli situation worse.

Netanyahu Quoted Hizbullah Leader Correctly - Yair Rosenberg (Tablet)
    In his address to Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quoted Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, Iran's chief terrorist proxy, as saying: "If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world."
    Critics immediately claimed the quote to be a complete fabrication. Even Washington Post reporter Liz Sly repeated the allegation that Netanyahu had put anti-Semitic words in Hizbullah's mouth.
    Yet there's audio of Nasrallah's 2002 speech, and he certainly says the words Netanyahu cited.

Hamas Incitement to Terrorism at West Bank University (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    On March 1, 2015, the Islamic Bloc at Al-Najah University in Nablus opened an exhibition on Jerusalem whose prominent themes were glorification of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks against Israel and incitement to carry out further terrorist activities.
    Al-Najah University is a center of incitement and terrorism, as are other universities in the West Bank.

China Warns that Uighurs Who Joined Islamic State Fight Are Bringing Terror Home - Guy Taylor (Washington Times)
    Zhang Chunxian, the Communist Party secretary of China's far-western Xinjiang province, claimed Tuesday that ethnic Uighurs who once fought with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have returned with plots to attack China.

Son of Suriname President Given 16 Years for Hizbullah Plot - Larry Neumeister (AP)
    Dino Bouterse, the son of the president of Suriname, was sentenced to 16 years in prison by a New York District Court after he admitted that he offered a home base in his South American country to Hizbullah in return for millions of dollars.
    Bouterse was arrested after being recorded meeting in Greece and Panama with people posing as Hizbullah operatives.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hard-Line Iranian Cleric Elected Leader of Influential Panel - Ramin Mostaghim
    Hard-line Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, 83, defeated former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Tuesday to lead the Assembly of Experts by a vote of 47 to 24. The group chooses Iran's supreme leader. (Los Angeles Times)
  • ISIS Video Shows Execution of Israeli-Arab Hostage
    A video released by ISIS on Tuesday showed Muhammed Musallam, 19, an Israeli citizen from Jerusalem, wearing an orange jumpsuit and explaining that he was a spy for Israel. Musallam is then shot in the head. An Israeli security official said Musallam went to Syria to fight for Islamic State last October. (NBC News-Reuters)
        See also Father Says Islamic State Killed Son Because He Decided to Leave Group - Avi Lewis
    Musallam's father, Said, told Israel Army Radio Wednesday that his son had joined the Islamic State of his own volition, but quickly regretted the decision. The allegations of his being a Mossad agent were simply a fabrication, he said. (Times of Israel)
  • Islamic State Battling Kurdish Forces in Northeast Syria
    After the Kurdish YPG militia, backed by U.S.-led air strikes, had made significant gains in recent weeks against Islamic State in northeastern Syria, IS appeared to try to seize back the initiative on Tuesday, attacking Kurdish forces using tanks and heavy weapons around Ras al-Ayn near the Turkish border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The YPG has emerged as the main partner for the U.S.-led alliance fighting IS in Syria. Backed by Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters and air strikes, the YPG defeated Islamic State in Kobani in January. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Soldiers Come under Fire along Syrian Border in Golan Heights - Gili Cohen
    An Israeli army unit came under fire Tuesday on the Golan Heights, near the Syrian border. One officer sustained light shrapnel wounds. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Fortifies Daycare Centers along Gaza Border - Ben Hartman
    Fortification work has been finished on 34 daycare centers in communities in southern Israel and along the Gaza border, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday. During the 2014 Gaza war, thousands of Palestinian rockets and mortars pounded these areas. The ministry also said it has posted over 400 temporary shelters and 25 safe rooms in the south since the war. (Jerusalem Post)
  • What Boycott? The UK-Israel Science Partnership Is Booming - Sir Mark Walport
    A breath test for Parkinson's disease, artificial egg and sperm systems that revolutionize fertility treatments, shared efforts on problems from desertification to Ebola - these joint British-Israeli projects are my answer to claims that UK scientists are boycotting Israel.
        In the last year we have launched major collaborations in stem cells, neuroscience, nanoscience and water science. We have seen scholarship programs set up to send Israelis to Oxford and Cambridge. In 2015, hundreds of Israeli researchers will work in UK universities due to our new programs, and hundreds of their British colleagues will experience first-hand what Israeli science has to offer.
        The British Government is completely opposed to boycotts of Israel. And not a single UK academic university has adopted such a policy. On the contrary, British businesses and universities are keen to collaborate, with 2014 being a record year for trade between the two countries. The writer is chief scientific adviser to the British Government. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Dealing with Iran - Douglas J. Feith
    At the heart of the Obama-Netanyahu dispute - and of the president's clash with Congress - is not diplomacy versus war. It's the difference between cooperative diplomacy and coercive diplomacy. By taking a cooperative approach, Obama insists, the U.S. and others can persuade Iran's ruling ayatollahs to play by rules that all parties voluntarily accept. In contrast, the coercive option, which Netanyahu favors, assumes that Iran will remain hostile, dishonest and dangerous.
        When Obama says the Israeli leader has offered "no viable alternative" to the deal being negotiated, he is denying that a coercive option exists. But Netanyahu's point is that we can have one if we try.
        Iranian leaders have a long record of shameless dishonesty. Their aid to the tyrannical Assad regime has been massive since the Syrian civil war began, but they routinely deny it. And they make a practice of lying to UN weapons inspectors.
        History teaches that constraining bad actors through arms control and peace accords is a losing bet. The arms-control approach is to invite bad actors to sign legal agreements. This produces signing ceremonies, but the bad actors inevitably violate them. The writer served as U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy (2001-05). (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israeli Restraint in Gaza War Exceeded Requirements of International Law - Gaza Conflict Task Force
    In the 2014 Gaza War, Israel systemically applied established rules of conduct that adhered to or exceeded the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) in a virtually unprecedented effort to avoid inflicting civilian casualties. The IDF implemented unprecedented precautionary measures with full knowledge that they often would degrade the efficacy of an attack by allowing evacuation of military personnel, equipment or munitions. It is our assessment as military professionals that IDF operations in Gaza exercised considerable restraint and exceeded the requirements of LOAC.
        While we respect the IDF's restraint and innovations, we do not believe the Israeli level of restraint should be considered the standard for U.S. armed forces in future conflicts. Policy-based restraints on the use of combat power risk creating a precedent to which military forces will likely be expected to adhere in the future. The result will not only be a greater danger to national security, but also an increased risk to civilians, since unconventional enemies will (like Hamas) deliberately seek to instigate civilian casualties in order to portray them, usually erroneously, as the result of unlawful attacks by their opponents. (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs-JINSA)
        See also Video: Briefing by Gaza Conflict 2014 Task Force (JINSA)
  • How the Middle East Differs from the West - Asher Susser
    British Middle East historian Malcolm Yapp notes that Middle Eastern societies are not societies of individuals - they are societies of groups. In Western societies, people organize politically as individuals. In the Middle East, you belong to a group - your extended family, your tribe, and your religious denomination. So you are, first and foremost, a Muslim, or a Jew, or some kind of Christian - Maronite, Greek Orthodox, or Greek Catholic. If you're Muslim, it makes a huge difference if you are Sunni or Shiite or something else like the Alawites or the Druze.
        The Americans invaded Iraq with the belief that it was a society of individuals and so would coalesce into democratic political parties which would vie for power. But the groups went to war with each other, which was only to be expected.
        Westerners saw Facebook and Twitter in Egypt but didn't see the Muslim Brotherhood. The story in the West was that the secular liberal intelligentsia were taking over Egypt. Then the commentators were shocked when the Muslim Brotherhood walked all over everybody. And the only people who are going to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from walking all over everybody are the military, not the secular liberals. The writer is a senior fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Fathom-BICOM)

Iran's Nuclear Fairy Tale - Shimon Stein and Emily B. Landau (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • Iran is engaged in a public campaign to persuade the media and public opinion of its narrative, which in essence is a nuclear fairy tale of Iranian victimization and mistreatment by a bullying hegemonic West.
  • According to Iran's narrative, the IAEA is unfairly exposing Iran to unprecedented inquiries. In fact, since the release in late 2011 of the full annex of IAEA suspicions about Iran's illicit military activities in the nuclear realm, Iran has stonewalled the IAEA investigation. The latest IAEA report released in February clearly notes Iran's lack of cooperation.
  • There is broad international consensus - as well as much evidence - that Iran has been working on a military nuclear program for years, and yet the P5+1 apparently prefer not to confront Iran on this.
  • Yet it is dangerous to avoid confronting Iran on weaponization. In order to deal with future violations, it is important to know how a state has cheated in the past.
  • As long as Iran is allowed to cling to its narrative unchallenged by the West, all of the P5+1 demands can be depicted as exaggerations. Undercutting the narrative would highlight the necessity of all the demands, in order to stop a dangerous proliferator that seeks regional hegemony and has been lying and cheating its way to the nuclear weapons threshold.

    Former Israeli ambassador Shimon Stein is a senior research fellow at INSS, where Emily Landau directs the Arms Control and Regional Security Project.

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