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,
August 12, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: New York City Voters Oppose Iran Nuclear Pact (Quinnipiac University)
    New York City voters oppose the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran by 43% to 36%, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.
    Jewish voters oppose the proposed pact by 53-33 and say by 51-37 the pact would make the world less safe.
    Opposition is 51-32 among independent voters, 45-27 among Hispanic voters and 58-26 among white Catholics.

Russia, Saudis Fail in Talks to Agree on Fate of Syria's Assad - Katya Golubkova and Gabriela Baczynska (Reuters)
    Russia and Saudi Arabia failed in talks in Moscow on Tuesday to overcome their differences on the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
    Russia is pushing for a coalition to fight Islamic State insurgents that would involve Assad, a longtime ally of Moscow.
    But Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reiterated Riyadh's stance that Assad must go.
    "A key reason behind the emergence of Islamic State was the actions of Assad....Assad is part of the problem, not part of the solution to the Syrian crisis," he said.

Abbas to Visit Iran in November - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is planning to visit Iran in November for talks aimed at boosting relations between the two sides, Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, announced on Tuesday.

Tiny Israel Is Giant When It Comes to Nobel Prizes - Nathan Jeffay (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    Times Higher Education last week ranked Israel fifth best in the world for overall Nobel performance this century.
    In a separate table ranking global academic institutions by their Nobel Prize winners, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology came eighth, beating Harvard and every British university, and coming just one place after MIT.

Israeli Holocaust Survivor, 91, Wins World Running Championship for Seniors - Danielle Roth (Israel Hayom)
    Semion Simkin, 91, a Holocaust survivor, on Monday won the 10 km. world championship for senior runners in Lyon, France.

Christian Enlistment in IDF Rising (
    Last year, Christian enlistment in the IDF rose to more than 100 and may reach 200 next year.
    IDF Col. (res.) Pini Gonen, who runs the Gadna youth battalion project for Christian youths for the Israeli Defense Ministry, told the Walla news website, "They arrive with very high motivation for military service."
    "Just last week Jennifer, an Arab Christian soldier, was selected for exceptional performance in a course operating [the] Iron Dome [missile defense system]."
    "Already today you can see [Christian] officers at the rank of major in the teleprocessing branch, [the] navy, and other units."

Sarah Zoabi: I Am A Proud Zionist (
    Sarah Zoabi, an Arab Israeli who appeared on the Israeli version of "MasterChef," is from Upper Nazereth.
    She says: "Comparing us to other countries, to Arab countries - we live in paradise....Can I do in another country what I do here?"

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Kerry: No Automatic Return of Sanctions If Iran Breaks Arms Embargo - Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols
    Violations of an arms embargo by Iran or restrictions on its missile program would not force an automatic reinstatement or "snapback" of UN sanctions under the nuclear deal, although other options would be available, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday. "They are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms piece of it."
        Even without a restoration of UN sanctions, Kerry said the U.S. and its allies would have "ample tools at our disposal" if Iran violated the arms embargo and missile sanctions. "There is a specific UN resolution outside of this agreement that prohibits them from sending weapons to Hizbullah" and other potential recipients of weapons from Iran, he said.
        Tehran has consistently violated the UN arms embargo and missile sanctions, and Iran's senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi made clear last month that Tehran had no intention of complying. "Whenever it's needed to send arms to our allies in the region, we will do so," he said. (Reuters)
  • Schumer: If U.S. Quits Deal, U.S. Sanctions Still Will Hurt Iran - Deb Riechmann and David B. Caruso
    Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that even if the U.S. backs away from the nuclear agreement with Iran while other countries lift their sanctions, Iran still will feel meaningful pressure from the U.S. penalties.
        Schumer also said that sanctions aimed at companies that do business with Iran could force U.S. allies and trade partners back to the negotiating table. "Let's not forget, those secondary sanctions are very powerful," Schumer said. He said these sanctions alert corporations, such as the French oil company Total, that if it deals with Iran, it cannot deal with the U.S. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Schumer: Can't Trust European Nations to Make Iran Inspections - Geoff Earle and Danielle Furfaro
    Sen. Charles Schumer blasted the Iran nuclear deal as "fatally flawed" Tuesday, saying he doesn't trust European nations to conduct thorough inspections of sensitive facilities. "You know, the Europeans, once they have these economic relationships with Iran - which we know they are very eager to have - are going to be reluctant to ask for an inspection, so I was troubled by that," he said. (New York Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Has Dug Several Tunnels into Israel in New Iran-Funded War Drive - Stuart Winer
    The Israel Defense Forces has confirmed that "not a small number" of terror tunnels have been dug by Hamas under the border into Israel, including one in the area of the Kerem Shalom border crossing, Israel's Channel 10 TV reported Tuesday. Israel has troops "working around the clock" to grapple with the threat.
        Iran has supplied major assistance to the Hamas war effort including cash, military training for Hamas fighters, weaponry, and electronic equipment including for use against Israeli drones, the report said.
        Earlier, the Israel Security Agency reported on Hamas' preparations for war that it had obtained from a Hamas fighter and tunnel digger who was arrested last month at the border. (Times of Israel)
        See also Hamas Operative Involved in Continued Tunnel Construction Arrested (IDF Spokesperson-IMRA)
  • Muslims Harass U.S. Congressmen Visiting Temple Mount - Lahav Harkov
    A group of Muslim men harassed and stalked a delegation of U.S. congressmen visiting the Temple Mount Tuesday. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) recounted, "We walked up there and were almost immediately approached by several men who started shouting. We were tracked the entire time we were there and found these individuals surprisingly intolerant and belligerent."
        Men wearing shirts with Waqf insignia repeatedly interrupted the guide and tried to grab his diagrams and maps. Soon after, 15-20 men began to harass the group, interrupting the tour guide, shouting and pointing, and police had to break up the commotion.
        E.J. Kimball, Director of U.S. Operations for the Israel Allies Foundation, said the congressional delegation "wasn't doing anything controversial, no one was even wearing a yarmulke. [The Muslims] did a good job of making everyone feel very uncomfortable just for being up there as a non-Muslim." On their way out, the delegation saw a group of Jewish visitors confronted by a Muslim group crowding around them and shouting "Allahu Akbar." The Islamic Movement in Israel pays thousands of shekels every month to "protectors of the holy places" who harass non-Muslim visitors. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Preferring Iran over Israel? Has the World Gone Mad? - Shlomo Cesana
    Opposition Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid leveled harsh criticism at Europe over the weekend, saying that the EU's policy of preferring Iran over Israel was "scandalous." In opinion pieces in Corriere della Sera and Die Welt, Lapid asked, "You rush to sign contracts with the Iranians but you threaten to boycott Israel?"
        Lapid called the nuclear agreement "a terrible deal" that "sends the Middle East the message that the West is weak; that everyone who is lying cunningly enough will be rewarded." Rather than demanding that Iran cease sponsoring international terrorism, the European nations lecture Israel about violence and human rights. "Under normal circumstances, countries like Germany and Italy would boycott Iran. Instead, the international community threatens to boycott Israel, while lifting the sanctions imposed on Iran. Has the world gone mad?"  (Israel Hayom)
        See also Does the Iran Agreement Serve Israel's Interests? - Ari Harow
    President Obama maintains that the Iran nuclear accord serves Israel's national security interests. Yet Israel is united in opposition to the deal - the government, the opposition, and everything in between. To believe that what Israel really needs is the polar opposite of a unified voice that spans the spectrum of Israeli political leadership, is arrogance in the extreme.
        The deal hands a short-term windfall to the terrorist armies which prowl our borders and in the long term hands the nuclear keys to a regime which advocates our genocide. How could Israel's response be anything other than vociferous disapproval? The author served as chief of staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iran's Supreme Leader Challenges U.S. Policy in the Middle East - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall
    Since the signing of the nuclear deal, the Iranian leadership has been affirming that the antagonistic relationship between Iran and the U.S. will not change. Supreme Leader Khamenei keeps declaring that Iranian and U.S. interests are completely opposed to each other. Iran, which continues to view the U.S. as an enemy and as the Great Satan, will keep fighting it even after the deal, and will keep helping its friends in the Middle East (Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas, etc.).
        On July 11, 2015, Khamenei said, "The fight against arrogance [the U.S.], the fight against the imperialist system, cannot be suspended; [this struggle] is part of our mission, part of our fundamental duty, one of the pillars of the Islamic Revolution....If the fight against arrogance is not waged, it means we are not acting according to the tenets of the Koran. The fight against arrogance cannot be brought to an end...and the United States is the most perfect example of the definition of arrogance."
        Khamenei has posted on his homepage a defiant infographic that describes and maps the huge disparities ("180 degrees") between Iranian and U.S. policy in the Middle East. A translation of the Khamenei infographic is presented here. The writer, an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, terrorism, and the Middle East, is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center and at Foresight Prudence. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Why Iran's Anti-Semitism Matters - Jeffrey Goldberg (Atlantic)

  • Iranian leaders, and in particular the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, do not specialize in nuance. They are people theologically committed to the destruction of Israel. Quotes such as this one from Khamenei help lead me to this conclusion: "This barbaric, wolflike, and infanticidal regime of Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated."
  • If you're paying attention, you will see that bringing about the end of the sovereign Jewish state in the Middle East is a paramount political and theological mission of the Iranian regime. If, in the post-Holocaust world, a group of people express a desire to hurt Jews, it is, for safety's sake, best to believe them.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry's understanding of the regime's anti-Semitism is somewhat different from mine. He told me Iran is dangerous to Israel "at this moment" but that the true intentions of Iran's leaders when it comes to Israel are unknowable and irrelevant. I was troubled by what I took to be his unwillingness, or inability, to grapple squarely with Iran's eliminationist desires.
  • Last week I asked President Obama: Does the Iranian leadership seek the elimination of Israel? The president said: "I take what the supreme leader says seriously. I think his ideology is steeped with anti-Semitism, and if he could, without catastrophic costs, inflict great harm on Israel, I'm confident that he would. But as I said, I think, the last time we spoke, it is possible for leaders or regimes to be cruel, bigoted, twisted in their worldviews and still make rational calculations with respect to their limits and their self-preservation."
  • I'm glad that Obama understands that the supreme leader seeks to do great harm to Israel. He told me last week: "The anxieties of the American Jewish community are entirely understandable. Those are amplified when there appears to be across-the-board opposition inside of Israel, not just within Likud, but among other parties. And some of that is emotional - in a legitimate way. You don't like dealing with somebody who denies horrible things happening to your people or threatens future horrible things to your people. Some of it is based on legitimate concerns about what an economically stronger Iran could do to further enhance their support of Hizbullah."
  • The risks here are huge: The administration, and supporters of the deal, are mortgaging the future to a regime labeled by Kerry's State Department as the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and a regime that seeks the physical elimination of a fellow member-state of the UN and a close ally of the U.S. as well. Given that there is so much risk and uncertainty in what the U.S. is doing, it would be useful for the administration to make absolutely clear that it understands the nature of the regime with which it is dealing.

        See also Waking Up to a Nuclear Iran? - Danny Schiff
    The Islamic republic of Pakistan has approximately 120 nuclear weapons capable of reaching most of the Middle East, including Israel. Why are we resolutely opposed to the idea of Iran attaining even one future bomb, while hardly even discussing Pakistan's existing arsenal? The most important answer is that the Iranian regime has genocidal intent, which it has restated on countless occasions in graphic, menacing tones.
        We should be just as worried about who controls the nuclear weapons as we are about the weapons themselves. Nuclear weapons in the hands of radical ideologues who openly incite genocide represent an intolerable nightmare. The writer is the Federation Scholar at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. (Jerusalem Post)

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