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,
September 17, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Aid Workers Rescue Drowning Refugees - Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c)
    Volunteers from IsraAID: The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid spent the Jewish New Year in dramatic rescue and aid operations on behalf of refugees pouring into Europe.
    On Sept. 13, IsraAID volunteers saw a boatful of refugees nearing the Greek shore suddenly flip over as its engine exploded.
    "Some of the women, children and babies didn't know how to swim and our staff immediately jumped into the water to help them, preventing them from drowning," said IsraAID Director Shachar Zahavi.
    IsraAID has sent 10 volunteers to Europe, including Arabic-speakers. Five more will depart from Israel in the coming days.
    On Rosh Hashanah, IsraAID volunteers on the Serbian-Hungarian border distributed dozens of baby carriers and baby slings donated by individuals across Israel.
    They showed parents how these devices can help them transport their little ones more securely, with hands free to hold other items.

U.S.: Russian Helicopters Spotted at Syria Airfield (Reuters)
    The U.S. has identified four Russian helicopters, including helicopter gunships, at a Syrian airfield, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

For Syrian Refugees in Italy, Israel Remains Enemy No. 1 - Rossella Tercatin (Times of Israel)
    Despite the cruelty of Libyan smugglers, despite the suffering inflicted upon them by their own government that forced them to flee for their lives, Syrian refugees I met in Milan, Italy, still view Israel as their real enemy.
    "Israel is the ultimate enemy, that's what we've been told since we were kids," said Adman, 21. He warned me not to tell the other refugees that I was Jewish. "Some of them could react badly," he said.
    Rima, 28, a Syrian working for an Italian NGO at a migrant registration facility, explains: "For Syrians, Israel is Palestinian territory."
    "I don't think that Jews should have a state. They are a religion, not a people....I don't think a Jewish state has any reason to exist."

Children on Hamas TV: We Want to Wage Jihad and Blow Up the Jews (MEMRI)
    On a children's show on Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV on Sept. 4, young children, dressed in military fatigues, were asked what they want to be when they grow up.
    One child said that he wanted to be an engineer, "so that I can blow up the Jews."
    Another recited a poem: "I shall liberate [Jerusalem] from the Jews by means of the Al-Qassam Brigades."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • CIA Watching for Iranian Nuclear Collaboration with North Korea - Rowan Scarborough and Guy Taylor
    The CIA and proliferation experts are concerned that Tehran may outsource parts of its nuclear and missile programs to the secretive regime in North Korea. CIA Director John Brennan acknowledged Tuesday his agency is monitoring whether Iran may try to assist its clandestine nuclear program with help from North Korea, or by colluding with Pyongyang toward the secret purchase and transfer of nuclear weapons for Tehran.
        Experts say the Iran nuclear deal carries no prohibition against North Korea performing Iran's nuclear arms research. Larry Niksch, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee in July: "North Korea may receive upwards of $2 to $3 billion annually from Iran for the various forms of collaboration between them."  (Washington Times)
  • Migrants Pose as Syrians to Open Door to Asylum in Europe - Manuela Mesco, Matt Bradley and Giovanni Legorano
    As Europe moves to take in large numbers of refugees, particularly from Syria, some other migrants - often Iraqis, Libyans, Palestinians and Egyptians - are passing themselves off as Syrian, said aid workers, government officials and fellow migrants. At Budapest's Keleti Train Station last week, Mahmoud, a Syrian from Aleppo, looked around at the new arrivals. Judging from their accents and dialects, he reckoned that little more than 10% were Syrian. But he saw many more passing themselves off as Syrians. The masquerade risks undermining political support for the EU's open-door policy. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Reykjavik, Iceland, Votes to Boycott Goods from Israel - Paul Fontaine
    Reykjavik City Hall voted on Tuesday to ban the purchase of products from Israel. Kjartan Magnusson, an opposition councilperson, accused the ruling coalition of hypocrisy, pointing out that China still occupies Tibet, yet Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson has accepted trips to China at the expense of the Chinese government. There is also no known proposal to boycott goods from China.
        Supreme Court lawyer Einar Gautur Steingrimsson said the move is unconstitutional and "goes beyond the city's role as a municipality." "This is just as illegal as refusing to do business with redheads," he said. (Reykjavik Grapevine-Iceland)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Abbas: Israelis Have No Right to Desecrate Our Holy Sites with Their Filthy Feet - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Palestinians won't allow Israelis to "desecrate" Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday, referring to visits by Jews to the Temple Mount. "Al-Aqsa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet. We won't allow them to do so and we will do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem," Abbas told a meeting of Arab activists from Jerusalem. He also praised Muslims who harass Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also PA Promotes Rock-Throwing to "Save the Al-Aqsa Mosque" - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
    Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the official Palestinian Authority daily, has encouraged Palestinians to continue throwing rocks at Israelis and to defend and save the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem. On Wednesday it published a cartoon encouraging children to throw rocks. Recently, PA Chairman Abbas hosted an event for a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who threw rocks at Israeli soldiers.
        Hafez Al-Barghouti, a columnist for the official PA daily, wrote on July 23, 2015, that rock-throwing "is permitted...since international law permits whoever is under occupation to resist through all possible means."  (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • Jerusalem Neighborhood Is Target of Arab Attacks - Judah Ari Gross
    Alexander Levlovich was attacked and killed by Arab rock-throwers as he was driving home on Rosh Hashanah in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv, also known as East Talpiot. Each night, teenagers from Jabel Mukaber, the adjacent Arab village, pelt homes in Armon Hanatziv with firebombs, rocks, fireworks and glass bottles filled with paint.
        Nava Segev, who has lived in the neighborhood for over 40 years, said the windows of her home have been broken multiple times; her garden has been set on fire. At night, there are parts of her house she must stay out of for fear of being hit by an incoming rock or bottle. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iranian Officials Reveal: Secret Negotiations with U.S. Began in 2011 - A. Savyon, Y. Carmon, and Y. Mansharof
    It is evident from statements by top Iranian officials that the U.S. began secret negotiations with Iran in 2011, during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In a June 23, 2015, speech, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said: "The issue of negotiating with the Americans is connected to the term of the previous [Ahmadinejad] government, and to the dispatching of a mediator to Tehran to request talks....[Omani Sultan Qaboos] came to visit me as a mediator, and said explicitly that the American president [Obama] had asked him to come to Tehran and present the Americans' request for negotiations. The Americans told this mediator: 'We want to solve the nuclear issue and lift sanctions within six months, while recognizing Iran as a nuclear power.'"
        In an April 19, 2014, interview, Iranian Atomic Energy Organization director Ali Akbar Salehi, who served as foreign minister under Ahmadinejad, told Iran's Al-'Alam TV: "Work on the talks with America began two and a half years ago [during 2011], after obtaining the leader's approval."  (MEMRI)
  • Encouraging Palestinian Terror - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Attacks on Jewish cars and pedestrians with rocks and firebombs are so routine as to be considered not particularly newsworthy. Any Israeli effort to push back against terrorism is seen as being somehow the fault of the Jews, while Palestinians committing crimes are seen as innocent youths performing what the New York Times described as a "rite of passage." But would those Western observers who sympathize with or rationalize these attacks on Jews consider such attacks on their cars in the U.S. and Europe to be anything but attempted murder?
        The supposed justification for the Palestinians using rocks and firebombs is that they don't have tanks and jet aircraft to shoot at Jews "in order to press for independence." But if "independence" were the goal of the Palestinian national movement, it could have achieved that 15 years ago when the Israelis offered the Palestinian Authority a state and sovereignty in almost all the West Bank, a share of Jerusalem and Gaza.
        The goal of rock throwing, which has indeed become something of a national sport for Palestinians, is to injure and kill individual Jews. Like suicide bombings or rocket attacks on Israeli cities, the point is to shed Jewish blood. Palestinian nationalism is still inextricably linked to a belief that the presence of Jewish sovereignty over any part of the country, whether across the 1967 line or inside them, is unacceptable. (Commentary)

How to Prevent an Iranian Bomb: The Case for Deterrence - Michael Mandelbaum (Foreign Affairs)

  • In order to keep Iran from going nuclear, the Iran deal needs to be supplemented by an explicit, credible threat of military action. To be credible, such a threat must be publicly articulated and resolutely communicated.
  • The Obama administration should declare such a policy itself, as should future administrations, and Congress should enshrine such a policy in formal resolutions passed with robust bipartisan support.
  • The administration should reinforce the credibility of its promise by increasing the deployment of U.S. naval and air forces in the Persian Gulf region and stepping up the scope and frequency of military exercises there in conjunction with its allies.
  • As in Europe during the Cold War, the goal of U.S. policy should be to eliminate all doubts, on all sides, that the U.S. will uphold its commitments.
  • A policy of deterrence should not be controversial, since all participants in the debate have endorsed the goal of preventing an Iranian bomb. In addition, a robust policy of deterrence would help address some of the shortcomings of the agreement without sacrificing or undermining its useful elements.
  • Since the deterrence policy could and should be open ended, it would help ease worries about the provisions of the accord that expire after ten or 15 years. As during the Cold War, the policy should end only when it becomes obsolete - that is, when Iran no longer poses a threat to the international community.

    The writer is professor of American foreign policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

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