Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Daily Alert Mobile
Search Back Issues
  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
November 10, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. 5th Fleet off Iran Coast Armed with Laser Weapons - Lara Seligman (Defense News)
    Vice Adm. Kevin "Kid" Donegan, commander of U.S. Central Command Naval Forces, said the 5th Fleet is operating a powerful laser weapons system capable of destroying or disabling targets with dazzling accuracy, just off the coast of Iran.
    The new laser, deployed from the Afloat Forward Staging Base USS Ponce, is a pivotal asset to defend against ballistic missiles, small attack boats and UAVs.
    Donegan told Defense News in a Nov. 8 interview at the Dubai Air Show that his commanders have permission to use the weapon if a critical situation arises. He indicated the weapon can shoot down incoming ballistic missiles.
    Donegan added that by 2020, the 5th Fleet in the Gulf region will grow from 30 ships to 40 ships. "We are definitely not leaving the region," he said. "You are not going to see the Navy leaving this region anytime soon."

Americans Still Support Israel - Dina Smeltz (Washington Post)
    Survey trends show Americans' favorable views of Israel have not been much affected by the U.S.-Israel dispute over the Iran deal.
    The Chicago Council on Global Affairs' surveys find that Americans tend to view Israel favorably (giving Israel an average of 59 out of a possible 100 favorability rating), on par with their feelings toward France (61 out of 100).
    In fact, favorable views of Israel actually rose across the political spectrum when compared to 2014.
    The writer is a senior fellow in public opinion and foreign policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

    See also Majority of Britons See Israel as Key Middle East Ally - Marcus Dysch (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    Israel is seen as Britain's leading Middle East ally by more than half of the British public, a poll by BICOM has found.
    The poll also revealed that only 12% back the singling out of Israel for boycotts, with 43% objecting to such a move. 47% believe a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel would also hurt Palestinians.

U.S. Senators to EU: Don't Label Israeli Products from Settlements - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    Three dozen U.S. senators on Tuesday sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini expressing concern over plans to label products manufactured in West Bank settlements. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) spearheaded the statement.
    "We urge you not to implement this labeling policy, which appears intended to discourage Europeans from purchasing these products and promote a de-facto boycott of Israel," wrote the senators.
    The plan sets a "troubling precedent" that "play(s) into the narrative of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement, which is an effort to delegitimize Israel rather than promote a resolution of outstanding issues between Israel and the Palestinians."

RSS Feed 
Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Archives Portal 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Obama, Netanyahu Meeting Focuses on Shared Goals - Julie Hirschfeld Davis
    A meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel on Monday at the White House focused on their shared goals of confronting Iranian misbehavior, countering terrorism, bolstering Israel's security and strategizing over the crisis in Syria. Obama said it was time to put aside their disagreement over the Iran deal. "It's no secret that the prime minister and I have had a strong disagreement on this narrow issue, but we don't have a disagreement on the need for making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, and we don't have a disagreement about us blunting destabilizing activities in Iran that may be taking place." The two leaders had a practical conversation about contingency planning should Tehran violate the terms of the Iran deal.
        Netanyahu said he shared Obama's goal of eventually resolving the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians with a two-state solution. "I want to make it clear that we have not given up our hope for peace - we'll never give up our hope for peace. And I remain committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state." Obama said, "I want to be very clear that we condemn in the strongest terms Palestinian violence against innocent Israeli citizens. And I want to repeat once again, it is my strong belief that Israel has not just the right, but the obligation, to protect itself."  (New York Times)
        See also Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu Before Meeting (White House)
  • Jordan Policeman Shoots Dead Foreign Trainers
    A Jordanian police captain opened fire at a police training center near Amman on Monday, killing two Americans, a South African and two Jordanians. The assailant also wounded two Americans and two Jordanians, before being shot dead. (BBC News)
  • London Mayor Dismisses Academics' Boycott of Israel - Ben Quinn
    The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, speaking at the outset of a three-day trade mission to Israel, has hit out at those involved in boycotts of Israel. "I cannot think of anything more foolish than to say you want to have any kind of divestment or sanctions or boycott against a country that, when all is said and done, is the only democracy in the region, is the only place that has, in my view, a pluralist open society....This is a very, very small minority in our country who are calling for this."  (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Calls Meeting with Obama "One of the Best" They've Had - Raphael Ahren
    Prime Minister Netanyahu told reporters that his sit-down on Monday with President Obama was "one of the best meetings I've had with him." Netanyahu said the discussion focused mainly on Israel's security needs and American military aid to Israel, and steps on the ground Jerusalem intends to take to stabilize relations with the Palestinians.
        Most of the meeting focused on preparations for the renewal of the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding which regulates American military assistance to Israel. "We didn't focus on the exact sum, but I presented our needs," Netanyahu said. The last Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2007, but "today's Middle East cannot be compared to what it was then," Netanyahu said, explaining that the currently volatile situation in the region has created new challenges for Israel. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Security Guard Wounded in Jerusalem Stabbing Attack - Nir Hasson
    Two Palestinians, one of whom was 12 years old, stabbed an Israeli security guard on the Light Rail in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood of Jerusalem on Tuesday. The guard shot one the assailants and the other was apprehended by security forces. Also Tuesday, a Palestinian assailant with a knife in his hand ran toward two security guards near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City. The guards shot the attacker before he managed to stab them. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Exposes Hamas Terror Network in West Bank - Yoav Zitun
    Israeli security forces arrested 24 members of a Hamas terror network in Kalkilya in the West Bank on Monday. The network received guidance, instructions and large-scale funding from Hamas command centers in Qatar and Gaza. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Palestinian State of Denial - Bret Stephens
    You do not make peace with enemies. You make peace with former enemies - either because you have defeated them, or because they collapse, or because they have defeated you. Ever since Rabin signed the Oslo Accord with the PLO's Yasser Arafat, Israel has been trying to achieve something historically unprecedented: To make peace with an enemy that shows no interest in becoming an ex-enemy.
        The only person standing in the way of Palestinian democracy is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who hasn't held an election in a decade. The only force standing in the way of a Palestinian state are the Palestinian people, who think they can gain their rights by stabbing their neighbors. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iran Should Release Four Detained Americans or Face Sanctions - Editorial
    Four Iranian Americans have been imprisoned by the Iranian regime. None has been shown to be guilty of any crime - much less the extravagant and ridiculous charges of espionage that, in the case of the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian, have been reported in the Iranian media.
        President Obama has frequently suggested that the nuclear deal would prompt a relaxation of barriers between Iran and the West. So far, the opposite appears to be happening. While anticipating the collection of up to $100 billion in frozen assets, Iran's military and security services are acting to ensure that there is no further detente. In that they have the support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who last week celebrated the anniversary of the seizing of hostages at the U.S. Embassy by proclaiming that the slogan "death to America" will live forever. (Washington Post)
  • Palestinians: A World of Lies, Deception and Fabrications - Bassam Tawil
    The current wave of Palestinian terrorism has entered its fourth week, but PA President Mahmoud Abbas is continuing to talk about a "peaceful, popular uprising" against Israel. Abbas and his top PLO and Fatah leaders have yet to explain what is peaceful and popular about stabbing an 80-year-old lady named Ruti Malka in Rishon Lezion, and a 70-year-old Jewish woman in Jerusalem. Instead of denouncing the terror attacks perpetrated by his people, Abbas continues to attack Israel for shooting the knife-wielding assailants to stop them. In reality, these "innocent" Palestinian men and women were "merely" in the process of trying to stab people to death.
        At two separate meetings of the PLO and Fatah leaderships in Ramallah this week, Abbas repeated that Israel is "committing war crimes" and working to "alter" the status quo on the Temple Mount. Instead of appealing to his people to refrain from carrying out terrorist attacks, Abbas and the PLO and Fatah leaders "voiced appreciation for the heroic steadfastness" of the Palestinians. Abbas told them that it is their duty to "defend" the Islamic holy sites and assured them that if they are killed by Israeli security forces, they will end up in Paradise. Welcome to the world of the Palestinians, where we lie and believe our own lies. And then want the rest of the world to believe them, too. (Gatestone Institute)

The Evolution of Arab Psychological Warfare: Towards "Nonviolence" as a Political Strategy - Irwin J. Mansdorf (Israel Affairs)

  • Psychological warfare is a "soft power" technique used to attain strategic objectives. In the Israeli-Palestinian dynamic, psychological warfare has evolved to where it now shares goals with "public diplomacy" as a means of influencing policy and politics.
  • Arab strategy has moved from ineffective attempts to influence the Israeli public to credible and cynical strategies that often involve a disregard for and exploitation of civilian casualties and the appearance of embracing ideology associated with revolutionary figures and human rights.
  • "Non-violent resistance" invoking Gandhi, Mandela and King as models for Palestinian Arab strategy is now common and serves to attract sympathy. Despite claiming a philosophy of nonviolence, the goal of many anti-Israel groups remains the dissolution of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
  • Many of the Palestinian Arab proponents of nonviolence seek to maintain an air of civility and peacefulness while never unconditionally rejecting specific violent behavior or accepting responsibility for violence perpetrated. While there have been examples of rejections of violence on the part of Palestinian Arab leadership or individuals, many of these rejections appear to be intellectualized as conditional or functional - i.e., linked to a concomitant condemnation of Israel rather than condemning violence outright.
  • The ostensible repudiation of violence even while failing to accept responsibility for specific (even well-known) violent actions by Palestinian Arabs is a central part of the psychological strategy employed by groups associated with the popular resistance.
  • At the core of this behavior is an ideology that allows a psychological defense against any wrongdoing by playing the role of victim and, in so doing, excusing if not outwardly justifying "victim-generated" violence. Once the label of "victim" is attached, those victims, namely Palestinian Arabs, are blameless, and any violence they engage in is considered "different," justifiable and excusable.
  • The axiom that the victim is always right has led to a blind acceptance of certain "victim rights" without any victim accountability. Any suggestion that a victim bears any personal responsibility or liability for their fate is unthinkable in much of Western society. Even while taking the approach that "strong is wrong," violence, even extreme and brutal violence, is psychologically excused by claiming asymmetry between the alleged victim and the accused oppressor.

    Irwin J. (Yitzchak) Mansdorf, PhD., is a clinical psychologist and a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He directs the Center's Israel-Arab studies program for university students.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.