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 Thursday,
April 21, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

NATO Concerned ISIS Is Plotting Nuclear Attack on Britain - Tom Whitehead (Telegraph-UK)
    ISIS terrorists are plotting to carry out biological and nuclear attacks on Britain and Europe, EU and NATO security chiefs warned at an international security conference in London.
    Jorge Berto Silva, deputy head of counter terrorism for the European Commission, said ISIS had shown an interest in obtaining chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear (CBRN) materials.
    Dr. Jamie Shea, deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security threats at NATO, added: "We know terrorists are trying to acquire these substances."
    See also Security Fears as Dozens of Islamic State's European Fighters Granted "Leave" to Return Home - Josie Ensor (Telegraph-UK)
    Dozens of European jihadists have been granted "leave" to return home by the Islamic State, according to leaked ISIS files documenting their movements, prompting fresh fears the group could be plotting attacks in the West.

Israel Is Using Social Media to Prevent Terrorist Attacks (Economist-UK)
    In the latest wave of violence, Israel's intelligence community sees the social media networks as its main opportunity to spot unaffiliated attackers in advance.
    With the average perpetrator aged 15-25, the great majority are active on Facebook and Twitter, and in hindsight are found to have given some inkling of their intentions online.
    Using specially developed algorithms to monitor the social media accounts of young Palestinians has yielded a list of potential suspects, and in some cases has allowed the IDF in recent weeks to stop attackers before they could act.
    Dozens of young men and women have received "warning visits" by the Israel Security Agency, in which they and their parents are told they're under surveillance.
    The names are also passed on to the Palestinian Authority's security apparatus so they can keep tabs on them.

Professors Sue American Studies Association over Israel Boycott (JTA)
    Four professors filed a lawsuit on Wednesday charging the American Studies Association with violating laws governing tax-exempt nonprofit organizations over its academic boycott of Israel.
    The lawsuit also charges that a boycott of another country is outside the scope of ASA's charter.
    ASA's constitution says its goal is "the strengthening of relations among persons and institutions in this country and abroad," while its boycott of Israel does the exact opposite.
    The Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law has assembled a legal team to represent the professors in the case.
    See also American Studies Association Sued over Israel Boycott - William A. Jacobson (Legal Insurrection)

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

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Intelligence Cooperation with Egypt, Jordan at "Unprecedented" Level
    IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan said Wednesday that Israel has seen an "unprecedented level of cooperation" regarding intelligence with Egypt and Jordan in the fight against Islamic State. "There is a strong feeling in the region...that we have to put aside past animosities and concentrate on mutual interests and working together" to deal with the jihadist threat, he said. Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel.
        Golan also spoke of the threat Israel says Iran poses in the region, saying it is determined to spread its influence throughout the Middle East. "Look at their involvement in Iraq, their involvement in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Sudan and other places. Just unbelievable. You can find Iran today everywhere."  (AFP-Daily Mail-UK)
  • Supreme Court Allows Families of Terrorism Victims to Collect Iranian Assets - Robert Barnes
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for American families whose loved ones were killed by terrorism to collect nearly $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets. The justices ruled 6 to 2 that Congress had not violated the separation of powers by passing a bill that made it easier to collect the money for those whose family members were killed in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran. The suit involved survivors of 173 of the 241 killed in the Beirut attack who had secured judgments against Iran. (Washington Post)
  • Russia Moves Artillery to Northern Syria, U.S. Says - Adam Entous and Gordon Lubold
    Russia has been moving artillery units to areas of northern Syria where government forces have massed, raising concerns of a return to full-scale fighting as the current cease-fire falters, U.S. officials said. Russian forces in Syria have also stepped up the tempo of their air operations in support of the Assad regime in recent days. Some Iranian army forces have also returned to government-controlled areas close to the front lines. (Wall Street Journal)
  • New Pentagon Rules Allow More Civilian Casualties in Air War Against ISIS - Tom Vanden Brook
    The Pentagon has approved airstrikes that risk more civilian casualties in order to destroy Islamic State targets as part of its increasingly aggressive fight against the militant group in Iraq and Syria, according to military officials. Six Defense Department officials described how Islamic State targets are selected. A strike with the potential to wound or kill several civilians would be permitted if it prevented ISIS fighters from causing greater harm. (USA Today)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Claims Responsibility for Jerusalem Bus Bombing - Elior Levy and Yael Fridson
    Hamas claimed that the Jerusalem bus bomber, Abd al-Hamid Abu Srur, 19, from Bethlehem, who died of his wounds on Wednesday, was one of its operatives. Members of the terrorist's family handed out sweets and sang songs of praise because he became a martyr and because he carried out a successful attack against Israeli citizens. (Ynet News)
        See also Hundreds of Palestinians Join Solidarity March for Jerusalem Bomber - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Foreign Ministry Protests Countries that Voted for UNESCO Resolution - Herb Keinon
    In the wake of a UNESCO executive board vote in favor of a resolution ignoring Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall, Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold wrote a letter to the 33 countries that voted for the resolution "registering Israel's protest in the strongest terms." Gold called the resolution "part of a disturbing trend that seeks to deny the deep-rooted links between the Jewish people and the State of Israel, with their historic capital."
        "Even the Western Wall, the Jewish people's most sacred site after the Temple Mount, is referred to by UNESCO in quotation marks, as though it is not commonly accepted language, while clear preference is given to call it instead al-Buraq, recalling the Islamic tradition alone."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also UNESCO Director Distances Herself from Temple Mount Decision - Yoav Karni
    Irina Bokova, current head of UNESCO and in the running to be the next UN secretary general, has distanced herself from UNESCO's decision to completely disregard the Temple Mount's religious and historic significance for Jews. Bokova said the decision to thus define the Temple Mount was a political decision and that she herself was opposed to it. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Ties between Hamas-Linked Charities and BDS - Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
    The U.S. should boost transparency of nonprofit organizations to shed light on ties between the anti-Israel BDS movement and charities that were implicated in funding Hamas, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday. Schanzer, a former terror finance analyst for the U.S. Treasury, said that seven key employees of three now-defunct organizations implicated in terrorism finance were now associated with American Muslims for Palestine, "arguably the leading BDS organization in the U.S." and a key sponsor of Students for Justice in Palestine, which sponsors the annual Israel Apartheid Week. (Times of Israel)
        See also Testimony: Israel Imperiled: Threats to the Jewish State - Jonathan Schanzer (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
  • Palestinians Trigger Federal Provision for Defunding UN Climate Organization - Eugene Kontorovich
    28 U.S. senators wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday demanding that, in compliance with U.S. law, no funding be provided to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which recently accepted the Palestinian Authority as a state. The move is part of the Palestinian effort to be declared a state without negotiations with Israel. Federal law bars any funding for UN agencies that grant the PA such status since, in the official U.S. view, "Palestine" is not a state. When the PA joined UNESCO in 2011, it triggered federal defunding of that organization. The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. (Washington Post)
  • Syria's Future: A Black Hole of Instability - Thanassis Cambanis
    Syria has cracked up and no peace settlement can put it back together. Despite talk of a "regime" and "opposition," Syria today is a mosaic of tiny fiefs. The government has ceded control of stretches of land to Iran, Russia and Hizbullah. Its opponents range from Islamic State to a coterie of tiny insurgent groups led by local warlords reliant on foreign donors.
        Even if some fraction of the opposition can reach an accord with the government, the area they could try to rule would amount to a rump state. The nation's industrial heartland and most populous city, Aleppo, has been almost completely destroyed. (New York Times)

Ideas to Guide Us in the Long War Against Islamic Extremism - David Petraeus (Washington Post)

  • It is increasingly apparent that ungoverned spaces in a region stretching from West Africa through the Middle East and into Central Asia will be exploited by Islamic extremists who want to establish sanctuaries in which they can enforce their extremist version of Islam and from which they can conduct terrorist attacks.
  • It is also apparent that the attacks of such extremists will not be confined to the areas in which they are located. Rather, as in the case of Syria, the actions of the extremist groups are likely to spew violence far beyond their immediate surroundings, posing increasingly difficult challenges for our European allies and even our homeland.
  • It is also increasingly clear that, in responding to these challenges, U.S. leadership is imperative. If the United States does not lead, it is unlikely that another country will. Moreover, no group of other countries can collectively approach U.S. capabilities.
  • The path the U.S. and coalition partners pursue has to be comprehensive and not just a narrow counter-terrorism approach. More than precision strikes and special operations raids are needed.
  • It is clear that the U.S.-led effort will have to be sustained for what may be extended periods of time. While aspirational timelines for reductions in our efforts may have some merit, it is clear from our experiences that premature drawdowns can result in loss of the progress for which we sacrificed greatly - and may result in having to return to a country.

    The writer is a retired U.S. Army general who commanded coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and served as CIA director.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.