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,
December 8, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Israel's Alleged Missile Strike in Syria - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
    The report on Syrian television on Wednesday that Israel attacked a military air base in western Damascus was unusual due to the claim that Israel launched surface-to-surface missiles rather than air-to-surface missiles as in most past cases.
    The strike was likely the result of an Iranian attempt to transfer accurate surface-to-surface missiles to Hizbullah.
    If Israel did in fact use surface-to-surface missiles, it is reasonable to assume that it had a good reason - likely a desire to surprise the Syrians and Hizbullah.
    Had Israel launched planes to carry out the mission, the sensitive, long-range radars which the Russians brought to Syria would have been able to detect their presence and the Russians would have warned the Syrians.

Iranian-Made Drone Involved in Attack on Turkish Soldiers in Syria - Sevil Erkus (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    An Iranian-made unmanned drone was used in an attack on a Turkish military camp in northern Syria on Nov. 24, killing four soldiers, a senior Turkish official has told Hurriyet.
    Turkey has still not identified whether Hizbullah, Iran's Quds Force, or another Shiite militia group in Syria had used it.
    Moscow informed Ankara that the drone did not belong to them, and the Syrian Army did not possess such an aircraft.

Two Palestinians Killed in Collapse of Hamas Tunnel Leading into Israel (AP-Ynet News)
    Two Palestinians were killed while working on an attack tunnel intended for infiltration from Gaza into Israel, which collapsed near the border with Israel, Hamas said.

New York State Places Dutch Firms on Blacklist for Israel Boycott (Dutch News-Netherlands)
    Four Dutch companies have been placed on a blacklist by New York state for their boycott of Israel, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Wednesday.
    They include ASN and Triodos banks, engineering group HaskoningDHV, and water company Vitens.

American-Israeli Academic Collaboration Soars - Yair Rosenberg (Tablet)
    A study released this week by the Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Research at Israel's Technion and the U.S.-based Israel on Campus Coalition found that American-Israeli academic collaboration had skyrocketed 45% in the last decade.
    American institutions with joint academic publications with at least one Israeli co-author include MIT (1,835 publications), University of California-Berkeley (1,697), Columbia (1,596), Harvard (1,451), Stanford (1,350), University of Pennsylvania (1,295), and Yale (1,233).
    Collectively, Israeli and American scholars accounted for over 40,000 publications since 2006.
    Niche academic organizations and radical student groups railroading anti-Israel measures through student council meetings are not representative of the broader university community.
    See also U.S.-Israel Academic Collaboration - Dr. Daphne Getz (Neaman Institute and ICC)

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

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Britain, U.S. Monitor Israeli Diplomats, Defense Firms - Snowden Docs Reveal
    British secret services have been spying on Israel's diplomats, defense firms, and military, according to documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden and examined by French newspaper Le Monde. The British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) collects intelligence on the "number two of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs" and "ambassadors posted in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Abuja, Nigeria," the paper said Wednesday.
        Previous reports by the Wall Street Journal and Der Spiegel have revealed how the U.S. monitored the communications of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his predecessor Ehud Olmert. Le Monde also names an Israeli defense company and research centers at Hebrew University as institutions that have been hacked by GCHQ. It is also believed that GCHQ and America's NSA have collected 18 years' worth of transmissions between Israeli army drones, fighter jets, and army bases.
        Communications between the PLO general secretary and Palestinian delegations across the world were also found to have been hacked. (RT-Russia)
  • Saudis Bankroll Taliban in Afghanistan - Carlotta Gall
    Fifteen years and half a trillion dollars later, the U.S. is trying to extricate itself from Afghanistan. A surging Taliban insurgency, meanwhile, is flush with a new inflow of money. Saudi Arabia has backed Pakistan's promotion of the Taliban. Over the years, wealthy Saudi sheikhs and rich philanthropists have stoked the war by privately financing the insurgents. All the while, Saudi Arabia has officially, if coolly, supported the American mission. Saudi officials deny official support for the Taliban, even as they have turned a blind eye to private funding of the Taliban and other hard-line Sunni groups.
        In interviews with the New York Times, a former Taliban finance minister described how he traveled to Saudi Arabia for years raising cash while ostensibly on pilgrimage. The Taliban has also been allowed to raise millions more by extorting "taxes" from hundreds of thousands of Pashtun guest workers in the kingdom and menacing their families back home, said Vali Nasr, a former State Department adviser, now dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
        Nasr describes a Saudi strategy of building a wall of Sunni radicalism across South and Central Asia to contain Iran. With the Americans leaving, there is the sense that Afghanistan is up for grabs. In recent months, the Taliban has mounted a coordinated offensive with 40,000 fighters across 8 provinces - a push financed by foreign sources at a cost of $1 billion, Afghan officials say. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: I'm Ready to Meet Abbas in Paris, But Not at International Summit
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday and told him that if there is no international conference in Paris, he would come to meet with Mahmoud Abbas for direct talks without preconditions. He said Israel will not attend an international conference, which will not contribute to achieving peace. (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Defense Minister: Israel Trying to Prevent Hizbullah from Obtaining Sophisticated Weapons - Gili Cohen
    In the wake of the reported Israeli strike in Syria, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told EU envoys on Wednesday that Israel is "trying to prevent the smuggling of sophisticated weapons, military equipment and weapons of mass destruction from Syria to Hizbullah."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Defense Minister: Israel Trying to Keep Chemical Arms from Hizbullah - Judah Ari Gross
    Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Thursday, "We will not allow the smuggling of high-quality advanced weapons and chemical weapons from Syria to Lebanon for Hizbullah."  (Times of Israel)
  • PA TV Celebrates Murder of Jews - Itamar Marcus
    During the recent Seventh Fatah Congress, PA TV broadcast a song celebrating Fatah's terror and murder of Israelis - 11 times. The song says: "We burst over the borders," "Slice open the enemy's chest," and "The sound of the rifles gives us joy."  (Palestinian Media Watch)
        See also Palestinian Knife Attacker Killed in West Bank
    A Palestinian who attempted to stab Israeli guards at Tapuah junction in the West Bank Thursday morning was shot and killed, police said. The assailant, 18, was a resident of Kalkilya. The junction, south of Nablus, has been the site of multiple stabbing and car-ramming attacks. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • How Trump Should Renegotiate the Iran Deal - Joseph I. Lieberman and Mark D. Wallace
    We hope that President-elect Trump and his administration will try to aggressively enforce and then renegotiate the Iran nuclear agreement beyond the confines of the nuclear issue to make it better for us and the world. To date, the Iranian regime has made clear it has no intent to honor the spirit or letter of the JCPOA. Iran's anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Arab rhetoric has grown stronger. Last month, 11 Arab states publicly accused Iran of meddling in their internal affairs. In June, the State Department again designated Iran the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.
        With U.S. leadership, a new coalition could address the policy omissions in the JCPOA by, for example, securing an agreement with Iran to verifiably curb its regional aggression, state sponsorship of terrorism, and domestic repression of human rights. If Iran does not change course, the president-elect should make clear he is prepared to impose a new round of comprehensive secondary sanctions against Iran - and then to walk away, with cause, from the JCPOA.
        Joseph I. Lieberman is a former U.S. senator from Connecticut. Mark D. Wallace is a former U.S. ambassador to the UN for management and reform. They are chairman and chief executive respectively of United Against Nuclear Iran. (Washington Post)
  • Will Trump and Netanyahu Make the America-Israel Relationship Great Again? - Lee Smith
    Though some Americans may not want to hear it, the election of Donald Trump has changed Israel's strategic situation dramatically for the better. The Israelis have been relatively quiet about their enthusiasm for the Trump administration - partly because the American public is still so dramatically split on the election. One senior Israeli official likened Trump's security picks to a "dream team" of pro-Israel U.S. policymakers.
        Most important to Israel, according to the same official, is Iran. "We haven't changed our view of the nuclear deal with Iran or Iran's malevolent role in the region. But the incoming administration sees both the nuclear deal and the danger posed by Iran very differently than the outgoing administration. They believe that this deal and Iran's aggression and support for terror is not only bad for Israel and the region. They think it is bad for America."
        Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence, told me in Jerusalem, "The Iranian nuclear program is the biggest threat Israel has ever faced....The deal guarantees that the Iranians will have the capability to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons in 15 years." Most important, he said, "Trump says he wants to make America great again. And a strong America is good for Israel." The writer is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. (Tablet)

Students Are Shouting Down Pro-Israel Speakers - and Silencing Free Speech - Cary Nelson and David Greenberg (Washington Post)

  • Since 2014, there has been a disturbing surge in the number of invited campus speakers being repeatedly interrupted or actually prevented from delivering a public lecture. A startling share of these silencing efforts has been directed at Israelis or other speakers sympathetic to Israel.
  • Behind this spike is an idea called "anti-normalization," which holds that any activities that might "normalize" relations between Israelis and Palestinians - from children's soccer leagues to collaborative environmental projects - should be rejected because they treat both parties as having legitimate grievances. Joint projects are to be shunned unless they begin with the premise that Israel is the guilty party.
  • In the past, shouting down speakers was regarded as exceptional and a scandalous violation of academic freedom. Upholders of free-speech rights insisted that at an institution of higher learning, you don't shout people down; a liberal education requires that all views be given a hearing. Free-speech principles, after all, are either universal or they become politicized, subject to the whim of those in power.
  • The growing practice of silencing pro-Israel speakers - of denying them the right to be treated as equals in campus debates - constitutes a dire threat to academic freedom. It is more important than ever that universities create opportunities for students and faculty to hear and engage with ideas that they don't share. Their leaders must defend more vocally than they have thus far the free-speech rights of all speakers on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Cary Nelson is an English professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. David Greenberg is a history professor at Rutgers University. They are members of the Alliance for Academic Freedom.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.