Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

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Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 


Download a pdf version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

 On Topic Links

 

Syria’s Collapse and How Washington Can Stop It: Andrew J. Tabler, Foreign Affairs, July/Aug., 2013

Killing of Pakistani Terrorist is a Possible Turning Point: Daniel S. Markey, Washington Post, Nov. 7, 2013

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"I understand the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva, as well they should be…Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal," — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, prior to the P5+1 nuclear discussions with Iran in Geneva over the weekend. Netanyahu added that Israel "is not obliged by this agreement" and that it will do "everything it needs to defend itself and defend the security of its people." (Los Angles Times, Nov. 8, 2013)

 

"There was unity. But Iran couldn't take it at that particular moment; they weren't able to accept that particular agreement," — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, commenting on the failure to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 11, 2013)

 

"Mr. Secretary, was it Iran that gutted over half of [the] U.S. draft Thursday night? And publicly commented against it Friday morning?…No amount of spinning can change what happened within [p]5+1 in Geneva from 6 P.M. Thursday to 5:45 P.M. Saturday. But it can further erode confidence…We are committed to constructive engagement. Interaction on equal footing key to achieve shared objectives." — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a message posted on Twitter, hit back at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late on Tuesday.  (Ha’aretz, Nov. 12, 2013)

 

[It’s a] “fool’s game” world powers risked being sucked into by Iran — warned France's foreign minister Laurent Fabius at the nuclear talks last weekend in Geneva. That resistance helped upend a landmark deal that would have offered Iran some relief from punishing international sanctions in return for suspending elements of its nuclear program. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 12, 2013)

“Practically speaking, [a deal] shuts the [Israeli military] option down… It doesn’t matter what we think about the deal. Israel won’t be able to do a thing” — Maj. Gen. (res) Giora Eiland, who served as head of the National Security Council under prime minister Ariel Sharon. (Times of Israel, Nov. 11, 2013)

 

"You know, the French are very irritating. When the Americans absolutely want to do something, the French have this terrible habit of somewhat disagreeing…We actually have experience in dealing with the Iranians directly. There used to be negotiations between the Europeans (and the Iranians) between 2003 and 2005." analyst Francois Heisbourg, of the Foundation for Strategic Research think-tank in Paris, reacting to France’s hard line at the nuclear talks last weekend in Geneva. (National Post, Nov. 10, 2013)

 

“It cannot be that the Palestinians are forever pampered by the international community…It’s time that the international community, certainly the serious members of the international community, understand this is a two-way street, because peace is not a one-way street and it won’t be. — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an address to Jewish leaders from North America. He added “If the Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian state for Palestinian people, they must recognize a Jewish state for Jewish people…Cold peace is better than hot war, but I’m hoping for warm peace,” (Times of Israel, Nov. 10, 2013)

 

“We will consider it a declaration of the termination of negotiations…This is not going to be tolerated…Either they revoke this order [Israel’s new housing plans] or they will be held responsible for the end of the peace process.” — Saeb Erekat, the lead Palestinian negotiator, in an interview with American, European, Russian and Arab diplomats on Tuesday evening. (New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013)

 

[Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel] "to reconsider all of the steps for evaluating planning potential [of the settler homes] that he distributed without any advance coordination" He said the plan was "an action that creates an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran" — statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office. (The Telegraph, Nov. 12, 2013)

 

"The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos. I mean does Israel want a third intifada?" —U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, using the term for past Palestinian uprisings against Israel. Kerry added "If we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel. There will be an increasing campaign of de-legitimization of Israel (that) has been taking place in an international basis," he said. "What is the alternative to peace?…Prolonged continued conflict." (Montreal Gazette, Nov. 7, 2013)

 

 “Obama has fallen short on so many occasions it is impossible to propose his name without reservations. And yet there is a certain measure of hard and soft power generated by the White House that makes even a half-hearted effort by a lame duck impossible to ignore (see current peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians). If Obama chose to personally tackle Israeli-Turkish negotiations, to commit fully and not be satisfied until the job is done, then we could see the normalization of ties within the next six months.”  — Gabriel Mitchell writing on the deterioration of Israeli-Turkish negotiations in a Jerusalem Post editorial. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

“There is a sense of surreality [to United States policy] “’Assad must go.’ Well, Assad isn’t going to go…My view, which causes fear and loathing throughout Washington,” Mr. Crocker, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria, said, “is we really need to be making more of an effort to talk to regime people.”— Ryan C. Crocker, a former ambassador to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and now the dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Crocker added that the U.S. should also make direct contacts with insurgents and their supporters inside Syria. (New York Times, Nov. 8, 2013)

 

“I say, with all the details available about Yasser Arafat’s death, that he [without any proof] was killed, and that Israel killed him,” — former Palestinian intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi. Tirawi called Israel the “first, fundamental and only suspect,” and added that Israel had the technical means and the motive. (New York Post, Nov. 8, 2013)

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

IRAN, U.N. REACH NUCLEAR DEAL — (London) Iran agreed Monday to allow the United Nations to conduct additional inspections of its nuclear sites after failing over the weekend to reach a deal with six world powers on more extensive concessions. Under the new accord, Iran will give inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, more regular access to several significant parts of the country's nuclear infrastructure. However, it falls well short of Western demands that Iran open all sensitive sites as part of efforts to prevent the country from eventually attaining a nuclear weapon (the plutonium-producing Parchin site was specifically excluded).

 

AVIGOR LIBERMAN, TOUGH FOREIGN MINISTER, IS BACK­— (Tel Aviv) Avigdor Lieberman was unanimously acquitted of corruption charges last Wednesday. On Monday, Nov. 11, Liberman was reinstated as Israel’s Foreign Minister. Liberman had been charged with suspicion of fraud and breach of trust. The 62 to 17 vote in the Knesset to reinstate Liberman took place Monday afternoon. Those voting against the Yisrael Beiteinu chair included members of the leftist Labor and Meretz parties, as well as Arabs from the Balad party. (Jewish Press, Nov. 12, 2013)

 

GERMANY TO FORM TASK FORCE ON LOOTED ART— (Munich) After an avalanche of criticism at home and abroad, the German government announced late Monday it will establish a task force to investigate, “as quickly and as transparently as possible,” the provenance of a cache of more than 1,400 artworks that are suspected of being traded or looted during the Nazis’ reign and that are now in the hands of authorities in Bavaria. In a statement, the government said it planned immediately to post 25 works on the website www.lostart.de, the government-funded database for works missing since World War II. (New York Times, Nov. 11, 2013)

 

CONTROVERSIAL FILM AFTERMATH CONFRONTS POLAND’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOLOCAUST— (New York) Aftermath, a Polish film that began a limited run in New York last week and will be making its way to Los Angeles, tells the story of two Polish brothers coming to terms with their antisemitic village’s role in the Holocaust. The film grapples with the issue from the Polish point of view, an angle that wasn’t fully embraced in the country upon the film’s local release in 2012. Aftermath elicited a harsh response from many Polish nationalists and right-wingers, who accused it of being “anti-Polish” propaganda and an attempt to rewrite history. (Algemeiner, Nov. 7, 2013)

 

FORMER EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK COULD BE RELEASED AS EARLY AS THIS WEEK— (Cairo) Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was forced from power in 2011 after a popular uprising broke out against him, could be released as early as this week, according to his lawyer and a legal expert. In August, Mubarak was released from prison and placed under house arrest by Interim Prime Minister Hazem Al-Beblawi, using the power granted to him by a state of emergency implemented in August, to be lifted on Tuesday. “Mubarak is set to be released” once the state of emergency ends, said Hussain Ebrahim, a legal expert, quoted in the Gulf News on Tuesday, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 12, 2013)

 

AL-QAEDA NETWORK LEADER KILLED IN PAKISTAN— (Islamabad) A senior leader of the feared Haqqani militant network was shot dead on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital, officials said Monday, in a new blow to the close-knit cluster of militant groups that shelter in northwestern Pakistan. The leader, Nasiruddin Haqqani — a son of the militant group’s founder, the Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani — was gunned down outside a bread store on Sunday night by a man riding a motorcycle, witnesses told Pakistani news media outlets. (New York Times, Nov. 11, 2013)

 

PAKISTANI SCHOOLS BAN TEENAGE ACTIVIST MALALA’S BOOK FROM LIBRARIES — (Islamabad) Pakistani education officials said Sunday that they have banned teenage activist Malala Yousafzai’s book from private schools across the country, claiming it doesn’t show enough respect for Islam and calling her a tool of the West. Malala attracted global attention last year when the Taliban shot her in the head in northwest Pakistan for criticizing the group’s interpretation of Islam, which limits girls’ access to education. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 10, 2013)

 

LEADING SYRIAN OPPOSITION GROUP, YIELDING TO PRESSURE, VOTES TO JOIN PEACE TALKS— (Istanbul) During the fractious weekend debates that ended with the main Syrian exile opposition coalition yielding to international pressure by dropping its refusal to hold peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad’s government, tensions ran so high that one prominent coalition member slapped another in the face, participants in the gathering said. (New York Times, Nov. 11, 2013)

 

CBS TO CORRECT ERRONEOUS REPORT ON BENGHAZI — (New York) As it prepared to broadcast a rare on-air correction Sunday for a now-discredited “60 Minutes” report, CBS News acknowledged on Friday that it had suffered a damaging blow to its credibility. Its top executive called the segment “as big a mistake as there has been” in the 45-year-old history of the celebrated news program. The executive, Jeff Fager, conceded that CBS appeared to have been duped by the primary source for the report, a security official who told a national television audience a harrowing tale of the attack last year at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. On Thursday night it was disclosed that the official, Dylan Davies, had provided a completely different account in interviews with the F.B.I., in which he said he never made it to the mission that night. (New York Times, Nov. 8, 2013

 

PEW SURVEY INDICATES GREATER ORTHODOX GROWTH, NON-ORTHODOX DECLINE IN THE U.S. — (New York) The rate at which America’s Orthodox Jewish population is growing — and the non-Orthodox population is shrinking — is more dramatic than previously thought, according to Pew Research Center survey data. In a finding first reported Tuesday in Forward, Steven M. Cohen, a Jewish sociologist, parsed the data from the center’s recent survey of American Jews to show that 27 percent of Jews younger than 18 live in Orthodox households, a sizable increase from Jews aged 18-29, where only 11 percent are Orthodox. Previously published Pew data did not indicate the proportion of Jewish children in Orthodox homes, Forward reported, and instead suggested that growth among the Orthodox was tempered by high dropout rates. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 13, 2013)

 

CANADA’S LAST NOV. 11 IN AFGHANISTAN— (Kabul) The solemn occasion, which took place as most Canadians slept, commemorated their 158 countrymen who lost their lives in Afghanistan as well as the thousands of other Canadians who have died on distant battlefields. With only about 100 days left in Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan, which began late in 2001, this Nov. 11 represented one of the last chances for the 620 Canadian military trainers still mentoring Afghan soldiers and police here to quietly reflect on their fallen comrades and the future of this war-weary country. (National Post, Nov. 11, 2013)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Syria’s Collapse and How Washington Can Stop It: Andrew J. Tabler, Foreign Affairs, July/Aug., 2013 — Syria is melting down. The ruling regime’s attempt to shoot its way out of the largest uprising it has ever faced has killed over 80,000 people and displaced roughly half of Syria’s population of 22 million. If the current monthly death tolls of around 6,000 keep up, Syria will by August hit a grim milestone: 100,000 killed, a number that it took almost twice as long to reach in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

Killing of Pakistani Terrorist is a Possible Turning Point: Daniel S. Markey, Washington Post, Nov. 7, 2013 — Last week, a U.S. drone strike killed Hakimullah Mehsud, one of Pakistan’s most bloodthirsty terrorists, in front of his family’s farmhouse in North Waziristan. In every respect, the logic behind the killing appears identical to that of past U.S. attacks against top Pakistan-based terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.

 

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WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

Media-o-crity of the Week

 

President Obama was considering clemency, but I told him, ‘Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time.’ If it were up to me, he would stay in jail for life.”—US Vice President Joe Biden (President Obama’s chosen spokesman to the Jewish Community), in a Rosh Hashanah meeting with 15 Rabbis, vehemently opposing the release from prison after 25 years of Jonathan Pollard. The Israeli spy was convicted in 1986 for passing classified information to an ally during peacetime, an offense which in other cases has garnered an average sentence of 2-4 years. (NY Times, September 30.)

Weekly Quotes

 

Israel welcomes the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, as called for by both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. While Israel has some concerns, it will raise them at the appropriate time. Israel calls on the Palestinian Authority to do the same and to enter into direct negotiations without delay.”—Statement released by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office, formally accepting the Quartet’s proposal for restarting negotiations with the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post, October 2.)

 

“‘Palestine’ meets none of the four legal requirements under international law for a state. It has completed none of the three Phases under the “Performance-Based Roadmap” the UN adopted as the basis for a state.… It has not even been able to implement the one hallmark of a democratic state: hold an election. So how, you ask, could the UN [recognize ‘Palestine’]? The answer was effectively provided during the hearing held last week by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to review U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. The following colloquy occurred between Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Elliott Abrams: POE: I agree with Ambassador Dore Gold, Israel’s former UN ambassador, when he said if there was a resolution whose first clause was anti-Israel and whose second clause was that the Earth was flat, it would pass the United Nations.… Of course Palestinians aren’t motivated to talk to Israel when they’ve got the UN on their side.… ABRAMS: …As the Israelis say, anything the Palestinians put forward, they get the automatic vote of every Muslim state, and Israel gets the automatic support of every Jewish state.”—Rick Richman, in “How Could the Flat Earth Society Do That?”, describing the UN’s inherent anti-Israel bias, a reality manipulated by the Palestinians to the detriment of the Jewish State. (Contentions, September 23.)

 

First we should free Palestine and then establish a country in it.… Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free and Israel is destroyed.”—Hamas Politburo chief, Khaled Mashaal, reaffirming Hamas’ anti-“two state” “position of resistance until the Zionist regime is defeated.” (Ynet News, October 1.)

 

Our demand is freedom of Palestine not part of Palestine. Any plan that seeks to divide Palestine is totally rejected.”—Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, at the 5th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada, calling for the total liberation of Palestine and the eradication “of the cancerous tumor [Israel].” (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 1.)

 

We have been strong allies, we have been strong partners. We have always made a commitment to do everything we can to support the security of Israel and as the Secretary of Defense, I intend to continue that commitment.”—US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, during his trip to Israel, reaffirming the US’ “continuing commitment to the security of Israel,” and declaring that the two countries will “stand together to try to confront [their] difficult and common challenges.”(Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 3.)

 

The Gilo construction critics expect that we discriminate [against] Jews and only allow Arabs to build.… It appears they are not aware that we approve construction both for Arabs and Jews.… In the neighborhood of Arnona, we recently authorized 1,000 apartments for Jews and 1,500 for Arabs. So what do they want? That we freeze construction for everyone? For Arabs too? And leave the natural growth issue unanswered? Or only ban Jewish construction, in violation of Israeli and international law?”—Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat, defending last week’s decision by the Jerusalem Planning and Construction Committee to approve the construction of 1,100 new homes in the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo, and stressing the importance of ongoing building in both Arab and Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem “as the only solution to the housing crisis.”(Ynet News, October 4.)

 

It has become common for foreign leaders to invite large delegations to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Most delegation members are not diplomats, have no business at the UN, and are in New York only for the shopping and partying. For friendly countries, providing these add-on delegates visas is both a courtesy and good for business. Adversaries, however, should receive no such courtesy.… Alas, no one told the good folks at Foggy Bottom. The State Department evidently granted not only Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s son but also his daughter-in-law a visa.… Secretary of State Hillary Clinton owes the American people an explanation.”—Michael Rubin, describing the US State Department’s issuance of visas to members of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s family. (Contentions, October 3.)

 

Like the arrogant powers that are present near our marine borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to the American marine borders.”—Iranian Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, announcing that the Islamic Republic plans to move vessels into the Atlantic Ocean to start a naval buildup “near maritime borders of the United States”. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 1.)

 

If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than six hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv.”—Syrian president Bashar Assad, threatening to attack Israel should NATO forces intervene in Syria to stop Assad’s ongoing brutal crackdown against anti-government protestors. (Ynet News, October 4.)

 

We condemn this unwarranted attack in the strongest possible terms. Ambassador [Robert] Ford and his aides were conducting normal embassy business and this attempt to intimidate our diplomats through violence is wholly unjustified.”—US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, condemning an attack by pro-government Syrian protesters on the U.S. ambassador in Damascus, an assault the State Department claims is part of an “ongoing campaign to intimidate U.S. diplomats.” (Haaretz, September 29.)

 

Because we refuse to marginalize women in society in all roles that comply with sharia, we have decided, after deliberation with our senior ulama (clerics) and others…to involve women in the Shura Council as members, starting from the next term.”—Saudi ruler, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, announcing that women in Saudi Arabia will in future be allowed to participate in municipal elections. Yesterday, however, a Saudi court sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for driving a car. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, September 25 & National Post, September 28.)

 

Instead of fulfilling this goal and combating anti-Semitism—both part of the Foundation’s mandate—EVZ has funded German and Arab student programs that present distorted views of the Arab-Israeli conflict, compare Israeli policies to those of previous, repressive German governments, and developed student materials with anti-Semitic images and texts.”—Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, condemning the German Remembrance Responsibility Future (EVZ) Foundation for misusing public money “to fund programs that actually contribute to the delegitimization of Israel.” The EVZ was founded in 2000 with a contribution of 5 billion euros by the Federal German government and German industry to compensate former slave laborers during the Nazi period. (Jerusalem Post, October 4.)

 

Short Takes

 

RUSSIA, CHINA VETO UN’S SYRIA MOVE—(United Nations) Russia and China have vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned Syria’s bloody crackdown on an uprising seeking to overthrow the regime in Damascus. In an attempt to garner unanimous support, the Western-backed resolution was watered down from a draft including targeted financial sanctions and an arms embargo on Syria to merely a call for the Council to “consider” unspecified “measures” against Syria after a 30-day period. Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, called it an “outrage” that the Security Council had “utterly failed” to support the Syrian people.” Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s UN ambassador, said the resolution “could have provoked full-scale civil war” in Syria. (Wall Street Journal, October 5.)

 

EFFORTS TO ANNEX SETTLEMENTS GAIN MOMENTUM IN KNESSET—(Jerusalem) Efforts to annex areas of the West Bank are gaining momentum in Israel’s Parliament, a response to the Palestinian attempt to gain a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN. In a letter written to Israel’s Prime Minister, the Knesset Land of Israel caucus and the heads of four factions urged Netanyahu to consider the move to show the Palestinian Authority that “Israel will not agree to be its punching bag.” The letter calls for a gradual annexation of settled areas in Judea and Samaria, as well as increased building and development of the region. In addition, MK Danny Danon (Likud) plans to bring a formal annexation bill to a preliminary vote in the Knesset when the summer recess ends next month. (Jerusalem Post, September 27.)

 

REPORT: U.S. BLOCKS $200 MILLION IN AID TO PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY—(Jerusalem) According to the U.K’s Independent newspaper, the United States Congress has blocked nearly $200m in aid to the Palestinians, in response to the Palestinian Authority’s UN gambit. “There must be consequences for Palestinian and UN actions that undermine any hope for true and lasting peace,” affirmed Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Ghassan Khatib, chief spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, condemned the move, saying “this is not constructive at all.” (Haaretz, October 1, & Associated Press, October 2.)

 

DRONE KILLS TOP AL QAEDA FIGURE—(San’a, Yemen) Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and one of the most wanted terrorists on a U.S. target list, has been killed in Yemen by an unmanned aircraft. The death of al-Awlaki eliminates a leading figure in Yemen’s branch of al Qaeda, marking another significant blow to the terrorist group following the killing of Osama bin Laden earlier this year. Awlaki was one of Al Qaeda’s top recruiters, best-known for his ability to couch extremist views in ways that appealed to Western youth. He was linked to suspects in the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, shooting spree and the botched bombing of a Detroit-bound jet that Christmas. The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert saying that the killing of al-Awlaki raises the risk of anti-American violence worldwide. (Wall Street Journal, October 1.)

 

U.S. MEETS WITH EGYPT’S MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD—(Cairo) According to reports, US officials have met with “high-level” members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Egyptian political party. Washington announced its intention to have direct contacts with Egypt’s biggest Islamist group in June, portraying this position as the continuation of previous US policy. However, many analysts believe such contact reflects a new approach to the way the US will deal with a group which deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak banned from politics. The US’ decision has caused concern in Israel, as terror groups like Hamas, a progeny of the Brotherhood, stand to benefit from the Brotherhood’s increasing influence. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 2.)

 

NGO REPORT: 93,000 COPTS LEFT EGYPT SINCE MARCH—(Cairo)According to the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights, nearly 93,000 Coptic Christians have fled Egypt since the March 19 uprising began, a number that is forecasted to increase to 250,000 by the end of 2011. Naguib Gabriel, head of an Egypt-based Coptic NGO, said that the current trend of Coptic immigration endangers the structure of Egypt’s population, and urged the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Egyptian cabinet to work on curbing the phenomenon. Analysts attribute the Coptic emigration trend to hardline Salafi groups seeking to apply Islamic law and deny Copts senior government posts. Coptic Christians form nearly 10 percent of Egypt’s population. (Al Masry Al Youm, September 25.)

 

AFGHANISTAN GIVES UP ON TALIBAN TALKS—(Kabul) Afghan President Hamid Karzai has abandoned efforts to conduct peace talks with the Taliban, concluding that the Pakistan-based insurgent leaders are not serious about negotiations. The move comes less than two weeks after a purported Taliban envoy killed Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, in his Kabul home. Karzai and his aides have instead decided to focus their efforts on putting pressure on Pakistan, which has provided aid and sanctuary to Afghan insurgents. The decision effectively sidelines the work of the High Peace Council, a year-old body created to explore the prospects for opening direct peace talks with the Taliban and its allies. (Wall Street Journal, October 1.)

 

ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS IN U.S. RISE FOR FIRST TIME SINCE ‘04—(New York) According to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual audit, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States has increased for the first time since 2004. The recently released ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents showed that there were 1,239 incidents in 2010, up slightly from the 1,211 reported the previous year. The audit tracks assaults, vandalism and harassment reported during the calendar year in 45 states and the District of Columbia. “The good news is that we have continued to enjoy a period of relative calm, where the overall numbers are mostly unchanged and the incidents isolated,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director. “But the bad news is that for all our efforts to educate, to raise awareness and to legislate, anti-Jewish incidents remain a disturbing part of the American Jewish experience.” (JTA, October 4.)

 

LIEBERMAN, UKRAINE PRESIDENT MARK BABI YAR MASSACRE—(Jerusalem) Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich have presided over a ceremony in Kiev to mark the 70th anniversary of the massacre at Babi Yar. “It is difficult to fully comprehend the events that occurred in Babi Yar. It is difficult to find the words to express all the depth of our condolences and sorrow,” Yanukovich said at the ceremony, attended by hundreds of descendants of the victims, as well as survivors. Some 33,771 Jews were murdered by Nazis in the Babi Ravine on the last two days of September in 1941. (Jerusalem Post, October 3.)

 

‘FIRST JEWISH GLOBAL 24 HOUR NEWS CHANNEL LAUNCHES—(Brussels) Jewish News One (JN1), the world’s first Jewish global 24-hour news channel offering “a new vision of current affairs,” has launched. The channel owners are Igor Kolomoisky and Vadim Rabinovich, respectively President and Vice President of the European Jewish Union (EJU), a body dedicated to promote Jewish life in Europe. Jewish News One presently has news bureaus in Tel Aviv, Brussels and Kiev; in the coming months the channel is planning to open additional offices in Washington, Paris and London. (Jerusalem Post, September 18.)

 

ISRAELI TRAUMA PROGRAM TO HELP JAPAN TSUNAMI VICTIMS—(Jerusalem) A unique Israeli program will soon be implemented in Japan to help children recover from the effects of this year’s tsunami. Hibuki, meaning ‘hug’ in Hebrew, is a post-trauma recovery program created by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education and the Department of Psychology at Tel Aviv University, following the 2006 Second Lebanon War. So far in Israel, 50,000 children have been treated using this method, and a recent Tel Aviv University study found there were high rates of reduction in post-traumatic responses and distress among those children. (Jerusalem Post, September 8.)

 

ISRAEL BECOMES ASSOCIATE MEMBER OF SCIENTIFIC GROUP CERN—(Jerusalem) Israel has been accepted as an associate member of the prestigious European nuclear physics lab CERN. The laboratory, known for its giant underground atomic collider, the Large Hadron Collider, signed an agreement Sept. 16 in Geneva making Israel an associate member, paving the way to Israel’s acceptance as CERN’s first non-European full member after a two-year waiting period. “The agreement is testimony to Europe’s recognition of Israel’s scientific and technological capabilities, of the quality of its scientists, and of its contribution throughout many years to the research activities of CERN,” Aharon Leshno-Yaar, permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations Office, said in a statement. (JTA, September 19.)

 

DEAD SEA SCROLLS DEBUT ONLINE—(Jerusalem) The Israel Museum, in conjunction with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Google R&D center in Israel, has launched the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project, which provides Internet access to high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as additional data and background information. The project features five of the eight scrolls it digital form—the Great Isaiah Scroll, the Community Rule Scroll, the Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll, the Temple Scroll and the War Scroll. Ardon Bar Hama, one of the world’s premier experts in photographing ancient texts for online viewing, used a $50,000 camera that captured the scrolls at a resolution of 1,200 megapixels—compared to 12 megapixels for a standard camera—and that exposed the parchments to light for only 1/4,000th of a second. (Jerusalem Post & JTA, September 26.)