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MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: “Congress should pass a resolution authorizing this and future presidents to use force to prevent Iran from ever becoming a nuclear weapons state. Iran must know now that the U.S. president is authorized to destroy — without warning or negotiation — any attempt by Tehran to build a bomb.” — Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times, July 22, 2015)


On Topic Links  


10 Questions on Iran Chuck Schumer Needs to Answer: New York Post, July 20, 2015

The Iran Deal’s Collapsing Rationale: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2015

What US Leaders Have Never Understood About Iran: Amir Taheri, New York Post, July 19, 2015

What Israel Can Do Now: Dr. Max Singer, BESA, July 19, 2015





"There's a reason this deal took so long to negotiate. Because we refused to accept a bad deal. We held out for a deal that met every one of our bottom lines. And we got it…This deal will make America and the world safer and more secure. Still, you're going to hear a lot of overheated and often dishonest arguments about it in the weeks ahead." —U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama has run into a storm of accusations from Republican lawmakers and Israel that he gave away too much to Tehran. The President insisted the agreement was the only alternative to a nuclear arms race and more war in the Middle East. "Does this deal resolve all of the threats Iran poses to its neighbors and the world? No. Does it do more than anyone has done before to make sure Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon? Yes. And that was our top priority from the start," Obama continued. Obama has vowed to veto any effort to block the deal in Congress. (Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2015)


“You don’t have inspections within 24 hours—you have 24 days before you can inspect any site that you find suspicious in Iran. 24 days. Can you imagine giving a drug dealer 24 days’ notice before you check the premises? That’s a lot of time to flush a lot of meth down the toilet.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Jewish Press, July 16, 2015)  


“One of the reasons this deal is a good one is that it does nothing to prevent the military option . . . which we are preserving and continually improving…But the point of the nuclear deal is to get the result of no Iranian nuclear weapon without carrying out a military strike.” — U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter. Carter began a tour Sunday of Middle Eastern nations whose alliances with the U.S. have been strained by Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. Carter is the highest-level U.S. official to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia since six world powers struck the deal. Pentagon officials say Carter’s visit was planned prior to the conclusion of nuclear talks and is not intended as a reassurance tour. But this week’s meetings in Tel Aviv and in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, will focus in part on plans for countering Iran’s support for common adversaries, which include the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Houthi rebels in Yemen. (Washington Post, July 19, 2015)


“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not give up support of its friends in the region — the oppressed people of Palestine, of Yemen, the Syrian and Iraqi governments, the oppressed people of Bahrain and sincere resistance fighters in Lebanon and Palestine… Our policy will not change with regards to the arrogant US government.” —Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei . His remarks were greeted by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” at a ceremony in Tehran marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. (Times of Israel, July 18, 2015)  


"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran stands as a landmark agreement in deterring the proliferation of nuclear weapons…Without your determination and the admirable work of Secretary of State Kerry and his team, this agreement would never have been reached." —  letter from over 100 former US ambassadors to President Barack Obama expressing their support for the "landmark agreement" struck between world powers and Iran. Notable signatories of the document included former under secretary of state Nicholas Burns; Daniel Kurtzer, the former envoy to Israel and Egypt; and Thomas Pickering, the former ambassador to Israel, Russia, India, and the United Nations. Read the letter and list of signatories here. (Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2015)


“We just stopped a war. And the bomb. Don’t let congress sabotage this historic chance for peace.” —Pro-Iranian lobby group National Iranian American Council (NIAC). NIAC bought a full-page ad in The New York Times last week in support of the agreement. The group's #Vote4Peace campaign is targeting certain states and districts and lobbying leaders in Washington. The council says that millions of dollars from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a strong supporter of Israel and one of the GOP's most powerful donors "can't drown out the voices of tens of millions of Americans who want peace instead of war." (New York Times, July 19, 2015)


"You can't have a good economic relationship with Germany in the long-term if we don't discuss such issues too and try to move them along…Questioning this state's (Israel's) right to existence is something that we Germans cannot accept." — German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. Gabriel urged Iran at the start of a three-day visit to improve its relationship with Israel if it wanted to establish closer economic ties with Germany and other Western powers. Gabriel, who is also economy minister, is the first senior figure from a large western government to visit Iran since it struck an agreement with world powers on its nuclear program. (Jerusalem Post, July 19, 2015)

“Based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security. President Obama has consistently negotiated from a position of weakness, giving concession after concession to a regime that has American blood on its hands, holds Americans hostage, and has consistently violated every agreement it ever signed…For him [Obama], this whole deal, you know what it is? It is an exhibit in his presidential library.” — U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Marco Rubio. (Jewish Press, July 15, 2015)


“The Persians are always great negotiators…they are laughing at us back in Iran.” —U.S. Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Trump noted that Iran is holding four Americans on charges of espionage, adding: “Why couldn’t they make that part of the deal? It would have happened quickly — easily if you had the right messenger. And that should have actually happened earlier. That should have happened at the beginning of the negotiations….I’ll be honest with you. I want to save the country. Our country’s going to hell. We have a problem. I want to make America great again.” (Jewish Press, July 15, 2015)


“We have to remember that this is a political deal, this is not – for me – a non-proliferation deal, but it has non-proliferation consequences. What happens now is that we make a deal with a country that is in non-compliance with its safeguard undertakings. That will have a great impact on future proliferation cases, and it will also have an impact on the region and for a long time.” — Former IAEA nuclear inspector Olli Heinonen. (DW, July 17, 2015)


“I believe that in the present time there is a widow of opportunity for Israel in order to try and pursue a new order in the Middle East… Iran is considered to be the adversary of … Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Emirates…In other words, the more moderate Sunni Islam. And we are a member in this same camp. We have here a unique opportunity to try and create a coalition of moderate Arab countries headed by Saudi Arabia and Israel, both in order to address the Iranian potential nuclear capability in the future and also in order to create a new order in the Middle East.” — Shabtai Shavit, Mossad director from 1989 to 1996. (Jerusalem Post, July 19, 2015) 


“Some of the points inserted in the draft are clearly in contradiction to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s major red lines and violate them, particularly regarding arms capabilities, and we’ll never accept it,” — Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari. General Jafari’s remarks, reported in an interview with Iran’s Tasnim news agency, appeared to be primarily concerned with the restrictions in the Security Council resolution on Iran’s missile capabilities. They are not part of the nuclear accord. Stressing that he spoke as a military man, he said that what troubled him the most was what he saw as the resolution’s violation of “the very critical red line, namely maintaining and upgrading Iran’s defense capabilities.” (New York Times, July 20, 2015)


“Obama has always radiated the smug air that he was right and any other positions were illogical. But it is gratifying when aimed at the obnoxious Republicans and more obnoxious Bibi. Republicans were never going to go for the Iran deal. Their apocalyptic statements were written well in advance and they just had to hit “Send” followed by a fund-raising appeal to Jewish donors. Obama is gambling that he won’t hurt his party and that in 10 years Iran will be a better member of the international community. But he can’t do worse as an oracle of the Middle East than the conservative warmongers who ravaged the region.” — Maureen Dowd (New York Times, July 18, 2015)


“We have to build an iron wall to protect Israel. There are clear risks to Israel’s security in this deal.” — Isaac “Bougie” Herzog, leader of Israel’s left-leaning Labor Party. Herzog, who lost a race for the prime ministership in March to the Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu, invoked an expression popularized by Netanyahu’s ideological guide, the founding father of right-wing Zionist revisionism, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, to describe what he sees as Israel’s next, necessary step. (The Atlantic, July 16, 2015)


“The extremist worldview, both violent and nonviolent, is what we have to defeat.” — Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain. Speaking in Birmingham, Britain’s second-largest city, which has a substantial Muslim minority population, Cameron called on his country’s Muslims to work with the government to “condemn conspiracy theories,” reject violence and speak more forcefully “to challenge and defeat” the extremist misinterpretation of Islam, which he called “a religion of peace.” (New York Times, July 20, 2015)





"STOP IRAN" PROTEST IN TIMES SQUARE (New York) — On July 22, 2015 in New York City’s Times Square, the "stop Iran rally," the largest, grassroots bipartisan American protest against the deal granting Iran a fast track to a nuclear bomb, will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thousands of Americans from all faith traditions, political interests and communities, including Christians, Muslims, Jews, registered Democrats and Republicans, LGBT, Iranian-Americans, and others will demand that Congress vote down the Iran deal. (Investigative Project on Terrorism, July 19, 2015) 


UN SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES IRAN DEAL (New York) — The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the Iran nuclear deal and paving the way to lifting longstanding sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The 15-0 approval of the Iran nuclear deal approves one of the largest hurdles for the landmark pact, which will now go before the US Congress where it may face an uphill battle for confirmation. The UN vote came shortly after the European Union approved the nuclear deal. Netanyahu slammed the Security Council vote as “hypocrisy,” stressing that Tehran “systematically violates UN resolutions and calls for the destruction of Israel — a member of the UN.” (Times of Israel, July 20, 2015)


IN ISRAEL, US DEFENSE CHIEF VOWS TO HELP FIGHT AGAINST HEZBOLLAH (Jerusalem) —  On a hilltop lookout near Israel’s border with Lebanon, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter offered personal assurances Monday that the US will help Israel counter Iranian support for the terror group Hezbollah. Carter emphasized US concern about a range of threats that face Israel. These include tens of thousands of short-, medium- and longer-range Hezbollah rockets and missiles in southern Lebanon that could hit Israeli villages and cities. Israeli leaders have complained that the deal does nothing to address Iran’s support for hostile anti-Israel groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Times of Israel, July 20, 2015)


IRAN’S LAWMAKERS DELAY VOTE ON NUCLEAR ACCORD (Tehran) — The Iranian Parliament will wait at least 80 days before voting on a nuclear agreement reached last week with world powers, as legislators decided Tuesday to form a committee to study the accord. The legislators have effectively opted to withhold their judgment until they know the position of the US Congress. That way, analysts said, they can position the Americans to receive the blame if Congress repudiates the agreement, which Iran and six global powers including the United States completed in Vienna on July 14 after arduous negotiations. (New York Times, July 22, 2015)


SANCTIONS TO LIFT ON IRANIANS SUSPECTED OF WEAPONS WORK (Tehran) — The Obama administration and European Union agreed as part of the accord last week to lift sanctions over eight years on a network of Iranian scientists, military officers and companies long suspected by the U.S. and United Nations as central players in a covert nuclear weapons program. Among those to be removed from the U.S., U.N. and EU sanctions lists by 2023 is Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi. U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies suspect he oversaw a secret Iranian program to develop the technologies for a nuclear weapon, at least until 2003. He's been called by American officials the "Robert Oppenheimer" of Iran's nuclear efforts, a reference to the American scientist who oversaw development of atomic weapons during World War II. (Nasdaq, July 21, 2015)

TEHRAN GETTING MISSILES (Tehran) — Iran is buying five Russian S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, which can shoot down aircraft and intercept ballistic missiles. The deal was first inked in 2007 but then delayed by Russia after pressure by the West and Israel when UN sanctions were imposed in 2010. It’s unknown exactly which model of S-300 Iran will get (the original 2007 deal was for missile systems developed two decades ago), but the S-300 is one of the most complex defense systems available. “It is proof that the economic momentum in Iran that will come after the lifting of the sanctions will be exploited for arming and not for the welfare of the Iranian people,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said. (New York Post, July 19, 2015)


AIRSTRIKE KILLS AL-QAEDA LEADER IN SYRIA (Baghdad) —The leader of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria with a history of attacks against U.S. targets was killed in a U.S. airstrike on July 8, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. Muhsin al-Fadhli, who led the Khorasan Group in Syria, was killed when the vehicle he was riding in northwest Syria near the Turkish border, was destroyed. Al-Fadhli had deep roots with al-Qaeda, having been one of the few operatives who had received advance notice of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Al-Fadhli was killed by a missile fired by a drone, according to a Defense Department official who spoke about the strike on condition of anonymity. (USA Today, July 21, 2015)


AT LEAST 130 ARE DEAD IN IRAQ AFTER A MASSIVE BOMB ATTACK (Baghdad) — The death toll from a bombing at a crowded marketplace in eastern Iraq climbed to as many as 130 on Saturday, marking I.S.’s worst single bombing attack on a civilian target in the country. A spokesman for the Diyala provincial council said that in addition to those killed, twenty more people were missing after a suicide bomber drove a truck packed with explosives into a market in Khan Bani Saad on Friday night. I.S., and al-Qaeda before them, has carried out scores of bombings against civilians as they seek to destabilize the country and expand their territory. However, Friday night’s blast was the biggest in Iraq since the group announced its self-declared state a year ago. (Washington Post, July 18, 2015)


SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS DOZENS IN TURKEY NEAR BORDER WITH SYRIA (Istanbul) —  A suspected female I.S. suicide bomber has set off an explosion near a cultural centre hosting youth activists in a Turkish town near the border with Syria, leaving 31 dead and scores injured. The blast ripped through the centre in Suruc, just a few miles from the Syrian flashpoint of Kobane – which was itself later hit in a co-ordinated suicide car bombing. Most of the dead were university students with the Federation of Socialist Youths, who had been planning a mission to help rebuild Kobane, which was retaken by Kurds from I.S. earlier this year. (Telegraph, July 20, 2015)


I.S. REPORTEDLY DEPLOYS POISON GAS AGAINST KURDS IN SYRIA, IRAQ (Jerusalem) —  The Islamic State used poison gas in attacks against Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria in late June. Two UK-based organizations investigating the attack said they had confirmed I.S.'s use of chemical weapons against Kurdish forces and civilian targets in Syria and Iraq, where they said chemical agents were also used in an attack on an Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga position in June. The type of chemical used had not been definitively determined. None of the fighters exposed to the gas had died because they were quickly taken to hospital. (Ynet, July 18, 2015)


MAN CHARGED OVER U.S. MILITARY ATTACK PLAN (London) — British authorities have charged a 24-year-old man over an alleged plan to attack U.S. military personnel in the U.K., the latest in a growing number of plots uncovered in Europe targeting members of the military and police. The alleged plot, which the U.S. Air Force said prompted authorities to cancel planned Independence Day celebrations earlier this month at one of the nation’s main overseas fighter bases, comes as British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to step up the government’s efforts to combat the spread of extremist ideology, calling it “the struggle of our generation.” (Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2015)


TABLOID PUBLISHES IMAGES OF FUTURE QUEEN GIVING NAZI SALUTE (London) — Buckingham Palace expressed its disappointment Saturday with a tabloid newspaper for publishing images of a young Queen Elizabeth II performing a Nazi salute with her family in 1933, the year Adolf Hitler came to power. The palace took the unusual step of commenting on the report in The Sun newspaper, which shows the queen — then about 7 years old — at the family home in Balmoral, with her uncle Edward, mother and sister. The grainy footage also shows Elizabeth's mother making the salute as the family laughs. The images, posted on the newspaper's website under the headline "Their Royal Heilnesses," shows the young girls prancing on the grass. (New York Times, July 18, 2015)


GOEBBELS' HEIR TO RECEIVE ROYALTIES FROM NAZI CHIEF'S BIOGRAPHY (Munich) — A heir of Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels will receive royalties from his biography, a court in Munich decreed. The 72-years-old Cordula Schacht, the daughter of Hjalmar Schacht, Hitler's economy chief, who inherited Goebbels' estate, owns the copyright to Goebbels' diaries, which have been quoted extensively in the biography "Goebbels", by Peter Longerich. The estate of Hitler's propaganda chief is taking legal action against Random House Germany and its imprint Siedler who published a biography of Goebbels that quotes extensively from his diaries, which are copyrighted until the end of this year. Initially, Random House agreed to pay a fee to use the quotes in the book, but later decided it was wrong to pay the estate of a Nazi war criminal. (I24, July 10, 2015)


LITHUANIA'S JEWS REQUEST HALT TO WWII MASS GRAVE EXCAVATION (Vilnius) — The excavation of a mass grave of Holocaust victims in Lithuania was halted following an appeal by the Jewish community and the country’s chief rabbi. A municipal official in Siauliai announced that the work would be halted “until the appropriate respect is guaranteed for the human remains of the people murdered and buried in the mass grave.” Rabbi Chaim Burshtein had issued a statement calling for a halt to the removal of the bones in the mass grave discovered earlier in the week during road construction work in Siauliai, a city in northern Lithuania.  Before World War II, Siauliai was home to some 6,600 Jews. Many escaped to the Soviet Union, but the Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators murdered hundreds of those who stayed in 1941 and in later mass killings. (JTA, July 17, 2015)


HOTOVELY SAYS FOREIGN DIGNITARIES MUST VISIT WESTERN WALL (Jerusalem) —  Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has changed protocol for foreign dignities who now will be asked to visit the Western Wall (Kotel) as well as Yad VaShem and Mt Herzl Cemetery. When Hotovely took office, she met with Foreign Ministry officials and gave them a short sermon on Torah – “Dvar Torah” in Hebrew – and instructed them to made the Jewish People’s Biblical right to Israel as part of  the “Hasbara” public relations program. She explained: “In my eyes, the fact that the Kotel will become part of official visits of foreign dignitaries in Israel is a meaningful statement that strengthens the position of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” (Jewish Press, July 16, 2015)

On Topic Links 


10 Questions on Iran Chuck Schumer Needs to Answer: New York Post, July 20, 2015 —1. Did you have any input into the Iran nuclear deal? If you did, how much of the deal reflects your advice?

The Iran Deal’s Collapsing Rationale: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2015 —The Iran deal is supposed to prevent a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East. So what better way to get that ball of hopefulness rolling than by arming our regional allies to the teeth?

What US Leaders Have Never Understood About Iran: Amir Taheri, New York Post, July 19, 2015 —“American rulers have always dreamed of forcing us to change our behavior, and failed,” Iran’s “Supreme Guide,” Ali Khamenei, said Saturday. “Five US administrations took that dream to their graves. The present one shall have the same fate.”

What Israel Can Do Now: Dr. Max Singer, BESA, July 19, 2015—For years, the Obama administration has assured Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel does not have to attack Iranian nuclear weapon production facilities because the US would make sure that Iran would not get nuclear weapons. It turns out that Israel and the US meant different things by the words “Iran would not get nuclear weapons (NW).”




Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up


ContentsDownload today's Daily Briefing.pdf

Weekly Quotes 

Short Takes


On Topic Links



Egyptian Cleric Threatens Copts With Genocide: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 28, 2012

Hizbullah Partners with Mexican Drug Cartels: Eldad Beck, YNet News, Dec. 29, 2012

Iran Wakes to New Syrian Reality : Walter Russell Mead, American Interest, Dec. 30, 2012



Weekly Quotes



“In choosing not to stand idly by as the age-old hatred of the Jewish people has been transferred to the ‘collective Jew,’ I have been speaking up against the new anti-Semitism that is so pervasive today in the world. It targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland as the source of injustice and conflict in the world. It is perversely couched in the language of human rights. Just as conventional anti-Semitism denied Jews the right to live as equal members of humanity, the new anti-Semitism denies the State of Israel the right to live as an equal member of the international community.  Worse still, when this new anti- Semitism expresses itself in the call for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people, it is no longer hate speech, it is incitement to genocide. And we have to name it for what it is.” —Canada’s Foreign Minister, John Baird quoted by Malcolm Hedding in “A Grave Decision”, Jerusalem Post. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 26, 2012)


“The Zionist self-haters are different than the anti-Zionists in that the former are as firm in their commitment to a Jewish State as they are to an Arab one. Since they have deluded themselves into believing that the Arab world has accommodated itself to the existence of Israel, to them the core of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict has already been resolved. What is necessary to end the current violence is only to expunge the Israeli sin of “occupation,” a sin that has badly stained their blanched humanitarian consciences. Indeed, they see resistance to the “occupation” as legitimate and believe that returning to the pre-1967 lines will end the conflict and secure Israel’s future.”—Ron Dermer, an influential aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and considered a favourite to become Israel’s next ambassador to the United States, quoted by Alison Hoffman in “Bibi’s Brain”, Tablet. (Tablet Magazine, Sept. 3, 2011)


"Any sensible person can understand Hamas is able to replace the Palestinian Authority – before an agreement or after an agreement – as witnessed in Gaza."—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an apparent response to President Shimon Peres's call to renew talks with "partner for peace"–Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Netanyahu said that, as opposed to the "voices that I have heard recently urging me to make concessions and withdraw," he would continue to manage the diplomatic process "responsibly and sagaciously and not in undue haste," adding that Israel must avoid allowing a "third Iranian terror base in the heart of the country." (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 1, 2013)


“Let us ensure that we have full sovereignty within the 1948 armistice lines,” before attempting to extend sovereignty to the areas liberated in the 1967 Six Day War. “Go to the Temple Mount and you will see Israeli police quaking in their boots from fear of the Waqf. We do not even have sovereignty over many parts of Jerusalem.”—Likud Knesset candidate Moshe Feiglin. (Arutz Sheva, Jan. 1, 2013)

“I just want quiet for my children and my country. [But], I don’t think any contract we’d do with them [the Palestinians] would give us quiet. We want to pay the price [for peace], but we don’t believe in the other side.”—Ayal Sheffer, a publishing executive in Rishon LeZion commenting on the aftermath of Operation Pillar of Defense. His sentiments reflect a recent poll on behalf of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that found that 83 percent of Israeli Jews do not believe that a withdrawal to the 1967 borders and a division of Jerusalem would bring an end to the conflict. (New York Times, Dec. 31, 2012)


"There will be no such thing as Israel, instead there will be Palestine which will be home to Jews, Muslims and Druze and all of the people who were there from the start. Those who want to stay will stay as Palestinian citizens. Those who conquered Palestine will have to go back to their countries. Palestine houses people who conquered it and those occupiers have previous homelands."—Essam al-Aryan, Muslim Brotherhood official, Freedom and Justice Party's deputy chairman, and advisor to the Egyptian president, on his Facebook page in response to criticism across Egypt for his statement Thursday, [Dec. 27] that the return of Egyptian Jews to Egypt [would] enable Palestinians to return to their homeland: "Every Egyptian has a right to return especially if he is making room for a Palestinian. I want to enable the Palestinians to return to their land," he said. "I call upon the Jews, Egypt is worthier of you than Israel." Distancing itself from al-Aryan , Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan said the statements do not represent the movement's stance, [rather] "Egyptian Jews are criminals who must be punished for what they did to Egypt and the Palestinians," he said. (YNet News, Jan. 1. 2013)


"This is the first time the Palestinian authorities have issued such a ban, which poses a serious threat to freedom of information. It will also create problems for the not insignificant number of Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip who work for Israeli TV stations and newspapers. We urge the Hamas government to rescind this order."Reporters Without Borders in shocked response to the ban imposed by Hamas on Palestinian journalists in Gaza from co-operating with the Israeli media. (The Guardian, Dec. 27, 2013)

"Given there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013. The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking. The failure of the international community, in particular the Security Council, to take concrete actions to stop the blood-letting, shames us all. Collectively, we have fiddled at the edges while Syria burns."—U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay Wednesday [Jan. 2] following the release of an exhaustive UN study on the killings in Syria. (National Post, Jan. 2, 2013)


“People are talking about a divided Syria being split into a number of small states like Yugoslavia. This is not what is going to happen. What will happen is Somalization — warlords.” Without a peace deal Syria would be “transformed into hell.”—Lakhdar Brahimi, international envoy to Syria, at a news conference at Arab League headquarters in Cairo. (New York Times, Dec. 31, 2012)


“My message to the State Department has been very simple, and that is we’re going to solve this. We’re not going to be defensive about it; we’re not going to pretend that this was not a problem — this was a huge problem. It confirms what we had already seen based on some of our internal reviews; there was just some sloppiness, not intentional, in terms of how we secure embassies in areas where you essentially don’t have governments that have a lot of capacity to protect those embassies,” —U.S. President Barak Obama commenting on the independent inquiry’s report on the attack against the American diplomatic compound in Libya that killed four Americans on Sept. 11. (New York Times, Dec. 30, 2012)

"I love the army. If I was born and raised in Syria, I would have served in their army. But I live here, so I decided to do my part and enlist."—Samir (an alias), 26, an Israeli Arab who serves in the Tavor battalion, one of the Home Front Command's search and rescue battalions whose men also perform combat duties. A married father of one, Samir also had to persuade his wife to support his choice. "It is not simple, my wife opposed my enlistment; she wanted her husband close to home. But she came around in the end. She and my parents were the only ones who supported my decision.” Despite the difficulties and fears, Samir calls on Muslim youths to follow in his footsteps. "If you love this system, I definitely recommend it, it's very gratifying." (YNet News, Dec. 30, 2012) 


Top of Page





RITA LEVI-MONTALCINI (1909-2012) NOBEL LAUREATE AND NEUROBIOLOGIST DIES AT 103 – (Rome) Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini, a Nobel Prize-winning neurologist who discovered critical chemical tools that the body uses to direct cell growth and build nerve networks, opening the way for the study of how those processes can go wrong in diseases like dementia and cancer, died on Sunday at her home in Rome. She was 103. “I don’t use these words easily, but her work revolutionized the study of neural development, from how we think about it to how we intervene,” said Dr. Gerald D. Fishbach, a neuroscientist and professor emeritus at Columbia. (New york Times, December 31, 2012)


HUNDREDS PROTEST IN TEL AVIV, DEMAND MIGRANT DEPORTATIONS(Tel Aviv) Calling for the deportation of Sudanese and Eritrean migrants from Israel after an Eritrean man allegedly raped an 83-year-old Tel Aviv woman last weekend, hundreds of demonstrators marched from the city’s Hatikvah neighborhood to its central bus station Monday night. The event, called “Blowing up the Silence,” was organized by MK Michael Ben Ari, of the newly formed Otzma Leyisrael party…the demonstrators…operated under the slogan “Getting Sodom (and Gomorrah) out of Tel Aviv and returning it to Africa.”  Ben Ari told the crowd that southern Tel Aviv neighborhoods had been taken over by “infiltrators” saying, “When there are no police and there is no government, only we can stop the next rape.” (Times of Israel, Dec. 31, 2012)


FRENCH GOVERNMENT CUTS IMMIGRANTS WELFARE BY 83%(Paris) French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced [Dec. 27] significant changes in the country’s migration policy. The government will reduce financial assistance to immigrants. Starting March 1 of [2013], French immigrant benefits will be reduced by 83 percent. The amount of compensation to immigrants who voluntarily want to return home will be also reduced. In March of 2013 monthly [welfare] amounts will be reduced from 300 to 50 euros for every adult and from 100 to 30 euros for every minor. If this is not done, Valls said, the costs for the maintenance of migrants now paid by the French Treasury will continue to devastate the economy of France. (EU Times, Dec. 28, 2012)


EGYPT PREVENTS LARGE-SCALE SMUGGLING OF WEAPONS INTO GAZA(Washington) Egypt has prevented three instances of large-scale smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip (two originating from Libya, and another from Iran through Sudan) since the end of operation Pillar of Defense, according to Western sources. The activity against the weaponry smuggling is part of Egyptian-US coordination, agreed upon in the discussions leading to the end of the operation. The agreement includes assistance with US technological measures made available for Egyptian use, and intelligence cooperation in order to counter the smuggling of weapons. Israel and the US now expect that Egypt will do everything against the smuggling of weapons through Egyptian territory into the Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense, Jan. 1, 2013)


JERUSALEM PRESSES CASE FOR EU TO BAN HEZBOLLAH(Berlin) The Israeli government is redoubling its efforts to convince the European Union to outlaw Hezbollah within the 27-member body because of the Lebanese group’s record of terrorism. According to reports in the Hebrew media, Israel’s new case involves showing Hezbollah’s role in the 2005 murder of Lebanese president Rafik Hariri, based on evidence culled from the international tribunal that investigated the bombing. Israel is slated to reveal documentary material about Hezbollah’s role in destabilizing Syria and joining forces with Bashar Assad’s regime in the ongoing campaign to obliterate that country’s pro-reform movement. Hezbollah’s narcotics and money-laundering operations are part of Israel’s dossier. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 2, 2013)


LEBANESE MILITARY INVESTIGATING INVASION BY ISRAELI PEPPERS(Sidon, Lebanon) A Lebanese shopper discovered a bag of three kinds of [sweet] peppers made in Israel while shopping Tuesday at Spinneys, one of Lebanon’s largest retailers, in the coastal city of Sidon. He immediately contacted local authorities who in turn contacted the Lebanese Army. Members of military intelligence and police arrived to discover 13 similar bags that have the word “Israel” printed on the sale tag. The case was then referred to the military judiciary for investigation into how the products made it through the customs department at the port or the airport. (The Daily Star, Jan.1, 2013)


ARAB STATES ABANDON CASH-STRAPPED PA(Ramallah) Facing a billion-dollar deficit and with no funds to pay government employee salaries, the Palestinian Authority has asked Russia and China to help rescue it from financial collapse. Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki this week blasted Arab countries for not fulfilling financial pledges toward the Palestinian Authority. The Arab League decided last March to create a “financial safety net” of $100 million a month to protect the Palestinian Authority from financial collapse. Arab failure to fulfill a pledge to fund that safety net proved that “the Arab nation is, incredibly, moving away from the Palestinian issue,” Maliki said. (Times of Israel, January 2, 2013)


SAUDIS SWEAT AS ENERGY REVOLUTION CHANGES THE RULES—(Washington) The US shale gas boom, drastically cutting the cost of gas, is shaking the foundations of the Saudi Arabian economic model—and more is coming. The highly profitable $100bn Gulf petrochemical industry is taking a hit as its biggest customer—the U.S.—is importing less and relying instead on domestic production. The rapidly growing Saudi population wants to consume (subsidized) petrochemicals at home, air conditioning Saudi houses and running Saudi cars instead of exporting product abroad.  Falling production, demand, and prices are beginning to hurt. (American Interest, December 29, 2012)


EGYPT "ON THE VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY"—(Cairo) Egypt is effectively out of cash. With foreign exchange reserves at a “critical minimum,” Egypt’s central bank imposed exchange controls and let the Egyptian pound exchange rate fall by about 5 percent from the level prevailing through most of 2012. The central bank will ration foreign exchange by holding auctions at which a limited amount of hard currency is offered, and restrict corporate cash withdrawals to $30,000 per day as well as limiting the amount of cash an individual may transfer out of the country to $10,000. Because Egypt’s main source of foreign exchange is remittances from Egyptian citizens working overseas, the latest set of measures are likely to backfire. Individuals are likely to delay sending remittances until they believe that the Egyptian pound has stabilized, aggravating the foreign exchange shortage. (JINSA December 31, 2012)


VIEWS OF THE ISRAELI PUBLIC ON ISRAELI SECURITY AND RESOLUTION OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT"—(Jerusalem) Main points: 76% of Israelis (83% of Jews) believe that a withdrawal to the 1967 lines and a division of Jerusalem would not bring about an end of the conflict. 61% of the Jewish population believes that defensible borders are more important than peace for assuring Israel’s security (up from 49% in 2005). 78% of Jews indicated they would change their vote if the party they intended to support indicated that it was prepared to relinquish sovereignty in east Jerusalem. 59% of Jews said the same about the Jordan Valley. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs/Dahaf Institute Survey, Dec. 2012)


SENATE REPORT WIDENS FAULT FOR BENGHAZI FAILURES(Washington) The Senate report was harshly critical of the State Department for failing to recognize and respond to security risks. The State Department and Pentagon had no viable way to rescue Americans in Benghazi, Libya, falling short of their responsibility to develop plans to evacuate U.S. citizens. But it also [found] fault with the Obama administration for being "inconsistent" about whether the assaults on U.S. posts in Benghazi were a terrorist attack. The inconsistency "contributed to the confusion in the public discourse" about the attacks, write Sens. Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) and Susan Collins (R., Maine), the chairman and senior Republican of the committee and the report's authors. Details turned up by the investigation show "a shocking irresponsibility to protect American diplomatic personnel in Benghazi," Mr. Lieberman said in an interview on Sunday [Dec. 30]. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, 2012)


RENDITIONS CONTINUE UNDER OBAMA(Washington) Three European men with Somali roots were arrested on a murky pretext in August as they passed through the small African country of Djibouti. U.S. agents accused the men — two of them Swedes, the other a longtime resident of Britain — of supporting al-Shabab, an Islamist militia in Somalia that Washington considers a terrorist group. Two months after their arrest, the prisoners were secretly indicted by a federal grand jury in New York, then clandestinely taken into custody by the FBI and flown to the United States to face trial. The men are the latest example of how the Obama administration has embraced rendition — the practice of holding and interrogating terrorism suspects in other countries without due process — despite widespread condemnation of the tactic in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (Washington Post, Jan. 1, 2013)


ISRAEL HOME TO 8 MILLION CITIZENS(Jerusalem) A new survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) says that as 2012 draws to an end Israel's population numbers 7,981,000 people. According to the CBS, 6,015,000 (75.4%) of Israelis are Jews, 1,648,000 are Arabs and 319,000 are affiliated with other various religions and ethnic groups.  In the course of 2012, the population of Israel increased by 145,000 people, or 1.8%, similar to the increase in the last decade. Some 170,000 babies were born in 2012, in addition to the arrival of 16,500 new immigrants. (YNet News, Dec. 30, 2012) 


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Egyptian Cleric Threatens Egypt's Copts With Genocide: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 28, 2012—"The day Egyptians…feel you [Copts] are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the Earth." — Dr. Wagdi Goneim. Islamic leaders continue to portray the popular protests against President Morsi and his recently passed Sharia-heavy constitution as products of Egypt's Christians.


Hizbullah Partners with Mexican Drug Cartels: Eldad Beck, YNet News, Dec. 29, 2012—U.S. intelligence indicates that Mexico is home to some 200,000 Syrian and Lebanese immigrants – most of them illegal – who were able to cross the border via an extensive web of contacts with drug cartels. Western intelligence agencies have gathered ample evidence suggesting that the drug cartels in Mexico – which are the de facto rulers of the northern districts bordering the U.S. – are in cahoots with Islamic terror organizations.


Iran Wakes to New Syrian Reality : Walter Russell Mead, American Interest, Dec. 30, 2012—Syria is crucial to Iran's grand design in the Middle East. It was also the means by which Iran was able to support Hizbullah in Lebanon and construct an anti-Israel alliance with Hamas that helped offset Iran's deep disadvantages on the Arab street, making it look less like a "Persian" and "heretical" anti-Arab power and more like a leader of global Islam in the fight against the West. The growing likelihood that decades of building this position will end in catastrophe represents the greatest threat to the Iranian regime since its failure in the Iran-Iraq war. 



Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-8284


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