Tag: Chuck Hagel


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The Power of Events: Israel’s Sudden Election & Increasing Terrorism, Are Complicated by the U.S.’s M.E. Ambivalence: Prof. Frederick Krantz, CIJR, Dec. 5, 2014— It is an old  dictum that sudden, unexpected events change politics.

Running For Re-Election, Against Whom?: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Dec. 5, 2014— In order to win the elections that have been foisted upon him, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must run a focused campaign against Israel's bona fide foes, not against the novice and petty politicians with whom he has been squabbling.

Ground Up Chuck: Wall Street Journal, Nov. 24, 2014 — Chuck Hagel wasn’t our favorite to run the Pentagon, but it speaks volumes about this Administration’s national security decision-making that even he turned out to be too independent for the job.

Enough Idealism: David French, National Review, Sept. 29, 2014— As the president who pledged to end two wars restarts our fight in Iraq (and perhaps expands it into Syria), it’s worth reflecting on one of the cardinal lessons of our 13 years of post-9/11 conflict against jihad: Idealism kills.


On Topic Links


Poll Finds Israelis Appreciate US Support, Wary of Obama’s Policies: Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, Dec. 5, 2014

Increasing Numbers of Jewish Democrats Disillusioned With Obama: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Dec. 4, 2014

The 'Peace Process' That Kills: Charles Bybelezer, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 24, 2014

Obama: Helping Terror Go Nuclear: Noah Beck, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 20, 2014





Prof. Frederick Krantz                                                                                                    

CIJR, Dec. 5, 2014


It is an old  dictum that sudden, unexpected events change politics. The collapse of Israel’s governing coalition means a March election and new uncertainty, and this as terrorism continues, in and around Jerusalem as well as across the M.E., Iran, and Africa.


Meanwhile, Israel’s situation is worsened by the ambivalence, political and military, of its major (indeed, only) ally, the U.S. Led by a lame-duck Democratic Administration, America’s Hamlet-like President Barack Obama is first in (Syria), then out, then back (ditto re Iraq and Afghanistan); first he’s affirming  “no boots on the ground”, then it’s 1,500, now it may be 3,000; first they’ll only be “trainers”, then, armed, they’ll support forward Iraqi echelons; and so on and on.



Yet even as Obama seems, however unwillingly, to ramp up US commitments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he continues to downsize (“sequestration”) American armed forces. The stated goal? To arrive at a force approximately the size (100,000) of the woefully inadequate Army and Navy of December 7, 1941, at the outbreak of World War II. And this as Russian aggression in Ukraine, and a threatening Chinese naval expansion, continue.


Then, the icing on the disintegrating cake:  Obama forces out his hand-picked Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, a former U.S. Senator and battle-tested U.S. Army veteran, for a more compliant Ashton B. Carter, a neutral Pentagon administrator with absolutely no military background or credibility.


Two recent articles appearing simultaneously in a major newspaper summed up the contradictory, and dangerous, implications of such American ambivalence. One noted that, despite the resumption of American bombing of terrorist Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, their expansion seems not have been appreciably slowed.  The other article reported on growing concern in the American military that the new campaign was ill-conceived, too little, too late, and that extreme fear of the negative media impact of civilian casualties was rendering much of the bombing ineffective.


(Authorization for each mission has to be preceded by detailed reconnaissance flights, with each potential target then relayed to the U.S.-based Command Center for approval at the highest level.  Such a slow, cumbersome process often results in the target moving on or disappearing. The Islamic State fighters—who of course are unconcerned about civilian casualties–have quickly learned how to disperse, hide, and otherwise evade both the reconnaissance process and the actual postponed follow-on attacks.)


America’s continuing foreign policy and military hesitations (confusion?) have emboldened its,  and Israel’s, enemies. Together with the post-Arab Spring collapse of the M.E. state system, the advance of a new territory-acquiring terrorism, and ongoing Iranian nuclear development (yet another example of American irresolution), this was surely not the most auspicious moment for Israel’s governing coalition to collapse.


But events can be turned to advantage. If Netanyahu can win a more stable center-right coalition in March, and (as the 2016 Presidential election looms) the recently-returned Republican majority in both Houses of Congress can put consistent foreign–policy pressure on the White House, the balance in 2015 may well turn in Israel’s favor. It would be, as we celebrate Passover’s message of Jewish freedom, a consummation devoutly to be desired.


(Prof. Frederick Krantz is President of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research

and Editor of its ISRAFAX journal and Daily Isranet Briefing.)





RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION, AGAINST WHOM?                                           

David M. Weinberg

Israel Hayom, Dec. 5, 2014


In order to win the elections that have been foisted upon him, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must run a focused campaign against Israel's bona fide foes, not against the novice and petty politicians with whom he has been squabbling. His kvetching about Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid only diminishes him in the eyes of voters. Whiny rants about anarchy in the coalition won't advance Netanyahu too far. Instead, Netanyahu must market himself as a leader who transcends the local mud-slinging and who can responsibly navigate a path for Israel in the face of the many regional and international threats. To put it another way: Netanyahu indeed has rivals worth running against, but they are not Livni and Lapid, nor Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett. Netanyahu should be running against U.S. President Barack Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.


Obama has made it clear that in coming period he is "not going to be able to manage" to fully defend Israel in international forums. Abbas is seeking condemnation, isolation, criminalization and boycott of Israel, alongside recognition of virtual Palestinian statehood. Obama is going to smirk from the sidelines. Obama himself will undoubtedly turn up the pressure on Israel in various ways in an attempt to precipitously force Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines. He isn't going to leave Israel alone for one single day. And we already know that the U.S. president has decided to acquiesce on Iran's near-nuclear status.


So, Israel has tough challenges ahead, and needs a leader who will stand firm. Netanyahu can and should say forthrightly to the Israeli public: I have stood strong against Obama's unfriendly pressures for six years. Re-elect me in order to see Israel through the ominous final two years of the Obama administration. This is messaging that would be both real and resonant. Israelis fear and resent Obama administration policies, even as they still overwhelmingly believe in America and the American-Israeli alliance. A Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies public opinion poll demonstrated this week that the Israeli public believes that the Obama administration has greatly weakened America's standing in the Middle East, and thinks that its policies on Iran, ISIS and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are truly "bad." This is a key electoral calling card for Netanyahu: Standing tall against a hostile world. It will become even more so if and when the Obama administration and European leaders attempt to intervene in the Israeli election campaign by warning the Israeli public that Israel can expect increased international isolation if Netanyahu is re-elected. Such intervention will likely backfire and actually benefit Netanyahu, as it has in past campaigns, but I suspect Obama and associates won't be able to resist.


In fact, I assume that one of the genuine reasons Netanyahu is going to the polls now is directly linked to such expected pressures. Israel can't be expected to launch any risky diplomatic ventures while in electoral flux. By casting Israel into election mode for a lengthy period of time — it could be July before a new government settles into its cabinet seats — Netanyahu is running down the clock on Obama. That is not a bad diplomatic strategy at all; perfectly legitimate and understandable to the Israeli voter. After all, Netanyahu came to office in order to put a long-term break on the galloping withdrawals of the Oslo era. Netanyahu should find a way to own up to this strategy, even though it's not politically correct to admit to this in diplomatic company. I think he'll be rewarded by the Israeli public. Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog, Livni and Obama may consider Netanyahu a cowardly failure (or "chickenshit") because he won't match the follies of his predecessors and risk the country's security with territorial withdrawals that could result in the creation of another terror state on Israel's doorstep. But Israelis understand that Netanyahu's willingness to say no to Obama is all that stands between them and another fiasco like the destruction of Gush Katif and the gifting of Gaza to Hamas. And consider this too: Wouldn't it be sweet to see Netanyahu outlast Obama in office?


Then there is Abbas. Herzog can go on and on about the need to cut a deal with Abbas, and Livni can ridiculously and pompously assert with certainty that "With me in the negotiating room, peace is attainable" — but the Israeli public knows better. Abbas is washed up as a peace partner, certainly since he partnered with Hamas, launched a campaign of lies and incitement regarding the Temple Mount, and lauded terrorists who attacked Israelis in Jerusalem. Everybody in Israel remembers Abbas' monstrous speech at U.N. in September outrageously accusing Israel of "genocide" in Gaza. Netanyahu can capitalize on this, by highlighting the flimsiness and fancifulness of the opposition's belief in Abbas. I won't let us be suckered by Abbas again — Netanyahu can assert, and it will resonate.


Israeli society needed another election campaign just now like a hole in the head. So much invective, radical rhetoric, and ugliness is ahead — all of it cynically hyped and exaggerated for campaign purposes. Ugh. Therefore, Netanyahu must rise above the fray and focus on the big picture. There are concrete, looming challenges ahead, and nobody else running in this campaign is true prime ministerial material. That's not just an argument for re-election by default. It's a robust and realistic campaign platform.






GROUND UP CHUCK                                                                                              

Wall Street Journal, Nov. 24, 2014


Chuck Hagel wasn’t our favorite to run the Pentagon, but it speaks volumes about this Administration’s national security decision-making that even he turned out to be too independent for the job. The former Republican Senator and infantry soldier chose to resign …  rather than endure more White House micromanagement. As the first Administration official to depart since the election, Mr. Hagel looks like a ritual sacrifice, and not the right one. If President Obama really wanted a fresh start in his last two years, he’d begin by sacking most of his White House national security team. They’re the tenderfoot Talleyrands who have presided over the radiating calamity in Syria, the collapse of the Iraqi military, the rise of Islamic State, and the failure to deter or stop Vladimir Putin ’s march into Ukraine.


Why does national security adviser Susan Rice still have a job? Or spinner-in-chief Ben Rhodes ? Mr. Hagel was hired in part because Mr. Obama believed he would take orders from these visionaries. But as the world turned darker, the Pentagon chief began to represent the views of the generals who are increasingly worried about U.S. security. His worst sin appears to have been sending a memo in October pointing out that the President had to clarify his Syria policy for his campaign against Islamic State to succeed. Mr. Hagel was reflecting the views of senior Pentagon brass. Mr. Hagel has since been vindicated as the U.S. has watched while Bashar Assad ’s government tries to wipe out the Free Syrian Army rebels we are training to be our allies, and Turkey keeps a distance from the coalition because we won’t help to oust Assad. But telling the truth in this Administration gets you a scolding from Vice President Valerie Jarrett, and on Tuesday White House leakers were saying Mr. Hagel wasn’t creative enough in providing security options. The options this White House seems to want are those that provide the appearance of solving problems without having to solve them.


Mr. Hagel’s departure might matter if it means that President Obama recognizes the dangers he faces in his last two years. Everywhere we go we keep hearing the same phrase—that rogues believe they now have a “two-year window” to press their gains until a new President takes office. Other Presidents have recognized failures and adapted in their last two years. George W. Bush switched Defense Secretaries and overrode senior generals to implement the surge that defeated al Qaeda in Iraq. Jimmy Carter , watching the march of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and Central America, began the U.S. rearmament that Ronald Reagan accelerated. Mr. Obama could likewise adapt with the help of a GOP Senate. John McCain will soon chair the Armed Services Committee, and Mr. Obama and a new defense chief could work with him to reverse the freefall in U.S. defense spending. They could end the defense sequester, fortify NATO’s eastern front, and pursue a more aggressive military campaign against Islamic State. Joe Lieberman, the hawkish former Democratic Senator, would be an inspired choice, if he could be cajoled to accept. Michèle Flournoy, who has written for these pages, has Pentagon experience and seems to have enough gumption to challenge the White House. Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed has military experience but has never stood out on Armed Services. Whoever the choice, it won’t matter unless Mr. Obama recognizes the growing disorder and reverses course himself.





ENOUGH IDEALISM                                                                                             

David French                                            

National Review, Sept. 29, 2014


As the president who pledged to end two wars restarts our fight in Iraq (and perhaps expands it into Syria), it’s worth reflecting on one of the cardinal lessons of our 13 years of post-9/11 conflict against jihad: Idealism kills. President George W. Bush, infamous as a “warmonger” to the Left and mocked for his allegedly black-and-white, Manichean worldview, was an idealist. The president who consistently opposed “evildoers” and decried the “axis of evil” is also the president who proclaimed Islam a religion of peace and declared, “I believe God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom.” President Barack Obama, by contrast, apologized for the sins of the Bush era and declared in Cairo, “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.” Never mind that Cordoba and Andalusia happened to be conquered territories — conquered by Muslim armies; the idealism shines through.


But while Presidents Bush and Obama both declared affection for Islam in their words, their deeds reveal two distinctly different kinds of idealism, both of which move far beyond the all-too-familiar willingness of politicians to deliver “up with people” political saccharin in speeches. Speeches are one thing, policies another — more consequential — thing altogether. In their policies, George Bush possessed a deadly idealism about our potential friends, while Barack Obama possesses a deadly idealism about our enemies…


President Obama is a creature of the American academic Left, with all its assumptions about the way the world works. The short version of its view of the Middle East is this: Muslim extremism grows out of a series of legitimate grievances, including Israeli treatment of Palestinians, American military actions and alleged economic exploitation, and oppressive, Western-supported regimes. Deal with the grievances and you can blunt or neuter the extremism. And so, in a series of colossal foreign-policy blunders, President Obama has actively sided with jihadists in both military and political conflicts — going beyond appeasement to render actual aid (or to attempt to render aid) to some of the world’s most extreme Islamic movements. In Libya, we used the might of NATO airpower to tip the balance in the civil war to a motley collection of jihadists — jihadists who later thanked us by overrunning our diplomatic compound in Benghazi (killing four Americans) and most recently have been filmed swimming in our ambassador’s pool in Tripoli.


In Egypt, we immediately affirmed our support for the Muslim Brotherhood government and promised to continue arms shipments (including F-16s and M1 Abrams tanks) even as the Muslim Brotherhood stood aside and allowed a screaming mob to overrun our embassy, launched a nationwide campaign of persecution against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, violated the Camp David Accords by moving heavy weapons into the Sinai, and provided direct aid and comfort to Hamas, a State Department–designated terror organization. Even worse, when the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown, in what some have called the largest political protests in history, and replaced with a government that cut off Hamas, restored cooperation with Israel, and took steps to protect the Copts, only then did we end our military aid.


In Gaza, Secretary of State John Kerry defied both Egypt and Israel to advance Hamas’s key allies — Turkey and Qatar — in cease-fire talks, leading to angry denunciations in Israel and one of the worst diplomatic crises in the long history of the American–Israeli alliance. Using the language of moral equivalence to describe the terror tactics of Hamas and the lawful military actions of Israel was its own appalling scandal.  In Syria, the Obama administration has repeatedly sought to arm and support jihadists fighting the Assad regime (and now allegedly fighting the Islamic State). These jihadists are every bit as brutal as Assad, have reportedly signed non-aggression pacts with the Islamic State, and have apparently already allowed American-supplied weapons to fall into the Islamic State’s hands.


And now we face a Middle East in flames, strained relations with key allies (Israel, Egypt, and the Kurds), and jihadists controlling more territory with more men under arms than before 9/11. This summary doesn’t even include Iran’s growing strength and our looming exit from Afghanistan, where President Obama’s idealistic “benevolent counterinsurgency” (Bing West’s excellent description in his recent book One Million Steps) has largely failed to create conditions similar to those that followed President Bush’s much harder-edged surge in Iraq.


It’s time to end the idealism. How many times must it fail before we face reality? Our nation first and foremost must understand its enemies. Jihadists cannot be appeased, they do not have “legitimate grievances,” and they mock and exploit our naïve hopes for their reform. One does not end jihad by providing F-16s to the Muslim Brotherhood or close air support to Syria’s Army of Mujahedeen. At the same time, however, we must be careful about our friends. We have to replace foolish hopes and deadly dreams with hard-nosed evaluations of action. Allies such as the Kurds have proven themselves reliable time and again, and Egypt’s new government has shown promise in its treatment of Hamas. Yet, bizarrely, the Obama administration seems more willing to arm jihadists in Syria than to arm the Kurdish peshmerga in Iraq.


Always — always — we must project real strength. The people of the Middle East don’t respect weakness and are unimpressed with kindness when it’s combined with weakness. I’ll never forget the frustration and contempt that, during my own deployment in Iraq, we got from local villagers when we expressed reluctance to raid a mosque housing a known jihadist terror cell. They were utterly unimpressed with our attempts to respect their faith and instead received the message that only the jihadists had a true commitment to victory. In the Middle East, idealism leads to weakness, and weakness leads not just to death but also to everlasting contempt. This is how the world’s sole military superpower becomes a laughingstock and our citizens pay the price — pawns in jihadists’ deadly games as they jockey for power and prestige in a region that respects strength more than it cares about even the best of our naïve ideals.




On Topic


Poll Finds Israelis Appreciate US Support, Wary of Obama’s Policies: Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, Dec. 5, 2014—Israelis have an overwhelming appreciation of the United States, but harbor increasingly negative views of US President Barack Obama’s Middle East foreign policy, according to a public opinion poll carried out by Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Increasing Numbers of Jewish Democrats Disillusioned With Obama: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Dec. 4, 2014—It has been reported that American Jews still voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party in the recent midterm congressional elections.

The 'Peace Process' That Kills: Charles Bybelezer, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 24, 2014—The region was already burning when US Secretary of State John Kerry rolled into town in July 2013, on his fifteenth-odd visit to Jerusalem, Ramallah or Amman in some four months on the job.

Obama: Helping Terror Go Nuclear: Noah Beck, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 20, 2014 —Last Tuesday’s terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue killed five people: four rabbis (including three born in the USA) and a Druze police officer.






















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Quand l'AIPAC est absent sans permission officielle

Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times, 4 mars 2013

Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert


La déclaration notoire de 2008 de Chuck Hagel à propos du comité américain des affaires publiques d'Israel, l'American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), le principal établissement du lobby pro-israélien, avait affirmé: "le lobby juif intimide beaucoup de gens ici [au Congrès]. Je suis sénateur des Etats-Unis. Je ne suis pas un sénateur israélien. "


Puis, une chose étrange se produisit: à peine Barack Obama avait-il nommé Hagel comme secrétaire à la Défense [équivalent à ministre de la Défense (NDLT)] le 7 janvier, que l'AIPAC annonçait qu'il ne s'opposerait pas à l'ancien sénateur républicain du Nebraska. En effet, il souhaitait être si neutre sur ce sujet délicat que son porte-parole évita même de mentionner le nom Hagel, déclarant seulement que «l'AIPAC ne prend pas position sur les nominations présidentielles.» Puis AIPAC garda un silence complet devant la confirmation de Hagel le 26 février. Plus important encore, il ne leva pas le petit doigt pour influencer le vote.


La logique initiale de l'AIPAC paraissait sensée: Obama, venait de gagner avec efforts une réélection impressionnante, avait choisi son homme et les Républicains étaient susceptibles de lui opposer une résistance purement symbolique, alors pourquoi contrarier une figure destinée dans le futur à être très puissante et un principal acteur de la relation américano-israélienne? Comme mon collègue Steven J.Rosen a expliqué à l'époque, «l'AIPAC doit travailler avec le secrétaire à la Défense» Il ne voulait pas non plus se mettre à dos encore plus les démocrates inconséquents.


Par la suite, une recherche poussée sur le passé d'Hagel a trouvé des déclarations plus laides encore au sujet d'Israël. Il a évoqué en 2006 l'auto-défense d'Israël contre le Hezbollah comme une «boucherie écœurante.» En 2007 , il déclara que «Le département d'État était devenu associé du cabinet du ministre israélien des Affaires étrangères.» Et en 2010, on le cite comme avertissant qu'Israël risquait de «devenir un Etat d'apartheid.»


Pourtant, le sénateur qui parlait d'un intimidant "lobby juif" a obtenu un laissez-passer complet de la part de ce même lobby. On se demande à quel point il est intimidant .


D'autres organisations pro-israéliennes ont adopté une approche différente. L'Organisation sioniste d'Amérique [ZOA] a fourni 14 déclarations faisant valoir des arguments contre la nomination de Hagel entre le 17décembre (exhortant Obama de ne pas nommer Chuck Hagel qui excuse le terrorisme de l'Iran et dénigre Israël») et le 22 février (une liste des «Dix raisons importantes de s'opposer à Chuck Hagel »). N'étant pas elle-même avant tout une organisation de lobby, le calcul du ZOA avait moins à voir avec la perspective de gagner et plus à voir avec la prise d'une position de principe et morale


En grande partie à cause de la politique moyen-orientale du sénateur du Nebraska d'apaiser Téhéran et d'affronter Jérusalem l'opposition républicaine à Hagel était devenue bien plus que symbolique. Plusieurs sénateurs ont indiqué à Morton Klein de la ZOA [organisation sioniste d'Amérique (NDLT)] que si l'AIPAC "était sorti et avait fait pression contre Hagel, il aurait été stoppé." Charles Schumer (New York), sans conteste le sénateur démocrate clé sur cette question, publiquement a cité l'absence de «grandes organisations juives» comme l'une des raisons pour lesquelles il n'avait "aucun scrupule" en ce qui concerne l'approbation de Hagel. Pourtant, en dépit de la possibilité réelle et croissante de vaincre la candidature de Hagel, l'AIPAC a gardé le silence et n'a rien fait.


Hagel l'a emporté de justesse au Comité du Sénat pour les services de l'armée -Senate Armed Services Committee- le 12 février avec un vote de 14 à 11. Un vote pour mettre fin au débat sur la candidature a échoué à remporter les 60 votes nécessaires le 14 février. Il a finalement remporté la confirmation par un vote de 58 à 41, faisant face au plus grand nombre de votes «non» [prononcés dans le passé] contre un secrétaire à la Défense (George C. Marshall en 1950 est venu en deuxième position avec 11 non). Ainsi, la figure marginale qui s'opposait même à des sanctions économiques contre l'Iran, le candidat maladroit qui a confondu prévention avec endiguement, le politicien qualifié par le sénateur Lindsey Graham (sénateur républicain de la Caroline du Sud) comme «le secrétaire de la défense le plus hostile envers l'État d'Israël dans l'histoire de notre nation »- eh bien, il a pris ses fonctions le 27 février.


Comme l'AIPAC organise son colloque politique annuel du 3 au 5 mars à Washington, ce qu'il appelle «le plus grand rassemblement du mouvement pro-Israël» (la réunion de l'année dernière a eu plus de 13.000 participants), il est difficile de ne pas conclure que le fameux lobby pour Israël a mis l'accent si intensément sur l'accès, le processus, la bonne volonté et la courtoisie qu'il s'est mis hors jeu pour les questions les plus pressantes auxquelles Israël est confronté – L'Iran et la relation États-Unis.


Oui, l'AIPAC reste une force pour faire face à des questions secondaires; par exemple, il a remporté une impressionnante victoire de 100 à 0 sur l'administration Obama en décembre 2011 à propos d'un projet de loi de sanctions contre l'Iran. Mais (depuis la bataille des AWACS de 1981), l'AIPAC a soigneusement évité de contrarier le président sur les questions les plus en vue, les plus menaçantes pour Israël. En conséquence, il se stérilise et a sans doute perdu la discussion sur la politique de l'Iran.


Avec Obama et Hagel au pouvoir cela nécessite que l'AIPAC soit forte comme dans le passé.


Visite de John Kerry en Egypte :

Quelle utilité ?

Zvi Mazel

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, le 4 mars 2013


Dure prise de conscience pour Washington : il est bien loin le temps où l’Egypte était la carte maîtresse des Américains au Moyen-Orient ! Le président Moubarak était le chef de file des pays pragmatiques face à l’Iran, garant de la stabilité de la région et de la paix avec Israël. Pour la deuxième fois en moins d’un an, un Secrétaire d’Etat américain arrivant les bras chargés de cadeaux est fort mal reçu. En juillet dernier, c’était Hillary Clinton, venue rencontrer le président nouvellement élu, Mohammed Morsi, candidat des Frères Musulmans. Elle a du faire face à des manifestants – opposants au régime et Coptes – qui protestaient contre le soutien apporté par l’Amérique à la Confrérie ; un soutien qui aurait contribué à sa victoire. La semaine dernière, c’est comme si presque tout le pays manifestait contre la venue de John Kerry. Il y a même eu des jets de pierre contre l’ambassade américaine. Et les dirigeants de l’opposition regroupés dans le Front de Salut National ont carrément refusé de rencontrer le visiteur par ailleurs violemment pris à parti par la presse non gouvernementale. Il faut dire que les Etats-Unis venaient de lancer un appel à tous les partis pour leur demander de prendre part aux élections parlementaires alors prévues pour la fin avril. Or, l’opposition a décidé de boycotter un processus électoral se déroulant suivant la nouvelle constitution, dont ils récusent la légitimité en soulignant qu’elle a été adoptée dans un référendum marqué par la fraude massive et la violence. A tout le moins, ils demandent la formation d’un gouvernement neutre pour superviser les élections et en assurer la transparence et la régularité. L’un des leaders de l’opposition, Mohammed el Baradei, a qualifié l’appel d’ingérence injustifiée dans les affaires du pays et a annoncé qu’il refuserait de rencontrer John Kerry ; son allié Hamdeen Sabahi, chef du parti nassérien populiste, a déclaré qu’il ferait de même. Le troisième chef de l’opposition, Amr Moussa, diplomate chevronné a accepté, lui, mais dans le cadre d’une « rencontre privée » et en sa qualité de président du Parti du Congrès et non de membre du Front de Salut National. John Kerry a eu beau téléphoner à El Baradei à son arrivée au Caire le 2 Mars, il est resté inébranlable dans son refus. L’ambassadeur des Etats-Unis avait invité onze membres de l’opposition à une rencontre avec le visiteur ; ils ne furent que six à accepter. Le Secrétaire d’Etat aurait repris la ligne officielle de son pays : les élections sont indispensables pour assurer la stabilité de l’Egypte. Il n’aurait pas réussi à convaincre trois des invités, les trois autres se déclarant prêts à envisager de participer au processus électoral si la transparence et la régularité étaient assurées.


John Kerry avait jeté tout le poids de l’Amérique derrière ses efforts pour arriver, sinon à une réconciliation entre Morsi et l’opposition, au moins à une amorce de dialogue. En vain. D’un autre côté, sa visite avait pour but de réaffirmer l’importance de l’Egypte sur la scène régionale et de souligner la nécessité de préserver le traité de paix avec Israël. Il a rencontré les chefs des services de sécurité et a insisté sur l’urgence qu’il y avait à restaurer l’ordre dans la péninsule du Sinaï et à stopper le flot d’armes transitant vers la bande de Gaza. Peut-être plus important pour les Egyptiens, qui traversent une crise économique sans précédent, il a promis le déblocage de 250 millions de dollars (sur le milliard promis par Obama l’an dernier), tout en demandant au président Morsi de ratifier un accord avec le Fonds Monétaire International (FMI) concernant un prêt de près de cinq milliards de dollars. Cette ratification se fait attendre, d’une part du fait de la grande instabilité politique du pays et, de l’autre, à cause d’un obstacle inattendu. Le prêt à intérêt est interdit par la Charia – la loi islamique. Il semble que les Egyptiens soient à la recherche d’une solution qui permettrait non seulement la ratification de l’accord mais encore ouvrirait la voie à des prêts à taux réduits venant d’autres pays ainsi qu’à des investissements étrangers. Evidemment, le prêt du FMI n’est pas sans conditions. Morsi devra faire d’importantes réformes et supprimer les subventions aux produits de première nécessité. Mission pratiquement impossible compte tenu de l’étendue de la crise politique, économique et sociale qui secoue le pays.


Le pays est au bord du gouffre et risque à tout moment de plonger dans l’anarchie. Les manifestations contre le régime des Frères Musulmans se multiplient et la démission de Morsi est réclamée. Etrange retournement du sort, le peuple semble maintenant appeler de ses vœux le retour de l’armée au pouvoir. Des pétitions tendant à nommer à la tête de l’Etat le ministre de la Défense Abdelfatah Sisi à titre provisoire ont été présentées à des tribunaux locaux. Ce qui est sûr, c’est que la colère gronde. Les affrontements entre manifestants et forces de l’ordre ont déjà fait des dizaines de morts et des milliers de blessés. Que l’on ne s’y trompe pas : ce sont essentiellement de bons citoyens qui descendent dans la rue. Ils ne veulent pas de la Charia et ont perdu confiance en Morsi. Cependant il y a aussi des extrémistes ; ainsi, les membres du « Bloc Noir » appellent à la désobéissance civile ; un appel entendu à Port-Saïd bientôt suivi par d’autres villes le long du canal de Suez et qui s’étend au reste du pays. Postes de police attaqués, incendiés ; grèves et même barrages routiers sur les grands axes paralysent la vie du pays.


Le président Morsi ne semble pas s’en préoccuper outre mesure et répète à qui veut l’entendre que l’Egypte se porte à merveille et que tout ira bien. Il est vrai qu’il consacre toute son énergie à renforcer son emprise ou plutôt celle des Frères Musulmans, nommant ses hommes partout, du gouvernement national aux autorités locales. La décision que vient de prendre le Conseil d’Etat – suspendre les élections jusqu’à ce que la loi électorale ait été examinée de nouveau par la Haute Cour Constitutionnelle – risque de lui accorder un délai supplémentaire pour parachever son œuvre plutôt que de désamorcer la crise avec l’opposition.


Le Secrétaire d’Etat américain était-il au courant de la gravité de la situation ? Savait-il que ce qui se passe actuellement n’est rien moins qu’un combat à mort pour l’avenir de l’Egypte postrévolutionnaire ? D’un côté, démocratie, progrès et développement ; de l’autre plongée dans l’obscurantisme d’un régime islamique pur et dur. En tentant de persuader l’opposition d’accepter la règle du jeu établie par Morsi et à participer au processus électoral, John Kerry a provoqué la colère d’une grande partie de la population. On reprochait déjà aux Américains d’avoir trop longtemps soutenu la dictature de Moubarak ; on les accuse maintenant de recommencer avec Morsi. La presse dans ses éditoriaux n’hésite pas à dire aux Américains « Déguerpissez de notre pays et prenez votre argent avec vous. » Compte tenu du fait que Morsi lui-même ne semble pas faire grand cas de l’opinion des Etats-Unis, à Washington et dans les médias américains on commence à se demander pourquoi continuer à venir en aide à un allié aussi peu fiable.


Une question qu’on se pose peut-être aussi à la Maison Blanche : Faut-il continuer à soutenir les Frères Musulmans qui parachèvent leur emprise sur le pays ? Faut-il au contraire tenter de venir en aide aux forces démocratiques ? En attendant, les sentiments anti-américains prennent de l’ampleur…


Le chef du renseignement américain est-il un imposteur ?

Michel Garroté

dreuz.info, 12 mars 2013


Le régime iranien ne pourra produire de l’uranium hautement enrichi pour la construction d’une bombe atomique sans se faire repérer, allègue ce mardi James Clapper, chef du renseignement national américain. Le problème, c’est que l’Iran a déjà été repéré et Clapper devrait le savoir.


Même si l’Iran a fait des progrès dans l’avancée de son programme nucléaire controversé, nous estimons qu’il ne pourra détourner de façon sûre du matériel et produire de l’uranium de qualité militaire sans que ses activités ne soient découvertes, raconte, à tort, James Clapper dans le rapport annuel sur les menaces à la sécurité présenté au Congrès américain.


C’est faux. Ces activités ont déjà été découvertes. Obama lui-même a admis que le danger était que l’Iran ne fabrique une « dirty bomb », une bombe sale contenant de l’uranium enrichi.


Les activités d’enrichissement des ayatollahs intégristes iraniens font l’objet d’une surveillance – incomplète et insuffisante – de l’organisation de l’ONU pour le nucléaire, l’Agence Internationale de l’Energie Atomique (AIEA), agence que l’Iran empêche d’accéder à certains sites.


Le rapport du renseignement américain fait état d’une certaine avancée dans l’enrichissement de l’uranium en Iran. L’Iran a fait des progrès au cours de l’année dernière et le pays est par conséquent dans une meilleure posture pour produire, si tel était son choix, de l’uranium propre à fabriquer une bombe nucléaire, grâce à ses centrales et ses stocks, indique – en termes ambigus et complaisants – le rapport annuel sur les menaces à la sécurité.


Il est en effet surréaliste d’alléguer que l’Iran est dans une meilleure posture pour produire, « si tel était son choix », de l’uranium propre à fabriquer une bombe nucléaire et en même temps de prétendre que le régime le régime iranien « n’a pas encore décidé de construire de telles armes et que sa politique reste basée sur une approche soupesant les avantages et les inconvénients d’une montée en puissance dans un conflit nucléaire ».


Cette réflexion ne tient pas la route. Il ne s’agit pas « d’une montée en puissance dans un conflit nucléaire ». Il s’agit de neutraliser préventivement le nucléaire offensif iranien. Quant à raconter que le régime iranien « n’a pas encore décidé de construire de telles armes », c’est en totale contradiction avec les informations aux mains de services de renseignements américains, britanniques et israéliens. En effet, ces services disposent depuis 2006 de preuves accablantes, notamment sur la coopération balistique et nucléaire de l’Iran avec le régime stalinien halluciné de Corée du Nord.


« Nous ne savons pas si l’Iran va finir par décider de fabriquer des armes nucléaires », conclut le chef du renseignement national américain James Clapper. Si lui, Clapper, chef du renseignement national américain, notamment responsable de la lutte contre le terrorisme et contre ses commanditaires, ne le sait pas, alors qu’il démissionne. Le monde libre ne peut pas se permettre d’avoir un ignorant – ou un imposteur – à la tête du renseignement américain.


Toujours selon Clapper, les Etats-Unis et ses alliés ont les moyens de faire pression pour éviter que la décision iranienne de « finir par décider de fabriquer des armes nucléaires » ne soit prise, dans la mesure où les dirigeants iraniens, restant avant tout soucieux de maintenir leur place au pouvoir, mesurent les risques de leur choix. De ce fait, les dirigeants iraniens ne cherchent pas non plus à entrer en confrontation directe avec les Etats-Unis, prétend Clapper. Décidément, à entendre le chef du renseignement national américain, les ayatollahs génocidaires iraniens ne seraient que des nains de jardin.


Comme par hasard, ce rapport scabreux minimise le danger iranien peu avant la visite d’Obama en Israël. C’est donc un rapport politique et « obambique. » L’Etat d’Israël devra sans doute neutraliser lui-même — sans se soucier du verbiage américain — le programme nucléaire de l’un des pires régimes de la planète…



Un «code de conduite» pour mettre de l’ordre au Proche-Orient 
Dore Gold
terredisrael.com, 30 janvier 2013
Visites du président des États-Unis en Israël
Pres. Barack Obama (1) – mars 2013 (planifiée)
Pres. George W. Bush (2) – janvier 2008, mai 2008
Pres. Bill Clinton (4) – octobre 1994, octobre 1995, mars 1996, décembre 1998
Pres. Jimmy Carter (1) – mars 1979
Pres. Richard Nixon (1) – juin 1974
En 1996, j’étais conseiller diplomatique du Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou. Je fus invité par le Royaume hachémite de Jordanie à un forum international à Amman. L’un des invités de marque était l’ancien Secrétaire d’Etat américain, Henry Kissinger, avec lequel j’ai eu le privilège de m’entretenir longuement. A cette époque, le processus de paix était au point mort suite à des attentats spectaculaires et l’explosion de bombes humaines dans les villes israéliennes.
Orfèvre des dossiers de la région et brillant diplomate, Kissinger m’avait suggéré d’adopter une autre approche : « Vous devez absolument appliquer “un code de conduite”! » me dit-il avec conviction.
Honnêtement, j’ignorais la signification de son idée. J’ai donc décidé dès mon retour à Jérusalem de lire les quatre volumes de ses Mémoires pour en pouvoir discuter par la suite. J’avais espéré trouver le terme « code de conduite » dans l’index de ses livres, mais il ne figurait pas.
En parcourant les Mémoires, j’ai compris qu’il faisait allusion aux négociations qu’il avait entreprises avec l’Union soviétique sur la limitation des missiles stratégiques. Ces discussions ont abouti finalement à la signature du Traité Salt 1. Toutefois, il fallait l’appliquer à la lettre étant donné que Moscou a voulu étendre ses opérations militaires dans le Tiers monde, en Angola, et dans le sud-est de l’Asie. Kissinger a donc élaboré un document intitulé « Les principes de base dans les relations russo-américaines».
Selon lui, si Moscou agissait selon ce code de conduite, Washington pourrait examiner au fur à mesure ses intentions réelles au rythme des progrès accomplis et ainsi la Détente entre les deux superpuissances serait établie.
Pourra-t-on également appliquer l’idée du code de conduite élaboré par Kissinger au Proche-Orient ? Peut-on formuler un ensemble de règles pour les négociations futures avec les Palestiniens et ainsi savoir en temps réel si le processus de paix avance vraiment et quand l’Autorité palestinienne viole ses engagements ? Des questions particulières telles que l’incitation à la violence, le soutien aux organisations terroristes et leur hébergement, le contact avec des institutions internationales pour entreprendre des initiatives anti- israéliennes devraient être traitées sérieusement, en plus des questions clé à l’ordre du jour comme l’avenir des frontières, le problème des réfugiés ou l’avenir des implantations.
Pour pouvoir établir un code de conduite, il est impératif d’obtenir le soutien de Washington qui servirait de juge entre les deux parties.
Aujourd’hui, plus que jamais le code de conduite est nécessaire en raison des turbulences dans le monde arabe et de la montée de leaders identifiés aux Frères musulmans. En Syrie, par exemple, la chute d’Assad pourrait amener au pouvoir des courants Salafistes plus extrémistes encore qu’Al Qaïda.
En établissant des critères objectifs à un code de conduite acceptable et soigneusement planifié, nous pourrions suivre de près l’évolution des évènements. Il pourrait servir d’outil efficace pour distinguer entre les différents dirigeants, entre ceux qui obéissent à ses principes et les pays voyous qui l’ignorent.
Dans ce contexte, les “bons” seront autorisés à bénéficier du commerce international, du transfert technologique et même de la vente d’armes légale. 
Rappelons que l’idée de Kissinger a été incorporée dans un document de principe lors de la Conférence de sécurité en Europe en 1975 mieux connu sous le nom de Déclaration d’Helsinki. Ceux qui ont appliqué les principes ont été invités à participer à l’Organisation pour la sécurité et la coopération en Europe (OSCE).
Dans le cadre de l’accord de paix avec la Jordanie en 1994, Israël a souhaité une organisation similaire au Moyen-Orient et la suite est bien connue. Les nouveaux dirigeants dans notre région ne répondent pas aux normes internationales minimales et leur politique accélère un processus négatif qui mène au chaos et risque de déclencher un conflit armé nouveau dans la région.
Le choix de Chuck Hagel comme ministre de la Défense?
Daniel Pipes
danielpipes.org, 28 janvier 2013
Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert
Trois réflexions viennent à l'esprit alors que le Sénat des États-Unis se prépare à examiner le 31 janvier prochain la nomination de Chuck Hagel pour le poste de ministre de la Défense:
(1) C'est quand même très étrange que Barack Obama ait nommé un politicien sans renom, sans aucun projet de loi important revêtu de son nom, sans réalisations administratives, et sans grandes idées, au poste extrêmement important de ministre de la Défense. C'est d'autant plus curieux que Hagel n'est connu que pour ses opinions dans deux domaines, celui de la politique étrangère et celui de la défense, lesquelles opinions consistent à être souple sur l'Iran et hostile à Israël. Cela envoie certainement un message fort à Israël.
(2) Ce fut consternant de constater que, après avoir au début manifesté un certain scepticisme, les institutions juives américaines ont laissé passer la nomination de Hagel. Il semblerait que, pour elles, l'accès [à une telle fonction permettant de rencontrer des gens comme le président et d'autres politiciens (NDLT)] l'emporte sur d'autres considérations.
(3) En revanche, l'association les Chrétiens Unis pour Israel (CUFI), a publié un communiqué exprimant son opposition à [la nomination de] Hagel en raison de son «aveuglement inacceptable devant la plus grande menace de notre époque», à savoir l'Iran et le Hezbollah. En outre, le CUFI a annoncé qu'au moins 400 leaders chrétiens se rendront au Capitole cette semaine pour faire pression sur les représentants de l'ensemble des 100 sénateurs.
Commentaire: Bizarre que le CUFI soit là fort actif et que le Comité des Affaires Publiques Israélo-Américaines – American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC: le Comité des Affaires publiques israélo-américaines, groupe de pression né en 1951 et visant à soutenir Israël(NDLT)]) – reste silencieux.
Journée Internationale du Souvenir de la Shoah : l’enseignement s’impose
Ftouh Souhail
terredisrael.com, 26 janvier 2012
Une cérémonie de la Journée Internationale du Souvenir de la Shoah au Parlement européen a été organisée hier à Bruxelles.
Ce jour du souvenir est marqué le 27 janvier, le jour où il y a 67 ans, l’Armée Rouge a libéré le camp d’extermination d’Auschwitz.
L’Iran et l’antisémitisme actuel en Europe étaient les sujets principaux de la cérémonie de la Journée Internationale du Souvenir de la Shoah au Parlement européen à Bruxelles.
En marge de la cérémonie au Parlement européen à Bruxelles pour la Journée internationale de commémoration de la Shoah, le président du Congrès juif européen (CJE) Moshé Kantor a été décoré de la Légion d’honneur.
Ce 27 janvier marque le jour anniversaire inoubliable de la libération du camp de concentration d’Auschwitz-Birkenau par les troupes soviétiques en 1945. La destruction systématique par les nazis des communautés juives d’Europe a coûté la vie à quelques six millions d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants.
Le 27 janvier 1945, l’Armée Rouge entrait dans le principal camps d’extermination nazi, y découvrant 7 500 rescapés à bout de forces. Certains ayant réussi à se procurer des armes se sont révoltés contre les derniers SS. Entre le printemps 1942 et l’hiver 1945, 1,5 million de détenus ont été exterminés à Auschwitz.
60 ans plus tard, une résolution de l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies a institué le 27 janvier « Journée internationale de commémoration en mémoire des victimes de la Shoah ». Cette date correspond à l’anniversaire de la libération d’Auschwitz-Birkenau, le plus grand camp nazi de concentration et d’extermination.
Cette Journée devait être l’occasion de nous rappeler qu’il importe d’agir résolument aux premiers signes avant-coureurs d’un climat favorable au génocide.
Selon un sondage réalisé par l’institut allemand Forsa, à l’occasion de la Journée internationale à la mémoire des victimes de la Shoah, le 27 janvier et rendu public mercredi par le magazine Stern, environ un cinquième (21%) des Allemands âgés de 18 à 29 ans, ne savent pas qu’Auschwitz était un camp d’extermination, Par ailleurs, environ un tiers de l’ensemble des sondés (31%) ne sait pas où situer Auschwitz et 40% des Allemands souhaiteraient pouvoir tirer un trait sur le passé.
Ces chiffres très alarmants révèlent que la majorité des jeunes sondés a une connaissance sommaire des deux guerres mondiales, tandis qu’une importante minorité ignore complètement l’essentiel.
Dans les pays arabes la situation est catastrophique. La totalité des populations n’ont reçus aucune formation sur l’enseignement de la Shoah. Plus que que six décennies après que les nazis aient assassiné 6 millions de Juifs, les arabes musulmans continuent de nier les faits historiques.Il y a peu d’empathie chez les arabes pour les victimes juives. Certains arabes essayent bêtement de comparer l’Holocauste au conflit israélo-palestinien.
Dans un nouveau projet lancé en décembre 2010, Yad Vashem offre des séminaires pour les enseignants arabes, dans l’espoir de faire changer les mentalités… Mais les organisateurs ont bien conscience de la difficulté de la tâche. «Nous avons réussi à ouvrir une fenêtre – pas une porte», a déclaré Dorit Novak, éducateur en chef à Yad Vashem. «Nous devons ouvrir la porte et entamer ce dialogue.
L’enseignement de la Shoah est l’un des domaines étudiés les plus unificateurs du système scolaire israélien. En Israel, l’Université de Haifa présente un nouveau projet international : un programme de Master pour l’étude de la Shoah, pour les jeunes étudiants se spécialisant dans l’Holocauste. Ce programme unique sera lancé en octobre 2012.
Les fraises sauvages
Norman Manea, écrivain, Prix Nelly Sachs, 2011
Discours prononcé à l'Université Alexander Ioan Cuza à Jassy (Roumanie)
à l'occasion de la remise du titre Doctor Honoris Causa, mai 2012
cliquez sur lien ci-dessous :


Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 




(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)



In Vietnam Vets Hagel and Kerry, Obama Finds Champions of Retrenchment: Fouad Ajami, Washinton Post, Jan. 18, 2013—The men who fought in Vietnam, a war that symbolizes America’s overreach and failures abroad, haven’t ascended to the presidency in the way that the World War II generation did. But now, under President Obama, Vietnam veterans Chuck Hagel and John Kerry could get a chance to pull America back from its foreign entanglements.


Who’s Afraid Of ‘The Israel Lobby’?: David Frum, National Post, Feb 2, 2013 —‘The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.” Those were the words of U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, as quoted by Middle East expert Aaron David Miller in a 2008 book. “Up here” was Capitol Hill, of course.


Obama’s CIA Pick and His Romance with Islam: Vic Rosenthal, Jewish Press, Jan. 22, 2013—One of the first things Barack Obama did after taking the oath of office was to submit a list of candidates for cabinet-level posts. One of these was Secretary of Defense, and his nominee was Chuck Hagel. I’ve had a lot to say about Hagel’s views about issues related to Israel, all bad.


On Topic Links



Will Kerry Search for His Roots in Israel?: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Feb. 3rd, 2013
Hagel Faces Barrage of Criticism During Tense Confirmation Hearing: Fox News,  Jan. 31, 2013

Sleepy Chuck Hagel Has Some Bigger Questions to Answer: Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg, Jan 31, 2013

Will Republicans Defend Defense and Live Up to Their Oaths?: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2013

The New World Disorder: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Jan. 21, 2013





Fouad Ajami
Washinton Post, Jan. 18, 2013

The men who fought in Vietnam, a war that symbolizes America’s overreach and failures abroad, haven’t ascended to the presidency in the way that the World War II generation did. But now, under President Obama, Vietnam veterans Chuck Hagel and John Kerry could get a chance to pull America back from its foreign entanglements.


Obama’s nominations of these men, and the world’s disenchantment with this president, signal that in his second term, the United States will have a less zealous mission in the world. The mantra isn’t quite George McGovern’s “come home, America,” but we are not far from that Vietnam-era weariness of distant lands and causes. And who better than a president with a foreign pedigree and two combat veterans from the Vietnam War at the helm of the Pentagon and the State Department to give this retrenchment a sense of legitimacy?


All three men would disavow the charge that they are “declinists” who believe that American power is past its zenith, but there is an unmistakable pessimism at the heart of their worldview: We are flat broke, with pressing priorities at home. Foreign engagements begin well and end in futility. We don’t know enough about the inner workings of these distant places to help more than harm. And besides, our embrace can suffocate those whose causes we might take up.


Syria burns, but we should hold steady and aloof, Obama’s approach has made clear, because we have no way of divining the motivations of the rebellion — or the kind of society the rebels would build if and when the Assad regime falls. The law of unintended consequences haunts our deeds; we know well that American blood and treasure can be wasted at the altar of ideology.


The United States isn’t that exceptional to begin with, this triumvirate believes. Hagel and Kerry have forthrightly said so on many occasions, while Obama has had to be more circumspect. In his first campaign for the presidency, he drew a distinction between good wars of necessity and bad wars of choice. But there is no mistaking the worldview of the politician who rose, unexpectedly, amid economic distress, to the height of political power….


To the extent that the ideology of such a nimble man can be divined, the mission of his presidency has been the redistributive state at home. His legacy, as he sees it, will be his signature legislation, Obamacare. Yes, Osama bin Laden was killed on his watch, but the rescue of General Motors seems closer to his heart.


Two years or so into his presidency, the world caught on: Underneath the exotic name and the speeches referring to American follies abroad was a president who holds the foreign world at bay. The spell of his stirring speech in Cairo, in June 2009, has been broken. Instead of being taken in by Obama’s magic, Muslims are burning him in effigy in Karachi….Obama can live with the foreign world’s disenchantment with him. He has a domestic agenda to focus on, and he has two combat veterans from the Vietnam War to scale back American commitments abroad.

 “How many of us really know and understand Iraq, its country, history, people and role in the Arab world?” Hagel said on the Senate floor in 2002, in the debate that preceded and authorized the Iraq war. “The American people must be told of the long-term commitment, risk and cost of this undertaking. We should not be seduced by the expectations of dancing in the streets.”


The Nebraskan was speaking of Iraq, but the war in Vietnam has haunted and defined him. He cast a vote authorizing the use of force for the new war, but it didn’t take long before the former infantryman with two Purple Hearts gave voice to his disillusionment….


“We are each a product of our experiences, and my time in combat very much shaped my opinions about war,” Hagel said in an interview with Vietnam Magazine last fall. “The night Tom [Hagel’s brother] and I were medevaced out of that village in April 1968, I told myself: If I ever get out of this and I’m ever in a position to influence policy, I will do everything I can to avoid needless, senseless war. I never forgot that vow I made to myself, and I tried to live by it during my time in the Senate.”


By Hagel’s moral code, his vote on Iraq was clearly a lapse in judgment. The passion with which he would speak about the war two or three years later, and his attack on the troop surge as a monumental error, felt like the penance of a man who believed he should have known better than to ever have supported the invasion.


If Hagel for years remained convinced that the Vietnam War was a noble cause badly executed, Kerry’s path after his service as a Navy lieutenant was markedly different — as different, perhaps, as Nebraska and Massachusetts. His 1971 appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has trailed Kerry ever since. He spoke of American soldiers who had “raped, cut off ears, cut off heads…randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.”


It had been idle to launch that war, for there was “nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America.” The United States had gone there with lofty notions of freedom, but the South Vietnamese “only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart.”


There would be no taking back these words. In the eyes of Kerry’s detractors, combat, three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star would not fully acquit him. Emotionally tighter and more inhibited than Hagel, Kerry has put Vietnam at a good remove from his public persona. He has become a trouble shooter, traveling to foreign places but mostly to the chancelleries, to meet leaders and heads of state. Discretion is his code, since the attacks on him by Vietnam veterans during his presidential bid in 2004 rendered him a more cautious man. From his perch in the Senate, he has avoided controversies and redefined himself as an experienced mediator.


Kerry promises to be no more powerful at State than Hillary Rodham Clinton has been. This president, in the mold of Bush, is the “decider” on the crucial issues of our engagements abroad. Kerry won’t challenge or resist the White House’s primacy. The world needn’t worry about the assertiveness of U.S. power under Obama, Kerry and Hagel. It is people in distress — who might recall a different era when American armor and boots on the ground spelled the difference between rescue and calamity — who must come to terms with the near-certainty that the cavalry will not turn up.


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David Frum

National Post, Feb 2, 2013


‘The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.” Those were the words of U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, as quoted by Middle East expert Aaron David Miller in a 2008 book. “Up here” was Capitol Hill, of course. Five years later, Chuck Hagel has returned to the Senate, this time as Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense. At a confirmation hearing on Thursday, Hagel was asked about his dark reference to the “Jewish lobby.” Hagel said he regretted the phrase, and then added — just to remove any lingering doubts — “I think it’s the only time on the record I’ve ever said that.”


The theory here seems to be that to mutter about the Jews off the record would be perfectly fine. Everybody does that. It’s only when you go “on the record” that anti-Jewish muttering becomes problematic, at least in the mind of Chuck Hagel. And he only did that once! (At least as far as he can recall.) So what’s the big deal?


Unfortunately for Hagel, the exchange got worse from there. Hagel was pressed by Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina to cite some real-world examples of “intimidation” by the “Jewish lobby.” Hagel admitted he couldn’t think of any. Hagel had elsewhere referred to “dumb things” into which the United States had been pushed by the “Jewish lobby.” Could he be specific? No, again, he could not.


So it went. Rarely has a cabinet nominee for so high an office delivered such an awkward appearance before a Senate confirmation panel. True, Hagel’s performance will not much matter. The Democrats have the votes to confirm Hagel, including those of the Democrats most associated with pro-Israel politics, such as New York’s Chuck Schumer. It would be unprecedented for the minority party to filibuster a cabinet appointee. American politics has a strong presumption that a president is entitled to be served by the people he wants. So Secretary Hagel it will likely be….


From the point of view of Hagel’s most ardent supporters, these hearings must present a terrible irony. From their point of view, the point of nominating Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense was to send a message: a re-elected president Obama had broken away from the Jewi … er, from the Israel lobby. What one especially vehement Israel critic calls the “religion” of Capitol Hill would at last be overthrown. Only, the U.S.-Israel relationship hasn’t been overthrown, not nearly.


President Obama was re-elected for many reasons, but scepticism/hostility to Israel was not one of them. To the extent that the Hagel nomination expressed the president’s exasperation with Benjamin Netanyahu or a determination to downgrade the long and close U.S.-Israel relationship — well, to that extent the nomination was a peevish mistake. Hagel right now is paying the price of that mistake by his disavowal of, and apology for, a decade of poorly considered remarks.


Perhaps Hagel and Obama imagine that they can engage in payback once Hagel is confirmed. They can try: A Secretary of Defense has a lot of power. But the try will be expensive. The Senate and the Congress aren’t going anywhere. They have made it clear these past few days that the kind of “Israel Lobby” talk you hear in some Washington think tanks is not acceptable to the American electorate.


Hagel inserted himself into a small bubble of people who have talked themselves into an ever more radical critique of Israel and American Jewry. Isolated inside that bubble, he lost sight of the real state of American politics. The “Israel Lobby” is powerful in U.S. politics for exactly the same reason that Mothers Against Drunk Driving is powerful: because the American majority supports motherhood and disapproves of drunk driving.


Hagel’s distorted perception has led him into embarrassment, self-correction and apology. It’s highly worrying to think where that distorted perception may lead the president who nominated Hagel in the first place.


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Vic Rosenthal

Jewish Press, Jan. 22, 2013


One of the first things Barack Obama did after taking the oath of office was to submit a list of candidates for cabinet-level posts. One of these was Secretary of Defense, and his nominee was Chuck Hagel. I’ve had a lot to say about Hagel’s views about issues related to Israel, all bad.


But this post isn’t about Hagel. It is about another cabinet-level appointment, that of John O. Brennan, Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser (actually “Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Assistant to the President”) as head of the CIA.


What do we know about Brennan? He held several important posts in the CIA, including station chief in Saudi Arabia from 1996-99. His academic background includes the study of Arabic and Arab culture; he received a B.A. in political science from Fordham University, including a year abroad at the American University in Cairo, and an M.A. in Government specializing in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He speaks Arabic ‘fluently.’


Now there is nothing wrong with having this kind of background. After all, insofar as the threat of terrorism is a major concern, and the fact that almost all terrorism today emanates from the Arab and Muslim world, the CIA director can’t know too much about it. But on the other hand, there is the phenomenon of the ‘Arabist’ — the Westerner who studies Arabic and is so taken by the culture that he adopts the Arab worldview and politics. T. E. Lawrence is probably the most well-known, but contemporary examples abound (for example, the academic Juan Cole).


If you  believe that the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism is related to specific grievances held by ‘extremists’ who are exploiting the essentially peaceful religion of Islam for their purposes, then possibly having a CIA director who is an Arabist is not a problem. However, if you believe that we are experiencing the beginnings of a true conflict of civilizations between Islam and the West, then it could be a big problem indeed.


So is Brennan an Arabist in this sense? I’m not sure. In February 2010, Brennan spoke to Muslim students at NYU in a meeting ‘facilitated’ by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In the [talk], he says that Islam is “a faith of peace and tolerance and great diversity,” something which I suspect the Coptic Christians of Egypt would dispute…. He describes meeting Muslim students from various countries including “Palestine,” and refers to “al-Quds, Jerusalem” — where, he says, the three faiths for whom the city is holy show that they can coexist despite tensions. (But he fails to note that this has only been the case since the city has been under Jewish control!)


Later, he discusses at length the problem of prejudice against Muslims in America and the need to protect their rights, but he does not mention the very real lack of rights experienced by non-male or non-Muslim populations in Muslim-controlled lands. He praises the Saudi monarchy for the stewardship of the holy cities of Islam and the haj, but does not talk about the brutal, medieval darkness of that kingdom where slavery flourishes and petty thieves have their hands cut off.


He praises ISNA and other Muslim organizations for working to protect the rights of Muslims, but does not mention their involvement in fund-raising for Hamas or other terrorist groups, or their connection to the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, he criticizes the U.S. government for interfering with the obligation for Muslims to practice zakat — charity.


Brennan is 100 percent on board with the Obama policy that our enemies consist only of “al-Qaeda and its extremist allies,” organizations that have distorted the peaceful nature of Islam. In fact, he opposes the use of the word ‘jihadists’ to refer to Islamic terrorists, because: They are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify, for a legitimate purpose. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.


As I argued in response to similar remarks in 2009 — Brennan misunderstands the nature of our enemy:

Doubtless Osama bin Laden believes that his jihad against the U.S. is a “holy struggle for a moral goal.” But Brennan’s definition leaves out the historical meaning of ‘jihad’ as an expansionist, offensive struggle against non-Muslims, an aspect which is still very much part of the concept in the minds of many present-day Muslims (for an exhaustive and persuasive analysis of this topic, see Daniel Pipes: “Jihad and the Professors“)… jihad in this sense was highly important in the past and has been reemphasized by modern Islamist thinkers like al-Banna and Qutb.


Brennan clings to the idea that we can somehow undercut the spread of violent Islamist ideology by employing economic development and education to fight the “ignorance” that allows al-Qaeda to recruit: I think Brennan underestimates the pull of the militant Islamist ideology itself, especially in Arab cultures. After all, the leadership of radical groups like al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizballah, etc. are all well-educated, and in the case of bin Laden, quite wealthy. It can be argued that in some cases — like the Palestinian Arabs, who have probably been the recipient of more Western ‘development’ aid than any other similar group — there are religious/cultural pathologies that work against political stability and economic development, as well as making the culture fertile ground for radical ideologies.


So when Brennan suggests that we need to attack these ‘conditions’ as well as fight ‘extremists’, he misses two points:


The ‘extremists’ are not just a small group of crazies, but part of a significant faction of fundamentalist Muslims who — while they may not themselves engage in violent jihad — accept the ideology of militant Islamism which promotes it. As long as this is the case, there will always be a supply of ones who are violent.


Unless the cultural and religious issues that make it hard for societies to develop in what we Westerners see as a positive direction (democracy, economic development, fair allocation of resources, etc.) can be counteracted, Western attempts to ameliorate poverty, lack of education and political repression will be seen as so much cultural imperialism.


Since 2010, militant Islamism has made great advances in the Middle East, and it is becoming harder and harder for those like Brennan to claim that it is a distortion of the peace and beauty that is “mainstream” Islam. Has he changed his thinking?….


Top of Page




Will Kerry Search for His Roots in Israel?: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Feb. 3rd, 2013—No one was more surprised than Kerry himself in 2004 when it was revealed to him that his great-grandfather was Jewish. The new Secretary of State is a third generation “Irish Catholic,” but that is about as far it goes. His great-grandfather, a master brewer, was married to a nice Jewish girl. After her death, he married another nice Jewish girl, who moved from Moravia to Vienna after her husband passed away.


Hagel Faces Barrage of Criticism During Tense Confirmation Hearing: Fox News,  Jan. 31, 2013—Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel endured a barrage of criticism Thursday during his all-day confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, challenged repeatedly by Republican lawmakers about his past positions on Israel, Iran, Iraq and other issues he'd be sure to confront at the helm of the Pentagon.


Sleepy Chuck Hagel Has Some Bigger Questions to Answer: Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg, Jan 31, 2013—During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, I interviewed then-Senator Barack Obama on the subject of the Middle East. Much of our discussion was pro forma — he was trying to convince certain hawkish elements of the American Jewish community that he wasn’t Yasser Arafat in mufti — and so he expressed, at some length, his appreciation for Israel as a haven for Jews and as a friend of the U.S.


Will Republicans Defend Defense and Live Up to Their Oaths?: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2013 —Bill Kristol writes: “Has there ever been a more embarrassing confirmation hearing than Hagel’s for a major cabinet position? For a minor cabinet position? For a sub-cabinet position? We don’t know of one. Yet so far liberals seem to be trying to pretend that all is well. Or they have simply averted their gaze from the ghastly train wreck. Or, they tell us (and themselves) — well, the secretary of defense doesn’t really make policy . . . Or, they grumble — well, we can’t give Hagel’s critics the satisfaction of acknowledging that this appointment is a disaster.”


The New World Disorder: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Jan. 21, 2013—2.5

John Brennan, Chuck Hagel, and John Kerry will be confirmed. The three will provide a force-multiplying effect on the Obama foreign policy of disengagement. The chameleon Brennan will be very different from David Petraeus at the CIA; Hagel is no circumspect Leon Panetta; and there was a reason why the appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state was greeted with praise in a way John Kerry’s will not be



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Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up


ContentsDownload today's Daily Briefing.pdf

Weekly Quotes 

Short Takes


On Topic Links



Alan Dershowitz Speaking at the Standwithus Festival of Lights: Stand With Us, You Tube, Dec. 4, 2012

Diving Currency Adds to Egypt's Woes: Matt Bradley, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, 2012

The Peace Index Data – December 2012 (pdf): Israel Democracy Institute, Jan 2, 2013




Weekly Quotes




Always, always believe the threats of your enemies more than the promises of your friends.”—Elie Weisel quoted by Alan Dershowitz in a speech to Stand With Us. (Stand With Us , Dec.4, 2012)


“If Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons on the watch of any president, that president will go down in history as the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st C.—Alan Dershowitz in a speech to Stand With Us. (Stand With Us , Dec.4, 2012)


“A woman's role is to instill love of jihad and martyrdom in her children…and in encouraging them to wage Jihad for the sake of Allah. This is absolutely the most glorious thing a woman can do….If every mother were to prevent her son from waging Jihad for the sake of Allah, who would wage Jihad? Who would support Palestine? Palestine is dear to us, and its price is paid with our body remains and our lifeblood.  Is not Allah's reward precious? Allah's reward is Paradise. Paradise requires from us our blood, our body remains, and our efforts for its sake.  I am constantly praying: "Allah, make the end of our days be in martyrdom." I pray for this even for my husband and my children. None of us want to die in our beds.”—Umm Osama, wife of Hamas Gaza MP Khalil Al-Hayya, from an interview aired on Al-Aqsa TV. (MEMRI TV, Dec 2, 2012)


"The danger to the world is not a university in Ariel. The danger to the world is not that Israel is building neighbourhoods in Jerusalem. The danger is Iran, which is building nuclear weapons. The danger is Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons. History will judge harshly those who equate democratic Israel — which is establishing a university — and dictatorial regimes that slaughter their people and which hold atomic weapons of mass destruction.”—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a visit to the newly accredited Ariel University, the first Israeli university to be established in a settlement in Samaria. (The Algemeiner, Jan 8, 2013)


“Now comes the latest news that Al [Gore] has sold Current [Cable TV], for the magnificent sum of $500-million, $100-million of which is his alone. Not bad for a TV station with less reach and inferior programming to most billboards. To whom did the Lord of the Upper Atmosphere sell? Why to al-Jazeera — which is to say, effectively to the ruler of Qatar, a wealthy country that has nothing else to sustain it but the sale of its huge petroleum resources. Qatar is about oil, oil and more oil. It is a global warmer’s hell. Surely there is some pill too tough to swallow in the idea of the world’s greatest alarmist on the subject of global warming, the evils of petroleum economies and the menace of fossil fuels accepting half-a-billion dollars from a state that utterly epitomizes the practices and product he most evangelistically despises.”—Rex Murphy in a National Post op-ed article. (National Post, Jan 5, 2013)


“[I]t’s becoming hard to deny that [Chuck] Hagel’s anti-Israel rhetoric and views and antipathy toward defence spending and sanctions on Iran are positives with this president, not demerits. A leading Democrat with a pro-Israel organization told me, ‘…[with] Hagel’s offensive record – from his slurs against minority groups like gays and Jews to his views on Iran and terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas – it is going to be very awkward for Democrats in the Senate.’”—Peggy Noonan in a New York Post op-ed article. (New York Post, Jan 6, 2013)


“When I look at Netanyahu, I don’t see a shred of personal example as a leader in him. There is a leadership crisis. It’s a crisis of value, it is a total disregard for the public. People may think that I see this in an overly extreme manner. I am telling you that from up close, things look even worse. I am convinced we deserve a better leadership that's braver and more moral, and that sets a better personal example….I have a very strong feeling that with the Iranian issue Netanyahu is 'haunted' by (former Israeli prime minister) Menachem Begin, who attacked the reactor in Iraq, and by (former Israeli prime minister Ehud) Olmert, who, as it is claimed in many places, attacked the reactor in Syria.” Netanyahu "wants to go down in history as someone who did something of the same proportions."—Yuval Diskin, former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency in an interview with Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot. Netanyahu's office in a text-messaged statement called Diskin's comments "baseless" and accused him of personal frustration over not being selected to head the prestigious Mossad spy agency. (Yahoo News, Jan 5, 2013)


“It’s not that we want to leave [Egypt]. We don’t. It would be very hard to abandon everything we have and start over”. —Ms. Nessim, a Maronite Christian. “But,” in this environment [Morsi’s Muslim Brothers-dominated Egypt] “we worry about the children. I thought maybe Jacky and the kids should go, at least for now.”Mr. Sedrak, Ms. Nessim’s husband. “But I said ‘No’. That’s the sort of thing that ruins a family.”—Ms. Nessim. “Either it becomes like Afghanistan with the Taliban, in which case we’ll have no choice but to leave. Or it gets rid of the Brotherhood and becomes a civilized country. I believe that is what is going to happen, and it will happen very soon.” Mr. Sedrak (The Globe and Mail, Jan.4, 2013)


“Christians are approaching Christmas with disappointment, grief and complaints, fearing not only their problems but Egypt’s situation in general. During the reign of [ousted President Hosni] Mubarak and the [military rulers], mainly Christians were facing problems, but now with the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, each and every moderate Egyptian is facing problems. It is not actual frequent sectarian violence, it is fear of further marginalization and second class citizenship.” —Amir Ramzy, a Coptic Christian and a judge in Cairo’s Court of Appeals. Egypt has been deeply polarized as it drafted the constitution. Christians and liberals walked out of the committee writing it, complaining that their concerns were not being addressed by the Islamist majority. (National Post, Jan 7, 2013)


"The point is that the government or the governing party alone, as we have seen until now is unable to lead the country in such an extremely dangerous situation. I'm not talking about a dialogue, I'm not talking about a meeting, I'm talking about [forming] a real coalition government."—Amr Moussa, a secular-leaning former presidential candidate and one of the leaders of the National Salvation Front, a leading opposition umbrella group. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 31, 2012)


“The United Nations seems to have an unwritten rule that the more barbaric the nation, the better its chance of being appointed to monitor barbarity. Sudan – whose president, Omar al-Bashir, has been charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court – was awarded a seat on the Economic and Social Council, which is responsible for upward of 70 percent of the human and financial resources at the UN. The advocacy group UN Watch complained that Sudan was “genocidal, misogynistic and repressive.” So it’s no wonder they fit right in.”—National Review editorial (Dec 17, 2012) quoted by Leah Speer in the New York Post. (New York Post, Dec. 15, 2012)


"I am profoundly concerned and disappointed by President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Recent reporting has made clear that Senator Hagel’s views and inflammatory statements about Israel are well outside the mainstream and raise well-founded doubts that he can be trusted to manage the special relationship the United States shares with our greatest Middle East ally." —US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on [his]  opposition to Hagel's nomination, confirming, as well, that the move faces "widespread and bipartisan opposition" in the Senate. (Jerusalem Post, Jan 8, 2013)


“It’s very disappointing, I believe he will ultimately regret it. It undoubtedly will reduce support for him in the Jewish community, but I don’t think he [the President] worries about that now that the election is over. I believe it will encourage the jihadists. They will say: ‘Ah, we are winning the battle. America is beginning to desert Israel,’” — Ed Koch, former mayor of New York. (Newsmax, Jan 8, 2013)

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ARAB-ISRAELI FATALITIES RANK 49TH(Washington) The Arab-Israeli conflict is often said, not just by extremists, to be the world's most dangerous conflict – and, accordingly, Israel is judged the world's most belligerent country. But is this true? The total number of deaths in conflicts since 1950 number about 85,000,000. Of that sum, the deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1950 include 32,000 deaths due to Arab state attacks and 19,000 due to Palestinian attacks, or 51,000 in all. These figures mean that deaths in Arab-Israeli fighting since 1950 amount to just 0.06 percent of the total number of deaths in all conflicts in that period.  [In fact] some 11,000,000 Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, or 0.3 percent, died during the sixty years of fighting Israel [Israeli Jews counted for 16,000 of the 51,000 deaths.] In contrast, over 90 percent of the 11 million who perished were killed by fellow Muslims. (Mid East Forum, Jan 7, 2013)


TERROR ATTACKS IN WEST BANK, JERUSALEM ON THE RISE(Jerusalem) December 2012 witnessed a 400% spike in the number of terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem compared to August, according to statistics published by the Shin Bet security service on Monday. The Shin Bet tallied 111 attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem in December: 98 involved firebombs, six involved explosive devices, and three involved grenades. There were two instances of small arms fire, a stabbing, and a hit-and-run. Three Israelis were injured in the attacks. At the same time, there was a marked drop in terrorist attacks on Israel's border with Gaza. Only one mortar was fired into Israel in December. (Times of Israel, Jan 7, 2013)


FAYYAD: PA IS ON THE VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY(Ramallah) The Palestinian Authority is on the verge of bankruptcy because of the severe financial crisis it has been facing over the past two years, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Tuesday. He blamed Israel and Arab donor countries for the current crisis as international aid dropped from $1.8 to $ 1 billion. Fayyad said that he did not rule out the possibility that Palestinians would once again take to the streets to protest against economic hardships, as was the case in September 2012.  (Jerusalem Post, Jan 8, 2013)


SYRIAN REFUGEES ATTACK AID WORKERS IN JORDANIAN CAMP(Zaatari, Jordan) Syrian refugees in a Jordanian camp attacked aid workers with sticks and stones on Tuesday, frustrated after cold, howling winds swept away their tents and torrential rains flooded muddy streets overnight. The riot broke out after the region’s first major winter storm this year hit the Zaatari refugee camp, home to nearly 50,000 refugees in Jordan’s northern desert. Inside the camp, pools and lakes surrounded tents, stranding refugees including pregnant women and infants.Police said seven aid workers were injured. “It is hell — boiling hot in the summer and freezing cold now,” lamented Ahmed Zibi, 45, who said he spent the night watching over his five children when his tent collapsed. “Rain flooded the tent and its shafts submerged and collapsed on us.” (National Post, Jan 8, 2013)


HEZBOLLAH SENT 5,000 FIGHTERS TO HELP ASSAD(Riyad) Some 5,000 Hezbollah combatants reportedly entered Syria in December to aid the faltering regime of Bashar Assad, according to a Saudi daily on Monday. Al-Watan, a government daily, said four “support battalions” comprising at least 1,300 soldiers each had succeeded in killing some 300 rebel soldiers in recent weeks as battles raged between government and opposition forces around the capital Damascus. The fighters reportedly entered Syria through the border town of Madaya, located northwest of Damascus. (Times of Israel, Jan 8, 2013)


EGYPT SEEKS $500B FROM ISRAEL FOR SINAI DAMAGE(Cairo) In December of 2011 Egypt sent the United Nations a report detailing the reasons for which Israel owes the government of Egypt $500 billion for damage sustained by the Sinai Peninsula when it was controlled by Israel between 1967 and 1982. The 750-page report describes the plethora of ways in which Israel supposedly shattered the local economy. It asserts that Israel destroyed the fishing industry and 40 percent of the coral reefs; took valuable oil, gold, and gems, leaving only “worthless” rock behind. It goes on to say that maritime trade through the Suez Canal was disrupted between 1967 and 1975, thus depriving Egypt of millions of dollars’ worth of revenue; Israel also stole just under $50 billion worth of sand; and conducted excavations, stealing valuable artifacts from both the land and museums in the area. (Nuqudy, Jan 7, 2013)


CONCERN OVER POSSIBLE URANIUM STOCKPILE IN SYRIA(London) Concern is heightening over the possible existence of up to 50 tons of enriched uranium in Syria, the Financial Times reported Tuesday [Jan. 8], a stockpile large enough for the production of five atomic bombs. The worry stems from the Assad regime's attempt to build a nuclear reactor in the eastern city of at Al-Kibar in the mid-2000s. With assistance from North Korea, Damascus is believed to have nearly completed the facility prior to its destruction in an alleged Israeli airstrike in 2007. According to one anonymous official quoted by the Financial Times, “Syria is almost certainly in possession of good quality uranium of the type that Iran has been trying to acquire on the international market for years. It would certainly be possible to transfer this from Syria to Iran by air.” (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 9, 2013)


POLISH GOV'T TO TURN NAZI HQ INTO EDUCATIONAL CENTER(Krakow, Poland) The Polish government has announced plans to renovate Adolf Hitler’s wartime headquarters in Nazi-occupied Poland – a network of bunkers known as the “Wolf’s Lair” – and turn it into an educational center and museum. “The main idea behind the project is to introduce the Wolf’s Lair as a place where totalitarian ideas developed and their horrific results,” said Jan Zaluska, 65, the CEO of Wolf’s Nest, the company that leased the site in 1991 and has operated it ever since. “We will turn the Wolf’s Lair into an educational center, especially for the younger generation,” said Zaluska. “We are very concerned by the fact that the younger generation’s knowledge of history gets worse every year as observed in the students who have been coming here from all over the world in recent years.” (Jerusalem Post, Jan 8, 2013)


HEBREW UNIVERSITY SCIENTISTS HELP BLIND 'SEE WITH EYE MUSIC'(Jerusalem) By activating their visual brain cortex, people who were born blind can describe objects and even identify letters and words, with the proper stimulation and using a device for sensory exchange developed by Hebrew University researchers. The research team, headed by Prof. Amir Amedi of the Edmond and Lilly Safra Center for Brain Sciences and Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada and including doctoral student Ella Streim-Amit, developed a unique training program for seeing while using the device, which transfers visual information to the blind via their healthy senses. The device translates pictures into tones; after a few dozen hours of training, the blind from birth can identify images and put them in visual categories such as faces, houses, parts of the body, ordinary objects and textures. (Jerusalem Post, Jan 8, 2013)


QATAR TO DOUBLE AID TO EGYPT(Cairo) Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani said Tuesday [Jan 7] in Cairo that Qatari aid to Egypt will increase to $1 billion from $500 million, and that money loaned to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will also be doubled to $4 billion.   Qatar also plans investment in two major projects on the Mediterranean and at Port Said to cost $18 billion. (Daily News-Egypt, Jan 7, 2013)


ISRAELI HIGH-TECH START-UPS SOLD FOR COMBINED $5.5 BILLION IN 2012(Tel Aviv) Fifty Israeli high-tech start-up companies were bought out in 2012 for a total of $5.5 billion, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers Israel. In recent years, buy-out deals in the Israeli high-tech sector have become fewer, but larger.  Rubi Suliman, the head of PwC's high-tech practice, noted: "Recently, we are seeing Israeli companies grow, and become world leaders in their areas. We are seeing companies with revenues of over $100 million. We did not see these in the past. They were being sold much earlier, often pre-revenue." (Israel Hayom, Jan 8, 2013)

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Alan Dershowitz Speaking at The 2012 Standwithus Festival of Lights: Stand With Us, You Tube, Dec. 4, 2012 — Alan Dershowitz speaking at the 2012 Stand With Us Dinner before 1100 attendees, touches on Hamas, Gaza, apartheid, Iran, and hopes for peace.


Diving Currency Adds to Egypt's Woes: Matt Bradley, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, 2012—Government unveils new steps in bid to avoid devaluation. Egypt's currency plunged to new depths on Sunday as policy makers tried to reassure the public and investors that they can prevent a full-scale currency devaluation while still repairing Egypt's budget deficit.


The Peace Index Data – December 2012(pdf): Israel Democracy Institute, Jan 2, 2013—Some claim that no matter which of the large parties wins in the upcoming elections, the peace process with the Palestinians is at a standstill, for reasons that have nothing to do with Israel, and that there is no chance of progress in the foreseeable future. Do you agree or disagree with this claim? Strongly & moderately agree: Jews – 66.7%; Arabs (in Israel) 28.7%



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


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