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Monday, July 31, 2006

JINSA Report #589 In Another Vacuum

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July 26, 2006

JINSA Report #589

In Another Vacuum

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq should be called to account for
comments quoted in various American publications that Israel is the
aggressor in the fight against Hezbollah. "The Israeli attacks and air
strikes are completely destroying Lebanon's infrastructure … I condemn
these aggressions and call on the Arab League foreign ministers' meeting
in Cairo to take quick action… We call on the world to take quick stands
to stop the Israeli aggression."

Interestingly, at the Arab League meeting, the Iraqi delegates joined
Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain in supporting the Saudi
Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal's denunciation of Hezbollah's,
"unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts." "These acts will
pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept
them," he told his counterparts.

We hope al-Maliki's remark was the product of a spasm, and has no
relation to his actual understanding of the role of militias and
terrorist organizations operating in areas where sovereign governments
fail to exercise sovereign control.

In northern Iraq, PKK terrorists have been engaging in continual
cross-border warfare against Turkey - most recently killing 14 Turkish
soldiers. Iraqi Kurdish officials (with a Kurdish militia) have declined
to take military action against the PKK, saying they want to bring the
organization into the political process - but have failed to do so.
Rather like Lebanon said about Hezbollah and Fatah said about Hamas. In
all cases, it is important to understand that terrorist groups don't
care about the political process, except to the extent that it provides
cover for terrorism.

The U.S. has warned Turkey against cross-border retaliation into Iraq,
but it is really hard to understand how Israel's fight is different from
Turkey's fight in this regard. Israel has little complaint with the
Government of Lebanon except that it did not exert its authority over
the terrorists operating within the country. Turkey has little complaint
with the Government of Iraq, except the same thing.

We are enormously grateful to the President and Secretary of State for
standing on the principle that Israel's actions in Lebanon are
self-defense and that a cease-fire should prevent a return to status quo
ante, and we even understand why U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson
could say, "We have repeatedly said that we believe that unilateral
military action across the border with Iraq would be unwise."

But what will the President say to Mr. al-Maliki? There are 130,000
American soldiers in Iraq to precisely help his government extend its
authority to all areas of the country and to wipe out militias,
terrorists and foreign fighters. If he can't understand the intersection
between our policy toward Iraq, toward Israel and toward Turkey, we
haven't been explaining ourselves very well. If we don't do a better
job, Mr. al-Maliki may find his country on the receiving end of a lesson
from Turkey that, while it might prove "unwise," will not be undeserved.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

AJC News Update

American Jewish Committee News Update

Update 215  |  July 19, 2006

AJC Leads First Solidarity Mission to Israel

An AJC delegation of more than 40, led by David Harris, is visiting Israel this week in the first solidarity mission by an American Jewish organization since the Hezbollah-Israel war began last week. “The courage, steadfastness and determination of the people we met have been extraordinarily inspiring – from the hospital staff that hasn’t missed a beat in delivering emergency medical services to individuals who refuse in their daily lives to yield to fear,” said Harris, who called this morning from Rambam Hospital in Haifa where the AJC group was meeting with victims of rocket attacks. They also visited the Negev town of Sederot, near the Gaza border, the target of frequent rocket attacks from Hamas and other Palestinian groups, as well as Nitzanim, a seaside venue that has been hastily transformed into a refugee camp for those fleeing the North. On every stop, Israelis have expressed deep appreciation for the AJC delegation’s presence.

Donate Now to AJC’s Israel Emergency Assistance Fund

More than $100,000 has been contributed to AJC’s Israel Emergency Assistance Fund since AJC President E. Robert Goodkind announced its creation yesterday. Thanks to all who gave so generously and so quickly. The fund will provide vital assistance to institutions and organizations working with victims of the ongoing, deadly rocket attacks from Hezbollah on northern Israel and from Hamas and other Palestinian groups based in Gaza on southern Israel. While in Israel this week AJC leaders have begun to assess how we can be most helpful. Please join your fellow AJC members and make a donation today. Click to Donate.

David Harris Reports Live From Israel

Join us Thursday, July 20, for a live report via conference call on the AJC Solidarity Mission to Israel. AJC President E. Robert Goodkind will chair the call, and David Harris, who is leading the mission, will be the featured speaker. To listen, call 1-847-413-3235, passcode 1746445. The call will take place tomorrow, July 20, from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.

AJC Joins Rallies for Israel Across U.S.

Dozens of AJC staff and lay leaders participated in the rally (see photo) in New York near the UN. AJC Chapters joined in community rallies in a number of major cities, including Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C., and more planned for the days ahead.

G-8 Statement on Middle East Crisis

AJC welcomed the statement by the Group of 8 leaders regarding the ongoing hostilities in Lebanon. “Putting the blame squarely where it belongs, at Hezbollah’s doorstep, the G8 leaders have made clear their opposition to the terrorist organization’s tactics and aims,” said AJC. In their statement, the G8 leaders said that “the immediate crisis results from efforts by extremist forces to destabilize the region and to frustrate the aspirations of the Palestinian, Israeli and Lebanese people for democracy and peace.” The leaders also called for the return of kidnapped Israeli soldiers held in Gaza and Lebanon, and an end to the shelling of Israeli territory. Read news release.

Mideast Briefing: How Nasrallah Misread Israel

“Men make mistakes. Yet rarely have the consequences of a grave mistake been as costly as they are now to those Islamist totalitarians who challenged Israel to the present battle raging in the Galilee and in Lebanon.,” writes Eran Lerman, director of AJC’s Jerusalem Office, in his weekly analysis. Lerman reviews the international outcry, including by several Arab governments, against the Hezbollah missile and rocket assault on Israelis, how Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah completely miscalculated the Israeli and international response, and also offers his thoughts on how the current crisis may be resolved. Read briefing.

Indians Honored on AJC Co-Sponsored Visit to Israel

An Indian leadership delegation, including parliamentarians, journalists and businesspeople, returned two days ago from a trip to Israel co-sponsored by AJC’s Project Interchange and the Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council’s Rambam Fellowship program. The trip was designed to highlight current areas of cooperation between Israel and India, and the delegation met with prominent figures in Israeli politics, including First Lady Aliza Olmert. Though participants were offered an opportunity to head home early as the violence in Israel escalated this past week, all opted to remain until the official end of the trip, and were each awarded a certificate of appreciation by Israeli Minister of Tourism Isaac Herzog.

New Publication on Hezbollah

Hezbollah: The Face of Global Terror is the latest AJC publication on the terrorist organization that for more than two decades has targeted Israelis, Americans and, indeed, Jews worldwide. From the bombing of the AMIA headquarters in Buenos Aires 12 years ago to the ongoing, deadly missile and rocket barrage launched against Israel, the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah continues to be one of the major terrorist organizations seeking Israel’s destruction. The user-friendly, short booklet provides an overview of Hezbollah’s history, mission, and supporters. It is available online at, or printed copies can be ordered from Dan Larson at

AJC Co-sponsors Washington Conference on AMIA Bombing

E. Robert Goodkind, president of AJC, addressed a conference to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the terrorist bombing of AMIA, the headquarters of the central Jewish organization in Argentina. The conference, “Twelve Years and Counting: The Impact of the 1994 AMIA Bombing on the International Community,” was organized by AJC’s Latino and Latin American Institute. In addition to Goodkind, featured speakers included Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States Albert Ramdin, and AMIA representative and survivor Ana Weinstein. Reps. Tom Lantos and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who hosted the event, also spoke. AMIA is one of AJC’s international partners. Read Goodkind’s speech.

AJC Convenes Interfaith Leaders for Immigration Reform Advocacy

AJC played a leading role assembling nearly 200 national interfaith leaders to affirm support for comprehensive immigration reform. The “Faith and Migration” conference, which took place on Capitol Hill, featured Jewish clergy and activists from across the country alongside bishops and evangelicals. Senators John McCain, Edward Kennedy and Sam Brownback, and Representative Howard Berman, shared their motivations for supporting comprehensive immigration reform. AJC representatives met with key Democratic and Republican House and Senate offices. Kendra Shore, assistant director of AJC’s Colorado Chapter, facilitated a brainstorming session on advocacy tactics for local communities.

Take Action Now - AJC Advocacy Center

Visit and let your government officials know where you stand. Current action items include Promote Energy Independence; Protect Voting Rights; Stop Iran’s Nuclear Arms Drive; Stand Against Hatred. The Advocacy Center provides background materials on each issue and makes it simple to send letters to government officials.

In the Media

The New York Sun quoted AJC President E. Robert Goodkind on the pro-Israel rally outside the United Nations.

Associated Press quoted Eran Lerman on the Hezbollah-Israel war.

Agence France Presse quoted David Harris and Kenneth Bandler on the war Israel is waging in southern Lebanon and Gaza.

The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Ilana Wilensik, director of AJC’s Philadelphia Chapter, in an article on American Jews visiting Israel during the war. Wilensik is participating in the AJC Solidarity Mission.

The San Francisco Chronicle published a letter by Ernest Weiner, director of AJC’ s San Francisco Chapter, on the alliance of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas and their joint desire to destroy Israel.

Yehudit Barsky, AJC’s director of AJC’s Division on Middle East and International Terrorism, was interviewed about Hezbollah on KTAR-AM radio in Phoenix.

JTA ran a news brief on AJC’s hybrid car program, offering bonuses to employees who purchase hybrid cars.

Juan Dircie, assistant director of AJC’s Miami Chapter, was interviewed on Telemundo 51, the local Spanish-language TV station, about the anniversary of the AMIA bombing.

The Associated Press quoted Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s international director of interreligious affairs, on the challenges of establishing Christian-Jewish relations with churches in the developing world.

JTA quoted AJC Assistant Legislative Director Brooke Menschel on legalizing immigrants.

The New York Jewish Week published a letter on Presbyterian-Jewish dialogue by Diane Steinman, director of AJC’s New York Chapter, and Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, executive vice president of the Auburn Theological Seminary.

Please contact Kenneth Bandler, AJC's Director of Communications,
at with any questions or comments.
© 2006 American Jewish Committee

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Next AJC Solidarity Mission, Sept. 4-7

Dear AJC Member,

Now is the time to stand together with Israel!

Over the last six years, the American Jewish Committee has sponsored, among other visits, six solidarity missions to Israel.  The July 18-21, 2006 mission, organized within 48 hours, was the first solidarity mission since the eruption of the recent Hezbollah war on Israel.  More than 40 AJCers from all over the U.S. (and abroad) took part in it and were hailed by government officials and the people from all walks of life we visited, including victims of Hezbollah aggression recovering in Rambam Hospital in Haifa.  

To once again demonstrate our support for Israel and its people as they confront vicious assaults on two fronts from those who seek the country's destruction, AJC is organizing an intensive mission for our leaders and members from across the country.  The mission will be led by both of us.

As Israel forges ahead with the difficult, delicate task of balancing its democratic and ethical values with the harsh reality of a volatile Middle East, we will head there once again. We will gain fresh insight and understanding. We will hone the tools we need to advocate effectively for Israel in our communities and on the world stage.

Enemies have time and again sought Israel's destruction. AJC can always be counted on to counter Israel's detractors and to champion Israel's honored place among the nations.

We seek your participation in this vital mission, one of the most important AJC has ever undertaken. It will take place in Israel from Monday night, September 4, through Thursday, September 7. 

We've been there before in times of crisis, when few were willing to visit Israel. In 1991, during the Gulf War, a large group of AJC leaders from across the country joined AJC's Operation Undaunted. They said, "To go or not to go is no longer the question"-and they went. Undaunted is what we were when we went to Israel the last week of July -and what we must be today in our solidarity with the Israeli people.

AJC's "We Stand with Israel" Solidarity Mission will:
o  Eyewitness events on the ground and demonstrate our support for Israel and the Israeli people;
o  Provide high-level briefings of current developments in Israel and the
  Middle East through meetings with top officials and civilian, academic, and
  military experts;
o  Exhibit a meaningful presence in Israel of AJC leadership for both Israelis and ourselves;
o  Meet with key members of the foreign diplomatic corps serving in Israel
o  Experience AJC humanitarian assistance to Israeli institutions;
o  Follow up upon return by interpreting Israel's situation to a variety of audiences. Our local offices will arrange appropriate contacts (media, religious, ethnic and civic leaders, consulates of foreign countries, etc.).

As you know, AJC established a special emergency fund for the purpose of providing vital assistance to institutions and organizations working with victims of the ongoing, deadly attacks in the north and so, we've raised so far over $800,000.  While in Israel, the mission will visit some of the beneficiaries of the AJC fund.
Security is on the mind of every Israeli and every visitor. It is on ours. To ensure maximum safety, the mission will be accompanied by experienced security personnel at all times.

This trip won't be relaxed. It's our intention to fill the time with as many crucial and vivid experiences as possible. The formal program will begin Monday evening, September 4 and end Thursday night, September 7 at 9 pm, to allow those who wish to take the late night/early morning direct flights back to the U.S.

The program will include visits to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the north and the south of Israel. The program in Jerusalem will focus on the political situation. The visit to the south and especially the north will focus on the military and defense situation, as well as the perseverance and determination of the Israeli people and how they cope with this new war. In Tel Aviv we will address security and intelligence issues.

While the official opening session of the mission will be at dinner on Monday, September 4, we urge participants to come earlier and spend Shabbat and the entire Labor Day weekend in Israel.  AJC will arrange for special programs for those wishing to take advantage of a longer stay in Israel.

To enable you to benefit from your frequent-flyer programs and to have full control of your travel arrangements, we ask you to handle your travel logistics personally. If you need assistance from travel agents AJC works with, we will be delighted to share with you contact information. Also, if you request it, AJC will arrange for your transportation from and to Ben-Gurion Airport.

AJC will take care of all other land arrangements: hotel reservations, meals, and program. 

The program cost of each day will be approximately $125.

Hotel reservations will be made at the centrally-located and comfortable David Citadel in Jerusalem. Costs will vary depending on the size of the delegation and the type of accommodation.  We will forward the hotel information ASAP.
Participation in this mission will give you an opportunity to make a real difference. Your presence in Israel at time in history will be a statement in itself.

We Stand with Israel.  Join us for this urgent solidarity mission.

Please confirm your participation by responding to this message or to

A tentative agenda will be forwarded to those interested in participating in the mission.

For the latest information and AJC action in support of Israel, please visit the Crisis in the Middle East Resource Center at our website, .

Warmest personal regards,

E. Robert Goodkind, President
David A. Harris, Executive Director

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

AJC NYTimes Letter on Israel

The Many Victims in the Middle East

July 27, 2006

To the Editor:

Re “Spanish Lessons for Israel” (column, July 23):

While urging Israel “to reach a final peace agreement, involving the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Nicholas D. Kristof doesn’t address the absence of a partner with whom to achieve an accord.

From the United Nations partition plan adopted in 1947, which called for Jewish and Arab states, through the Barak-Clinton effort of 2000-1, to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s call for a two-state settlement, the Israeli record of seeking peace has been clear.

But every overture has been rebuffed by Palestinian leaders. Instead of following the examples of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, who achieved enduring peace agreements with Israel, Palestinian leaders have balked at settling the conflict in a way that addresses the minimum conditions of both sides.

Now with Hamas in power in the West Bank and Gaza, Hezbollah flexing its muscles in Lebanon, and Iran and Syria both financing and arming these two terrorist groups, Israel faces an array of forces that openly call for its destruction — hardly a formula for achieving the peace and coexistence that Israel has sought since its creation.

David A. Harris
Executive Director
American Jewish Committee
New York, July 24, 2006

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Israel Needs Our Support

July 18, 2006

Dear AJC Member,

As Israelis face one of the most challenging periods in their history, each of us wants to help our Israeli friends. Toward that end, we have established the AJC Israel Emergency Assistance Fund .

The main purpose of this special appeal will be to provide vital assistance to institutions and organizations working with victims of the ongoing, deadly rocket attacks from Hezbollah on northern Israel and from Hamas and other Palestinian groups based in Gaza on southern Israel.

An AJC leadership delegation, led by David Harris, is in Israel this week on a solidarity mission. The group is meeting with Israeli leaders, and visiting sites to make an initial assessment of where we might best be able to help.

In addition to the humanitarian needs, Israel continues to face a battle for public opinion. AJC communications efforts can help in getting out the messages that advance and deepen understanding of Israel's situation, the threats Israelis face, and, notwithstanding those dangers, their unceasing quest for peace and security. Your support will also enable us, as needed, to strengthen our capacity to get the message out about Israel and the nature of this conflict through various media outlets. The battle for public opinion is a critical component of the current crisis.

In the past 18 months you generously contributed to our emergency appeals for the South Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, enabling AJC to contribute significantly to rebuilding efforts in areas devastated by those natural disasters.

Today, however, we need to respond to the urgent needs of Israelis who are confronting a vicious assault on two fronts, by Hamas in Gaza and by Hezbollah in Lebanon. We will be engaged in these efforts for months to come, so please give generously. As with our prior special appeals, AJC will absorb all administrative expenses.

You may contribute online at our website, Or, if you prefer to contribute by check, please send your donation to AJC Israel Emergency Assistance Fund, 8th Floor, 165 East 56th Street, New York, NY 10022.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Best regards,

E. Robert Goodkind

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel Emergency Fund

Dear Friend,

I last wrote on Wednesday from Israel. At the time, our 40-member AJC delegation was in a makeshift shelter at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa as sirens had gone off warning of a possible missile strike.

As you can imagine, it was quite a day for our group. During our time in the northern part of the country, we were compelled to seek shelter three times and we were stopped on a highway for well over an hour as security forces searched the area for a terrorist from Jenin who was on the loose.

But the more lasting impressions were others. We witnessed a hospital fully mobilized to care for victims of Hezbollah attacks, even as it continued to provide services for all patients, Jews and Arabs alike, in need of medical assistance and as its researchers went on with their lifesaving work in stem cell, diabetes, and cancer research.

We met with victims of Hezbollah attacks who had miraculously survived, even if in some cases their colleagues hadn't.

We met with mayors, chiefs of police, and Israeli alumni of AJC programs who were determined to stand tall and strong, to instill hope in those around them, and to carry on with daily life as much as possible.

And the same searing experiences took place during our visit the previous day to the south-to Sderot, practically on the border with Gaza and enduring daily shelling for years, and Nitzanim, a beachside community that had been transformed literally overnight into a refugee camp to house Israelis, and especially children, from the north who were seeking relative safety.

And now I'm back home, but totally enveloped by these, and other memories, from the four days we spent in Israel as the first solidarity group to arrive from the United States. Whatever we did during our time there-visit hospitals, damaged homes, and refugee camps, donate blood, meet with officials, express our friendship and commitment-paled in comparison with what Israelis are facing each and every day.

So I ask myself what more can we all do beyond following the news, praying for an end to the violence from Lebanon and Gaza, wishing for the safety of Israeli soldiers in harm's way, and yearning for the peace that has been central to the Jewish quest since time immemorial.

The truth is that each of us can do more. We need to do more. Israelis must feel our identification with them at this critical moment.

That's why I urge you, if you haven't already done so, to go to and make a generous donation to our Israel Emergency Assistance Fund . If it's easier for you, mail a check, payable to AJC/IAEF, to Ms. Brenda Rudzin, AJC, 165 East 56th Street, New York, NY 10022.

Consistent with longstanding AJC policy in our humanitarian appeals, we will absorb all administrative costs, so that your funds will go solely and exclusively for their intended purposes-to help Israeli institutions dealing with the humanitarian consequences of this crisis and to help ensure that the world better understands Israel's current security situation.  You can be assured that we will be moving quickly and responsibly to disburse the donated funds.

Also, I would urge you, while visiting our Web site, to send the three letters to world leaders expressing support for Israel that can be found on our homepage Advocacy Center . It won't take you more than a minute or two and, in the process, you'll be making your views known to people who matter.

These are tough times, to state the painfully obvious. The stakes couldn't be higher for Israel and the Jewish people. AJC, your organization, is seeking to do everything possible to assist in the political, diplomatic, and humanitarian realms. Your support now can enable us to do even more.

As always, thank you for your friendship, confidence, and generosity.

David Harris

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

JINSA Report #587 Ball Bearings

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July 20, 2006

JINSA Report #587

Ball Bearings

We admit we almost missed it. The PowerPoint presentation on the damage
in Haifa caused by Hizballah rockets was produced by one "LennyM" and
sent by a friend. At first the photos were just buildings wrecked by the
attack. Comparable to the damage done in Lebanon by Israel, maybe. The
cement construction is similar, the furnishings not too different.

We were, in fact, struck by the odd damage done to the fa├žade of the
buildings - little round scoring marks in the cement. Then, small holes
in the windshields of cars. Then, holes in the metal bodies of the cars
- each one neat and round. What could make round holes in car bodies?
Ball bearings - shown in the later photos.

This should ring a bell. Palestinian suicide bombers put ball bearings
and nails in their explosives to increase the lethality of the bombs.
Sometimes they were coated with anti-coagulants to increase the internal
bleeding of the victims; sometimes with Hepatitis-C in a crude attempt
to create "biological" weapons. Ball bearings in a rocket are not a
military weapon - they are a terrorist weapon used simply to increase
the suffering of civilians. It tells you something truly awful.

This has to be contrasted with Israel's attempts to limit the damage in

* For all you read about Israel bombing the Beirut Airport, a symbol of
Lebanese sovereignty, only the runways were taken out - not the control
towers or the terminals - because, we were told, "The Lebanese will need
it again."

* Bridges south of Beirut have been taken out to keep Hizballah from
moving its longer range missiles closer to the border - but there has
been no blanket bombing of villages. The bombs in Beirut proper are in
the "Forbidden Quarter," where Hizballah command and control facilities
share space with the families of their senior officers.

* There is a naval blockade to keep Iran and Syria from reinforcing
Hizballah from the sea, but the American and French rescue ships move in
and out safely.

* Roads from Lebanon to Syria have been bombed to prevent reinforcements
entering for Hizballah, but one road in the north remains open to allow
civilians (and maybe some terrorists) to escape.

* Even the Lebanese soldiers in the radar stations Israel bombed after
they were used to guide the Hizballah missile that struck the Israeli
ship were warned to leave - one group remained and suffered 10 deaths,
the others evacuated their stations and were not harmed.

Israel has, as it always has, tried to strike a balance between its
primary obligation to protect its citizens from attack and a
self-imposed obligation to do as little harm to innocents in enemy
territory as possible. Would that it was the standard on both sides.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Israel Under Attack

As Israel continues its fight against unprovoked terrorism from Hezbollah and the Hamas regime, we wanted to update you on what the Anti-Defamation League is doing in this time of crisis.

As always, we stand in unwavering solidarity with the State of Israel as it acts to protect its civilians and to free its kidnapped soldiers in Gaza and Lebanon.

ADL has run ads in the New York Times and the Washington Post urging continued support for Israel’s right to defend itself. We also took this effort directly to the leaders at the G8 summit last weekend to remind them of the promises they made to stand up against terrorism. We are pleased with the early results our efforts have yielded.

As an added service to our online subscribers we will be sending you regular e-mail updates as events warrant to keep you abreast of developments and our response to them. You can count on ADL for insightful analysis and day to day observations, along with information on what you can do to help.




JINSA Report #585 Paradigm Shift?

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July 18, 2006

JINSA Report #585

Paradigm Shift?

This may be no ordinary paradigm shift. Today we may have a screaming
red-letter, poster-sized, bells and whistles, mega-super-duper paradigm

Regular readers know all about the symbiotic relationship between
terrorists and their state sponsors, but the media has tended to focus
on the terrorist side of the equation - the damage, the retaliation, the
damage of the retaliation become the beloved "cycle of violence." There
has been little if any public discussion about the cycle of outside
forces providing the terrorists with training, money, refuge, and
political support, until now.

Because of Syrian and Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq, the
American government has been better than most at understanding the
problem. Faced with Israel's determination not only to attack Hezbollah,
but also to hold the Lebanese Government responsible for Hezbollah's
rise in the south by not fulfilling the conditions of the relevant
Security Council Resolutions, the Administration has been strongly
supportive. Better yet, caught unawares on an open microphone, the
President went even farther in his denunciation of Syria and the UN's
call for an immediate cease-fire, which would save Hezbollah.

The other members of the G-8 understand less than the U.S. government,
but under the clear influence of the President, blamed Hezbollah and
Hamas for the violence and said, "those that support them cannot be
allowed to plunge the Middle East into chaos and provoke a wider

But the most important change may be in the Arab world. We often
complain that the Arabs say one thing to the world and another to their
own people, but Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain and others have
incontrovertibly woken up to the problem. The (Saudi) Arab Times editor
wrote, "The angry response from Saudi Arabia has politically isolated
Hezbollah and Hamas besides holding them responsible for their actions …
Unfortunately we must admit that in such a war the only way to get rid
of ‘these irregular phenomena' is what Israel is doing. The operations
of Israel in Gaza and Lebanon are in the interest of people of Arab
countries and the international community."

Wadi Batti, an Iraqi columnist, wrote, "The Lebanese example confirms
the fears of Arabs about the presence of armed militias that threaten
our stability and security," he wrote. "By initiating the confrontation
with Israel, Hizbullah has made a mockery of the Lebanese government and
leaders, who are now seen as pawns in the hands of Nasrallah. How long
will the Arabs continue to fight on behalf of Iran?"

It is a long way from acknowledging that sponsorship of terrorist
organizations can come back to haunt the sponsors to halting one's own
support for terrorist organizations (the U.S. military finds that
Egyptians and Saudis, not Iraqis, comprise nearly all of the suicide
bombers in Iraq), but without such acknowledgement, change is impossible.

Any day we find the media, the American government, the Russians, the
Europeans and the most influential members of the Arab world on the same
page regarding actions taken by Israel, either Israel is in big, big
trouble or we may be watching the paradigm shift.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

AJC Mideast Briefing


How the Second Lebanon War Came About:
Looking Back, Looking Forward
A Special Report on Israeli and Middle-Eastern Affairs
July 16, 2006

Dr. Eran Lerman
Director Israel/Middle East Office
The American Jewish Committee

Two passages from Winston Churchill’s memoirs of World War II have been haunting me in recent days. The first, which easily comes to mind in the tragic circumstances of our life here (and which I may have quoted before), has to do with the days of the Blitz in London:
The bomb had fallen in Peckham. It was a very big one.... When my car was recognised the people came running from all quarters, and a crowd of more than a thousand was soon gathered. All these folk were in a high state of enthusiasm.... One would have thought that I had brought them some fine substantial benefit that would improve their lot in life. I was completely undermined, and wept. Ismay, who was with me, records that he heard an old woman say, “You see, he really cares. He’s crying.” They were tears not of sorrow but of wonder and admiration.... When we got back into the car a harsher mood swept over this haggard crowd. “Give it ‘em back,” they cried, and “Let them have it too.” I undertook forthwith to see that their wishes were carried out; and this promise was certainly kept…. Certainly the enemy got it all back in good measure, pressed down and running over. Alas for poor humanity!

            The second is more succinct, and comes to explain the aggressive language used by Allied leaders in some of their communications in 1944:

When men are fighting for their lives they are not often disposed to be complimentary to those who are trying to kill them.... [T]o soften all harsh expressions about the enemy nations of those days would prevent a true picture being presented. Time and Truth are healers.

             Indeed, we are going to give it back in good measure, as if to avenge the deaths of twelve civilians killed (in addition to the same numbers of soldiers and seamen who have died in battle) and the rain of ruin falling upon Haifa and the Galilee. Tonight, these attacks have been extended south to Afula and the Jezreel Valley. Then we hope that time will heal the wounds, and the Lebanese of the future, like the Germans of today, will become our friends—once they are free to choose their own way forward, rather than submit to the Syrian strategic game and the Iranian ideological imperative.

            Alas for our poor region! And yet we need to look back at how we landed in this morass, for the second time in a generation—if we are ever to find a workable outcome for this crisis. The larger cause for our present three-way conflict—with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran’s ambitions—lies beyond the reach of Israeli decisions: It has to do with the political and ideological void yawning in the minds of men (and women) across the region:

  • Liberalism, once quite strong (in the first quarter of the twentieth century) sank under the combined blows of Western (British and French) weaknesses, the rise of the European totalitarian model, and the double bind of the Cold War years.
  • Communism never really took hold. (Some of the most prominent Arab Communists were Jews.)
  • Arab nationalism (some would say, National Socialism) stumbled with Gamal Abdel Nasser, failed with the FLN (Frontde Libération Nationale) in Algeria, and collapsed with Saddam Hussein in Iraq. In Syria, Bashar Assad’s Ba’ath Party is a bizarre relic, and in effect, a transparent cover for Alawite minority rule.
  • Into this empty space—made emptier by the utter failure of governance by Yasir Arafat and his likes, regionwide (the choice for Palestinians in 2006 was essentially between the Party of Thieves and the Party of Murderers)—stepped not “Islam” as a religion or a civilization, but a special breed: the Islamists, sophisticated modern revolutionaries who borrow heavily upon deadly twentieth-century European political ideas, but dress them up to look like a religious mission (“jihadism”).

And yet our own mistakes have added their share to the present problems, step by step:

  • In 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon (in itself, a highly controversial decision; but it is often forgotten how dangerous was the Palestinian state-within-a-state, the so-called “Republic of Fakahni,” as a Soviet-sponsored terrorist haven), we failed to befriend the Shi’a, whose bitter years, oppressed, raped and pillaged by Arafat’s thugs in the south, made them enemies of the Palestinian nationalists. The Israeli leadership was committed to the Christians; it turned out to have been a very bad bet.
  • In 1983 (from the Shouf Mountains) and finally in 2000, we left—for good reasons—but in a manner that lent itself to be interpreted as a victory for the Islamists, and specifically for Hassan Nasrallah and Iran. The same is true for Ronald Reagan’s retreat in 1984, after the 1983 Marine barracks bombing.
  • On the dramatic night of October 9, 2000—then as now, fighting on two fronts, with Palestinian violence going into its second week—Ehud Barak was prevailed upon, by U.S. President Bill Clinton, by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and by elements within his cabinet, not to retaliate in force after the abduction of three Israeli soldiers (dead already, as we soon learned) by Hezbollah. This led to a tense stalemate and ultimately to a dangerous precedent of negotiations.
  • Throughout these years of stalemate—interspersed by limited outbursts of violence, to which Israel chose to respond in a very limited way—Iran and Syria kept plying Nasrallah and his organization with huge, almost incomprehensible amounts of weapons: more than 12,000 rockets, in all. And, as the old saying goes about Chekhov’s plays, the gun that appears on the first scene was bound to fire in the third.


            It now falls to the Israeli Air Force (and we might get to the stage of using some ground forces, but not the massive 1982-style onslaught that Nasrallah “eagerly awaits”), to Israeli policy, and ultimately to international diplomacy, to undo these mistakes one by one. We must first destroy the missile arsenal (and deny it to Iran as a future tool of policy); we need to restore Israel’s vital deterrent posture; break the myth of Nasrallah’s wisdom and invincibility—which he somewhat pitifully tried to revive yesterday in a taped appearance, while on the run—and then, with the help of sober voices in Lebanon and beyond it, we must also offer the Shi’a, who for too long have been the most poorly treated of all Lebanese communities, better avenues for participation in their country’s prosperity and political life.     



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What Israel Means to Me

In light of the extraordinarily difficult circumstances facing Israel today, we felt it all the more important to share with you David Harris's chapter in the new book edited by Alan Dershowitz, What Israel Means to Me. Though written eighteen months ago to meet the publishing deadline, it is a poignant reminder of Israel's significance to the Jewish and larger worlds.

Best Regards,
Kenneth Bandler
Director of Communications, AJC

What Israel Means to Me

by David A. Harris
Executive Director, AJC

Let me put my cards on the table right up front. I’m not dispassionate when it comes to Israel.

The establishment of the state in 1948; the fulfillment of its envisioned role as home and haven for Jews from around the world; its wholehearted embrace of democracy and the rule of law; and its impressive scientific, cultural, and economic achievements are accomplishments beyond my wildest imagination.

For centuries, Jews around the world prayed for a return to Zion. We are the lucky ones who have seen those prayers answered. I am ever so grateful to witness this most extraordinary period in Jewish history and Jewish sovereignty.

And when one adds the key element, namely, that all this took place not in the Middle West but in the Middle East, where Israel’s neighbors determined from day one to destroy it through any means available to them—from full-scale wars to wars of attrition; from diplomatic isolation to international delegitimation; from primary to secondary to even tertiary economic boycotts; from terrorism to the spread of anti-Semitism, often thinly veiled as anti-Zionism—the story of Israel’s first fifty-six years becomes all the more remarkable.

It is a tale of nation-building entirely without precedent.

Here was a people brought to the brink of utter destruction by the genocidal policies of Nazi Germany and its allies. Here was a people shown to be utterly powerless to influence a largely indifferent world to stop, or even slow down, the Final Solution. And here was a people, numbering but 600,000, living cheek by jowl with often hostile Arab neighbors, under unsympathetic British occupation, on a harsh soil with no significant natural resources other than human resources in then Mandatory Palestine.

That the blue-and-white flag of an independent Israel could be planted on this land, to which the Jewish people had been intimately linked since the time of Abraham, just three years after the Second World War’s end—and with the support of a decisive majority of UN members at the time—truly boggles the mind.

And what’s more, that this tiny community of Jews, including survivors of the Holocaust who had somehow made their way to Palestine despite the British blockade, could successfully defend themselves against the onslaught of five Arab standing armies that launched their attack on Israel’s very first day of existence, is almost beyond imagination.
To understand the essence of Israel’s meaning, it is enough to ask how the history of the Jewish people might have been different had there been a Jewish state in 1933, in 1938, or even in 1941. If Israel had controlled its borders and the right of entry instead of Britain, if Israel had had embassies and consulates throughout Europe, how many more Jews might have escaped and found sanctuary?

I witnessed firsthand what Israeli embassies and consulates meant to Jews drawn by the pull of Zion or the push of hatred. I stood in the courtyard of the Israeli embassy in Moscow and saw thousands of Jews seeking a quick exit from a Soviet Union in the throes of cataclysmic change, fearful that the change might be in the direction of renewed chauvinism and anti-Semitism.

Awestruck, I watched firsthand as Israel never faltered, not even for a moment, in transporting Soviet Jews to the Jewish homeland, even as Scud missiles launched from Iraq traumatized the nation in 1991. It says a lot about the conditions they were leaving behind that these Jews continued to board planes for Tel Aviv while missiles were exploding in Israeli population centers. In fact, on two occasions I sat in sealed rooms with Soviet Jewish families who had just arrived in Israel during these missile attacks. Not once did any of them question their decision to establish new lives in the Jewish state.  And equally, it says a lot about Israel that, amid all the pressing security concerns, it managed, without missing a beat, to continue to welcome these new immigrants.

In the mid-1980s, I saw firsthand Israel do what no Western, much less Arab, country had ever done before—bring out black Africans, in this case Ethiopian Jews, not in chains for exploitation, but in dignity for freedom. These Ethiopian Jews, numbering tens of thousands, had lived as Jews since the time of Solomon and Sheba and had yearned for a return to Zion ever since. In our lifetimes, their dreams came true, though the perilous journey out of Ethiopia cost the lives of thousands who fell victim to bandits, unforgiving terrain, and hunger.

And how can I ever forget the surge of pride, Jewish pride, that completely enveloped me in July 1976 on hearing the astonishing news of Israel’s daring rescue of the 106 Jewish hostages held by Arab and German terrorists in Entebbe, Uganda, over 2,000 miles from Israel’s border? The unmistakable message: Jews in danger will never again be alone, without hope, and totally dependent on others for their safety.

Not least, I can still remember as if it were yesterday my very first visit to Israel. It was in 1970, and I was not quite twenty-one years old.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I recall being quite emotional from the moment I boarded the El Al plane to the very first glimpse of the Israeli coastline from the plane’s window. As I disembarked, I surprised myself by wanting to kiss the ground. In the ensuing weeks, I marveled at everything I saw. To me it was as if every apartment building, factory, school, orange grove, and Egged bus were nothing less than a miracle. A Jewish state was unfolding before my very eyes.

After centuries of persecutions, pogroms, exiles, ghettos, pales of settlement, inquisitions, blood libels, forced conversions, discriminatory legislation, and immigration restrictions—and, no less, centuries of prayers, dreams, and yearning—the Jews had come back home and would be masters of their own fate.

I was overwhelmed by the mix of people, backgrounds, languages, and lifestyles, and by the intensity of life itself. Everyone, it seemed, had a compelling story to tell. There were Holocaust survivors with harrowing tales of their years in the camps. There were Jews from Arab countries, whose stories of persecution in such countries as Iraq, Libya, and Syria were little known at the time. There were the first Jews arriving from the USSR seeking repatriation in the Jewish homeland. There were the sabras, the native-born Israelis, many of whose families had lived in Palestine for generations. There were local Arabs, both Christian and Muslim. There were Druze, whose religious practices are kept secret from the outside world. And on and on.

I was moved beyond words by the sight of Jerusalem and the fervor with which observant and even not-so-observant Jews prayed at the Western Wall. And I was particularly struck by the youth and their dedication to the state. Coming from a nation that was at the time deeply divided and demoralized, I found my Israeli peers to be unabashedly proud of their country, eager to serve in the military, and, in many cases, determined to volunteer for the most elite combat units. They felt personally involved in the enterprise of building a Jewish state.

To be sure, nation-building is an infinitely complex process. In Israel’s case, that nation-building began against a backdrop of tensions with a local Arab population that laid claim to the very same land, and tragically refused a United Nations proposal to divide the land into Arab and Jewish states; as the Arab world sought to isolate, demoralize, and ultimately destroy the state; as Israel’s population doubled in the first three years of the country’s existence, putting an unimaginable strain on severely limited resources; as the nation was forced to devote a vast portion of its limited national budget to defense expenditures; and as the country coped with forging a national identity and social consensus among a population that could not have been more geographically, linguistically, socially, and culturally heterogeneous.

Moreover, there is the tricky and underappreciated issue of the potential clash between the messy realities of statehood and, in this case, the ideals and faith of a people. It is one thing for a people to live their religion as a minority; it is quite another to exercise sovereignty as the majority population while remaining true to one’s ethical standards. Inevitably, tension will arise between a people’s spiritual or moral self-definition and the exigencies of statecraft, between our highest concepts of human nature and the daily realities of individuals in decision-making positions wielding power and balancing a variety of competing interests.

Even so, shall we raise the bar so high as to practically ensure that Israel—forced to function in the often gritty, morally ambiguous world of international relations and politics, especially as a small, endangered state—will always fall short?

On the other hand, the notion that Israel would ever become ethically indistinguishable from any other country, reflexively seeking cover behind the convenient justification of realpolitik to explain its behavior, must be equally unacceptable.

Loving Israel certainly doesn’t mean overlooking its shortcomings, including, in my judgment, the excessive and unholy intrusion of religion into politics, the marginalization of non-Orthodox Jewish religious streams, the dangers posed by political and religious zealots, and the unfinished, if undeniably complex, task of integrating Israeli Arabs into the mainstream.

But it also doesn’t mean allowing such issues to overshadow Israel’s remarkable achievements, accomplished, as I’ve said, under the most difficult of circumstances.

In just fifty-six years, Israel has built a thriving democracy, unique in the region, including a Supreme Court prepared, when it deems appropriate, to overrule the prime minister or the military establishment, a feisty parliament that includes every imaginable viewpoint along the political spectrum, a robust civil society, and a vigorous press.

It has built an economy whose per capita GNP exceeds the combined total of its four contiguous sovereign neighbors—Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

It has built universities and research centers that have contributed to advancing the world’s frontiers of knowledge in countless ways. This year alone, two of its scientists shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

It has built one of the world’s most powerful militaries—always under civilian control—to ensure its survival in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood. It has shown the world how a tiny nation, no larger than New Jersey or Wales, can, by sheer ingenuity, will, courage, and commitment, defend itself against those who would destroy it through conventional armies or armies of suicide bombers. And it has done all this while striving to adhere to a strict code of military conduct that has few rivals in the democratic world, much less elsewhere—in the face of an enemy prepared to send children to the front lines and seek cover in mosques, schools, and hospitals.

It has built a thriving culture, whose musicians, writers, and artists are admired far beyond Israel’s borders. In doing so, it has lovingly taken an ancient language, Hebrew, the language of the prophets, and rendered it modern to accommodate the vocabulary of the contemporary world.

It has built a climate of respect for other faith groups, including Baha’i, Christianity and Islam, and their places of worship.          

Step back from the twists and turns of the daily information overload coming from the Middle East and consider the sweep of the last fifty-six years. Look at the light-years traveled since the darkness of the Holocaust, and marvel at the miracle of a decimated people returning to a tiny sliver of land—the land of our ancestors, the land of Zion and Jerusalem—and successfully building a modern, vibrant state against all the odds, on that ancient foundation.

In the final analysis, then, the story of Israel is the wondrous realization of a 3,500-year link among a land, a faith, a language, a people, and a vision. It is an unparalleled story of tenacity and determination, of courage and renewal. And it is ultimately a metaphor for the triumph of enduring hope over the temptation of despair.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

JINSA Report #584 From Tony Snow's Press Briefing Today

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JINSA Report #584

From Tony Snow's Press Briefing Today

Presidential Press Secretary Tony Snow held a press briefing in St.
Petersburg, Russia today as President Bush prepares for the G-8 summit.
There was a range of questions, but these should be of particular interest.

Q: Now, [Lebanese PM Fuad] Siniora is describing the President's
comments as promising to get Israeli to rein in its attacks. Did the
President say anything like that?

MR. SNOW: No. The President reiterated his position. Prime Minister
Siniora at one point - I think he’s been public about this - has wanted
a ceasefire. It is unlikely that either or both parties are going to
agree to that at this juncture, although we certainly hope that we get
to a ceasefire soon and we hope that all parties work toward it.

But, again, as the President said, this began because Hezbollah crossed
into Israeli territory, kidnapped two soldiers and, furthermore, has
been engaged in a long series of rocket attacks on people in Northern
Israel, although we have been focusing on it - that is, "we"
collectively, and especially the American press in the last couple of
days - this has been going on for a long time, it just hasn't reported.
It's been a much keener and sustained interest in Israel.

The Israelis have decided to try to have targeted attacks against
rocket launch sites, many of which are deliberately placed in civilian
neighborhoods. And they regret the loss - or they've expressed regret
for the loss of innocent life, but they also pointed out that military
necessity compels them to hit where the launchers are, but I will let
the Israelis speak for themselves on this.

[Interim questions]

Q: The President didn't make any promises or anything to the Lebanese
Prime Minister? Did he give him any idea of what he might try to do with
Israel, as far as making them hold back a little bit on attacks?

MR. SNOW: The President is not going to make military decisions for

[Interim questions]

MR. SNOW: Let me re-emphasize something that's important about what's
going on. What Hezbollah has done is to force people to make
choices. And quite often in protracted situations like this you have
forcing event, and in many ways this is a forcing event. And what you're
beginning to see is Arab nations coming to the realization that
independent actors and terrorist organizations like Hezbollah are an
active threat to everybody, because they can - a small number of people
can work to destabilize not only a nation, but to aim at destabilizing a
region. And that has been a focus of a lot of the talks.

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JINSA Report #583 "Crisis" in Gaza

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JINSA Report #583

"Crisis" in Gaza

While Israel fights on two fronts against governments hiding behind
"terrorists" who violated international borders, kidnapped soldiers and
rained rockets into Israeli towns and villages (BEFORE Israel moved
against Lebanon), and while the airwaves are filled with Palestinians
wailing about starvation, please note the following. From the 7th to the
13th of July, Israel engineered the crossing of the following
humanitarian aid into Gaza, navigating among crossing points because of
Palestinian terrorist threats against all of the crossings:

1,840,000 liters of diesel fuel
100 tons of cooking gas
25,000 liters plus 2 additional truckloads of chlorine for water
purification *
50,000 liters plus 476 tons of gasoline *
1,080 tons plus 52 additional truckloads of grains *
800 tons plus 13 additional truckloads of sugar *
50 tons plus 8 additional truckloads of flour *
420 tons plus 17 additional truckloads of fruit *
169 tons of cooking oil and 120 tons of salt plus 7 additional
truckloads of both together*
160 tons plus 3 additional truckloads of rice *
40 tons of eggs
100 tons plus 6 additional truckloads of meat and fish *
14 refrigerated truckloads of dairy products
2 truckloads of mixed food, 5 of medical supplies, 2 of diapers and 1 of
spare parts for a water pumping station
44 truckloads of other international agency aid
18 (presumably gas) generators plus 1 diesel generator

IF Israel had chosen to make the Palestinian people pay a heavy price
for electing terrorists to govern them, and IF Israel had told the
Palestinian people that there would be consequences when their elected
government went to war against the State of Israel, we would not fault
Israel instead has worked under extraordinary circumstances to provide
for the Palestinian people what their elected government chooses not to
provide for them. We are dumbstruck; we have vast admiration for
Israel's humanity even as we wonder what kind of way this is to run a war.

IN THE MEANTIME, 578 Palestinians were stuck inside the Rafah crossing
station between Egypt and Gaza. Israel closed Rafah (normally controlled
by the PA) to ensure that Cpl. Shalit could not be taken out that way.
Israel had offered to let the Palestinians cross back through Kerem
Shalom, which is Israeli-controlled, but the Palestinians refused,
saying they would only cross at Rafah. There HAD BEEN 580 Palestinians
waiting in the station, but the Red Cross noted that two - including a
15-year-old boy - died there refusing to get on the Israeli buses. In a
literally breaking story, it appears that the Palestinians have now
demolished the walls of the station and reentered Gaza.

* Measures have been cited by the Embassy of Israel both ways. We don't
know how many tons are contained in each truckload, so we have listed
both tonnages and additional truckloads.

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AJC Mideast Briefing


A War on Three Fronts:
Iran's Role in Escalating the Crisis

A Special Report on Israeli and Middle Eastern Affairs
July 13, 2006

Dr. Eran Lerman
Director Israel/Middle East Office

One need not be a (Katyusha) rocket scientist to discern the pattern behind the present escalation. The actions are indeed directed from Damascus:
* It was from there that Khaled Mesh'al ordered the actions by the Hamas military wing that upstaged the Palestinian leadership. 
* It is from there that the orders (and concomitant funds) are sent to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad cadres and to other terror groups, including Fatah thugs and renegades, who continue to pursue the death of Jews in the streets of Israel. 
* And as rockets rain down on towns and villages in the Galilee-one salvo already reaching Haifa this evening-we should bear in mind that all of them were supplied either through Syria or even, at times, directly by the Syrian military.

 In plain legal terms, Lebanon bears the formal responsibility for the full range of activities, including the cross-border attack on Wednesday and the rain of rockets (which claimed two lives and wounded more than a hundred) that began today and may last for some time. All flows from the lawless reality created in South Lebanon. The absence of the Lebanese in the border areas is in blatant breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, and is now a formal purpose of the massive operation- "Operation Proper Wages"-that Israel has launched.

 And yet we know all too well that, at the end of the day, it is neither in Beirut, nor in the presidential palace in Jabal Qasyun, overlooking Damascus, that these provocations were planned. Syria, and Mesh'al, are Iran's allies; Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy, obedient not only to Ali Khamene'i's general directives, but to his detailed instructions.

 This, in turn, transforms the nature of the war. "Fighting on Two Fronts" cried the Israeli papers, almost one and all, as the news began to flow in. But, in effect, there are three interrelated fronts: two shooting conflicts and one diplomatic battle, fought over Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon. As the international noose tightens, Tehran refuses even to answer the offers of the six-power group (the U.S., Russia, China, and the E-3-Germany, France and Britain) before August 22. It has become a vital interest of the Islamic revolutionary regime to ignite the Arab conflict with the "Zionist entity."

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the talking head-and, indeed, seems to excel in making outrageous statements. (Recently he suggested that "those who created the Zionist entity"-i.e., the U.S. and the West-should "wrap it up and take it away.") Real authority in such matters rests firmly, however, with the rahbar (literally, "guide"-a term redolent of the Nazi model), Ali Khamene'i. His influence on Hezbollah is decisive; indeed, Hassan Nasrallah's right-hand man in all military events, Imad Mughniyah, serves simultaneously as the "supreme guide's" expert on special operations.

 What is at stake? Nothing less than the future of the region. With wind in its sails, the coalition of Islamists now using Damascus as a hub could-sooner rather than later-pose a threat to the existing order. This is also why the Arab reactions, in general, have been so restrained, despite painful images (and some have even offered their help). On the other hand, if Hezbollah would be clearly beaten back, their myth of invincibility broken, many things could be done in the region-from advancing peace to action against the Iranian nuclear program.


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JINSA Article Digest for July, 14th

Articles added to JINSA Online from July, 7th to July, 14th.

#581 Plotting and Uncovering Plots

(2006-07-07) The Government of Lebanon deserves credit for applying
appropriate mechanisms to capture terrorists who seek our destruction while
governments and government institutions of friendly countries are more
interested in demonstrating opposition to the Bush Administration even if it
guts their own ability to defend against the terrorists. Read the analysis in
JINSA Report #581.

Read more @

#582 Chickens Have Wings; Governments Have Partners in Crime

(2006-07-12) Hezbollah crossed the international border between Israel and
Lebanon killing and kidnapping Israelis. Hamas attacks Israel from Gaza and
the West Bank. Both recognized terrorist organizations are partners in the Pa
and Lebanons government. For too long Western, democratic governments have
asked whether it was the organization's terrorist wing, or was it
thepolitical wing carrying out the terrorism? Who cares? Chickens have wings;
governments have partners in crime. Read the analysis in JINSA Report #582.

Read more @

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

AJC News Update

American Jewish Committee News Update

Update 214  |  July 12, 2006

AJC Sends Letter to President Bush

AJC President E. Robert Goodkind and Executive Director David Harris have sent a letter to President George W. Bush expressing concern for this morning’s kidnappings at the Israeli-Lebanese border, and voicing appreciation that the U.S. government once again stands with Israel. “We applaud the statement issued by the White House spokesman, in which he condemned today’s terrorist attack and held Iran and Syria responsible for the violence,” wrote Goodkind and Harris. Click to read letter.

Mideast Briefing: The Other “Battle of Gaza”

In his weekly analysis, Eran Lerman, director of AJC’s Jerusalem office, writes that it is necessary for the Israeli government to ensure the protection of its citizens at all costs when fighting in Gaza, while at the same time restraining its military tactics in view of the importance of public opinion. “Hamas seeks our destruction, and they know all too well this can only happen, if at all, should the balance of legitimacy move decisively against Israel,” wrote Lerman. Click to read full briefing.

AJC Publishes Report Addressing America’s Addiction to Foreign Oil

The American Jewish Committee has published a comprehensive primer addressing America's dangerous dependence on foreign oil. Over a Barrel: How America's Dependence on Foreign Oil Endangers our National Security, Economy, and Environment documents the increasing dangers connected to America's addiction to oil, and explores possible means of achieving energy independence. “We have come to a point in history when our reliance on foreign oil can no longer be blithely ignored and must be addressed with a sense of urgency,” said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris. Click to read publication.

AJC Meets with Outgoing Peruvian President

An AJC leadership delegation met privately with outgoing Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo in New York on Sunday. The meeting was held at his request. The President was accompanied by the First Lady, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Production, the Ambassador to the U.S., and other senior officials. The Toledo administration is eager to complete the ratification process for the Peru-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) before President Toledo leaves office at the end of this month, and wanted to seek AJC’s counsel. In addition to discussing the FTA, the AJC group voiced disappointment with Peru’s votes on two anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva earlier this month, which ran contrary to the very friendly approach of this government toward Israel. President Toledo expressed his own anger at the vote, implying that there may have been some failure of communication or consultation in the bureaucracy. President Toledo eloquently addressed AJC’s 2002 Annual Dinner in Washington and has met with AJC groups on several other occasions, memorably beginning one of the meetings with the words, “Let’s get down to takhlis.” This meeting also gave the AJC delegation the chance to thank President Toledo for his steadfast friendship and support during his five years as Peru’s elected leader. AJC most recently visited Lima in the fall of 2005, at which time an association agreement was signed with the Peruvian Jewish Community.

AJC Executive Director Contributes to New Dershowitz Book

Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School has edited a new book, What Israel Means to Me, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and available at all major bookstores and on-line. Among the contributors to the volume is David Harris, AJC's Executive Director. Other contributors include Senator Norman Coleman, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Congressman Barney Frank, CNN interviewer Larry King, actress Natalie Portman, and author Anne Roiphe. Dershowitz dedicates the book to Jim Freedman, former President of Dartmouth College and an AJC leader until his death earlier this year.

Turkish Foreign Minister Invites AJC’s Barry Jacobs to Opening of Oil Terminal

Turkish Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Gül invited AJC Director of Strategic Studies Barry Jacobs to the official opening of the oil terminal on his county’s Mediterranean coast, which will take place on July 13. The formal opening of the terminal at the port of Ceyhan marks the completing of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline that is bringing oil from the Caspian Basin to European and regional consumers. The BTC is the first major project in creating an East-West energy corridor to bring oil and gas from the resource-rich Caspian region to Western markets while bypassing Iran. Jacobs, who follows events in the Eastern Mediterranean, Caucasus, and Central Asia for AJC, was also a guest of the government of Azerbaijan and a member of the Official U.S. delegation when, in May 2005, it opened its end of the pipeline at its capital of Baku.

AJC Meets with Senior Indian Government Officials

Following his visit to the AJC Vocational Center now under construction in the southern Indian city of Chennai, Jason Isaacson, director of AJC's Office of Government and International Affairs, was joined by AJC Board of Governors member Steven Wisch in meetings in New Delhi. The two met with senior Indian government officials, including Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma, policy analysts, business leaders, journalists, and U.S. and Israeli diplomats. Discussions focused on U.S.-India relations, current congressional developments involving the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement -- which AJC supports -- and India's relations with Israel.

AJC Publishes Report on Pervasive Anti-Semitism at Ukrainian University

The American Jewish Committee today released a report documenting the ongoing and pernicious spread of anti-Semitism at the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP), Ukraine's largest private university. The report focused in particular on the role of Georgy Tshchokin, MAUP’s president, in fostering a climate of hatred and incitement. “The virulently and unambiguously anti-Semitic views being touted at MAUP, under the influence of its president, fly in the face of the remarkable renewal of Jewish life since 1991 in an independent and democratic Ukraine,” said David A. Harris, AJC’s executive director. “Tshchokin uses language eerily reminiscent of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which caused such grief to the Jewish people in the twentieth century.” Click to read the publication.

AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs Receives Lithuanian Merit Award

Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC’s director of international Jewish affairs, was presented with the Cross of Officer of the Order for Merits to Lithuania on July 6. Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkas presented the award, citing Baker’s work in Lithuanian-Jewish and Lithuanian-American relations.

AJC’s Berlin Office Dialogues with Community NGOs

In preparation for the German Federal Integration Summit on July 14, AJC’s Berlin office invited a diverse group of community NGO leaders representing ethnic and national minorities in Germany, along with experts in the field of intercultural education. Guest speakers included Rita Suessmuth, former President of the German Parliament, Detroit historian Thaddeus Radzilowski, a representative of the Polish American-Jewish American Council, and Mohammed Sini, director of the Foundation Islam and Citizenship in Utrecht, Holland. The 35 participants spanned the African, Arab, Kurdish, Polish, Roma and Sinti, Romanian, Vietnamese, Russian-Jewish, and Turkish communities. They discussed the two critical fields of education and self-organization of minority and migrant groups, proposing bilingual education, restructuring the existing education system to afford more educational opportunities to immigrants, multicultural training for educators and civil society, and better integration of cultural diversity in societal institutions.

AJC’s Yehudit Barsky Gives Presentation on Middle East Politics

AJC’s Director of the Division on Middle East and International Terrorism Yehudit Barsky gave a presentation entitled “The Islamic Liberation Party in the Middle East” at a seminar organized by the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. Participants included government officials, policy makers and academics.

AJC Expresses Concern over UN Votes to Russian Foreign Minister

AJC Executive Director David Harris has sent a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, following their meeting in Moscow last month, expressing concern over two recent Russian votes at the UN. “While Israel faces a daily barrage of Qassam missiles, an arms build-up in Gaza, and planned terrorist attacks, the Council’s deliberations appear focused solely on alleged Israeli misdeeds,” wrote Harris. “Knowing that your nation understands better than most the dangers posed by terrorism, and maintains a strong bilateral link with Israel, the Russian decision to vote with Israel’s detractors came as a serious disappointment to us.” Click to read letter.

AJC Radio Message

One year after the disengagement, Gaza poses an increasing threat to its neighbors, AJC Executive Director David Harris told listeners on CBS Radio this week. “My daily prayer is for peace,” said Harris. “But peace requires two sides. Will the Palestinians in Gaza one day realize that they’d be better served building their own state than trying to destroy Israel? I hope so.” Click to listen.

In the Media

Executive Director David A. Harris was interviewed today on USA Radio, CNN, KSTE (Sacramento), and Dateline Washington on the escalating political tension in Gaza.

The Associated Press quoted AJC Executive Director David A. Harris concerning ethical issues surrounding the death of Enron executive Kenneth Lay and notions of justice.

The Christian Post reported that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom elected as its new chair Felice D. Gaer, director of AJC's Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

A New York Jewish Week editorial on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting the use of military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay quoted AJC President E. Robert Goodkind’s support for the Court’s decision. The editorial said, “Goodkind had it right.”

The JTA reported on AJC’s sponsorship of the Israeli Flying Aid organization’s recent work in Indonesia, where the group provided aid to earthquake victims in several Muslim villages.

The Christian Century quoted AJC leaders on the recent Presbyterian Church USA vote to reverse its call for divestment from companies doing business with Israel.

The Forward quoted AJC Legislative Director Richard Foltin on the Bush Administration’s domestic wiretapping program.

ThePittsburgh Catholic and the Jewish Chronicle covered the Pittsburgh Chapter’s forum on interfaith relations in the Middle East.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer was cited by the Forward, Edmonton Sun, London Free Press, German Press Agency DPA, Stern, Süddeutsche Zeitung, CNSNews, Infosud, andInter Press Service (IPS), for comment on last week’s anti-Israel special session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Please contact Kenneth Bandler, AJC's Director of Communications,
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