March 17, 2013

The US

Headline:  US asks Turkey for help with ME peace process

To Read: James Traub takes a look at the pale US reaction to Egyptian authoritarianism:

On balance, I'm mostly with my colleague Marc Lynch, who argues that Obama has pretty much done what he can in Egypt. But that very fact brings home the limits of the possible. The fragile Arab democracies and would-be democracies need help more desperately than Poland or Hungary did; but they are also harder to help. There is not a lot the administration can do to make Egypt's political opposition engage in democratic politics, and there is not a lot it can do to make Morsy realize that winning a parliamentary majority does not authorize you to run roughshod over your opponents. Those are insights only gained through painful experience. And yes, the United States simply doesn't have the scratch any more. Financing is not something Washington leverages; it furnishes. In that regard, those who say the United States is weaker than it used to be are right.

Nasr argues that Washington has given up on the Arab world — in fact, pretty much on the whole world. I think it's fairer to say that Obama can't do a good deal that he might like to do, and that he's quite prepared to rationalize that with the proposition that the Arab world must be allowed to work out its destiny on its own. Is that cynicism? Maybe a little. Mostly, I'd say, it's just reality.  

Quote:   “This American Chutzpa makes my blood boil”, newly published state protocols reveal Menachem Begin’s outrage at Jimmy Carter at the time of the famous Camp-David agreements.

Number: 64, the percentage of Americans who sympathize more with the Israelis over the Palestinians.



Headline: ‘Yesh Atid, Jewish Home will maintain partnership’

To Read:  Human rights scholar Anne Bayefsky writes about how ‘human rights’ are being used against Israel:

In Syria, reports suggest that there are more than 90,000 dead, 2.5 million internally displaced and 750,000 refugees. Syrian refugees have even fled to Israel through the Golan Heights where they have received life-saving medical care.And yet the Human Rights Council has just circulated a resolution called “Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

In it, the Council “calls upon Israel to allow the Syrian population of occupied Syrian Golan to visit their families and relatives in the Syrian motherland.” Nobody believes that the residents of the Golan are pining to rush into mother Syria, but the UN human rights body is guaranteed to rubber-stamp the absurd declaration next week.

Quote: “Our starting point is good, certainly due to the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi, but Yair Lapid also has potential, Judea and Samaria council chairman Avi Roeh voicing optimism about the new government in the settlements.

Number: NIS110 million, the incremental amount of funds to be allocated to Holocaust survivors in 2013 according to a deal between Lapid and Netanyahu.

The Middle East

Headline:  Syria conflict: General 'defects to rebels

To Read: Chairman of the House intelligence committee, Mike Rogers, gives some suggestions for non-lethal and yet important measures the US can take in Syria before it becomes even more unstable and the danger of chemical weapons becomes a reality:

To have a role, we must be present. And to be credible, the United States must back up our call for the end of the Assad regime with tangible support for key players, including providing better coordination among opposition groups and the selective arming of U.S.-trained opposition members. In conjunction with our allies, we should consider implementing a safe zone in the north where we can better identify and organize opposition groups, give refugees safety and allow rebel fighters to remain in their country as they train and equip. We should also move to confront the threat that Assad’s Scud missiles pose to Syrians and people in neighboring countries, including by deploying the Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft and missile units based in Turkey.

Such steps do not include the use of conventional U.S. forces, but may include small groups with specialized capabilities. We must be willing to put force behind our diplomatic efforts if we hope to encourage any sort of positive outcome. For some time, Iran, Hezbollah and others have been throwing their weight behind Syrian proxies who pose a threat to the United States and its allies.

Quote: “My opinion is that today there’s no need for Palestinians to go back to fighting. The balance of forces is not in our favor, so it will only lead to the country’s destruction”, Abu Mazen publicly opposing Palestinian violence in an interview. 

Number: 7 the number of Palestinians who were deported from Egypt to Gaza.


The Jewish World

Headline: ‘Major step forward’ for Shoah claims

To Read:  Vadislav Davidzon tells the story of a Polish hero:

In September 1939, as is well known, the Soviets and the Nazis rapaciously partitioned the fledgling Polish nation; the territory anchored by Lvov and Bialystok went to the Soviet Union, and the Nazis took the western territory surrounding Warsaw and Krakow, where Polish resistance networks soon began receiving rumors of ominous activities taking place in a camp outside the town of Oswiecem built to house POWs and political prisoners. Less well-known, though, is that in late September of 1940, a dashing 39-year-old cavalry officer named Capt. Witold Pilecki hatched an audacious plan to infiltrate and reconnoiter the camp—known as Auschwitzand—and report his findings to the Polish high command in London. Pilecki would spend two and a half years in Auschwitz, during which he would build up a resistance network of several thousand; he then broke out of the camp in an equally audacious manner and penned a series of intelligence reports. The final and the fullest of those reports, hastily written in the summer of 1945 as he fought with the Polish Gen. Władysław Anders in Italy, is now being published in English for the first time as The Auschwitz Volunteer. Banned from publication for decades under the communist regime, it is a work of supreme importance.

Quote:  “Those who are virtuoso full-time boycotters should not talk about boycotts”, Senior Zionist-Orthodox Rabbi Haim Druckman responding to the Haredi allegations of a boycott against them. 

Number: 89, the number of members of congress who signed a Bi-Partisn letter to Turkish PM Erdogan condemning his problematic remarks.

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