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This week in power: The Obama-Tehran question and Vancouver’s ad capaign uproar

by Danny Groner

October 17, 2013 | 1:59 am

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Tehran reconciliation?
Homayoun Sameyah Najaf Abady, the head of the Tehran Jewish community, pushed in an open letter for President Obama for the U.S. to reconcile with a democratic Irani government. “If the US and the international community do not make the best of this golden and perhaps unrepeatable opportunity, then it will be in the benefit of those who are against the normalization of ties between Iran and the U.S.,” he wrote. So what are the odds of this happening? Commentators sounded off: "The near impossibility of such a development in the foreseeable future says much about Obama’s limited room for maneuver in foreign affairs in this age of interlocking security challenges and domestic political paralysis," wrote Michael Lumbers at National Interest. And, besides there are other big issues at play, said Brian Katulis and Charles A. Kupchan at Foreign Policy. "Washington should be under no illusions about how difficult it will be to secure Iran's cooperation on the Syrian front. The Iranian regime is itself deeply divided, and hard-line elements -- in particular, the Revolutionary Guards -- are operating inside Syria in support of the Assad regime. This powerful faction of the Iranian regime will not easily abandon its Syrian client." Stay tuned.

The fight on Vancouver's buses
Advocacy groups on both Israeli and Palestinian sides are fighting in the space on Vancouver's buses, according to reports. It started with some anti-Israel ads from the Palestine Awareness Committee. Both depict the changing map of the Middle East region. "In reality, it is the Jewish state that has steadily gotten smaller. It reached its largest extent during the reigns of Kings David and Solomon when it stretched into Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. In 1920, the League of Nations designated present-day Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, and the Golan Heights as the Jewish homeland. But over the decades, Israel shrank to its present size and is only 9 miles wide at its narrowest point and 290 miles long," reported The Jewish Press. The controversy has trickled into the conversation in Canada, upsetting some. "It goes without saying that TransLink does not hold the key to peace in the Middle East, but those so inclined should be free to make their claims — yes, even on the side of a bus — without constant calls for censorship. The rest of us, meanwhile, can stick to our Sudokus," wrote Robyn Urback at National Post.

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