To Read: Leslie Gelb tries to explain why America’s threats towards Teheran are far harsher than its threats towards Pyongyang:
Administration officials would never admit it, but the main reason for their being tougher on Iran than North Korea seems tied to American domestic politics as much or more than anything else, specifically the standing of Israel and oil versus Korea and Japan. On strictly foreign policy/national security grounds, Democratic and Republican officials surely regard Seoul and Tokyo as important as the Mideast, certainly now with the growing importance of Asia. In American politics, however, Israel and oil count for much, much more.
It’s notable that President Obama made his strongest pronouncements about employing force to stop Iranian nukes at the annual meeting of AIPAC, the very potent group of American-Jewish backers of Israel. There is nothing remotely comparable for any and all Asian countries, whatever the strategic and economic criticality of Asia.
Quote: “They have taken steps to try to prevent any sense of triumphalism. It has not come from the government. In fact, there has been limited response by the government itself and I think it’s important for everybody to take note of that”, John Kerry raising some eyebrows while talking about Turkey’s 'sensitive' response to Israel's normalization efforts.
Number: 99, the number of reported Anti-Semitic incidents in the US in 2012, according to a new report.
To Read: Ophir Pines-Paz believes that Israeli society has been selective in the lessons it has chosen to learn from the Holocaust:
The Jewish state developed on the foundation built by Zionism and out of the historical destruction, giving shelter to those persecuted for religious and racist reasons. From the terrible events, we learned that we have no choice but to take care of ourselves and that we must make every effort to guarantee our physical existence as a people and as a state.
But the memory of the Holocaust, which taught us to beware of external threats, failed to protect us from the internal threat which is increasingly marking us as a society intolerant towards those living within it. Although the events of the Holocaust are deeply engraved in our collective memory, we failed to elevate the educational potential embodied in them. We were not wise enough to develop a wide anti-racist consciousness, which rises above the victim's point of view and fights all levels of racism.
Quote: “Israel has wrongly used the Holocaust as a tool to justify our existence and sovereignty here”, Deputy Knesset speaker, Moshe Feiglin about Israel’s use of the memory of the Holocaust.
Number: 3, the number of rockets fired at southern Israel during the Holocaust memorial service.
The Middle East
To Read: Turkish journalist Cinar Kiper writes about what the west sees as Erdogan’s neo-ottomanism-
…If your country has spent the past nine decades claiming to be a copy of the West, then the West has no reason to see you as anything more than an inferior copy of itself. This might not be an issue for those satisfied with geopolitical irrelevance, but the more ambitious will want to figure out something new to sell, something better than a simple knockoff. And so Erdogan and the AKP are busy rebranding Turkey from its original rebranding in 1923. It is difficult to see how such a path will fare; after all, Japan might have had countless ups and downs in the century and a half since its own restoration, but at least no person can claim they haven't been making headlines ever since.
Quote: "Any attack against the cathedral is like an attack against me personally", President Morsi condemning the Cathedral attacks.
Number: $500m, the amount of money Qatar has pledged to the rebuilding of Darfur.
The Jewish World
To Read: A JWeekly article tells the story of how some poker sessions in far away Manila managed to save 1,200 Jews from the Holocaust:
Natives of Cincinnati, the Frieders went into the cigar business, opening a factory in Manila. Each brother took turns serving two-year stints on-site in Manila. All became devoted to the nation, which at the time was emerging from centuries of colonial rule. Among their closest friends and fellow poker players were Eisenhower, then an Army colonel, and Quezon, the country’s charismatic president.
Though of different faiths and cultural backgrounds, the team worked together to extricate Jews from Germany and Austria, issue visas and bring them to Manila. It wasn’t easy. The noose had already started to tighten around the Jews of Europe, and the State Department wasn’t keen on the rescue effort.
All refugees would have to possess skills they could apply in the Philippines, and none could depend on any form of government welfare.
Quote: "we do not know if the victory of democracy, liberty and justice will not find in Europe an immense cemetery strewn with the bones of our people, men and women, old and young", an excerpt from a newly revealed speech by David Ben-Gurion, given in 1942.
Number: 200, the number of Anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2012.