Headline: Bill Clinton splits with Obama on Syria
To Read: FP's Gayle Tzemach Lemmon gives an update on the Syria intervention debate in Washington ('The Washington intervention war', as Foreign Policy call it)-
But even if the White House is not primed for a dramatic about-face on Syria, the opposition's advocates in Washington say that in the past few months they have seen the first signs of positive change from the Obama administration. Dan Layman, a spokesman for the Syrian Support Group, a U.S. advocacy group with extensive contacts to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), says his organization started noticing a shift in late February and March. "From that point, when we got the OK to go in with food and medicine, they already were talking about their interest in sending in harder stuff," he said.
Quote: "I don’t mean that a leader should go out of his way or her way to do the unpopular thing, I simply mean when people are telling you ‘no’ in these situations, very often what they’re doing is flashing a giant yellow light and saying, ‘For God’s sakes, be careful, tell us what you’re doing, think this through, be careful. “But still they hire their president to look around the corner and down the street, and you just think - if you refuse to act and you cause a calamity, the one thing you cannot say when all the eggs have been broken, is that, ‘Oh my God, two years ago there was a poll that said 80 percent of you were against it.’ Right? You’d look like a total fool. So you really have to in the end trust the American people, tell them what you’re doing, and hope to God you can sell it”, Bill Clinton urging Obama to do more to help the Syrian people.
Number: 10, the percentage of Americans who have confidence in Congress (lowest on record).
To Read: Veteran Israeli Journalist Shimon Shiffer writes about Tzipi Livni's Dilemma now that it's becoming clearer that the ruling party of the coalition she is in is diametrically opposed to a 2- state solution-
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon basically exposed the truth known to anyone who followed the assembly of the Likud-Beiteinu's Knesset list. The ruling party has no intention of implementing the proposal for a solution based on two states, Israel and Palestine. Danon is like the child in the wonderful tale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen about the emperor's new clothes. The child who won't take part in the game of deception and declares that the emperor has no clothes on.
Quote: " The occupation corrupts Israeli society, the IDF , Israeli justice, Israeli media, Israeli psyche and Israeli mode of speech. Thinking the world will get used to this situation is similar to what white people used to say in South Africa", Offer Shelach, one of Yesh Atid's most familiar faces, making the most left wing statement ever made by a member of Yair Lapid's party.
Number: 675, the number of housing units approved for the West Banks settlement of Itamar.
The Middle East
To Read: According to Henry J. Barkey, the Turkish protestors have managed to hit Erdogan where it hurts the most-
Finally, the fight for perceptions is all about Erdogan’s and Turkey’s image in the West. Hence, his and his supporters’ vitriol is directed against the traditional bugaboo: the West. Erdogan has been all about making Turkey an equal with, if not the better of, the West in the global arena. He has come close. The Turkish economy and state seem to work whereas Europe is in disarray; Turkish diplomacy is in full gear and something to be taken seriously.
Some charlatans in Taksim have made a mess of this image. He cannot forgive them this slight. Of course, the greater irony is that he is his own victim. A policy of conciliation would not only have demonstrated that he is a statesman but also a magnanimous one at that. He blew it. And now he has to live with it.
Quote: “Francis is a new pope. We are expecting a step forward from him. If in one of his addresses he were to declare that Islam is a peaceful religion, that Muslims are not looking for war or violence, that would be progress in itself… [Al Azhar] will not take part in any meeting with Israelis”, Mahmoud Abdel Gawad, an envoy from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, one of the highest centers of learning in the Islamic world, calling Pope Francis to declare Islam as a “peaceful religion”.
Number: 55, the percentage of Palestinians who have a favorable view of Iran.
The Jewish World
To Read: An interesting interview with Professor Tamar Ross on the challenge bible criticism poses believers with-
Jews who relate to traditional accounts of revelation and other biblical content in a cultural-linguistic context don’t ask what such statements convey or how factually accurate they are in mirroring our common-sense view of reality, but rather what is their function in the activities and world view of the speaker. Their function is primarily to act as props for the ritual practice and speech of a particular religion. Any weakening of arguments that link the authority of the halakhah with infallible doctrinal claims would appear to lead to an ultimate breakdown of the halakhah itself. As Judaic scholar Martin Jaffee has aptly phrased it: “Jewish practice without grounding in the divine has no more compelling a claim to the religious attention of Jews than the Code of Hammurabi.”
Quote: “the Claims Conference has spent over $250m. of these funds for research, documentation, and education projects while tens of thousands of survivors have suffered... with many dying too early and in misery”, Samuel Dubbin, representative of the Holocaust Survivor Foundation, citing problems with the claims conference.
Number: 31, only 31 percent of Birthright participants marry before the age of 28.