To Read: Aaron David Miller examines John Kerry's impressive (and excessive?) sense of confidence, and other factors working for him and against him-
I've met John Kerry only once. Earlier this year, I was invited to a dinner at the State Department with the secretary and a few others to talk about U.S. options on Syria.
The secretary asked more questions than he answered and didn't reveal much about the specifics of where he stood. But it was stunningly clear from the direction of the conversation that he believed Washington needed to find a way to do more -- much more. I didn't. And Kerry for sure wasn't convinced by my Dr. No point of view. I give him credit for including me. But rarely have I encountered anyone -- let alone a secretary of state -- who seemed more self-confident about his own point of view and not all that interested in somebody else's.
Quote: "I don't see anything happening until we get back," Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, predicting that no new sanctions will be voted on until December.
Number: 28, the percentage of Americans who believe that President Obama will go down in history as above average/outstanding.
To Read: According to Rob Satloff, the recent US-Israel feud undermines the credibility of the military threat against Iran-
It also would be useful for the administration to put in place new mechanisms for real-time consultation with Israel so there is no chance even swiftly moving developments will surprise the Israelis. And because the White House’s canard about its warmongering critics has had the effect of tarnishing the credibility of America’s military threat against Iran, already weakened by the Syria chemical weapons episode, the administration needs to take urgent steps, both on its own and with regional allies, to make the threat more believable.
Quote: "I have great respect for [Netanyahu's] concerns about his country. I can assure those friends and everybody else watching this that nothing that we are doing here, in my judgment, will put Israel at any additional risk", John Kerry making a promise.
Number: 45, the percentage of Israeli car accident fatalities who are Arab.
The Middle East
Headline: Explosions target Iran embassy in Beirut
To Read: Douglas Feith believes- based on historical precedents- that once the Iran sanctions are eased they won't be 'cranked backed up'-
An agreement that actually dismantled the Iranian nuclear program would be a formidable accomplishment. But if Mr. Obama can justify his deal with Iran only by promising to "crank up" the relaxed sanctions if and when the Iranian regime cheats, no one should buy it. History teaches that we should expect the cheating, but not effective enforcement.
Quote: "This is a very, very special moment in the history of the struggle of the Palestinian people at the United Nations", chief Palestinian U.N. observer, Ambassador Riyad Mansour, commenting on Palestine's first-ever vote at the UN General Assembly.
Number: 2, Amir Hekmati, a former American Marine, has been incarcerated in Iran for over two years now.
The Jewish World
To Read: JPPI's Shlomo Fischer takes a look at Pew's 'Jews by religion' and points out that the designation is not really about religion-
Rather, the categories “Jews by religion” and “Jews of no religion” denote different ways of relating to Jewish ethnicity and peoplehood and in the main are not concerned with God, liturgy or dogma. In fact, according to the survey most “Jews by religion” are not religious. What differentiates them from “Jews of no religion” is that their Jewish ethnicity is 1) important to them and 2) seems to have a normative, “sacred” dimension that induces them to action on behalf of the Jewish people. Most “Jews of no religion” feel no such compulsion. Their ethnicity is just another neutral fact of their lives.
Quote: “It is not true that real estate representing part of the assets recovered by the Association of Jewish Communities in the Republic of Poland or the Jewish Community of Warsaw was sold below market value”, Polish Forbes apologizing for some harsh accusations it made against Jewish leaders in Poland.
Number: 3000, the age of an Assyrian relic that a holocaust survivor must return to a German museum which owned it before the war.