Read: A Washington Post editorial criticizes Obama and Rice's recent remarks about their performance on Syria-
Regarding “Not simple,” we all can agree. The longer the conflict has dragged on, the more Islamist radicals have come to the fore, muddying the question of whom the United States could support.
But what of humanitarian intervention of the sort Ms. Rice favored when people were starving in Darfur? In that case, she seemed to have a different view on international law. “Others will insist that, without the consent of the United Nations or a relevant regional body, we would be breaking international law,” she wrote with two co-authors on the opposite page in 2006. “Perhaps, but the [U.N.] Security Council recently codified a new international norm prescribing ‘the responsibility to protect.’ It commits U.N. members to decisive action, including enforcement, when peaceful measures fail to halt genocide or crimes against humanity.”
Quote: “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished", Edwar Snowden, expressing satisfaction.
Number: 81, the percentage of non-Christian Americans who celebrate Christmas.
To Read: Media Mogul and philanthropist Haim Saban claims that there is no real rift between Israel and the US-
In recent weeks, the media have had a field day reporting on a so-called rift in the U.S.-Israel relationship over the nuclear negotiations with Iran. The story makes for great headlines, but it's poor analysis. Despite the heated rhetoric, the pillars that have anchored America's most important alliance in the Middle East for more than six decades are just as firmly rooted today as they have ever been.
Quote: “In the close ties between Israel and the United States, there are things that must not be done and that are not acceptable to us”, PM Netanyhu's first public response to the US espionage allegations.
Number: 266, the number of days Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi's hunger strike lasted.
The Middle East
To Read: Jonathan Tobin believes that the US should be demanding much more of Iran-
Rather than carping about Israel, these are exactly the questions that both the media and Congress should be asking about the direction of U.S. policy toward Iran in the wake of the Geneva deal. Were Iran as moderate as the U.S. hopes, its nuclear program would not be so troubling. The choice with Iran is not one between war and peace. Instead, it is whether the U.S. is prepared to make its peace with an aggressive nuclear Iran or a peaceful nation that is not a threat to its Arab neighbors as well as to Israel. If the administration isn’t prepared to ask Iran to change, then the result of any nuclear deal isn’t likely to make the region or the United States safer. Even assuming the doubtful proposition that the current diplomatic effort will actually stop Iran’s weapons program, a nuclear deal that leaves the ayatollah’s missiles, terror, and hate in place is an open invitation to future conflict, not peace or détente.
Quote: "A Palestinian messenger who would become a guiding light for millions", PA President Abbas' description of Jesus Christ.
Number: 87, the number of children who have died in Syrian air raids in Aleppo since December 15, according to a rights group.
The Jewish World
To Read: Asaf Romirowsky and Alexander Joffe take a look at the story of how a leading Quaker organization became obsessed with boycotting and denouncing Israel-
In the end, the AFSC’s story reflects the tensions between pacifism and politics, between aid work and political activism, and between neutrality in the Middle East conflict and religious anti-Zionism. It demonstrates that small religious movements are susceptible to hijacking by radicals, and suggests that pacifism may inevitably engender its opposite. The organizations slide has been a long one, and at the moment it shows no sign of or interest in reversing it. Today, only the “inner light” of individual Quakers will bring about change.
Quote: “I thought that I was giving a compliment, but it came off more ignorant. When I said this comment about Jews having money and blacks not having money, I think it was, like, a ‘ignorant compliment”, rapper Kanye West explaining that his 'Jewish money' remark was actually a compliment.
Number: 5000, the allegedly inflated number of Jews which 'The Italian Schindler' Giovanni Palatucci saved in WW2.