To Read: Max Boot and Michael Doran argue that this is the time for the US to be as dirty as necessary and to engage in some old-fashioned political warfare in the Middle East-
Clearly, the president needs options between military intervention and complete nonintervention -- ways to influence developments in the Middle East without deploying Reaper drones or sending U.S. ground forces. To give Obama the tools he needs, the U.S. government should reinvigorate its capacity to wage "political warfare," defined in 1948 by George Kennan, then the State Department's director of policy planning, as "the employment of all the means at a nation's command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives." Such measures, Kennan noted, were "both overt and covert" and ranged from "political alliances, economic measures (as ERP -- the Marshall Plan), and 'white' propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of 'friendly' foreign elements, 'black' psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states."
Quote: “We support peaceful protests and peaceful methods of bringing about change in Egypt. Every party needs to denounce violence. We’d like to see the opposition and President Morsi engaged in a more productive dialogue about how to move the country forward. We do not take sides in terms of who should be elected by the Egyptian people, but we do takes sides in observing a process of democracy and rule of law”, President Obama's remarks on the Egyptian protests.
Number: 71, the percent increase in the use of wiretaps in Federal criminal investigations in 2012.
To Read: Mazal Mualem reports about Netanyahu's absurd recent political defeat in his own party-
The big question that must be asked is why Netanyahu allowed the right-wing hard-liners to steal his party? Why didn’t he fight for his party? This week, the situation reached its peak. Netanyahu was forced to withdraw his candidacy for central committee chair because he understood that Danon would beat him in a knockout. This is, after all, practically inconceivable: a prime minister at the beginning of his third term, gives up without a battle to a Knesset member he himself had appointed deputy defense minister. Netanyahu’s position in the Likud is so fragile that he was not able to insert even one representative on his behalf in the central committee.
Quote: “[the approval of the units] makes clear to the American administration and the European Union that Israel will not tolerate interference in its internal affairs”, Jerusalem city council member Elisha Peleg sending a message to the American administration and to the EU, ahead of the Jerusalem municipality's decision to build 930 housing units in Har Homa, a neighborhood behind the Green line.
Number: 3, the number of years African migrants can be detained without trial in Israel.
The Middle East
To Read: An interesting piece of reporting on the Turkey protests in light of the country's history, written by Istanbul based Claire Berlinski-
Here’s what you need to know, bare-bones: The supposedly secular Turkish Republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk almost a century ago was an authoritarian state, although not a totalitarian one. And yes, Jeanne Kirkpatrick was right, there is a difference. I went behind the Iron Curtain when the Wall was still standing. The USSR was indeed—immediately, visibly, on first sight—an evil empire. The Turkish Republic wasn’t remotely like that; there has never been all-encompassing government enslavement of the citizenry here, nor is there now, and I pray there never will be. But since its emergence after World War I, Turkey has always had weak institutions—and a state that’s strong as an ox.
Over the decades, the authoritarianism has come in different flavors. Once they served it state-worship style, and from time-to-time military style; now they serve it piety style. But it’s still the same thing. They just changed the wrapping paper.
Quote: "They failed to assign sufficient importance to the rights of people. They do not comprehend the realities of our society and instead believe that to keep the system going they can do whatever is necessary, while the basic rule of maintaining the system is to have the trust of society", Ali Mottahari, a conservative Iranian parliament member, commenting on the crisis facing Iran's political conservatives.
Number: 250, the patient load in hospitals in Jordan has jumped 250 percent in the past five months.
The Jewish World
To Read: The New Republic's Marc Tracy writes about the role of the Israel-Palestine issue in New York's Mayoral race-
The New York City mayoral contest is unique in terms of Israel politics: There is probably no combination of political job and political issue in the country in which the gap is so wide between how much the political issue matters to the election and how little it matters to the job. The city is about 13 percent Jewish (whatta town!), with a large and growing segment of that population conservative, Russian, and/or Haredi Jews, the last of whom tend to vote in blocs, making them an enticing political prize. At the same time, except for the odd joint Cornell-Technion campus on Roosevelt Island, the mayor has no impact on U.S. policy toward Israel, what with him being the mayor and all. So there is unusually little cost to saying outrageously right-wing things about Israel, especially if you are a Democrat: it may win you votes; when push comes to shove—when you are facing a Republican in the general—it probably will not lose you many votes; you don’t have to follow through in any meaningful way; and, should you choose to run for higher office, you can just say that you were wrong before and have since seen the light.
Quote: “We asked the prime minister if he was committed to the plan and he was loud and clear in saying: ‘absolutely,’” Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, about his meeting with PM Netanyahu about Sharansky's Western Wall plan.
Number: 3, the number of kids who were injured by lightning in Jewish camp yesterday.