To Read: Jacques E.C. Hymans thinks that the US and Israel have been misrepresenting the Iranian threat-
As the little shepherd boy learned, crying wolf too early and too often destroys one's credibility and leaves one vulnerable and alone. In order to rebuild public trust in their analysis, Jerusalem and Washington need to explain the assumptions on which their scary estimates are based, provide alternative estimates that are also consistent with the data they have gathered, and give a clear indication of the chance that their estimates are wrong and will have to be revised again. The Iranian nuclear effort is highly provocative. The potential for war is real. That is why Israel and the United States need to avoid peddling unrealistic, worse-than-worst-case scenarios.
Quote: "He's probably as good as we're going to get", Senator Shelby about Hagel.
Number: 4700, the number of deaths the US has caused by drone attacks, according to Senator Lindsey Graham.
To Read: Kasim Hafeez, formerly an Islam extremist and currently an ardent Zionist, fervently defends Israel-
Detractors will undoubtedly be quick to ask why supporters of Israel point to other regimes to exonerate Israel. But this is not really what I'm doing. Israel needs no exoneration as, fortunately, Israelis are able to protest, challenge and choose their governments. That's democracy folks. But, just for the sake of argument, let us say all the malicious lies have some truth to them. Still the question remains: Why is Israel singled out for protests and global marches lauded by the 'enlightened' regimes in Tehran and Damascus, yet some of the world's human rights catastrophes carry on daily, completely ignored, by the same holier than thou activists?
For me, a particular source of pain and anger is the situation of minorities and women in my parents' homeland. In Pakistan, not a week goes by without a story of rape, murder, humiliation and torture. In this Islamic country, terms such as Jesus Christ are banned in text messages and a young girl is shot for demanding basic education. Yet apart from the attempted murder of Malala Yusufzai, these stories rarely make it to the press. The brutally oppressed Christian minority suffers at the hands of an archaic blasphemy law, yet, apart from small-scale protests held by Pakistani Christian groups, there were no calls to boycott Pakistan and no flotillas were planned. I guess murdered Pakistani Christians maybe not a trendy enough cause. I wonder if a British newspaper would publish a cartoon of a Pakistani mullah murdering minorities to pave the way for a Sharia state. Our journalists love freedom and liberty, but they love their lives a little bit more.
Quote: “He talked about the evacuation of settlements, and said that for peace he would even leave his own house in Nokdim. That was supposed to open the door for him to the capitals of the world and turn him into a statesman”, former Deputy Foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, continuing to trash his former boss, Avigdor Liberman.
Number: 30, the number of parliament seats Yair Lapid would receive if elections were held today.
The Middle East
Read: Khalil al-Anani examines the bitter Brotherhood-Salafi feud in Egypt:
While many stories and conclusions can be drawn from the clash between the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi, the most striking aspect, however, is the obscene language and mutual accusations and allegations between both sides that overwhelmed the local media over the past few days. They reflect what I called elsewhere “desacralization of Islamism,” where Islamists’ indulgence in politics decreases their credibility and appeal. And the more they do, the less they can maintain their symbolic and moral power.
Nevertheless, the crucial question is: Why the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi, the two major Islamist forces in Egypt, have clashed now? Apart from the theological and ideological differences between both currents (which they have deliberately sought to avert after the revolution), the political conflict between Salafi and Brotherhood is an old and rooted one.
Quote: "There is always the question as to whether torture has actually increased, or if people are simply talking about it more often," Seif El Dawla psychiatrist, human rights activist, about torture in Morsi's Egypt.
Number: $600, the monthly salary of former Hezbollah operative, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub.
The Jewish World
To Read: Woman of the wall, Hallel Abramovitz Silverman, writes about the relevance of Purim to the experiences of her and her peers-
I’m calling on the women of Jerusalem, young and old, secular and religious, to join me in costume celebrating the courage of Esther and Vashti, and of Women of the Wall. For those of you outside Israel, it would be a wonderful act of solidarity to wear a tallit over your costume when you, wherever you are, from the US to Persia – freely recite and hear the megila.
The Jewish state that asks us to proudly wear its uniform should never ask us to remove our prayer shawls. Or to give in to the extremist demands of the ultra-Orthodox who proudly wear their prayer shawls but refuse to don the Jewish state’s uniform.
Quote: "These students make a mockery of the very foundations of freedom of speech, a pillar of the academic world. Their actions shame Essex University and British academia, and damage a long tradition of positive academic exchange", Israeli Embassy spokeswoman in the UK, about the Essex University incident in which the Israeli deputy ambassador was forced to flee due to rioting.
Number: 25, the percentage of French Jews considering leaving France.