To Read: Robert Kaplan writes an interesting piece on the many moral compromises the US has to make in its foreign policy-
Because the United States is a liberal power, its interests—even when they are not directly concerned with human rights—are generally moral. But they are only secondarily moral. For seeking to adjust the balance of power in one’s favor has been throughout history an amoral enterprise pursued by both liberal and illiberal powers. Nevertheless, when a liberal power like the United States pursues such a goal in the service of preventing war among major states, it is acting morally in the highest sense.
Quote: “The mere fact that such leaks happen often indicates that the Pentagon leadership does not have Israel’s interests at heart”, Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, commenting on the recent US leaks about Israel's future activity in Syria
Number: 46, the number of House Representatives who signed a letter urging Turkish President Abdullah Gul to condemn anti-Semitic remarks made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials.
To Read: Gordon Lubold writes about how Chuck Hagel "went from 'Jewish Lobby' to Israel's buddy"-
Weeks before Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was sworn in, he got a homework assignment from the man sitting in the E-Ring office he would soon occupy. During a private dinner of filet mignon, corn chowder, and chocolate cake, the serving SecDef, Leon Panetta, told Hagel of an up-until-then secret, $10 billion arms deal between the United States, Israel, and two Arab countries that could amount to a strategic game-changer in the region. The terms of the deal were all but settled, but Hagel would need to be the closer, Panetta told him. Hagel's job was not only to seal the arms deal with Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, but in so doing help put the "special relationship" the United States and Israel have long enjoyed back on track.
Quote: “Following the Iranian elections, the House of Representatives has sent a clear message to the Iranian regime that international pressure will increase until Iran meets its obligations and ceases its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. We will judge Iran by its actions alone”, PM Benjamin Netanyahu commenting on the Iranian Sanctions bill approved by the US House.
Number: 3000, the number of participants in the Jerusalem pride parade.
The Middle East
To Read: Vali Nasr points out that at the moment, at least as far as the west is concerned, containing Islamism is more urgent than promoting democracy-
The overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has laid bare the truth hiding in plain sight — the struggle in the Middle East is no longer between dictatorship and democracy, but Islamism (especially Islamic extremism) and its detractors. If the international response to developments is Egypt is any indication, the United States and Europe have made the same realization and are inching their way toward a new, albeit unspoken strategy for the Middle East that is no longer rooted in being on the right side of history by promoting democracy, but in containing Islamism.
Quote: “But unity can’t be achieved without ending the split [between Hamas and Fatah]. Hence it is a duty to end the split. But ending the split can’t be achieved without ending Hamas’s control over the Gaza Strip. Hence, it is a duty to end the Hamas control over the Gaza Strip", PA Minister for Wakf Affairs Mahmoud Habbash, issuing a Fatwa against the rule of Hamas.
Number: 40, the number of people killed by a deadly explosion in the Syrian city of Homs.
The Jewish World
To Read: Rabbi Gideon Rothstein discusses the relevance of deep theological thinking to modern practices among orthodox Jews-
Trying to convince such people that Hashem wants us to act differently than what they and their communities have decided is right, isn’t difficult because they don’t believe you, it’s difficult because they don’t care—and they don’t care because Hashem doesn’t sit at the center of their religion. Their religion is to do what everyone around them says they need to do; show them, in black and white, that Hashem actually says otherwise, and it’s not that they disagree, it’s that it’s irrelevant.
Quote: "Even Neturei Karta members, who support meetings with the enemies of the State of Israel, do so in order to show that we are not interested in provoking them and can live with them in peace", Yaakov Gutfarb, a resident of Mea Shearim (the most extremely Ultra Orthodox neighborhood in Israel), denouncing the Hassidic man who allegedly spied for Iran.
Number: 250, the number of Jews Berthold Beitz extricated from the transport train to the Belzec extermination camp by claiming he needed them as “professional workers”.