To Read: An interesting Foreign Affairs piece follows the US Senate's Rationale for rejecting an international treaty for the rights of the disabled and takes a hard look at some major problems the US has with international treaties-
What little news coverage the Senate vote did garner tended to describe the treaty’s supporters as sympathetic to the disabled and its opponents as insensitive. Little light was shed on why any senator would appear to subordinate the interests of the disabled to an ideological abstraction such as sovereignty. But what sank the treaty was not heartlessness, nor was it any abstract quibble. Rather, opponents were worried about something practical and fundamental: whether U.S. laws should be made by politicians held accountable to Americans through the ballot box or by unaccountable officials in multinational organizations. If the treaty has a practical effect, it will be due in large part to interpretations made by foreign government officials and judges and by nongovernmental organizations, none answerable to American voters.
Quote: "This is the most serious threat that I've seen in the last several years", Senator Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, discussing the recent al-Qaeda threats.
Number: $55m, the amount of US aid money Israel has offered to waive.
To Read: Yossi Beilin can't understand how anyone in the Israeli right could disapprove the Indyk appointment-
What kind of mediator would right-wing activists prefer to see handle the upcoming talks? An Israeli settler who opposes giving up even one inch of land and the creation of a Palestinian state? Or someone who is not willing even to admit that there is a Palestinian refugee problem, or does not understand that the refugee camps in Shuafat and Kalandiya are not really part of Jerusalem despite the fact that they were annexed by Israel in 1967? Dr. Martin Indyk is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world about this complicated story otherwise known as the Israeli-Palestinian or Israeli- Arab conflict. He is very close to the Israeli side, but understands the Palestinian side well too. He believes that peace and good neighborliness are in the national interests of both sides.
Quote: “You have no idea what pressure was placed on me so that a photo emerge with Shlomo, Muhammad and Messi. We insisted that the photo include Messi and Muhammad. Shlomo — [representing] this occupation — will not be present that day, only Barcelona and the Palestinians", Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub calling for a boycott against Israel during the FC Barcelona visit.
Number: 150,000, the number of Israeli children who are to be vaccinated for Polio.
The Middle East
To Read: Graham Allison tries to assess the odds of Iran getting a nuclear bomb this year (he even has some nice charts and tables)-
There can be no question whatsoever that in 2013 Iran could get a bomb; there is also no question that Iran could be bombed. But my best judgement is that in 2013 Iran will not get a bomb, and Iran will not be bombed. To be precise, I am prepared to bet $51 of my money against $49 of those who want to bet that by December 31, 2013, Iran will either have a nuclear weapon or have been the target of a major bombing attack.
My conclusion is not meant as a counsel of complacency. Anyone who believes that there is a 20 percent chance that Iran could either get a bomb or be bombed within the next year should recognize that the consequences of either outcome drive this issue to the top of the foreign policy agenda, not only for Israel but for the United States.
Quote: “No solution can be reached with terror except by striking it with an iron fist”, Bashar Assad vowing to 'fight terror' in his country.
Number: 100, the estimated number of children who were killed by ballistic missiles in Syria in the past 6 months, according to HRW.
The Jewish World
To Read: Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin writes about age discrimination in professional Jewish life-
Despite the obvious illegality of age discrimination, as well as discrimination based on gender, sexuality, marital status, etc., the organized Jewish community has not yet had the necessary conversation about this issue. It’s not only illegal, as difficult as it might be to prove. It is unethical. It is wasteful of good minds, great skills, and time-tested wisdom.
And it is un-Jewish.
Quote: “How can I be otherwise, when the Jews who so often talk of the horrors they suffered during the Holocaust show the same Nazi cruelty and hardheartedness toward not just to their enemies but even toward their allies should any try to stop the senseless killing of their Palestinian enemies”, Mahathir Mohamad, whose organization, the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, was accredited by the UN.
Number: 16,000, the number of Jews from Kosice whom Nazi criminal Laszlo Csatary had a hand in deporting.