To Read: F.Gregory Gause explains why the Saudis are so disconcerted by Obama's Middle East policies-
For the Saudis, therefore, Obama’s refusal to take action against Assad was seen as another example of Washington’s inability to appreciate both the dangers and the opportunities of the Arab Spring. Standing aside while Mubarak fell—as the Saudis saw it—was bad enough, but embracing a Muslim Brotherhood government in Cairo, which was an unreliable partner against Iran and a challenger to Saudi authority over the interpretation of Sunni Islam, was even worse.
The Obama Administration views its opening to Iran as part of a broader effort to bring stability to the region, and sees an Iranian commitment to foreswear nuclear weapons as a benefit to allies like Saudi Arabia. But the Saudis, without a seat at the negotiating table, fear that Washington will ratify Iranian hegemony in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Persian Gulf in exchange for a nuclear deal.
Quote: “Today’s action underscores our deep commitment to target those who seek to violate our sanctions,” Adam J. Szubin, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which supervises the administration of sanctions, commenting on the announcement of the Weatherford settlement, one the biggest settlements ever made for overseas corporate misbehavior.
Number: 65, the percentage of Americans who agree that the US "should not become involved in any military action in the Middle East unless America is directly threatened."
To Read: Avi Issacharoff says goodbye to Israel's greatest singer-
All morning, the radio stations have been playing Arik Einstein’s songs. Song after song, one after the other. You listen and you marvel at how this one singer managed to singlehandedly create “Israeli culture.” That’s really what he did. We’re all always looking for that definition, for that glue that binds us. And this man, this modest man without a shred of presumption, found the elusive formula known as “Israeliness.” Almost by accident, he became Israel’s national singer.
Quote: “Many were trying to isolate Iran, but who is isolated today? Our enemies are in fact isolated”, Iran's President Rouhani implying that the Geneva deal has hurt Israel's international standing.
Number: 20, the percentage of Israelis who 'forgo food' due to financial distress, according to a study.
The Middle East
To Read: Rob Satloff points out that the interim agreement does not 'freeze' Iran's nuclear program like many journalists would have you believe-
Journalists and headline writers who characterized Geneva as a “freeze” or “halt” of Iran’s nuclear program have a strange definition of these words. When Jack Lord or Telly Savalas caught up with a bad guy, pulled a revolver and yelled “freeze” or “halt,” the culprit wasn’t being told to “keep moving, just more slowly”; he was being told to stop—or else. Geneva, however, does not stop Iran’s nuclear program. Under the agreement, thousands of centrifuges will continue to spin and produce enriched uranium, though within defined limits… All achievements are substantial and important but the program itself is not, by any stretch, frozen.
Quote: "We welcome the assistance of our international partners in this investigation, and we respectfully ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson's health, welfare, and safe return", the White House asking for the assistance of the Iranian government in searching for an American who has been missing in Iran.
Number: 26, the number of activists arrested yesterday in Egypt.
The Jewish World
To Read: Eric Schulmiller writes about the deep connection between Thanksgiving and Hanukah -
The Continental Congress continued to declare a yearly celebration of Thanksgiving in December throughout the War, and twice during the next five years the holiday overlapped with Hanukkah. The first American Thanksgivukkah occurred in 1779, when Thanksgiving fell on December 9th, as Jews lit the seventh Hanukkah candle. Two years later, on the heels of Cornwallis’ surrender to Washington at Yorktown, Jews lit the second candle on December 13th, 1781, as they told the story of a tenacious band of soldiers who prevailed over the massive army of an oppressive empire.
On that same day, all Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, for, as Congress put it, “it hath pleased the supreme Disposer of all Events…remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty, against the long continued efforts of a powerful nation.”
Quote: “[Anti-Semitism] affects Jewish families very seriously and is the main reason there are so few Jewish children in public schools”, Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, speaking at a symposium about Anti-Semitism.
Number: 21, the percent-increase in Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia.