To Read: Seth Mandel tries to understand how 'the war on terror' has become such a bipartisan consensus-
That the war on terror has been criticized from a variety of political angles obscures its key fact: Through its success and the underappreciated conceptual wisdom of its design, the war on terror has quietly forged a coalition that spans the ideological spectrum. In the end, this elastic term that Western politicians have time and again resolved to stop using has become the durable bipartisan consensus underpinning security in the 21st century.
How did this happen? If we are to understand this, we must discard the conventional narratives and examine the surprising political and intellectual alliance that has sustained the fight against terrorism, just as that alliance faces a newly energized coalition against it.
Quote: "Well it's not done, so by definition it's premature to judge it because the outlines have yet to be finalized", National Security Advosor, Susan Rice, commenting on Benjamin Netanyahu's staunch opposition to the proposed deal with Iran.
Number: 9%, the current Congressional approval rate, the lowest in the 39 years Gallup has been asking this question.
To Read: Brad Rothschild points out that any support Israel gets from US Jews needs to be earned not given-
I am not blind to the complex reality of the region and I certainly do not hold Israel solely responsible for the lack of peace, but I am saddened by what I see Israel becoming. In this sadness I am not alone. As an American and as a Jew, my loyalties lie with democracy, pluralism and freedom. I am now and will always be on the side that upholds these values. If American Jews are questioning their support for Israel, perhaps it says something more about Israel than it does about American Jews.
Quote: “It was fairly anti-Israeli. I was supposed to disbelieve everything the Israelis had just told me, and I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service.” He said the Israelis had told him that the “total changes proposed set back the program by 24 days", Republican Senator Mark Kirk sharing his impressions of the Kerry hearing about the proposed Iranian deal.
Number: 5, the number of Palestinians who suffered from smoke inhalation after an attack in which (what appear to be) far right activists set fire to a Palestinian home in the Ramallah area.
The Middle East
Headline: Russia and Egypt in key Cairo talks
To Read: Jonathan Spyer writes about Bashar Assad's successful year and about Iran's crucial role in it-
So, Assad has been lucky in his choice of enemies. He has, of course, also been lucky in his choice of friends. For the Iranians, saving Assad is not a matter of charity and altruism. Syria forms an essential link in Iran’s goal of consolidating a contiguous line of pro-Iranian Shia states stretching from the country’s own western border across Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to the Mediterranean coast. If Assad were to fall, that dream is over, and Hezbollah, Iran’s main Arab proxy, would be left isolated. The Iranians are determined to prevent that, and in the course of this year they have succeeded dramatically.
Quote: “It’s not right to say that Israel and Saudi Arabia didn’t want a deal for the same reason. The Saudis’ main reason was Syria. They don’t want US-Iranian talks on Syria, because they know this will affect their vision there. They wanted to please Israel, and now they could please the Saudis too, and the latter aren’t pleased for free. So they did whatever they could to [ensure] a deadlock, but this is temporary. Things will not continue this way", an Iranian official talks to al-monitor's Ali Hashem about the Geneva conference(s).
Number: 3, the number of public appearances Hassan Nasrallah has made this year.
The Jewish World
To Read: According to Yoaz Hendel, Israel needs to do its best to try to help US Jewry-
The numbers determine who affects who. The majority of Jews in the world today live in the State of Israel. There are those who see it as proof of the victory of the Zionist movement. In practice, there are mainly losses behind this figure. The reduction in US Jewry does not add to Israel. The demographic change taking place in Israel does not strengthen the Jewish Diaspora in America.
After seven decades, American Jewry needs a donation from the State of Israel to preserve its Jewish identity. The argument over halachic details while half of American Jews are disappearing is stupidity under a religious guise. There are enough solutions that will allow the State of Israel to contain all streams and all approaches.
Quote: “This is not due to any lack of understanding of minorities or religious traditions, but because the procedure is irreversible, painful and risky”, Norway's Children’s Ombudswoman Anne Lindboe commenting on Norway's decision to promote legislation banning non-medical circumcision of minors without their consent.
Number: 1, the number of Jews in Afghanistan (not including the US soldiers, of course).