To Read: Lee Smith claims that Obama has been using sanctions and sanctions relief to avoid tackling the real issue at stake with Iran-
In time, Obama came to see that he could use the existence of sanctions to persuade Congress and the Israelis that he was serious about stopping an Iranian bomb. In other words, sanctions were cynically invoked by the White House both to hide the truth that Obama wasn’t going to follow through on his own stated policy of using military force against Iran in the event all else failed, and to deter the Israelis from a military strike of their own.
Quote: “I think when there is a public split between the US and Israel it gives the Iranians some confidence”, Gary Samore, Obama's former WMD advisor discussing the Israel-US spat over Iran.
Number: 18, the percentage of Americans who cite 'promoting Democracy Abroad' as a top priority of American foreign policy.
To Read: Max Fisher tries to explain how come the US has been OK with Israel having a nuclear bomb-
But the story of the Israeli nuclear program, and how the United States came to accept it, is more complicated and surprising than you might think.
The single greatest factor explaining how Israel got the world to accept its nuclear program may be timing. The first nuclear weapon was detonated in 1945, by the United States. In 1970, most of the world agreed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which forbids any new countries from developing nuclear weapons. In that 25-year window, every major world power developed a nuclear weapon: the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, France and China. They were joined by exactly one other country: Israel.
Quote: “The implications of the absence of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more existential than the Iranian nuclear issue”, former Shin Bet Head Yuval Diskin speaking yesterday in Tel Aviv.
Number: 1,500, the number of Bedouins who protested today against the much talked about Prawer resettlement plan.
The Middle East
To Read: Emily Landau tries to find out what we can learn from WMD negotiations with Iraq, Syria, and North Korea coming into the Iran negotiations-
The experience of dealing with North Korea underscores the importance of the economic leverage that the P5+1 finally gained over Iran in 2012, following the set of strong and effective economic and financial sanctions that the US and EU put in place. The military option is also still realistic enough to be on the table seriously. If this leverage is squandered in return for anything less than very significant nuclear concessions by Iran, the Iranian case will very likely begin looking more and more like North Korea, with the international community increasingly powerless to stop it.
Quote: "Their captors are opportunistic criminals looking to profit from their vulnerability", an excerpt from a report on the estimated 30,000 Eritreans who have been held captives in Sinai since 2007.
Number: 25, the estimated number of deaths from a suicide attack in Yemen.
The Jewish World
To Read: Simon Van Zuylen-Wood offers a profile piece on congressional candidate Marjorie Margolies (AKA. 'Chelsea Clinton's Jewish mother in law')-
Margolies, not unlike Bill Clinton, seems unable to separate the personal from the political. Which makes tapping into Clintonworld for campaign help all the more intuitive for her. “Marjorie is the most amazing connector of and developer of contacts,” says one friend. “She’s like Zelig.” Even in this new congressional race, many of her donors out of the gate have been classic FOB types that she’s had little to do with for the last two decades, and maybe never had anything to do with in the first place: Lanny Davis, Vernon Jordan, Harold Ickes, Bob Rubin.
Quote: “The chief rabbis decided to reaffirm this prohibition, which has been in place since before the the state was founded and certainly before the area was captured in 1967, only because of considerations regarding religious purity laws. It has absolutely nothing to do with the political situation. It is not that the chief rabbis were worried about the Middle East going up in flames, or the way the police treats Jewish worshipers there, or anything of that sort — it’s entirely based on religious law”, a source at the chief Rabbinate explaining the ban on Temple Mount visits.
Number: 100,000, a Bar-Mitzvah boy's speech in favor of gay marriage received over 100,000 views on Youtube in less than a week.