To Read: Brooking's Mike O'Hanlon tries to figure out whether there's a realistic way the US could stop the war in Syria and tries to imagine what an eventual peace plan might look like-
Given the difficulty of the mission and the need for strong leadership, there would be no substitute for some American presence. However, the United States should commit to such a deployment only if other countries, including Arab states and Turkey, provide the majority of peacekeepers. We should seek international buy-in on the strategy now, in fact, before moving to any direct U.S. involvement in the conflict.
Quote: "They are going to be upset—we can live with that. We are learning from our enemies now how to treat the United States", Mustafa Alani, a veteran Saudi security analyst with the Geneva-based Gulf Research Center, commenting on Saudi Arabia's anger at Obama's Syria and Iran policies.
Number: 61, the percentage of Americans who 'trust the American People' to make judgments facing the country.
To Read: Tablet's Yair Rosenberg takes a look at four ways in which the UN has been unfair to Israel over the years-
From peacekeeping missions to food aid, the United Nations does many good things in the world. Its treatment of Israel, however, is not one of those things. In the words of Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee responsible for the Middle East, Israel is “the perennial punching bag at the United Nations.” It is subject to “a barrage of obsessive, unbalanced, and relentless criticism,” says Susan Rice, who served as President Obama’s ambassador to the U.N. for five years. It faces “an overwhelming sense of hostility,” adds Richard Grenell, who served as the spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N. for eight years under George W. Bush.
Quote: “At a time when Iran is trying to get closer to the US, it sent an agent to try to gather intelligence in order to carry out a terror attack against the American Embassy in Israel. This is just one further example of Iran’s policy of doublespeak and further proof that Iran’s words do not match its actions”, A member of the prime minister’s delegation to New York commenting on the Iranian spy affair.
Number: 69, the Knesset is going to hold a special session at Auschwitz in January, exactly 69 years of the camp's liberation.
The Middle East
To Read: David Horovitz reminds us that Rouhani serves at the discretion of Iran's supreme leader Khamenei and that the President's agenda is the regime's agenda-
Khamenei’s advancement of Rouhani, however, is looking increasingly like a masterstroke. Whether the supreme leader had this all mapped out, anticipating that Rouhani would first capture the people’s vote at home, and then sally forth to such spectacular effect overseas, or whether he has been pleasantly surprised by Rouhani’s capacity to so rapidly remake the Islamic Republic’s international image without a single substantive concession on the nuclear front, the result has surely exceeded even his most optimistic visions
Quote: "Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues have been saying since 1991, and you can check your records, that Iran is six months away from a nuclear weapon. We’re 22 years after that and they are still saying we’re six months away from a nuclear weapon", Iran's FM mocking Benjamin Netanyahu's warnings.
Number: $27b, a cargo of about $27 billion has sat unclaimed at a Moscow airport for over 5 years, with rumors circling that it could be the lost fortune of Saddam Hussein or Muammar Qaddafi.
The Jewish World
To Read: Malka Simkovich writes about traditional interpretations of the book of Genesis which question the idea that the first man was strictly male-
Since the word adam is not used previously in the Bible, there is no evidence that this word must denote a male. Indeed, the explanatory phrase, “male and female He created them,” could be read as clarifying what the nature of this adam actually was.
To this end, a number of rabbinic passages preserve what may have been a popular interpretation of this passage, which indicates that the first human actually comprised of both genders.
Quote: "[Rouhani] engaged in the more subtle form of Holocaust revisionism, minimizing it by accusing the Jewish survivors of taking vengeance on the Palestinians in fulfilling their 2,000-year-old dream of returning to their homeland, Israel. This was a gratuitous swipe at the survivors", Abraham Foxman rebuking the Iranian President's Holocaust comments.
Number: $5m, the amount of money William Rapfogel, former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, is charged of stealing.
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