To Read: John Mueller takes a look at the history of polling on the matter and determines that there is no reason to talk about a 'surge of US isolationism'-
An examination of the trends in a poll question designed to tap “isolationism” does not suggest a surge of militarism. Instead, it documents something of a rise in public wariness regarding military intervention beginning with the Vietnam War and, thereafter, a fair amount of steadiness punctured by spike-like ups and downs in response to current events, including 9/11 and its ensuing wars.
Quote: “More than ever,” Kerry added, “if Prime Minister Netanyahu decides that it is in the best interests of the people of Israel to make reasonable compromises for peace, he will need to know that you have his back”, John Kerry asking members of AIPAC to 'give Netanyahu their back'.
Number: 500,000, Each day, according to the leaked NSA presentation, the NSA collects contacts from an estimated 500,000 buddy lists on live-chat services as well as from the inbox displays of Web-based e-mail accounts.
To Read: Jeffrey Goldberg talks to Yossi Klein Halevi about Israeli Settlers and centrists (following his new book 'Like Dreamers')-
So, reality has discredited both the right and left. What comes next? The next great ideological movement in Israeli history is centrism, Halevi said. “The Israeli centrist believes two things: A. the Arab world refuses to recognize our legitimacy and our existence; and B. we can’t continue occupying them. I believe passionately that the left is correct about the occupation, and I believe the right is correct in its understanding of the intentions of the Middle East toward the Jewish state.”
I argued that “centrism” possesses neither the magnetic power of socialist transformation nor the messianic qualities implicit in the settlement enterprise. Halevi disagreed. “Centrism is taking a people that hasn’t functioned as a people, hasn’t functioned as a nation, for 2,000 years -- that is in some ways an anti-people, who have so many different ideologies and ways of being -- and learning how to function as a working nation. That’s a large cause.”
(We actually have an interesting exchange with Klein-Halevi coming up soon)
Quote: “I do feel there are many people that disguise their negative feelings toward Jews, disguise it as anti-Israel criticism, political criticism, when in fact what they really mean is that they don’t like Jews”, Woody Allen speaking up about Israel at a press conference for his new movie.
Number: 1000, the number of Israeli workers which pharmaceutical giant Teva is going to lay off, causing quite some controversy and surprise in Israel.
The Middle East
To Read: According to CFR fellow Ray Takeyh, seeing that Iran is still lead by its hard-line conservative National Security Council (which still has nuclear ambitions), the west should not accept any more half steps and lies-
The newly empowered conservatives at the council’s helm also believe that Iran needs a nuclear capability to enhance its influence. As Husseini-Tash noted in 2006 during a rare public appearance, “The nuclear program is an opportunity for us to make endeavors to acquire a strategic position and consolidate our national identity.” But they also recognize the importance of offering confidence-building measures to an incredulous international community. All of this is not to suggest that Iran is inclined to suspend its nuclear program or relinquish the critical components of such a program. They are, however, more open to dialogue than the Ahmadinejad government was. Moreover, they stress that a reasonable Iran can assuage U.S. concerns about its nuclear development without having to abandon the program.
Quote: "We should not make a mistake in knowing the main enemy, who in the present time is global arrogance and the criminal Zionist network", Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei reminding his people who the real enemy is.
Number: 1.2 million, the number of Muslim pilgrims who participated in the devil-stoning ritual in Mecca.
The Jewish World
To Read: Ira Stroll examines JFK's special attitude toward the Jews-
As the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination approaches, we Jews have our own special reasons to mourn.
The conventional community memory of Kennedy would be enough by itself. JFK overcame the legacy of his father, President Franklin Roosevelt’s notoriously appeasement-minded ambassador to Britain on the eve of World War II, Joseph Kennedy, to build a warm relationship with American Jews.
Quote: “With all the influence that all you gentlemen have in the Negro community … [you] really have to concentrate on what I think the Jewish community has done on educating their children, on making them stay in school, and all the rest”, JFK asking black civil-rights leaders to learn from the Jews (from a taped meeting quoted in Stroll's piece).
Number: 10, the number of Jews who were arrested for dancing too fervently at the Temple Mount yesterday morning.