Jewish Journal


December 19, 2013

by Shmuel Rosner

December 19, 2013 | 4:05 am

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks during
his interview with Reuters in Ramallah August 11, 2013.
Photo by Reuters/Mohamad Torokman

The US

Headline: U.S. Senate panel passes measure to ease aid to Egypt

Read: Zachary Keck does not understand why the US is concerned about hypothetical nuclear arsenals more than about existing ones-

In general, the U.S. foreign policy community does not seem overly concerned with existing nuclear stockpiles, particularly when compared with its excessive concerns over the hypothetical ones. This is nothing new: when China was approaching a nuclear weapons capability, U.S. administrations actively contemplated using military force to prevent it from crossing the threshold. Four years after Beijing tested its first nuclear weapon, however, America advanced a treaty that enshrined China’s legal right to possess nuclear weapons. More recently, many of the most strident hawks on Iran simultaneously oppose U.S.-Russian nuclear arms reduction efforts, increased budgets to enhance U.S. nuclear security and any efforts to deemphasize nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy.

Quote: "The law as written comes close to violating the letter [of the Geneva agreement] since the sanctions go into effect immediately unless the administration immediately waives them. There is no question the legislation violates the spirit of the Geneva agreement and it would undoubtedly be seen by the Iranians that way, giving ammunition to hard-liners and other spoilers looking to derail further progress", Colin Kahl, who stepped down in 2011 as the Pentagon's top Mideast policy official, on a new sanctions bill draft that has been circulating among members of the US Senate.

Number: 59, the percentage of Americans who approve of the interim agreement with Iran according to an AP-GFK poll.



Headline: Palestinians ready to extend talks with Israel

To Read: According to Uri Sadot, the concerns that often heard about Israel's 'demographic time bomb' are inflated-

There are countless reasons for Israelis and Palestinians to seek peace, but a false demographic panic should not be one of them. Israel still has many years and policy tools to prevent the disappearance of a Jewish majority in the areas under Israeli sovereignty. The vices involved with ruling another people are many, and the benefits peace would bring are innumerable -- but the motivation to resolve the conflict should not stem from the threat of ticking demographic time bombs.

Quote: “Canada has previously called for Falk to be fired for his numerous outrageous and anti-Semitic statements and these comments underscore once more the complete and total absurdity of his service as a UN Special Rapporteur”, Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird calling for the dismissal of Richard Falk after Falk's accusations regarding Israel's 'genocidal intent'.

Number: 2, the number of armed clashes between the IDF and Palestinians in the West Bank since yesterday.


The Middle East

Headline: Egypt's Morsi charged with 'terrorist acts'

To Read: Harvard's Noah Feldman summarizes the Arab Spring's 2013-

The overarching lesson of the last year is that bringing down regimes is much easier than building new, democratic ones. The next time established democracies face a democratic opening in a previously autocratic region, they shouldn’t blithely expect success to come naturally. Rather, they should actively provide incentives for success and consequences for failure.

Quote: "Such rhetorical statements affect the atmosphere and do not make the situation any calmer", Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov criticizing Bashar Assad's talk about re-election.

Number: 24, According to Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif, Iran can resume 20% Uranium enrichment in less than 24 hours.


The Jewish World

Headline:  NRA official invokes Holocaust in NJ gun safety debate

To Read: Rabbi Donniel Hartman muses about the 'Should we Boycott the Boycotters?' dilemma-

In North America, Jewish institutions face a different struggle. It is perfectly legitimate for institutions with a particular ideology to foster that ideology and not offer a platform to those positions in which it sees no value, not to speak of harm. That said, it is important to recognize that those institutions which are attempting to reach the more marginally or non-affiliated face today a particular and daunting challenge. This challenge is neither to “protect” our impressionable youth from harmful ideas, nor to equip them with the tools to defend Israel. Those who believe so are on a boat that left the port over a decade ago. The front line is whether our youth will care at all, be it about Israel or Judaism. When we attempt to generate criteria for loyalty or litmus tests for Israel supporters, we cause the unaffiliated or not strongly affiliated to question the grounds for their loyalty. When we silence certain voices within our institutions, they question the very value of these institutions.

Quote: “I started reading about what actually happens in circumcision, and I realized that I couldn’t do that to my son”, the Israeli mother who was fined by Israel's rabbinical courts for not circumcising her son (and who is now appealing to the supreme court about the matter).  

Number: 8-8, the result of a Bavarian city council's vote from last week on a proposal to revoke the honorary citizenship of Adolf Hitler (the final vote was 21-0, after the councilmen heard a testimony from a Holocaust survivor).

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