To Read: Aaron David Miller writes about the effects that the US’ convenient geographical location has always had on its attitude toward foreign policy:
The luxury of America's circumstances -- particularly its physical security and detachment from the world's ethnic and tribal quarrels -- has given Americans an optimistic view of their future. And it has produced a strain in U.S. foreign policy that seeks to do good across the globe.
That optimism can often obscure the grimmer realities of international politics. Americans never really knew the mentality of the small power -- the fear of living on the knife's edge, the trauma of being without, and the viciousness of ethnic and tribal struggle.
Quote: ““We have confidence in our country, the United States of America, to maintain its tradition of protecting minorities and all people subjected to hate or persecution”, Salam Al-Marayati, Head of the LA-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, addressing fears about the possible backlash if it is found out that the Boston bombings were perpetrated by Islamists.
Number: 30, the percentage of Americans who said they are ‘satisfied with the way things are going in the United State at this time’, in a poll taken right before the Boston bombings.
To Read: The Washington Institute’s David Pollock believes that Israel and the Syrian rebel army have a lot to gain from each other and should therefore cooperate:
Israel and the Syrian opposition don’t have much in common, but they do share some important mutual enemies, namely Hezbollah and Iran, both of which are fighting furiously to save Bashar al-Assad’s government.
This convergence of interests provides an opening for America to quietly strike a deal between Israel and the leadership of the Syrian opposition: Israel should agree to refrain from arming proxies inside Syria to protect its border; and the Syrian opposition should work to keep extremist groups like Hezbollah and Jabhat al-Nusra and other affiliates of Al Qaeda far away from the Israeli frontier. This would demonstrate the Syrian opposition’s bona fides to potential Western supporters and dissuade Israel from intervening or arming allies in Syria.
Quote: “It is anomalous that world opinion should only criticize Israel’s response to hostility and should not actively seek to bring an end to the Arab hostility which is the root cause of the tension”, Albert Einstein’s undelivered Israeli Independence day speech, 1955.
Number: $220m, the amount of money the Pentagon has requested for additional Iron Dome defense batteries for Israel in 2014.
The Middle East
To Read: A JPost editorial claims that Fayyad’s alternative vision for Palestine was destined to fail because his public hatred of Israel was never on par with what is expected from a Palestinian leader:
Fayyad’s departure from Palestinian politics is significant not just because it ends hopes, at least for the time being, of an alternative approach to resolving the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The incident also reveals the unsettling reality that to truly succeed in Palestinian politics it is not enough to work for the betterment of the Palestinian people, one must be a devoted and preferably violent enemy of Israel.
Quote: “But Syria continues to be the most difficult, the most troubling crisis we face today. I have been a commissioner more than three years. This is the crisis that makes me lose my sleep”, Kristalina Georgieva, European commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, in an interview for Al-Monitor.
Number: $4.8b, the size of the IMF loan to Egypt which might be stalled because of lack of agreement between the Egyptian government and its opposition.
The Jewish World
To Read: Political Scientist and historian Richard Wolin criticizes the world’s foremost Egyptologist for blaming modern anti-semitism (and even the holocaust) on the Jews-
Assmann's argument is often scattershot and filled with qualifications—so many that if one took all of them at face value, there would remain virtually nothing of substance. But upon closer scrutiny, what Assmann essentially describes in his writings is an improbable and presumptuous theory of historico-theological "blowback." In his view, it was the ancient Hebrews who, by virtue of the "Mosaic distinction" and the cultural semantics of intolerance they unleashed, conceived the notion of holy war: a divinely ordained doctrine of total annihilation. Tragically, it was the same cultural semantics of intolerance that, at a later point, returned to smite the Jews themselves in the most prodigious and far-reaching instance of mass murder ever recorded: the Holocaust.
Quote: "These communities were dispersed in the aftermath of the Second World War, and as the older generation passes away these stories will be lost", Fiyaz Mughal, director of the charity Faith Matters and co-author of the accompanying booklet to a new exhibition about Muslims who saved Jews during WW2.
Number: 40, the percent decrease of North-American Jews aged 13-18 who travel to Israel.
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