To Read: Robert W Merry examines the 'default foreign policy position' behind Obama's decision to do something in Syria-
President Obama's June 13 decision to send light weapons and ammunition to Syrian rebels reflects a fundamental reality in the dialectic of American foreign policy. Within this administration and indeed throughout official Washington, humanitarian interventionism is the inevitable default position for policy makers and political insiders. There is no intellectual counterweight emanating from either party that poses a significant challenge to this powerful idea that America must act to salve the wounds of humanity wherever suffering is intense and prospects for a democratic emergence are even remotely promising.
Quote: “The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity,” Kerry said. “By any standard, it is inexcusable. And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable”, John Kerry discussing Syria at yesterday's press conference.
Number: 11,660, with personnel reductions underway, the Pentagon at the end of fiscal 2013 will have 11,660 fewer civilian employees than it had planned.
To Read: Emily Hauser writes about how small things like joint Israeli-Palestinian police patrols are vital for the Peace process-
If any “peace process,” anywhere on earth, is to be successful, it will be made up of a handful of splashy events like those at which the likes of John Kerry or Martin Indyk preside, and a million smaller moments without which the big events will be meaningless and ultimately fail. The enmity, power imbalance, and sheer ignorance between Israelis and Palestinians are staggering and color every aspect of daily life, for people in positions of power as well as the average citizen. Working together to catch bad guys might very well serve as one of those crucial smaller moments in which some of those issues can begin to be addressed.
Quote: “Let’s say this is the reality. Then I think that if the city does this well and invests the resources needed, these children can benefit from this, because they’ll be in a place they’re wanted, where their needs are met”, Yael Gvirtz, from the Eliphelet Association – Citizens for Refugee Children, which assists the children of asylum-seekers in Israel, actually welcoming the controversial reports about segregated schools for African immigrants and refugees in Tel-Aviv.
Number: 150,000, the number of Israeli first graders who are starting school today.
The Middle East
To Read: Ayaan Hirsi Ali lists several genuine changes in the Middle East which give reason for optimism about the Arab Spring-
The emergence of hitherto oppressed interest groups cannot be reversed. Women, religious minorities, and even homosexuals remain highly vulnerable in the Middle East and North Africa. But such groups are gaining strength through organization. If you are a woman who has been raped, you are better off going to a women’s group than to your local despot. Feminism, in particular, has been one of the surprise winners of the past three years in Egypt.
Quote: "There will definitely be perilous consequences for the region", Abbas Araqchi, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, commenting on a possible US intervention in Syria.
Number: 70, citizen journalists account for over 70% of media related deaths in Syria.
The Jewish World
To Read: A JPost article takes a look at the discrepancy between Bar Kokhba's symbolic role in modern Israeli public life and between what is actually known about the historical figure-
He was not a student at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav. Nor was he only a failed messiah condemned often in rabbinic literature for betraying “Torah-true” Jews. Bar Kokhba’s life should inspire us – and his failed rebellion should be a warning that messianic activism can often be a dangerous phenomenon. Let us move beyond our ideological conceptions of Bar Kokhba and discover the heroic and pious Jew behind the veneer of our preconceptions – and our misconceptions.
Quote: “I had to deal with anti-Semitism because at that time a lot of the trust departments I dealt with didn’t have Jews. I would take clients out to lunch, and after a drink they would start on the Jews. I would say nothing, because I learned that from my mother. But that afternoon, by runner, I would send them a greeting card that said, ‘Roses are red, violets are bluish, in case you don’t know, I am Jewish.’ I would sign it, ‘Enjoyed lunch, Mickie.’ I never lost a client and I never took any nonsense. I made a point and did it nicely”, a nice quote by Muriel “Mickie” Siebert, the first woman to become a member of the New York Stock Exchange, who has passed away at the age of 80.
Number: 50, According to the head of the special German prosecutors’ office that investigates Nazi crimes, a probe of 50 suspected former Auschwitz guards is near complete and may result in charges against many of them.
To Watch: If you're interested in the Western Wall story, don't miss the sales pitch by Minister Naftali Bennet, attempting to promote his newly created plaza-