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June 23, 2013

by Shmuel Rosner

June 23, 2013 | 3:59 am

US Secretary of State John Kerry Speaks at the
'Friends of Syria" meeting in Doha, June 22, 2013
Photo: REUTERS/ Mohammed Dabbous

The US

Headline: 'PM won’t ask US for exemption from defense cuts'

To Read: Law Professor and former Senior State Department advisor Rosa Brooks examines the legality of a possible US intervention from the perspective of International Law-

At the moment, "conscience shocking" as we may find the situation in Syria, the international law justifications for military intervention are weak. If the United States decides to intervene militarily in Syria, it will be taking a legal risk.

But this still doesn't tell us whether or not we should intervene in Syria. The ICISS report emphasized that to avoid abuse of the responsibility to protect, those arguing for military action premised on the concept needed to show that the intervention would be consistent with the traditional principles of  "just war" theory: "just cause," "right intention," "last resort," "proportional means," "reasonable prospects," and "right authority." Translated, that basically means we shouldn't use force in Syria unless we have genuinely humanitarian motives, we have genuinely exhausted non-military ways to resolve the crisis, we've done everything reasonably possible to garner international consensus, and -- perhaps most important of all -- we reasonably believe that our intervention will do the Syrian people more good than harm. If we can persuade the world that these criteria are satisfied, history will likely judge a U.S. military intervention kindly. If we can't, we'll be judged far more harshly by allies and enemies alike.

Quote: "If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you have no regime", Jon Stewart supporting free speech on Bassem Youssef's satire show in Egypt.

Number: 900, the estimated number of US troops stationed in Jordan bolstering its defense capabilities in face of a looming threat from neighboring Syria.

 

Israel

Headline: Israel slams UN report claiming Palestinian minors tortured in jail

To Read: TNR's Marc Tracy takes a look at the limits of influence which American Jews have on Israeli policy-

But this raises an extremely sticky problem, one that Cohen at best hints at in his tone, but one that sooner or later comes to bedevil every single well-intentioned American Jew who cares about Israel, no matter his or her political leanings. Namely: American Jews are not Israelis. One of Zionism’s frustrating paradoxes (frustrating, that is, for Zionists) is that the Jewish state is not the state of all Jews, meaning that diaspora Jews who feel a real attachment to Israel—an attachment only enhanced by the knowledge that, thanks to the Law of Return, they could become Israeli citizens—must constantly endeavor to shape the country’s trajectory while according it the respect they would accord any other democracy, which is that in democracies, only the voters get to decide the composition of their governments.

Quote:  “"If Secretary Kerry, whose efforts we support, were to pitch a tent halfway between here and Ramallah -- that's 15 minutes away driving time -- I'm in it, I'm in the tent", PM Netanhayu showing interest in starting negotiations.

Number: 20, the number of Syrian-Druze families that members of Israel's Druze community are asking Israel to take in.

 

The Middle East

Headline: Western, Arab states to step up Syrian rebel support

To Read: Doug Saunders believes that the new Turkish protestors are very different from the secular Kemalists of Turkey's secularist tradition-

The Istanbul protesters are not going to form a major new political party – at least not yet. They are too few in number and too factionalized. And unlike Egypt or Syria, there is a small chance that the old secular party could adapt. (CHP leader Kemal Kilacdaroglu claims to be a reformer).

But it’s more likely that this movement will lie dormant until disgruntlement with the authoritarian secularists and the angry religious parties becomes a dominant voice in Turkey. Theirs is the anger of the future.

Quote: “Hamdallah discovered that the Palestinian Authority president wants him to serve as a yes-man with no powers. Abbas wanted a prime minister who would play no role and only carry out orders from the president’s office”, a Palestinian Authority source giving his explanation of the new Palestinian PM's resignation.

Number: 18, the number of months it would take Iran to build the bomb, according to the head of the Iran desk at Israel's ministry of strategic affairs.

 

The Jewish World

Headline: Chief Rabbi Metzger suspends himself

To Read: An Orthodox Jewish mother ponders about her son's Yarmulke and about whether it is the right decision to put his Jewishness out in the open (especially in light of her father's experiences in the holocaust)-

My father still enjoys being ethnically anonymous in a crowd. When he immigrated to the New World, he discovered that people are not very good at judging your racial origins by looking at your face. So that if you do not put out any obvious signs, people will not guess that you are a Jew, and you can listen to work colleagues make anti-Semitic small talk without being afraid.

For my father, wearing a yarmulka means the private world, the home. It means that you trust the people you are with enough to expose yourself to them. To wear a yarmulka outside is like undressing your most private parts in public. When he was in Israel the first time, my father wore his yarmulka in the street. It was an extraordinary experience; he was able to bring his secret private space out into the open.

Quote: “I initially thought it was all in good fun. But 20 minutes into the show, I realized that promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes isn’t that fun. It’s one of the most objectionable things I’ve ever seen on television, and there are a lot of objectionable things on television”, NY congressman Steve Israel accusing “Princesses: Long Island” of promoting anti-Semitism.

Number: 4.2 million, the number of the 6 million Holocaust victims who have been identified by Yad Vashem.

 

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