To Read: According to Max Fisher, there might be a lesson to learn from AIPAC's recent failure and from (the much less influential) Invisible Children's success-
And that's exactly the point: in the common telling about how lobbying shapes U.S. foreign policy, a handful of well-connected interest groups are often said to secretly pull the strings in Washington, with AIPAC typically portrayed as the most shadowy and powerful of them all. Typically, though, AIPAC has public opinion on its side; in this case, it very much did not. The group's failure on Syria, and Invisible Children's unlikely but staggering successes on the Lord's Resistance Army, should help to dispel that version of how Washington works.
Quote: "It's incumbent upon them over the next 24 to 48 hours to persuade folks like me and others that the course of action they want to follow is a sound one. I think ... because Congress had to push the administration into the sanctions regime in the first place, there is a degree of skepticism. But from my standpoint I'm certainly open to listening", Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate's, Foreign Relations Committee, on the White House's campaign against new Iran sanctions
Number: 51, the record-high percentage of Americans who disapprove of President Obama's performance.
Headline: US knew of settlement construction plan
To Read: According to Haviv Rettig Gur, the Knesset might quietly be on the verge of doing some revolutionary stuff-
But there is also a clear consciousness of a mainstream liberal consensus, for the first time unencumbered by the political obstacles raised in the past by haredi parties. This consensus has shown it can deliver unprecedented funds for Arab socioeconomic development, strengthen the status of women, expand access to marriage and break monopolies in state religious services. With surprisingly little fanfare or even much protest, the Knesset may, at long last, be entering a transformative moment of political reform.
Quote: "I will not be seen to be badmouthing the IDF. Anyone who's done reserve duty in the past 20 years knows there are places from which to cut. Any brigadier-general makes more money than me as well as the prime minister", Finance Minister Yair Lapid commenting on the proposed IDF budget cuts.
Number: 26, Netanyahu is the 26th most powerful person in the world (at least according to Forbes).
The Middle East
To Read: According to some former US officers whom Eli Lake talked to, Iran is getting better at hiding their nuclear activities-
Western intelligence agencies have had great success in the past sleuthing out Iran’s undeclared nuclear facilities. But the Iranians have gotten better at hiding their tracks, according to some current and retired United States intelligence officers who say it could prove very difficult for the world to catch Iran again if it tries to build a nuclear weapon in secret.
Quote: “The situation is somewhat more complicated because there have already been open objections to that conference initiated by Russia and the United States, objections not only from various Syrian factions but also from the capitals of some neighboring and not only neighboring states”, Russian FM Sergei Lavrov complaining about the difficulty of organizing the Syria conference in Geneva.
Number: 50, the UN's $4.4b appeal for Syrian refugees is only 50% funded.
The Jewish World
To Read: Gatestone's Guy Milliere claims that anti-Semitism is becoming mainstream in France-
To say that the majority of the French population is anti-Semitic would be going too far. Polls show that a favorite public figure this year is popular Jewish singer Jean-Jacques Goldman. But it is clear that anti-Semitism is rapidly gaining ground in France. It is clear there is a real trivialization of anti-Semitism that goes way beyond some ugly sentences uttered by a standup comedian during a prime time TV talk show.
A few years ago, anti-Semitism in France was still hiding behind the mask of "anti-Zionism" and hostility to Israel. It is still true, but more often now, the targets are the Jews themselves, and the mask of "anti-Zionism" has fallen away.
Quote: “The days of waiting around to firefight individual attacks on brit milah are over”, Philip Carmel, European policy adviser for the European Jewish Congress, commenting on the formation of a new pro-circumcision task force.
Number: 32, the number of Jewish graves which were desecrated in South Africa.