To Read: Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns shares his view on the different ways America can promote democracy in today's Middle East-
Democratic reform can proceed in different ways and at different paces in different places in the region, but there won’t be a moderate outcome to the Arab Awakening over the next generation without it. Whether in countries in post-revolutionary transition, or countries trying to stay ahead of the wave of change through evolutionary reform, the United States consistently emphasizes a common set of principles: respect for the rule of law; peaceful and inclusive political processes; protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens -- including women and minorities and people of all faiths; and steady focus on building strong democratic institutions, real checks and balances, and vibrant civil societies.
We try to hold leaders and parties of every political shape to these standards. When it comes to building sustainable democracies, the most consequential distinction is not between Islamists and secularists, but between those who embrace pluralism based on rule of law, and those who seek to impose their own vision on others. All parties need to engage in the political process and not sit on the sidelines. Those in power have a special responsibility to make clear that force is no substitute for politics, and that a majority is no substitute for dialogue and consensus. And all must condemn and prevent violence, which truly poisons politics.
Quote: “He told us that, if the U.S. would sell them natural gas, then he would buy it today, and he wouldn’t have to buy it from anywhere else. That's a way we can shore up an ally in an unstable region that we need as an ally”, Rep. Lee Terry, member of a congressional coalition of current and former lawmakers, reporting about their meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.
Number: 45, the percentage of Americans who believe that Muslims face a lot of discrimination.
Headline: Netanyahu backs Lapid’s budget slashes
To Read: Alan Dershowitz responds to the extremists who booed him at the JPost conference-
This noisy clack boos disrespectfully when they hear the name of President Obama, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or anyone else who favors a two-state solution that does not compromise Israel's security. I have now joined this distinguished company of people who get booed for advocating territorial compromise in the interest of peace. I was booed and jeered at the Jerusalem Post Conference on April 28, 2013 when I proposed an idea for restarting peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
Quote: "What is optimism? We have to act. We can’t wait for things to happen of their own accord. We have an anomaly, and we have to change it. For the past 40 years in Hebron, the Jew can vote and the Arab can’t. How long can that last? It’s not possible. There has to be a major effort to end it, in a final status agreement, an interim agreement, without surrendering our security. That’s what has to be done. In any case, that’s what I would do. I said it out loud, too. Maybe that’s why they didn’t vote for me”, former Likud minister Dan Meridor, discussing the idea of optimism about the peace process.
Number: 19, the percentage of the residents of Jerusalem who define themselves as secular.
The Middle East
Headline: Syria cut off from global internet
To Read: As Turkish PM Erdogan prepares for his visit in Washington, The Middle East Institute's Sonar Gaptay and James F. Jeffreys take a look at the issues at hand-
More broadly, the United States would do well to leverage Turkey's unique strengths in the region, stemming from its military capabilities, relatively stable democratic system, economic success, middle-class values, and cultural and social influence. Yet Ankara's interests are not always the same as Washington's, and Turkey wants to be a full partner with the United States rather than a surrogate. Therefore, any joint efforts should be based on careful, case-by-case assessment.
Quote: “pretty much every town and city has an area controlled by the government, an area controlled by the opposition and an area of ongoing fighting”, United Nations’ chief official for humanitarian matters, Valerie Amos, discussing the problematic challenges of providing aid to the Syrian people.
Number: 6.8 million, the number of Syrians (out of 20 million) who require humanitarian assistance according to Undersecretary Amos.
The Jewish World
To Read: Israel Drazin reviews a new book on Israel's deeply flawed rabbinical marriage and divorce system-
Rabbinic courts have violated the wife’s right to privacy by publicizing the name of the man with whom she committed adultery. If a husband refuses to grant a divorce, although still married, he can take a second wife, but his first wife remains chained to him, unable to marry. Many rabbis refuse to believe any woman. Women are not allowed to serve as judges in the rabbinical courts. Women are like the blacks “in Jim Crow South in the 1940s … on trial before all-white jury and judge.”
Quote: “I saw a person who understood that dialogue is the way. It didn’t look to me like this was a person who would dictate rules that would prevent his daughters and my granddaughters from celebrating their bat mitzvah at the Western Wall”, Anat Hoffman, sharing her impressions of her meeting with Naftali Bennett, the first Israeli government minister to meet with WOW since 1988.
Number: 93, the age of the Nazi criminal, Hans Lipschis, who was arrested on Monday.