Jewish Journal


December 3, 2013

by Shmuel Rosner

December 3, 2013 | 4:11 am

US President Barack Obama
Photo by Reuters

The US

Headline: Iran Doesn't Want Afghanistan to Sign US Deal

To Read: David Kenner takes a look at the centrality of non-proliferation in Obama's foreign policy agenda-

The drive for a nuclear-free world, in fact, has been a central thread of Obama's foreign policy views for his entire adult life. It was the topic of his first public foray into the debate over America's role in the world as a university student, a subject that he turned into his calling card in the U.S. Senate, and an issue that he raised in his first months as president, where he told a crowd in Prague that he would work toward "a world without nuclear weapons." Now, it may just be the cause that defines his administration's foreign policy legacy.

Quote:  “It goes without saying that at a time when the scourge of global anti-Semitism is on the rise, it is more important than ever for Israel to have a strong voice that can be heard everywhere. This is a particularly welcome development as we work to end anti-Israel bias in the UN system”, John Kerry commenting on Israel's receiving a seat at the Human Rights Council advisory board.

Number: 17, the number of positive statements about the Geneva deal which the White House managed to collect in Congress.



Headline: Israeli criticism of Iran deal ‘frustrating’ White House

To Read: Ron Kampeas writes about Israel's controversial new Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer-

Dermer’s defenders acknowledge he has a hill to climb in overcoming the mistrust. They also note that some of the problems are endemic to the relationship. “It is a mixed bag,” says a former diplomat who worked with Dermer when he was Netanyahu’s top aide. “He’s not as bad as the Israeli media make him out; he’s not ruining the relations with the United States. But he was there when some of the problems were created. He was not just collateral damage.”

Quote:  "There's a collapse of the sanctions against Iran, what are we to do? Send faxes to the White House? Seventy-five years ago, before we had a state, the Jews tried to hold backroom talks with [then-US president Franklin D.] Roosevelt, and it did not really help the Jews of Europe", Netanyahu aides responding to former PM Ehud Olmert's criticism of Netanyahu's public battle against the Iran deal.

Number: 40, the number of days of community service a high ranking IDF officer received for sexually assaulting 3 of his subordinates.


The Middle East

Headline: Deadly suicide bombing hits central Damascus

To Read: Henry Kissenger and George Schultz imagine what a long term agreement with Iran should look like-

American diplomacy now has three major tasks: to define a level of Iranian nuclear capacity limited to plausible civilian uses and to achieve safeguards to ensure that this level is not exceeded; to leave open the possibility of a genuinely constructive relationship with Iran; and to design a Middle East policy adjusted to new circumstances.

Some adjustments are inherent in the inevitable process of historic evolution. But we must avoid an outcome in which Iran, freed from an onerous sanctions regime, emerges as a de facto nuclear power leading an Islamist camp, while traditional allies lose confidence in the credibility of American commitments and follow the Iranian model toward a nuclear-weapons capability, if only to balance it.

Quote: “I have not said that a head of state is a suspect. I was quoting the fact-finding mission, which said that based on their facts, responsibility points at the highest level”, Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, clarifying her comments about Bashar Assad's role in mass Human Rights violations.

Number: 12, Oxfam has launched a '12 days of giving' appeal to help Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon survive the harsh winter conditions..


The Jewish World

Headline: Reform biennial opening to outsiders in bid to revitalize movement

To Read:  Joshua Berman examines the evolution of the notion of 'Jewish law' over the ages-

In invoking law, or in equating halakhah with law, observant Jews tend to have in mind a specific view of what law is and how it operates. That view is captured in phrases like “uphold the law,” “comply with the law,” “the letter of the law,” “against the law.” All of these usages share a basic assumption: namely, that the law in question is a written formulation and is to be found in a law code.

And yet this very notion—that by “law” we mean written law found in a law code—is itself a relative newcomer in the history of legal thought. Once upon a time, the norms of society—even of Jewish society— were not written. There were no codes.

Quote: "Due to the drought, as unfortunately we are not being blessed this year with timely rain, we are asking our country's residents to add a rain prayer to their prayers… And we hope that the prayer of the high priest on Yom Kippur, asking for a year blessed with rain, will be answered", Israel's chief Rabbis asking Israelis to pray against the drought Israel is in.

Number: 4, the number of Menorahs which were vandalized in Budapest.

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