To Read: Jacob Heilbrunn believes that military intervention would endanger US engagement with the world far more than President Obama's current policies-
By contrast, if the United States were to apply the unilateralist prescription of the hawks for remedying the world’s ills consistently, then their fear of isolation would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Which is another way of saying that it isn’t those counseling restraint that are imperiling America’s engagement with the rest of the world, but, rather, those with a proclivity for recommending a militarized form of confrontation, whenever and wherever possible.
Quote: “We need trust among allies and partners. Such trust now has to be built anew. This is what we have to think about”, German Chancellor commenting on the NSA spying scandal.
Number: 125, the number of State and national organizations which signed a letter asking for a probe into the NYPD's surveillance of Muslim communities.
To Read: Itzhak Rabin's right hand man Eitan Haber laments that Israel hasn't taken its peace with Jordan seriously enough, and that it has become a missed oportunity-
The mistake is that we failed to understand that 60%-70% of Jordan's residents are Palestinians, and every greengrocer from Tubas, in the Nablus district, has a relative who sells ceramics in Abdoun, or in the Seventh Circle in Amman, or in the refugee camp in Zarqa.
We have probably forgotten, or conveniently forgotten, that not only "all Jews are responsible for one another," and we didn't delve deeply into these tribal and personal relations. It turned out that any humiliation of a Palestinian in a Hebron roadblock humiliates those sitting in the small cafés of the al-Awda camp as well. The Palestinians in Jordan treat us Israelis almost just like their brothers in Nablus and Gaza and Hebron.
Quote: "no spin can change the fact that they (Palestinians) are continuing an anti-Israel campaign despite the (peace) talks and despite a clear promise not to do so. If they chose to do this, they should also state clearly that, if successful, (the initiative) will cost the jobs of 20,000-30,000 Palestinians", Israeli FM Spokesman Yigal Primor, commenting on the recent Palestinian push to promote boycotts.
Number: 70, the percentage of Israeli Jews who don't usually drive on Shabbat, according to a new poll.
The Middle East
To Read: Shashank Joshi thinks that the US could easily ignore the recent Saudi threats and tantrums-
Some Saudi commentators, such as royal adviser Nawaf Obaid, suggest that Saudi Arabia might look to Arab allies to shore up its security. This is fanciful. Earlier Saudi efforts to bring fellow monarchies Jordan and Morocco into the Gulf Cooperation Council failed miserably, as have all efforts at political union. And even if they agreed on policy, the Gulf militaries would struggle to work together in a war. Greater Arab cooperation might supplement U.S. power, but can’t supplant it.
Where the Saudis have leverage, it is hard for them to use it without hurting themselves. Only last year, Saudi Arabia and U.S. intelligence services worked closely to foil an al-Qaeda bomb plot in the Arabian Peninsula. Ending such cooperation would make the Saudis more vulnerable, even as al-Qaeda’s regional affiliates are gaining new footholds.
Quote: “The level of the challenge it [Iran] faces today is unlike any other moment since the Iran-Iraq War", Ex Mossad Chief, Meir Dagan, commenting on the effects of the western sanctions on Iran.
Number: 1000 tonnes, the estimated size of Syria's chemical arsenal.
The Jewish World
Headline: Jews flee Turkey over anti-Semitism
To Read: Nurit Baytch offers a rebuttal to Ron Unz's controversial piece on overrepresentation of Jews in Harvard-
In “The Myth of American Meritocracy,” Ron Unz, the former publisher of The American Conservative, claimed that Harvard discriminates against non-Jewish white and Asian students in favor of Jewish students. I shall demonstrate that Unz's conclusion that Jews are over-admitted to Harvard was erroneous, as he relied on faulty assumptions and spurious data: Unz substantially overestimated the percentage of Jews at Harvard while grossly underestimating the percentage of Jews among high academic achievers, when, in fact, there is no discrepancy, as my analysis will show. In addition, Unz's arguments have proven to be untenable in light of a recent survey of incoming Harvard freshmen conducted by The Harvard Crimson, which found that students who identified as Jewish reported a mean SAT score of 2289, 56 points higher than the average SAT score of white respondents.
Quote: “The proportion of anti-Semitism in Hungary is higher than in other countries. The declarations are there. Now let’s see what happens”, Andras Kovacs, who heads the Jewish Studies and Nationalism programs at Central European University in Budapest, commenting on the Hungarian government's remarks on anti-Semitism.
Number: 5,500, the number of people who signed a petition against banning circumcision in France.