Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
meets with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
at the defence ministry headquarters in Cairo
July 29, 2013 photo by REUTERS/Pedro Costa
Headline: How American Hopes for a Deal in Egypt Were Undercut
To Read: Leslie Gelb argues that the US should back the Egyptian generals-
Let’s get real and tamp down the moral posturing about democracy in Egypt. Freely elected President Morsi and his now-deposed Muslim Brotherhood government weren’t practicing democracy. They were co-opting the laws and slowly destroying all possible opposition. Besides, they were aligning with America’s jihadist enemies in Syria, Gaza, and elsewhere. Egypt’s military leaders, no democratic sweethearts either, are aligned with moderates, need Washington more than the Islamists, and back U.S. interests on the Suez Canal and Israel. Americans rightly can’t stand the military street slaughters. For sure, bloody casualties will mount. But the United States has some modest chance to influence the military in right directions. It has little or no chance of saving Egypt for democracy if the Islamists return to power.
Quote: "The worker bees [current State Department Employees] are frustrated. Everyone knows it's a coup. They recognize the reasons why we wouldn't call it a coup, but they also see the hypocrisy", one of several former State officials who are unpleased with the current US policy in Egypt.
Number: 69, the percentage of Americans who would feel their privacy was threatened if law enforcement began using drones armed with high tech cameras and recording equipment.
Headline: Polio vaccination campaign expands nationwide
To Read: Dore Gold examines the problematic inconsistency and injudiciousness of the EU's recent decisions concerning Israel-
The background to the EU's program with Israel is the need for Europe to improve its global competitiveness and increase jobs and economic growth on the continent after years of sluggish growth. The Horizon 2020 program is not a European handout to Israel, but a joint initiative by which Israel puts up funds by itself and receives 1.6 euros for joint research and development for every euro it puts in.
Because of its scientific prowess, Israel is the only non-European country to have been invited to take part in this program. The Europeans knew what they were doing by inviting Israel, which is no longer viewed as a country known only for its Jaffa oranges, as it was in the 1950s. Clearly, both sides benefit from this cooperation and both have much to lose by its politicization by EU bureaucrats in Brussels.
Quote: "The air is nice, the weather is good, the view is wonderful. I think this is most of the reason that people come here", Micha Drori, one of the many non-ideologically motivated West Bank settlers.
Number: 79, the percentage of Israeli Jews who don't believe that peace will come, according to a new poll.
The Middle East
Headline: EU to urgently review ties with Egypt
To Read: Shibley Telhami, a Brookings fellow who has been studying Arab public opinion, gives some interesting insights into unclear and complicated role of religion in the rise (and fall?) of Egyptian Islamism-
Arabs, like most people, have many contending collective identities, and the weight of each shifts over time; there is rarely a lasting equilibrium. Over the past decade, the rise in people identifying primarily as Muslim was not all or even mostly due to expanding Islamist aspirations. Instead, it resulted mainly from declining identification with the state, thanks to government failings on domestic and foreign policy. Also, the extraordinarily long tenures of individual leaders — Moammar Gaddafi ruled for 42 years and Mubarak for 30 — made it difficult for people to separate state from unpopular ruler. But a vote against something is not the same as a vote in favor of something else.
Quote: "(Nasrallah's) speech takes Lebanon into deeper involvement in the Syrian fire. It's a pity to squander the blood of the Lebanese in such a way", Lebanon's former PM accusing Hezbollah of dragging Lebanon into the Syrian mire.
Number: 18,000, the number of centrifuges Iran has, according to its outgoing nuclear chief.
The Jewish World
Headline: Anti-Semitism levels in Belgium highest since 2009
To Read: Rabbi David Wolpe writes disapprovingly about a recent crazy viral Bar-Mitzvah video-
Achh. I know I sound like an old curmudgeon. Watching this I thought the adjective ‘godless’ has rarely been more apt. I cannot help recalling the wise words of AJ Heschel — self-respect grows each time we are able to say ‘no’ to ourselves. This video is a “YES” to a child from all the people in his life who should be teaching him “no.” And that kind of education has consequences far beyond Sam Horowitz and his dancing Bar Mitzvah girls.
Quote: “It is obvious that Russia is oppressing the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in a manner similar to the ways in which the Soviet Union once oppressed the Jewish community”, Abraham Foxman standing up for Gay rights in Russia.
Number: 721,711, the updated number of Youtube hits for the Bar Mitzvah video Wolpe writes about.