John Kerry yesterday at Congress, Photo by Reuters
Headline: Secretary of State John Kerry urges against new Iran sanctions
To Read: Charles Krauthammer writes about Obama's constant fear of using the word 'terrorism':
But if it is nevertheless found to be Islamist, will Obama use the word? His administration obsessively adopts language that extirpates any possible connection between Islam and terrorism. It insists on calling jihadists “violent extremists” without ever telling us what they’re extreme about. It even classified the Fort Hood shooting, in which the killer screamed “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered 13 people, as “workplace violence.”
In a speech just last month in Jerusalem, the president referred to the rising tide of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists as the rise of “non-secular parties.” Non-secular? Isn’t that a euphemism for “religious,” i.e., Islamist?
Yet Obama couldn’t say the word. This is no linguistic triviality. He wouldn’t be tripping over himself to avoid any reference to Islam if it was insignificant.
Quote: "Fayyad did not want to be seen as someone who has been imposed on the Palestinians and Fatah by the Americans. On the other hand, Abbas cannot afford to be seen as someone who succumbed to U.S. pressure", Fatah leader Sufian Abu-Zayda about how American 'stupidity' helped bring about the Fayyad resignation.
Number: 59, the percentage of Iranian Americans who support Barack Obama's Iran policy.
Headline: U.S. Arms Deal With Israel and 2 Arab Nations Is Near
To Read: Ariel Sharon's former chief of staff Dov Weisglass writes about Israel's missed opportunity with Abbas and Fayyad:
These two lived up to their principles – Fayyad in the implementation and Abbas in the backing – and these two are the "no partner" (or the "irrelevants") of the previous Israeli government (the current government has yet to take the time to deal with it).
Fayyad's retirement from Palestinian national life is bad for the PA and bad for Israel. The PA without him, and likely soon without Abbas either, will be different. The Israeli stance that "there is no one to talk to" may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Quote: "We are not aggressive. We don't seek military confrontation, but we are prepared to defend ourselves if the need arises and I think people know that what I say is both measured and serious", PM Netanyahu about the prospects of Israel attacking Syria.
Number: 15,859, the number of trucks carrying materials humanitarian projects in Gaza since 2010.
The Middle East
Headline: Egypt's Opposition Split Over Election Boycott
To Read: According to Leon Wieseltier, Obama has crossed his own 'red line' by not responding to Syria's use of chemical weapons-
One hears of debates at the White House about its Syrian equanimity, which is finally becoming a bit of an embarrassment, but the impression the White House gives is rather of a bureaucratic enforcement of consensus and a dogmatic adherence to the sagacity at the top. In the matter of a response to chemical weapons the president is no doubt haunted by the war in Iraq. That war may have the ironic consequence of exchanging one kind of American credulity for another: the impossibility of not believing in such a threat will be replaced by the impossibility of believing in such a threat. We will have lurched from one anti-empirical mode to another. I suggest that the president worry less about Baghdad in 2003 and more about Halabja in 1988. The arc of history is shorter than he would like it to be, and it is bending.
Quote: “Our duty, as the Ministry of Education, is to prepare the new generation to confront the enemy and the occupation because they're the generation of victory, liberation and confrontation”, Mutassim Minawi, director of public relations at the Gazan Ministry of Education, talking about the military training program for Gaza's schoolchildren.
Number: 1.3 million, the number of Syrians who have tried to seek for refuge abroad since the beginning of the Syrian crisis.
The Jewish World
Headline: UC Berkley students pass Israel divestment bill
To Read: A new book by economists Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein examines the role of early Jewish literacy in story of Jewish success and achievement:
But are the predictions of the economic theory consistent with what really happened to the Jews during the first millennium? The historical evidence assembled in our book says yes. The implementation of this new religious norm within Judaism during the Talmud era (third to sixth centuries) determined two major patterns from 70 C.E. to the early 7th century.
The first of these trends was the growth and spread of literacy among the predominantly rural Jewish population. The second: a slow but significant process of conversion out of Judaism (mainly into Christianity) which, caused a significant fall in the Jewish population -- from 5 to 5.5 million circa 65 to roughly 1.2 million circa 650. War-related massacres and epidemics contributed to this drastic drop, but they cannot by themselves explain it.
Quote: “I certainly did not spoil them and I think they resented that. Someone once called me a hard-faced cow. Perhaps they were right; perhaps I have not enough sympathy for smaller suffering”, Eva Schloss, step-sister of Anne Frank, about her strained relationship with her daughters (from an interview about her new memoir).
Number: $812 billion, the combined wealth of the world's 165 Jewish Billionaires.