U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), makes remarks
to the media as U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
listens, after meeting with U.S. President Barack
Obama at the White House, on possible military action
against Syria, in Washington September 2, 2013.
Photo by Reuters/Mike Theiler
Headline: Obama's strategy to urge Congress about Syria centers on Iran, Israel
To Read: Eliot Cohen stresses that there might be far reaching global ramifications to Congress' Syria decision-
For better or for worse, the credibility not only of this president, but of America as a global power and a guarantor of international order, is on the line. If the U.S.—after its president said two years ago that Assad must go and then, a year later, drew a red line at Syria's use of chemical weapons—now does nothing, profound conclusions will be drawn by a China ready to bully its neighbors, by a North Korea whose scruples are already minimal, and by an Iran that has already killed many Americans in a covert war waged against us in Iraq and Afghanistan.
America's friends will realize that its word means nothing. As a result, they will either abandon us, or arm themselves with nuclear weapons. And these countries will be increasingly willing to wield them in a world in which they have no great ally who may be counted upon to stand by them in an hour of need.
Quote: “the consequences would be catastrophic. The credibility of this country with friends and adversaries alike would be shredded, and there would be not only implications for this president but for future presidencies as well”, John McCain commenting on the magnitude of the Syria decision.
Number: 57, the number of Senators who are still undecided about Syria, according to the Washington Post's detailed map.
Headline: Even with Syria on world’s mind, Israel-Palestinian talks continue apace
To Read: Peter Beinart argues that since American Jews never meet any Palestinians they have an impaired understanding of the conflict and of the other side's argument (and of the BDS movement) -
There are anti-Semites in the BDS movement, something my blog, Open Zion, has aggressively exposed. More generally, the movement is based on a dangerous and inaccurate analogy between Israel and apartheid South Africa, an analogy that leads many BDS activists to oppose the two-state solution in favor of a single “secular, binational” state that would, in reality, probably mean civil war between Jews and Palestinians. But what American Jewish leaders like Foxman don’t understand about BDS is that what fuels it is often interactions with Palestinians living under Israeli control. American Jewish leaders don’t understand the power of such interactions because they rarely have them themselves.
Quote: "Assad has managed to maintain calm in the Israel-Syria border for 40 years. If someone else steps in, calm will not necessarily persist", one of the many Assad supporters in the Israeli Druze town of Majdal Shams.
Number: 2200, the number of classrooms that are supposed to be built in east Jerusalem by 2016, according to a High-Court ruling.
The Middle East
Headline: Egypt: Helicopters hit armed groups in Sinai
To Read: Time's Jared Malsi reports from Cairo about the growing support for Assad among Egyptian nationalists-
Last week, with the U.S. edging closer to an attack on Syria, nationalist rhetoric inside Egypt reached an even higher pitch. Hamdeen Sabahi, the leader of the Popular Current who came in third in last year’s presidential election, told a television interviewer, “If Egypt is going to be attacked, it will come from the north, from Syria. An attack on Syria is an attack on Egypt.”
The youthful activists who launched the campaign to unseat Morsi joined in the posturing. Mahmoud Badr, the spokesman for the Tamarod (Rebellion) Campaign, released a statement calling on Egypt to close the Suez Canal to warships involved in a potential strike on Syria, saying he “supported the Syrian Arab army in the face of the upcoming U.S. military strike against Syria.” Anyone who supported foreign intervention, he said, is a “traitor.” The group’s Facebook page is emblazoned with an image of an American flag in flames.
Quote: "The Middle East is a powder keg, and today the flame is coming very near. We cannot talk merely about the Syrian response, but about what might take place after the first strike. But nobody knows what will happen. Everyone will lose control of the situation when the powder keg explodes. Chaos and extremism will spread. There is a risk of regional war", Bashar Assad issues a strong worded warning.
Number: 2 million, the number of Syrian Refugees has exceeded 2 million, according to the UN.
The Jewish World
Headline: Obama grilled on ‘red lines’ during pre-holiday call to rabbis
To Read: Jack Wertheimer muses about the possibility of reversing the seemingly unstoppable tide of intermarriage among Jews-
The intermarriage taboo crumbled in part because individual Jews came to realize they would pay no price for exogamy in the form either of familial or communal disapproval or of pressure on the non-Jewish spouse to convert. Jewish leaders who regard Judaism as a religious system with its own integrity, who seek to transform the lives of Jews rather than acquiescing in their every whim, should cease to countenance practices that blur religious differences in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator. While extending a hand of true welcome to those who wish to join the Jewish people, such leaders need also to remind them that with joining come responsibilities. Who knows how many would find such a message refreshing, inspiring, life-altering—and just what they’ve been looking for?
Quote: "The call to kill Jews was just like you would say kill the Boer at [a] funeral during the eighties [and] it wasn’t about killing white people, it was used as a way of identifying with the apartheid regime", South African BDS leader Muhammed Desai explaining that when BDS supporters shout 'Kill the Jew' they don't mean it literally…
Number: $650m, the annual income Poland made from exporting Kosher and halal meat to Israel and to Arab countries, before the Kosher slaughter ban (which the pope is now getting involved with).