President Obama with nominees Susan Rice and
Samantha Power, the White House Rose Garden
June 5th, photo by Reuters
Headline: Obama’s Choices Reflect Change in Foreign Tone
To Read: Here is (Ambassador?) Samantha Power's classic article about US and UN inaction during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, an article which features a disturbing cameo performance by her colleague and new NSA Susan Rice-
At an interagency teleconference in late April, Susan Rice, a rising star on the NSC who worked under Richard Clarke, stunned a few of the officials present when she asked, "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?" Lieutenant Colonel Tony Marley remembers the incredulity of his colleagues at the State Department. "We could believe that people would wonder that," he says, "but not that they would actually voice it." Rice does not recall the incident but concedes, "If I said it, it was completely inappropriate, as well as irrelevant."
Quote: "It may mean, more crucially, sacrificing, or investing I think more than sacrificing, literally billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military but actually investing in the new state of Palestine; in investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support I think what will have to be a mammoth a protection force — not of the old Srebrenica kind or of the Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence", Samantha Power's 2002 Israel mishap which might come back to haunt her in her confirmation hearings.
Number: 52%, NJ Governor Chris Christie's favorability ratings (which have doubled in the past couple of years)
Headline: Assad army retakes Syria-Israel border crossing
To Read: Ari Shavit shares his impressions from NY's Israel Day parade-
But although the Salute to Israel parade is still very energetic, it is marching on borrowed time. New York’s leading Jewish intelligentsia − the new Brooklyn bohemia and Columbia students − are not here.
The quiet Jewish majority, unorganized and unmobilized, still wants to love Israel, but feels Israel is not letting it love her. Is it a high-tech nation or a settlers’ nation? Is it Yair Lapid or the ultra-Orthodox nationalists? The confusion is immense. Israel does not present a clear story they can identify with.
Quote: “There’s the story we tell the world, about Israel as a ‘start-up nation,’ and it’s a very nice story, but it only applies to about five per cent of the population”, founding editor of Israel's 'The Marker' talking about Israel's poverty problem.
Number: 74, the percentage of Israelis who reject the idea of a Palestinian capital in any portion of Jerusalem, according to a JPost poll.
The Middle East
Headline: Brahimi says no Syria peace meeting in June
To Read: Vali Nasr believes that the war in Syria has been a giant missed opportunity to isolate Iran more effectively-
Syria’s uprising offered the possibility of a strategic defeat of Iran. In this scenario, Iran would be weakened by the collapse of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, its single Arab ally and a vital link to Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia. Isolated, Iran would become more vulnerable to international pressure to limit its nuclear program. And as Iran’s regional influence faded, those of its rivals -- U.S. allies Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia -- would expand.
Instead, events in Syria are spinning in Iran’s favor. Assad’s regime is winning ground, the war has made Iran more comfortable in its nuclear pursuits, and Iran’s gains have embarrassed U.S. allies that support the Syrian uprising. What’s more, Iran has strengthened its relationship with Russia, which may prove to be the most important strategic consequence of the Syrian conflict, should the U.S. continue to sit it out.
Quote: "Turkey is not a second-class democracy", Turkey's influential FM Ahmet Davutoglu objecting to the US' comments on the Turkish protests.
Number: 62, the percentage of Turks who have a favorable opinion of PM Erdogan (at least up until the clashes).
The Jewish World
Headline: WoW to read from Torah at Kotel for first time
To Read: Commentary's Jonathan Kay accuses novelist Alice Walker of some serious 'Jews are money loving lizards'- level antisemitism-
In a free society, David Icke should be free to say such things. And Alice Walker should be free to praise him for it. But let us not pretend that either of these two people are opponents of mere “Zionism”: It is clearly a much darker and more repellent form of thinking that is at play here. And it is unclear why an illustrious institution such as the 92nd Street Y should want to give a forum to anyone who exhibits it.
Quote: "It's the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn't mean it ... I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race. I now realize I was so angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could", John Galliano apologizing for his remarks about the Jews.
Number: $16m, the amount of money given by the state to Berlin's Jewish community last year.