Israel and the Palestinians
• Iranian-Israeli singer, Rita Jahanforuz (in Israel, she’s simply known as Rita) will perform at the UN on March 5. Her songs, based on the Persian melodies of her youth, have become a big hit in Iran. The upcoming gig is simply called “Tunes For Peace.”
Nothing about Israel and the UN is simple, though. Inner City Press describes some of the pure politics behind it all:
Sources tell Inner City Press that while the UN Department of Public Information will now assist with Israel’s Rita concert, initially it was suggested to the Israeli Mission that they try for sponsorship from UNESCO.
While some laughed at this — since Palestine was voted in as a member of UNESCO, the US cut its funding — others saw it as potentially savvy, a way for UNESCO to change its image.
• I’m sure this will spark a lot of chatter: The prime minister’s security adviser says Settlement policy is ‘diplomatic problem’.
• Jerusalem Post: Satellite images obtained by Israeli media show that Syria’s “military research facility” wasn’t hit in last week’s airstrike.
The before and after images show a burnt road, as well as a crater caused by a bomb that missed its target . . .
The images, however, don’t show any damage done to a military research facility nearby that Syrians claim had been the target of the reported attack.
• Worth reading: Aaron David Miller: Why Obama is Visiting Israel.
• Both leaders were probably holding their noses. Mahmoud Abbas met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Cairo. A’jad needs all the photo ops he can get now, and Abbas couldn’t look like chopped liver after the Iranian president expressed a desire to visit Gaza. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• Canadian artist Tom Forrestall spent 35 days in Israel painting scenes in Jerusalem, the Negev, and up north. Now he’s getting grief from Independent Jewish Voices, accused of “whitewashing” Israel’s human rights record. Funny thing is, the IJV campaign is backfiring: Forrestall’s just getting more nice soft coverage from the CBC, Chronicle Herald, Global Maritimes, and Metro News.
If you can’t make it to Nova Scotia, you can see more of Forrestall’s paintings at the Atlantic Jewish Council.
• The latest from Hamastan: YNet describes the newest dress code at Al-Aqsa U., Gaza’s public university.
. . . beginning in the second semester, female students will be required to arrive in traditional Muslim garb, from head to toe, burka included.
• A Palestinian was sentenced to a year in prison for the crime of insulting Palestinian leaders. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• The BBC updates the latest Palestinian unity efforts.
• The Brooklyn College BDS issues festers. Alan Dershowitz opposes the poli-sci department’s co-sponsorship; Professor Todd Gitlin (LA Times op-ed) isn’t bothered. But Andy Bachman (via David Frum) articulates a good point by asking So what?
Guess what? Crazy programs like “BDS or BUST” hosted by the Poli Sci Department at Brooklyn College are actually irrelevant to the reality of what goes on in Israel and Palestine. The delusion of those who think, in their rabid anti-Zionism, that they will succeed, is laughable. Even consistent critics of Israel have dismissed BDS as ineffective . . .
Israel is a big boy. And so too, I like to think, are all those impressionable college students who know a load of bull when they hear it. BDS is not about a serious boycott movement. It’s about denying the Jews the right to a state of their own. As broken as this record is, read the literature. It’s not a two-state movement–it’s a one-state movement and that one state is not Jewish.
• If you follow these political comings and goings, Israeli media reports that Bibi advisor Ron Dermer is resigning.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Iran’s supreme leader brushed off the idea of direct nuclear talks with the US. Washington Post coverage.
• A Times of London staff-ed wonders if Mohammed Morsi will have any moderating influence over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s atomic aspirations.
Andrew Davies, senior defence analyst and director of research at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the jet was a “laughable fake”.
“It looks like it might make a noise and vibrate if you put 20 cents in,” he told Fairfax Media.
(Image of Rita via YouTube/HelconRecords)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.