Everything you need to know about the weekend coverage of Israel and the Mideast.
Today’s top stories: freedom of speech getting worse in Egypt, Iranian ships dock in Syria, and former Mossad head speaks to the LA Times.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Hunger strike of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan reaches 63 days and continues to draw international attention, most recently from Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief.
• CIF Watch takes on Pheobe Greenwood’s story from the Telegraph covering last week’s tragic bus accident but including the fact that two people posted nasty comments in a the Facebook thread of the story.
• David Ha’ivri decries accusations of racism against Israel.
In Israel (West Bank area included,) Arab residents enjoy the kind of freedom and security that many in neighboring countries can only dream of – but they generally expect Israel to be better than others. The fact that Arabs are being oppressed, beaten and slaughtered by dictators in Arab countries is of no consolation to Israeli Arabs who are delayed at security checkpoints.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Former Mossad head Efraim Halevy gives LA Times a Q+A on the Syrian situation and how it relates to Iran.
How does Israel ensure that Iran is defeated in Syria? Wouldn’t it backfire if Israel were seen to be involved?
Israel shouldn’t be directly involved for obvious reasons. Once Israel enters the fray, this becomes an Israeli-Arab or Israeli-Muslim confrontation, which deflects attention from the main issues of Sunni-Shiite, and the Shiite repression of a majority in a foreign country. Israel should promote through its channels with major powers in the world a dialogue between leaders in Western nations and Russia to try to forge a common policy on Syria, which would entail mutual concessions at the American and Russian level.
• CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interviews Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
• Iranian warships dock in Syria.
• Freedom House official gets Wall Street Journal op-ed space to lament the worsening situation in Egypt since the fall of Mubarak.
The repression of civil society is far worse than anything seen under Mr. Mubarak. In the past, Egyptian groups were routinely harassed and occasionally shut down, but they never faced the kind of large-scale investigation that is going on now. Similarly, foreign democracy-assistance organizations encountered some interference but were tolerated by Mr. Mubarak’s regime. They have operated openly, and have never before had their offices shuttered, their foreign staff prevented from leaving the country, or their staff threatened with criminal prosecution.
• US officials to NBC News: Drones are monitoring Syria clashes.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Normal Finkelstein calls out the BDS movement, calling it dishonest and referring to it as a cult.
• Turns out, Americans love Israel after all. Gallup poll shows Israel 8th most beloved country.
• HR Canada scores nice victory with CBC, as ombudsman rebukes station for Middle East coverage.
• Prime Minister calls Dr. Yehuda David a hero for fighting for the truth about Jamal al-Dura, father of Muhammad al-Dura.
• Israel Hayom looks at the efforts of Phillipe Karsenty and Dr. Yehuda David on the al-Dura story and of Steven Sugar on the BBC’s Balen Report.
• Stephen Walt, co-author of the Israel Lobby, weighs in on the Twitter controversy surrounding newly appointed New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren.
• The White House is looking for a waiver on the ban on funding to UNESCO.