AIPAC’s Policy Conference Gets Underway

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Today’s Top Stories

1. AIPAC’s Policy Conference gets underway today. The New York Times emphasizes AIPAC’s focus on combating BDS:

aipacIn speeches by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials next week, Aipac plans to pound the drums about what it regards as the pernicious motives of the anti-Israel campaign, known formally as the boycott, divestment and sanctions, or B.D.S., movement. …

Aipac’s response is to push for expanded engagement with Israel, and to urge Congress to battle against Palestinian efforts to exclude Israel from international organizations. “Our message is one of inclusion,” said a senior Aipac official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, in keeping with the group’s practice.

For the Wall Street Journal, however, AIPAC is all about lobbying the Obama administration to take stronger action against Iran.

HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams will be a guest speaker at AIPAC on Monday (see below).

2. Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox expected to demonstrate in Jerusalem against a draft bill to increase IDF service in the ultra-Orthodox sector. Coverage in The Times of Israel.

3. Greg Sheridan of The Australian rips his own newspaper’s journalist’s involvement with a TV program that accused Israel of mistreating Palestinian children:

However, the Four Corners program was a disgrace, a crude piece of anti-Israel propaganda that revived some of the oldest anti-Semitic tropes. In the year 2014, are we really going to allege again, on the basis of the flimsiest non-evidence you could imagine, that Jewish soldiers systematically physically crucify innocent children? Is there a school of anti-Semitism 101 operating out there? Do you not think that before you would air an allegation like that, if you had any real sense of editorial responsibility, you would be 100 per cent sure that it was true; you would track down the people alleged to have done it and get their testimony?

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4. Israel Desecrates Holy Sites According to The Economist. But who is really threatening the sanctity of religious sites in the Holy Land? According to The Economist, it’s Israel.

5. HonestReporting Coming to Limmud Winnipeg: HR’s USA Director, Gary Kenzer, will be presenting at Limmud Winnipeg today. If you’re in “The Peg,” don’t miss it!

6. Tomorrow at AIPAC: HR CEO Joe Hyams will be speaking in a session Middle East Media: Covering a Region in Turmoil” at 12.30 – 1.45pm in Village B. If you are at AIPAC on Monday, check it out! 

7. Israel Apartheid Week is a major part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. See HonestReporting’s Fighting BDS on Facebook for updates and strategies on how you can fight back against the apartheid slur.

Fighting BDS

Israel and the Palestinians

 Could Benjamin Netanyahu  be planning to offer President Barack Obama a ground- breaking deal in which Israel would agree to an accord with the Palestinians in return for a tougher U.S. stance on Iran’s nuclear program? The Sunday Times thinks so.

 An LA Times commentary suggests that any deadlock in negotiations over Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state could be overcome through creative diplomacy as the U.S. employed to address the core conflict between China and Taiwan.

 The Palestinians are looking into appointing a vice-president to make Mahmoud Abbas’ succession clearer according to the Financial Times.

 David Rosenberg argues in the Wall Street Journal that the BDS movement is more of a media story than a tangible success:

The true story is that after nearly 10 years of campaigning, the global BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement has not had the slightest economic impact. Its victories have consisted of coaxing a handful of pop stars and academics to cancel appearances in Israel, and winning empty, sanctimonious declarations of support from the likes of student governments, cooperative grocery stories and leftish church groups. …

A real boycott wave would be devastating for Israel both economically and morally. Indeed, the cost would be many times higher than it was a generation ago because the country’s economy is more reliant on international trade and cross-border investment. But for now the boycott is nothing more than a creature of the media’s imagination.

 Twenty years after Baruch Goldstein’s massacre at the Cave of the Machpela, the LA Times revisits Hebron.

• A Palestinian woman was shot dead by the IDF near the Gaza border fence according to Palestinian sources. More on the BBC.

 A Palestinian eye hospital is facing a severe funding crisis. Remarkably, this Guardian story doesn’t place all the blame on Israel.

 When will the New York Times acknowledge that rock throwing is a potentially lethal form of violence? This headline refers to stone throwers as “protesters.”

Rest O’ the Roundup

 The Daily Telegraph reports that Israel has successfully tested a new missile defense system which has the power to deflect rockets targeting civilian aircraft, effectively forcing missiles to change their course mid-flight.

 A pro-Hezbollah musical anthem has opened up a new front in the Syrian civil war reports the New York Times:

This new musical front in the bloody civil war underlines just how much the conflict in Syria has inflamed sectarian tensions in the Middle East and even permeated the cultural realm. Where Sunni and Shiite singers once aimed their barbed lyrics at Israel, they now increasingly target each other.

“We flattened the army of the Jews,” Mr. Barakat sings, “and now it is your turn in Yabroud.”

The most inflammatory response is an equally rousing tune that tells Hezbollah fighters to dig their own graves and threatens bomb attacks against areas in Lebanon that support the group, warning them to expect “body parts with no heads.”

For more, see Thursday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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