Israel Daily News Stream 03/14/2012

Iranian Atomic Urgency

 Azerbaijan security forces say they foiled an Iranian Revolutionary Guards plot to attack the Israeli and US embassies in Baku. More at Haaretz.

 Oh joy: Assessing the Obama/Netanyahu summit, Newsweek published a 4,500+ word adaptation from Peter Beinart’s book.

According to an academic poll picked up by Bloomberg News, only 1 in 4 Americans support an Israeli strike on Iran. More at the LA Times.

What might an Israeli attack look like? CNN talked to the experts.

Reuters: Israel Sees Iran Mini-Drill in Gaza Flare Up

Given the Iranian tensions, it’s not surprising that two Israeli warships crossing the Suez Canal to the Red Sea would create some buzz. But AFP writes:

“It was routine, they were on their way to Eilat” where Israel has its Red Sea naval base, an Israeli security source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A source at the Canal Authority named the vessels as the Lahav and the Yafo, without giving their size or type.

BBC director-general Mark Thompson accuses Iranian hackers of attacking the Beeb’s Persian service. Sky News says Thompson will elaborate tonight:

The BBC boss is expected to discuss what he described as the Iranian government’s attempt to “undermine” the service during a speech to the Royal Television Society tonight.

He will say opponents of the service “may be widening their tactics” by engaging in cyber-attacks.

Mr Thompson will say: “There was a day recently when there was a simultaneous attempt to jam two different satellite feeds of BBC Persian into Iran, to disrupt the service’s London phone lines by the use of multiple automatic calls, and a sophisticated cyber-attack on the BBC.

Professor Boaz Atzili wore heavily tinted rose-colored glasses when he penned this Christian Science Monitor op-ed urging Mideast de-nuclearization:

One element that could alleviate Israeli fears of cheating would be an agreement to deposit its nuclear weapons in a third country instead of destroying them, to be released back to Israel in case Iran broke the rules.

The agreement could include, moreover, an American assurance to Israel to retaliate against any nuclear attack on Israel if that happened before Israel got its arsenal back. Such a promise would guarantee that Israel would not be vulnerable should Iran indeed defect.

Arab Spring Winter

Just precious. While 48 Syrians were killed, the Assad regime condemned Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and called on international community to urgently respond. More at YNet.

CNN obtained a video of men in Syrian army uniforms torturing a Syrian identified as a resident of Homs. Can you imagine the outrage if Israeli soldiers were filmed doing this to a Palestinian? Warning: Arwa Damon’s report is graphic.

An Asia Times commentary worries about the over-reliance on Syrian opposition sources for basic info. Khadija Patel’s referring to the Arab media, but it’s worth raising the question about the Western news services too:

It has become accepted wisdom to distrust Assad’s version of events but it has also become standard practice to hail the opposition. International media has been too ready and too quick to adopt a “heroes vs villains” approach to Syria. Coverage of Syria has been polarised by competing narratives. Relying as we are on sources like activists and opposition politicians, a more moderate approach ought to have been adopted, but instead news channels like Al-Jazeera Arabic have adopted a decidedly opposition-friendly stance.

On a related note, see these two articles:

  1. Damascus Fights Back in Media Tug-of-War
  2. Syria’s Losing Battle to Control the News

Rest O’ the Roundup

Increasing numbers of Druze are disillusioned with IDF service. It’s not just about a divide with Israeli-Arabs. Amal Assad, who retired as a brigadier-general, told the LA Times he and other Druze vets don’t feel Israel’s love when they leave the army.

But he says retirement in 2000 hit him like “a slap in the face.”

 In terms of benefits, he says, he receives the same as any officer. But while other retired officers pursued political careers and lucrative jobs in the private sector, he runs a small business that recycles old tires and lives in the impoverished Druze town of Isfiyeh, where schools are overcrowded and roads need repair.

 “When you fight for the state, you feel part of the team,” said Asad, 56. “But when you do your part and then get nothing back, that’s the slap. You realize you are not the same. It kills you.” . . .

The post-service condition of the Arabs is the Achilles’ heel of the draft,” said Ayoob Kara, a Druze lawmaker and deputy minister of development of Galilee and Negev, a post that makes him the highest-ranking Arab official in the current government.

 Kara, who lost two brothers in battle, said the army and government need to do more to support Druze soldiers upon release.

Israeli innovations in water technology get nice play in a series of BBC videos.

Rush Limbaugh

Jonathan Miller (Huffington Post) uses Rush Limbaugh’s disgusting “slut” comment to build an impressive argument about media coverage of Israel’s fringe zealots and “gender segregation.” I’ll just quote from his conclusion:

There’s no question that extremist forces also make mischief in Israel, as they do in every country since the dawn of civilization. Reporting on their activities is not only fair game, it’s critical to the functioning of an open and transparent democracy.

But focusing disproportionate attention on the flaws of the radical Israeli fringe and failing to report them in the context of Israel’s broad and loving embrace of progressive values is not only unfair; it’s destructive to the decades-old and much-valued alliance between American liberals and the Jewish State.

Satire just for laughs: Approved Tweets for the Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief

 (Image of Gantz via Flickr/Israel Defense Forces, Lahav via NATO, Limbaugh via YouTube/TMZNewsToday)

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

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