• Score one for the good guys. In a CNN debate, Naftali Bennett mauled his Iranian counterpart, Hooman Majd.
Majd, a former Ahmadinejad advisor, insisted that Tehran never said it wanted to destroy Israel. Bennett — a former chief of staff for Benjamin Netanyahu — listed a number of quotes to the contrary.
• New Delhi police have identified three Iranian nationals involved in last month’s bombing outside the Israeli embassy. A number of papers picked up on the Times of India‘s scoop:
The accused have been identified as Houshang Afshar Irani, Seyed Ali Mahdiansadr and Mohammad Reza Abolghasemi. All three hold Iranian passports and came to Delhi 15 days before the attack on tourist visas. The trio left the city after the bombing for a middle-eastern country.
The investigation agencies are trying to find out which group within Iran were the three affiliated to. “Preliminary investigations suggest they belong to the Iranian spy agency,” a source said.
Police commissioner B K Gupta is likely to hold a press conference on Thursday or Friday to share details of the investigations.
• AP examines what an Israeli strike would mean for Iran’s Jewish community:
Penhasi is afraid that even if the Iranian government doesn’t directly attack Jews, its police might stand aside if angry Iranian citizens decide to do so in the event of an Israeli attack.
“The government could say, ‘The people did it’ and police forces couldn’t stop them,” he said.
• Barry Rubin imagines President Obama answering the proverbial 3:00 a.m. phone call. Only it’s Netanyahu on the line — and the Israeli jets are taking off . . .
• Deterrence can work with Iran, argues Fareed Zakaria.
• The Guardian published a bunch of emails hacked from Bashar Assad’s office. The emails show a lot of Iranian advice on handling the crackdown, contempt for reforms, Asma Assad’s ostentatious spending habits, and a penchant for iTunes.
The paper reports that Syrian dissidents had already breached the email system — monitoring correspondence in real time — when the hacker group, Anonymous, separately got in. One notable revelation was this message from an Iranian suggesting the time-honored tactic of diverting attention to Israel:
After consultations with a good number of people, in addition to the media and the political attache to the Iranian ambassador, I have gathered some points that I think it is important should be mentioned in the speech . . .
Confirming that the Islam of the Syrian people is the true Islam by connecting Islam with Syria’s principles,
2. Hostility to Israel, the first enemy of the Muslims,
3. Protection of Palestinian people’s rights (real prayers should be in the direction of Jerusalem)
Maybe here the president can reiterate his stance by condemning forcefully the recent Israeli practices and policies to Judaise Al-Quds (Jerusalem) . . .
Here the subject of Israel comes up and it becomes necessary to put stress on the particular merits of the president by linking the foreign pressures on Syria, which differs in its toughness and content to other countries in crisis, with the geographical proximity to Israel and the position of the people and the regime towards Israel.
• The JCPA‘s Jonathan D. Halevi assesses anti-Israel moves in the new Egyptian parliament and what they mean.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Suha Arafat speaks out. Other than saying she’s open to the possibility of entering politics, she doesn’t say much we didn’t already know:
“Yasser Arafat was the conscience – he was the Mandela of the Arab world, the Mandela of Palestine.”
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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