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Today’s Top Stories:
1. Islamic Jihad leaders confirmed to AP that hunger-striking soccer player Mahmoud Sarsak was indeed a member of the terror group:
Israel accused Sarsak of being active in the violent Islamic Jihad group, a charge he denied while in custody.
However, senior Islamic Jihad officials were present during a welcoming ceremony for him in Gaza City on Tuesday, and one of the group’s leaders, Nafez Azzam, praised the soccer player as “one of our noble members.”
Meanwhile The Guardian posted a video of Sarsak’s celebratory return to Gaza. The footage is by Reuters, but The Guardian’s finished product is pure agitprop.
2. Iran is recruiting expatriates in Canada “to be of service to Tehran,” and the Canadian government has already sent a warning to the embassy. The Ottawa Citizen describes why Canada (and the US) are concerned:
The mobilization effort is taking place under the guise of the embassy’s cultural outreach program, and Iranian-Canadians opposed to the regime in Tehran say the Islamic republic’s intentions are revealed in an interview that Hamid Mohammadi, Iran’s cultural affairs counsellor attached to the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, gave in Farsi to an Iran-based website directed at Iranian expatriates in Canada.
The spotlight may have forced the cancellation of one suspicious event for students sponsored by the embassy.
3. Foreign NGO activists working in the West Bank sometimes make for useful idiots, but the PA’s drawing a line when they act more Palestinian than the Palestinians. Several Western activists have joined anti-PA protests in Ramallah, according to the Jerusalem Post:
“The involvement of Western nationals in protests against the Palestinian Authority is completely unacceptable,” the official said. “We will be forced to cut off all ties with non-Palestinians who incite against the Palestinian leadership.”
What’s the big deal? Some days, Israel gets so many foreigner protesters we can’t deport ‘em fast enough.
Israel and the Palestinians
• This year’s Hamas summer camps have new theme: the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners. My summer camp memories — swimming, softball and capture the flag — are geeky by comparison. From YNet:
Ahmad Rantisi, one of the organizers of the summer camp, said that its goal is to allow children to get a tangible experience of the suffering of Palestinian prisoners, and strengthen their belief in the protection of Palestinian land and the high price that must be paid . . .
In addition to the mock prison, the children participate in different activities, including military training, religious studies and walking on boards with rusty nails and knife blades.
• I recently noted a Workmens Circle survey which found that the younger generation of American Jews identifies with Israel, though not necessarily with specific government policies. Elliott Abrams points out the findings demolish a key point of Peter Beinart’s own thesis:
As Beinart announces at his web site, “A dramatic shift is taking place in Israel and America . . . . In the United States, the refusal of major Jewish organizations to defend democracy in the Jewish state is alienating many young liberal Jews from Zionism itself.” . . .
What remains to be explained is why such a flimsy thesis as Mr. Beinart’s received, and receives, so much attention. I would argue that it is because he is saying two things many left-wing American Jews want to hear and want to believe: that the policies of a conservative government in Israel are alienating American Jews from that country, and that the leading American Jewish organizations are derelict in their duty to oppose such policies. The Workmen’s Circle’s new poll demonstrates that this is wishful thinking on their part. To repeat the poll’s punch line again, “Young Jews are now more attached to Israel than the previous generation.”