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Israel and the Palestinians

If you think you know it all about Jewish refugees from Arab countries, think again and read Lyn Julius‘ impressive rebuttal to a misguided Lara Friedman. This could get interesting though; Friedman responded to Julius . . .

Sacramento’s the latest BDS battleground: Palestinian supporters are trying to quash a proposed sister city plan with Ashkelon. Sacramento’s already twinned with Bethlehem.

Our colleagues at HonestReporting Canada are on a roll, having a hand in corrections/retractions at La Presse Canadienne, Globe & Mail, CBC and Toronto Star.

Iranian Atomic Urgency

Reuters/Israel HaYom delve into the different Israeli and American red lines:

The primary difference between the U.S. and Israel is on the diplomatic front. The two countries are at odds over what constitutes the red line that if crossed by Tehran would lead to military action against Iran:

During his recent visit to Israel, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta outlined a very problematic red line as far as Israel is concerned. According to Panetta, the red line for the U.S. is an Iranian decision to make a bomb.

Israel’s red line is preventing Iran from becoming a “threshold state” — a country that is capable of making a nuclear weapon but has yet to decide to do so.

There are several threshold states in the world, like Germany and Japan for example. Israel’s political leadership believes that the U.S. is sees Iran the same as moderate threshold countries, which act as reasonable, rational states.

Benny Morris doesn’t mince words: Stop Iran At All Costs

Hmmmm. Bahrain’s foreign minister tweeted Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s Wall Street Journal op-ed about the Iranian nuclear diplomacy. Backstory at YNet. Read into it what you want . . .

Worth reading: BBC correspondent James Reynolds visited Azerbaijan to learn more about the country’s close ties to Israel. In addition to military assistance, the government is secular, and there’s a desire for unification with Azeris living in Iran.

“We share the same view of the world, I guess,” says Michael Lotem. “We share quite a few common problems. For us Israelis to find a Muslim country which is so open, so friendly, so progressive, is not something the Israelis take for granted.”

Arab Spring Winter

Syrian rebels complained to the Sunday Times (paywall) that the CIA’s restricting their weapons supply. Rifles and rocket-propelled grenades are getting in, but rebels say they need heavier systems like anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. So why’s the CIA demurring?

Bob Grenier, a former director of the CIA counterterrorism centre, said the CIA’s activities along the border were intended to protect the administration from future embarrassment if the rebel groups it supports today turn out to be hostile to Israel or America should they gain power.

“It would not be good if it was later established that weapons reached people identified with Al-Qaeda, and we could have done something about it,” Grenier said.

See also a McClatchy News analysis of the White House’s Syria policy.

Washington says Hezbollah’s helping Assad crack skulls. According to the NY Times, this was more about ramping up the rhetoric:

American officials would not provide evidence for the new accusations against Hezbollah and avoided specifying whether its operatives were engaged in combat inside Syria, as some anti-Assad fighters have asserted. But the accusations appeared to open a new avenue of American pressure on Syria’s government and to be a way to embarrass Mr. Nasrallah, a powerful figure whose unwavering public support for Mr. Assad has created political strains in his home base of Lebanon.

Yoram Ettinger: Tom Friedman’s no Mideast expert. His assessments of Bashar Assad have been off-mark for years.

Can Syria’s Christians Survive? asks the Wall Street Journal.

In separate incidents, two Syrian reporters were killed in Damascus. Ali Abbas of state-run SANA was found murdered in his home, while Bara’a Yusuf al-Bushi, who defected to the rebels, was killed in a bomb attack. More at AP.

For more commentary/analysis, see Spengler on Egypt, and the Globe & Mail on Libya,

(Image of Ruttenberg via YouTube/RoeeProductions; Aleppo via YouTube/AFP)

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

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