Mideast Digs Out of Massive StormDecember 15, 2013 17:24 by Pesach Benson
Israel and the Palestinians
• John Kerry: Next group of Palestinian prisoners to be released as planned at end of December.
• Haaretz and the Daily Telegraph picked up on Europe preparing to offer “massive aid” and various other political/economic goodies to both Israel and the Palestinians if they’ll just sign a darn peace agreement.
• Harvard’s former president, Lawrence Summers, told Charlie Rose that academic boycotts of Israel are anti-Semitic. Summers was specifically addressing the American Studies Association boycott. Skip ahead to about 35:00 into the video.
Charlie, I said some time ago with respect to a similar set of efforts, that I regarded them as being anti-Semitic in their effect if not necessarily in their intent. And I think that’s the right thing to say about singling out Israel.
If there was an academic boycott against a whole set of countries that stunted their populations in some way, I would oppose that because I think academic boycotts are abhorrent, but the choice of only Israel at a moment when Israel faces this kind of existential threat I think takes how wrong this is to a different level.
• Megyn Kelly of Fox News raised a ruckus about Jesus and Santa being white (she’s backing off the comments now). I’m mentioning this because the conversation inevitably touches on Israel-bashing. Jeffrey Goldberg (responding to Reza Aslan) writes:
The most recent manifestation of the desire to de-Judaize Jesus has come not from European Christian churches, but from anti-Israel activists in the Arab world, who have engaged in a campaign to assert that Jesus was, in fact, a Palestinian (in other words, a member of a people that did not come into being until roughly 100 years ago), and that the Jews are guilty of deicide and genocide, among other -cides.
• For more commentary analysis, see Yoram Ettinger (Palestinian refugees), Foreign Policy and the Jerusalem Post (opposing takes on US priorities), Amos Harel (alibis), and Jonathan Tobin (Israel bashers let Bedouins rot).
Rest O’ the Roundup
• According to the Sunday Times of London, Israel remains suspicious of Syrian chemical weapons and will maintain its gas mask distribution program.
There is concern that Syrian statements to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons declaring its chemical arsenal were not the whole truth.
A source pointed out that there was not a single weaponised munition in Syria’s declared inventory and concluded that “some elements are still missing”. . . .
Israeli and US sources believe one reason Assad may not have declared weaponised munitions could be to avoid incriminating himself in the attack on civilians in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21.
• British police arrested three soccer fans for posting anti-Semitic comments on Twitter. According the Daily Telegraph:
The investigation following the match, on Oct 6, was triggered by complaints about tweets that referred to Hitler and the gas chambers.
Traditionally Spurs have had a large Jewish following and their supporters have been the target of abuse from opposition fans.
• El Al’s approach to airline security got a thumbs up from the Daily Mail‘s travel editor, Frank Barrett.
The only sure way of dealing with the threat is to talk to every passenger and find out whether they can tell a convincing account of their travel plans.
• Why is Saudi Arabia buying 15,000 anti-tank missiles for a war it will never fight? Foreign Policy answers:
What may be happening, analysts say, is that the Saudis are sending their stockpiles of anti-tank weapons bought from elsewhere to Syria and are purchasing U.S. missiles to replenish their own stockpiles.
(Image of IDF via Twitter/IDFSpokesperson)
For more, see Thursday’s Israel Daily News Stream.