Media Cheat Sheet 02/07/2012February 7, 2012 19:14 by Pesach Benson
Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.
Hackers attack Assad’s office and leak documents to Haaretz for eye-opening revelations. Talking heads advise Israel on Iran. And is it time to send Judge Goldstone to Syria?
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Israel and the Palestinians
• CNN assesses the Palestinian unity deal:
Monday’s announcement is more of a statement of intent than it is a full-fledged accord. When it comes to Palestinian unity agreements – and there have been a few – the announcement is the easy part.
Recall the February 2007 Mecca Accords and last April’s unity agreement –each either collapsed rather quickly or was never even implemented. In the case of last April’s unity agreement, many of the key details were left to be resolved. Such is the case today. Will finances be shared under the unity agreement? Will Hamas agree to disband, let alone agree to recognize previous PLO agreements (including recognition of Israel)?
• Hasbara headache: The LA Times visits Kafr Aqab, which is both inside Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and outside the security barrier.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Richard Cohen tells Israel to keep the proverbial red lines straight.
There are three red lines when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program. The first is the moment when Iran tunnels so deeply underground that Israeli bombs will be incapable of doing real damage. The second is when the tunneling goes even deeper, and the United States’ “bunker buster” bombs will be insufficient. And the third — well, that has already passed. It is the conviction that the current Iranian regime will never let Israel live in peace.
Then again, if Israel is going to gamble so much on a strike, it should play for large stakes. The Islamic Republic means to destroy Israel. If Israel means to survive, it should commit itself similarly. Destroying Iran’s nuclear sites will be a short-lived victory if it isn’t matched to the broader goal of ending the regime.
• Leslie Gelb tells Israel to pipe down the war talk:
What in heaven’s name do you propose that “the West” (read: the White House) do to prove its “stomach” to use military force? Shall we shake our fists as you have? That hasn’t proved successful for you. If the United States does it and Iran still resists, the loss of American credibility truly would damage world security. The U.S. position is that “all options are on the table.” That’s the right stance for us—and for you.
• Jeffrey Goldberg tells Israel it can’t act alone on Iran.
• Jennifer Rubin tells Israel not to trust Obama on Iran:
• Juan Cole tells Israel 10 ways an attack on Iran will “radically weaken Israel.”
• Iran arrested several people it says are linked to the BBC Farsi service.
- Bashar Assad emails leaked, tips for ABC interview revealed
- Organizer of Gaza flotilla sought assistance from Assad’s office
The first revelation says a lot about how the Mideast regimes understand PR to some degree, and that there’s a fine line between legitimate talking points and disingenuous propaganda. The second says a lot about George Galloway and the flotilla movement jumping in bed with a dictator to bash Israel. No wonder we haven’t seen a flotilla supporting the Syrian people.
• Bashar Assad gets a key endorsement: his wife’s. The first lady broke her silence with an email to the Times of London (paywall)
In an e-mail sent via an intermediary from her office, Asma Assad appears to offer full support to her husband as his security forces try to crush the opposition, but also claims to be encouraging dialogue and comforting the bereaved.
The message was greeted with anger and incredulity by Syrian experts and opposition activists. They accused her of an “ostrich attitude”, “intolerable hypocrisy” and being delusional.
• Bradley Burston on Assad’s atrocities: This is a job for Judge Goldstone.
The UN needs to make a move capable of putting Bashar Assad on notice that he is not free to act as he pleases – that his actions will be subject to investigation, and that they may be viewed as war crimes in a future court of international law.
• A Daily Telegraph staff-ed says it’s time for the West to start arming the Syrian resistance.
• Russia is so out of step. At least China’s smart enough to lay low.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• India to deport two Israelis for suspicious activity. But judging from the Times of India, Shneor Zalman and Yaffa Shenoi’s only crimes appear to be overpaying on rent and hosting unspecified events for large crowds of people. Yes, the JPost identifies them as Chabad emissaries — who deny the espionage charges.
• A nasty Ben White commentary in The New Statesman has been taken apart by Robin Shepherd and Harry’s Place. As if White’s attack on Israeli democracy wasn’t scurrilous enough, he disingenuously misquotes an Israeli law professor too.
• Israel’s releasing copyright restrictions on its national photo collection. That means thousands of images are available for public diplomacy. Earlier today, I blogged my hope that this will raise the bar for online activism.
For more, see yesterday’s Media Cheat Sheet.