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Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 52 min 42 sec ago

Desert Winemaking "Sounds Absurd," but Israeli Vineyards in Negev Show the Way

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(New York Times) Isabel Kershner - As growers in more established wine-producing areas of Europe and elsewhere in the world battle unpredictable, extreme weather, including scorching heat waves, Israelis have found themselves at the vanguard of dry-weather wine production, testing approaches that might soon find more global application. And the work is being done in the Negev, home to hundreds of technology start-ups and a futuristic solar tower - and long a laboratory for experimentation in Israel. At a Negev cafe, shelves were stacked with bottles of locally produced malbec, merlot, and petit verdot syrah. The boutique winery produces a selection of 5,000 bottles in a good year, and they go for a pricey - by local standards - $27 to $45 a bottle. "Water is very expensive here," Zvi Remak, the local winemaker, said.

Lapid Warns Israel Is Prepared to Stop Iran If Threats Continue. Herzog Issues Warning, too

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Lahav Harkov - Israel is prepared to stop any threat from Iran, Prime Minister Yair Lapid warned during a visit to the Nevatim Air Force Base on Tuesday. "If Iran keeps trying, it will discover Israel's long arm and its abilities," Lapid said. "We will continue to act on every front against terrorism and those who wish us harm." Lapid cited U.S. President Joe Biden saying his country "will not tie Israel's hands" when it comes to defending itself and stopping the possibility that Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon. President Isaac Herzog, visiting Germany, implored the nations of the world in a speech before the Bundestag to stand up to Iran, its nuclear ambitions, and its threats to destroy Israel. "The possession of weapons of mass destruction by a UN member state that calls on a daily basis for the annihilation of another UN member state is simply inconceivable," Herzog said. "A state that denies the Holocaust, a state that acts out of hatred and belligerency, a state that threatens the State of Israel's right to exist is ineligible to sign deals that will only embolden it, is ineligible for kickbacks or funds, is ineligible for concessions, under any circumstances."

Rebuffing U.S., Israel's Lapid Says "No One Will Dictate Rules of Engagement to Us"

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(Haaretz) Yaniv Kubovich and Ben Samuels - Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid defiantly said on Wednesday, "No one will dictate open fire regulations to us when we are fighting for our lives." Washington said it would ask Israel to rethink its rules of engagement in the West Bank following the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Lapid said he would "not allow anyone to put an IDF soldier on trial who defended himself against fire from terrorists, just to receive a round of applause from the world." Lapid's remarks echoed Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who said earlier that Israel's rules of engagement are set by the IDF chief of staff "alone, and he will continue to set the open fire policy in accordance with the operational needs and doctrine of ethics of the IDF." Following the Israeli comments, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel responded: "To reiterate, we continue to underscore the importance of accountability in this case, and we're going to continue to impress our Israeli partners to closely review its policies and practices on the rules of engagement, and consider additional steps that will mitigate risk in this circumstance."

Iran's Top Commander: Israel's Joining CENTCOM Is Intolerable to Iran

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(Fars News - Iran) Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri cautioned the regional nations over normalizing relations with the Israeli regime, and stressed that Tehran will not bear the Zionist regime's participation in the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) activities in the region. "The normalization of ties between a number of regional countries and the Zionist regime has posed threats to the West Asia," Major General Baqeri said on Monday. "Also, the Zionist regime's joining the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) could create threats for us," he stressed, adding, "But, we do not tolerate the presence of the Zionist regime."

Senator Says Biden Administration Committed to Congressional Review of Iran Deal

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(Times of Israel) Jeremy Sharon - Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said on Monday that the Biden administration had committed to submitting any agreement on Iran's nuclear program to Congress for review. Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Menendez, a Democrat who opposed the original 2015 Iran deal known as the JCPOA, said such a review would be conducted by his committee and that a vote would be held in the Senate on any agreement. "The administration has made the commitment that if they enter into an agreement to follow on from what was the JCPOA, they will submit it to Congress, and we will review it. That review starts in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which I chair," said Menendez Menendez, the senior senator for New Jersey, is participating in a bipartisan Senate delegation to Israel, which is being led by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina (Republican), and includes Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi (R), Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee (R), Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming (R), and Representative Ronny Jackson of Texas (R).

U.S. and Israel Held Massive Air Defense Drills Involving Thaad, Patriot, Iron Dome, Arrow and David's Sling Systems

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(EurAsian Times) Israel and the United States carried out joint simulation drills in the central part of Israel, where Israel's Arrow, David's Sling, and Iron Dome air defense systems, as well as the United States' Patriot, Aegis, and Thaad systems. The exercise was held in June and announced this week.

_Rights Groups and EU Condemn Hamas over _Collaboration_ Executions

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(Middle East Eye) Human rights groups and the EU have condemned the execution by Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, of five Palestinians, including two, for "collaboration" with Israel. The dawn executions, by hanging or firing squad, were the first carried out in the besieged coastal enclave for more than five years. Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, described the executions as "abhorrent... Death as government-sanctioned punishment is a barbaric practice that has no place in the modern world," he wrote on Twitter.

Tehran's Mounting Violations of the Iran Deal and Its Accelerating March to A Nuclear Weapons Arsenal

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(JCPA) Amb. Dore Gold - Since the start of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West, Tehran has managed to create an impression that it has kept to the terms of the various agreements that were reached, and it was the West and, above all, the United States which violated past agreements. It is Iran that has violated past agreements with the West. The most glaring issue has been Tehran's refusal to provide an answer to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about uranium particles that were discovered at three undeclared sites in Iran. In the American tradition, a disarmament negotiation with former adversaries is legitimate if it is based on a credible inspection system. It was President Ronald Reagan who quoted the famous Russian proverb, "Trust but verify." It is here that the Iranians were repeatedly caught red-handed. Looking back, Iran proved consistently that it had been a totally unreliable partner for the West. In November 2004, the IAEA determined Iran had been in breach of its Safeguards Agreement when it declared that many Iranian activities in the areas of uranium enrichment, uranium conversion, and plutonium separation were not declared to the agency. The Iranians even razed buildings to hide evidence, like at the Lavizan - Shian complex.

Hamas Tells Media to Lie: What Should the Media Tell its Readers?

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(The National Interest) Toby Dershowitz - In a stunning expose, a recent Associated Press article revealed a Hamas directive to journalists not to report on Gazans killed by Palestinian rockets that misfired and killed local families rather than their intended Israeli civilian targets. Reports indicate Palestinian Islamic Jihad killed more Palestinians in the early August Gaza-Israel conflict than did Israel. Hamas also requires all visiting reporters to hire a local "sponsor," a fixer or stringer, often a Palestinian journalist or translator. Hamas' media directive says sponsors will be held responsible for what the journalists produce.

Waiting for Thermidor: America's Foreign Policy Towards Iran

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(The National Interest) Reuel Marc Gerecth and Ray Takeyh - The Islamic Republic of Iran may be on an accelerated schedule for revolutionary decay, at least if compared to the USSR. The Biden administration is stumped by Iran. Upon inauguration, President Joe Biden and the best and the brightest of the Democratic Party assumed that reviving the Iran nuclear deal would be simple. In one of the ironic twists of history, they are bedeviled by their predecessor Donald Trump. It was the Trump administration that designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the muscle behind the theocracy, as a foreign terrorist organization.

Israel's Doctrine: Make Syrian Airports Pay for Hosting Iran

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Seth Frantzman - Aleppo International Airport was damaged in an airstrike on September 6. Syrian regime media has blamed Israel for airstrikes in Syria over the last month, and Iranian media has reported on the airstrikes. According to satellite images from ImageSat International, the runway of the airport appears out of service. Back in June, Damascus International Airport was also damaged in an airstrike. Tel Aviv University's INSS Managing Director Maj. Gen. (res.) Tamir Hayman commented on the attack on Damascus International Airport, which foreign sources attribute to Israel: "On the strategic level, the operational pressure in Syria is intended to halt Iran's consolidation in Syria and demonstrate to the Syrian regime the cost of hosting the Iranians. On the operational level - three objectives: Work against strategic arms shipments (missiles and UAVs); prevent the transfer of weapons, money, and precision technology to Hizbullah; work against the infrastructure of Shiite militias, whose purpose is to attack Israel."

Mahmoud Abbas Fears an Armed Intifada in the West Bank

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
(JCPA) Yoni Ben Menachem - Senior Palestinian Authority officials accuse Israel of responsibility for the recent wave of terrorism in the West Bank and claim that the primary catalyst is the entry of IDF forces into city centers and refugee camps. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is concerned that the recent escalation in the West Bank could undermine the stability of his rule if it spreads to all areas of the West Bank. The PA chairman opposes a third intifada and fears it will topple his regime. The important thing for him now is to keep his throne and transfer power in an orderly manner to his heir apparent, Hussein al-Sheikh. The Palestinian street in the West Bank is not interested in an intifada now and knows there is no purpose to the current wave of violence and that it will eventually disappear.

A Century of U.S.-Israel Ties - and the Conspiracy Theories

Wed, 09/07/2022 - 17:00
Walter Russell Mead (Wall Street Journal) - One hundred years ago, Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge (R., Mass.) and Rep. Hamilton Fish (R., N.Y.) steered a joint resolution through Congress, putting the U.S. on record in supporting a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Senate vote was unanimous; the House whooped it through on a voice vote. In September 1922, President Warren G. Harding signed the resolution, launching a tradition of official American support for Zionist aspirations in Palestine that a long line of presidents from both parties have continued. The Lodge-Fish Resolution unintentionally launched another tradition: belief among many Americans that American support for Zionism was the result of nefarious Jewish influence. Jewish wealth, the theory went, favored pro-Israel politicians while Jews supposedly imposed pro-Israel views on a press that they allegedly controlled. The two traditions coexist to this day. Support for Israel, while not unlimited or uncritical, dominates both parties in Congress, while controversies over the role of pro-Israel "Jewish money" in American elections continue to rage. But the past 100 years tell a different story. American Jews, contrary to legend, aren't an irresistible political force. Two years after the Lodge-Fish resolution, Congress passed a system of immigration restrictions that reduced Jewish immigration to the U.S. by about 90%. The American Jewish community was unable to block this legislation. just as it was unable to persuade Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration to take strong action to protect Jews in Hitler's Germany. Yet these years of Jewish powerlessness were peak years for anti-Semitic conspiracies. Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent, a newspaper distributed nationally was a platform for anti-Semitic propaganda. The Ku Klux Klan was near the height of its influence. It wasn't simply that American Jews were too weak to impose Zionism on the American political system. Most of them didn't want to. Led by Henry Morgenthau, Woodrow Wilson's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and the most influential Jewish political leader of the era, most prominent American Jews opposed the British government's Balfour Declaration and the Lodge-Fish Resolution that endorsed it. During the 19 years between Israel's 1948 declaration of independence and its overwhelming victory in the 1967 Six Day War, American Jews were united and enthusiastic in supporting Israel. Yet U.S.-Israel relations were at their frostiest in that era. The modern era of a close U.S.-Israel alignment began only after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel and rapprochement with the U.S. The relationship deepened after the shah of Iran fell in 1979, and again after the 9/11 attacks when Israeli intelligence significantly assisted American counterterror efforts around the world. It is the story of non-Jewish support for Israel that needs to be told. It is not only that American Christians going back to Boston Puritans like Increase Mather and colonial theologians like Jonathan Edwards believed that God would someday lead the Jews back to their biblical homeland. Politicians like John Adams and Theodore Roosevelt, and hardheaded businessmen, like John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan, supported Zionist aspirations as well. One hundred years after the Lodge-Fish Resolution, Jewish and non-Jewish Americans alike continue to debate America's relationship with the Zionist movement and the Jewish state. That is as it should be. Those who think that Jewish financial and media power are the forces that drive America's Middle East policy continue to miss the point. Anti-Semitic myths about Jewish power can't explain America's past policy in the Middle East and provide no useful guidance for the future.

Israel Makes Final Push to Shape Restored Iran Nuclear Deal

Sun, 09/04/2022 - 17:00
(Wall Street Journal) Dov Lieber and Laurence Norman - The Israeli government has in recent days broken with its quiet approach to diplomacy on the Iran deal negotiations. "This deal isn't a good deal. It was not a good deal when it was signed back in 2015. Today, the dangers it entails are even greater," said Mr. Lapid in a briefing to journalists last week. A U.S. official said Israel's election season was partly responsible for the more heated rhetoric coming from politicians there around the deal, which is broadly unpopular in Israel. The Biden administration has kept Israel closely informed about the negotiations, said people familiar with the discussions, allowing Israel to nudge privately against concessions and potentially heighten Washington's sensitivity to Israel's concerns, leading the U.S. to tread more carefully. U.S. officials say a restored deal would substantially curtail Iran's nuclear program, remove most of its stockpile of enriched uranium and oblige Iran to remove hundreds of advanced centrifuges that produce enriched uranium. It would increase Iran's breakout time - how quickly it can produce enough nuclear fuel for one weapon - to six to seven months compared with the current time span of a few weeks. Israeli officials say restoring the 2015 deal now is dangerous because Iran has made so much progress on its nuclear program since then. The agreement has sunset provisions that essentially allow Iran to enrich unlimited amounts of uranium by 2030.

Nuclear Talks in Peril as U.S. Calls Latest Iran Missive a Move "Backwards"

Sun, 09/04/2022 - 17:00
(Poliitico) Nahal Toosi and Stephanie Liechtenstein - Tehran has submitted its latest response in the ongoing negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal - and the United States is slamming it as a "not at all encouraging" step "backwards." The negative reaction from the Biden administration - as well as European sources - suggests that a revival of the 2015 nuclear agreement is not imminent as some supporters of the deal had hoped, despite roughly a year and a half of talks.

"Catastrophic" Iran Nuclear Deal Could Lift Sanctions on Killers of U.S. Marines in Lebanon

Sun, 09/04/2022 - 17:00
(Fox News) Benjamin Weinthal - Leaked audio from the Iranian regime's parliament reveal the controversial nuclear agreement could enable Tehran to partially bypass U.S. congressional review of the atomic accord. That, according to one report, could mean the lifting of sanctions on Iran and senior officials involved in the mass murder of 241 American service personnel in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon. The leaked audio included a briefing by Ali Bagheri-Kani, the lead Iranian negotiator to the nuclear talks in Vienna, to its parliament (Majlis) in Tehran earlier last week. Gabriel Noronha, a former special adviser for Iran in the U.S. State Department, analyzed Bagheri-Kani's briefing. Noronha wrote in a report that the proposed Iran deal is "designed to partially circumvent congressional review of the deal under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act." According to the revelations in his report, the Biden administration agreed to lift U.S. Executive Order 13876, which targets the theocratic state's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi, as well as the former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, Noronha noted. Dehghan was responsible for the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.

In Letter to Biden Bipartisan Group of House Members Convey Concern with Reported Iran Deal

Sun, 09/04/2022 - 17:00
(Jewish News Syndicate) Dmitry Shapiro - A bipartisan group of 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives (including 34 Democrats) is calling for the Biden administration to consult Congress on a potential agreement to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, expressing concerns over reported sanctions relief and the role of Russia. The House members were concerned with the weakening of effective terrorism-related sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and allowing Russia to have a role in Iran's nuclear capabilities.

Ghost Hospitals Reveal Corruption in Palestinian Authority Health Sector

Sun, 09/04/2022 - 17:00
(The Jewish Chronicle - UK) David Rose - It is a tale of two ghost hospitals. The first containing state-of-the-art medical equipment but almost no doctors or patients. The other is a 50-acre hole in the ground. Both were high-prestige health projects, launched with loud fanfares by the Palestinian Authority; indeed, the gleaming edifice is named after its president, Mahmoud Abbas. But the two-year-old Mahmoud Abbas general hospital in Halhul, near Hebron, lies deserted, due to incompetence and corruption. And the Khaled Hasan Cancer Center in Surda, northeast of Ramallah - intended as one of the finest cancer units in the Middle East - will never arise from the hole in the ground. Here too, millions have been wasted. The ghost hospitals are grotesque symbols of the cronyism and wastage that dogs the PA health sector, which has soaked up more than 200 million pounds of British taxpayers' cash since 2008.

EU Foreign Affairs Committee Blasts UNRWA Chief over Palestinian Textbooks

Sun, 09/04/2022 - 17:00
(Jewish News Syndicate) Members of the European Union's Parliament's influential Foreign Affairs Committee slammed United Nations Relief and Works Agency Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini last week over the content of textbooks used by UNRWA schools. During a hearing on August 31, the Committee's members cited findings from the latest report by Israeli NGO IMPACT-se, which monitors Palestinian curricula to assess whether young people are being indoctrinated with hate. The report, published in July this year, examined UNRWA's self-produced educational materials and found that they promoted hatred, antisemitism, and the celebration of terrorism, bloodshed, and martyrdom.

Ken Burns Explores America's Inaction During the Holocaust

Sun, 09/04/2022 - 17:00
(The New York Times) Joseph Berger - Ken Burns' documentary, "The U.S. and the Holocaust," examines the reasons behind the United States' inadequate response to Germany's persecution of Jews. Premiering on Sept. 18 and airing over three nights on PBS, "The U.S. and the Holocaust" aims to upend other longstanding historical assumptions as well, and also draw a thematic line connecting past tragedies and current struggles.

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