JNS News Briefs: September 30, 2012
Poll: 62% of Americans support use of force to stop nuclear Iran
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A significant majority of Americans would support the use of force, if necessary, to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, according to a recent national survey by the Foreign Policy Initiative.
Asked in an open-ended question to name the country that poses “the most danger” to U.S. national security interests, the largest group of respondents (45.1 percent) said the Islamic Republic of Iran. “Indeed, Iranian leaders, who have publicly threatened to wipe Israel ‘off the map,’ have continued to improve their country’s ability to build a nuclear weapon on short notice, while repeatedly rejecting a decade’s worth of international diplomacy and economic pressure by the United States and others aimed at persuading them to change course,” the group said in a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that Iran is quickly nearing a “zone of immunity,” a technical state in which it would be difficult for U.S. or Israeli conventional airstrikes to degrade, delay or destroy Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
A majority of Americans (62 percent) favor preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, even if this option means the use of military force, over the alternative of avoiding armed conflict and accepting the likelihood that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons. A strong majority of self-identified conservatives (78.6 percent) and a majority of self-identified moderates (57.8 percent), in addition to 44.6 percent of self-identified liberals, support U.S. military action to stop a nuclear-armed Iran.
Report: Morsi willing to meet an Israeli leader
(JNS.org) Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is willing to meet with an Israeli leader, preferably President Shimon Peres, a senior Egyptian official told Israel Hayom, despite talk of a Muslim Brotherhood refusal to meet with Israeli officials until an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is signed.
The Egyptian official said that if such a meeting were to take place, it would be in Washington, after the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. The objective would be to establish a new platform for more positive relations between the countries following a downturn resulting from the ouster of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and an assault on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo in September 2011.
According to the official, who recently accompanied Morsi on his visit to the UN General Assembly in New York, the president’s declaration to the assembly that Egypt would honor its international treaties, including its treaty with Israel, was a result of efforts by U.S. officials to bring Israel and Egypt closer together.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported on Saturday that U.S. President Barack Obama had informed Congress he intended to transfer $450 million to Egypt immediately as part of the U.S. government’s pledge of $1 billion in aid after Mubarak’s regime collapsed. The move, however, was immediately opposed by Congress, which has refused to approve aid packages for a regime run by the Muslim Brotherhood.
White House says Obama and Bibi agree on Iran, but does not set red line
(JNS.org) President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a phone conversation Sept. 28 and are “in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” the White House said.
That statement, however, came amid Netanyahu’s latest request for the setting of “red lines”—points that will trigger U.S. military action if Iran’s nuclear program crosses them—and the Obama’s aministration’s continued refusal to do so.
“The two leaders took note of the close cooperation and coordination between the governments of the United States and Israel regarding the threat posed by Iran—its nuclear program, proliferation, and support for terrorism—and agreed to continue their regular consultations on this issue going forward,” the White House said readout of the Obama-Netanyahu phone call said.
Netanyahu said at the United Nations on Sept. 27 that he thinks Iran will reach the final phase of uranium enrichment sometime in the spring or summer of 2013. Two days earlier, Obama said at the same venue that a nuclear-armed Iran “is not a challenge that can be contained” and that it “would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy.”
Reacting to Netanyahu’s speech, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor said the U.S. and Israel “share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon” and that the two countries “will continue our close consultation and cooperation toward achieving that goal,” but did not endorse Netanyahu’s proposal of red lines.
On the phone call, Netanyahu “welcomed President Obama’s commitment before the United Nations General Assembly to do what we must” to prevent a nuclear Iran, according to the White House. Like Vietor’s statement, red lines were not mentioned in the readout of the Obama-Netanyahu conversation.
Bomb explodes in Sweden Jewish community center
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A bomb exploded at a Jewish community center in Malmo, Sweden early Sept. 28, causing damage but no injuries. The door leading into the community center was shattered, as were several windows. Several eyewitnesses told police officers that they saw two vehicles speeding away from the scene immediately after the explosion before dawn Friday. One of the cars was located, and its two occupants taken into custody.
Swedish police are continuing to investigate the incident. The suspects, both 18 years old, have denied any wrongdoing. The head of the Malmo Jewish community, Fred Kahn, told the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan that he “was shocked that this had happened now, that it was happening at all.”
“There is always a constant threat against Jewish institutions, but we hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary now,” he said.
“We have to increase our security, but we have no money for such things. We have no hidden stash. We have to use the money we get from membership fees, which could otherwise be used for social, cultural and other purposes,” Kahn added.
According to local statistics, Malmo sees some 50 to 100 anti-Semitic incidents per year. Many of the perpetrators are first- and second-generation Muslim immigrants, who make up 30 to 40 percent of Malmo’s population of 300,000. Many of Malmo’s Muslims are Palestinian. In 2010, following Israel’s 2009 offensive in Gaza, the number of anti-Semitic attacks in Malmo doubled from that of the previous year, with 79 recorded incidents.
Video shows professors teaching anti-Semitism, anti-Israelism
(JNS.org) Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) has released a 30-minute video in which Northeastern University professors promote anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views in their classroom lectures.
According to Dr. Charles Jacobs, APT President, one a tenured professor in the Boston-based school consistently defamed Israel, and his department of Middle East Center for Peace, Culture and Development “has been built to inculcate students with a hostile and demonized view of the Jewish state, with repeated comparisons to the Nazis.”
“As the video shows, one professor in the Department has also introduced the students and the university to virulent anti-Semitic Arab officials and religious leaders,” APT said in a press release.
In the video, a Northeastern economics professor also tells students to be proud of being called anti-Semites, and brags that for more than a decade the student body has been largely turned against Israel.
“The problem of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism is not restricted to this campus but is a national problem that first came to wide public attention in 2004 with the controversial film Columbia Unbecoming, which documented the intimidation of Jewish students at Columbia University,” said Jacobs. “Northeastern professors cannot be allowed to indoctrinate students and promote lies,” he added.
The video is available to view on YouTube at http://bit.ly/PHnt3m.
Netanyahu meets with Bloomberg, stresses ‘close consultation’ with U.S.
By Maxine Dovere/JNS.org
NEW YORK—New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Gracie Mansion following Netanyahu’s United Nations speech Sept. 27.
Netanyahu said at the briefing that the U.S. and Israel “are in close consultation with the United States about how to practically prevent Iran from moving ahead and how to make them abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions.”
“I believe it is achievable and will continue to work towards that goal,” he said.
Noting the “special bond between our city and Israel,” the mayor said “both are a target for those who seek to destroy freedom.” Bloomberg recalled that, following the 9/11 attacks, “the people of Israel stood with us in solidarity, knowing that terrorists are only victorious if they frighten people into giving up their beliefs, their values and their way of life.
“That,” said the mayor, “will never happen in Israel, and it will never happen in the United States.”
“I am sure that the U. S. and Israel can work out a common policy in the interests of both nations and in the interests of peace…When we say ‘never again,’ we must mean it,” Bloomberg said.
Invited to the podium, Netanyahu acknowledged Bloomberg as “a champion of New York City and of the United States.”
“You stand for the friendship between Israel and the United States…and the sympathies that emanate from this common commitment to freedom,” he told the mayor.
The prime minister said it is “important to be clear and unambiguous about our determination to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
“It can be stopped, if we are clear and resolved about the red line that Iran must not pass,” Netanyahu said.
Jerusalem bus bomb survivor highlights pro-Israel UN Week rally
By Maxine Dovere/JNS.org
NEW YORK—While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the United Nations Sept. 27, a coalition including Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, the Coptic State of Egypt, Mothers Against Terrorism, Americans for a Safe Israel, the AMCHA initiative and the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam held a pro-Israel rally on Second Avenue directly opposite the office of the Consulate of Israel in New York. Music kept the mood upbeat, sending the notes of “Am Yisrael Chai” wafted into the streets of the city.
Speakers called for America’s solidarity and support of Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of enemies seeking the destruction and elimination of the Jewish state. Sarri Singer—who in 2003 survived the Palestinian bombing of Jerusalem Bus 14—told the story of the attack that claimed the lives of 16 and injured more than 100.
“It can happen anywhere, at any time… An attack on any of us is an attack on all of us… We cannot be silent when 6 million Jews live in the constant shadow of an instantaneous Holocaust,” she said. “We need to stand strong.”
Rally participant Mark Langfan challenged decision-makers to consider the consequences of a Middle East without the stabilizing effect of the region’s sole democracy. “Any threat to Israel,” Langfan told JNS.org, “is a threat to America and western democracy.”
NYPD saves ‘verbally accosted,’ not assaulted, Iranian diplomat from mob
(JNS.org) Following Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel remarks at the United Nations on Sept. 26, the New York Police Department (NYPD) rescued Iranian Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast from a mob in which he was confronted with verbal threats but was not assaulted, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The mob met Mehmanparast a few blocks from UN headquarters when the diplomat was separated from other Iranians traveling in a protected motorcade. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Mehmanparast was “verbally accosted by anti-regime protesters.”
Browne said “some pushing and shoving” took place, but that the department was “not aware of any assault involved, despite one protester’s claim to have punched the diplomat in the stomach.”
Ahmadinejad, speaking to the UN General Assembly that day, cited the continued threat by the “uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation.”
AJC Poll: 65% of American Jews support Obama, Orthodox prefer Romney
(JNS.org) Sixty-five percent of respondents in an American Jewish Committee (AJC) poll released Sept. 27 said they plan to vote for incumbent President Barack Obama, while 24 percent prefer challenger Mitt Romney.
But the poll, which surveyed 1,040 American Jews, revealed 54 percent of Orthodox Jewish respondents favoring Romney compared with 40 percent for Obama. Conservative Jews backed Obama 64-23 percent, and Reform Jews supported the Democrat 68-23 percent.
Ten percent of respondents were undecided about November’s election. Sixty-one percent approved of Obama’s handling of the Iranian nuclear threat and 39 percent disapproved.
AJC’s survey of Florida Jewish voters earlier in September had Obama leading Romney 69-25 percent in that critical swing state.
Amid anti-Semitism, remembering France’s granting of full rights to Jews
(JNS.org) Sept. 27 marked the 221st anniversary of French Jews being granted equality under the law by the French National Assembly. This political decision in 1791 was the culmination of a long process granting Jews full rights that started before the French Revolution of 1789. In 1785, a poll tax on Jews was abolished and Jews were allowed to live all over France.
“I believe that freedom of worship no longer permits any distinction to be made between the political rights of citizens on the basis of their beliefs and I believe equally that the Jews cannot be the only exceptions to the enjoyment of these rights, when pagans, Turks, Muslims, Chinese even, men of all the sects, in short, are admitted to these rights,” French magistrate Adrien-Jean-Francois Duport, who introduced the resolution that normalized the status of Jews in France, had said, according to Haaretz.
Now, turn the calendar forward to August 2012: Simon Wiesenthal Center Dean Abraham Cooper told Reuters last month that French Jews have seen an uptick of 40 percent in anti-Semitic attacks since this March, when Islamist terrorist Mohammed Merah killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Cooper also said the increase in anti-Semitism is encouraging rising numbers of French Jews to leave the country.
Despite the fact that anti-Semitism continued to be heavily present in France after the 1791 assembly law, Napoleon extended equal rights to the Jews of the lands he conquered when he came to power in 1799.
Israeli experiment pits man against computer
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) More than two-thirds of participants in an experiment held in Israel on Sept. 24 could not tell the difference between a person and a computer.
In a game show simulation of the “Turing test,” in which the audience had to deduce whether answers to trivia questions were provided by a human or a machine, the audience witnessed multiple contestants: Intel Israel CEO Maxine Fassberg, Israeli model Adi Neuman, Israel Space Agency chairman Professor Yitzhak Ben-Israel, and student representative Jonathan Bonatzel. The contestants were asked assorted trivia questions by TV host Avri Gilad, ranging from general knowledge to emotional intelligence and life experience. One of the contestants was fed answers from a computer; the rest answered to the best of their knowledge.
The audience then voted on who they thought was the computer among them. The more than 2,500 votes showed that 27 percent correctly identified the student’s answers to be computer-generated; one-third thought Professor Ben-Israel was the machine; 22 percent thought it was model Adi Neuman; and 21 percent thought it was the Intel CEO.
“Since the majority of the participants did not correctly identify the computer, it shows they thought it was a human, and therefore with some reservation it can be said the computer passed the Turing test, at least for this event,” Israeli Science and Technology Minister Professor Daniel Hershkowitz said.
There are a few notable machines that have successfully mimicked and defeated human intelligence, including IBM’s “Deep Blue,” the supercomputer that defeated Russian Chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.
Preceding provided by JNS.org and reprinted with permission
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