JERUSALEM – Purim festivities throughout Israel last week celebrated the defeat of a Persian politician who sought to rally the world to murder every Jew on earth and also to stifle the return of the Jews to Jerusalem 2400 years ago.

Middle East headlines of the past week seemed tailor-made for Purim, as the president of Iran – the modern day Persia – arrived in Damascus to meet with the president of Syria, and the secretary general of Hezbollah met on Thursday in Damascus with today’s Persian politician opening their summit with a declaration that he looked forward to “a Middle East with no more Jews.”

The meeting between Hezbollah Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of the rare occasions that Mr. Nasrallah left one of the safe-houses he uses in Lebanon.

Mr. Nasrallah told the media that he began the meeting by outlining a number of scenarios in which Israel might begin an attack on Hezbollah.

He said he believed that the chances of that happening were slim, but noted, “We have to be ready and prepared for any possibility.”

Mr. Nasrallah and Mr. Ahmadinejad were joined by Syrian President Bashar Assad, who invited them to dinner in the palace.

The three leaders said that they discussed the level of Hezbollah’s readiness and military preparations, the ties with the Lebanese army and the level of training being given by the Iranians in Hezbollah training camps.

The Iranian president capitalized on his visit to the Syrian capital to meet with the leaders of the ten Palestinian factions that have offices in Damascus-the “rejectionist front”-first and foremost, Hamas Political Bureau Director Khaled Mashal.

A Hezbollah spokesman announced that Mr. Ahmadinejad gave everyone their own job in the event of a war with Israel: “Syria is ready for any attack by Israel, either large or small. It has a commitment for full Iranian backing and support.”

Abed Albari Atwan, the editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi, described the summit meeting as a “war council.” “Not since the great wars against Israel,” he wrote, “has there been a meeting of this magnitude and of this power… This is Assad’s answer to Hillary Clinton’s demand of Syria, on the eve of Ahmadinejad’s visit, to weaken its ties with Iran.

Assad informed her, for all intents and purposes: I’ve given up on the American axis, which is a joke, in my opinion, and hasn’t given me anything. I have no intention of dismantling a 30-year-old strategic alliance with Iran. As far as I’m concerned, Syria can continue to live without an American ambassador in Damascus.”

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.