This has happened in recent days: The Dutch water company Vitens severed its ties with Israeli counterpart Mekorot; Canada’s largest Protestant church decided to boycott three Israeli companies; the Romanian government refused to send any more construction workers; and American Studies Association academics are voting on a measure to sever links with Israeli universities.

December 10, 2013

There is no shortage of advice in the United States about how the Obama administration should approach Egypt. The familiar ring of policy prescriptions bouncing around the Beltway and beyond is either a testament to a lack of creativity or limited leverage or the return of some version of the political order that prevailed under Mubarak. Take, for example, Saturday’s lead editorial in the Washington Post called, “The U.S. Must Confront the Egyptian Military’s Push for Authoritarian Rule.”

There is a submerged rock in the Yellow Sea that seafaring Korean families once believed to be the home of the spirits of dead fishermen. The rock’s name in English is Socotra Rock; in Korea, it’s referred to as Ieodo, and in China the Suyan Rock. Whatever the language, it’s at the center of a new global hot zone that is threatening to destabilize relations in East Asia.

Syria’s moderate rebels have launched a social campaign to win support from civilians to quell growing influence by al-Qaeda-linked militant groups in opposition-held areas, a newspaper reported Monday. “We realized that in order to fight al-Qaeda we need to counter them not just militarily but on the social side as well,” a senior adviser to the Supreme Military Council told The Independent newspaper.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that any agreement to emerge from newly restarted talks with the Palestinians will likely initially result in a “cold peace,” and therefore Israel must insist on “iron-clad security arrangements” to protect itself in case the accord collapses.

Colombia's largest rebel group, the Farc, has announced a 30-day-long ceasefire starting on 15 December. The announcement came a day after five soldiers, one police officer and three civilians were killed by a Farc car bomb attack against a police station. The Farc declared a similar ceasefire when peace talks began in Cuba a year ago. It was abandoned on 20 January. The Colombian government insists it will only stop fighting the rebels when a final peace accord is reached.

Cuban Jewish leaders say they have visited a U.S. government subcontractor imprisoned on the island. A statement from Beth Shalom Temple says they met with Alan Gross, of Maryland, on Thursday. The visit came two days after Gross marked four years in custody, and on the last day of Hanukkah.

What Jimmy Carter began, Barack Obama is ending. Washington is bringing down the curtain on its 30-plus-year military effort to pull the Islamic world into conformity with American interests and expectations. It’s about time. Back in 1980, when his promulgation of the Carter Doctrine launched that effort, Carter acted with only a vague understanding of what might follow.