Norman Lamm Deserves Better

The outgoing chancellor of Yeshiva University should be celebrated for his immeasurable contributions to the entire Jewish world, not pilloried for a single error of judgment.

Read more at Forward

More about: American Jewry, Modern Orthodoxy, Norman Lamm, Yeshiva University


America’s Behind-the-Scenes Efforts to Prop Up Bashar al-Assad

As the Syrian dictator bombs and gases civilians, tortures his citizens, terrorizes Lebanon, and keeps Hizballah’s supply lines open, the Obama administration has backed away from assurances that the U.S. would support his ouster. To the contrary, writes Tony Badran, American officials have been working surreptitiously to keep Assad in power:

Behind the scenes, administration heavies like Rob Malley, President Barack Obama’s favorite regional troubleshooter, Brett McGurk, [a diplomat tasked with coordinating international efforts against Islamic State], and others have been moving heaven and earth to ensure that the [Assad] regime prevails militarily in Aleppo and elsewhere on the Syrian battlefield. In fact, as Russia and its allies on the ground appear to be mobilizing for a push on Aleppo, the administration’s response has been to give them full cover, falsely claiming that the city is being held primarily by the Nusra Front. Then last Monday, the State Department spokesman John Kirby practically advised rebel groups in Aleppo to move out of their positions in the city lest they “get hurt.” . . .

While Obama’s Syria policy might appear like a response to recent events, it is continuous with a longstanding White House position. Proposals that would leave Assad as president, but with supposedly limited authorities, have been regularly floated since 2012, the year of Obama’s famous red line. . . .

[T]he Obama administration and its claque in the press have been [willing] to ignore the river of blood that Assad continues to leave in his wake. . . . Nor is Assad’s blood lust confined to Syrian civilians who oppose his rule—he murders plenty of other people too, including Americans. Shortly after taking power, Assad began directing jihadists from the world over via Syria to Iraq in order to kill American soldiers following the 2003 U.S. invasion of that country. Assad’s intelligence services directed the same network to do hits and detonate bombs in Jordan and Lebanon. . . .

And now, with near a half-million dead, millions of refugees, many deliberately ethnically cleansed, he gets to be part of a “political transition” in Syria and help draft a new “constitution” and run in “elections” that he will organize.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy