Settlement Reality Check

 

Israel’s construction in smaller settlements has steadily decreased; not so, Washington’s obsessive and misplaced demands for a total freeze. 

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Settlements, West Bank

 

Britain’s Mixed-Up Middle East Policy

 

Prime Minister David Cameron recently delivered a rousing speech about the need to take seriously the dangers of radical Islam. Yet, his government has signed an agreement with Iran that will most likely allow that country to develop nuclear weapons. Douglas Murray writes:

Everybody who knows anything about foreign policy understands its complexities. Perhaps it is not surprising that behavior that would get you designated an “extremist,” “subversive,” and even “terrorist” at home might have to be viewed differently abroad. . . . Perhaps behavior that is extreme at home must be tolerated abroad. But the question really is not why the UK government is willing to maintain a double standard. The real question is why, when it comes to the most extreme, anti-Western nation-destroyer of them all—a country committed to the annihilation of a UN member state—Her Majesty’s government would not only permit it to have any nuclear project, but would trust the word of a regime with stated genocidal intent when it says that it is not pursuing genocidal weaponry?

Read more at Gatestone

More about: David Cameron, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, Radical Islam, United Kingdom

The White House’s Leak about Releasing Jonathan Pollard Is a Cheap Stunt

 

Last Friday, unnamed sources in the Obama administration informed the Wall Street Journal that Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying for Israel 30 years ago, would be released from prison in a few months. (The veracity of the information was swiftly denied by the U.S. attorney general, among others, but is now confirmed.) Jonathan Tobin comments:

[T]he attempt to inject the emotional issue [of Pollard’s continued imprisonment] into the already inflamed debate about Iran was a deeply cynical ploy that was clearly aimed at defusing anger about the administration’s efforts to defend a nuclear agreement by isolating Israel and its defenders. Whatever one may think of the merits of the case for clemency for Pollard —and at this point it is a strong one—this issue has no place in the discussion about Iran and should be dismissed out of hand by those seeking to push back against the administration’s efforts to silence its critics. . . .

As with past U.S. efforts to use Pollard’s possible release as a carrot with which to entice Israel to make territorial withdrawals, . . . the spy’s fate is irrelevant to the question of whether appeasement of Iran is justified. . . . Raising the prospect of his release is merely one more effort to convince supporters of Israel to acquiesce in President Obama’s embrace of détente with an Islamist regime that remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism as well as still dedicated to Israel’s destruction. . . .

The Pollard leak should be put down as just one more underhanded tactic by an administration that prefers to answer arguments about its Iran policy with smears about critics being warmongers rather than to defend it on the merits.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Barack Obama, Iran nuclear program, Jonathan Pollard, Politics & Current Affairs, US-Israel relations

 

Should the Worries of Diaspora Jews Be Part of Israel’s Security Calculus?

 

According to a survey by a Jerusalem-based think tank, there is widespread feeling among Diaspora Jews that Israel doesn’t consider them when making decisions about security matters. Specifically, many believe that Israeli military operations lead to more anti-Semitism, and they want the Jewish state to be mindful of that. Contrary to the think tank’s official report, Judith Bergman finds the suggestion absurd:

Israel is not merely “fighting wars” but struggling for its existence. . . . The very idea, therefore, of involving people who have chosen to make their home outside Israel in the decision-making process concerning issues that are already extremely sensitive, complex, and fraught with pitfalls seems bizarre. . . .

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in all parts of the world. . . . Diaspora Jews obviously have to endure the brunt of this. [However, the] logic applied by the participants surveyed for the purpose of the study . . . is flawed. Israel’s actions are not to blame for the rise of anti-Semitism in the world. . . . Nothing Israel ever does will satisfy its critics, as the last couple of years have amply demonstrated. No amount of moral warfare of the highest caliber . . . will ever be good enough for the international organizations and NGOs that have made it their very raison d’être to criticize Israel. . . .

Having a say in how and when Israel fights its defensive wars is a right reserved for any Jew who wants to assume the responsibilities that having such a say entails: living in Israel and sharing in all of its aspects, the ups as well as the downs, the joys as well as the sorrows. Nowhere in the world do rights come without responsibilities. This holds true for Israel as well.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Anti-Semitism, Diaspora, Gaza War, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security

How the Jews of Casablanca Rescued Their European Brethren in World War II

 

During the world war, some European Jewish refugees made their way to Morocco following that country’s liberation by the Allies. Sidney Chriqui, a Jew from Casablanca, recalls how his family took some of them into their home. (Video, 7 minutes.)

Read more at Youtube

More about: History & Ideas, Holocaust, Mizrahi Jewry, Moroccan Jewry, World War II

Fake Anti-Semitism in the Service of Russia’s War

 

Last week, some 100 demonstrators gathered in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, waving placards bearing anti-Semitic slogans and expressing their opposition to the Ukrainian government. Vladislav Davidzon argues that there was more to this protest than meets the eye:

The incident is the latest attempt to weaponize accusations of anti-Semitism in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Proving that the government in Kiev and the population of western Ukraine is infested with neo-Nazis has since the very beginning of the conflict been the core strategy of the propaganda coming out of Russian media organs. . . . This rhetoric directly echoes the Soviet Union’s labeling of any actor that opposed its geopolitical interests as “counterrevolutionary.” [The goal is to] delegitimize Ukraine by . . . fatally associating it with fascism. . . .

Ukrainian media reported that members of the demonstration had been seen (and filmed) collecting 50- and 100-Hryvnia bills for their participation. . . . When the assembled journalists demanded that the protesters explain their demands, some barked out feeble and enraged generalities. Other protesters could be seen hiding their faces behind their hands in front of the camera and behind the banners in shame. Some . . . had the tell-tale pink and puffy faces of chronic alcoholics, which might suggest that political activism was not their primary concern.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, Jewish world, Russia, Ukrainian Jews, Vladimir Putin, War in Ukraine