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South Asia Has Few Jews, But Many Anti-Semites

Oct. 22 2014

Jews and Muslims have lived together in the Indian subcontinent for many centuries, and have often had close ties. India’s only Hebrew scribe, for instance, is a Muslim, as is the country’s only tombstone engraver in Hebrew. A devout Muslim is responsible for reviving the study of Hebrew at Indian universities. Elsewhere, however, there has been a rise in anti-Semitism, especially in Pakistan, and violent attacks, though rare, have not been limited to the murder of Daniel Pearl or the 2008 Mumbai attack. Anti-Semitism has also had diplomatic implications, writes Navras Jaat Aafreedi:

The Muslim antagonism toward Jews has also been a major influence on foreign policy in South Asia. It is for this reason that the policy has often been one of having relations with Israel secretly, not publicly, lest it provoke the general Muslim masses. Pakistan and Bangladesh still do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, though the Pakistani state has actually always maintained secret ties with Israel just as India did before the establishment of open diplomatic relations between the two states. While the Muslim factor alone would not suffice to explain Indian policy toward the Middle East, it did play a considerable role in some critical decisions taken by India. . . . It took India two years to recognize Israel and it did so only after both Shiite and Sunni countries had recognized Israel (Iran and Turkey). Former Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh was candid enough to admit during a state visit to Israel in July 2000 that Indian Muslim sentiment against Israel kept India from establishing diplomatic relations with Israel until 1992.

Read more at Asian Jewish Life

More about: Anti-Semitism, Bangladesh, Indian Jewry, Israel-India relations, Pakistan

 

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy