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Anti-Semitism Is Not Like Other Forms of Prejudice

Reviewing an exhibit on anti-Semitism between the world wars at the New-York Historical Society, and another at the Center for Jewish History on the Nazis’ despoliation of Jewish property in Berlin, Edward Rothstein considers what makes hatred of Jews different from other hatreds:

Nazi analogies are too regularly invoked to simplify argument; and anti-Semitism is too often generalized, treated as another variety of racism. [But] I am struck by how singular anti-Semitism is, how cunning the Nazi use of it was, and how different it is from racism, with which it is often confused.

Of course, the Nazis calculatedly turned Judaism into a racial matter. . . . But if race can be an element of anti-Semitism, it is not the main point. For the Nazis it was an indicator of connection and collusion. Is there any other form of group hatred so preoccupied with conspiracy? The Jew, in this view, has hidden powers. The Jew is capable of imposing the Versailles treaty, devaluing currency, and manipulating commerce. . . .

These beliefs might seem beyond contemporary imagining. Yet today similar assertions have attached themselves to Israel—a Jew among nations. Arab media regularly invoke Nazi caricatures and references. Recently, the former mayor of London Ken Livingstone also suggested that Zionism and Nazism shared support from Hitler—adding to a string of comments by Labor leaders caricaturing Israel as uniquely satanic.

But there is no need to look so far afield. At Oberlin College, . . . [a] professor . . . accused “Rothschild-led banksters” of “implementing the World War III option” by shooting down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine; and she attacked Jews and the Mossad for funding Islamic State. Such accusations are taken from Der Stürmer’s play book. . . . The Oberlin professor, unrepentant, has treated accusations of anti-Semitism as attempts to silence her by the very conspiracy she was drawing attention to.

Clearly, the virus thrives. No exaggerated Nazi analogies are needed to reveal the similarities.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Museums, Nazism

How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen