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Pulling the Democrats in an Anti-Israel Direction

Aug. 15 2016

Last week, while Black Lives Matter (BLM) issued a platform accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians, the U.S. Green party formally endorsed BDS. These far-left movements, though hardly mainstream, exert substantial influence on the Democratic party, writes Jonathan Tobin:

Democrats can still point to their platform that denounces BDS and backs the Jewish state, and they can note that their congressional caucus embraces the pro-Israel community. But it’s the positions of BLM and the Greens that portend what may lie down the road for the party.

We already know that Democrats are, as polls have told us for a generation, less inclined to support Israel than Republicans. But the generational shift among Democratic voters is particularly worrisome when one considers the way so many young voters got behind Bernie Sanders and are enthusiastic backers of BLM. With each passing year, support for anti-Zionist agitation grows.

Indeed, if Hillary Clinton is elected president she may find herself subjected to great pressure from her party’s base to maintain her predecessor’s hostility to the Israeli government and perhaps exceed it. Looking even farther down the road, it’s likely that the next Democratic nominee will echo Sanders’s and Jill Stein’s positions on Israel and not the nominally mainstream pro-Israel rhetoric of Clinton.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Israel & Zionism, US-Israel relations

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