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The New Mexican Inquisition

Aug. 22 2016

As early as the 16th century, Iberian Jews who had converted to Catholicism in order to escape persecution or expulsion came to Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the New World where they hoped to be free of stigma. But soon the Inquisition followed them, seeking out those who continued to practice Jewish rituals in secret. A new exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe tells what happened to some of these crypto-Jews. Rich Tenorio writes:

Fractured Faiths: Spanish Judaism, the Inquisition, and New World Identities is on display . . . through December 31. In this comprehensive exhibition, viewers can see artifacts borrowed from over twenty institutions from Europe and the Americas—many brought together for the first time. . . .

Established in Spain in 1478, the Inquisition began active investigations in 1480. The next 40 years would see a wave of persecution of crypto-Jews. . . . in Spain and to some extent in the Americas. . . .

In Mexico City during the 1590s, a second wave of persecutions arose, stretching over a decade. Its victims included Don Luis de Carvajal, a colonial governor of New Mexico, and his family.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: American Jewish History, History & Ideas, Inquisition, Museums, Sephardim

Toward an Iran Policy That Looks at the Big Picture

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech outlining a new U.S. approach to the Islamic Republic. Ray Takeyh and Mark Dubowitz explain why it constitutes an important and much-needed rejection of past errors:

For too long, a peculiar consensus has suggested that it is possible to isolate the nuclear issue from all other areas of contention and resolve it in a satisfactory manner. The subsidiary [assumption] embedded in this logic is that despite the bluster of Iran’s rulers, it is governed by cautious men, who if offered sufficient incentives and soothing language would respond with pragmatism. No one embraced this notion more ardently than the former secretary of state, John Kerry, who crafted an accord whose deficiencies are apparent to all but the most hardened partisans. . . .

A regime as dangerous as the Iranian one requires no less than a comprehensive strategy to counter it. This means exploiting all of its vulnerabilities, increasing the costs of its foreign adventures, draining its economy, and aiding our allies. Most importantly, the United States must find a way of connecting itself to domestic opposition that continuously haunts the mullahs.

Washington should no longer settle for an arms-control agreement that paves Iran’s path to a bomb but rather a restrictive accord that ends its nuclear aspirations. The United States should not implore its allies to share the Middle East with Iran, as Barack Obama did, but partner with them in defeating the clerical imperialists. And most importantly, the United States should never forget that its most indispensable ally is the Iranian people.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Mike Pompeo, U.S. Foreign policy