Anti-Semitism Takes over British Universities

Jan. 31 2017

Last month, a British peeress declared that some campuses in her country were becoming “no-go zones for Jews.” Maajid Nawaz, detailing a series of examples of the anti-Semitic climate prevalent at British universities—including some violent incidents—places the blame primarily on the National Union of Students (NUS) and an alliance among the left, the far right, and Islamists:

Last summer the NUS passed a motion removing the right of Jewish students to vote for their own representative to the union’s anti-racism and anti-fascism committee. The NUS also held debates on whether to drop Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations, [a proposition] to which large numbers of attendees reportedly cheered and applauded. The election of Malia Bouattia as the head of the NUS leaves little room for hope that things will change.

In 2011 the now-NUS president wrote that Birmingham University was “something of a Zionist outpost.” By 2014 she was arguing in a speech called “Gaza and the Palestinian Revolution” that boycotts and non-violent protests were insufficient. For Bouattia, the only way to free Palestine was to take orders on resistance from what she called “Palestinians on the ground.”

Bouattia was also responsible for the efforts to block an NUS motion condemning Islamic State as a terrorist organization and to show solidarity with the Kurds. The claim was that this would be read as Islamophobic. After much condemnation a reworded motion was later passed. The NUS, [however], did adopt a motion with relative ease to boycott Israel. Curiously, [in this case] the same logic was not used and [the decision] was not deemed anti-Semitic. Matters came to a head last September as 44 student leaders signed an open letter stating that Jewish students did not feel safe participating in the national student movement.

How did it all come to this? The perfect storm: Islamist theocrats, their regressive-left apologists, and right-wing populists. Though they may hate each other, they agree to hate Jews more. I call this Europe’s triple threat, and it is tearing our political culture asunder, poisoning our discourse, and leaving a nasty aftertaste to campus activism. No surer sign of rising fascism have we had in our history than the scapegoating of our Jewish communities. Alarm bells should be sounding, and yet they are not.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, British Jewry, Jewish World, United Kingdom, University

Iran’s Defeat May Not Be Immediate, but Effective Containment Is at Hand

Aug. 20 2018

In the 1980s, the U.S. pursued a policy of economic, military, and political pressure on the Soviet Union that led to—or at least hastened—its collapse while avoiding a head-on military confrontation. Some see reasons to hope that a similar strategy might bring about the collapse of the Islamic Republic. Frederick Kagan, however, argues against excessive optimism. Carefully comparing the current situation of Iran to that of the Gorbachev-era USSR, he suggests instead that victory over Tehran can be effectively achieved even if the regime persists, at least for the time being:

What must [an Iran] strategy accomplish in order to advance American national security and vital national interests? Regime change was the only outcome during the cold war that could accomplish those goals, given the conventional and nuclear military power of the Soviet Union. Iran is much weaker by every measure and much more vulnerable to isolation than the Soviets were. . . . Isolating Iran from external resources and forcing the regime to concentrate on controlling its own population would be major accomplishments that would transform the Middle East. . . .

It is vital to note that the strategy toward the Soviet Union included securing Western Europe against the Soviet threat and foreclosing Soviet efforts to pare America’s allies, especially West Germany, away from it while simultaneously supporting (in an appropriately limited fashion) the Solidarity uprising in Poland and the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan. It is not meaningful to speak of a victory strategy against Iran that does not include contesting Iranian control and influence in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq while strengthening and hardening the Arab frontline states (including Oman and Qatar) against Iranian influence.

Syria is Iran’s Afghanistan—it is the theater in which Iranian forces are most vulnerable, where Iranian popular support for the war is wearing thin, and where the U.S. can compel [Iran] to expend its limited resources on a defensive battle. Iraq is Iran’s Poland—the area Iran has come to dominate, but with limitations, and a country Iran’s leaders believe they cannot afford to lose. The U.S. is infinitely better positioned to contest Iran’s control over Iraq than it ever was in Poland (and similarly better positioned in Syria than it was in Afghanistan).

A long-term approach would focus on building a consensus among America’s allies about the need to implement a victory strategy. It would deter the Russians and Chinese from stepping in to keep Iran alive. It would disrupt the supply chain of strategic materials Iran needs to advance its nuclear and conventional military capabilities. And it would force Iran to fight hard for its positions in Iraq and Syria while simultaneously pressing the Iranian economy in every possible way. Such a strategy would almost certainly force the Islamic Republic back in on itself, halt and reverse its movement toward regional hegemony, exacerbate schisms within the Iranian leadership and between the regime and the people, and possibly, over time, and in a uniquely Iranian way, lead to a change in the nature of the regime.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Commentary

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