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A German Court Rules a Synagogue-Burning “Criticism of Israel”

March 16 2017

Two years ago, three German men of Palestinian descent threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue. In a ruling recently upheld by a higher court, the three were declared guilty of the attack but were not convicted of committing a hate crime since—in the courts’ logic—they had been engaged in a political protest against Israel’s policies. Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein write:

The German courts’ decisions will further fuel the anti-Semitism engulfing Europe. Jews are specifically warned not to wear kippot or other Jewish symbols in many European capitals. Holocaust survivors in Malmo, Sweden—where, ironically, they settled after escaping the Nazis—are fearful of walking to synagogue on the Sabbath because the anti-Israel political establishment won’t protect them or their rabbi from anti-Semitic threats. Armed guards are stationed in front of synagogues throughout the continent—yet, according to the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Jews do not feel safe inside their own houses of worship.

The German court decision fits the pattern of European officials and the media who find it [safer] to attribute attacks against Jewish citizens to hooliganism, to anger at Israel, or to the plight of unemployed youth [than] to anti-Semitism. . . . [This verdict] has created a new tool for those who seek to deny or to do nothing about the world’s oldest hatred: simply dismissing it as political protest. That allows the guilty to go unpunished, removes the urgency for law-enforcement to act, and soothes the consciences of the apathetic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, German Jewry, Germany, Jewish World

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