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The Jews of the Australian Military

In his recent book Jewish Anzacs, Mark Dapin recounts the history of Australian Jews’ participation in their country’s armed forces from the 19th century through the war in Afghanistan. Deborah Rechter writes in her review:

Dapin connects a surge in Jews’ military participation at the end of the 19th century with the relatively low incidence of anti-Semitism in Australia, Australian Jews’ British allegiance, and [their] desire to “prove themselves worthy of the empire that had granted them equal rights wherever English was spoken.” . . .

At Gallipoli, the experiences of Jewish Australians include the commanders, such as the valiant Lieutenant Colonel Eliazar Margolin and the triumphant General John Monash. . .
[The book’s readers] also feel the lived experience of the trenches through the eyes of the muddied and bloodied lower ranks. Like other Anzacs, the Jews came from all strata of society. The pre-war occupations of some of those who died in France included jockey, sign writer, cigar-maker, [and] ship’s steward. . . .

Dapin shows there was sometimes a potent, certainly different, significance to events for Jews. These moments include times when soldiers stationed in Egypt and Palestine during both world wars observed religious rituals near the setting of their biblical stories; concerns about Jew fighting against Jew in belligerent armies; . . . Jews motivated [in World War II] to fight Nazis because the lives of their family and coreligionists were at stake; the [Wrold War I] assault on Beersheva, which led to the Balfour Declaration supporting the establishment of the state of Israel.

Read more at The Australian

More about: Australia, Balfour Declaration, History & Ideas, Jews in the military, World War I, World War II

 

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