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When It Comes to Iran, There’s No Time for the U.S. to Stall

Jan. 10 2018

After making hundreds of arrests and killing at least two-dozen citizens, the Islamic Republic has managed to put a damper, at least for now, on the recent wave of demonstrations. If Washington doesn’t step in soon to help the protesters, argues William Kristol, it will “have failed to seize a golden opportunity to further [its] interests and the cause of freedom in the Middle East.”

It is true that there are complex decisions pending on certifying or decertifying the nuclear deal and on waiving or not waiving various nuclear sanctions. But uncertainty about what to do about those is no reason not, at least, to begin to move on other fronts. There are many non-nuclear sanctions that can be imposed on the Revolutionary Guard, the central bank, and other elements of the regime; there are ways to highlight the protesters’ complaints about widespread corruption and the appropriation of wealth by various leaders; there are other ways to help the protesters. The administration has shown no urgency about moving ahead in any of these areas.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently tried to assure us that action will be coming soon. But time is of the essence. The demonstrators could use some concrete gestures of support. We are fiddling while the regime cracks down. The time to act is now.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Being a Critic of Israel Means Never Having to Explain How It Should Defend Itself

April 23 2018

The ever-worsening situation of Jews in Europe, writes Bret Stephens, should serve as a reminder of the need for a Jewish state. Israel’s critics, he suggests, should reflect more deeply on that need:

Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews.

That’s a point that Israel’s restless critics could stand to learn. On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this—doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders—and has repeatedly used deadly force to counter it.

The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t.

It would also be helpful if they could explain how they can insist on Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders and then scold Israel when it defends those borders. They can’t. If the armchair corporals want to persist in demands for withdrawals that for 25 years have led to more Palestinian violence, not less, the least they can do is be ferocious in defense of Israel’s inarguable sovereignty. Somehow they almost never are. . . .

[T]o the extent that the diaspora’s objections [to Israeli policies] are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless. They provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment. And they foster the illusion that there’s some easy and morally stainless way by which Jews can exercise the responsibilities of political power.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism