Behind the Rocket Attacks from Gaza Could Be the Hand of Iran

July 11 2018

Backed by Moscow and Tehran, Bashar al-Assad has begun an offensive against the rebel strongholds in southwestern Syria that will inevitably place Iran’s forces directly on Israel’s border. Meanwhile, groups in Gaza—including Islamic Jihad, which is all but an Iranian proxy—have persisted in firing rockets at Israeli communities. Tony Badran sees a “coordinated Iranian strategy” at work:

Iran’s assets don’t stand a chance against Israel in a full-on war. But low-intensity conflict can work to [Tehran’s] advantage. . . . The purpose of all the activity in Gaza, therefore, is to tie down and distract Israel, and then try to divide its forces between two active fronts in the hope of deterring them from truly acting on either. If successful, Iran will have set up fronts on Israel’s borders with Gaza, Lebanon [in the form of Hizballah], and Syria.

So long as Iran is able to avoid high-intensity conflict in these arenas, it can press ahead with its plan. [For the time being], the Israelis have made clear they will not accept low-intensity conflict on their borders as a norm, and will not allow the Iranians to entrench themselves not just on the Golan but in Syria more broadly, no matter the cost.

There is debate in Israel about whether the time has come to hit Gaza hard. Notwithstanding all the chatter about a deal with Russia [to keep Iran and Hizballah out of the Syrian Golan], there is equal need for Israel to intensify its targeting campaign against Iran’s infrastructure, personnel, and logistical lines in Syria. . . .

Israel will need to carry out its strikes with a posture signaling readiness to go to full war. Normalizing protracted low-intensity war, akin to the situation with Lebanon between 1996 and 2006, will prove to be a costly mistake. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it recently, “if there needs to be” conflict with Iran, “it is better now than later.”

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hizballah, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Syrian civil war

Zionists Can, and Do, Criticize Israel. Are Anti-Zionists Capable of Criticizing Anti-Semitism?

Dec. 12 2018

Last week, the New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg defended the newly elected anti-Israel congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, ostensibly arguing that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism aren’t identical. Abe Greenwald comments:

Tlaib . . . has tweeted and retweeted her enthusiasm for terrorists such as Rasmea Odeh, who murdered two American students in a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969. If Tlaib’s anti-Zionism is of the Jew-loving kind, she has a funny way of showing it.

Ilhan Omar, for her part, once tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” And wouldn’t you know it, just because she believes that Zionist hypnotists have cast global spells masking Israeli evil, some people think she’s anti-Semitic! Go figure! . . .

Goldberg spends the bulk of her column trying very hard to uncouple American Jewishness from Israel. To do that, she enumerates Israel’s sins, as she sees them. . . . [But] her basic premise is at odds with reality. Zionists aren’t afraid of finding fault with Israel and don’t need to embrace anti-Zionism in order to [do so]. A poll conducted in October by the Jewish Electorate Institute found that a majority of Americans Jews have no problem both supporting Israel and criticizing it. And unlike Goldberg, they have no problem criticizing anti-Semitism, either.

Goldberg gives the game away entirely when she discusses the discomfort that liberal American Jews have felt in “defending multi-ethnic pluralism here, where they’re in the minority, while treating it as unspeakable in Israel, where Jews are the majority.” She adds: “American white nationalists, some of whom liken their project to Zionism, love to poke at this contradiction.” Read that again. She thinks the white nationalists have a point. Because, really, what anti-Semite doesn’t?

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, New York Times