Ostracizing Jewish Trump Supporters Will Only Hurt the Jewish Community

Nov. 19 2018

On the day of the massacre in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the political commentator Franklin Foer wrote in the Atlantic that “any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning Trump’s Jewish enablers. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed their community in danger.” Foer was not alone in this sentiment, which was echoed by at least one influential rabbi. Seth Mandel warns of the dangers of this passion for anathematizing political opponents, made even more dangerous by the tendency to blame Israel for the anti-Semitic violence:

Two versions of this [claim] predominate: one, that Israel’s strength has deceived Jews into weakening their position in America; two, that Israeli policies are to blame for the bloodshed. . . . The former Anti-Defamation League official Harry Reis [stated that] Benjamin Netanyahu, the Knesset member Naftali Bennett, the Israeli ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer, and the U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman “are enablers and defenders of [Donald Trump’s] hate and the white supremacists who support him.”

The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson took the next logical step in this progression and—ironically, endorsing a key neo-Nazi talking point—proclaimed: “The bizarre and terrifying nexus between Israel and white nationalism actually starts to make sense when you understand the ethno-nationalist literature. Extreme-right Zionists and anti-Semitic white nationalists have the same core beliefs.” Liberals have thus unwittingly been reprising the old “Zionism equals racism” calumny with the 2018 version: Zionism is borderline Nazism. . . .

So there you have it: the Jews are the authors of their own destruction, supporters of Israel are disloyal Americans, Zionism is a first cousin to Nazism, right-wing Jews are Nazi collaborators, and Trump-supporting Jews should be expurgated from Jewish communal life.

Why are [Foer and others] fixated on excommunication? [There] is a great irony here: liberal laymen and clergy are deploying one of the most heavy-handed rabbinical retributive powers on the menu. . . . But of course the religion we’re talking about isn’t Judaism, is it? It’s progressivism—the Torah of Liberalism. In leftist politics, isolation is the first, not the last, line of defense against upsetting ideas.

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More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump, Politics & Current Affairs

“Ending the War in Yemen” Would Lead to More Bloodshed and Threaten Global Trade

Dec. 13 2018

A bipartisan movement is afloat in Congress to end American support for the Saudi-led coalition currently fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. With frustration at Riyadh over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, reports of impending famine and a cholera outbreak in Yemen, and mounting casualties, Congress could go so far as to cut all funding for U.S. involvement in the war. But to do so would be a grave mistake, argues Mohammed Khalid Alyahya:

Unfortunately, calls to “stop the Yemen war,” though morally satisfying, are fundamentally misguided. . . . A precipitous disengagement by the Saudi-led coalition . . . would have calamitous consequences for Yemen, the Middle East, and the world at large. The urgency to end the war reduces that conflict, and its drivers, to a morality play, with the coalition of Arab states cast as the bloodthirsty villain killing and starving Yemeni civilians. The assumption seems to be that if the coalition’s military operations are brought to a halt, all will be well in Yemen. . . .

[But] if the Saudi-led coalition were to cease operations, Iran’s long arm, the Houthis, would march on areas [previously controlled by the Yemeni government] and exact a bloody toll on the populations of such cities as Aden and Marib with the same ruthlessness with which they [treated] Sanaa and Taiz during the past three years. The rebels have ruled Sanaa, kidnapping, executing, disappearing, systematically torturing, and assassinating detractors. In Taiz, they fire mortars indiscriminately at the civilian population and snipers shoot at children to force residents into submission.

[Moreover], an abrupt termination of the war would leave Iran in control of Yemen [and] deal a serious blow to the global economy. Iran would have the ability to obstruct trade and oil flows from both the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb strait. . . . About 24 percent of the world’s petroleum and petroleum products passes through these two waterways, and Iran already has the capability to disrupt oil flows from Hormuz and threatened to do so this year. Should Iran acquire that capability in Bab el-Mandeb by establishing a foothold in the Gulf of Aden, even if it chose not to utilize this capability oil prices and insurance costs would surge.

Allowing Tehran to control two of the most strategic choke points for the global energy market is simply not an option for the international community. There is every reason to believe that Iran would launch attacks on maritime traffic. The Houthis have mounted multiple attacks on commercial and military vessels over the past several years, and Iran has supplied its Yemeni proxy with drone boats, conventional aerial drones, and ballistic missiles.

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More about: Iran, Oil, Politics & Current Affairs, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen