Her Love Affair with the Jews

Jan. 16 2015

The British journalist Julie Burchill has never shied away from expressing her sympathy for Jews and the Jewish state. Quitting the Guardian in 2004, she explicitly cited its anti-Semitism as the reason, and she later considered converting to Judaism. Unchosen, her new memoir about her relationship with the Jewish people, has its flaws, writes Benjamin Bilski, but also much of value:

Unchosen has been greeted with derisive reviews invariably missing what makes this book most interesting. The Jewish people have always been outsiders, both as a nation and in exile, and yet despite all the odds, Burchill’s fascination is not with minor cultural staples and bagels but with the undefined struggle.

[She writes that she is] “seeking an absence, a mystery, an unknowable something that happened centuries ago which resulted in a tribe of desert nomads surviving for four millennia—while every sucker, charlatan, and Sadducee attempted to eradicate them—to basically build the modern world.”

Read more at Standpoint

More about: Anti-Semitism, Arts & Culture, Conversion, Guardian, Journalism, Philo-Semitism

How Israel and Its Allies Could Have a Positive Influence on the Biden Administration’s Iran Policy

Nov. 25 2020

While the president-elect has expressed his desire to return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, this should not in itself cause worry in Jerusalem; it has never been the Israeli government’s position that a deal with Tehran is undesirable, only that the flaws of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration outweighed its benefits. Thus Yaakov Amidror, Efraim Inbar, and Eran Lerman urge Israel to approach Joe Biden’s national-security team—whose senior members were announced this week—to urge them to act prudently:

To the greatest extent possible, such approaches should be made jointly, or in very close coordination with, Israel’s new partners in the Gulf. These countries share Israel’s perspectives on the Iranian regional threat and on the need to block Tehran’s path to nuclear weapons.

For Israel, for Iran-deal skeptics in Washington, and for her partners in the region, the first operational priority is to persuade the incoming U.S. national-security team to maintain full leverage on Iran. Sanctions against Iran should not be lifted as a “gesture” without a verified Iranian return to the status quo ante (at the very least) in terms of low-enriched-uranium stockpiles and ongoing enrichment activities.

In parallel, there may emerge a unique opportunity to close ranks with the French (and with Boris Johnson’s government in London) on the Iranian question. On several issues (above all, the struggle for hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean, against Turkey), Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi, and Paris now see eye-to-eye. On Iran, during the negotiations leading to the [deal] in 2015, the position of France was often the most robust. In 2018, President Macron was willing to reach an operational understanding with Secretary of State Pompeo on [key issues regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities].

Last but certainly not least, it should be clear to the incoming U.S. national-security team that any attempt to negotiate must be, can be, and (as far as Israel is concerned) firmly will be backed by a credible military threat.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: France, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, US-Israel relations