The Other Side of Roman Vishniac

Best known today for his poignant pictures of Jews from Poland and sub-Carpathian Ruthenia (a region now located in the southwesternmost corner of Ukraine), Roman Vishniac was an accomplished photographer whose work took in a variety of locales and subjects. A new exhibit on display at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum, and an accompanying volume, show off his oeuvre, as Diane M. Bolz writes:

The exhibition . . . embodies a reappraisal of Vishniac’s total body of work—from his Berlin street photography of the 1920s and early 1930s, through his portraiture and documentary images of the postwar period in America, to his groundbreaking efforts in color photomicroscopy (photography through a microscope) of the 1950s to 1970s. A versatile, prolific, and innovative photographer whose career spanned more than five decades, Vishniac brought his Rolleiflex and Leica cameras, along with his eye for bold composition, to such diverse subjects as stylish pedestrians on cosmopolitan streets, Orthodox Jews in rural villages, performers in New York nightclubs, and children in displaced-persons camps. For those who are familiar only with Vishniac’s widely published images of East European Jews, the exhibition and book will be a revelation.

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Read more at Moment

More about: Arts & Culture, East European Jewry, Holocaust, Photography, Roman Vishniac

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela