The Literary World’s New Litmus Test for Keeping Out the Wrong Kind of Jews

“One of the greatest mass delusions of the 21st century,” writes James Kirchick, “is the belief that Israel is committing a genocide against Palestinians.” In the publishing business this delusion has translated into hostility toward Jews, as Kirchick explains:

Over the past several months, a litmus test has emerged across wide swaths of the literary world effectively excluding Jews from full participation unless they denounce Israel. This phenomenon has been unfolding in progressive spaces (academia, politics, cultural organizations) for quite some time. That it has now hit the rarefied, highbrow realm of publishing—where Jewish Americans have made enormous contributions and the vitality of which depends on intellectual pluralism and free expression—is particularly alarming.

Nine days after the October 7 attack, the popular website Literary Hub began publishing what has since become a near-daily torrent of agitprop invective against what it describes as the “rogue ethnostate” of Israel, which it routinely accuses of committing genocide. In March, after a mass resignation of its staff members, the literary magazine Guernica retracted a personal essay by a left-wing Israeli woman about her experience volunteering to drive Palestinian children to Israel for medical treatment. In her resignation letter, one of the magazine’s co-publishers denounced the piece as “a hand-wringing apologia for Zionism and the ongoing genocide in Palestine.”

A campaign of intimidation, the sort of thing that happens to the dissident writers in closed societies whom PEN, [a writers’ organization founded to protect freedom of speech], regularly champions, is afoot to pressure writers into toeing this new party line. PEN’s current president, Jenny Finney Boylan, recently said that she had heard from “many, many authors who do not agree with those withdrawing from PEN events and who do not wish to withdraw from our events themselves but are afraid of the consequences if they speak up.”

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza War 2023


While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy