What France Stands to Lose If Its Jews Flee

Last year saw a record number of Jews leaving France for Israel; in light of recent events, it seems that many more will leave this year. Fortunately for them, there is a Jewish state in which they can settle. But, argues Jeff Jacoby, France itself will suffer if it succumbs to the rising tide of anti-Semitism:

Even before last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris . . . [French prime minister] Manuel Valls made a grim prediction: “If 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”

Anti-Semitism is commonly regarded as a variety of racism, but the prolific English historian Paul Johnson suggests that it should be seen as a kind of intellectual disease, fundamentally irrational and highly infectious. It exerts great self-destructive force, Johnson wrote in a notable 2005 essay, severely harming countries and societies that engage in it. In a pattern that has recurred so predictably that he dubbed it a “historical law,” nations that make Jewish life untenable condemn themselves to decline and weakness.

For example, Spain’s expulsion of the Jews in the 1490s, and its subsequent witch-hunt of the converted “New Christians” who remained behind, meant a loss of Spanish financial and managerial talent at the very moment the New World was being opened up to lucrative colonization. That had “a profoundly deleterious impact,” Johnson argued, “plunging the hitherto vigorous Spanish economy into inflation and long-term decline, and the government into repeated bankruptcy.”

Read more at Boston Globe

More about: Anti-Semitism, France, French Jewry, History & Ideas, Israel, Spanish Expulsion

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security