Irving Kristol’s Political Theology

Irving Kristol, called the “godfather of neoconservatism,” believed strongly that religious questions lay at the bottom of political ones. Ultimately, he saw his own political thought as born out of the distinction between the “rabbinic” or “orthodox” approach that accepts the world as it is and the “gnostic” or “prophetic” approach that seeks to transform, rather than improve, society. Kristol’s major writings on this subject (among others) can be found in the Mosaic e-book On Jews and Judaism.

In conversation with Jonathan Silver, Matthew Continetti discusses Kristol’s ideas in this area. (Audio, 40 minutes.)

Read more at Tikvah Fund

More about: History & Ideas, Irving Kristol, Neoconservatism, Religion and politics

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria