Growing up as the son of a Hungarian Holocaust survivor in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park, Yossi Klein Halevi was deeply shaped by a sense of Jewish identity, his father’s wartime experiences, and his father’s anger at what he perceived as American Jews’ passivity regarding the fate of European brethren. Halevi himself migrated from the right-wing Zionist Beitar youth movement, to the movement to aid Soviet Jewry that emerged in the 1960s, to Rabbi Meir Kahane’s militant, sometimes violent, and often racist Jewish Defense League (JDL). Sometime after breaking with JDL in the 1970s, Halevi wrote of his experiences in Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, a work whose themes he revisits in conversation with Jonathan Silver. (Audio, 73 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)
What Jewish Extremists Get Wrong—and Right
As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows
On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.
Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.
Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.