For the Jews of Russia, World War I Brought Persecutions, Slaughter, and Poverty

The opening months of World War I brought unmitigated disaster to Russian Jewry as the tsar’s army, blaming them for its own failures, punished Jews with massacres and expulsions. Then, in the latter half of 1915, much of the Pale of Settlement—where Russian Jews were concentrated—fell under a German military occupation that, while rarely anti-Semitic, was both harsh and immiserating. The war’s end brought even bloodier slaughter as various armies competed for mastery in Eastern Europe. Taking the city of Vilna as his prime example, Andrew Koss discusses with Avi Woolf the Jewish experience during the war and its aftermath. (Audio, 70 minutes.)

Read more at Avi’s Conversation Corner

More about: Anti-Semitism, Jewish history, Russian Jewry, Vilna, World War I

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion