A Great Jewish Historian’s Political Journey from Left to Right

April 3 2020

Born in New York City in 1915, Lucy Dawidowicz (née Schildkret) grew up in the company of radical Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants and their children. From 1938 to 1939 she spent a year in the Polish city of Wilno (now Lithuanian Vilnius) studying under some of the foremost figures of secular Yiddish scholarship. After World War II, Dawidowicz became a leading historian of the Holocaust and of East European Jewry. She also migrated intellectually from socialism to New Deal liberalism and then to the political right, styling herself an “independent neoconservative.” Discussing her recent biography of Dawidowicz with John J. Miller, Nancy Sinkoff explains how her subject’s encounter with the breakdown of civil society and of social stability in prewar Eastern Europe—with dire consequences for the Jews—informed her political transformation. (Audio, 17 minutes.)


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Read more at National Review

More about: American Jewry, East European Jewry, Lucy Dawidowicz, Neoconservatism

 

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy