Remembering John Lewis’s Plea for Soviet Jewry

The famed civil-rights activist and long-time Georgia congressman John Lewis died last week at the age of eighty. In 1982, Lewis, who worked to maintain good relations with the Jewish community, helped establish the Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition. Although his record of support for Israel was not unblemished—he joined many of his fellow Democrats in boycotting Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2015 address to Congress—it was nonetheless admirable, and included the denunciation of the movement to boycott the Jewish state. Perhaps most importantly, the congressman was willing to condemn Louis Farrakhan forcefully for his anti-Semitism, when other mainstream figures, both black and white, equivocated or ignored it.

At a 1987 rally, Lewis gave a moving speech about the plight of Soviet Jewry, which can be viewed at the link below. (Video, three minutes.)

Read more at C-SPAN

More about: Anti-Semitism, Civil rights movement, Louis Farrakhan, Soviet Jewry, U.S. Politics

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy