In Israel’s Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949, Jeffrey Herf explores the geopolitical circumstances that allowed for Israel’s birth, ranging from the USSR’s support for Jewish statehood to the role of Arab anti-Semitism in trying to block it. Herf discusses his book and much else—including the role of the White House counsel Clark Clifford in convincing President Truman to support statehood, how George Kennan came to abandon his earlier anti-Zionism, and why the American left supported Zionism—in conversation with Clifford May and Jonathan Schanzer.
Presidential Advisers, Arab Anti-Semites, Left-wing Zionists, and the Birth of the Jewish State
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.