The Jerusalem Light Rail: Good for Israelis, Good for Palestinians—and Therefore a Provocation to Enemies

Since its construction was completed in 2012, Jerusalem’s light rail has provided inexpensive transportation from the city’s outskirts to its center. Its single line goes through both Jewish and Palestinian neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, making it easier for residents of both to get to jobs in other parts of the city, and actually facilitating integration. It is precisely for these reasons, argues Jared Samilow, that it has been the target of both terrorists and European boycott efforts:

[T]he absence of grassroots Palestinian opposition to the light rail didn’t stop their advocates in the West from complaining on their behalf.

Adri Nieuwhof, a Dutch anti-Israel journalist and activist, wrote that the light rail was a ploy to tighten Israel’s grip on eastern Jerusalem and urged a boycott of French multinational giants Veolia and Alstom—companies that held partial shares in the project and were involved in operating the train cars. The official website of the BDS movement bleated out boycott instructions to its troops.

Unfortunately, enough people listened, causing Veolia and Alstom to lose contracts in Europe. . . . In August 2015, the boycotters won, and Veolia sold its last shares. . . .

In driving French multinationals out of Israel, European activists discourage foreign investors from operating in Israel in the first place. Often, the possibility of negative publicity can be enough to deter a commercial endeavor. More disturbing is how these activists succeeded in persuading the foreign media to adopt the narrative of a “controversial” light rail violating international law. It diminishes Israel’s status as a legitimate nation if it can’t so much as build public infrastructure without international interference. . . .

By attacking enterprises that benefit both Israelis and Palestinians, BDS evangelists show that they’ll always opt to cause Israel pain even at the cost of Palestinian suffering that doesn’t bring [Palestinians] any closer to a state.

Read more at Tower

More about: BDS, East Jerusalem, Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror, Palestinians

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