Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Explains What Her Country’s Narrative Should Be

In an interview with Daniel Johnson, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely explains how Israel can do a better job explaining itself abroad:

There are two Israeli stories. One is of modern Israel—a modern state, re-established in 1948. . . . This story is problematic. Now I am, of course, a Zionist, and I think the Zionist movement is maybe one of the biggest miracles of the 20th century if not all humankind—re-establishing a state after 2,000 years in exile. But what is missing from the story is: what makes a bunch of people coming from Russia, Yemen, Morocco, Britain, [and] America re-create a state in the Middle East? . . .

[There’s a tale of Chaim Weizmann’s] response to a member of the House of Lords who asked, “Mr. Weizmann, why do you insist on having Israel in the Middle East, this is a very dangerous area.” He said, “Excuse me, Mr. Minister, why do you insist on going all the way to Brighton to visit your mother, when there are so many old ladies in London?” . . .

[S]ome people say that Israel was established after the Holocaust because the world felt bad about the whole thing. I don’t like that narrative. . . . I think we should tell the big story, and the big story is 3,000 years of Jewish history. . . . [B]y putting the Israeli policy [vis-à-vis the Palestinians] in the center [of our rhetoric] we lost the real narrative of our country. The real narrative . . . is [about] why we are there. . .

[First we need to make] a very clear statement of the fact that this is our country; we don’t apologize for it; we don’t apologize for being occupiers because we’re not; we would like to have co-existence with our neighbors. We have proved throughout all the years of our existence, from the declaration of independence of David Ben-Gurion to our current prime minister, that we want peace. I think we will prove that to the world. We don’t need to re-approve that message all the time. It’s very clear that most Israelis want to live peacefully and that we are also willing to defend ourselves if it’s needed.

Read more at Standpoint

More about: Chaim Weizmann, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Zionism

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