The Pernicious Claim That Israel Exists Because of the Holocaust

Even more common than the insidious suggestion that Jews make too much of the Holocaust or cynically use it to their advantage is the related notion that they were given the state of Israel as compensation for their suffering at the hands of Nazis. Labeling this claim “Zionism denial” because it ignores the persistent efforts to create a Jewish state long before World War II, Einat Wilf addresses the corollary insinuation that Palestinians have been allowed to suffer at the hands of Jews because of European guilt over the Shoah:

The deceptively seductive canard that “the Palestinians are the secondary victims of Europe’s crimes” is one of the worst lies [about Israel’s founding], since to the untrained ear it sounds logical. In this tale, after World War II, when it became clear that the Final Solution was not final and that the Jewish survivors could not be expected or welcomed to stay in Europe, the Europeans decided to “dump” the surviving Jews on unsuspecting Arabs who were living in an area that colonial Europe controlled. . . .

[But] Israel exists not because the Europeans dumped the surviving Jews in a colony in the Middle East. Israel exists because the Jews willed it into existence. The modern state of Israel exists because the Jews who created it believed themselves to be descendants of the Israelites and Judeans who were sovereign there in ancient times and paid a high price for preserving their separate existence as a people. The modern state of Israel exists because for centuries and millennia Jews kept yearning for Israel, ending the Passover seder with the words, “next year in Jerusalem.”

In fact, if it were not for Arab resistance and Britain’s betrayal [of its duties as the Mandate power] and submission to Arab pressures, the Holocaust as such might not have taken place. Jews would have been able to escape Europe to their ancient homeland in what was already a widely supported embryonic state. They would have had a . . . country to which to immigrate freely at a time when Hitler was still willing to let the Jewish people go. Israel came into being after World War II not “thanks” to the Holocaust, but thanks to Britain’s imperial dissolution.

Read more at Daily Beast

More about: Anti-Semitism, British Mandate, Holocaust, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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