Morality, Not Money, Is Behind U.S. Support for Israel

Last week, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar caused a stir by repeating the canard that Jews—specifically, the American Israel Political Affair Committee (AIPAC)—use financial influence to manipulate U.S. policy regarding Israel. There is nothing new about this accusation, which was expanded into book form by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer in 2007. Not only is it factually untrue—AIPAC doesn’t even make donations to candidates—but it is based on a misunderstanding of the roots of the U.S.-Israel relationship, as David French writes:

America’s long support for Israel—often in the face of fierce criticism from key allies and painful economic reprisal from the Arab world—represents an enduring, bipartisan commitment to moral clarity in the Middle East. For the quarter-century following Israel’s founding, it was subjected to repeated, genocidal threats to its existence. It has served as a homeland for the Jewish people even as Arab nations rendered life intolerable for more than 800,000 of their Jewish citizens, sometimes destroying communities that had existed for centuries. Israel took in hundreds of thousands of refugees, receiving them as the world’s only Jewish state. . . .

At the same time, the citizens of Israel—Arab and Jewish alike—enjoy a greater degree of individual liberty than the citizens of any other Middle Eastern state. Israel is the most stable democracy in the Middle East. Generations of American politicians—from both parties—have seen these realities and have made the proper moral decision to support an embattled minority in the face of an avalanche of outright hate. Our nation has made that choice even when . . . a more pragmatic politics might dictate following in the path of nations like France, which yanked military support for Israel at a crucial moment in Israel’s history. . . .

[The two] nations have a bond that endures beyond the fact that Israel has become a powerful and important ally—especially in our war against jihadists. It’s a bond that exists in part because our nation’s support for Israel in spite of the often significant strategic and economic incentives to abandon it to its fate demonstrates America as its best self—a nation characterized by its commitment to high ideals, not just to the raw exercise of influence and power.

A hostile Arab world has far more money and resources than the small Jewish state that it all too often seeks to eradicate. If cash is truly king, we would have thrown Israel under the bus in generations past.

Read more at National Review

More about: AIPAC, Israel & Zionism, Israel Lobby, US-Israel relations


Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security