What an American Christian Learned about Anti-Semitism from Growing Up in Dubai

March 6 2019

Responding to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s latest anti-Semitic insinuations, Erick Erickson recalls his childhood experience in the emirate of Dubai, at the time “the freest of any part of the Middle East for Westerners.”

I went to the Jumeriah American School. . . . I had fantastic teachers and a wonderful education. But that education went only so far. Our geography textbooks were missing a country. Open to the world map, and there’d be black sharpie marker covering over the word “Israel,” which was sometimes hidden under the word “Palestine” glued into the book. The Israeli flag was redacted by censors. Encyclopedias, almanacs, history books, etc. had passages about Israel taken out. Sometimes the pages were redacted. Sometimes the pages were just torn out. . . .

I went to school with kids from China, Sweden, Canada, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, and elsewhere, but there were no Jewish kids in school. I learned about the Holocaust in high school back in the United States. That was not a topic we studied in Dubai. . . . There are a lot of Americans who do not think anti-Semitism is a big problem. They have not lived in a part of the world that blots Israel off the map. . . .

Many of us stand with Israel because Israel is a democracy among autocracies and a positive influence surrounded by a breeding ground of terrorists. Many of us stand with Israel because we understand both history and those who would bastardize it yet again to persecute Jews. All of us should be troubled by members of Congress cheering on anti-Semitism and others excusing it. We should all be troubled by white nationalists echoing them. This country has a growing problem with anti-Semitism and we need to confront it and denounce it.

History shows time and time again that the enemies of the Jewish people ultimately wind up being enemies of freedom.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Arab anti-Semitism, Dubai, Ilhan Omar, Israel & Zionism

War with Iran Isn’t on the Horizon. So Why All the Arguments against It?

As the U.S. has responded to Iranian provocations in the Persian Gulf, various observers in the press have argued that National Security Advisor John Bolton somehow seeks to drag President Trump into a war with Iran against his will. Matthew Continetti points out the absurdities of this argument, and its origins:

Never mind that President Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, and Bolton have not said a single word about a preemptive strike, much less a full-scale war, against Iran. Never mind that the president’s reluctance for overseas intervention is well known. The “anti-war” cries are not about context, and they are certainly not about deterring Iran. Their goal is saving President Obama’s nuclear deal by manipulating Trump into firing Bolton and extending a lifeline to the regime.

It’s a storyline that originated in Iran. Toward the end of April, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif showed up in New York and gave an interview to Reuters where he said, “I don’t think [Trump] wants war,” but “that doesn’t exclude him basically being lured into one” by Bolton. . . . And now this regime talking point is everywhere. “It’s John Bolton’s world. Trump is just living in it,” write two former Obama officials in the Los Angeles Times. “John Bolton is Donald Trump’s war whisperer,” writes Peter Bergen on CNN.com. . . .

Recall Obama’s deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes’s admission to the New York Times Magazine in 2016 [that] “We created an echo chamber” to attack the Iran deal’s opponents through leaks and tips to the D.C. press. . . . Members of the echo chamber aren’t for attacking Iran, but they are all for slandering its American opponents. The latest target is Bolton. . . .

The Iranians are in a box. U.S. sanctions are crushing the economy, but if they leave the agreement with Europe they will be back to square one. To escape the box you try to punch your way out. That’s why Iran has assumed a threatening posture: provoking an American attack could bolster waning domestic support for the regime and divide the Western alliance.

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More about: Barack Obama, Iran, Javad Zarif, John Bolton, U.S. Foreign policy