The Israeli Conservatism Conference Presented a New Vision for the Jewish State’s Continued Flourishing

In Jerusalem on May 16, the Tikvah Fund sponsored the first Israeli Conservatism Conference. Bringing together more than 700 people, it featured speeches and panel discussions about how to create a conservative politics in a Jewish state dedicated to strong security policies alongside the preservation of the family, the free market, and the rule of law. Simona Weinglass, in her report on the conference, sums up the comments of two of its participants:

Gadi Taub, a historian and self-described former leftist, . . . said that [currently Israel’s] left is “an intellectual wasteland. It’s so repetitive and monotonous.” The right, [by contrast], “has colleges, a publishing house, think tanks, newspapers, television shows, social media, and an abundance of persuasive ideas. The vitality is on the right and people will be attracted to it. That’s why I’m so optimistic.”

Taub said he was not afraid to speak his mind because he has tenure at Hebrew University. . . . “I am in two departments and there is one Likudnik in the combined faculty [of both], out of 40 people. It makes no sense.” Taub said the best way to confront [what he sees as a pervasive and repressive] atmosphere of political correctness is to speak one’s mind without caring.

“It’s so amazing to sit with 700 people and speak about Burke, Toqueville, and Hayek,” Professor Moshe Koppel, chairman of the Kohelet Policy Forum, exclaimed from the podium, adding, “Until now you’ve heard a lot of theory. My job is to speak about reality.” Since its founding seven years ago, Kohelet has been trying to pass laws related to economic freedom, Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and governance, Koppel said.

“Governance is a euphemism,” he clarified. “What we mean is dismantling centers of power that are unelected and that use the power of the state to coerce their worldview.”

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli politics, Jewish conservatism, Moshe Koppel

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