For the Anti-Zionist, Jewish Peoplehood Is Itself an Offense

Since biblical times, Jews have conceived of themselves as a people or nation as much as a religion—a fact about Judaism, writes William Kolbrener, that supporters of the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) stubbornly refuse to accept. He argues that this deliberate misinterpretation of Judaism as a religion only in the Christian sense of the term is inextricably linked to a form of anti-Semitism:

For [these anti-Zionists], religion revolves around faith, as it does for Christians, but not the distinctly Jewish conception of nationhood—so that they see the state of Israel not as a genuine expression of Judaism but as a cynical colonialist grab for power.

The refusal of Jewish exceptionalism has a long history. BDS-supporting progressives, wearing the multicultured garment of intersectionality, are not unlike [many] Christians before the founding of state of Israel: both seek to deny Jewish difference. The idea that “there is neither Jew nor Greek,” asserted by the apostle Paul, informs contemporary progressive versions of community. Such progressives may bristle at hearing [their beliefs] described as akin to Christian universalism, but in their urge to deny Jewish difference they show many affinities to older forms of anti-Semitism. Just as they did in relationship to Christianity, today Jews give the lie to universalist claims. Then, as now, the Jew is made the excluded outsider, the one difference excluded from the universalism of difference.

Today, the most obvious expression of Jewish exceptionalism is the state of Israel, and thus the target of antiSemitic attack. For those progressives who reject Judaism as defined through peoplehood and practices, mere Judaism as faith does not justify Jewish nationhood; in fact it’s an affront to their sensibility, a betrayal of what real faith should be. But Judaism . . . imagines itself—in its ideal form—as a way of life and aspires to found that encompassing life in relationship to Jewish community in the Land of Israel.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, BDS, Judaism, Paul of Tarsus

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy