Will Bernie Sanders Drive a Wedge between American Jews and Israel?

March 2 2020

While Bernie Sanders is not the only Democratic presidential candidate who declined to attend the annual conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), he is the only one who explained that he would not do so because the organization serves as a platform “for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.” (Elizabeth Warren tacitly endorsed a similar statement.) Alex Joffe examines the implications these statements may have if Sanders wins the nomination:

[First of all], candidates for House and Senate races . . . will be pressured to fall in line with the presidential frontrunner. . . . and to vilify Israel. . . . Moreover, this litmus test will be applied to American Jews, long [among] the most dependable supporters of the Democratic party. The choice between party loyalty—a key element of American Jewish identity—or support for a country that has been labeled “right-wing” and “racist” by Sanders will be difficult. . . . Whether the majority of American Jews will risk being labeled “right wing” and “racist” is unclear.

And should Sanders fail either to become the nominee or to be elected president in November, it is a virtual certainty that, in precisely the same manner of Jeremy Corbyn and the British Labor party, Israel and Jews will be blamed for his failure. The belief in Zionist conspiracies are a key element of progressive politics and will only expand as disloyalty to the party ideology and to its leader is rooted out.

[T]he equation of Zionism and Israel with “right-wing” politics, “racism,” and its American variant “white supremacy,” has taken a huge leap forward with Sanders. Unless he can be stopped by his own party or by the reelection of Donald Trump, these concepts will become absolute fixtures on the American left. Combating these conceptions within American society as a whole, however, is a bipartisan task.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: AIPAC, American Jewry, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Politics, US-Israel relations

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada