While Egyptian Television Tries to Imagine a World without Israel, It Can’t Answer the Tough Questions

Set a century in the future, the Egyptian miniseries The End imagines a future where Israel has been destroyed, its Jews “have returned to their countries of origin,” and the U.S. has fractured into several smaller states. A characteristic response to the show’s critics, writes Nervana Mahmoud, is “Don’t we have the right to dream?” Indulging them, Mahmoud tries to imagine the realities this dream would entail:

None of [The End’s fans and defenders] will ever address the tough questions about their future beloved Palestine. How will they reconcile their conflicting views on the future Palestinian state? How will post-Israel Palestine avoid the fate of post-Saddam Iraq or post-Arab Spring Syria? Will the allies of the various Palestinian factions leave the Palestinian people to decide their fate, or will they try to impose their vision in exchange for financial and political support?

Will Hamas, Fatah, and the other Palestinian factions that failed to unite under occupation reconcile their differences after “liberation”? Will prominent [figures] of the Palestinian diaspora, including Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and the activist Linda Sarsour, leave their prestigious careers in the U.S. and “return” to campaign relentlessly for the “right to return to Palestine” and to serve their beloved new state?

I once asked a hardcore pro-Palestinian Islamist those questions. He was angrily dismissive. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “What matters is that we destroy the Zionist state first, then think of the day after.”

[A]lthough all the factions within the pro-Palestinian camp are united in their contempt for Israelthe demise of the Zionist state is the last thing they want. Without Israel, . . . Hizballah will have no excuse for maintaining its military empire in Lebanon. . . . And without Israel, the identity-politics chorus in America will run out of slogans and excuses for their emotional outbursts, . . . and [Middle Eastern] drama producers will run out of fancy populist ideas for their fancy movies and soap operas. It may come as a shock to many, but Israel is a golden asset for every faction within the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian camp.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Egypt, Israel-Arab relations, Linda Sarsour, Rashida Tlaib, Television

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism