A Television Series about the Yom Kippur War Fails to Tell the Israeli Side of the Story

Dec. 11 2020

This week the first season of the Israeli series Vale of Tears, which follows IDF soldiers fighting in the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War, came to an end. Jonathan Spyer liked much about the show, but notes a disturbing failure:

[I]t is frustrating once more to see Israeli society and military culture portrayed very clearly through a kind of post-Zionist and leftist lens. Not because I want to see nationalist propaganda on screen (I very much don’t), but simply because this [perspective] deliberately omits a salient element of the Israeli-Jewish experience—[that of the segment of Israeli society motivated] by a sense of Jewish national rights, Jewish tradition, and [a belief in] the rightness of Israel’s cause vis-à-vis the Arab effort to destroy it.

This [set of beliefs] stands at the center of Israeli Jewish society, and is reflected in its voting patterns, much of its cultural product and consumption, its levels of religious and traditional observance, and so forth. This is the side of Israeli society that, despite the renaissance of Israeli cinema and TV drama in recent years, rarely makes it to the screen, and even more rarely makes it to international audiences, but understanding of which is crucial to understanding the country and its decisions and directions.

A considerable part of [Vale of Tears] was concerned with social and political discussion. In this area, we had a very large helping of the far-left, anti-Zionist critique of Israel, and even a scene where an articulate and serious character enunciates the Arab nationalist case against Zionism and Israel. There was not one sentence, however, in which the case for Jewish national rights and sovereignty in Israel was made. This is a rather odd and disappointing state of affairs. Its main deleterious effect, I think, is that it results in a lurid . . . and distorted picture of Israeli society being presented both to the domestic audience and, no less importantly, to international viewers.

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: IDF, Israeli society, Television, Yom Kippur War

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy