When “Human Rights” Becomes a Cudgel to Beat the Jews

On November 19, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued instructions to his staff to identify those groups that support efforts to boycott the Jewish state—many of which happen to be nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) ostensibly devoted to defending human rights—and to ensure that they don’t receive federal funds. Gerald Steinberg explains:

There is ample evidence that the agendas of such groups and their impacts go far beyond straightforward criticism of [Israeli] policies, and venture into anti-Semitism. This problem has persisted at least since the 2001 NGO Forum of the infamous UN conference on racism in Durban—led in part by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International—at which anti-Semitism was very visible. The participants declared that their objective was the “complete isolation of Israel as an apartheid state.” In the two decades that followed, these groups have worked intensely to implement the goal of turning Israel into a rogue state.

From false accusations of “massacres” in Jenin in 2002 to the UN’s infamous Goldstone report on the Gaza war in 2009, and the repeat performance in 2014, to the UN Human Rights Council’s recent travesty of publishing a discriminatory blacklist, with many other examples, this powerful NGO network has led the way.

Officials of organizations who purport to promote human rights have repeatedly and obsessively singled out Israel for attack on social media, while systematically erasing the history of terror and rejection it has faced.

[Therefore] it is important that the State Department’s initiative be joined by both Democratic and Republican party leaders in the United States, and by Europeans. . . . Human rights, anti-Semitism, and the need to take a strong stand against campaigns that combine them are too important to be rejected on the basis of narrow political partisanship.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: BDS, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Mike Pompeo, NGO

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy