Rioters Destroyed a Local Symbol of Arab-Jewish Coexistence, but Not the Good Feeling behind It

A few years ago, Evan Fallenberg, a writer and professor at Tel Aviv University, bought a run-down historic home in the coast city of Acre, fixed it up, and turned it into a small hotel he named the Arabesque:

[When buying the property], I did not think much about the fact that I am Jewish and my neighbors are Arab Muslims and Christians; I assumed that if I were a good neighbor, I would receive good neighborliness in return. And so I did, after some initial and fully understandable suspicions. Arabesque blossomed. . . . We became part of the community in the town’s Old City, attending weddings and funerals and iftar after-the-fast meals during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Two weeks ago, Arab rioters ransacked the hotel. Fallenberg continues:

Other than my neighbors, I was the first to see the damage the next morning. Every piece of glass, ceramic, or porcelain that could be broken was smashed, furniture was dismantled, mirrors shattered, televisions and air conditioners ripped to pieces. . . . That next morning, neighbors stopped in or passed by, shaking their heads in disbelief. A few cried, some told stories of their own, and everyone lamented the violence of the youths who had perpetrated such a crime, with fingers pointed in a variety of directions.

During my days of mourning, I did not see how it would be possible to revive Arabesque under the shadow of such anger and hatred. And why bother, if this could happen again? But also during those days, I was buoyed by the extraordinary outpouring of support and love and encouragement from around the world and—most notably—from my Arab friends and neighbors.

From everywhere, my son and I hear the same messages: we will clean up with you. We will donate. We will stay in the hotel when you reopen. For so many people, the death of Arabesque means admitting Jews and Arabs cannot live together. For so many people, including us, that is not a possibility.

Read more at NBC News

More about: Israeli Arabs, Israeli society, Ramadan

 

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy