The Democratic Party’s “Structural Anti-Semites”

Today there is much talk on the political left about “structural racism,” a kind of discrimination or bigotry which is never overt and rarely intentional, but somehow built into the system. The idea sometimes illuminates real ills, and at other times simply obscures and distorts. But a similar concept could prove useful in describing the way certain progressives speak about Israel, argues Jonah Goldberg:

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was appalled by President Biden’s statement that Israel has a right to self-defense. I don’t think Ocasio-Cortez is an anti-Semite, but I do think she’s perpetuating structural anti-Semitism. When she says it’s simplistic to say that Israel has a right to defend itself, she’s clearly right in a sense. It is simple: Israel has a right to defend itself.

But what she and countless others are arguing is that Israel has no right to act like a normal country. You don’t have to hate Jews to believe that the only Jewish country in the world is also the only country in the world that can’t behave like a normal country and defend its citizens. But the policy that flows from that argument is, in important ways, anti-Semitic—even if it isn’t intended as such.

That, by the way, is what Israel wants to be—a normal country. But it’s stuck in an abnormal predicament. . . . [W]hen people point to the fact that Israel is militarily more powerful than its neighbors, they make it sound like this is somehow unfair. On several occasions, Israel’s neighbors have declared war on Israel with the intention of destroying it. Those countries could afford to lose those wars—and they did—but Israel couldn’t, because to lose once is to lose for all time. If you know everybody in your neighborhood wants to kill you, you’re not the bad guy for being better armed than your neighbors.

And if you always start with assumption that the Israelis are wrong, or if you always end with that conclusion regardless of the facts, you may not be anti-Semitic, but you’re on the side of structural anti-Semitism.

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Anti-Semitism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Progressivism

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship