Poland’s New Holocaust Law Should Be Unacceptable to Israel

Last month, the Polish parliament passed a law, still being debated by the country’s senate, that would effectively cut off any Jewish efforts to reclaim property stolen during the Shoah and its immediate aftermath. Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minster and alternate prime minister, has already condemned the legislation. To Ben Cohen, the law is reason for Jerusalem to take severe diplomatic action:

The underlying purpose of the new law is to assert, against the historical record, that neither Poland nor the Poles themselves bear any responsibility whatsoever for the fate of the Jews, who are hypocritically remembered by the same nationalists as “our compatriots,” as though the brutal history of Polish anti-Semitism that long predated the German occupation [of Poland during World War II] never happened.

In getting that message across, senior Polish leaders from Prime Minister Mateusz Marowiecki downwards have played an extraordinarily dishonest game. For all its anti-Communist fervor, the [ruling right-wing party] finds it inconvenient to recognize that what is at issue here is not the German occupation, but the fact that the postwar Soviet-backed regime engaged in a second round of theft by nationalizing the property of the Jews murdered by the Nazis.

[While] many supporters of the Polish government like to argue that were it not for Warsaw’s presence in the EU, Brussels would treat Israel even more shabbily, but that claim is a conceit and nothing more. As the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel demonstrated, governments and political leaders in Germany, Austria, the UK, and other European nations did not require the intervention of the Polish government to express their understanding for Israel’s predicament with an empathy that would have been hard to imagine twenty years ago.

The passage of the restitution law, therefore, necessitates at least a temporary break in ties between the current Polish government and the state of Israel and Jewish groups worldwide.

Read more at JNS

More about: Holocaust restitution, Israel diplomacy, Poland, Yair Lapid

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada