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.

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Read more at JNS

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

 

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela