Poland Is Responsible for Its Rift with Israel

Aug. 18 2021

On Saturday, the Polish government passed a law that effectively prevents Holocaust survivors and their descendants from pressing claims to property confiscated by the Nazis or by the post-World War II Communist regime. Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, roundly condemned the legislation and recalled the chargé d’affaires from the Israeli embassy in Warsaw. Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in turn responded with an angry statement of his own. Ruthie Blum writes:

To make matters worse, the country’s deputy foreign minister, Pawel Jablonski, said in an interview . . . that Warsaw is considering canceling Israeli school trips to Poland, where [students] visit Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of their Holocaust-studies curriculum. He asserted that “the trips do not take place in a proper manner; they sometimes instill hatred for Poland in the heads of young Israelis.”

He went on, “We are dealing with anti-Polish sentiment in Israel, and one of the reasons for this is the way in which Israeli youth are educated and raised. This propaganda, based on hatred of Poland, seeps into the heads of young people from an early age in school.”

Talk about chutzpah—or projection—not to mention delusion. As it happens, Israeli kids are not fed anti-Polish propaganda, certainly not in school. If any hear of horror stories about Polish anti-Semitism, they do so from their grandparents or other aging relatives, who experienced it firsthand.

To those who have urged Jerusalem to avoid alienating an allied country over an admittedly unjust law, Blum responds:

East European countries have been staunch supporters of the United States and Israel in a way that their counterparts in the Western continent have long ceased to be. . . . [But] Warsaw needs friends in the international community just as much as Jerusalem does, after all. Enacting anti-Semitic laws is not the way to keep the Jewish state in its corner.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, Holocaust restitution, Israel diplomacy, Poland

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