The Unbridgeable Gulf between the Israeli Left and the American Left

In a recent book, the Israeli-born philosophy professor Omri Boehm argues that the Jewish state should be dismantled and replaced with some sort of confederation of Jews and Arabs as a means of preserving “liberal Zionism.” Having read a review of Boehm’s book by the American scholar of Ḥasidism Shaul Magid, Daniel Gordis is struck not so much by the poverty of the arguments themselves, but by the strangeness of the very discussion: an American Jewish post-Zionist who lived in Israel during the 1980s is examining the views of an Israeli post-Zionist who likewise hasn’t lived in the country for over a decade. Gordis writes:

I understand how [Boehm’s proposal] (temporarily) saves liberalism. I’m not entirely sure how it saves Zionism in any way. And I’m definitely not clear on how it saves the lives of the Jews who live in the Jewish state, but that issue didn’t quite come up in the review. . . . But I found myself wondering—other than fueling hatred against not only Israel, but Jews (for example: “The ‘Jewishness’ that Israel seeks to protect is not culture or religion, ‘but Jewish ethnicity, Jewish blood’”)—what is this book supposed to accomplish?

Note that it was written in English, and that Boehm, born in Israel, could have written it in Hebrew. (I could find no mention online of a forthcoming Hebrew version.) So why English? Because there’s exactly zero audience for it in Israel. Even the Israeli left would pay it no attention; it is adamantly opposed to the occupation, it objects to all sorts of Israel’s policies—but overwhelmingly, [it’s made up of] Zionists. The idea of taking apart the country in which they live, in which they’re raising their children and grandchildren, that they’re working to save—well, it just doesn’t grab them.

So what policy needle is Boehm trying to move? He’ll have no impact on Israel. He’s not going to change President Biden, obviously. He’s not going to affect most Republicans. He’s not going to influence the traditional slice of the Democratic party. And as for the progressive Democrats, he doesn’t need to move them. [The “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization] J Street became irrelevant when the progressives leap-frogged it.

Read more at Israel from the Inside

More about: American Jewry, Israel and the Diaspora, Israeli left, post-Zionism

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