An Arab Knesset Member’s Bold Statements about Israel’s Jewish Identity Deserve Praise

Dec. 27 2021

Last week, the Israeli Arab parliamentarian Mansour Abbas—who broke precedent this year by leading his Islamist Ra’am party into the governing coalition—made headlines again when he told an interviewer:

The state of Israel was born as a Jewish state. That’s the people’s decision. . . . It was born that way and that’s how it will remain. . . . We [Arabs] have to decide whether we want to engage in campaigns that have a chance of succeeding—and then we’ll be able to develop as a society and prosper, and be an influential sector of society—or whether we want to be in an isolationist position and continue to talk about all these things for another 100 years.

Yet, notes Ruthie Blum, Abbas has also made statements of a different sort in Arabic to his supporters, and just recently one of his fellow Ra’am parliamentarians appeared publicly with a notorious terror-preaching religious leader. Nonetheless, Blum writes,

it’s not for nothing that [Abbas] had to hire private bodyguards to protect him from Arab citizens angry at him for “selling out” to the Zionists by vowing to place legislative work for his community above Islamism and Palestinian activism. Ditto regarding the Knesset guard’s order earlier this month that he be provided with a security detail, due to threats on his life for being part of Israel’s governing coalition.

Even after being attacked by Arab Israelis and Palestinians across the spectrum, Abbas—who last month told the Nazareth-based Kul al-Arab newspaper and news site, “whether we like it or not, Israel is a Jewish state, and my central goal is to define the status of the country’s Arab citizens”— refused to retract. In fact, he doubled down. . . . These words, from an Islamist party leader, are significant in and of themselves. That he uttered them unapologetically, publicly, and in Arabic makes him not only courageous, but credible.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Islamism, Israeli Arabs, Knesset, Mansour Abbas

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism