To Invigorate American Jewry, Revive “Zionism of the Spirit”

The goal of the first generations of Zionists, and their precursors, was not just to return Jews to their ancestral homeland, but also to embody and disseminate a particular set of ideals. Benjamin Kerstein argues that American Jews—the majority of whom are unlikely to make aliyah—have much to gain by reacquainting themselves with this line of thinking:

The early Zionists . . . urged the Diaspora to adopt a veritable encyclopedia of principles and values, all based around the unthinkably radical idea that the Jews are a people with the same rights as any other people. These included pan-Jewish solidarity; political and social empowerment; active self-defense; the revival of the Hebrew language; secular knowledge of Jewish history, culture, and thought; the creation of new and uniquely Jewish works of art; and the integrity of the Jewish body itself.

They believed that, as Vladimir Jabotinsky put it, “We do not have to account to anybody, we are not to sit for anybody’s examination, and nobody is old enough to call on us to answer. We came before them and will leave after them. We are what we are; we are good for ourselves; we will not change and we do not want to.”

It seems to me that these are the principles and values that the American Jewish community now requires, perhaps more than ever. And they can be fostered through a “Zionism of the spirit,” in which the basic tenets of Zionism are given a Diaspora context. . . . After all, the Jews are one people, and have the same rights wherever we are.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: American Jewry, American Zionism, Israel and the Diaspora, Vladimir Jabotinsky

 

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin