President Biden’s State Department Nominee Warns against Efforts to Delegitimize Israel

The historian and Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt, President Biden’s nominee for the post of anti-Semitism envoy, appeared this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her confirmation hearing. A number of Republicans raised concerns regarding Lipstadt’s political views, particularly in relation to comments she made following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In response, as Ben Cohen notes, Lipstadt pledged to conduct herself in a non-partisan manner, and insisted that she is an “equal-opportunity foe” of anti-Semitism.

Part of the hearing canvassed Lipstadt’s view of the recent Amnesty International report that accused Israel of practicing the same form of racial segregation that prevailed in South Africa for most of the 20th century.

“Branding Israel an apartheid state is more than historically inaccurate,” she said. “I believe it’s part of a larger effort to delegitimize the Jewish state. Such language, I see it spilling over onto campuses where it poisons the atmosphere, particularly for Jewish students.”

Lipstadt went on to note that this does not mean she will shun any criticism of Israel:

“Criticism of Israeli policy is not anti-Semitism,” she said. “If you want to hear criticism of Israeli policies, I suggest you sit yourself down in a cafe in Tel Aviv or in Jerusalem, whatever part of the country, depending on who is in the government. It’s the national sport in Israel, second only maybe to soccer or maybe more than that.”

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, Deborah Lipstadt, Senate

 

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy