A New Super PAC Seeks to Unite Black and Jewish Democrats against Anti-Israel Progressives

The Urban Empowerment Action political action committee (PAC) was recently created by Black and Jewish leaders with the express purpose of supporting Black communities, but also appears to be focused on helping pro-Israel Democrats running for office. Dan Schnur writes:

The new super PAC has made it clear that [it is] committed to defeating the congressional incumbent Rashida Tlaib in her primary campaign for re-election this summer, and [has] promised to raise $1 million on behalf of her fellow Democrat Janice Winfrey, the Detroit city clerk who has filed to run against Tlaib. In stark contrast to Tlaib, a charter member of the so-called “Squad” and anti-Israel firebrand, Winfrey has outlined a strong Zionist agenda that is attracting broad Jewish support.

The campaign against Tlaib isn’t solely about Israel. The longtime Democratic civil-rights and political activist Bakari Sellers, who is advising the PAC, points to Tlaib’s vote against President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill last year and other criticism of Biden since taking office. Sellers also noted that the retirement of Representative Brenda Lawrence, Michigan’s only Black congresswoman, would leave the state without an African American representative in Congress. But Sellers has long been active on behalf of pro-Israel causes and has stated that Winfrey’s support for Israel was a key reason for the group’s backing.

Tlaib’s strident anti-Israel language has made her the country’s harshest critic in Congress. She is the only member of Congress who has stated that Israel should not exist as a Jewish state, and recently introduced a resolution in the House to recognize formally the nakba, the term that many Palestinians use to describe the establishment of Israel in 1948. Even while the Squad continues to [expand] its membership, defeating Tlaib would send a strong signal of the political ramifications of such ardent anti-Zionism.

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Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Black-Jewish relations, Democrats, Rashida Tlaib, U.S. Politics, US-Israel relations

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy