The Latest Work of Academic Anti-Zionism Argues That Jews Are Wrong to Seek Security

In his recent book The No-State Solution: A Jewish Manifesto, Daniel Boyarin—a distinguished professor of ancient Judaism at the University of California, Berkeley—takes old arguments against Zionism and dresses them up in the trendiest of academic clothing. The Jews, he contends, should celebrate their religious and national heritage, but realize that they are a thoroughly diasporic people who should embrace “not the promise of security, but rather the highly contingent possibility of an ethical collective existence.” Cole Aronson writes in his review:

One might propose that Jewish Zionists didn’t like life in Europe because Gentile mobs—often with the acquiescence or support of Gentile overlords—had abused, expelled, and killed Jews over and over again for centuries. Occasionally, Boyarin concedes that Jewish life before Israel was not all peaches and cream. But according to The No-State Solution, the thing most urgently to be remedied is not the misery or precariousness of Jewish life in the Diaspora, but that Jews came to associate misery and precariousness with life in the Diaspora. Western Gentiles not only made the Jews suffer; they also—the devils—confused the Jews into thinking that their suffering was due to their lack of a state with which to defend themselves against their enemies. If only Herzl, Weizmann, and Jabotinsky had realized the European imperialist source of their opposition to Jewish statelessness!

Early on, Boyarin asks: “What kind of social identity do we want for the Jews?” Good question. But without an analysis of the current Israeli answer and some thoughts on the likely consequences of other answers, Boyarin should not expect a serious hearing for his own. What Boyarin calls a “question of values” is not analyzed with respect to his progressive values or any other values. He doesn’t assess the costs and benefits of his proposed binational state in Palestine for the “Jews who live and breathe” there. He doesn’t do it for Palestinians, either.

In Boyarin’s view, for Jews to keep others safe is the ethical thing, whereas for Jews to do the one thing proven to keep themselves safe is at best the “secure” thing, at worst the “racist” or “fascist” thing.

Read more at First Things

More about: Academia, Anti-Zionism, Diaspora, Idiocy

Why Hizballah Is Threatening Cyprus

In a speech last Wednesday, Hizballah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah not only declared that “nowhere will be safe” in Israel in the event of an all-out war, but also that his forces would attack the island nation of Cyprus. Hanin Ghaddar, Farzin Nadimi, and David Schenker observe that this is no idle threat, but one the Iran-backed terrorist group has “a range of options” for carrying out. They explain: 

Nasrallah’s threat to Cyprus was not random—the republic has long maintained close ties with Israel, much to Hizballah’s irritation. In recent years, the island has hosted multiple joint air-defense drills and annual special-forces exercises with Israel focused on potential threats from Hizballah and Iran.

Nasrallah’s threat should also be viewed in the context of wartime statements by Iran and its proxies about disrupting vital shipping lanes to Israel through the East Mediterranean.

This scenario should be particularly troubling to Washington given the large allied military presence in Cyprus, which includes a few thousand British troops, more than a hundred U.S. Air Force personnel, and a detachment of U-2 surveillance aircraft from the 1st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron.

Yoni Ben Menachem suggests there is an additional aspect to Nasrallah’s designs on Cyprus, involving a plan

to neutralize the Israeli air force through two primary actions: a surprise attack with precision missiles and UAVs on Israeli air-force bases and against radar and air-defense facilities, including paralyzing Ben-Gurion Airport.

Nasrallah’s goal is to ground Israeli aircraft to prevent them from conducting missions in Lebanon against mid- and long-range missile launchers. Nasrallah fears that Israel might preempt his planned attack by deploying its air force to Cypriot bases, a scenario the Israeli air force practiced with Cyprus during military exercises over the past year.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Cyprus, Hizballah, U.S. Security