Bringing the Israeli Protest Movement to the U.S. Gives Succor to Israel’s Enemies

Over the weekend, video circulated online of opponents of judicial reform heckling and shouting at the Israeli legislator Simcha Rothman (in Hebrew) as he walked down Madison Avenue in New York City. Herb Keinon comments on such efforts to bring Israel’s anti-reform protest movement to America’s shores:

That Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s judicial reform plan has, for all intents and purposes, been mothballed, and that talks are ongoing under President Isaac Herzog’s auspices to come to a consensus on changes in the judiciary, are a testament to the effectiveness of the protests. . . . It is not as if no one is listening to the voices being raised in Israel. Why raise them overseas? Why harass and harangue government ministers abroad when it can be done—and is done—with such ease on Israeli soil?

The U.S. public is accustomed to seeing protests against Israel and Israeli officials—be it when the prime minister visits Washington, when AIPAC holds a large gathering, or at college campuses. But these protests are usually organized and carried out by Palestinians or their supporters.

While the Palestinians and their supporters are often protesting against the state itself, the Jews now demonstrating are only protesting against the current government of that state. However, that nuance—a mighty important one—may very well be lost on the average ABC or NBC viewer catching a glimpse of the Jews protesting against government officials at a Salute for Israeli parade or hounding them as they walk down Fifth Avenue.

When Jews protest against Israeli officials abroad, this may be less clear to the uninitiated, and it may be interpreted by those not familiar with the nuances of Israel as opposing the state itself.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Israeli Judicial Reform, Israeli politics

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