The German Gentile Who Made a Career as a Jewish Critic of Israel

The Anglo-Jewish novelist Howard Jacobson has written of the archetype of the “Ashamed Jew,” who loves nothing more than to declare “As a Jew, I am ashamed by the deeds of my fellow Jews.” Most often, the source of that shame is the real or imagined behavior of Israel. A German journalist named Fabian Wolff, who often writes about his experiences “as a Jew,” has spent the better part of his career playing the role of Ashamed Jew. But it has recently come to light that he is not, in fact, a Jew. Zeev Avrahami writes:

After his former partner revealed that he is not Jewish, Wolff published a lengthy article in the magazine Die Zeit this week, in which he exposed the truth about his religious identity and quickly placed the blame on his mother. The perplexed German left rushed to blame Jewish institutions for revealing the truth in their statements.

[Wollf] supports absolving Muslim anti-Semitism of blame, . . . in addition to being an enthusiastic supporter of boycott movements against Israel, such as BDS. . . . Germany, like other countries, loves Jews such as Wolff. Jewish individuals who point accusing fingers at Israel for the current situation in the Middle East, including acts of violence and ethnic cleansing, receive support.

Wolff’s Jewish identity was his ticket to the liberal left. . . . Wolff, who is also a teacher by trade, strongly attacked other Jews, claiming that they were blindly pro-Israel, extreme right-wingers, or racists. He used his fabricated Jewish identity to bash fellow Jews.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, German Jewry, Howard Jacobson

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy