Myopic American Jews Ignore the Dangers Facing Their European Cousins

March 10 2017

In recent weeks, American Jewish communities have been beset by a rash of bomb threats, acts of vandalism, and the like aimed at Jewish institutions. Responding to a rabbi who urged American Jews to see the threats they face in light of the (supposedly) far more severe dangers faced by other groups in the U.S.—like Muslims and homosexuals—Bethany Mandel suggests consideration of what their fellow Jews in Europe are undergoing:

[I]n the last two months the Anti-Defamation League has issued two press releases about “transgender” issues and three in response to President Trump’s executive orders on immigration, yet it rarely highlights its support for the European Jewish community.

Just in the month of February, two brothers wearing yarmulkes in Paris were ambushed and abducted, with one having his finger sawed off in the attack. Meanwhile, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen warned French Jews in possession of Israeli citizenship that they’ll have to relinquish it. And this week started “Israel apartheid week” in France. . . . And that’s just the bad news for Jews out of France!

Loving our fellows is a key component of Jewish tradition, found in Leviticus 19:18, and it continues to inform how the Jewish community is structured in the present. Of late, an obsession with liberal politics has changed the way we identify who is worthy enough of being a victim for many Jewish organizations and individuals. Is it so much to ask for Jewish communities and organizations to take the position that Jewish lives matter as well?

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Read more at Forward

More about: ADL, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, Jewish World

 

Reengaging the Syrian Government Has Brought Jordan an Influx of Narcotics, but Little Stability

As Syria’s civil war drags on, and it seems increasingly unlikely that Bashar al-Assad will be overthrown, Arab states that had anathematized his regime for its brutal treatment of its own people have gradually begun to rebuild economic and diplomatic relations. There are also those who believe the West should do the same. The case of Jordan, argues Charles Lister, shows the folly of such a course of action:

Despite having been a longtime and pivotally important backer of Syria’s armed anti-Assad opposition since 2012, Jordan flipped in 2017 and 2018, eventually stepping forward to greenlight a brutal, Russian-coordinated Syrian-regime campaign against southern Syria in the summer of 2018. Amman’s reasoning for turning against Syria’s opposition was its desire for stability along its border, to create conditions amenable to refugee returns, and to rid southern Syria of Islamic State cells as well as an extensive Iranian and Hizballah presence.

As hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians were swiftly besieged and indiscriminately bombed from the ground and air, Jordan forced its yearslong Free Syrian Army partners to surrender, according to interviews I conducted with commanders at the time. In exchange, they were promised by Jordan a Russian-guaranteed reconciliation process.

Beyond the negligible benefit of resuming trade, Russia’s promise of “reconciliation” has resolutely failed. Syria’s southern province of Daraa is now arguably the most unstable region in the country, riddled with daily insurgent attacks, inter-factional strife, targeted assassinations, and more. Within that chaos, which Russia has consistently failed to resolve, not only does Iran remain in place alongside Hizballah and a network of local proxy militias but Iran and its proxies have expanded their reach and influence, commanding some 150 military facilities across southern Syria. Islamic State, too, continues to conduct sporadic attacks in the area.

Although limited drug smuggling has always existed across the Syria-Jordan border, the scale of the Syrian drug trade has exploded in the last two years. The most acute spike occurred (and has since continued) immediately after the Jordanian king Abdullah II’s decision to speak with Assad on the phone in October 2021. Since then, dozens of people have been killed in border clashes associated with the Syrian drug trade, and although Jordan had previously been a transit point toward the prime market in the Persian Gulf, it has since become a key market itself, with Captagon use in the country now described as an “epidemic,” particularly among young people and amid a 30-percent unemployment rate.

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More about: Drugs, Jordan, Middle East, Syrian civil war