Thoughts on the Slaughter in Pittsburgh

Oct. 29 2018

Commenting on the bloody attack on worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue last Shabbat, and some of the reactions to it, John Podhoretz writes:

In a classic act of anti-Semitic violence, which is what this was, Jews hear the echoes of every violent anti-Semitic act that has preceded it in history. And we hear those echoes because they are there. That which motivates hatred of Jews today is what has motivated it from time immemorial—the poisonously attractive idea that Jews need to be extirpated because our existence is an offense or a threat to an existing larger order.

The blessing of Jewish life in America is that this notion has largely been consigned to the dregs from which today’s human malignancy rose. Despite the fact that most hate crimes in America are aimed at Jews, the actual number is vanishingly small—especially compared with France, from which Jews are now fleeing, and England, whose Labor party is in the hands of an actual Jew-hater. . . .

To those who object to the notion that more American synagogues ought to consider having armed guards, Podhoretz adds:

There are armed guards inside and around synagogues and Jewish institutions all over the place. Jewish day schools have armed guards. Besides which, many of us go to work in buildings with armed guards. Is it a wonderful or healthy thing that this is necessary? No. But the act of saying that it might be a good idea because there are lunatics who might otherwise do terrible things should be unobjectionable. . . .

In a time of horror, we should all look to the blessings of wisdom to save us from the moral idiocy into which we can fall, all too easily. “The wise will inherit honor,” says Proverbs. “Fools display dishonor.”

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

 

At the UN, Nikki Haley Told the Truth about Israel—and the World Didn’t Burn Down

April 22 2019

Although Nikki Haley had never been to Israel when she took the position of American ambassador to the UN, and had no prior foreign-policy experience, she distinguished herself as one of the most capable and vigorous defenders of the Jewish state ever to hold the position. Jon Lerner, who served as Haley’s deputy during her ambassadorship, sees the key to her success—regarding both Israel and many other matters—in her refusal to abide by the polite fictions that the institution holds sacred:

Myths are sometimes assets in international relations. The fiction that Taiwan is not an independent country, for example, allows [the U.S.] to sustain [its] relationship with China. In other cases, however, myths can create serious problems. On Israel–Palestinian issues, the Trump administration was determined to test some mythical propositions that many had come to take for granted, and, in some cases, to refute them. Haley’s prominence at the UN arose in large part from a conscious choice to reject myths that had pervaded diplomacy on Israel–Palestinian issues for decades. . . .

[For instance], U.S. presidents were intimidated by the argument that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would trigger violent explosions throughout the Muslim world. President Trump and key colleagues doubted this, and they turned out to be right. Violent reaction in the Palestinian territories was limited, and there was virtually none elsewhere in Arab and Islamic countries. . . .

It turns out that the United States can support Israel strongly and still work closely with Arab states to promote common interests like opposing Iranian threats. The Arab street is not narrowly Israel-minded and is not as volatile as long believed. The sky won’t fall if the U.S. stops funding UN sacred cows like the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA). Even if future U.S. administrations revert to the policies of the past, these old assumptions will remain disproved. That is a valuable accomplishment that will last long after Nikki Haley’s UN tenure.

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More about: Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, United Nations, US-Israel relations