Using Concern over Anti-Semitism for Political Gain

Feb. 28 2017

In light of an ongoing wave of bomb-threats against Jewish institutions, and now the desecrations of Jewish cemeteries, some have rushed to connect the supposed upsurge in anti-Semitism to Donald Trump’s presidency. Ian Tuttle notes that there is yet no firm statistical evidence that such events are really becoming more frequent, let alone any information to shed light on their cause, and points out that many critics of the president seem eager to exploit the situation to score political points:

The sharp spike in anti-Semitic incidents during the [2014] Gaza war is noteworthy. . . . The episode [supports the contention] that short-term news events can occasion violence. But the majority of perpetrators of anti-Semitism during the Gaza war were not the Trump-supporting white supremacists upon whom the recent violence is being blamed. . . .

The parallel ascent of Donald Trump and vile elements of right-wing politics has, indeed, been alarming. Long before the mainstream media became interested, conservative opponents of Trump found themselves targets of a repulsive fringe. . . .

However, the hard evidence is not yet in, and responsible commentators would do well to be patient. Regrettably, many on the left have leapt on the news for partisan purposes. . . . Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman, . . . recently tweeted: “Why has it taken [Donald Trump] so long even to say the word ‘anti-Semitism?’ Perhaps it has something to do with placating his base?” . . . [T]he denunciations of Keith Ellison—who was a longtime member of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, from which he did not distance himself until he ran for Congress in 2006—ring hollow, as do those from progressives who cheer Linda Sarsour—an organizer of January’s Women’s March who has championed anti-Israel terrorism [and recently helped raise funds to help repair the vandalized Jewish cemetery in St. Louis]—or the grotesqueries of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump, Nation of Islam, Politics & Current Affairs

 

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy