From Helping Soviet Jewry to Guiding America’s Israel Policy: An Insider’s Tale

Working as an aide to the Democratic senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson in the 1970s, Elliott Abrams played a crucial role in formulating an approach to foreign policy that prioritized human rights in a way that could further American geopolitical interests. These efforts came to fruition in legislation that used economic pressure to alleviate the plight of Soviet Jewry and later became a basis of the outlook on international affairs now known as neoconservative. In an interview with Jonathan Silver, Abrams discusses his own Jewish upbringing, his political evolution, his career in public service, and his involvement in guiding Israel policy in the George W. Bush administration.

Read more at Tikvah

More about: Ehud Olmert, George W. Bush, Neoconservatism, Politics & Current Affairs, Scoop Jackson, Soviet Jewry, US-Israel relations

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria