Iceland’s Long History of Anti-Semitism

The Icelandic parliament is currently considering a bill that will outlaw circumcision. To Manfred Gerstenfeld, the proposed law is of a piece with the island nation’s long history of anti-Semitism:

Every year, during the Lent period before Easter, daily hymns full of hatred for the Jews are read by distinguished citizens and broadcast on Iceland’s public-radio station. These texts were written in the 17th century—many years before the first Jews arrived in the country—by the Christian priest, poet, and anti-Semite Halgrimur Petterson. One hymn, entitled “The Demand for Crucifixion,” reads: “The Jewish leaders all decide that Jesus must be crucified. The Prince of Life their prey must be. The murderer set at liberty.” In 2012, the Simon Wiesenthal Center tried in vain to stop this hateful practice of performing such hymns.

Iceland also gave warm refuge to the Estonian Nazi war criminal Evald Mikson. At the end of the 1980s, the Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff tried to bring Mikson to trial for his involvement in the murder of Jews in Estonia. This led to many Icelandic media attacks against Israel. And the country’s government took more than ten years after Zuroff’s initial appeals to set up a commission to investigate Mikson’s war crimes. . . .

In 2015, the city council of the country’s capital, Reykjavik, decided to boycott Israeli-produced goods. . . . In 2011, Iceland’s parliament was the first in Western Europe to recognize a Palestinian state. . . . And Iceland’s Birgitta Jonsdottir was the first parliamentarian of any country to visit participants of the failed second Gaza flotilla.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, Circumcision, Iceland, Politics & Current Affairs

In Prospective Negotiations with Iran, the U.S. Has the Upper Hand. President-Elect Biden Is Determined Not to Use It

In a recent interview with a writer for the New York Times, Joe Biden expressed his willingness to reenter the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran (formally known as the JCPOA) without new preconditions. Noah Rothman comments:

[S]ome observers believe Biden has provided himself with an escape hatch. Biden reiterated his insistence that there could only be a new deal so long as “Iran returns to strict compliance.” [But if] Iranian compliance were a real sticking point, Biden might have dwelled on—or even mentioned in passing—the kind of inspections regime that would verify such a thing. But he did not.

[Under the terms of the deal], Iran provided inspectors access to declared nuclear sites but not military sites where illicit activities were likeliest to occur. A subsequent agreement allowed inspectors to access suspected sites but only with at least 24-days-notice—enough to dispose of the evidence of small-scale work on components related to a bomb. But functionally, that 24-day timeline could be reset by Iran, which could stretch the delays out for weeks—ample time to deceive inspectors.

The JCPOA was never designed to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear-nation status. It was only aimed at dragging that process out while reshuffling the region’s geopolitical deck in Iran’s favor and ultimately providing a patina of legitimacy to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Any talk about exhuming and reanimating this agreement that glosses over its weak verification regime suggests that the Biden administration, like the Obama administration, will settle for any deal—even a bad one.

Such an approach seems particularly shortsighted when the Islamic Republic has been pushed onto the defensive, reeling from economic woes, the devastating effects of the coronavirus, and a series of assassinations. Rather than press America’s advantage, when “Iran is on the ropes,” writes Rothman, Biden “is committed to negotiating from a position of weakness.”

Read more at Commentary

More about: Iran, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy