In Attacking Mike Pompeo, the ADL Risks Its Own Credibility

In a letter to the Senate Foreign-Relations Committee, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused the CIA director Mike Pompeo—now nominated to be secretary of state—of Islamophobia. Carefully comparing Pompeo’s suspect statements with those made by the ADL, Sohrab Ahmari shows that the former’s entirely reasonable concerns about radical Islam are no different from the latter’s:

When the Anti-Defamation League tapped Jonathan Greenblatt to serve as its CEO in 2015, there were concerns that the Obama White House alumnus would turn the venerable civil-rights group into an arm of the Democratic party. Alas, those concerns have proved well founded. Witness Greenblatt’s letter this week opposing Mike Pompeo . . . for the flimsiest of reasons. Running to more than 5,000 words, the letter accuses the CIA director of fanning bigotry with irresponsible statements about radical Islam. Greenblatt goes so far as to suggest that Pompeo’s attitudes are redolent of classic anti-Semitism. That’s a serious charge. It is also utterly baseless.

If Pompeo is “Islamophobic,” then so is the ADL. As it turns out, the secretary of state-designate and the ADL have remarkably similar views on the nature of the Islamist threat. . . .

To summarize Pompeo’s views: he believes, first, that there are radical Islamic networks that operate in the American heartland, and, second, that the Islamist threat is not a geographic one but an ideological and globe-spanning challenge to Western security. Well, the ADL has long suggested the same things, sometimes in nearly identical language. . . . If Pompeo’s remarks are beyond the pale, so are the ADL’s positions. Senators weighing Pompeo’s fitness to serve as America’s top diplomat can be forgiven for dismissing this cheap attempt at sliming him. It is the ADL’s donors and supporters who should be asking tough questions—of Greenblatt.

Read more at Commentary

More about: ADL, Islamism, Islamophobia, Mike Pompeo, Politics & Current Affairs

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood