The American Left’s Abandonment of Both Israel and the Jews

March 12 2019

While anti-Semitism exists everywhere, and the U.S. has never been an exception, writes Ross Douthat, what has made America stand out is its persistent strain of philo-Semitism. He sees in the left’s response to the Ilhan Omar controversy an abandonment of this attitude:

This is what the left seems to want, . . . and what I suspect it will eventually get: a left-of-center politics that remembers the Holocaust as one great historical tragedy among many, that judges Israel primarily on its [supposedly] conservative and nationalist political orientation, rather than on its status as a Jewish sanctuary, and that regards the success of American Jews as a reason for them to join white Gentiles in check-your-privilege self-criticism, ceding moral authority to minority groups who are more immediately oppressed. (This last shift was helpfully distilled by James Clyburn, the Democratic House whip, who defended [Ilhan] Omar last week by basically saying that the Holocaust was a long time ago and her personal experience as a refugee and Muslim immigrant was more immediate and relevant.)

The shifts here would not just be, as is sometimes suggested, a reaction to Israeli politics [or] to the right-wing Netanyahu government. . . . If the occupation [of the West Bank] ended tomorrow, Israel would still have a nationalist and religious identity at odds with the left’s broadly post-nationalist and post-religious vision. Secularization would still be separating the left from any specifically Christian sense of guilt over the Holocaust—which was an important spur to postwar philo-Semitism. Many American Jews would still enjoy advantages that expose them to the left’s intersectional critiques, and the Orthodox Jewish population (growing apace relative to more secular and liberal forms of Judaism) would still have religious beliefs and practices that are the very opposite of “woke.”

Finally, a great deal of the new anti-Semitism—from the recent wave of hate crimes in New York City to the anti-Jewish violence befouling Europe—would still be coming from minority and immigrant communities that are seen as essential to left-of-center and especially radical-left politics going forward, making them more difficult than right-wing anti-Semitism for the left to full-throatedly condemn.

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Read more at New York Times

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Ilhan Omar, Philo-Semitism, Politics & Current Affairs, US-Israel relations

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela