The City University of New York Shouldn’t Honor Al Sharpton

April 22 2019

 Medgar Evers College, a branch of the City University of New York (CUNY), has announced that, at its upcoming commencement ceremonies, it will grant an honorary doctorate to Reverend Al Sharpton—whose past incitements of anti-Semitic violence have led to multiple deaths. The editors of the New York Post comment:

What makes this [decision] especially galling is that it’s to take place in [the Brooklyn neighborhood of] Crown Heights, the site of the 1991 anti-Jewish riots in which Sharpton played a key role in riling up the mobs. The reverend has never apologized for his actions during those days, which included denunciations of Orthodox Jews as “diamond dealers” and a false claim that Jews operated an “apartheid ambulance service.”

Not until twenty years later did he finally admit he’d made some “mistakes,” while still claiming Jewish “extremists” deliberately misconstrued his remarks.

[L]ittle about Sharpton has changed over the years—save his weight, fancier clothes, fatter bank account, and now-national platform. Medgar Evers College thinks that adds up to an “unwavering commitment to racial, educational, and socioeconomic equity.” . . . But he isn’t a worthy choice for this honor—especially not from a college named for a true civil-rights hero who paid the ultimate price for his genuinely “unwavering commitment” to racial justice.

Sharpton is also expected to speak at a conference sponsored by the Religious Action Center, a major arm of organized Reform Judaism in America, in May.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Brooklyn


A Better Syria Strategy Can Help Achieve the U.S. Goal of Countering Iran

While the Trump administration has reversed much of its predecessor’s effort to realign Washington with Tehran, and has effectively used sanctions to exert economic pressure on the Islamic Republic, Omar Hassino argues that these measures might not be enough:

Iran and its militias control more territory and natural resources in Syria and Iraq than before President Trump took office. . . . The U.S. should back the low-cost insurgency approach that has already shown potential in southwest Syria to bleed the Iranian forces and increase the costs of their expansion and [of Tehran’s] support for the Assad regime. It makes no sense that Iran can fund low-cost insurgencies to bleed American allies in the region, but the United States cannot counter with the same. The administration should also consider expanding support to the proxy forces that it currently works with—such as the Revolution Commandos near the [U.S.] al-Tanf garrison in southwest Syria—for the purpose of fighting and eliminating Iranian-backed militias. This limited escalation can curb Iranian expansion and put pressure on the Assad regime in the long term.

Furthermore, in this vein, the U.S. should empower peaceful Syrian civil-society groups and local councils operating outside Assad-regime control. Last year, the Trump administration eliminated assistance for stabilization in Syria, including funding going to secular anti-Assad civil-society groups that were also combating al-Qaeda’s ideology, as well as the Syrian [medical and civil-defense group known as] the White Helmets, before quickly [restoring] some of this funding. Yet the funding has still not completely been resumed, and if this administration takes an approach similar to its predecessor’s in relying on regional powers such as Turkey, these powers will instead fund groups aligned ideologically with Muslim Brotherhood. This is already happening in Idlib.

The United States must [also] jettison the Obama-era [strategy of establishing] “de-escalation zones.” These zones were from the start largely a Russian ruse to help the Assad regime conquer opposition areas, and they succeeded. Now that the regime controls most of Syria and Iranian proxies are dominant within the regime side, support for de-escalation is tantamount to support for Iranian expansion. The United States must [instead] prevent further expansion by the Assad regime and Iran in parts of the country that they still do not control.

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More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy