In Minnesota, Republicans Have Their Own Anti-Semitism Problem

The Minnesota congressman and former radio talk-show host Jason Lewis recently announced that he is running for Senate in the 2020 election. On air in 2013, Lewis, echoing the concerns of a caller, complained of the supposed number of dual citizens of Israel and the U.S. in Congress and other branches of government, and their malign effect on policy; he also remarked that Jewish or pro-Israel lobbyists “control the Republican party.” Jonathan Marks responds to Lewis’s claim that he was merely “playing devil’s advocate,” and comments on the silence of his fellow Republicans:

Lewis . . . wasn’t playing devil’s advocate. He made every one of the claims in question in his own name.

His next line of defense is that, as a member of Congress, he had a pro-Israel voting record. What are we to make of this? Was Lewis, as a radio host, merely spreading to his listeners a vile anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that he never believed? Or was he, as a freshman congressman, trimming his sails and voting with the party? Neither conclusion saves Lewis. Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center was therefore entirely in the right when he said . . . that “Republican leaders need to condemn Lewis’s remarks.”

But the only such leader I’m aware of is Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who is not an elected official and whose response was equivocal. Yes, Lewis’s remarks were “indefensible,” he said, but they were made when he as a “shock jock”—which Lewis wasn’t, exactly—and besides, Lewis had an “outstanding record of support for Israel” in Congress.

We rightly blamed Democrats for failing unequivocally and clearly to denounce Ilhan Omar’s remarks about dual loyalty. But the Republican response to Lewis, who hasn’t even pretended to apologize for his remarks, and whom the party will very likely be putting up as its candidate for senator from Minnesota, has been still more tepid.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Congress, Republicans

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security