In the Face of Anti-Semitism, Angela Merkel Says Much and Does Little

Commenting on the attack at a synagogue in the German city of Halle on Yom Kippur, which left two dead, the retired British officer Richard Kemp observed that Chancellor Angela Merkel responded, “as always, [with] words only, when action is needed.” Benjamin Weinthal, elaborating on Kemp’s remark, notes that the attack comes alongside a pattern of German official tolerance toward anti-Semitism:

It is worth noting that the neo-Nazi [who carried out the Halle attack] was wedded to an anti-Semitic world view that included the theory [that Germany was under the thumb of a] “Zionist-occupied government.” The crucible where anti-Semites from the extreme right wing, left wing, and Islamism meet is a burning desire to smash the state of Israel.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany has urged Merkel to outlaw the lethal anti-Semitic terrorist entity Hizballah. Merkel and her foreign ministry . . . have vehemently refused to ban Hizballah and its 1,050 members and supporters in Germany, who spread their lethal anti-Semitic ideology. [Likewise], Merkel’s government declined to label as anti-Semitic the [Iranian] general Hossein Salami’s call to “wipe Israel off the map.” Merkel and her foreign ministry insist on designating Salami’s talk mere “anti-Israel rhetoric.”

All of this helps to explain why the goalposts in Germany have moved in a direction that permits greater tolerance for lethal anti-Semitic activities and language. There is simply no real counterterrorism policy targeting anti-Semitism in Germany. . . . [When Merkel] declines to say that the Iranian regime’s call to exterminate more than six million Israeli Jews is not anti-Semitic, [how] can her pledge via [a] spokesman that “We must oppose any form of anti-Semitism” be grounded in reality?

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Angela Merkel, Anti-Semitism, German Jewry, Hizballah

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy