American Jews Should Not Confess Their “Whiteness”

This year, Joe Schwartz left the United States with his family to live in Israel, not so much out of conviction or necessity, he admits, but primarily because his wife wished to. He has thus been able to witness in two countries public mismanagement of the pandemic as well as intense political polarization. But the changed American political climate following the killing of George Floyd convinced Schwartz that his family had made the correct decision, and that the country where he had once lived was no longer one he wanted to call home:

Until [this summer], it had been possible for a Jew like myself—liberal in temperament and politics, committed to Jewish life, to the Jewish people, and to the flourishing of both—more or less to ignore the discourse to my left, and the way an American obsession with race had begun to derange the Jewish community.

All of this changed in June. It began to become clear that discreet silence would no longer be tolerated, and we must each of us at long last accept our “whiteness,” and make a declaration of it in public. (Indeed, . . . the “Ethicist” at the New York Times confirmed that Jews have a moral duty to swallow the bitter pill of our whiteness). Today, to accept one’s whiteness serves as a kind of public confession of inherited guilt: it means, we Jews have benefited from, and therefore are implicated in, “white supremacy”—and therefore must devote our political lives to fighting its structures.

It turns out, however, that the most malign—indeed “genocidal”—outpost of white supremacy in the world is Israel. So declared the political platform published by the Movement for Black Lives in 2016. Back then, most prominent Jewish organizations issued public condemnations of the platform and balked at associating themselves with the movement for which it spoke. This time around, however, the anti-Zionism of the movement went unmentioned, as all but the minority of avowed politically conservative Jews marched or posted messages of support on their social-media profiles.

It is true that many if not most liberal Jews who embrace BLM this time around do not yet accept that corollary; but by showing themselves willing to swallow their scruples, confess their white privilege, and raise the BLM banner, the liberal Jewish community has abandoned its resistance to the (no-longer) New Left, and in short order it will abandon its embattled Zionism, as well.

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More about: Aliyah, American Jewry, Anti-Zionism, Black Lives Matter, U.S. Politics

Leaked Emails Point to an Iranian Influence Operation That Reaches into the U.S. Government

Sept. 27 2023

As the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal began in earnest, Tehran launched a major effort to cultivate support abroad for its positions, according to a report by Jay Solomon:

In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues—particularly its nuclear program—by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative. The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails.

The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: at least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

In March of that year, writes Solomon, one of these officials reported that “he had gained support for the IEI from two young academics—Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary—following a meeting with them in Prague.” And here the story becomes particularly worrisome:

Tabatabai currently serves in the Pentagon as the chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a position that requires a U.S. government security clearance. She previously served as a diplomat on Malley’s Iran nuclear negotiating team after the Biden administration took office in 2021. Esfandiary is a senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that Malley headed from 2018 to 2021.

Tabatabai . . . on at least two occasions checked in with Iran’s Foreign Ministry before attending policy events, according to the emails. She wrote to Mostafa Zahrani, [an Iranian scholar in close contact with the Foreign Ministry and involved in the IEI], in Farsi on June 27, 2014, to say she’d met Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal—a former ambassador to the U.S.—who expressed interest in working together and invited her to Saudi Arabia. She also said she’d been invited to attend a workshop on Iran’s nuclear program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. . . .

Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, said the IEI was an “informal platform” that gave researchers from different organizations an opportunity to meet with IPIS and Iranian officials, and that it was supported financially by European institutions and one European government. She declined to name them.

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