The Incoming President Should Take a Stand against Anti-Semitism Wrapped in the Banner of Human Rights

Nov. 19 2020

Reportedly, the State Department is considering a process of designating organizations as anti-Semitic if they engage in extreme anti-Israel rhetoric, using as a standard the parameters laid out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which have been endorsed by various organizations and governments in Europe and elsewhere. Ben Cohen examines the consequences of such a policy:

Quite how far an organization would have to go to earn an anti-Semitism designation is not specified, but it’s probably safe to assume that the kinds of statements and actions undertaken by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam during the 2014 [the Israel-Hamas war]—false accusations of Israeli war crimes, counting Hamas terrorists as “civilian” war deaths, analogizing Gaza’s predicament with the Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Warsaw—would be sufficient.

In practical terms, [however], to announce such a policy during the twilight of the Trump administration is perhaps condemning it to an undeserved fate. Undeserved, because the basic idea underlying the policy is a sound one—that trafficking in anti-Semitic canards should not be permitted to hide behind noble labels such as [human rights].

Can this principle be incorporated into a Democratic administration’s policy on countering anti-Semitism? At some point, it will need such a policy, if only because combating hatred and discrimination against Jews is part of the State Department’s mission, and it is one moreover that has bipartisan support.

In that same bipartisan spirit, the incoming administration should resist the temptation to sweep away everything undertaken by its predecessor. An official designation can be a vital tool in holding to account civic, academic, and humanitarian organizations that receive public funds in the event they spread anti-Semitic canards.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Amnesty International, Anti-Semitism, Human Rights Watch, State Department

The Attempted Murder of Salman Rushdie Should Render the New Iran Deal Dead in the Water

Aug. 15 2022

On Friday, the Indian-born, Anglo-American novelist Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed and severely wounded while giving a public lecture in western New York. Reports have since emerged—although as yet unverified—that the would-be assassin had been in contact with agents of Iran, whose supreme leaders have repeatedly called on Muslims to murder Rushdie. Meanwhile U.S. and European diplomats are trying to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Stephen Daisley comments:

Salman Rushdie’s would-be assassin might have been a lone wolf. He might have had no contact with military or intelligence figures. He might never even have set foot in Tehran. But be in no doubt: he acted, in effect, as an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the terms of the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989, Rushdie “and all those involved in [his novel The Satanic Verses’s] publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death.” Khomeini urged “brave Muslims to kill them quickly wherever they find them so that no one ever again would dare to insult the sanctities of Muslims,” adding: “anyone killed while trying to execute Rushdie would, God willing, be a martyr.”

An American citizen has been the victim of an attempted assassination on American soil by, it appears, another American after decades of the Iranian supreme leader agitating for his murder. No country that is serious about its national security, to say nothing of its national self-worth, can pretend this is some everyday stabbing with no broader political implications.

Those implications relate not only to the attack on Rushdie. . . . In July, a man armed with an AK-47 was arrested outside the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian dissident who was also the intended target of an abduction plot last year orchestrated by an Iranian intelligence agent. The cumulative weight of these outrages should render the new Iran deal dead in the water.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Freedom of Speech, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy