Should Jews Worry about New York Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang’s Anti-Circumcision Stance?

Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and quixotic challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, recently launched his campaign to run for the New York City mayoralty. To many Jewish voters, his vocal anti-circumcision stance, which he has sought to moderate somewhat since arriving on the national stage, is a source of concern. Jon Levine writes:

In a [March 2019] interview, . . . Yang elaborated, saying he originally planned to have his two boys circumcised but his wife talked him out of it. “From what I’ve seen, the evidence on it being a positive health choice for the infant is quite shaky,” Yang said. “It’s sort of pushed on parents in many situations.” Yang added that he supports anti-circumcision activists, known as “intactivists,” although he also believes in every parent’s right to choose.

Circumcision has existed in traditional Jewish culture for thousands of years. . . . “There are . . . anti-circumcision activists who are pretty aggressive and threatening. They call up [traditional circumcision providers] and threaten them,” one rabbi told the Post. . . . “I can tell you from a religious and multicultural standpoint, this can be taken in a very negative light,” added Mendy Mirocznik, a Staten Island rabbi. “I hope that comments like this do not cause the flame of anti-Semitism to be ignited even further.”

Yang said he supports a live and let live approach to the procedure. “I have attended multiple friends’ brises and felt privileged to do so. I believe in religious freedom. This is every parent’s personal decision and not a role of government,” he said in a December 2020 tweet.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Andrew Yang, Circumcision, Freedom of Religion, New York City

Why the White House’s Plan to Prevent an Israel-Hizballah War Won’t Work

On Monday, Hizballah downed an Israeli drone, leading the IDF to retaliate with airstrikes that killed one of the terrorist group’s commanders in southern Lebanon, and two more of its members in the northeast. The latter strike marks an escalation by the IDF, which normally confines its activities to the southern part of the country. Hizballah responded by firing two barrages of rockets into northern Israel on Tuesday, while Hamas operatives in Lebanon fired another barrage yesterday.

According to the Iran-backed militia, 219 of its fighters have been killed since October; six Israeli civilians and ten soldiers have lost their lives in the north. The Biden administration has meanwhile been involved in ongoing negotiations to prevent these skirmishes from turning into an all-out war. The administration’s plan, however, requires carrots for Hizballah in exchange for unenforceable guarantees, as Richard Goldberg explains:

Israel and Hizballah last went to war in 2006. That summer, Hizballah crossed the border, killed three Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped two others. Israel responded with furious airstrikes, a naval blockade, and eventually a ground operation that met stiff resistance and mixed results. A UN-endorsed ceasefire went into effect after 34 days of war, accompanied by a Security Council Resolution that ordered the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in disarming Hizballah in southern Lebanon—from the Israeli border up to the Litani River, some 30 kilometers away.

Despite billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer support over the last seventeen years, the LAF made no requests to UNIFIL, which then never disarmed Hizballah. Instead, Iran accelerated delivering weapons to the terrorist group—building up its forces to a threat level that dwarfs the one Israel faced in 2006. The politics of Lebanon shifted over time as well, with Hizballah taking effective control of the Lebanese government and exerting its influence (and sometimes even control) over the LAF and its U.S.-funded systems.

Now the U.S. is offering Lebanon an economic bailout in exchange for a promise to keep Hizballah forces from coming within a mere ten kilometers of the border, essentially abrogating the Security Council resolution. Goldberg continues:

Who would be responsible for keeping the peace? The LAF and UNIFIL—the same pair that has spent seventeen years helping Hizballah become the threat it is today. That would guarantee that Hizballah’s commitments will never be verified or enforced.

It’s a win-win for [Hizballah’s chief Hassan] Nasrallah. Many of his fighters live and keep their missiles hidden within ten kilometers of Israel’s border. They will blend into the civilian population without any mechanism to force their departure. And even if the U.S. or France could verify a movement of weapons to the north, Nasrallah’s arsenal is more than capable of terrorizing Israeli cities from ten kilometers away. Meanwhile, a bailout of Lebanon will increase Hizballah’s popularity—demonstrating its tactics against Israel work.

Read more at The Dispatch

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden