Anti-Semitism Is an Attack on American Principles

June 11 2021

In a recent statement, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar expressed her concern over “unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.” (After tepid criticism from some of her Democratic colleagues, she issued a correspondingly tepid clarification.) While it may be surprising to see Omar criticize Hamas, there is nothing surprising or unusual about her combination of anti-Americanism and anti-Israelism. Anti-Semitism, which Omar has also indulged in more blatantly, has in the 20th and 21st centuries often gone hand-in-hand with anti-Americanism. Joseph Loconte, writing before Omar’s statement, sheds some light on the connection:

Anti-Semitism . . . represents a unique assault on America’s founding principles of equality and freedom. . . . Religious freedom, considered the “first freedom” by the American Founders, was the linchpin. . . . The result, for Jews and all other minority faiths, was transformative. As nowhere else in the world, Jews were free to worship God according to the demands of their faith and conscience. They were also free to dissent from the religious views of the majority without fear of persecution.

Another reason for America’s warm embrace of the Jewish people must not be overlooked: the influence of the Bible. . . . According to the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi of Great Britain, the “self-evident” truths of the Declaration of Independence—that “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”—were anything but self-evident. “They would have been unintelligible to Plato, to Aristotle, or to every hierarchical society the world has ever known,” he wrote. “They are self-evident only to people, to Jews and Christians, who have internalized the Hebrew Bible.”

American Christians of all denominations recognized in Judaism one of the great gifts to Western civilization: the concept of a moral law given to mankind by a divine Lawgiver. From their very beginnings as a nation—like no one else in the ancient world—the Jewish people sought to order their social, political, and religious life according to these norms. The Ten Commandments supplied the ethical bedrock not only for Judaism but also—quite remarkably—for Western civilization throughout the centuries.

The American Founders were acutely aware of this cultural inheritance and its importance to their new republic. They paid homage to it in countless ways, not least of which was in the physical architecture of their most important political institutions. . . . As James Madison explained: “We have staked the whole of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

If this is so, then the answer to anti-Semitism (a partial answer, to be sure) is the reassertion of America’s first principles: the recovery of our historic commitment to the God-given worth and dignity of every human soul.

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Read more at National Review

More about: American founding, anti-Americanism, Anti-Semitism, Ilhan Omar, Jonathan Sacks

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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