The Woman Driven from Her Job for Condemning Anti-Semitism

July 13 2021

On June 11, in response to a series of attacks on Jews in the U.S., the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)—the major professional organization of its kind—posted a condemnation of anti-Semitism and other “forms of hate” on its Facebook page. Soon an outraged response swelled on social media over the absence of any explicit condemnation of violence against Palestinians, although the statement made no mention of Israel. The virtual mob focused its ire on April Powers, the SCBWI’s “chief equity and inclusion officer” and the author of the post. As a result, Powers—a Jew—resigned, and the organization’s director apologized for the original defense of Jews. Kat Rosenfield comments:

What disturbs Powers the most wasn’t the harassment or the threats. It’s that when she tried to do the job she was hired to do, her Jewishness was seen as inherently suspect—and, for some, as a reason to discredit her. “It was, ‘You’re Jewish, you can’t be in a role like this,’” she said. “I lost credibility in that exchange because I’m Jewish.”

What happened to April Powers demonstrates how high-minded ideals about intersectionality and social justice now operate in practice. . . . According to the tenets of social justice, Powers’s “lived experience” and multiple minority status [as a black Jew] should have made her unassailable on the topic of her own people’s oppression, and anyone who tried to use Powers’s identity to discredit her should have been roundly condemned. According to the tenets of social justice, the continuing violence—vandalism, harassment, a rabbi stabbed in broad daylight just the other day—means that “we” should be listening to the [Jewish] community now more than ever. But [because] that community is Jewish, progressives suddenly have very different ideas about who deserves to be heard.

For the moment, at least, Jews are Schrödinger’s victims; they may or may not be deserving of sympathy, depending on who’s doing the victimizing. When a group of tiki torch-wielding white nationalists chant “Jews will not replace us!,” the condemnation is swift. But replace the tiki torch with a Palestinian flag, and call the Jews “settler colonialists,” and the equivocations roll in.

Read more at Common Sense

More about: Anti-Semitism, Political correctness, Social media

Russia’s Alliance with Hizballah Is Growing Stronger

Tehran’s ongoing cooperation with Moscow has recently garnered public attention because of the Kremlin’s use of Iranian arms against Ukraine, but it extends much further, including to the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah. Aurora Ortega and Matthew Levitt explain:

Over the last few years, Russia has quietly extended its reach into Lebanon, seeking to cultivate cultural, economic, and military ties in Beirut as part of a strategy to expand Russian influence in the Middle East, while sidelining the U.S. and elevating Moscow’s role as a peacemaker.

Russia’s alliance with Hizballah was born out of the conflict in Syria, where Russian and Hizballah forces fought side-by-side in an alliance with the Assad regime. For years, this alliance appeared strictly limited to military activity in Syria, but in 2018, Hizballah and Russia began to engage in unprecedented joint sanctions-evasion activities. . . . In November 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury exposed a convoluted trade-based oil-smuggling sanctions-evasion scheme directed by Hizballah and [Iran].

The enhanced level of collaboration between Russia and Hizballah is not limited to sanctions evasion. In March 2021, Hizballah sent a delegation to Moscow, on its second-ever “diplomatic” visit to the country. Unlike its first visit a decade prior, which was enveloped in secrecy with no media exposure, this visit was well publicized. During their three days in Moscow, Hizballah representatives met with various Russian officials, including the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. . . . Just three months after this visit to Moscow, Hizballah received the Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov in Beirut to discuss further collaboration on joint projects.

Read more at Royal United Services Institute

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Lebanon, Russia