The Betrayal of the Syrian People

When Bashar al-Assad began his war against his own subjects eleven years ago, Arab popular opinion swiftly turned against him, and Arab rulers shunned him—not only because of his brutality, but also because they felt threatened by the growing power of his Iranian patrons. The West, and even such international bodies as the World Health Organization (WHO), followed suit. Undeterred by sanctions and condemnations and with the assurance of support from Moscow and Tehran, Assad went about bombing his country into submission. That Arab leaders are now mending relations with Damascus demonstrates that his persistence has paid off, if not for the country he rules, then at least for himself. Marwan Safar Jalani, himself a refugee from Syria, comments:

In June, the World Health Organization appointed Syria to its executive board. Interpol readmitted Syria to its network in October. Algeria and Egypt have pushed to reinvite Syria to Arab League membership. . . . These international bodies and nations appear to have either forgiven, forgotten, or chosen to ignore the reasons Syria was cast out from their community. But in doing so, they normalize the atrocities committed by or on behalf of Assad’s regime and risk emboldening other leaders to act without fear of major censure or retribution.

A regime that has been known to bomb hospitals cannot be a member of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization. A regime that tortures and tracks its dissidents at home and abroad through intelligence services must not regain access to Interpol’s databases.

The United States, France, and Britain stress that they are against normalizing Assad, but shy away from urging allies and international organizations not to do so. This issue should be high on—if not at the top of—their foreign-policy agenda, because the rehabilitation of Assad poses a direct threat to the post-World War II order—which already faces challenges on other fronts, such as the current Russia-Ukraine tensions. This issue is an easy one to take a stand on. Syria is not a nuclear power or the regional power it once was. Nor is it a major energy supplier. Standing firm against his rehabilitation does not cost much.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Arab World, Bashar al-Assad, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy, WHO

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University