The Danger of Letting Apolitical Jewish Institutions Become Politicized

For the past several weeks, the Tikvah Fund—the Jewish non-profit educational institution that publishes Mosaic—had been planning to hold its annual conference at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan. When the conference’s organizers informed the venue that the keynote speaker would be Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, the museum then decided that the conference could no longer be he held on its premises because DeSantis does not “align with the museum’s values and its message of inclusivity.” Jonathan Tobin examines the implications of a mainstream Jewish organization’s decision to ban a major American political figure:

[F]or this sort of behavior to find a foothold in a leading Jewish institution—much less one dedicated as a “living memorial to the Holocaust”—is a sign of the abandonment of its Jewish responsibilities in favor of a partisan cause.

You can agree or disagree with everything the governor does or stands for. But the notion that a Holocaust museum should be off-limits for any leading voice in mainstream American politics, let alone a figure who has been as closely aligned with the Jewish community on many important issues as DeSantis, isn’t so much ill-advised as it is absurd.

Subsequently, the museum claimed that it opposed DeSantis because it didn’t host political events. But . . . the same museum welcomed Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez —the leading voice of the leftist “Squad” that is deeply hostile to Israel—in 2018. Equally controversial politicians like the former New York governor Andrew Cuomo . . . have also appeared there.

The museum’s hypocrisy in canceling DeSantis while welcoming controversial liberal or left-wing Democrats demonstrates its shameless embrace of partisanship. But it also shows that for those involved in this institution, remembering the Holocaust isn’t a sacred Jewish duty but just another way . . . to back up the political agendas of its staff and funders.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Jewish museums, Ron DeSantis

Why the Recent Uptick of Israeli Activity in Syria?

Sept. 23 2022

On September 16 and 17, the IDF carried out airstrikes in the vicinity of Damascus, reportedly aimed at Iranian logistical centers there. These follow on an increase in the frequency of such attacks in recent weeks, which have included strikes on the Aleppo airport on August 31 and September 6. Jonathan Spyer comments:

The specific targeting of the Aleppo airport is almost certainly related to recent indications that Iran is relying increasingly on its “air bridge” to Syria and Lebanon, because of Israel’s successful and systematic targeting of efforts to move weaponry and equipment by land [via Iraq]. But the increased tempo of activity is not solely related to the specific issue of greater use of air transport by Teheran. Rather, it is part of a broader picture of increasing regional tension. There are a number of factors that contribute to this emergent picture.

Firstly, Russia appears to be pulling back in Syria. . . . There are no prospects for a complete Russian withdrawal. The air base at Khmeimim and the naval facilities at Tartus and Latakia are hard strategic assets which will be maintained. The maintenance of Assad’s rule is also a clear objective for Moscow. But beyond this, the Russians are busy now with a flailing, faltering military campaign in Ukraine. Moscow lacks the capacity for two close strategic engagements at once.

Secondly, assuming that some last-minute twist does not occur, it now looks like a return to the [2015 nuclear deal] is not imminent. In the absence of any diplomatic process related to the Iranian nuclear program, and given Israeli determination to roll back Iran’s regional ambitions, confrontation becomes more likely.

Lastly, it is important to note that the uptick in Israeli activity is clearly not related to Syria alone. Rather, it is part of a more general broadening and deepening by Israel in recent months of its assertive posture toward the full gamut of Iranian activity in the region. . . . The increasing scope and boldness of Israeli air activity in Syria reflects this changing of the season.

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria, War in Ukraine