The White House Anti-Semitism Strategy Could Do More Harm Than Good

On May 25, the Biden administration issued a 60-page document outlining its plans for protecting U.S. Jews from bigotry. Alex Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky find some of its particulars salutary, but argue that it is overall ineffective, or worse:

[M]ost of the recommendations are simply the government telling itself to mention anti-Semitism in the course of routine training and other activities. . . . Looking beyond the budget increase for the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, many of the strategy’s directives are unserious. Directing the Department of Agriculture to “provide educational opportunities for 4-H, Future Farmers of America, and other rural youth organizations to learn how to identify and counter anti-Semitism and related forms of discrimination,” or the Interior Department to train “National Park Services employees, such as rangers and guides, to identify and counter anti-Semitism and other forms of hate,” do not even attempt to address the core problems.

Indeed, most recommendations are not specific to anti-Semitism but are directed rather against “all forms of hate,” including “anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bias, anti-Sikh bias, and related forms of bias and discrimination.” . . . Islamophobia is mentioned numerous times, but no reference is made to Israel boycotts, much less to Islamist . . . violence against Jews.

Worse still, the strategy mentions, but carefully avoids endorsing, the important and widely accepted guidelines for identifying anti-Semitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)—which is probably what won the strategy praise from such groups as Palestine Legal (aligned with the boycott-Israel movement) and the Hamas-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Therein, write Joffe and Romirowsky, lies the real problem:

Organizations such as states and universities that have put the [IHRA] definition at the center of their efforts to protect Jewish students will now see that move challenged on the basis of the federal strategy’s deliberate vagueness. The Biden administration has, in other words, harmed others’ attempts to fight anti-Semitism as well.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, IHRA, Joseph Biden


What Israel Can Achieve in Gaza, the Fate of the Hostages, and Planning for the Day After

In a comprehensive analysis, Azar Gat concludes that Israel’s prosecution of the war has so far been successful, and preferable to the alternatives proposed by some knowledgeable critics. (For a different view, see this article by Lazar Berman.) But even if the IDF is coming closer to destroying Hamas, is it any closer to freeing the remaining hostages? Gat writes:

Hamas’s basic demand in return for the release of all the hostages—made clear well before it was declared publicly—is an end to the war and not a ceasefire. This includes the withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza Strip, restoration of Hamas’s control over it (including international guarantees), and a prisoner exchange on the basis of “all for all.”

Some will say that there must be a middle ground between Hamas’s demands and what Israel can accept. However, Hamas’s main interest is to ensure its survival and continued rule, and it will not let go of its key bargaining chip. Some say that without the return of the hostages—“at any price”—no victory is possible. While this sentiment is understandable, the alternative would be a resounding national defeat. The utmost efforts must be made to rescue as many hostages as possible, and Israel should be ready to pay a heavy price for this goal; but Israel’s capitulation is not an option.

Beyond the great cost in human life that Israel will pay over time for such a deal, Hamas will return to rule the Gaza Strip, repairing its infrastructure of tunnels and rockets, filling its ranks with new recruits, and restoring its defensive and offensive arrays. This poses a critical question for those suggesting that it will be possible to restart the war at a later stage: have they fully considered the human toll should the IDF attempt to reoccupy the areas it would have vacated in the Gaza Strip?

Although Gat is sanguine about the prospects of the current campaign, he throws some cold water on those who hope for an absolute victory:

Militarily, it is possible to destroy Hamas’s command, military units, and infrastructure as a semi-regular military organization. . . . After their destruction in high-intensity fighting, the IDF must prevent Hamas from reviving by continuous action on the ground. As in the West Bank, this project will take years. . . . What the IDF is unlikely to achieve is the elimination of Hamas as a guerrilla force.

Lastly, Gat has some wise words about what will happen to Gaza after the war ends, a subject that has been getting renewed attention since Benjamin Netanyahu presented an outline of a plan to the war cabinet on Thursday. Gat argues that, contrary to the view of the American and European foreign-policy elite, there is no political solution for Gaza. After all, Gaza is in the Middle East, where “there are no solutions, . . . only bad options and options that are much worse.”

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security