Where It Matters Most, the National Anti-Semitism Strategy Drops the Ball

On May 25, the White House issued a 60-page document outlining its approach to combating anti-Semitism. Avi Weiss and Eitan Fischberger have no criticism of what it includes—especially such measures as helping to provide added security to Jewish institutions—but only for what it leaves out:

There is zero mention in [the document] of the words “Zionist,” “Zionism,” or any variation of the word. Not one. When people convey messages of “Zionism is racism” or “Zionism is terrorism,” they are speaking to millions of Jews living in Israel and millions more worldwide, across all denominations, who passionately express their dream of Zion in their daily prayers, in the Jewish wedding service, and in expressions of condolence in houses of mourning. These messages malign Jews as racists or terrorists and can easily inspire reprisal acts of anti-Semitism.

And while the strategy lays out dangers that students on campus face because of their perceived or real support of Israel—and insists that security for these students be guaranteed—it does not offer a plan to respond educationally to this phenomenon. Time and again it emphasizes the need for education about the Holocaust and the role Jews play in American society, but it fails even to suggest a program or curriculum that would teach the meaning of Zionism going back to biblical times, or how the state of Israel is profoundly tied to the Jewish people.

It’s no secret, too, that the majority of anti-Semitic acts in America are taking place in ḥaredi/ḥasidic communities, such as Monsey, Crown Heights, and Borough Park, all in New York. With their visibly Jewish garbs, these innocent people can—and have been—easily singled out for constant attack. This is raw anti-Semitism, attacking Jews because they are Jews. One would imagine, then, that the strategy would devote much attention to this challenge.

Not so. Only in two small paragraphs, one in Appendix A at the conclusion of the 60-page strategy, is this matter mentioned, sounding therefore like a postscript, the classic too little, too late.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Haredim, Joseph Biden

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria