For China and Iran, Anti-Semitism Is a Strategic Tool

The government in Tehran understands that many people are susceptible to the absurd belief that Israel is at the root of the world’s problems. With this in mind, the Islamic Republic has played an active role in the explosion of online anti-Semitism since October 7. Emily Blout writes:

Iran’s leaders know the power of prejudice and likely see the war as an opportunity to color the way people around the world see the conflict, and critically, the way they see Iran. That’s why we shouldn’t pass off Iran’s anti-Semitic social- and traditional-media activities solely as an expression of Jew hatred or a denial of Israel’s right to exist. We need to look deeper and see how Tehran uses anti-Semitism to advance its strategic interests.

The Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei . . . has, for decades, used thinly veiled anti-Semitic tropes to appeal to the so-called “Arab Street” and bridge the historical and religious divides between Arabs and Persians, Sunnis and Shiites, in a larger bid to establish Iran’s predominance in the Middle East and leadership of the greater Muslim world.

And Iran isn’t the only one playing this game:

There are signs that China is using social media in a similar way: the algorithms of TikTok, for instance, which is used by 67 percent of American teens, have created echo chambers of hate and put fabricated accounts of Israeli atrocities into heavy circulation. . . . Chinese media outlets have been trafficking in anti-Semitism for years now, a practice that has drawn scrutiny during the current war. Indeed, Beijing may aim to bridge the culture gap with Arab populations and generate positive public opinion by expressing unwavering support for Palestinians and demonizing Jews.

Read more at Liberal Patriot

More about: Anti-Semitism, China, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Social media

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security