Does the Torah Prescribe Genocide Against the Canaanites?

So one is often told on the basis of statements in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua, the latter of which is said to describe an actual policy of extermination carried out by the Israelites against the non-Israelite inhabitants of Canaan. But both claims, argues Reuven Kimelman, rest on selective or inaccurate readings:

The popular reading of the [Israelites’ behavior toward the] Canaanites filters it through the prism of Deuteronomy. . . . In actuality, the biblical data are much more ambiguous [than generally assumed], making the most destructive comments the exception, not the rule. . . . With regard to the extermination of the seven nations of Canaan . . . the biblical record is . . . not of one cloth. The clarification of their status in the Bible requires a systematic treatment of all the data book by book. . . . Exodus’ position on the elimination of the Canaanites is a gradual dispossession by God, not by the Israelites.

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Read more at Seforim

More about: Canaanites, Deuteronomy, Genocide, Hebrew Bible, Joshua, Religion & Holidays

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela