Fascists and Anti-Fascists Agree: Blame the Jews!

Nov. 17 2017

Participants in last summer’s congress of the Democratic Socialists of America, after passing a resolution to boycott Israel, began chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” A week later, neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right gathered in Charlottesville, where they chanted “Jews will not replace us.” Taking these two events as his points of departure, James Kirchick describes the emergence of anti-Semitism from out of the extremes of American politics and toward the mainstream, and the inability of the more moderate left to see more than one side of the equation:

The sheer bluntness of far-right anti-Semitism makes it easier to identify and stigmatize as beyond the pale; individuals like David Duke and the hosts of the Daily Shoah podcast make no pretense of residing within the mainstream of American political debate. But the humanist appeals of the far left, whose every libel against the Jewish state is paired with a righteous invocation of “justice” for the Palestinian people, invariably trigger repetitive and esoteric debates over whether this or that article, allusion, allegory, statement, policy, or political initiative is anti-Semitic or just critical of Israel.

What this difference in self-definition means is that there is rarely, if ever, any argument about the substantive nature of right-wing anti-Semitism, while the very existence of left-wing anti-Semitism is widely doubted and almost always indignantly denied by those accused of practicing it. . . .

This past election, one could not help noticing how the media seemingly discovered anti-Semitism when it emanated from the right, and then only when its targets were Jews on the left. It was enough to make one ask where they had been when left-wing anti-Semitism had been a more serious and pervasive problem.

From at least 1996 (the year Pat Buchanan made his last serious attempt at securing the GOP presidential nomination) to 2016 (when the Republican presidential nominee did more to earn the support of white supremacists and neo-Nazis than any of his predecessors), anti-Semitism was primarily a preserve of the American left. In that two-decade period—spanning from the collapse of the Oslo Accords and the second intifada to the rancorous debate over the Iraq War and the obsession with “neocons,” to the presidency of Barack Obama and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal—anti-Israel attitudes and anti-Semitic conspiracy [theories] made unprecedented inroads into respectable precincts of the American academy, the liberal intelligentsia, and the Democratic party.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: 2016 Election, Alt-Right, American politics, Anti-Semitism, neo-

 

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy