Commentary Magazine

Iran’s Undeniable Motives

Iran’s Undeniable Motives

With both the United States and Israel debating how best to forestall the nuclearization of Iran, assessing the motivation of those working on the Iranian project is a way to gauge that country’s progress. Thus, the statement uttered by a widow of one of the Iranian nuclear scientists mysteriously slain in recent months—she said her husband’s “ultimate goal was the annihilation of Israel”—was a telling admission for the state’s press service to run, especially because Tehran has contended that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. The attempt by many in the press and on the left to argue that Iran has no intention of building a bomb was undermined by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s recent statement that Israel is a cancer whose removal from the region is a necessity. Those who say that Israel and the United States should wait and see if Iran does produce a weapon would be well advised to listen to what those in Tehran are actually saying rather than accept the gloss on the subject provided by Israel’s critics in the West.

Scandal in Doha

The Arab League held a conference in Doha, Qatar, on the future of Jerusalem. Predictably, the meeting was an occasion for the Arab world to vent its hatred of Israel and air its general belief that thousands of years of Jewish history are a myth and that Jews have no rights in Jerusalem, let alone the rest of the country. The volume of hate was so high that even Lara Friedman, a representative of Americans for Peace Now. was shocked: “Participants talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud,” she wrote on the Huffington Post. Truth to tell, Friedman needn’t have traveled so far to discover that her group’s illusions about the Palestinian desire for peace have no root in the real world. Even more troubling was the presence of a part-time State Department consultant named Kenneth Insley, who said, “Perhaps it is understandable to be perceived as racist when you are considered by some to be ‘God’s chosen people.’” Whatever the anti-Semitic Insley does for the State Department, he should no longer do.

‘Judaizing’ Jerusalem?

Unfortunately, the attack on Jewish rights in Jerusalem isn’t limited to the Arab League these days. Rabbis for Human Rights–North America, a group deeply critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, has blasted the Jewish National Fund for its part in creating a new archaeological park on the site of the City of David in Jerusalem—as well as for its role in the dispute that has been litigated about this property in the Silwan area just outside the Old City walls. Israel’s independent courts have sided with those who wish to build the park and some Jewish homes in the area. But the group deprecates what it considers an attempt to “Judaize” one of the places where Jewish identity was forged. People of good faith may disagree about where Israel’s borders should be drawn, but the dispute in Silwan need not become a political football. The City of David can no more be “Judaized” than Paris can be made more French. At a time when Muslim mobs have made a habit of throwing rocks at Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall and desecrating the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, Rabbis for Human Rights–North America ought not to be fighting against the rights of Jews to live in Jerusalem.

Ominous Portent in Haifa

Israel’s Arab minority has many problems, but it also enjoys the full protection of the nation’s democracy, including representation in the Knesset and equal protection under the law. But since the creation of the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Arabs have started to consider themselves more Palestinian than Israeli. Although much of the focus of attention on this community has been on allegations of discrimination, the drift toward violence, causing certain areas to become off-limits to Jews, is generally ignored. That became a little more difficult last month when two off-duty Israeli soldiers in Haifa were attacked by an Arab mob that nearly lynched them. The attack would have been characterized as a hate crime had it happened in the United States, but Israeli authorities, doing their best to lower tension, did not treat it as a nationalist attack. The incident is just one more indication of the way a portion of Israel’s population is coming to identify with the state’s enemies rather than with their Jewish neighbors.

Will Media Matters Be an Issue?

We have previously noted that the anti-Israel tilt of liberal groups such as the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Media Matters has come under scrutiny. The latter group has also come under fire for what are alleged to be efforts to wage a covert campaign to discredit political opponents. Although CAP has attempted to back away from some of the most egregious anti-Israel rhetoric used by its staffers, Media Matters has doubled down on its slanders of both the Jewish state and its American friends. The liberal pro-Israel author Alan Dershowitz has gone so far as to declare that the White House must disassociate itself from Media Matters and its invective-spewing mouthpieces, lest it become a campaign issue this fall. Dershowitz is right. Media Matters has gone beyond the pale when it comes to Israel. Liberals who were prepared to tolerate its excesses in the past need to draw a line in the sand about contacts with the group.

About the Author

Jonathan Tobin is Senior Online Editor of COMMENTARY.

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