March 13, 2012 | 6:23 am
Benjamin Netanyahu could be playing a clever game when it comes to Iran, and may well actually be in cahoots with Barack Obama, writes Jeffrey Goldberg in Bloomberg.
The former Israeli military official I spoke with Sunday in Tel Aviv suggested three possible explanations for Netanyahu’s lack of action: 1) He is paralyzed and won’t act, no matter what he believes the threat to be; 2) He fears he would risk a serious rupture in his country’s alliance with the U.S. if he attacked Iran unilaterally; and 3) It’s all part of a game, one he has tacitly engineered with Obama.
In an excerpt from his new book in Tablet, Jonathan Sarna tracks the history of the Jewish vote in America, from the era of Ulysses S. Grant, who aimed to expel the Jews from territories under his control, to modern day, with the candidates’ emphasis on Israel.
n 1868, when Grant became a candidate for the presidency of the United States, the [expulsion] order took on fresh significance. Indeed, it posed an unprecedented and deeply vexing dilemma for Jewish Americans. Could they vote for a man— even a national hero—who once had expelled “Jews as a class” from his war zone? If not, would this set Jews apart from the multitudes who viewed Grant as the savior of his country? Worse yet, might it raise the ugly specter of dual loyalty, suggesting that Jews cared more about “Jewish issues,” such as anti-Semitism, than about the welfare of the country as a whole?
Writing in the Guardian, David Grossman argues that Israel must not embark on a military operation that could have an even more disastrous outcome than the feared scenario that drove it to do so.
Iran, as we know, is not just a radical fundamentalist state. There are wide sectors of the population that are secular, educated and enlightened. There is a broad middle class, including many people who risked their lives in brave demonstrations against the dictatorial religious regime they despise. I am not claiming that the Iranian nation feels any sympathy for Israel, but that same part of the Iranian public, at some point in the future, might be the ones who will lead Iran, and might even warm to Israel. An Israeli attack on Iran would eliminate that possibility for many years; in the eyes even of moderate Iranians, Israel will be permanently perceived as a haughty, megalomaniacal nation, a historic enemy to be fought indefinitely. Is this possibility more or less dangerous than a nuclear Iran?
With the specter of an Israeli military strike, the European nations are anxious for talks with Iran to succeed, write Juliane von Mittelstaedt, Ralf Neukirch and Christoph Schult in Der Spiegel, but are they up to the task?
The Europeans agree on one point: They categorically reject a military solution. Simply put, they are afraid that a war could cast the entire region into chaos. To make matters worse, military strikes would at best only postpone, not prevent, the Iranians from building a nuclear bomb, according to sources in the German Foreign Ministry. But what if Iran, as so often in the past, is only playing for time so it can advance its nuclear program, undisturbed by outside interference?
Newt Gingrich is tapping into religious fervor to secure victory in the Southern states, writes David Weigel in Slate.
Gingrich pulls it off with one of the acts he’s honed since the 1970s—the happy culture warrior, offended by liberal bigotry, with no grand agenda of his own. Ask him about birth control and he’ll say it’s a distraction from a better question about why “Barack Obama supported infanticide.” Gingrich doesn’t get trapped in wedge issue cul de sacs. Rick Santorum will buy up acreage in those cul de sacs. Both men try to segue to an argument over first principles; Gingrich typically succeeds.
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