A swift at the Western Wall, March 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
Syria: A Strategic Non-Intervention
Writing in the National Interest, Gary C. Gambill makes the case for why the US should not intervene in Syria.
Intervention advocates have yet to demonstrate how Western meddling in the civil war could possibly improve upon the strategic status quo. While hastening the transition to a stable Sunni-led regime (democratic or otherwise) would make sense for strategic and humanitarian aims, hastening the fall of Assad won’t necessarily achieve this goal. The collapse of the regime will merely reverse the polarity of the civil war, with a Sunni-led regime squaring off against non-Sunni insurgents—the kind of scenario the Iranians are adept at exploiting. Tehran may exert more leverage working to subvert a post-Assad regime than fighting a losing battle to support the current dictatorship, particularly if the former comes to power with American help.
Next Year in Tripoli
In a piece for Foreign Policy, Libyan Jew David Gerbi recounts his experiences in the land of his birth, and asks if members of his community will ever be able to return.
Libya’s revolution represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring back the Jewish community into my homeland’s social fabric. As I discovered firsthand, however, when a mob prevented my efforts to rebuild Tripoli’s synagogue by shouting anti-Semitic slogans, the hateful attitudes that Muammar al-Qaddafi was only too happy to encourage will not disappear overnight. In this post-Qaddafi era, I hope that Libya’s new leaders will embrace needed change and that stories like mine will help make that happen.
When the time is right, Israel will bomb Iran
Israel does not always toe the American line when it comes to matters of its own defense, writes Abdel-Moneim Said in Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram.
Israel destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and a Syrian one in 2007. In the latter case, Israel initially pressed the US to wage the strike on its behalf, but George W Bush, reluctant to open another battlefront, demurred. The Israelis waged the attack in secret, kept quiet about it for a while, and then leaked the news to embarrass the Syrians, who only then went complaining to the UN Security Council.
Toulouse murders show why Israel is needed
The ongoing Global existence of anti-Semitism proves Israel is as necessary today as it was in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, writes Paul Michaels of the Canadian Jewish News.
Nearly a quarter of French citizens hold antisemitic attitudes, an increase of 20 per cent since 2009. This compares with 63 per cent of Hungarians, 53 per cent of Spaniards, and 48 per cent of Poles. The lowest numbers in the study were found in Britain (17 per cent) and Germany (21 per cent). Indicators included whether respondents believe Jews have too much power in business, are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, or “talk too much” about the Holocaust.
Baroness Ashton should resign over her appalling remarks equating Toulouse with Gaza
Writing in the Telegraph, Nile Gardiner argues that the EU foreign policy chief has lost all credibility as an impartial figure.
The Israelis are right to be outraged by Ashton’s remarks, which clearly equate the murderous actions of an Islamist, al-Qaeda-linked fanatic in the south of France deliberately gunning down Jews (as well as the brutal killing of thousands of people in Syria by President Assad), with the actions of the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza. Once again, a senior EU official is drawing moral equivalence between brutal atrocities committed by terrorists and dictatorial regimes, with the legitimate military operations of a fully democratic government in Israel which goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilian casualties while defending its people against an array of terrorist groups backed by Tehran and Damascus.
Consider the birds of the air
D.L. of The Economist takes a look at Jerusalem’s spring-time avian residents.
Uniquely, common swifts (apus apus) spend most of their lives on the wing, eating, sleeping and even mating in the air. They reach up to 220kph in flight but can barely walk. If they fall to the ground they cannot take off again. They prefer man-made buildings for nesting. The Western Wall is one of the oldest known nesting sites for swifts in the world, says Dr Leshem, who is director of the International Centre for the Study of Bird Migration at Tel Aviv University.