Short takes: Obama and Israel, Syria raid, home front, Hanson

Zbigniew BrzezinskiBarack Obama has appointed Zbigniew Brzezinski as his advisor on foreign affairs:

Concerns have been raised among Israel supporters in the US following the appointment of a controversial veteran political advisor by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Last week, Obama introduced Zbigniew Brzezinski as “one of our most outstanding thinkers” during a policy speech in Iowa on the Iraq war.

Brzezinski, aged 79, has been selected by Obama to advise him on foreign policy affairs. Previously, he served as a national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter.

One of the most troubling aspects of Brzezinski’s appointment for allies of Israel is his defense of the book, ‘The Israel Lobby,’ authored by academics Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. — YNet

Brzezinski has always been far from a friend of Israel (just Google ‘Brzezinski Israel’ for citations). Either Obama knows this and shares his point of view, or he doesn’t know it. Either way, it’s bad.


The target of the raid on Syria was probably a nuclear installation. Although none of the reports is completely authoritative and we don’t know exactly what was hit, the condemnation issued by North Korea — which generally doesn’t concern itself with events in the region — is suggestive. Here’s some speculation, to be taken with a large grain of salt.

The raid itself, along with the visible improvements in IDF preparedness, has increased Israel’s deterrent power in the region. See the comments of Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, head of Military Intelligence here. I’ve always argued that peace is best sought through strength, not concessions.


It’s about time. The government of Israel is (we hope) taking seriously the problem of defending the home front and protecting its citizens:

The government decided Sunday to form a new governmental branch – the National Emergency Administration – to be put in charge of coordinating the various government, security, emergency and civil services in times of national crisis.

Formed as one of the lessons learnt from the Second Lebanon War, the administration would be designed to provide the home front with an immediate response in cases of war, mass emergencies or natural disasters. — YNet

It’s not enough to have superior offensive capabilities if the civilian population is exposed. This seems to be an initiative of Ehud Barak, the new Defense Minister, who appointed one-time IDF Chief of Staff Matan Vilna’i as a Deputy Minister and put him in charge of home front defense.


Victor Davis Hanson’s column in today’s Fresno Bee:

A new virulent strain of the old anti-Semitism is spreading worldwide. This hate — of a magnitude not seen in more than 70 years — is not just espoused by Iran’s loony president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or radical jihadists.

The latest anti-Semitism is mouthed by world leaders and sophisticated politicians and academics. Their loathing often masquerades as “anti-Zionism” or “legitimate” criticism of Israel.

But the venom exclusively reserved for the Jewish state betrays their existential hatred.

Read the complete article here

You can also read why I think some forms of anti-Zionism are actually manifestations of antisemitism here.

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2 Responses to “Short takes: Obama and Israel, Syria raid, home front, Hanson”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    Perhaps I am wrong but it seems to me that Clinton will be the Democratic candidate. Should she chose Brezhinski as foreign policy advisor I would worry.
    To my mind despite her support from within the Jewish community Clinton is a real question mark.

  2. Vic Rosenthal says:

    It’s hard to know who will be the candidate — either Democratic or Republican. It’s still way too early. Clinton did once hug Suha Arafat, but on the other hand, she has made many pro-Israel statements.