In the popular board game Monopoly, a player gets one chance to pass “Go,” and in the process, collect $200. In Vienna, where negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program have been underway for the past year, life seems to be imitating art — but the consequences are far beyond what one might win or lose on any game board.
The player that stands to win the most in this game is Iran. The deal entered into in 2015 by the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Russia, plus Germany), known as the JCPOA, is now generally acknowledged to have been a “bad deal.” (Some are now using the words “dangerous” or “horrible,” but we get the point.) Bad, because it leaves out aspects of Iran’s nuclear program like ballistic missile and centrifuge development, snap inspections of nuclear sites, and the manufacture of uranium metal. It contains sunset clauses that would allow Iran, in relatively short order, to go back into the nuclear weapons business.
Given the transparent flaws in the JCPOA, the Trump administration left the deal in 2018. Additional sanctions were imposed on Tehran, inflicting severe economic stress on the regime. Despite this, it has ratcheted up its uranium enrichment, tested missiles and developed newer and more efficient centrifuges. Iran’s intentions are clear: it seeks to develop weapons, by hook or by crook.
But it is not just Iran’s nuclear program that has raised deep concern. Its hegemonic objectives in the Middle East are advanced in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen by no less than six proxy armies that it funds, trains and arms — including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen. It is seeking to build and deploy a blue-water navy. It has fired rockets at American bases and at its Gulf neighbors, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Only days ago, it took credit for firing — from Iranian territory — rockets into Erbil, Iraq, which landed in the vicinity of the American consulate there, claiming it was an attack on an “Israeli facility.” The regime does so with impunity, sticking fingers not only in the eyes of its enemies and its rivals, but at the United States itself, with which it sits at the table in Vienna.
All the while, Iran’s genocidal calls for the elimination of Israel continue unabated. On a daily basis, Iranian leaders at the highest level continue their call to excise “the Zionist cancer” from the region.
In sum, the JCPOA was merely a veil with a timer attached. That clock, if a new agreement comes out of the Vienna talks, will soon be ticking again. It will wind down in two or three years, leaving Iran not only with a clear field in which to develop its nuclear weapons program, but with its pockets full of tens of billions of dollars, freed up by the sanctions it is demanding be removed from it. That cash can further fund a nuclear weapons program, terrorism carried out on an international scale by its proxies, and other malign behavior in the Middle East and beyond.
Leaks and rumors over the past few weeks have been focused on some disturbing, potential new elements in a revised JCPOA deal. Specifically, Tehran is said to have demanded that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the spearhead of its campaigns of terror and military activity, be removed from various terrorism lists.
Just as disturbing is another alleged demand: that sanctions be lifted from Mohsen Rezaei, who is currently Iran’s vice president for Economic Affairs, and Ali Akbar Velayati, the former Iranian foreign minister, for their central roles in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish social welfare building in Buenos Aires, which resulted in the death of 85 people and the injuring of hundreds of others. Interpol has issued “Red Notices” for Rezaei; the notices are circulated internationally and “seek the location and arrest of a person wanted by a legal jurisdiction or an international tribunal with a view to his/her extradition.”
Such concessions to those who not only traffic in international terror, but direct it, would send an unmistakable signal that expediency counts far more than values, resolve, or more important, common sense. To return for a moment to the Monopoly board game, it is a “get out of jail” pass for a regime that for four decades, has made a career of state-sponsored terrorism and the promotion of mayhem and instability far beyond its own neighborhood.
Why would any country simply look the other way and reward Iran — for what?
The arguments for a renewed JCPOA are based on the belief that a bad deal is better than no deal, and that what might come out of Vienna will at least keep the lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons activity for a time; in other words, the diplomatic means of kicking a dangerous can down the road.
Hindsight is sometimes not 20/20. Many said, in 2015, that negotiations with Iran should have covered three baskets of Iranian malign behavior: the nuclear program, support for terrorism, and human rights (Iran being of the world’s worst abusers of followers of the Bahai religion, women, LGBTQI people, juvenile offenders and others).
The Vienna talks are another opportunity to circumvent the JCPOA itself, which is limited to nuclear-only issues, and confront the Iranians on the entire charge sheet brought about by their across-the-board rogue behavior.
But, as in 2015, that ship seems to have sailed.
Instead, we are now faced, on all three issues, with an impudent Iran seemingly calling most of the shots at the negotiating table, and getting rewarded for its destructive behavior to boot. Expediency seems to be the operative guidepost in the Vienna talks, rather than sending a watertight message to Tehran that its rogue modus operandi must cease, full stop.
Competitive as they may be, board games usually end with a good time had by all. The game going on in Vienna — based on what we know now by leaving open the door to Iran’s destructive designs — will surely not end that way.
Read Mariaschin's expert analysis in the Algemeiner.
Daniel S. Mariaschin is CEO of B'nai B'rith International.
For some two millennia, a strain of anti-Jewish animus within Christendom — most certainly not representative of all Christians, but toxic and persistent nonetheless — has resulted in the unspeakable dehumanization and persecution of Jews.
In our era, following the cataclysm of the Holocaust — the most systematic and documented genocide in history — many churches have engaged in noble, painful reflection and repudiated this evil that became known as anti-Semitism.
Even over the course of long periods characterized by widespread intolerance, incitement and barbarism, there always existed brave, compassionate voices who, sometimes at great risk to their own wellbeing, stood in defense of the shared humanity and equality of Jews.
Heartrendingly, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II — current Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — is not one of those heroes.
Rather, he carries forth a tradition of leaders fueling anti-Semitism, wittingly or not, in the guise of lofty ideals. No self-respecting anti-Semite ever did otherwise — and, like other bigots, very few actually acknowledge their bigotry.
Although I am a member of a community whose suffering is exceedingly well-known, I am among those who — in part hemmed in by some haters’ preemption of condemnation with a straw-man claim that Jews tarnish all “criticism” as anti-Semitism — exercise real caution in wielding that charge.
However, as a person affected by Reverend Nelson’s weaponizing of his influence as a faith leader, I do not hesitate to call out his abuse for the atrocious dereliction of duty that it is. I can only hope the Stated Clerk won’t belittle my highlighting of his actions in a way that he never would a member of another long-denigrated religious or ethnic minority.
We stand at a moment when even storied figures have been held to account for their misdeeds, when the privileged are forced to grapple with misuse of their privilege, and when hard truths are spoken to those in power. In this case, the power is wielded by the leader of a denomination that, its own recently diminished numbers aside, remains a pillar of the world’s dominant religious group and is the one to have claimed more presidents of the United States than any other except the Episcopal Church. And that religious leader has conveniently taken aim at a familiar target: the Jews, and the small Jewish state, Israel.
In a statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — that day dedicated to combating prejudice, honoring that Rev. Dr. King who epitomized a heroictradition of speaking out also against peers demonizing and delegitimizing the Jews and the Jewish state — Reverend Nelson issued what could have been a message stirring us to better empathize with all our fellow people created in the Divine image.
Instead, this leader of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) not only prolonged his denomination’s modern record of blatantly singling out for dismay only “the occupation in Palestine/Israel” — a one-of-a-kind formulation casting aspersions on the very legitimacy of Israel’s existence — but outrageously branded that condition as “21st century slavery.”
To be clear: no actual situations of contemporary slavery or other, equally monstrous atrocities are mentioned by Reverend Nelson. And neither are the existential threats, perennial discrimination and acute violence to which Israelis of all backgrounds have been endlessly subjected, with tragic resultant consequences for the dignity and welfare of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
No, in the moral imagination of Reverend Nelson, there isn’t room for nuance, complexity and shared solidarity, praise or reproach. There is no Iranian theocracy, no Palestinian extremism or chauvinism, no Assad regime, no Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Hezbollah. Just the presence of the Jew, standing in the way of peace.
No other human’s presence would ever be deemed by Reverend Nelson illegal or immoral.
Shamelessly, in a statement on “unity of spirit,” the world’s only Jewish state — the Middle East’s only pluralistic democracy — is the sole foreign country deserving of incendiary opprobrium and mention altogether.
Intolerably, in a statement invoking the Golden Rule — not just promulgated in Luke, as he cited, but in the earlier, Hebrew Leviticus, surely formative to Jesus as a Jew in the Jewish homeland that the Stated Clerk simplistically terms occupied — Reverend Nelson finds nothing positive to say about the growing number of Arabs and Israelis who actually are taking steps toward coexistence, cooperation, mutual respect and even friendship.
And obscenely, the week before International Holocaust Remembrance Day — right after another traumatic attack on a synagogue, in Texas, as Jews even in America remain by far the leading target of faith-based hate crimes — Reverend Nelson had the cruel temerity to actually call on American Jews to do more against the Israeli policies he opposes.
Needless to say, the Stated Clerk would never apportion responsibility to the American Muslim community for the British Islamist hostage-taker in Texas, or to any community for others linked to it by association. Yet Reverend Nelson’s appeal — cynically and cryptically mentioning “the history of Jewish humble beginnings and persecution,” as if no ongoingpersecution continues today — precisely foments the type of more general anti-Jewish hostility that wild anti-Israeli hostility repeatedly yields.
But if only the problem were just Reverend Nelson, as dispiriting as that would be. Rather, the Stated Clerk’s betrayal of justice — by directing nothing but indifference and self-righteous double standards at Israel’s Jews — is all too common.
Because it’s all too easy to construct a villain among the comparably “humble,” the politically outnumbered and those actually encumbered by democratic norms.
Because it’s easier to deplore others’ anti-Semitism — in past “history” — than to see it in the present, especially in the mirror.
And because the roots of the world’s oldest hatreds continue to run devastatingly deep.
Read the op-ed in Medium.
David J. Michaels is Director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs at B'nai B'rith International. He previously trained at the Foreign Ministry of Germany, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Embassy of Israel in Washington, Ha’aretz and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. A Wexner Fellow/Davidson Scholar, and winner of the Young Professional Award of the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America, he holds degrees from Yale and Yeshiva University. Click here to view more of his content.
Lebanon’s new prime minister, Najib Mikati, made it clear in a press conference last week that he would do everything in his power to reverse his country’s descent into economic chaos. He said he’d cooperate with anyone and everyone to transform Lebanon’s current crisis, “with the exception of Israel, of course.”
Notwithstanding Israel’s offer of humanitarian assistance made weeks ago, Mikati’s throwaway dismissal of contact with his neighbor to the south is the stuff from which decades of Arab rejectionism of peace with Israel was made. It is a remnant of the Arab League’s “Three No’s” declared in Khartoum in 1967 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War: “No peace, no recognition, no negotiations” with Israel. Full stop.
Major breaches in that Arab League wall began with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s historic peace agreement in 1979, and then the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty signed by Jordan’s King Hussein and Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. But early optimism that set in after these two agreements dissipated with the intifadas from 1987-1991 and 2000-2005.
With two anniversaries in the history of Middle East peacemaking upon us this week, it’s important to praise those who have taken steps to break with nihilism and rejection, and to call out those who have made a business of perpetuating violence and hatred.
I was among those present on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, for the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
There was a sense of incredulity and of “did we ever think we’d see this day” in the air as the principals, led by US President Bill Clinton, and observed by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, signed the appropriate documents.
I did not have a front row seat, but I was close enough to see the pained look on Rabin’s face as Clinton encouraged the Israeli prime minister and PLO leader Yasser Arafat to shake hands. Not pained because of the historic moment, but most likely because Arafat’s hands were soiled by 30 years of terrorism, and responsible for the deaths of so many Israelis in some of the most heinous acts imaginable.
It had to have been one of the most difficult moments of Rabin’s life — and it showed. I’m sure many in the crowd were asking themselves if Arafat could be trusted.
The other anniversary, on September 15, will mark one year since the signing of the Abraham Accords, on the same White House lawn. Many of those in the assembled crowd had been there in 1993, as well, though this time, they were wearing masks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There was also the same feeling of expectation and optimism, as President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain appeared on the White House South Lawn balcony, then descended the staircase to sign the Abraham Accords normalization agreement.
From my seat, I saw not pained looks on the faces of the principals, but a sense of breakthrough and accomplishment. In a way, the signing ceremony lingered, as if in slow motion, to allow all those present to savor the moment.
In the weeks that followed, Sudan, and Morocco — with its iconic Jewish history and ties to Israel’s hundreds of thousands of Jews born in that country and their descendants — joined in, pledging to normalize relations with Israel.
If there was anything discordant at all about the events of a year ago, it is because for the previous nearly three decades, the Palestinian issue was cast as being the indispensable icebreaker in Middle East diplomacy. It was seen as the Gordian Knot preventing Israel’s acceptance in the region. Policy maker after policy maker, in the US, in Europe, and at the United Nations, perpetuated this conventional wisdom. It became a mantra that guided any number of failed initiatives to push an Israeli-Palestinian agreement — by hook or by crook.
But, like the carefully executed back-channel Israeli-Egyptian contacts that produced the treaty between those two countries, forward-looking diplomats in the Gulf and in Israel saw solid reasons to find common cause to bring them together: a hegemonistic Iran and any number of economic and other joint ventures that just made plain good diplomatic sense.
The Oslo Accords held the same promise, but that was not to be.
Arafat and then Mahmoud Abbas continuously played a double game, at times paying lip service to the idea of negotiations, but all the while making it abundantly clear that they were unwilling to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, keeping their hand in the business of demonizing and delegitimizing Israel at the United Nations, and either signing off on terrorist acts against Israel, or rewarding those (and their families) who carry them out.
The words “good will” were never part of either leader’s lexicon. Since Oslo, an entire generation of Palestinians has been raised on a succession of false hopes and expectations; on hatred of Israel and of Jews; and on zero-sum demands by leaders who themselves have become enriched by their titled positions and political clout.
In the past year alone, trade between Israel and the UAE and between Israel and Bahrain has grown exponentially. Banking, cyber security, and environmental quality agreements have been signed, and academic institutions are partnering with each other. An important agreement to advance the quality of healthcare, including pandemic research, has also been signed by Israel and the UAE.
But perhaps the most important developments of all have been in the people-to-people and getting-to-know-you realm. Exchange students are studying at universities in the Abraham Accords countries. Memoranda of Understanding on combating antisemitism and on Holocaust education have been signed with the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco. Air links have been established between Israel and these new partners; hundreds of thousands of Israelis have already traveled to all three destinations, and the prospect of thousands of visitors in the other direction — to Israel — shows promise as well, the pandemic notwithstanding.
It is currently impossible to write a paragraph about the Palestinian issue with any of the same upbeat sense of the future. The leaders in Ramallah have seen this parade passing by and it seemingly hasn’t opened any eyes about their own condition. They are mired in hate and rejection. Try as they did to push back against the Abraham Accords, wagging fingers and issuing empty threats at its participants, they have shown themselves to be angry and hateful, living in the past, and cultivating a profile of victimhood that they appear to want to very much perpetuate.
This being the Middle East, anything can happen on any given day that can change the immediate course of history. But these two anniversaries present a stark picture of what happens when one party makes intransigence a policy, and when others see the benefits not only in burying the hatchet, but in working to make the neighborhood a safer, more prosperous place for everyone.
For those who have chosen the second path, happy anniversary.
Read CEO Mariaschin's expert analysis in the Algemeiner.
Daniel S. Mariaschin is CEO of B'nai B'rith International.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently came to present to the U.N. Security Council a peace plan. The plan, which is really nothing but the same Palestinian positions re-hashed, aims, in part, to create a “multilateral mechanism” to move forward peace negotiations.
Abbas, in his anger over the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, has been traveling far and wide seeking to invite other players to be involved in Middle East peacemaking in order to push aside the traditional U.S. role as mediator, or at the very least dilute it until it is practically meaningless.
Abbas received applause at the Security Council for his speech where he presented his plan (while also spreading smears against Israel). Applause is extremely rare at the council, but exception is made, of course, for attacks on Israel (when resolution 2334 passed in December 2016, there was also a sickening display of euphoria at the council).
This multilateral ploy is another in a line of Palestinian attempts to avoid serious negotiations that will force uncomfortable compromises upon them. Increasing the actors in these negotiations has never been a recipe for success — it only means increasing the number of interests and personalities involved, which serves to inhibit the process, not encourage compromise.
The only times when real progress has been made in relations between Israel and her Arab neighbors has come when the two sides have taken the initiative and met in smaller settings and behind closed doors, sometimes with the U.S. helping to mediate differences and bridge gaps, but never imposing solutions. Negotiations between Israel and Egypt in the 1970’s, Israel and Jordan in the 1990’s and Israel and the Palestinians leading up to the Oslo Accords were two-party talks (three-party at most).
The Madrid Peace Conference was a breakthrough in some ways, as countries that had refused to recognize Israel joined the meeting and sat at the table with Israeli representatives. The Madrid process after the conference, however, became bogged down. The Middle East Quartet (made up of the U.S., Russia, E.U. and U.N.), which has been in existence for over 15 years, has not brought forth Palestinian goodwill into honest negotiations.
The Arab League’s Arab Peace Plan of 2003 sought to impose a solution on Israel (and an unacceptable solution, at that). Not surprisingly, it has not led to any significant breakthroughs either. France led an effort for a multilateral summit in Paris last year. It produced an outcome document, and little else.
The Palestinians are well aware of this history. The idea to create an expansive multilateral process is not new, and is unworkable. Abbas is not looking for a peaceful solution to the conflict; he is looking to avoid negotiations at all costs. A new multilateral mechanism will just be a waste time. It is difficult for entities (both countries and organizations) to resist the siren call of Middle East peacemaking — all except for the Palestinian leadership, that is — but those who are truly interested in seeking a true peace must decline to be a part of this latest Abbas farce. There will only be peace when the Palestinians are interested in ending the conflict. Unfortunately, Abbas is only proving that he is still not ready to engage seriously.
Oren Drori is the Program Officer for United Nations Affairs at B’nai B’rith International where he supports advocacy and programming efforts that advance B’nai B’rith’s goals at the U.N., which include: defending Israel, combating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and promoting global human rights and humanitarian concerns. He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota in 2004 and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago in 2006. Click here to view more of his additional content.
The Algemeiner ran an op-ed written by B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin on the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, and the current tensions between Iran and Israel.
You can read the full op-ed below or click to read it on algemeiner.com
The 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War will be commemorated in many ways in the coming days. Media retrospectives, conferences, new documentaries and first person remembrances of the battles and their aftermath will be seen and heard in Israel, here in the United States and elsewhere.
For those of a certain age, we’ll be asking each other: “Do you remember where you were on June 5, 1967?” I do.
I vividly recall being in my high school cafeteria waiting for the bell to ring for first period. Each morning, a group of us would gather at the back of the cafeteria, just shooting the breeze, as high school seniors do. But this morning was different; one of my friends, who had obviously seen the news before leaving for school, perhaps on the Today Show, said to me, “You guys are really beating the Arabs.”
I knew immediately that the war had begun. It was the culmination of more than three weeks of threats to destroy Israel emanating from Cairo and Damascus. Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Syria’s President Nureddin al-Atassi, and those who represented them, were clearly signaling their intention to finish off the Jewish state.
Actually, these threats began months earlier. A New York Timesheadline on October 15, 1966, read: “Israel Tells UN Syria Plans War to Destroy Her.” Abba Eban, then Israel’s foreign minister, addressed the Security Council, referencing dozens of Syrian threats against the Jewish state.
Between then and May 1967, hardly a day passed without threats from Nasser. On March 8, he declared: “We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand, we shall enter it with its soil covered in blood.” A month later, Syria Information Minister Mahmoud Zubi predicted that, “this battle will be…followed by more severe battles until Palestine is liberated and the Zionist presence ended.”
The pace picked up throughout May, with both official radio outlets in Cairo and Damascus promising to defeat the “Zionist entity.” Egypt demanded the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from the Sinai Peninsula, who had been stationed there since the Suez campaign of 1956. Then Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, considered by some to be an act of war. Neither the UN, nor the international community, seemed willing — or even the slightest bit interested — in taking Israel out of its isolation. The best UN Secretary-General U Thant could utter, after Egypt’s demand that the peacekeeping forces leave, was a weak, “…may I advise you that I have serious misgivings about it… [the] withdrawal may have grave implications for peace.”
The closing of the Straits was criticized by both the United States and the United Kingdom as contravening international law, with Britain’s Prime Minister Harold Wilson stating “[Egypt’s blockade] must not be allowed to triumph; Britain would join with efforts to open the Straits.” But, in the end, nothing was done to stand up to Cairo and Damascus’ march toward war.
The Egyptians and Syrians were so confident of victory that Hafez Assad, then Syria’s defense minister and later its president, said on May 20: “Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse any aggression, but to initiate the act ourselves, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland of Palestine. … I believe that the time has come to begin a battle of annihilation.”
Sitting in our living room in New Hampshire, my family watched and listened to this litany of threats unfold, one more belligerent than the next. Egypt’s UN Ambassador Mobared El-Kony and Syria’s, George Tomeh, were particularly threatening in Security Council debates on the crisis. We worried endlessly about our relatives living on a kibbutz not far from the Syrian border.
Each day brought even greater boasts from the region, and we took them all seriously. We comforted ourselves only by watching and listening to the oratorical skills of Eban, whose speeches at the UN Security Council not only outlined the Arab threats, but the rightness of Israel’s cause.
On May 30, Nasser ratcheted up the tone even more: “The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel…to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. The act will astound the world…”
And Iraq’s President Abdul Rahman Arif couldn’t have been more direct, when he said on May 31: “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear — to wipe Israel off the map.”
The rest is history. Israel’s defense forces routed the Arab armies in six days, and the war — which was named for its length — has been enshrined in Jewish history as one of its most glorious chapters.
I rushed home from school on the afternoon of June 5, turning on CBS News on our local station, WKNE, to hear Michael Elkins reporting from Israel that the Israeli Air Force had destroyed the combined Arab air forces on the ground. We were jubilant.
Back at school the next day, I was able to follow events on the radio in the high school office. In the small city in which we lived, my father took a petition supporting Israel to merchants and friends on Main Street, asking that they sign in support of Israel. Nothing else in our lives mattered that week. As the days passed, the feelings of relief turned to triumph and then to pride in what we never imagined happening.
Today, it is the Iranian regime that is making the threats to annihilate Israel. The Jewish state is a “cancer” that needs to be eradicated, its leaders say. Tehran paints those very words on the sides of ballistic missiles that it parades, with hubris, in full sight of international TV coverage. Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and it makes no difference, really, if it is in mothballs for a few years. Already, European officials say that Tehran is shopping for dual use technologies to utilize when it is ready to do so. And Iran provides thousands of rockets to Hezbollah, and mentors and supports Hamas, both of which call for Israel’s destruction many times daily.
And the United Nations, which stood idly by in 1967, today has under its roof agencies like the UN Human Rights Council and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), which year after year have sought to delegitimize, demonize and marginalize Israel. In 1967, Britain’s Sir Alec Douglas-Home, speaking about the closing of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, presciently said: “…the first casualty (of this crisis) had been the United Nations. It would need an immense effort, an almost superhuman effort, to restore the prestige of that organization.” The more things change, the more they stay the same. The UN continues to risk irrelevancy by allowing the pummeling of Israel to continue.
The Six-Day War was a miracle, aided by courageous leaders and soldiers who had no choice but to win. It was a defining moment for young Jews of our generation. And it fortunately established the Jewish state as the regional power it is. But the battles that followed, including the Yom Kippur War, the First and Second Lebanon Wars and the Gaza campaigns, attest to the continuing desire of Israel’s enemies to bring it down — one way or another.
Iran is only the latest of these foes to threaten Israel, and its newfound bounty, by way of the nuclear agreement, has left it flush with cash to attempt to carry out its objectives. While we observe those momentous six days, let us all be sure to sleep with one eye open.
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