Sunday Reads: The handshake that wasn’t, Netanyahu’s new worldview, learning from Tisha B’Av

August 14, 2016


Aaron David Miller tries to imagine how Trump would have responded to the rise of ISIS:

It’s fair to argue that President Obama was slow to recognize the rise of ISIS–he famously called the terror organization a “jayvee team.” But stopping the rise of ISIS in Syria would have required a U.S. military, political, and economic commitment on par with nation-building–an approach that even critics of President Obama were not prepared to endorse in the wake of events in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Trump is adamantly opposed to such a policy. But had the U.S. done what Mr. Trump advocated in 2007– declared “victory” and gone home–the door would have been open for jihadists and other extremists of ISIS to become a more powerful force earlier. Mr. Trump’s words make plain that he would have advocated the same policy President Obama pursued in 2011: withdrawal.

Akila Radhakrishnan writes about President Obama’s inadequate response to women raped in war:

There are many things we will miss about President Obama’s term in the White House, but his inaction on abortion services for women raped in war is not one of them. The President closed his last White House Correspondent’s dinner with two simple words: “Obama out.” But he’s not out yet—he’s still has 160 days left —and in just one of those days, President Obama can take action to save the lives of thousands of women and girls around the world.


Mazal Mualem examines Netanyahu's recent string of statements, which she refers to as “Netanyahu’s new worldview”:

Delving into Netanyahu’s remarks provides a clear picture of a diplomatic worldview in which the Bar Ilan speech favoring a two-state solution is no longer valid. Netanyahu believes that the world has changed, and the Middle East has fallen apart. Faced with that picture, he thinks it is incumbent upon Israel to grow stronger and more secure and to replace diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian with a series of alliances.

Bre Payton examines the handshake that wasn’t and the antisemitism Israeli athletes are facing in the Rio Olympics:

The incident between the two fighters is only the latest anti-Semitic action Israeli athletes have faced in Rio. In an Olympic qualifying match, Ala Ghasoun, a boxer from Syria, refused to fight an Israeli athlete. Ghasoun said competing with an athlete from Israel “would mean that I, as an athlete, and Syria, as a state, recognize the state of Israel.”

Earlier this week, another judo fighter reportedly forfeited a match so as not to face an Israeli athlete in a later round. Saudi Arabian officials tweeted out that judo fighter Joud Fahmy dropped out of a preliminary round due to an injury sustained during training, but multiple media outlets reported later that she was not injured.

Middle East

General David Petraeus takes a look at the challenges Iraq and Syria will have to face after ISIS is defeated:

There is no question that the Islamic State will be defeated in Mosul; the real question is what comes afterward. Can the post-Islamic State effort resolve the squabbling likely to arise over numerous issues and bring lasting stability to one of Iraq’s most diverse and challenging provinces? Failure to do so could lead to ISIS 3.0.

Three years after the bloodiest day in modern Egypt’s history, Eric Tragger discusses the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood:

The Rabaa massacre dealt a very severe blow to the Brotherhood. Beyond the high death toll, Brotherhood leaders and cadres lost their physical sanctuaries, and during the next few months many thousands of them landed in either prison or exile. By the end of 2013, the Brotherhood's notoriously hierarchical organization had been thoroughly decapitated, rendering it incapable of executing any sort of nationwide strategy within Egypt. While the Brotherhood continues to promote its ideas and political narrative from its de facto base in Istanbul, it no longer represents a significant threat to the current government and is barely visible within Egypt today.

Jewish World

Rabbi Haim Herring views Zionism as a Rorschach test for American Jews:

Zionism is once again a Rorschach test for American Jews. There were early warning signs that anti-Zionism was on the march: several Christian denominations that castigated only Israel and not Palestinians for the ongoing conflict; the growing campus “Boycott Divestment Sanctions” (BDS) protests; and, blatantly anti-Semitic articles by the likes of academics including Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer.

Tablet's MaNishtana explain what we can learn from Tisha B’av about relating to the aggrieved:

It appears that according to Jewish tradition, two thousand years of persecution was triggered by the leaders of the Jewish community being silent in the face of wrongdoing. Moreover, when these leaders finally did address the victim they had dismissed, they did not reach out to apologize to him for their inaction, or to help reconcile the aggrieved party and his offender. No, they instead considered punishing him, to make a great show of not being in any way his ally.

Sound familiar?

Consider this food for thought—the only kind permitted—as we fast this Tisha B’Av.

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