December 13, 2018

Sunday Reads: Iran hawk out; Israeli Arab riddle; Tisha BeAv


No one has a clue why Derek Harvey, the Middle East advisor to Trump, was forced out if the NSC.

Harvey holds hawkish views on the threat from Iran and global jihadism, but he does not share Bannon’s non-interventionist views. Harvey was a strong, behind-the-scenes advocate of Trump’s decision to strike Syria in response to Bashar al Assad’s use of chemical weapons and he was driving a more aggressive approach to Iran than that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Sources tell TWS that Mattis, in particular, had disagreements with Harvey and that he raised the issue with National Security Adviser HR McMaster. McMaster met with Harvey this morning to deliver the news.

It’s not clear why people in other countries has such strong views on what is essentially an internal American matter, but according to PEW:

People around the world strongly disapprove of President Donald Trump’s signature policies, according to a spring Pew Research Center survey of 37 countries and findings from the United States. But one policy stands out for its unpopularity: the president’s planned U.S.-Mexico border wall. 


What do Israeli Arabs want? Asks Dore Feith, and searches for answers among the people themselves.

When I asked one of our teachers if he’d support a peace plan that would move the border to put his town within a Palestinian Arab-majority state, he responded, honestly and dismissively, “Do you see what it is like to live in an Arab country?” Yet Israeli Arabs do not have a single figure at the national level who openly favors their living as law-abiding citizens in a democratic, Jewish-majority state.

Israel Had No ‘Expulsion Policy’ Against the Palestinians in 1948, writes Benny Morris:

I must warn readers that the 377 densely packed pages of “Nakba and Survival” suffer from innumerable repetitions, both of stories (for example, that of the execution of five young Arabs in Majdal Krum on November 5, 1948, which is recounted at least three times) and of various claims. The overarching description of what happened here in 1948 as “slaughter and expulsion” or “expulsion and slaughter” appears on nearly every page at least once if not several times. Indeed, I would hazard to say that the number of times this phrase appears in the book is greater than the number of Arabs who were killed in the acts of slaughter that took place.

Middle East

Complications in Jordan because of Temple Mount, the embassy incident and other things::

The anger on Jordan’s streets is at once religious, national, and political, a mix of holy obligation to protect a sacred site, patriotic affront at the meaningless killing of two unarmed citizens, and decades-old humiliation at Jordanians’ inability to do anything against the reality of Israel, besides chanting and painting on the ground. It’s also mixed with grief, which weighs heaviest right now in the Jawawdeh and Hamarneh homes.

North Korea plays a role in the Middle East crisis, writes Adam Taylor:

Last week, reports detailing an alleged arms deal worth $100 million between North Korea and a company in the United Arab Emirates resurfaced online. Then on Tuesday, UAE rival Qatar was accused of having a “dangerous” relationship with North Korea in an op-ed published in the Hill newspaper.

Jewish World

Sharansky believes that the Kotel is the easier problem – the more complicated is the loss of trust between Israel and Diaspora:

What troubles Sharansky though is that by taking his decision the way he did – out of the blue and without warning – Netanyahu has created an unprecedented sense of distrust between the government and Jewish leaders in the US. And that is why he predicts that in the end, even though he expects a new compromise will be reached on the Kotel – government officials are already talking about an investment of millions of shekels to upgrade the egalitarian prayer space – the trust will not be restored.

Ben Krull’s understanding of Tisha BeAv:

A Jerusalem without the dome, without the intersection of Islam and Judaism, would be an unfamiliar place. I still yearned for what I imagined was the purity of the Second Temple era, but I had reconciled with the fact that my Jewish identity was forever entangled in the cyclical history of destruction and rebirth that has defined my religious heritage.