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American Interests in the Mideast Are at Risk

Two articles this week examine the dangerous situation facing America because President Joe Biden has continued President Barack Obama’s bad foreign policy.

Dubowitz: Obama’s Anti-Imperialist Fantasy Bears Bitter Fruit

Obama’s ongoing and catastrophic policy failure, which has blocked the Biden administration from developing any kind of workable strategic vision for dealing with current realities in Iran and throughout the region, demonstrates that substituting American narratives about purity and guilt for hard-power realities is a dangerous business. Ideologically driven anti-Western narratives led the United States to place dangerous and wrongheaded bets on Sunni Islamists and Shiite theocrats at the expense of our own interests and friends. Poorly executed policy led to a fatally flawed nuclear agreement that continues to bedevil the Biden administration and America’s European and Middle Eastern allies. The JCPOA was a big mistake. The longer we refuse to admit that, the higher the price we will continue to pay.

Mead: The Peril of Ignoring the Middle East

The Biden administration faces a real dilemma. Feeling overstretched against Russian aggression in Ukraine and Chinese ambition in the Indo-Pacific, the White House wants to minimize its exposure to the Middle East. Yet the region is too important to ignore—and the more the US withdraws, the more influence it sheds. As America becomes less relevant, regional actors feel free to make more decisions that Washington dislikes, effectively undermining U.S. influence around the globe.

Further Reading: Strategy for a New Comprehensive US Policy on Iran

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) has developed a comprehensive plan for American policymakers and allies to support the Iranian people and confront the ongoing threats from the Islamic Republic of Iran. It calls for a “roll back” strategy that addresses every aspect of the Iranian menace, not only Iran’s nuclear program.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) at a press conference in 2019.

Remove Ilhan Omar From the Foreign Affairs Committee

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has reaffirmed his pledge to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Rep. Omar’s long history of antisemitic and anti-Israel comments disqualify her from serving on a key committee, whose members have access to classified information about our allies and enemies.


If House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) does not use his prerogative to remove Omar from the committee, a vote of the House will be required to do so. That’s why the RJC is asking our members to contact their members of Congress and ask them to support the Speaker’s motion to remove Omar from that committee, a motion we anticipate that he will make soon.

Click here to take action and make your voice heard!


Further Reading: Jonathan Tobin, "Ilhan Omar is the Democrats’ problem, not Kevin McCarthy’s". Will Democrats support removing Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee and help fight the antisemitism she expresses?

Take Action

Israeli National Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and bereaved families at the press conference on the transfer of confiscated Palestinian funds to victims of terrorism.

New Israeli Government Takes Firm Action Against Terrorism

JNS reports:

On Jan. 5, Israel’s Security Cabinet approved a series of retaliatory measures against the Palestinian Authority. These included sanctions against senior Palestinian officials, the withholding of Palestinian funds collected by Israel and a halt to illegal Palestinian construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria… On Sunday, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced the transfer of $40 million in confiscated Palestinian funds to Israeli victims of terrorism, money that would have gone to support terrorists had it reached PA hands.


…The measures, coming less than two weeks into the tenure of the country’s new government, are partly a response to the PA’s orchestration of a vote at the United Nations on Dec. 30 calling on the International Court of Justice to render an opinion on the legal status of Judea and Samaria.

I24News from Israel adds:

According to a ruling by the Jerusalem District Court, the Palestinian Authority can be held liable for several terrorist acts against Israelis due to its "pay-for-slay" stipends to terrorists' families.


… A family that has been affected by terrorism and has not received compensation as required by the authority, can now apply for one. Since Israel collects taxes for the Palestinian Authority, it can deduct money from the funds that the Authority owes to the families and transfer the compensation to them.

Arutz Sheva [Hebrew], quotes statements from Minister of Finance Smotrich and bereaved families:

Today we are correcting an injustice. It is an important day for morality, the war on terror and justice. There is no greater justice than offsetting the [Palestinian] Authority's funds to support terrorism and transferring them to the families of the victims of terrorism… There is no comfort here for the murdered families, but there is justice here,” stated Smotrich.


Mirav Hajjaj, mother of the late Lieutenant Shir Hajjaj said: "I am here today on behalf of my daughter, on behalf of thousands of mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters who were murdered under the auspices of terrorism from the PA. No amount in the world will bring back our children, but today there is a feeling here that justice will be done. I pray that in the next attack they will think twice before the Authority sends people [to do terrorist attacks] and I believe that this is the beginning of a new way."

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said the Israeli action was "counterproductive and will only take the parties further away from the objective of a negotiated two-state solution."

President Joe Biden compared illiegal immigrants with Jews fleeing Nazi Europe in remarks about border policy this week.

Where’s the Outrage?

In a column this week at JNS, Jonathan Tobin asks, "Where’s the outrage over Biden comparing illegal immigrants to Holocaust victims?"

The president declared asylum in the United States a "human right"—underlined by the plight of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany.


In so doing, he placed those who believe the collapse of security at the border is a national disgrace and a threat to the security and well-being of the nation in the unfair position of being characterized as heartless, at best. At worst, it makes them reminiscent of antisemites who refused entry to those Jews seeking to escape death during the Holocaust.


… And the fact that the Jewish left, which is quick to cry foul whenever anyone on the right makes an inappropriate Holocaust comparison, perpetuates these outrageous assertions is more than hypocritical. It serves to skew the discussion about an important subject and diminish the uniqueness and importance of the Shoah.

At the March of the Living gala in Miami on Tuesday night, chaired by RJC Board of Director member Phyllis Heideman, Israeli Minister Ron Dermer addressed attempts to universalize the Holocaust:

“The Holocaust took everything away from the Jewish people. For the victims, it took away their property, it took away their dignity. It ultimately took away their lives," Dermer said. "But it is very important not to take the Holocaust itself away from the Jewish people. Because there has been an attempt in recent years to universalize the Holocaust, to turn it into another genocide, another massacre that happened. And I understand why people want to do that, because they want it to resonate with people outside of the Jewish community. I understand that."


He added, "What is the lesson of the Holocaust to the Jews? Is the lesson that we have to teach tolerance? Did we need six million to die to teach tolerance?… We didn’t need the Holocaust to teach tolerance. The lesson of the Holocaust is that the Jewish people need power. That’s the lesson of the Holocaust."

Short Takes

Kevin McCarthy should be careful not to betray the Reagan legacy

The vast majority of Republicans support Reaganite policies of increasing defense spending and standing with Ukraine. Will McCarthy win one for the Gipper, or capitulate to a small band of know-nothing isolationists?

House votes to rescind billions in funding to the IRS in first major legislative action with McCarthy as Speaker

The House of Representatives voted to rescind more than $70 billion in funding to the Internal Revenue Service on Monday night, fulfilling newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's promise to prevent the agency from hiring tens of thousands of new agents and conducting new audits on Americans.







New York: Manhattan Event with Jonathan Tobin
Join us for this midday event in Midtown Manhattan with the editor-in-chief of JNS, the Jewish News Syndicate.





New York: Scarsdale Event with Jonathan Tobin
Join us for this evening event in Scarsdale, NY with the editor-in-chief of JNS, the Jewish News Syndicate.


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