But it’s hard to substantiate Pompeo’s claim that Americans are now safer or that the Middle East is more peaceful, and recent events in the region offer facts that argue otherwise. In the two years since the U.S. dropped out of the deal, tensions in the Persian Gulf had reached a boiling point, freedom of passage in the crucial Gulf waters has been jeopardized, fighting spread to Saudi Arabia and endangered critical oil infrastructure, and U.S. and Iran came to the brink of a full out war after the killing of Qasem Soleimani and the retaliatory Iranian attack on an American base in Iraq.
On Tuesday, members of the Conference of Presidents will vote on the approval of Dianne Lob as the next chairwoman of the organization, a two-year position that would make her the group’s top lay leader. Initially, she was supposed to take office immediately upon approval, but a last-minute change will make Lob chair-elect for the next year, after which she will assume the chairmanship—more on that later.
“Unusual times call for unusual measures, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise when a key aide to the president of the United States convenes a conference call with leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis, only to urge them to follow government instructions.”—Nathan Guttman
“Just as Trump was there for Netanyahu when he needed a nice diplomatic gesture on the eve of Israeli elections (and then on the eve of the next one, and the next one) and just as he was willing to go further than any other American president in fulfilling the wishes of an Israeli center-right government, now Trump needs Netanyahu to do him a solid.”—Nathan Guttman
Bernie Sanders announced Sunday that he will not attend AIPAC’s annual policy conference next week. “The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference,” Sanders wrote, promising that as president, he will “support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region.”
For two years, America did not have a point person dealing with global anti-Semitism, and much has changed in that time: In Eastern Europe, attempts to blur historical facts regarding the Holocaust have increased, especially in Poland, while Hungary experienced a government-backed anti-Semitic smear campaign against George Soros. Anti-Semitic incidents in Western Europe remain on the rise, and in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party was widely denounced for failing to deal with anti-Semitism in its leadership and ranks. But the biggest shift in anti-Semitic trends did not happen in distant countries overseas. It occurred in the U.S., where white nationalist anti-Semitism reared its head, leading murderous attacks on synagogues, hateful Nazi marches and countless incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism. In addition, attacks on Jews in the New York area, many of them by African Americans, also saw an alarming surge.
With just under a year to go, Trump, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would really like to fit in another one or two major moves—a grand peace plan, greenlighting Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley or the signing of a mutual defense treaty between the two countries.