Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Ilan Berman

A Formal US-Israeli Defense Pact Is Still A Bad Idea

September 20, 2019  •  Jerusalem Post

The question of whether the United States and Israel should sign a formal mutual defense pact is a recurring theme in relations between the two countries. It came up again in the run-up to this week's tumultuous elections as a result of public advocacy on the part of Washington and behind-the-scenes encouragement from Jerusalem. The motivation on both sides is understandable; the US wants to demonstrate its enduring commitment to Israeli security, while the Israeli government is eager to capitalize on the pro-Israeli attitudes of the Trump administration (which have already produced significant dividends, from the relocation of the US Embassy to a formal recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights). But it nevertheless is a misguided effort, and one that is potentially dangerous to the long-term health of bilateral ties.

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Lebanon, Hezbollah and Iran's Emerging Client State

September 19, 2019  •  Wall Street Journal

After Iran's attack on a Saudi oil refinery last weekend, the U.S. sent a Navy destroyer as a show of support for allies. But the USS Ramage didn't sail to the Arabian Peninsula. It docked, bizarrely, in the Port of Beirut, in Lebanon—a country dominated by Iran's terrorist proxy, Hezbollah.

The U.S. continues to treat Lebanon as a friend, even as the difference between its government and Hezbollah has become hard to discern. Earlier this summer, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Lebanon's Jammal Trust Bank for facilitating Hezbollah transactions. Days later, Hezbollah fired missiles at Israel from territory it controls in southern Lebanon, with the government's full support.

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Latest Article from Clifford May

If John Bolton still had the president's ear, he'd counsel against appeasing Iran

September 18, 2019  •  The Washington Times

John Bolton's sudden departure from the White House last week cheered progressives who believe America has no enemies, just friends whose grievances we've failed to address, as well as those conservatives who believe if we leave our enemies alone, they'll return the favor. And you thought there was no common ground between left and right.

Count me among those not cheered. Mr. Bolton calls himself an Americanist, meaning he believes this nation must be strong and resolute enough to daunt its enemies (because enemies we shall always have), and reassure its friends (because friends are good and useful to have).

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

Target: New York
Eighteen years after the 9/11 attacks, Islamist extremism doesn't make much news—but it's not for lack of trying.

September 10, 2019  •  City Journal

Eighteen years after the attacks on the World Trade Center, many Americans believe that the threat of Islamist terror is played out—but that's only because our counterterrorism efforts have been so successful. Attempted terror attacks no longer make front-page headlines, but the list of foiled plots to kill American citizens is long and chilling. This past summer saw arrests of potential terrorists who would have killed dozens or hundreds of people if successful. On September 3, for example, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, also known as Suleiman Al-Amriki, with providing material support to ISIS. Asainov is accused of having been an ISIS sniper and weapons instructor. A naturalized U.S. citizen (he was born in Kazakhstan) who lived in Brooklyn for nearly 15 years, Asainov traveled in late 2013 to Istanbul, a common entry point to Syria. There, he joined ISIS and rose through the ranks to become an "emir" in charge of weapons training. He tried to recruit other Americans to fight for ISIS in Syria. Asainov messaged a government informant, exclaiming in reference to ISIS, "We are the worst terrorist organization in the world that has ever existed!" He still yearned to die on the battlefield for jihad, Asainov told the informant.

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

Italy: Salvini Down but Not Out

September 4, 2019  •  Gatestone Institute

Matteo Salvini, Italy's deputy premier and interior minister since 2018, has been shut out of the Italian government after his gambit to force snap elections to become prime minister backfired.

As the de facto leader of Europe's anti-mass-migration movement, Salvini's departure from government may set back efforts to slow illegal immigration to the continent. Many analysts, however, believe that Salvini, who continues to lead his rivals in opinion polls, will be back in government soon and in an even stronger position than before.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

The Tlaib-Omar Show Was a BDS Masterstroke

August 29, 2019  •  Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The recent farce surrounding the non-visit of US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to Israel highlighted the pernicious self-delusion and zero-sum exclusion of the BDS worldview, which polarizes American politics regarding Israel.

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Latest Article from Jeff Jacoby

Statehood for DC? That's a nonstarter

August 11, 2019  •  The Boston Globe

MOST STATE license plates bear mottos that are uplifting ("The Spirit of America," "Live Free or Die,"), descriptive ("10,000 Lakes," "America's Dairyland"), or welcoming ("Aloha State," "Great Faces, Great Places"). Only the District of Columbia's is bad-tempered. The epigram on its license plate is a complaint: "Taxation Without Representation.")

Washington, D.C., is the nation's 20th largest city by population and the 122nd largest by area, but it's the only one that complains because it's not a state. The license-plate logo is meant to be a protest that D.C. residents pay federal taxes but don't elect voting representatives to Congress.

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Latest Article from Henry I. Miller , M.D.

A smarter way to curb drug prices through imports
More competition would put downward pressure on prices and alleviate critical shortages

August 5, 2019  •  Los Angeles Times

The Trump administration last week announced steps that could lead to the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, where prices are lower. It is a goal supported by President Trump, but long opposed by many Republicans.

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

In a small Italian town, the first Jewish wedding since Talmudic times

July 11, 2019  •  The Jerusalem Post

Located along Italy's southern coastline in the region of Calabria, near the very tip of the boot-shaped Italian peninsula, the village of Bova Marina appears an unlikely place to witness Jewish history unfold.

The small town, home to just over 4,000 people, lies nestled between quiet beaches with stunning views of the Ionian Sea and rugged, untamed hills stretching out amid large tracts of agricultural farmland.

Quaint and rustic, like countless other diminutive Italian settlements in the area, there is little on the surface to suggest even the remotest connection with the people of Israel.

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