US pulling out of Syria, Israel shudders–but why?

Here’s my answer to the panic-mongers who are warning of everything up to and including the destruction of the Jewish state because of the pullout of the small US military contingent in Syria.

Here’s the beginning:

The US evacuation of military forces from Syria is a grave threat to Israel, so we hear.

Another reason to be afraid, right?

Wrong. Here’s a link to my new book, titled “Why Are We Still Afraid?”  So you see where this is going.

(Read more on the New York Jewish Week website)

The article concentrates on the effect, or lack of it, of the pullout on Israel’s security, but I’ve been writing about the larger issue for years.

“When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” That accurately describes the American military-first response to every challenge on the international scene.  It’s completely misguided.

Will Syria fall under the influence of Iran and Russia? Yes, what’s left of it. Look at the map. Syria shares a border with Iran, and Russia is not far away. So their hammers will always be more effective than American hammers.

That’s not to say that the US should just pack up and leave the region. Quite the opposite. The civil war that has devastated Syria has displaced millions of people–about half the nation’s population are either refugees or internal refugees. Entire cities have been laid waste. The US is not to blame for that, but the US can and must lead the humanitarian aid effort to clean up the mess and rescue the people. It would cost a fraction of the military mission, and it would help repair the tattered image of the US in this region.

It’s a major challenge, directing rebuilding and distributing aid, without the resources falling into the wrong hands.

So the US, and the West, need a new definition. Forget the nail. Make a breadbasket, or whatever metaphor you want, that will direct the same energy, the same expertise, and same commitment to humanitarian aid efforts that the US has committed over the past decades to its hammer.

That would create a positive difference instead of creating more and more death and destruction.

This Washington Post article is the most extensive reporting on the murder of Jamal Kashoggi I’ve seen. It’s highly disturbing.

If even half of it is true (and considering the source, I’d bet that considerably more than half is true), it’s a road map into a whole new era. Of course there are Israeli footprints in key places, and it helps explain how and why Israel’s relations with some Arab countries are warming.

I’ve taken to calling it “antisocial media.” An in-depth report like this displays an additional reason why–beyond the distortion of public discussion and decimation of media and journalism.

It’s not as if we can put it back in the bottle–but we need to develop defenses against the takeover of our public, and to some extent, private lives by this cancerous phenomenon–and I understand the irony of the fact that I’m going on and on about the dangers of antisocial media…right here on antisocial media.

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A first: Dubai’s tiny expat Jewish community with official backing

This is amazing…an tiny, active expat Jewish community in Dubai going somewhat public.

It signifies the political earthquake rocking the Mideast–a realignment of forces that includes a more rational view of Israel. That’s to say–Israel is not the main component of the realignment, but a sign of it. Here’s more on that.

The above photo accompanies the Times of Israel article.