On the June issue:

Waging War on Israel

To the Editor:
Jonathan Schanzer’s article correctly identified the continuing ballistic-missile threats facing Israel on multiple fronts including the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran (“Iran’s Multifront Strategy Against Israel,” June). He has, however, failed to identify an emerging ballistic threat emanating from Yemen. With the recent Saudi Arabia–
Iran rapprochement, the Iranian proxy in the Yemeni civil war (the Houthis) is now free to import and train its ballistic missiles against Israel instead of Saudi Arabia. And as there are no Israeli air-force patrols or air strikes in Yemen, the Houthis are able to import as many long-range ballistic missiles as Iran can export.
Gil Ehrenkranz
Washington, D.C.

To the Editor:
Jonathan Schanzer’s excellent analysis of the threats facing Israel should be required reading for just about everyone on the planet. In addition to what Schanzer lays out, one must pay attention to Iran’s largest regional strategies. Iran is pursuing two goals at once: the destruction of Israel and dominance of the region east of Suez. Its rapprochement with Saudi Arabia recalls the Godfather adage about keeping one’s friends close and one’s enemies closer.

At the moment, Iran is comfortable with both its strategy toward Israel and its approach to regional dominance. Occasional large-scale setbacks are acceptable to the mullahs so long as there are tiny steps forward, because the tiny steps accrue over time. While truly insane things are happening in many parts of the world, Iran’s ruling clique poses an existential threat to Israel and a massive threat to the region.
Steve Evans
Westport, New Zealand

To the Editor:
It has seemed to me, for some time now, that a war in the Middle East is not far off. Thanks for Jonathan Schanzer’s article, which is full of valuable information about the relevant military matters.
Rick Shapiro
Wayland, Massachusetts

To the Editor:
Jonathan Schanzer rightly worries about a coming cataclysm. Barring the dramatic collapse of the Iranian regime, it’s a question of when, not if. The danger of a confrontation extends far beyond Israel’s borders. Rockets and drones could by launched by the Houthis in Yemen, Iraqi Shiite militias, and other Iranian proxies. And the onset of hostilities would likely send protesters into the streets and fuel anti-Israel animus. A massive barrage of Hezbollah rockets would truly test Israel’s air defenses. Even if Israel emerged victorious, it would incur enormous losses of lives, limbs, infrastructure, and property.

Would Israel face such an onslaught alone? The Biden administration has been very equivocal in its support of the Jewish state. Joe Biden’s foreign-policy team, largely made up of Obama-era retreads, openly projects weakness and wokeness. They have been equally feckless and obsessive in pursuing a new nuclear deal with Tehran. Meanwhile, the administration refuses to provide Israel with a genuine means of deterring Iran—perhaps mountain-blasting MOAB munitions and the B-52s to deliver them. Washington seems far more worried about Israel attacking Iran than Iran getting the bomb.
Richard D. Wilkins
Syracuse, New York

Jonathan Schanzer writes:
Thankfully, the Houthis have (until now, at least) declined to enter the Iranian war against Israel. According to Saudi and Israeli officials I’ve met over the past few years, the sense is that the Houthis are deterred. This is great news. But with chaos enveloping Israel right now, and with Iran more eager to activate its proxies for a multifront war, Gil Ehrenkranz is absolutely correct: The Houthis in Yemen are a proxy to watch.

To Steve Evans’s point, the Iranian investment in Yemen has wider implications. Iran is an aspiring regional power. The Persian Gulf and the Levant are not enough. Iran is slowly expanding its footprint to reach the south of Israel—and Jordan. Jordan’s monarch recently divulged in a podcast with former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster that he is watching Iranian provocations in the Red Sea area with increased trepidation.

And finally, to Richard D. Wilkins’s point, Israel will struggle with projectiles from the north, particularly when a percentage of them will be precision-guided. Iron Dome will likely not have the ability to identify such weapons if they are launched during salvos of traditional unguided rockets. Thankfully, the Biden administration appears to have Israel’s back when it comes to battles with Iranian proxies. However, it is decidedly less comfortable with a direct confrontation between the Jewish state and the Islamic Republic. What the White House needs to understand is this: If Iran’s proxies attack, Iran will be the return address. Israel has made this abundantly clear.

Anti-Semitism on Campus

To the Editor:
Dara Horn’s book People Love Dead Jews sheds an interesting light on the kind of anti-Semitism Seth Mandel discusses (“Campus Diversity Is Campus JewHatred,” June). She divides anti-Semitism into two broad categories: Purim anti-Semitism and Hanukkah anti-Semitism. Harking back to the history of these holidays, Horn offers that the Purim anti-Semites wish to commit acts of violence against Jews and Jewish property, while the Hanukkah anti-Semites wish to destroy Judaism itself. Expanding on Horn’s model, it is clear from many news accounts as well as Mandel’s article that the Hanukkah anti-Semites are the kind that inhabit the halls of the academy and are far more dangerous to Judaism in the United States than their more violent fellow Jew-haters on the far right, the Purim anti-Semites. Moreover, the Hanukkah anti-Semites enjoy academia’s cloak of seeming respectability, as well as the sometime protection of the Democratic Party.

Horn’s solution to anti-Semitism was to participate in Daf Yomi (learning the oral Torah). I suggest adding a daily chapter of the Mishneh Torah. As my grandmother used to say, “sein a Yid.” Be a Jew.
Jack Kay
Milford, Massachusetts

To the Editor:
Regarding Seth Mandel’s article on campus Jew-hatred, it should be noted that Jewish political leadership and Jewish NGOs can take their fair share of blame for normalizing anti-Semitism. While dominant media are responsible for the rehabilitation of wanton anti-Semite Al Sharpton, the Anti-Defamation League contributed mightily to the effort. Their director, Johnathan Greenblatt, formed a partnership with Sharpton’s advocacy group and has been a guest several times on his MSNBC television show. The American Jewish Committee (AJC), headed by former Florida Congressman Ted Deutch, was silent when Republican leader Kevin McCarthy faced unrelenting criticism after bravely removing the anti-Semitic Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It remained silent when McCarthy stopped Rashida Talib from using congressional facilities to host an Anti-Semitic Nakba commemoration. But the AJC was not silent in 2021 when accusing the Virginia GOP of anti-Semitism because a candidate ran an advertisement critical of a Jewish opponent’s spending policies.

Jews cannot continue to press other groups to speak out against anti-Semitism when our own leadership is not willing to.
Jerry Levy
Atlanta, Georgia

To the Editor:
Thanks for Seth Mandel’s absolutely perfect article on poisonous DEI evil. He offered the most complete factual account of the DEI invasion of campuses across the country.

Sadly, the uninvolved, recalcitrant university administrations are the prime reason this insanity has been allowed to take root and metastasize.

But recently, I’ve noted some colleges cracking down on their DEI swamps and getting rid of problematic staff. It’s a great thing to see, and I hope it continues.
Michael J. Bass
Lake Worth, Florida

Seth Mandel writes:
As Jack Kay correctly notes, Dara Horn’s framework of Purim anti-Semitism and Hanukkah anti-Semitism impels us to face the fact that both physical attacks and spiritual assaults seek the Jewish community’s ultimate destruction, though one may be more or less an immediate threat depending on its level of perceived legitimacy in wider society. I would only add that the story of Purim begins with a display of Hanukkah anti-Semitism, and Hanukkah ends with a resort to Purim anti-Semitism. Jew-hatred is a holistic discipline.

I certainly agree with Jerry Levy that American Jewish organizations, as I have written in these pages, bear a degree of blame for allowing partisan sympathies to determine whether and to what degree they condemn anti-Semitism, though their level of responsibility here varies because not all the organizations have the same expressed mission. That’s why the failures of the modern incarnation of the Anti-Defamation League are inexcusable. The ADL’s founding charter reads: “The immediate object of the League is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience, and if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people.” Everything that comes after that, forgive the tautology, comes after that.

I share Michael J. Bass’s cautious optimism that the explosive growth of DEI bureaucracies has stalled. Evidence that they have not just stopped growing but are being actively rolled back is so far mostly limited to the private sector—i.e., the real world—but the Supreme Court’s ruling against race-based college admissions may help translate some of this progress to academia as well. May it be soon in our days.

Unsafe Journalists, Unite!

To the Editor:
I loved Christine Rosen’s fabulous piece on the rise and fall of iconoclastic online journalism (“Once Young and Online—Now Bankrupt and Dead,” June). It’s a typical story of people getting full of themselves after having some success. And this tendency seems particularly heightened among young so-called journalists who are supposedly “saving democracy,” etc. I do wonder, though, why they felt the need to unionize—since their companies were such amazing places to work and all—and if that played a part in their demise.
Laura Hoffman
Sarasota, Florida

Christine Rosen writes:
Laura Hoffman raises an important point about the workers at these digital media companies. For many of them, the workplace was a proving ground not only for a new kind of journalism but also for their own politics. Buzzfeed employees formed a union that made frequent demands, including not sending journalists on “dangerous” assignments and, during and after the pandemic, allowing employees who felt “unsafe” in an office to continue working from home.  The union also threatened to strike in 2022. Alas, it was unable to stave off the end. Its last act was to set up a fund for laid-off employees. Perhaps smarter budgeting and less political posturing would have helped save some jobs. As it is, young journalists’ love affair with unions should at least get a second look. 

The Haves and the Have Everythings

To the Editor:
Kevin Williamson’s book review of Alissa Quart’s Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream was, naturally, excellent (“How to Write a Bad Book,” June).  It was a pleasure to see bad ideas and bad writing eviscerated.

But I found myself disagreeing with one point in his conclusion.  Williamson writes, Where life has really radically changed is for the very rich, the billionaires whose lives are much further removed from those of median-income households than the Morgans’ and Rockefellers’ were in the glory days of those families.”

Whereas it is true that your average person today lives better than billionaires of a century ago, there is probably actually less that separates the rich from the middle class today than back then. This was brought home to me in an interview with Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger during one of their annual shareholder meetings.  

Buffet pointed out that his phone wasn’t much better than your average person’s. Nor was his bed, air-conditioning, TV, food, medical care, or most of the other things he uses during a normal day. He has financial security, but so do many people with a good job. They have, perhaps, a paid-off house and invested savings. He said the one big difference he could think of was flying on a private jet. That is a big difference.

The middle class of J.P. Morgan’s and Nelson Rockefeller’s days was living a much rougher and less secure existence compared with those titans than the middle class of today lives compared with the Buffets, Bezoses, and Musks. Our rich have luxuries to choose from, but they do not have appreciably better essentials or basic comforts and entertainments. Which is still more good news for the gratitude-minded.
Scott Salvato
Mooresville, North Carolina

Kevin Williamson writes:
Many thanks for Scott Salvato’s kind letter. Jeff Bezos has a spaceship; Howard Hughes had a Buick. It was a really nice Buick, but—a Buick.

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