It’s often said that the world is smaller and more interconnected than ever before, but it’s a cliché for a reason: it’s true. Keeping with the clichés, in this week’s Action Update, we’ll discuss how all politics is local and how a threat to freedom anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere.

Judea and Samaria

Over the weekend, Israel Defense Force’s Sgt. Noa Lazar, of blessed memory, was shot and killed by a Palestinian terrorist while standing guard at a checkpoint in the West Bank. Described by those who knew her as “bright, smiling, funny, beautiful and so friendly,” Noa was 18 years old when she was murdered. At the time of this writing, the Israelis have identified the gunman, and they will find him.
As we’ve discussed in the past, terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria has been on an uptick in recent months. To this point, we’ve focused on terror from groups that are rivals to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party. But this latest attack was conducted by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is allied with Abbas.

As the 87-year-old Abbas declines, it’s becoming increasingly clear that terrorist organizations are competing to fill the power vacuum in the West Bank, and one of their primary strategies is increasing terror attacks in order to generate support amongst the Palestinian population. We’ve no crystal ball, but it’s clear that Palestinian terror groups believe they can win Palestinian support by killing Jews. That is with whom Israel must contend. That is with whom Israel would like to make peace. And that is why peace will only come when the Palestinian national ethos changes dramatically.

Russia, Ukraine, and Iran

Outside of CUFI’s efforts to raise funds – in excess of $9 million – to aid Ukrainian Jewish war refugees’ travel to Israel with the Jewish Agency, we’ve understood that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is largely outside the scope of our single-issue focus as a pro-Israel organization. But just like misery, evil loves company. That is why we were not surprised to learn, this week, that Russia used Iranian drones to attack Ukrainian civilian targets in recent days.

Of course, the Iranians are selling weapons to the Russians and, of course, the Russians are using them to kill civilians. These are two fascist autocracies whose sole focus is to maintain and expand their power. They have no decency, no sense of morality, and they do not value innocent life. But just because this match made in hell is predictable, doesn’t mean we cannot learn from it.

This latest abomination exemplifies how foolish the U.S. has been to continue engaging with the Iranian terrorist regime and allow Russia to serve as the interlocutor for that engagement. U.S. policy in this context has emboldened two of the worst actors on the world’s stage.

Iran and the World

Speaking of emboldening evil, we’ve focused a lot of attention on the Women’s Revolution in Iran and the policy implications of President Biden’s failure to fully ratchet up economic and diplomatic pressure on Tehran. This week, the stark and painful reality of what’s going on in the Islamic Republic came into full focus as a human rights group reported that 185 people, including 19 children, have been killed by Tehran’s tyrants since nationwide protests gripped the country in the wake of Iran’s morality police murdering a young woman for failing to “properly” wear her hijab.

We’ve been saying for some time that this round of protests is different from their predecessors in how far the protestors have been willing to go in their condemnation of the regime. The same human rights report stated that 20 members of Iran’s security forces have also been killed in the clashes. This is a further indication that the Iranian people are not messing around or looking for simple reforms. And further evidence that the only policy that does justice to our American values is one of robust, unequivocal, and tangible support for those standing up to Iran’s thugs.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, optimists thought Kyiv could hold out for maybe a few weeks before being overrun by the Russian horde. None, save perhaps Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, believed Ukraine could hold out against Moscow, but today the Ukrainians – despite Vladimir Putin’s scorched earth approach – are taking back territory and making strategic gains.

Likewise, one could be forgiven for thinking, albeit with a heavy heart, that there is no way Iran’s dissidents, students, and protestors can overcome the lethality and brutality of the Iranian regime, but we’re going to hold out hope that they can. We’re going to act as if with the right kind of support from the free world, six months from now, the impossible could happen, and they, too, will be pushing back the fascists that have dominated the Persian people for over four decades.

We hope President Biden considers doing the same. This means walking away from the nuclear talks and, instead of giving Iran billions in sanctions relief, maximizing our financial pressure against the regime.


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