Monday, July 28, 2014

Anti-semitism in anti-Israel protests? I'm shocked! (ElderToon)

From the socialist Worker's Liberty site:

I told the man that racism had no place on the demonstration, that his presence harmed the Palestinian cause, and that the document he was promoting was a racist hoax. In the course of what was probably a not a very coherent tirade from me, I mentioned that I was Jewish.

“Well, you're blinded by your bias because you're a Jew”, he said. “Only Jews make the arguments you're making.”

Thereafter the “discussion” became more heated, and several onlookers were drawn in. Several people backed me up, but several defended him.

Their defences ranged from, “he's opposing Zionists, not Jews”, to “he's not racist, Zionism is racist!”, to the perhaps more honest “Jews are the problem. If you're a Jew, you're racist, you're what we're demonstrating against.” One man, topless, but wearing a balaclava, said “fuck off, unless you want your fucking head kicked in.”

I walked away, angry and upset. I returned a short while later to find the placard-holder embracing two young men, before leaving. When me and some comrades challenged them, they told us he wasn't anti-Semitic, merely anti-Zionist. “Look, it says 'Zion'”, not 'Jews'. 'Zion' means Zionists”, one helpfully informed us.

...In 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, some Workers' Liberty members in Sheffield (three of us, incidentally, Jewish) took placards on a demonstration against the assault which, amongst other things, said “No to IDF, no to Hamas.” As it happens, I now think, for various reasons, that our slogan was misjudged. But no-one attempted to engage us in debate or discussion about it; we were simply screamed at, called (variously) “scabs” and “Zionists”, and told we must immediately leave the demo (we didn't). Our placards were ripped out of our hands and torn to pieces.

I don't make the comparison in order to express a wish that what happened to us in 2009 had happened to him in 2014. I wouldn't particularly advocate physically destroying the man's placard, or attempting to physically drive him and his supporters off the demonstration. But a movement in which “no to IDF, no to Hamas” is considered beyond the pale even for debate and discussion, and must be violently confronted, but a placard promoting The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion can be carried without challenge, even for a moment, and its carrier find numerous defenders, needs to change its political culture.
The author still downplays leftist antisemitism as an aberration despite his own experiences. Perhaps he should read this report from one of those horrible right-wingers about what is happening across  Europe nowadays:

People who are "visibly Jewish," people wearing identifiably Jewish dress, have found themselves targeted for abuse. Demonstrators at the biggest central London march assaulted and verbally abused a Jewish woman who had expressed her support for Israel, calling her a "Jew Zionist" among other things, before stealing her mobile phone. In North London, a rabbi was abused by a group of 'youths' who shouted "F*** the Zionists," "F*** the Jews" and "Allah Akhbar."

All of this is mild compared to what has been going on across the English Channel in France. In suburbs and parts of central Paris the violence being perpetrated against the Jewish community culminated in the disturbing spectacle of Parisian Jews barricaded in a synagogue by a crowd of young North Africans seemingly intent on violence. When the police failed to turn up in any numbers, the Jews fought for themselves. These were not all "Jewish vigilantes" as some of the press disturbingly reported -- Jews in their 40s and 50s fighting their way through a mob.

Since then, the French authorities have banned -- as French authorities have the right to do -- some other planned "pro-Palestinian" protests. But the bans seem not to have worked. "Youths," as the media are prone to title the rioters, who mainly come from the suburbs of Paris and other cities, have taken to the streets, anyhow. There are videos of them smashing up pavements in order to get chunks of asphalt to hurl at police. A Paris suburb with a large Jewish -- not Israeli, just Jewish -- population has been a particular focus of protestors. In some video footage, protestors have been shown attacking police cars and assaulting public and private property. The French authorities are clearly trying to get a handle on the protests, but to a considerable extent, events have slipped from their control.

Similar scenes have been seen across the continent. In the Netherlands -- fresh from witnessing a pro-ISIS rally in Amsterdam -- there have been serious incidents at protests. There have been anti-Semitic chants, and the home of the Chief Rabbi in the Netherlands has been attacked twice in one week. In Austria, a soccer game involving an Israeli team had to be called off after Palestinian demonstrators broke onto the pitch. The stands had people waving anti-Israel banners and Turkish flags. But once they were on the pitch, the protestors assaulted the Israeli players, doing flying kicks at them and then further kicking and punching them. Some of the Israeli players fought back and the game was halted.
Most disturbing of all, perhaps, have been events in Germany. During pro-Palestinian protests in Berlin and other German cities, there were chants of "Death to the Jews" and "Gas the Jews." The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, described some of the demonstrations as "an explosion of evil and violence-prone hatred of Jews. Never in our lives did we believe it possible that antisemitism of the nastiest and most primitive kind would be chanted on the streets of Germany."

And it is in Germany that such sentiments have met their most appropriate public and political opposition. There, at least, the nature of these protests has not been glossed over. On the contrary there has been a suitable soul-racking over this. How could such a cry have gone up in this country, of all countries? The major German magazine, Bild, has run a cover with the headline, "Raise your voice: Never again Jew Hatred!" The cover is dotted with famous figures in German public life from the President and Chancellor Merkel to other political and public figures. The montage sends out a powerful message. The question is, of course, whether that is enough.

The IDF is not a person. Stop treating it as one.

One of the fundamental mistakes in the coverage of Gaza in the media, in the UN and by so-called "human rights" groups is the utter inability to understand  a basic fact:

The IDF is not a human being.

It is not acting out of malice, or frustration, or revenge.

The IDF have perhaps thousands of targets in Gaza - tunnels, weapons caches, rocket launchers, command and control facilities, terrorist communications infrastructure. It has limited time and resources to destroy them all. It bases its decisions and priorities on intelligence, on real time battle circumstances, on the presence or absence of civilians, and dozens of other factors.

The IDF has layers of command, teams of lawyers reviewing every major decision, checks and balances, auditing and accountability - like any decent sized organization. It has to. It cannot possibly be effective without it.

But from watching the images and listening to the reporting in Gaza, the journalists make assumptions as if the IDF is a whiny toddler who is lashing out at anything and everything.

In other words, the media and politicians are using their ignorance of modern warfare as an excuse to project their own human emotions of irritation or revenge or spite, emotions they might have while driving or at the bar or at work, onto an organization that by definition cannot be driven by knee-jerk emotions.

It is no coincidence that the people who defend the IDF the most are often those with military experience. They know what an army is like and they can see the extraordinary lengths Israel is going to in order to minimize casualties.

This morning, Al Arabiya published this video showing, within one hour, the destruction of a series of building in Beit Hanoun. It is easy, and lazy, to anthropomorphize this to some sort of desire by the IDF to lay Gaza to waste within a single hour before a ceasefire. But let's look at it a little more closely:

The implication is that Israel is wantonly and methodically destroying buildings for no reason.

But the video actually shows what is almost certainly an attempt to destroy a Hamas terror tunnel under the buildings.

Nearly all of the explosions seen are in a straight line from left to right, only the second explosion seems to be in a different area, probably a different operation.

More than once, there seem to be secondary explosions of (presumably) weapons caches, at least at 0:17 and 0:42.

Tunnels under buildings cannot be destroyed without destroying the buildings. And we know that Hamas has built hundreds of such tunnels under buildings in Gaza. By any measure, they are a valid primary military objective.

People who think that the IDF is bombing buildings just for fun, or for revenge, or purely for spite to hurt Gazans show that they are biased from the outset. Professional armies don't act the way humans do - not when each bomb costs tens of thousands of dollars and when every shell must be accounted for and justified. There are plenty of real targets in Gaza thanks to Hamas and the other terror groups, and the idea that the IDF is only trying to make people miserable - a subtext of many clueless reporters' stories - is nothing but slander.

The media and NGOs cannot admit when they don't know what's going on, That's why you are hearing  a constant refrain of "indiscriminate bombing" and the like. But two seconds of thought show that this is a reflection of ignorance, not of knowledge. There is no military or political  advantage for indiscriminate bombing, and as even HRW admits when it is defending terrorists, intention is the key. Without knowing the intent of the IDF  - something that it cannot reveal in real time without affecting its abilities - everything else is just guesswork, and those guesses more often than not reflect the biases of the reporters and NGOs rather than anything approaching reality.

Without understanding Arab/Muslim honor, you cannot understand the Middle East

Ma'an reports that Hamas politburo leader Khaled Meshal was interviewed by Charlie Rose:
Asked by veteran interviewer Charlie Rose whether he could foresee living beside Israelis in peace, Meshaal said only a future Palestinian state could decide whether to recognize Israel.

"We are not fanatics, we are not fundamentalists. We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers," he said.

"I'm ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and the Arabs and non-Arabs," he said. "However, I do not coexist with the occupiers."
Of course, Rose apparently wasn't astute enough to ask Hamas about their charter which says something a little different:

Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised.

..."The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

...The day that enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In face of the Jews' usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised. To do this requires the diffusion of Islamic consciousness among the masses, both on the regional, Arab and Islamic levels. It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters.
To understand Meshal's words and his Hamas Charter, one needs to understand the twin concepts of dhimmitude and honor.

In Islamic thought, Jews and Christians who live in Muslim lands are considered "dhimmis" - citizens who are allowed to live in relative peace as long as they pay a poll tax and are denied equal political rights. The tacit assumption is that Christians and Jews are meant to be second-class citizens, forever weak and obedient, under Muslim rule.

When European Christians started to beat back Muslim imperialist conquests in the 16th century, it was a huge turning point for Islam, which had until then assumed that its power would remain unchecked. (remember that Islam is both a religion and a political system.) Losing to huge Christian forces, while a big setback, was not considered disastrous to the Muslim psyche, because there is still some honor in losing to a superior enemy.

The tiny Jewish people, on the other hand, were seen as permanently weak and easily subdued. The idea that they could defeat Muslims militarily is a huge source of shame, and Muslim (especially Arab) society cannot abide shame.

The rise of Zionism and the eventual birth of Israel is considered the prototypical Muslim and Arab catastrophe - the "Nakba.:"

Keep in mind that Israel was not created by the UN's 1947 partition plan, as people mistakenly believe. That resolution was not accepted by the Arabs and therefore had no legal weight as a General Assembly resolution. No, Israel was wholly created by the military victory of the supposedly weak, dhimmi Jews over the combined, seemingly superior armies of the Arabs and Muslims.

Even worse, this tiny country divided the Arab world in half, severing the land bridge between Egypt and the African Arab countries and those in Asia.

The idea that Jews - weak, dhimmified Jews - could beat Arabs militarily was a stunning blow to Arab honor. And everything that Arabs have done since 1948 has been in pursuit of regaining their lost honor.

The Yom Kippur War was nothing but an Egyptian bid to eliminate its shame at losing the Six Day War. During peace negotiations, Sadat insisted that every grain of sand in the Sinai be returned to Egypt, because even a loss of a square millimeter of land would be an admission of defeat and therefore shameful.

Egypt's goals in both war and peace were driven primarily by the Arab need for honor.

For Palestinian Arabs, their national identity is defined not by who they are but by what they claim to have lost. There was no Palestinian identity before Zionism - no nation, no language, no flag, no culture that was considered "Palestinian" as opposed to Levantine or Arab. Their modern self-perception as a nation is a reflection of their resentment of Israel, not of any positive "Palestinianism."

Hamas and Fatah, the two leading Palestinian Arab political parties today, agree that Israel must be destroyed in order to rectify what is to them an anomalous Jewish nationalism and a shameful failure of their people and of the Muslim/Arab nations as a whole (respectively.)

Fatah is using the Arafat-designed strategy of "phases," by first gaining political power and land, and then leveraging it to consolidate and increase its power until Israel no longer exists as a Jewish state.

Hamas is more direct: they want to destroy Israel outright, both by direct military action and their hope that they can make life for Israelis so unbearable that they will force a mass migration. (Hamas isn't even interested in a Palestinian state except as a means to rebuild the Caliphate, and Zionists are considered the main obstacle to that much larger goal.)

But both groups are motivated, above all, by their seeking to regain their lost honor. Ordinary Palestinian Arabs have internalized this goal as can be seen in even recent surveys. As long as Israel exists, real peace is not possible (although detente with a strong and convincingly invincible Israel is the best that can be imagined.)

Meshal's supposedly generous offer to co-exist with Jews means that he wants to erase Israel, destroy Zionism and magnanimously allow Jews to return to their rightful place as weak, politically impotent dhimmis under benevolent Muslim rule. It is slightly more generous that the still unmodified PLO's 1968 charter, that states "The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion [1917] will be considered Palestinians" when Israel is destroyed.

In short, Israel's existence is an unspeakable affront to the honor of Arabs and Muslims. Just as murder is often considered the only way to remove the stain of family shame, the destruction of Israel is the only way for Arabs to remove the shame of being defeated by weak Jews. The methods vary from military to political to demographic to public relations, but the desired end state is the same.

Without understanding this you cannot understand the Middle East.

Al Ahram writer who praised Netanyahu suddenly dies

A few weeks ago, Azza Sami, deputy editor of Egypt's'Al Ahram newspaper, wrote a controversial post on her Facebook page blessing Netanyahu for going after Hamas, and later clarifying that she really only meant to talk about her disgust for Hamas.

On Thursday, while on vacation in an Egyptian resort, Sami suddenly died.

Her Facebook page no longer has those posts.

(h/t O)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why are the only stories out of Gaza the ones Hamas wants the world to see?

David Zurawik, TV critic for The Baltimore Sun, is ecstatic over the coverage of dead kids in Gaza:
From an Al Jazeera story
“There were only a couple Western journalists in Gaza when Israel invaded in 2008,” says Michael Calderone, Huffington Post senior media reporter. “Now, there are dozens covering every air strike in real-time through social media, complete with graphic images of Palestinian civilians, and even children, being killed and injured. So there's a disconnect between Israeli officials' repeated claims on TV about fighting terrorism and extensive footage we're seeing of Israel bombing schools, shelters and hospitals in Gaza.”

As Calderone sees it, such images have upended traditional packaging of stories out of Gaza.

“The American public may have seen a few stray images or video clips from Gaza in the past as part of a TV package, but such scenes would be interspersed with the views from experts and government officials,” he said in an email to The Sun. “A network correspondent now can take a heartbreaking video of a Palestinian mother grieving for her lost son, post it on Facebook, and the video will go viral several hours before the evening newscast.

An online headline from New York Magazine last week put it this way: "'Telegenically dead Palestinians:' Why Israel is losing the American media war."

No one is doing a more thorough job of covering the death and destruction in Gaza than Al Jazeera. Social media are absolutely a driving force in the shift in coverage, but I also believe the heavy presence of Al Jazeera and the excellent work its correspondents and producers are doing have raised the games of all the news organizations on the ground.
Not that Al Jazeera is alone in showing the carnage — far from it.

NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin has been filing superb reports since the start of the month...[including] coverage this past week of four Palestinian teens being killed by Israeli artillery fire while playing soccer on a beach was heart-rending.

That’s the story that tipped the balance,” Seib said. “It was so moving, and journalists were right there to report it rather than recounting it third-hand after the fact.”

CNN’s Ben Wedeman has done outstanding work as well. As Israel stepped up artillery and air strikes, Wedeman filed a report in which he followed a Palestinian family of five trying to flee a neighborhood in Gaza City that had been served notice by the Israel Defense Forces that it was about to destroyed.

The CNN camera caught the panic and horror in the faces of two little girls as the first artillery shell rocked the ground on which they stood. The look on one girl’s face and the shriek of terror from her little sister at the sound of the explosion spoke volumes about the kind of emotional and psychological damage being inflicted on another generation.

And now comes Richard Engel, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent, who on Wednesday filed as powerful a report as I have seen in the past two weeks. It featured him riding in Palestinian ambulances that were hopelessly trying to keep up with the injured and dying.

Graphic footage from the report included that of a 24-year-old Palestinian woman buried alive under the debris of a building. She looked like a corpse, with only her grime-encrusted head showing above the dust and dirt. Then her eyes opened slightly and lips moved — followed by a hand rising from the rubble.
Even worse, Zurawik takes it as a given that bullets that hit the Al Jazeera offices last week came from a command from the IDF brass, an absolutely baseless and absurd accusation. There are a lot of layers of command in a modern army, and the idea that an entire chain of command told some Israeli sniper to gratuitously send a message to Al Jazeera - one that would obviously backfire - is nothing but a conspiracy theory.

But how can he know any better? All he sees is one-sided video coverage from Gaza, coverage that is intended to pluck the heartstrings and to attract journalism prizes. All he sees - as a TV critic - are images that demonize the IDF.

And he calls this outstanding journalism.

There is no doubt that those heartbreaking videos are newsworthy. But there are a lot of stories that are not being covered, or that are being buried, in Gaza. A real critic would not only fawn over the coverage that is being broadcast but demand the coverage that isn't.

Hamas' Interior Ministry instructed Gazans not to discuss anything about Hamas militants, or rocket positions, or military funerals, or anything else that would discuss terrorists shooting rockets in Gaza or using human shields. Some Hamas members or sympathizers are taking that directive much further, actually threatening journalists who report on Hamas firing positions, Hamas gunmen hiding, or Hamas rockets that fall short, or Hamas using civilians as human shields, according to a Jerusalem Post report last week.

It seems unlikely that a bullet would stop Al Jazeera reporters. On the contrary, they would wear it as a badge of honor. It seems far more likely that physical threats against reporters in Gaza would place a chilling affect on their choice of topics.

There are other stories that are being all but ignored by journalists. As I reported, a French-Palestinian journalist told another reporter that he was intimidated by members of the Hamas Al Qsssam Brigades from their office next to the emergency room at Shifa Hospital.

That story was taken down at the reporter's request, no doubt because of threats.

Similarly, Wall Street Journal reporter Nick Casey noted that Hamas created a TV studio in the same hospital and tweeted a photo of a Hamas politician being interviewed there.

He took down that tweet as well.

There is a pattern here. The most prominent stories out of Gaza are the ones that Hamas wants the world to see. The stories that Hamas emphatically do not want want covered are being given short shrift, and finding them is not easy. And too many journalists are seemingly self-censoring out of fear of Hamas.

That is a story a real journalist would cover.

There are essentially no photos or video showing Hamas militants. No coverage of militant funerals (a Fatah funeral was covered incidentally.) Next to no coverage of Hamas rockets falling short in Gaza. Reporters aren't even entertaining the possibility that Hamas could be responsible for any of the damage they are seeing.

Hamas is heavily armed. Hamas has thousands of mortars, rockets, anti-tank guided missiles and more. The fighting has been fierce by any account, killing dozens of IDF soldiers. Hundreds of Hamas rockets aimed at Israel are falling in Gaza Why is every projectile that hits every home and school assumed to be from the IDF?

By any measure, the IDF spends more effort safeguarding the people of Gaza than Hamas does.

By any measure, Hamas has more to gain by the deaths of civilians than the IDF does.

Yet the journalists in Gaza are more interested in blaming Israel for dead children than in actually researching whether Hamas may have killed them - accidentally or otherwise.

Here is a story you will never see from any Gaza reporter, or even from an international reporter in Israel, of testimony from an IDF soldier:

At first, when we crossed the fence and went into Gazan territory, it looked like another training exercise. We felt they would be no match for us, that we were a lot stronger. But the next day, Friday morning, I realized what the difference was between Hamas and us. We saw an elderly man lying wounded on the ground with a bullet in his leg. I approached him to help him up. I stretched out my hand and touched him, and it was then I realized that there were grenades around and underneath him. We moved back, and then he came to throw the grenade at us. One of the soldiers reacted quickly and shot him. Then we learned that he had been 76 years old, and that he had already been in prison in Israel. The level of cynicism they can reach is just beyond belief.
Perhaps reporters have reason to be skeptical of such a claim. That is not a reason not to cover it. They are reporting on Gaza civilian casualties without any skepticism as to whether they are really civilian.

The Israeli side of the story is not getting nearly the same attention as the stories that Hamas wants the world to hear. The narratives of a terror organization are being repeated verbatim while Israeli officials, who have a lot more to lose by lying, are assumed to be doing exactly that.

A real journalist would be uncomfortable by this double standard. Praising the relentless one-sided reporting because it is more emotional betrays journalism itself.

(h/t Soccer Dad's Dad)

07/27 Links Pt2: Batman Rules of Warfare; Progressive Jews, Wake Up; The end of French Jewry?

From Ian:

Hamas will restart tunneling as soon as we leave, IDF officer says
Israel will not find all of the cross-border tunnels in Gaza during this operation. And if Hamas is able to secure ceasefire terms that give it sufficient room to do so, it will commence digging anew after this conflict is over, a former senior commander in the IDF’s Combat Engineering Corps said Sunday.
“We won’t find all of them,” said Col. (res) Atai Shelach, former commander of the elite Yahalom unit that tackles the tunnels, “and the moment we leave. they will start digging again.”
The Israeli army has found more than 30 tunnels that cross underground from Gaza to Israel. The channels are often wider than a man’s shoulders and close to six feet high; they are supported with hundreds of tons of concrete arches and frequently reach a maximum depth of 20 meters below ground level. Most of the tunnels are well lit and properly ventilated. Soldiers on the ground in Gaza have reported finding explosives and arms stashed within the tunnels and, on several occasions after thwarting underground infiltration attempts, have found Hamas operatives armed with zip ties and narcotic drugs meant to facilitate a kidnapping. (h/t Canadian Otter)
Progressive Jews, Wake Up
For those progressive Jews who have found solace in the myth that anti-Zionism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, the events across the globe of the last few weeks have been a rude and discomforting awakening. And so they turned to their final recourse, the belief that America was different.
Sure, there was a pogrom at a synagogue in Paris, but, well, that’s Paris. Muslims and their neo-fascist and leftist allies might walk through the streets of Germany shouting anti-Jewish slogans reminiscent of the Hitler Youth, but, well, that’s Germany.
In San Francisco, if not for the police, some 30 pro-Israel protesters would have been brutalized by over 300 people demonstrating on behalf of the genocidal Hamas terrorists.
Danny Ayalon: Operation "Protective Edge"

One of those dead "civilians"

We have noted that the UN relies on three "human rights" NGOs - B'Tselem, PCHR and Al Mezan -  to determine which of the people killed in Gaza are civilian and which are members of armed groups.

And we've shown that B'Tselem's methods in determining who is a "civilian" are laughable.

Hamas has been trying to hide the number of terrorists killed (as I said they would at the outset of the war.) But sometimes there are mistakes.

PCHR says:
At approximately 11:55 (Friday), an Israeli drone fired a missile at a number of Palestinian civilians in al-Zanna area in Bani Suhaila village. As a result, 2 civilians were killed: Mohammed Khalil al-Buraim, 25; and Mohammed Suleiman Hussein Sammour, 45.  Four civilians were also wounded.:

Mohammed Khalil Samour al-Buraim, meanwhile, is being celebrated as a mujahid by the Abdel-Qader al-Husseini Brigades Storm Troopers. He was apparently a rocket launcher.

The UN's very flawed statistics get disseminated to the media and are never questioned.


Because more reporters are lazy and reflexively anti-Israel. Most European politicians that receive the statistics are predisposed to believing that Israel is targeting civilians.

So no one outside of us Zionists bother to do the research. And, of course, we are unreliable by definition, no matter how many times we have proven to be right.

A child being raised to hate in San Francisco (video)

From yesterday's anti-Israel rally in San Francisco:

Peace, love, flowers, progressiveness, child abuse and unbridled hate.

(h/t Faith)

07/27 Links Pt1: Obama abandons Israel; Hamas fire rockets from school and cemetery

From Ian:

Don’t Cry for Us Israelis
I prefer that you – writers of these lies and libels - hate me and my country, if it means that you can save your tears for other peoples’ dead. We aren’t greedy for sympathy. After all, we got so much after the Holocaust, we prefer other people to have their share now. These days, we prefer to live, rather than have people cry over us and the injustices done to us.
So by all means, cry for the Palestinian people – men women and children – whose duly elected leadership has callously left them without protection from just retribution for their terrorist crimes. The leaders who took their people’s aid money and are living in Qatar in five star hotels building shopping centers for themselves. Who built terrorist tunnels under their homes, mosques, hospitals and schools, and recruited their sons to die for Allah, while they sit in bunkers waiting for the U.N. to rescue them.
Don’t cry for us, or our families, or our children, or grandchildren. Not this time. Not ever. Not if we can help it. Because this time, thank God, we have a country. We are armed. This time, with God’s help, we know how to protect ourselves from Nazis and their high-minded media cheerleaders.
I would like to end this with an expletive and a hand gesture towards the people I’m addressing. Please choose one you think would be fitting. I can think of many.
Times of Israel Live Blog: PM: Hamas has breached the truce it claims to be asking for, PA slams Kerry for attending ‘friends of Hamas’ ceasefire talks
Israel rejects Gaza offer for 24-hour timeout as rocket fire persists; IDF death toll rises to 43; Israel, PA fume at Kerry for his ceasefire terms; Gaza death toll said to climb above 1,000, including hundreds of gunmen
Isi Leibler: Obama abandons Israel
The Netanyahu government is fully aware that Israel cannot accept a long-term cease-fire that ‎would enable Hamas to again attack Israel with missiles or renew their building of terrorist ‎tunnels into Israel.‎
The U.S. will also be committing another blunder if it seeks to recycle Palestinian Authority ‎President Mahmoud Abbas to resolve the impasse. While initially he had backed the Egyptian ‎cease-fire and was happy to see his "partner" Hamas under pressure, he has now decided to ‎throw his lot with Hamas and the radical jihadists. Israel can no longer contemplate ‎negotiations with the PA so long as it remains associated with Hamas. ‎
Defensible borders are now an absolute must. With the collapse of the artificial Arab nation ‎states created by the Sykes-Picot treaty in the aftermath of World War I, no borders are ‎sacrosanct, certainly not armistice lines that have never been formally recognized as ‎international borders. Under no circumstances can we contemplate returning to the ‎indefensible 1949 armistice lines. It is now also clear that should a Palestinian state emerge, it ‎must be totally demilitarized, with the IDF retaining security control. ‎
We should also cautiously seek to engage with Egypt and other pragmatic Arab countries that ‎are opposed to the jihadists and Muslim Brotherhood.‎
David Horovitz: John Kerry: The betrayal
When The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff first reported the content of John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal on Friday afternoon, I wondered if something had gotten lost in translation. It seemed inconceivable that the American secretary of state would have drafted an initiative that, as a priority, did not require the dismantling of Hamas’s rocket arsenal and network of tunnels dug under the Israeli border. Yet the reported text did not address these issues at all, nor call for the demilitarization of Gaza.
It seemed inconceivable that the secretary’s initiative would specify the need to address Hamas’s demands for a lifting of the siege of Gaza, as though Hamas were a legitimate injured party acting in the interests of the people of Gaza — rather than the terror group that violently seized control of the Strip in 2007, diverted Gaza’s resources to its war effort against Israel, and could be relied upon to exploit any lifting of the “siege” in order to import yet more devastating weaponry with which to kill Israelis.
Israel and the US are meant to be allies; the US is meant to be committed to the protection of Israel in this most ruthless of neighborhoods; together, the US and Israel are meant to be trying to marginalize the murderous Islamic extremism that threatens the free world. Yet here was the top US diplomat appearing to accommodate a vicious terrorist organization bent on Israel’s destruction, with a formula that would leave Hamas better equipped to achieve that goal.

Saving Dana Bar-on (Michael Lumish)

Dana Bar-on is a beautiful, young Israeli woman who lives in a tiny progressive kibbutz in the township of Nir Am directly on the northern border of the Gaza strip, just west of S'derot. Among the founders of kibbutz Nir Am is Dana's grandmother, Rachel Bar-on.

Dana is 27 years old and grew up under Hamas bombs.

If you honestly care about your Jewish friends and family in Israel then you must give this woman a fair listen. The video is only 10 minutes long, but the final five are what count the most, so please watch all the way through.

I find her words pretty remarkable, actually. This is someone who has run into bomb shelters since she was more-or-less a child. Yet, when she considers injured or killed Gazans due to the recent Israeli military activity in response to those bombs, she weeps.

She does not hand out candy to children upon learning of the killings of Arabs in war. She is not dancing in the streets at the prospect of dead Arabs. On the contrary, she seems injured in her soul.

One of the things that we must understand is that the enemies of the Jewish people use moments like this, moments of war, in order to spread the blood-libel. This is precisely why Hamas shoots all those rockets to begin with. They know that sooner or later Israel will have to respond and then western-left useful idiots will do nothing but scream and cry and moan and complain about those cruel, inhumane, barbaric, apartheid-loving Jews.

This, of course, serves not only to undermine Israeli legitimacy among the nations, but also provides justification for violence against us throughout the world.

So, when people on the left claim that "Palestinians" have every right to "resistance" what they are really saying is that the genocidal racists in Hamas have every right to try to kill Dana Bar-on.

And, yet, somehow, they still expect - and most astonishingly enough, receive - the financial, moral, and political support of western-left Jews.

The injustice could hardly be more profound.

Nir Am1Dana's kibbutz in Nir Am was right next to a tunnel exit in which the IDF fought it out with Hamas fighters just the other day.

Here is the location of Nir Am:

As you can see it is even closer to the Gaza Strip than is S'derot and just across the road from that community.

According to wiki, as of 2007 it had a population of 281 souls and was established in August of 1943 out of Gordonia, a Polish Zionist youth movement grounded in traditional virtues of labor and of the resurrection of the Hebrew language.

According to the Negev Informational Centre:
Nir Am is a secular agricultural kibbutz in expansion, with 110 families.
Nir Am is a well-tended community with lovely green corners, located in geographic area inspiring love toward the place and desire to tour the region. The population of Nir Am is a multi-cultural one, because throughout its existence the kibbutz absorbed graduates of various youth movements in Israel, Latin America, France and Northern Africa, which generated an atmosphere of cultural openness and pluralism. Nir Am is considered as a renewing kibbutz, which endorses communal perception shared by the members and permanent residents of the kibbutz. Nir Am's absorption program, from its physical and social aspects, aspires to create a community in which all the local people would feel as partners.
Clearly she belongs to a gang of Zionist fascists.

Who would want to live near such scum.

Dana's mother, Marcell Bar-On, speaking at a Vanguard dinner in 2008, said this about what Hamas was doing to kibbutz Nir Am:
The attacks are unprovoked, unpredictable, and continuous, and their effect has been close to catastrophical for us, both economically and psychologically. It is difficult for me to describe our day-to-day reality. No words could adequately paint the picture of life in a war zone. Our every action, our every waking moment, is geared toward minimizing the impact of living under enemy fire. Our first concern is always for our elderly and our children. My son Gabi, who turns ten in December, was three years old when the bombings started, and doesn’t remember life without Kassam bombs.
This, by the way, is another of Dana's videos. It appears to be a rather new compilation that it includes material from 2008 when she would have been around twenty years old.

A rocket actually hit near her house in 2008 and the family reaction is recorded in the video.

This is all new material to me. I picked up Dana's story last Wednesday, the 23rd, through the Elder who got it from Israelycool.

She notes at the end of this video that since 2005 8,000 rockets have been launched at herself, her friends in Israel, and her family.

To my mind, however, the most chilling part of the video is when she talks about the tunnels. This is a person who has lived most of her life under perpetual rocket fire and now the enemies of the Jewish people are crawling right up out of the ground near her house with an intent to kill her, her family, and her friends.

I can think of no more compelling reason for Israel not merely to degrade Hamas' ability to shoot rockets at Israelis, nor merely to close up those terror tunnels, but to eliminate Hamas completely.

If you wish to learn more about kibbutz Nir Am or the Bar-on family, this article from the The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, surprisingly enough, is a good place to start. In the mean time, we should bring Dana to the United States to talk to college students.

I think that is a fine idea.

UPDATE: Her kibbutz was evacuated.

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.

Report: Hamas has executed 25 "collaborators" and said Israel killed them

Aaron Klein, who has extensive contacts among Gaza terror groups, reports:

Hamas killed at least 25 Palestinian civilians it suspected of collaborating with Israel, according to sources close to Gazan jihadist organizations.

The sources, close to both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad groups, told WND that most of the extra-judicial killings of suspected collaborators took place during a brief “humanitarian” cease-fire four days ago.

The so-called collaborators were accused of leading Israeli troops to smuggling tunnels and providing intelligence on Hamas’ infrastructure inside Gazan cities.

The sources said Hamas publicly blamed the killings of the Palestinian suspects on Israel, claiming the civilians were murdered Sunday during an Israel Defense Forces “massacre” in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood of the Gaza Strip.

The sources further said the civilian suspects murdered by Hamas were publicly celebrated by Hamas as martyrs killed by the Jewish state.
I had seen previous reports of 9 collaborators executed.

In May, Hamas executed two alleged spies.

Yet another reason to take the civilian casualty figures from Gaza with a large grain of salt.

HRW's definition of "human shields" changes when Israel is involved

We previously discussed how Human Rights Watch was claiming a very restrictive definition of "human shields" contrary to the clear definition given by the ICRC, to clear Hamas of that charge.

A little further research shows that not only does HRW often use the correct definition of human shieldsing for other conflicts, but it has tightened up its definition over the years for Israel's enemies.

Here is Human Rights Watch, February 19, 2014, discussing a reported drone attack by US forces against a wedding in Yemen:
The legality of the December 12 attack hinges on both the applicable body of international law and the facts on the ground. If international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, applies to the December 12, 2013 attack, only valid military objectives such as AQAP leaders or fighters could have been lawfully targeted. The burden is on the attacker to take all feasible precautions to ensure that a target is a combatant before conducting an attack and to minimize civilian harm.

Had AQAP members deliberately joined the wedding procession to avoid attack they would have been committing the laws-of-war violation of using “human shields.”
In this case, HRW says that the terrorists merely need to purposefully place themselves around civilians. When Israel is the enemy, HRW says that the civilians must be coerced.

That wasn't always the case. HRW tried very hard to excuse Hezbollah from the accusation of human shielding in Lebanon in 2006, but the excuses they used - feeble as they were - do not apply to Hamas in 2014:

A key element of the humanitarian law violation of shielding is intention: the purposeful use of civilians to render military objectives immune from attack.

As noted above, we documented cases where Hezbollah stored weapons inside civilian homes or fired rockets from inside populated civilian areas. At minimum, that violated the legal duty to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians the hazards of armed conflict, and in some cases it suggests the intentional use of civilians to shield against attack. However, these cases were far less numerous than Israeli officials have suggested. The handful of cases of probable shielding that we did find does not begin to account for the civilian death toll in Lebanon. (The related issue of Hezbollah's illegally using several UN posts near the Lebanon-Israel border as shields is discussed in the next section.)

In addition to its own research, Human Rights Watch carefully reviewed local and international press accounts, IDF and Israeli government statements, and the work of various independent think tanks to evaluate allegations of human shielding by Hezbollah. While the Israeli government and certain commentators have described Hezbollah shielding as widespread, they have not provided convincing evidence to support such allegations.[111] The Israeli government provided some video footage taken from drones showing Hezbollah fighters firing rockets from what appear to be civilian structures, or entering such structures, but the footage gives no indication whether these structures were inhabited by civilians or located in then-populated areas.

The Israeli government's allegations seem to stem from an unwillingness to distinguish the prohibition against human shielding-the intentional use of civilians to shield a military objective from attack-from that against endangering the civilian population by failing to take all feasible precautions to minimize civilian harm, and even from instances where Hezbollah conducted operations in residential areas empty of civilians. Individuals responsible for shielding can be prosecuted for war crimes; failing to fully minimize harm to civilians is not considered a violation prosecutable as a war crime.[112]

To constitute shielding, there needs to be a specific intent to use civilians to deter an attack....
HRW disingenuously gives examples of Hezbollah firing rockets from fields nearby villages and of only taking over uninhabited homes, in order to protect Hezbollah from the charge of war crimes:
While failing to take precautions to protect civilians violates humanitarian law, intentionally making use of civilians to render military forces or a place immune from attack is considered to be the more serious violation of "shielding." Because the definition of shielding incorporates the concept of intent, any individual ordering shielding would almost invariably be committing a war crime.
Well, guess what: Hamas explicitly instructed Gazans to not evacuate their homes (and UNRWA schools) in Hamas-stronghold neighborhoods when Israel warned them to. Here is the webpage of the Ministry of the Interior where they tell Gazans to ignore Israeli warnings and stay in their homes.

HRW, instead of condemning what are clearly cases of human shielding under international law and under their own definitions, is going out of its way to excuse Hamas, downplay their war crimes - and endanger Gazans. In this case we see that twice HRW changed their definition deliberately to excuse first Hezbollah and then Hamas - moving the goalposts as each terror group gets more depraved.

What kind of a "human rights" group tries so hard to excuse violations of human rights?

(NGO Monitor has documented many other examples of HRW's fluid definitions of "human shielding" to defend terrorists from the charge when Israel is involved.)