Thursday, July 18, 2024

  • Thursday, July 18, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
The US State Department on Wednesday announced that it was imposing visa restrictions on former IDF sergeant Elor Azaria for his role in the 2016 killing of an injured terrorist in Hebron, which they called "a gross violation of human rights.”

The terrorist, Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, stabbed and injured an IDF soldier  Video shows that as the terrorist was laying on the ground, Azaria, who is a medic, shot him in the head even though there was no apparent further danger from the attacker.

Some people defend Azaria, accepting his contention that he was afraid that the terrorist had a suicide belt and that he could reach for a knife. None of those sound convincing to me: from all evidence both on video and from the trial afterwards, it looks like Azaria decided to kill the terrorist after he posed no more threat.

Even assuming Azaria's guilt, the State Department announcement is a gross insult to Israel.

The press release says, "Promoting accountability and justice for any crimes, violations, and abuses committed against Palestinians and Israelis is essential to a stable, just, and enduring calm in the West Bank and the region.  We once again call on the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to hold accountable anyone responsible for violence in the West Bank and reiterate that we will not hesitate to take our own actions to promote accountability."

Azaria was held accountable for his actions. He was tried, found guilty of manslaughter, sent to prison, and had his rank demoted to private. 

The press release implies that Israel's actions to punish Azaria are not adequate and the US needs to instruct Israel on what accountability means. 

This is condescending and insulting. 

Moreover, it looks like the State Department overstepped its own rules. The announcement says, 
This public designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2024 (Div. F, P.L. 118-47).  Azaria, as a former IDF sergeant, qualifies as a foreign government official under Section 7031(c).  
A military sergeant is considered a government official? That is rarely the case, if ever. The term "official of foreign governments" typically refers to higher-ranking individuals who have significant decision-making authority or represent their government in an official capacity. This usually mean ministers, heads of state, ambassadors, and other senior government officials.

In the military, it would refer to higher ranking officers with significant responsibility, not a non-commissioned officer like a sergeant. 

Before yesterday, no one would ever think a sergeant qualifies as a "foreign government official" under Section 7031(c).

This sure looks like the State Department wass shoe-horning its own rules into a situation that they were never meant to apply to, in its desire to teach Israel a lesson of "accountability." Which makes this even worse. 

And it is hard to escape the conclusion that it is no coincidence that this announcement was made on the same day that Bloomberg reported:
President Joe Biden’s latest gambit to stabilize his reelection bid has been a veer to the left, looking to bolster progressive support by floating ambitious new proposals to erase medical debt, cap rent increases and impose sweeping new restraints on the Supreme Court.
It is a ham-handed attempt to show that the US is tough on Israel and even-handed in the conflict in an election year.






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  • Thursday, July 18, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
An Australian government inquiry into the tragic World Central Kitchen incident on April 1 has found that Israel's investigation and response have been professional, accurate and consistent with what every Western military would have done.

After they airstrike on the  WCK convoy that killed seven humanitarian workers, including Australian  Zomi Frankcom, Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese rejected Israel's initial statements that it was a tragic accident of the type that happens in wartime, saying "We need to have accountability for how it's occurred. And what isn't good enough is the statements that have been made, including that this is 'just a product of war'. "

A day later, Israel released the results of its investigation, which concluded:
The investigation’s findings indicate that the incident should not have occurred. Those who approved the strike were convinced that they were targeting armed Hamas operatives and not WCK employees. The strike on the aid vehicles is a grave mistake stemming from a serious failure due to a mistaken identification, errors in decision-making, and an attack contrary to the Standard Operating Procedures.
That was not good enough for Australia's leaders, and they wanted to ensure that Israel wasn't trying to hide anything. 

The Guardian was enthusiastic that the Australian government launched a high profile inquiry into the incident, implying that Israel was dragging its feet in allowing access to its own investigators of the incident and that it was hiding critical details.


Binskin’s status also makes it harder for the IDF to deflect his requests for information than it might be if the government had appointed a civilian expert in human rights or even military law instead. Binskin will doubtless have legal support available to him. But in these circumstances, the uniform talks – even if he doesn’t still wear it.

His job is to underscore Australia’s demands for transparency, accountability, rigour and reform of the IDF’s targeting processes and, in asking pointed questions and pressing for answers, to ensure they are delivered.

Now, Binskin's report has been delivered, and as The Australian reports, it finds Israel's investigation to be thorough, professional and accurate.

Former defence chief Mark ­Binskin’s report on the Israeli drone strikes that killed Australian Zomi Frankcom and six of her colleagues is set to largely back the Jewish state’s official response to the tragedy, drawing a line under Anthony Albanese’s ­demands for “full accountability” over the deaths.

The Australian understands the government’s special adviser on the incident accepted Israel’s findings that the attack on the World Central Kitchen convoy in Gaza on April 1 was the result of a serious failure in its targeting ­procedures.

According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, Air Chief Marshal Binskin was satisfied that, although mistakes were made, the Israeli Defence Forces had safeguards to avoid civilian casualties that were in line with those of Western counterparts ­including Australia.

Air Chief Marshal Binskin was pleased with the level of co-­operation he received during an eight-day fact-finding visit to Israel in May, according to a senior ­official in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“He has had a good level of ­access to very senior people within Israel,” deputy secretary Craig MacLachlan told Senate estimates. “At no point has Mr Binskin said to me that he has felt he has been short on information or detail.”
Normal investigations into the many incidents of Western armies inadvertently killing innocent civilians, when they occur at all, usually takes months or years. 

Israel investigated and wrote up its report in four days. 

Yet even under that immense pressure, during wartime, the world demanded instant answers - far more than any other Western nation has ever done. And now the former Australian defence chief, who was previously in its air force and understands how split second decisions are made in wartime, finds that Israel not only mounted a professional and credible investigation, but that it did it in a timeframe that is literally unheard of from any other nation. 

This is a pattern - pretty much every international military expert who speaks to the IDF finds invariably that they are professional and follow international law, and perhaps most importantly they learn from their mistakes and incorporate the lessons into their own procedures at a speed that no other army on Earth has ever done.

(h/t Ian)



Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!

 

 

  • Thursday, July 18, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
The UN OCHA-OPT pretends to be objective, and they make cosmetic efforts in their articles and reports to make it sound like they count Israeli casualties as readily as they parrot Hamas casualty numbers.

Here is what the top of their main page has looked like, more or less, for months:


The first two columns, at first glance, seem even-handed 38,000+ Gazans killed according to the Hamas-run ministry of health, ans 1,200 Israelis killed on October 7 according to Israeli authorities.

Let's discount the obscenity of equating reports from Hamas, which has full control over the reporting, with those of Israel where any discrepancies would be front page news. Even without that, these numbers are selective.

Because the Gaza numbers include well over 10,000 terrorists, but the numbers of Israeli dead do not count the IDF soldiers killed in Gaza.

Why aren't IDF soldiers included? Either the UN is considering all the Gaza dead according to OCHA  to be civilian, or they simply do not are about IDF soldier lived while they do care about Hamas lives.

Also, if Israel estimates 14,000 or so Hamas members killed, why is that not mentioned in this graphic? That information is at least as credible as the Hamas numbers.

Then comes the third column. It counts the number of buildings allegedly destroyed in Gaza ad the number of people displaced. But tens of thousands of Israelis were displaced, and hundreds of buildings were damaged by Hamas during the pogrom and rocket salvos. Why do they not count?

Beyond that, note how OCHA also adds data about the numbers killed in the West Bank since OCtober 7. But the people killed and displaced in the north, by Hezbollah, are not counted. Why should casualties from one front of the same war be considered noteworthy but not from the other theater?

Choosing which statistics to report and which to ignore, or bury, is as clear an indication of bias as can be.





Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

From Ian:

The world’s big October 7 lies
Before the dismembered remains of raped Israeli women were recovered, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres declared that the Hamas barbarities “didn’t happen in a vacuum.” Guterres should have known that those words would open the floodgates of deflection and denial of Hamas’s responsibility for the suffering and death of those innocents; as well as legitimize Hamas’s right to attack Israelis.

Various U.N. officials questioned the veracity of the survivors of the rapes and massacres for months until one U.N. official traveled to Israel to hear directly from the victims. The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s plea for help from 50 top women’s NGOs went unanswered.

Hamas’s repeated assertions that they will repeat Oct. 7 over and over again until the Jewish state is destroyed fell on deaf ears.

From the beginning, it was brutally clear that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) wouldn’t even give lip service when it came to the hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7. The ICRC has responsibilities under international law to seek visits with hostages and work for their release. Other than serving as an Uber service for the first Israel hostage exchange, the ICRC has maintained a stoic if immoral silence.

Virtually nothing was heard from UNICEF about the suffering of displaced Israeli children, but a drumbeat of concern over the suffering of Palestinians was broadcast day in and day out. So were untrue reports that Gazans were starving. There were further false reports that Israel was blocking critically needed food and fuel from reaching civilians in Gaza. In fact, it was Hamas that hijacked much of the aid and netted over $500 million reselling that aid to Gaza civilians.

Meanwhile, every allegation made by Hamas that Israel wantonly and indiscriminately attacked mosques, hospitals and UNRWA schools was carried without question by the media. Israel’s explanations that these sites had been coopted by terrorists barely made a dent in the tower of lies constructed so carefully by Hamas and its supporters.

This led both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court to rush in to weaponize the judicial arena against Israel. Only allegations were needed by the likes of South Africa to open a case against the Jewish state at the ICJ and prosecutors like the ICC’s Karim Khan to issue an arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which European democracies have said they will honor if the prime minister dares to arrive in their capitals.

This is where we stand nine months after Oct. 7. No justice, no peace, no end to the violent Jew-hatred infecting Europe and North America on our streets and our elite campuses.
Seth Mandel: What the Republican Convention Gets Right About Anti-Semitism
And so what the Republican convention has deftly displayed thus far is a two-tiered system of justice. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was to last night’s speeches what the evil Persian minister Haman is to megillah readings on Purim: Everybody knows to boo and hiss when the name is read aloud. Aside from Bragg’s role in the dubious felony prosecution of Trump, he was jeered last night when the mother of a murder victim blamed him for his soft-on-crime policies. Jews on campus might say the same: Bragg dropped the charges against the New York students who seized campus property on behalf of a “global” intifada. Another speaker last night told of his sister, murdered by an illegal immigrant who’d been expelled three times already yet was able to return to the U.S., all despite a record of violence in his native El Salvador. (This last case does not involve Bragg, to be clear.)

Kestenbaum has been a fixture in the anti-Semitism debate over the past several months. In 2020, he voted for Bernie Sanders and remains a registered Democrat. Challenged by the Forward to say whether he now supports Trump, Kestenbaum responded: “I am supporting Donald Trump’s policies of insisting on consequences for foreign students who violate our laws and desecrate our freedoms. I support Donald Trump’s policies of instilling patriotism in the curriculums. I support Donald Trump’s policies of taxing university endowments. And again, I don’t see why that’s a partisan issue, and I’m incredibly disillusioned with my party for not adopting those pretty obvious positions.”

He’d speak where invited, he said—but as of now, only the Republican convention expressed interest in hearing what he has to say about anti-Semitism. In her speech last night, Nikki Haley mentioned that “the Jewish community is facing an obscene rise in anti-Semitism.” This was not during the Israel portion of her remarks. Rather, it was followed by: “Too many minorities are trapped in communities devastated by crime,” and was preceded by criticism of the institutions that “indoctrinate” young Americans “to think our country is racist and evil.”

The view of anti-Semitism at the RNC this week, then, has not treated it as a result of a foreign conflict, which can often leave the impression that the solution to it is “over there.” As mentioned above, the hostage whose family will be speaking tonight is American as well, one of several held by Hamas or Hamas-aligned Palestinian families in Gaza. The shocking neglect of these hostages by the administration has left the impression that somehow their Jewishness has made them less American. The belief that the Arab-Israeli conflict must be solved in order to fix anti-Semitism here at home leaves a similar taste in one’s mouth and treads perilously close to blaming Jews for their own suffering.

That this distinction is getting such a public airing at the Republican convention feels like a breakthrough for the Jewish community. Perhaps there exists the will to turn the corner on a difficult period for American Jewry.
Gadi Taub: The attempt on Trump’s life is a warning to Israel
After the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and the sudden “discovery” of the incitement that led to it, the Israeli cabinet got a grim reminder of just how much worse the incitement against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is.

With the recent American experience in mind, the prime minister opened a cabinet meeting with a 1:40 clip of wild incitement. Protesters, politicians, studio guests on TV, a veteran chief of a security service and others, spewed deranged invectives from the screen as the ministers watched in silence.

The clip contained explicit calls for violence. “Shoot him in the forehead,” said one woman on TV. “We are waiting for you with a noose! That’s what you deserve!” shouted another woman into a microphone to an ecstatic crowd at a demonstration. Another opined that Netanyahu must meet an end like former Romanian dictator Nikolai Ceausescu and Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Cancer, they said. Devil. “Worst enemy of the Jewish people in 2,000 years.” Traitor. Mass murderer. War criminal. “Bibi is Hamas.” Someone even used the term “tzorer,” usually reserved in modern Hebrew for Adolf Hitler.

Head of the opposition Yair Lapid dismissed the screening of the clip and told Netanyahu not to be a “crybaby.” The usual suspects in the press joined in and smirked at the publicity stunt.

The truth is that journalists are complicit in the incitement. They not only contribute their share of demonization; they also do not report about the growing chorus calling for political violence. This is exactly why Netanyahu used the cabinet meeting to showcase the collected video evidence.

How is it, then, that the same leftist elites who miss no opportunity to remind Israel that incitement against Yitzhak Rabin led to his assassination are now indifferent to incitement that is worse by several orders of magnitude? Do they not fear another political assassination?

The answer is that, in a strange way, by the upside-down emotional logic that the left has enshrined in our national mythology, the lesson of the Rabin assassination is actually a license to, not a prohibition against, incitement. That is if such incitement is directed at Netanyahu.
From Ian:

Seth Mandel: Israeli Victory Is So Close, Yet So Far
At the moment, the international community’s bandwidth to apply that pressure is limited. The debate between President Biden and former President Trump has changed everything. Democratic anxiety about Biden’s physical and mental decline has only increased. That decline was evident in the president’s NBC interview yesterday which, following images of Trump surviving an assassination attempt with his fist in the air, reignited the fury of center-left commentators who would normally be a public line of defense for the president against the attacks from progressives but who now believe keeping Biden as the nominee would be political suicide.

This has had the effect of defanging Biden on the global stage. Plus, his administration is now in survival mode anyway. Were there to be an attempt to pressure Israel into abandoning the corridor and allowing Hamas to rearm once again, it would be a feeble attempt indeed.

The key point is that no matter who ends up governing Gaza in the near or long term, that corridor has to be secured and/or neutralized. Egypt cannot be trusted to police that border crossing on its own.

The fact that the IDF is still dismantling tunnels a mile from Nahal Oz, and is finding out that some of the tunnels they’ve taken offline have been repaired, means the voices urging Israel out of Gaza must be ignored. Stay until the job is done. If it’s left unfinished, the price will be paid by Israel. Those without skin in the game cannot be allowed to do to what they did 20 years ago and allow Hamas to plant the seeds of unimaginable bloodshed.
A Potemkin façade is not a solution
Gaza was not occupied by Israel, as a matter of law or fact, on Oct. 7, 2023 when genocidal Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and committed rapes, kidnappings, sadistic murders and other atrocities.

Israel fully withdrew from Gaza in 2005, including any military presence and all Israeli residents. Moreover, the records of the United Nations reflect that any occupation of Gaza ended in 1994. Thereafter, the Palestinian Authority era began, as acknowledged and agreed to by the P.A.—including in a 2010 U.N.-sponsored agreement.

President George W. Bush provided Israel with several substantive assurances as an inducement for Israel to proceed with withdrawing from Gaza. The agreement is summarized in President Bush’s letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, dated April 14, 2014. It includes four critical provisions:
1. Palestinians must undertake an immediate cessation of armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere, and all official Palestinian institutions must end incitement against Israel.
2. The Palestinian leadership must act decisively against terror, including sustained, targeted and effective operations to stop terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.
3. The U.S. reaffirms its commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself by itself against any threat or possible combination of threats.
4. Israel retains its right to defend itself against terrorism, including proactively against terrorist organizations. Existing arrangements regarding control of airspace, territorial waters and land passages of Gaza are to continue.

The Bush-Sharon letter was, in effect, ratified by a near unanimous (95-3, with two absent) Senate resolution, dated June 24, 2004. Thus, it is arguably not just a binding executive agreement, but also U.S. law.

While Bush and Sharon were well-meaning and had the best of intentions and Sharon, the stark reality of the bad faith and ulterior motives of the P.A. and Hamas, as well as Hamas’s genocidal program, sabotaged their agreement. Hamas defeated P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party in the 2006 P.A. elections. Abbas maneuvered to retain power and a civil war ensued with Hamas seizing control of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas established Gaza as an armed camp in violation of the Oslo Accords and regularly attacked Israel. Now, there is the ongoing war triggered by the Oct. 7 massacre.
Netanyahu: Israel will defeat Hamas ‘neo-Nazi regime’ in Gaza
The Israel Defense Forces is making significant progress towards the total destruction of Hamas’s “neo-Nazi regime” in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the opposition during a Knesset debate on Wednesday.

“If it were up to you—in the opposition, the TV studios, the former officials—you would have given up a long time ago,” Netanyahu charged during a so-called 40 signatures debate, which 40 opposition lawmakers can call once a month and in which the premier is legally obliged to participate.

“You would end the war without eliminating commanders, without control of Rafah and the Philadelphi [Corridor], and [Hamas “military” leader] Mohammed Deif would walk around as a winner. Instead of dropping a bomb on him, you would give him a gas agreement in Gaza, just like you gave to [Hezbollah chief Hassan] Nasrallah in Lebanon,” Netanyahu said, in reference to the deal signed during opposition leader Yair Lapid’s 2022 premiership.

The premier stressed that, despite “enormous pressure at home and abroad, including from the United States,” he insisted on continuing the war and ramping up the IDF’s military actions against Hamas in Gaza.

“Many here, in the studios, and former officials, have said it is not possible to defeat Hamas. They said: ‘It’s an idea; you can’t beat an idea,'” Netanyahu continued, before noting that while “there are still neo-Nazis in Germany, but 80 years ago, they eliminated the Nazi regime.

“This is what we are going to do: Eliminate this neo-Nazi regime in Gaza. We are coming to eliminate the governmental and military capabilities of Hamas, and we are making progress towards this goal,” he said.

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are solely those of the author, weekly Judean Rose columnist Varda Meyers Epstein.

Donald Trump, right now, looks to be a shoo-in as the 47th president of the United States. Trump may even get the Jewish vote, traditionally—and staunchly—reserved for Democrats. The change of allegiance has less to do with Biden’s obvious physical and mental decline than his handling of issues important to Jews in the wake of October 7th. There’s a perception that as much as they hate to admit it, Trump will better defend Israel and the Jewish people. They are right, and arguably, the difference in policy boils down to how the two men view the creation of the State of Israel. Trump sees Israel as the rebirth of the ancient Jewish homeland, while Biden sees Israel as born in sin: a post-Holocaust haven for Jews that left Arabs homeless and stateless, and the region in perpetual conflict.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden’s understanding of Zionism as an escape hatch for the Jews was on full display as he helpfully defined the term “Zionist” for Speedy Morman during a July 12 interview:

Joe Biden: Look, Israel--if there weren't an Israel, every Jew in the world would be at risk, every Jew in the world would be at risk, and so there's a need for it to be strong and a need for Israel to be able to have, after World War II, the ability for Jews to have a place that was their own—that you don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, and the Zionist is about whether or not Israel is a safe haven for Jews because of their history of how they've been persecuted.

Speedy Morman: Are you a Zionist?

Joe Biden: Yes. Now you'll be able to make a lot out of that because people don't know what a Zionist is. Do you know what a Zionist is?

Speedy Morman: I just ask questions, I don't answer.


There is nothing in Joe Biden’s personal definition of Zionism as stated to Morman, to suggest that the Jewish people have any actual claim to Israel—only that after the Holocaust, the Jews needed a place, randomly, to hang up their hats where no one would bother them—a place exclusive to Jews, with Jews in charge, making the laws. The history of the Jews in Israel, according to Joe Biden, begins after the Holocaust. There is no other reason for Jews to live in Israel beyond the need for refuge and autonomy.

A collection of Joe Biden quotes on the Democratic Majority for Israel includes a more succinct expression of how Joe Biden sees Israel:

Israel must always exist because it’s the only ultimate guarantor of security of the Jewish people the world over.

This is the reason for Israel’s existence? Running from genocide? Security? Nothing about the Jews as the indigenous people of the land? No. It all goes back to Hitler and the Holocaust.

Barack Obama

Joe Biden comes by the concept of Israel as a modern (colonial, racist) phenomenon, honestly. His former boss—whom many suspect is currently running the White House by proxy—set the tone for all Democrats going forward, in his 2009 Cairo address to the Muslim world at large. The roots of the colonialist project that is Israel, is the Holocaust (emphasis added):

America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today.

It is really not subtle. He wants the Muslims to know he agrees with them. The Jews took Israel not because of any longstanding history, but because of the Holocaust. He as much as promised them that he would work to advance the narrative that the Jews had no other tragic history and no reason to come to Israel. No Babylonians, no Romans, no temples. No Inquisition.

As Elliot Abrams put it, “He seemed to ignore two millenia [sic] of Jewish longing for a return to Jerusalem.”

Einat Wilf would call him a “Zionism denier.” Wilf used the term in 2017 to describe Daniel Barenboim, a talented musician and Jew-hating Jew.

Daniel Barenboim is a Zionism denier. Zionism denial is the claim he raised in his opinion piece (“Germany is repaying its post-Holocaust debts to Israel – but not to the Palestinians,” June 8) saying that Israel exists because of the Holocaust.

Zionism denial is the story of how the State of Israel “was given” to the Jewish people by the guilt-ridden world after the Holocaust. Zionism denial is also the claim that the Palestinians are also the victims of Germany and Europe, for without the Holocaust, their catastrophe would have been avoided.

The upshot of Zionism denial is ignoring the history of the Zionist movement before World War II. The denier completely ignores the fact that save for the decisive aspect of independence, the State of Israel in the making would have existed in fact on the eve of World War II. Zionism denial means ignoring that the State of Israel arose on the force of the vision, desire and uncommon deeds of far-sighted Jews, who laid the foundations of its independence. . .

. . . Zionism denial is not only ignoring the pre-war history of Zionism but also a theft of the Zionist consciousness from the Jewish people – the recognition that Jews can, by force of vision, desire and work [to] return to history as an active agent and shape a future in which they are not the victims of others. Zionism denial means that the State of Israel becomes a “gift” that was given to the Jews because of what was done to the Jews by others – not for what the Jews did by and for themselves.

Worse than that, Zionism denial seeks to return the Jews to their “rightful” place in European history, as tolerated people whose fate is set by those who give and take as they please. Zionism denial turns Israel – alone among all countries in the world – into a conditional state, which is permitted to exist as long as those who received it, by grace and not by right, will find favor in the eyes who “gave” them the country.

Far from serving as the catalyst for the birth of the State of Israel, says Evyatar Friesel, the Holocaust almost brought labor—and the return to Zion—to a halt:  

It is widely believed that the catastrophe of European Jewry during World War II had a decisive influence on the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. According to this thesis, for the Jews the Holocaust triggered a supreme effort toward statehood, based on the understanding that only a Jewish state might again avoid the horrors of the 1940s. For the nations of the world, shocked by the horror of the extermination and burdened by feelings of guilt, the Holocaust convinced them that the Jews were entitled to a state of their own. All these assumptions seem extremely doubtful. They deserve careful re-examination in light of the historical evidence . . .

. . . Nevertheless, there was a point of contact and influence between the Holocaust and the creation of the Jewish state. It was, however, exactly the reverse of what is commonly assumed: the destruction of European Jewry almost rendered the birth of Israel impossible.

Bill de Blasio

The idea that Israel is a post-Holocaust land grab is mainstream Democrat policy. Listen for it whenever a Democrat speaks of being “pro-Israel.” It’s not about being in favor of the return to Zion, it’s the idea that Jews need a safe place. But because they’re evenhanded, Arabs deserve a safe place, too. Right in the same spot as the Jews, of course.

In one 2019 press conference, Bill de Blasio described what being pro-Israel means to him—giving the others the same thing:

To have a place that is a refuge for the Jewish people is absolutely necessary.

I believe 100 percent in protecting the state of Israel and I believe that the BDS movement – very misguided – is undermining the economy and the existence and the survival of the State of Israel. I also believe in a two-state solution, and I've always believed in a two-state solution. As president, I would work very hard for [a] two-state solution, which I think is still within reach. But I want to convince my fellow Democrats and fellow progressives who have moved in a different direction that they're making a mistake. I also want to say, that is by far a minority of the Democratic Party. The vast majority of the Democratic Party, the vast majority of Democratic office holders are pro-Israel.

J.D. Vance

Far from the Democratic party line erasure of Jewish history and ownership, the Republicans (except for a few nutcases like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene) embrace the return of the Jews to Zion. It’s a core Republican belief. J.D. Vance, Trump’s running mate, has attributed American support for Israel, to America being a Christian-majority country:

A big part of the reason why Americans care about Israel is because we are still the largest Christian-majority country in the world, which means that a majority of citizens of this country think that their Savior — and I count myself a Christian — was born and died and resurrected in that narrow little strip of territory on the Mediterranean. The idea that there is ever going to be an American foreign policy that doesn’t care a lot about that slice of the world is preposterous.

Donald Trump

Think of Donald Trump however you like or don’t like, but his views on Israel are nothing short of lyrical. He is inspired by the story of Israel. That comes through in this 2020 statement by Trump during a joint 2020 press conference with Israeli PM Netanyahu:

Israel is a light unto the world. The hearts and history of our people are woven together. The Land of Israel is an ancient home, a sacred place of worship, and a solemn promise to the Jewish people that we will never again repeat history’s darkest hour. . .

All humanity should be able to enjoy the glories of the Holy Land. This part of the world is forever connected to the human soul and the human spirit. These ancient lands should not be symbols of conflict but eternal symbols of peace.

Three years earlier, a visit to the Israel Museum a similar transformation had taken place, bringing out the poet in Donald. Yes, the Holocaust happened, Trump doesn't deny it, but there’s so much more to the return to Zion—a far wider, far holier history:

Jerusalem is a sacred city. Its beauty, splendor, and heritage are like no other place on Earth. What a heritage. What a heritage. The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel’s white and blue flag.

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Pence, too, has been known to wax lyrical about Israel:

Israel is like a tree that has grown deep roots in the soil of your forefathers, yet as it grows, it reaches ever closer to the heavens. And today and every day, the Jewish state of Israel, and all the Jewish people, bear witness to God’s faithfulness, as well as your own.

It was the faith of the Jewish people that gathered the scattered fragments of a people and made them whole again; that took the language of the bible and the landscape of the psalms and made them live again. And it was faith that rebuilt the ruins of Jerusalem and made them strong again.

Ron DeSantis

Former Trump competitor, Governor Ron DeSantis, goes even further, declaring that Jews have the right to settle in Judea and Samaria, that this is their land every bit as much as the rest of Israel. DeSantis laid out his policy—and what he believes should be the American policy on Israel—to Israel Hayom, when he was still in the running for the nomination:

I’m asked, “You’re a stalwart for Israel and a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. Why, why Israel?”

Well, it’s something that’s personal to my wife, Casey. And to me, it comes from our faith in God. It comes from the visits, and I’ve done a number of visits to Israel over the years where you can walk with a Bible in your hand…Where people like David and Jesus stood thousands and thousands of years ago. The bible comes to life when you’re in Israel.

It also comes from us knowing historical facts and historical truth about the thousands and thousands of years of connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. It comes from us knowing that the United States and Israel are in the same fight against the same tyrannical forces, including forces fueled by international terrorism.

We also have to reject the Biden administration’s attempt to force a two-state solution with pre-1967 borders. First of all, those borders are indefensible. They want to carve up Jerusalem and all that. But here’s the thing, you can’t do peace with people that don’t believe you have a right to exist as a Jewish state. And we must...reject the notion that somehow Judea and Samaria are occupied territory, the connections with the Jewish people go back thousands of years, and they have every right to have very strong communities in those areas.

Now in terms of Judea and Samaria, I’ve always rejected this idea that it’s occupied territory. I mean, these are some of the most historic Jewish lands going all the way back to biblical times. Yes, there was a partition plan with the UN in the 1940s. But the Arabs rejected the Partition Plan. It’d be one thing if they accepted it. Israel was willing to accept, they rejected it. And then they chose to wage war for many decades.

And so it’s not occupied territory. It is disputed territory, and I think Israel’s claim is the most superior in terms of anybody else for it.

Jerusalem is in fact, going back thousands of years, the eternal capital of the Jewish people. U.S. policy should recognize the truth.

Where Republicans see ancient holiness and the bible coming true, highly-placed Democrats like Joe Biden and Obama before him see the State of Israel as a modern-day bastard child born of the Holocaust. The idea of Israel is, to them, an illegitimate construct that perpetuates Arab misery. They don’t say it, but academics on campus are saying it—they can say what presidents can’t—that the suffering of Israelis is brought on only by themselves—including what happened on October 7 and the resulting rampant antisemitism now affecting Jews across the globe.

Joe Biden was all but assured the Jewish vote until October 7 changed everything. Now there is a perception that Biden is doing little to free the hostages and slow-walking arms to Israel. Biden props up Iran and its proxy Hamas, even as rampant antisemitism sweeps across the United States, and with Biden doing nothing to stop it. His vapid replacement, Vice President Kamala "You can't make shit with flour if you don't have clean water," Harris, is no better, in addition to being a figure both widely and wildly disliked.

Harry S. Truman

It wasn’t always this way with the Democrats. In fact, the first world leader to recognize the fledgling State of Israel was a Democrat. And in subsequent years, such as in his 1959 filmed address to the 45th national convention of Hadassah, when President Harry S. Truman spoke about Israel, he spoke not of the Holocaust, but of faith:

I had faith in Israel before it was established. I have faith in it now. I believe it has a glorious future before it not just as another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.



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The New York Times reports:

When Marvel Studios announced two years ago that it had cast the Israeli actress Shira Haas to play Sabra, a superhero Mossad agent, in its next “Captain America” film, the news was cheered by Israelis and denounced by Palestinians.

The studio said at the time that the makers of the film, “Captain America: Brave New World,” would be “taking a new approach to the character,” but did not elaborate.

The contours of that reimagined character became clearer on Friday when Marvel released a trailer of the upcoming film. The accompanying announcement made no mention of Sabra as an agent of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, as she is depicted in comic books, but described her as “a high-ranking U.S. government official.” 
Remember how upset people get when actors are cast who don't fit the racial or genetic profile of their characters? This may be the first time that an actor was chosen to fit the role, and then they change the role so that the actor's national origin no longer matters.

Anyway, this part of the article is bizarre:
It was not clear whether Sabra — alter ego: Ruth Bat-Seraph — still has Israeli origins in the movie, as her superhero name suggests. “Sabra” is a Hebrew word for a local cactus bush that doubles as an affectionate term for native Israelis. It also the name of a refugee camp in Lebanon where Palestinians were massacred in 1982 by a Christian militia while Israeli troops stood by, though the superhero predated that event. 
"Sabra" is the name of a brand of condiments. It used to be the name of a Japanese men's magazine.  It is a name of a genus of moths. It is also the name of several towns as well as a church in Sweden.




Except for the hummus, none of them have any relationship with the word Sabra used in the comics. And neither does the refugee camp in Lebanon. 

The only reason that the Sabra refugee camp was mentioned is to gratuitously blame Israel for the massacre, which has nothing at all to do with the Sabra character. 

Many idiotic Israel haters claimed that the character was named after the massacre. The New York Times wanted to give the readers that same impression, before discounting it. 







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Last month, UNRWA chief  Philippe Lazzarini said:
Attacking, targeting or using UN buildings for military purposes are a blatant disregard of International Humanitarian law. UN staff, premises and operations must be protected at all times.

Since the war in Gaza began, over 180 Unrwa buildings were hit and more than 450 displaced people were killed as a result.

Unrwa shares the coordinates of all its facilities (including this school) with the Israeli Army and other parties to the conflict.

Targeting UN premises or using them for military purposes cannot become the new norm. This must stop and all those responsible must be held accountable.
Does international law give UN facilities any additional protections beyond what all civilian objects receive?

From reading recent articles about Israel striking Hamas members in UN facilities, that seems to be the impression given. For example, NPR said, "Striking U.N. facilities is prohibited under international law. But Israel argues that Hamas' use of those facilities also violates international law and makes them a legitimate target." The use of the word "also" makes it sound like Israel's argument is that it admits that hitting the UN facilities violates international law but that the law doesn't apply in this case, when that is not Israel's argument. Israel says that when Hamas uses those facilities, they are no longer considered civilian. 

It doesn't make sense that UN facilities should be more protected than, say, a non-UN school or a mosque. If it is hosting terrorists or military assets, it becomes a military asset.

A 2017 paper published by the US Naval War College deals with exactly this point. "The Limits of Inviolability:The Parameters for Protection of United Nations Facilities during Armed Conflict" examines when UN facilities become legal to attack.

UN facilities around the world enjoy protections enshrined in the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (CPIUN). In particular, Article 3 affirms that “the premises of the United Nations shall be inviolable.” This protection helps to enable the UN—and its many components, agencies and other offshoots—to carry out the critical work of protecting, feeding and supporting individuals and communities around the world in tense and violent situations. At the same time, in situations of armed conflict, LOAC governs the conduct of hostilities, including the targeting of persons and objects and the protection of civilians, the civilian population, civilian objects, and specially-designated objects from attack. The interplay between these two legal frameworks provides the foundation for understanding the protection of UN premises during armed conflict—and the limits of that protection. 

The 58-page paper analyzes various situations that apply directly to the current war:

UN facilities that are used for military purposes will become military objectives and liable to attack, like any other civilian object. Indeed, the claim of absolute inviolability rests on the incorrect notion that there are some objects that can never be attacked, notwithstanding the fact that one side is using them to launch attacks or for other military purposes. LOAC simply does not include such a concept as “never target.” 

Rather, the analysis under Article 52(2) of Additional Protocol I centers on whether the use of the object in question makes an effective contribution to military action—the first part of the definition of military objective—and whether its destruction, capture or neutralization offers a definite military advantage. Many of the examples reported during the 2014 Gaza conflict and earlier conflicts—storing weapons in residential buildings, schools, mosques, churches or hospitals; and launching rockets from in or near civilian buildings—fit directly within this construct. As the U.S. Department of Defense’s Law of War Manual states, “objects that contain military objectives are military objectives,” including storage and production sites for military equipment (which certainly includes mortars and rockets) and buildings or other facilities “in which combatants are sheltering or billeting.”  For example, the 2014 UN Board of Inquiry examining incidents from the 2014 Gaza conflict noted that in one incident, where Israeli forces destroyed portions of an UNRWA school being used as an observation post and command and control structure, Israeli forces found “a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operational map and other military equipment” in the school.

The author's conclusion is that the inviobility of UN facilities is not absolute, and in fact essentially the same as for any civilian objects under the laws of armed conflict (LOAC.)

LOAC provides the appropriate analytical legal tools to understand the protections UN facilities enjoy during armed conflict and the limits of those protections. Beyond the formal relationship between the privileges and immunities law of the UN and LOAC and aside from the inherent limits on the CPIUN’s application to military operations, LOAC’s framework demonstrates precisely why absolute inviolability, even in the face of military use, cannot be the rule for UN facilities or any other protected objects during armed conflict. Each of the protections, obligations and rules examined above contribute directly to and form the foundation for LOAC’s core goal of protecting civilians during conflict. They also represent the delicate balance between military necessity and humanity that lies at the heart of LOAC. Interpreting rights, obligations and protections during conflict in a manner contrary to LOAC’s core purposes will only serve to exacerbate suffering during conflict, thus undermining the law’s central objective of enabling “armed forces to achieve their strategic military objective while mitigating, to the extent feasible, the humanitarian suffering re-sulting from armed conflict.” If UN facilities are absolutely inviolable with regard to both attacks and use for military purposes, there is no mechanism to protect against the use and exploitation of such facilities for military purposes. First, the prohibitions against such use are insufficiently enforced. Second, the armed groups and armed forces that engage in such improper use are clearly not concerned about LOAC compliance or any possible public condemnation. Third, such groups gain an unreasonable operational benefit as a result if they can shield their military forces and equipment from attack; and fourth, these groups reap a substantial propaganda windfall in the event of any attack on their forces, equipment or positions near or in such facilities because the attacking party automatically faces public condemnation and criminal responsibility. 

Inviolability of UN facilities in all locations and situations is essential. However, the idea of absolute immunity, as framed by many responses to damage to UN facilities in Gaza, runs counter to the very framework of LOAC, which balances the protection for certain sites (such as hospitals or religious and cultural property) with the legitimate needs of military operations in the face of fighters abusing that protection. Although the urge to demand that such inviolability be absolute is understandable, granting protection to those misusing protected sites ultimately harms only the civilians in desperate need of the UN’s services.

Those complaining about Israeli strikes on UN facilities that are hiding Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists rarely express any condemnation of the misuse of those facilities that force Israel to attack to begin with. 

(h/t Irene)



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  • Wednesday, July 17, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon


Foreign Policy published an opinion piece by Daniel Levy, co-founder of J-Street, and Tony Karon of Al Jazeera.

Originally titled "Expel Israel From FIFA", its subhead shows that the authors support BDS.

The article itself is insane, hateful propaganda. It even celebrates harassing Israeli soccer players.
Scottish protesters harassed the Israeli squad from the moment it landed in Glasgow, posting social media videos of the players in IDF uniforms during their military service, demonstrating outside the team’s hotel, and preventing them training in the stadium. The Israeli players could hear the shouts of the protesters from outside the ground in the silent stadium. 

“We had to scream the national anthem because the Scots didn’t play it on the stadium loudspeaker,” one Israeli player told Haaretz.

The Glasgow Euro 2025 qualifier match demonstrated that continuing to defer action on Israel could pose a growing risk of disruption for global soccer—and showed that fans possess a form of leverage that may be more effective than formal pleas to the FIFA council. 

Notice that the article supports disrupting the normal lives of Israeli athletes, and also argues that the Israeli teams should be banned because they are the source of the disruptions.  It is an argument for mob rule.  

The article is a classic case of the propaganda technique of "thinking past the sale" - treating lies as settled fact and making people think more about what the consequences should be for Israel doing horrible things rather than proving that Israel does those awful things tgo begin with.

In this article alone, it is stated as fact that Israel is a genocidal regime hell-bent on destroying the Palestinian people, that it is an apartheid regime comparable to South Africa, that it is a settler-colonialist state, that it illegally occupies Palestinian  territory, and that it employs starvation as a weapon of war. These are all disgusting lies and libels that cannot stand scrutiny. But the propaganda technique sneaks these lies past the reader's defenses by changing the argument from evidence for those slanders to asking how Israel must be penalized for doing things it has never done. 

The same technique is used in movies and novels that frame monstrous Israeli actions that never happen as everyday occurrences. It sneaks in the antisemitic lies straight to the reader's and viewer's subconsciousness. 

There is not a word about Hamas' attack on October 7, not a word about Hamas using civilians as human shields, not a word about Hamas promises to continue its own explicitly genocidal campaign against Jews. Israel is framed as having started the war. Foreign Policy should be ashamed to publish such unabashed propaganda as an opinion piece. 

J-Street claims to be against BDS and pro-Israel. They have a FAQ defending previous statements by Levy, defending him as a Zionist. And although it is not clear that Levy is still part of their advisory council, they still link to even his more recent articles as representing their viewpoint.

Because J-Street is not a pro-Israel organization. It is a gateway drug to BDS and rabid hate for the Jewish state. 




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  • Wednesday, July 17, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon



Earlier this week, I wrote, "Anti-Israelism has all the trappings of a cult. It demands total loyalty, it restricts what activities are allowed for its members, it limits communications with outsiders, and those who dare leave the cult are subjected to vicious attacks on social media. " And as I wrote there, it also has a set of quasi-religious rules as to what behavior is praiseworthy and which (i.e., buying products associated with Israel)  is wicked.

Commenter Zvi added, 

Not just the trappings.

* Isolating members and penalizing them for leaving (e.g. BDS)
* Seeking inappropriate loyalty to their leaders
* Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
* No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
* No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statements.
* Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies, and persecutions.
* There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
* The group/leader is always right.
* The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
* Designation of another religion or race as the Enemy of the World
* Grooming and active recruitment, using lies
* Active and conscious brainwashing activity, chanting, thought-stopping, etc.
* Active and conscious intimidation of opponents (in this case with extreme violence)

While it might not fit the textbook definition of a cult (cults usually have a single charismatic leader, for example) anti-Israelism has any things in common with cults.

I could add to Zvi's list a couple of other things, like demanding that members sign "pledges" to keep them psychologically under the thumb of their philosophy.

The repetitive chanting, call-and-response, heard at their demonstrations and even their meetings is a form of brainwashing. When people not only hear lies but are prompted to repeat them, they become the truth to them. 

Even when the groups disagree with each other - which is inevitable, because socialism and Islamism do not mix very well - they are careful not to air their differences in public. The impression of unity is a hugely important component of their messaging - they are on the "right side of history" and theymust avoid the scrutiny that proves that, for example, they are supporting the worst violators of human rights in the name of human rights. 

All of these explain how these cult-like groups keep therie members. But how do they attract them to begin with?

This short Ted-Ed video about cults includes part of the answer:

A typical cult requires a high level of commitment from its members and maintains a strict hierarchy, separating unsuspecting supporters and recruits from the inner workings.

It claims to provide answers to life's biggest questions through its doctrine, along with the required recipe for change that shapes a new member into a true believer.

And most importantly, it uses both formal and informal systems of influence and control to keep members obedient,with little tolerance for internal disagreement or external scrutiny.

...Cults are skilled at knowing whom to target, often focusing on those new to an area, or who have recently undergone some personal or professional loss.

Loneliness and a desire for meaning make one susceptible to friendly people offering community. In fact, more than two-thirds of cult members are recruited by a friend, family member, or co-worker whose invitations are harder to refuse.

Once in the cult, members are subjected to multiple forms of indoctrination. Some play on our natural inclination to mimic social behaviors or follow orders. Other methods may be more intense, using techniques of coercive persuasion involving guilt, shame, and fear. And in many cases, members may willingly submit out of desire to belong and to attain the promised rewards.

The cult environment discourages critical thinking, making it hard to voice doubts when everyone around you is modeling absolute faith. The resulting internal conflict, known as cognitive dissonance, keeps you trapped,  as each compromise makes it more painful to admit you've been deceived.

People going away from home to college for the first time are ripe for picking by the anti-Israelism cult. They are thrust into an unfamiliar environment, with few friends, and new pressures. Those who do not have a strong spiritual life already find themselves seeking something to make their lives meaningful. (People with deep faith tend to be well adjusted.)  

As Stephen Hawking once said, humanity "is just a chemical scum on a moderate-size planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies". When faith is out of the picture, many people yearn  to find a substitute where they feel that their lives matter. 

Hating Israel is a perfect solution for those who need the benefits of belonging to a faith group without the faith. Calling it "human rights"  the same moral force as religion, and allows members to feel morally superior to others, especially the sinners/Jews. People who join feel instant acceptance and love in their new family, which eventually demands more and more of a commitment to help "free Palestine."   It is a powerful lure to make people think that they are not selfish but trying to make the world better. As long as they don't think too hard on exactly how their chants of "Intifada Revolution" helps anyone. 

The call and response method of the chanting seems to come directly from African American spirituals and gospel music. It is another substitute for religion that uses the methodology of faith groups to keep people involved. Because without faith, real or pseudo, life is meaningless. 

There are other factors, of course. If the media would report the news fairly then more people would be equipped to resist the lure of the cult. The progressive mindset that everyone is either an oppressor or oppressed, and that  Jews cannot be oppressed, is a big part of this as well/. But there is a reason the vast majority of the protesters are college-age students - they are the ones who are most attracted to the idea of joining a cause that makes them feel morally superior without serious consequences for their behavior, at least not while on campus. 



 



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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Art and antisemitism
The RA deserves credit for promptly withdrawing these exhibits once these concerns were made known to it; later yesterday, others had also registered similar objections. But how awful — although in today’s savage climate of Jew-hatred, not alas surprising — that young people should have been programmed with these lies, and that the cultural establishment thought nothing was wrong with them.

And it’s far from clear that the RA has really got the point even now. It has understood that these exhibits risked “causing undue upset and could put people at risk”. But there’s no sign that it has understood the truly monstrous nature of the blood libels, demonisation of Israel and Jew-hatred that it chose to include in its celebration of youthful creativity.

And indeed a third piece, by Michael Sandle RA entitled “The mass slaughter of defenceless women and children is not how you deradicalise Gaza,” depicting a faceless and thus dehumanised pilot in an aircraft bearing a Star of David against a background of bodies in burial shrouds, is on display in the RA’s Summer Exhibition.

These examples of the hijacking of art by murderous lies are a further deeply sad illustration of the hateful and self-destructive madness that has overtaken Britain and the west.
Alan Johnson: ‘Little Short of Lunatics’: Post-Trotsky Trotskyism and the Radical Left’s Degenerate Response to 7 October
These ‘old and outlived formulas’ of post-Trotsky Trotskyism have been exercising an underappreciated influence on the wider left for a long time. Judith Butler, perhaps the most globally influential left academic cultural theorist, tells her students that ‘Understanding Hamas and Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important.’ Jeremy Corbyn, one-time leader of the Labour Party, no less, spent four years educating the UK left that Hamas and Hezbollah are our ‘friends’, political forces ‘dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about long-term peace and social justice and political justice in the whole region’. The ostensibly ‘left-wing’ marchers who paraded some years ago through European cities waving placards declaring ‘We Are All Hezbollah!’ expressed all four bad ideas in just four words. Since 7 October we have watched marchers wave banners depicting a Star of David being drowned in the Mediterranean sea (without one steward or marcher objecting). We have even seen American students at Pamona College create a shrine, complete with teddy bears, for the Hamas ‘insurgents who have died’ [31]

So while the song may remain the same, a lot more people are singing it today. Just as in an earlier era, when the Trotskyists said palpably barbaric anti-working class tyrannies were really ‘workers states’ to be defended unconditionally against ‘Imperialism’; just as when a wider revolutionary new left said vicious reactionary sub-imperialist predators had really been ‘anti-imperialists’ to be cheered on to victory; so today an even broader ‘left’ is responding to the worst antisemitic pogrom since the Holocaust with calls for two, three, many 7 Octobers which they fantasise will be a global ‘intifada-revolution’.

It is clear there is now a critical mass of emboldened western pogromists-in-waiting, largely concentrated in the Islamist movements and parts of the communities that sustain those movements. It is also clear that some well-funded, organised and increasingly influential parts of the global left are fully signed up to the role of pogrom-apologists-in-waiting. I think they have been readied for this role in no small part by the malign and spreading influence of the cluster of bad ideas derived from post-Trotsky Trotskyism that have been discussed in this essay: that the world is made up of two-camps, that the left’s role is to unconditionally defend whoever is shooting at the Imperialist camp, that that shooting turns the apparently reactionary into the objectively progressive, and that ever ‘stranger forces’ can substitute for the missing socialist and democratic working class movement. The political lunatics are on the march.
Hen Mazzig: We need our Israeli hero: what is Marvel’s end game?
The erasure of Sabra’s Jewish identity is also a slap in the face to the American Jews who literally invented the comic book superhero genre. Superman, the first superhero, was invented by two Jewish American kids during the Great Depression. Superman’s original name, Kal-El, means “all is God” in Hebrew. Famously, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster weren’t recognised for their contribution for decades, but eventually gained the credit they were due.

Superman, Batman, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the entire Avengers franchise and the X-Men — all of these characters, and arguably the superhero genre itself, were pioneered by Jews as a way to inspire kids that good will prevail over evil.

Back in the 1930s, American Jews learned in horror of the fate of their European brethren but could do little to help as the United States staunchly refused to allow Jewish refugees until years after the Holocaust. Facing a rising tide of xenophobia and antisemitism at home, they also faced the terrible choice of assimilating for their safety. Many changed their names, forgot Yiddish, and became less observant due to these pressures.

The pantheon of superheroes they created knew no such criticisms, yet they still led double lives. Like the Jews who wrote their stories, the heroes gave the appearance of being unthreatening in their day-to-day lives, careful never to draw too much attention to themselves. The moment trouble struck, however, they shed their meek disguises and saved the world.

You might argue that now that Jews have a state, we have less need to invent fictional protectors. But Jews are currently engaged in a fight for the survival of Israel, after the worst attack it has ever suffered. At the same time, we are fighting for our right to be publicly Jewish in the diaspora, a right that is already, in many places, tragically fading.

Reportedly, Marvel’s decision came following a test screening of the new movie, a surprise to nobody who is paying attention; Israelis and Jews are not liked by the populist movement.

And herein lies the core of the plot; superheroes exist not to cave to the same pressures afflicting their human counterparts, but to do what is right even when the world doesn’t see it. Luckily, we have no shortage of Jewish and Israeli heroes, including the hundreds who have given their lives defending Israel since October 7, and the returned hostages who continue to advocate tirelessly for the release of the 120 still suffering in Hamas captivity.

Still, what we need right now are more proudly Israeli, proudly Jewish characters represented on screen. We certainly cannot afford to erase the identities of the few heroes we do have. The fate of the world depends on it.
Israelis don't need Marvel to show them what heroes are
Israel has its own heroes
True Israeli heroes have not been given super soldier serums or been bitten by radioactive spiders. They are in our workplaces, at our universities, walking past us in the streets. They have the mild mannered personas of a lawyer and father of four, a film student, or a wine salesman. When given the signal, they don olive green uniforms, and abandon their lives to fight against cultish terrorist organizations.

What inspires Israelis is not dictated by the whims of Disney's political correctness or Marvel's ironic cowardice, but by the actions of heroes like Arnon Zamora, the Counterterrorism Unit commando Chief Inspector who gave his life to rescue the Hamas hostages Shlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov, Almog Meir, and Noa Argamani on June 8. Israelis don't need others to depict them as heroes when its is Lior Levi, a MDA paramedic who treated the October 7 wounded while under gunfire that best represents the nation. It is people like Bedouin gas station attendant Masad Armilat, who rushed out to rescue wounded victims and outwit Hamas terrorists, that show that anyone can be a hero.

Israelis and Jews would undoubtedly enjoy seeing an Israeli superhero on the big screen, but they do not need Marvel or Disney representation to inspire them to heroism. However, perhaps Marvel Studios should take notes from Israel to ensure that it successfully depicts valor -- the country is full of super heroes. Excelsior.
From Ian:

Major (Ret) John Spencer: What the ICC Gets Wrong about Israel
Rather than argue that the IDF did not do all the above measures, pundits either cherry pick from the practices, or like the Department of State report acknowledges, make assumptions without access to needed information. They also interpret the effects of IDF operations, irrelevant of the context of each action, to say it does not matter because the IDF measures have been ineffective based on their own kabuki dance of statistics they can cite. Many of these groups also cite a standard of civilian harm mitigation measures, like the new Department of Defense policy, that no military has yet followed especially in a conventional war. Regardless of the facts, critics frame the fighting by comparing the war in Gaza to single battles, in a counterinsurgency or counterterrorist campaign, that do not have nearly the same military challenges.

Again, to its credit, the IDF managed to successfully evacuate over 850,000 civilians out of 1 million people (85 to 90%) in Northern Gaza before the heaviest fighting began and now in Rafah there are reports of temporary evacuation to a high degree of percentage. These percentages are consistent with urban warfare history that show that no matter the effort, about 10 percent of populations stay.

The majority of the criticism and condemnation of Israel’s actions in Gaza focuses on the combatant to civilian ratio in the war. But even that metric does not show that the IDF have not been effective in reducing civilian harm given the context of the size, disposition (i.e. tunnels under civilian areas), and tactics of Hamas.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry estimate of over 36,000 civilian deaths does not acknowledge a single Hamas fighter death. It also does not distinguish if a civilian died due to the misfiring – estimated between 10% to 20% — of the more than 13,000 rockets fired by Hamas or other terrorists that have landed inside Gaza. Nor does the figure account for the killing of civilians by Hamas or any deaths by natural causes. Literally, this figure just counts every death in Gaza since October 7th.

Israel now publicly estimates it has killed around 15,000 Hamas operatives. Common sense would subtract the IDF estimate of Hamas fighters from the Hamas Gaza Health Ministry total deaths in Gaza to get 21,000 civilian deaths according to Hamas. That would be a 1 to 1.5 or 1.6 ratio. But even the Gaza Health Ministry recently announced they had incomplete data for over 11,000 and cannot provide the names of more than 10,000 of their reported 38,000 deaths. This acknowledgement was followed weeks later by the United Nation acknowledging over 10,000 names were unverifiable and of those names accounted for, the number of women and children was less than 50% previously reported by the Gaza Health Ministry.

So, combined with Hamas’ historic practice of exaggerating casualty figures, the combatant-to-civilian death ratio is more likely one to one, which would be historically low for high intensity urban warfare.

Consider the 2016-2017 Battle of Mosul, the biggest urban battle since the Second World War. The U.S.-led Iraqi Security Force operation led to the death of 9,000 to 11,000 civilians in order to take out 3,000 to 5,000 ISIS combatants in the city. That is a 1 to 2.5 combatant to civilian death ratio. Perhaps the 1945 Battle of Manila is a more apt comparison, given its variables similar to Gaza, like high number of defenders, tunnels, and hostages. During that American operation, 100,000 civilians were killed to defeat 17,000 Japanese defenders. That is a one to six combatant-to-civilian ratio. Or take the 1950 Second Battle of Seoul, another battle with similar variables to the war in Gaza, when American forces likely killed tens of thousands to destroy the 8,000 North Korean enemy defenders and recapture the city. There is no record of how many civilians died in the city battle out of the estimated 2 million-plus civilians who perished in the war.

So, applying all the numbers available, the IDF’s 1-to-1.5 if not one-to-one combatant-to-civilian ratio would be considered more humane than almost any other battle, past or modern, in urban warfare with even remotely similar conditions. Before the war in Gaza, the United Nations and many other international organizations regularly stated that civilians accounted for ninety percent of the casualties of modern urban wars.
The UN’s illegal occupation of Jerusalem
June 5, 2024, marked the 57th anniversary of the U.N.’s occupation of Government House in Jerusalem.

Before the termination of the British Mandate in 1948, the Government House complex, deliberately erected by the British in the 1930s on the commanding heights of the southern Jerusalem ridge overlooking the Old City, was a symbol of British rule.

Between 1949 and 1967 this area complex was acknowledged as a no-man’s-land per the Israel-Jordan armistice of April 1949. On June 5, 1967, at 10:45 am, the Jordanian army opened fire on Jewish Jerusalem despite then-Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s attempt through the offices of the U.N. to persuade Jordan not to become involved in the hostilities.

The Jordanians subsequently captured Jebel Mukhaber and by 2:10 pm had seized Government House. In the battle to retake the complex from this illegal occupation, the IDF lost 21 soldiers—testified to by the memorial plaque on the Hass Promenade.

Having pushed out the Jordanians at great cost in lives, the Israeli government procrastinated—as shown in documents found in the State Archives—as to what should happen to the complex. The government failed to show its mettle and disregarded that the complex had been the prestigious headquarters of the Mandate. It should have been incorporated into Jerusalem to serve as the official residence of the president of Israel like the White House in Washington, the Élysée Palace in Paris or the Kremlin in Moscow.

Unfortunately, the Israeli government retained the galut mentality of cowering before the nations of the world instead of exhibiting self-confidence and pride. Were they afraid of offending the King of Jordan or the defeated Arab states? Or were they kowtowing to the “great” powers?

The U.N. was immediately permitted to reoccupy the complex without negotiations, lease or any other quasi-legal conditions.

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