Sunday, May 16, 2021

  • Sunday, May 16, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

This has been a rough few weeks for Israel, between the Lag B'Omer tragedy and the collapsing balcony today. Along with a few thousand rockets from some garden variety antisemites. 

Let's learn some Torah!

Because I am in the Diaspora, I will not be blogging or tweeting until Tuesday night. 

Chag kosher v'sameach! 

  • Sunday, May 16, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
The antisemitism that has been unleashed in the past week has been horrific and widespread. 

In Belgium, crowds screamed "Khybar, Khybar, oh Jews, the army of Mohammed will return" - a direct call to genocide of Jews.

In New York, a Jewish man is beaten and bloodied during an anti-Israel rally and others scream "Fuck you!" to him as he sought safety in a store.

In Toronto, a Jewish man is beaten with sticks during an anti-Israel rally.

At a London anti-Israel rally, a man literally jumps on top of Jonathan Hoffman's head.

On Finchley Road, London, this morning, a car with a loudspeaker broadcast, ""Fuck the Jews"  "Fuck their daughters"  "Fuck their mothers" "Rape their daughters" ...and "Free Palestine."

Also in the UK, a "messianic synagogue" in Norwich was sprayed with graffiti saying "Kike/Free Palestine" and a swastika.

The amount of pure antisemitism in social media is unreal. Every minute there are new tweets comparing Jews (not Israelis - Jews) to Nazis, or that Hitler was right, all day and all night.

Not to mention a Pakistani actress with 1.2 million followers admiringly shared a fake Hitler quote, "'I would have killed all the Jews of the world… but I kept some to show the world why I killed them."  To make it clear, she added, "Free Palestine."

This isn't about Gaza.  We've never seen such hate after any Western action in Syria or Afghanistan. No British crowds marching through malls to protest airstrikes in Iraq.

This is bigotry in its most ugly, rawest form. 

Gaza is an excuse to find a socially acceptable way to publicly express Jew-hatred while pretending that your hate is righteous.

And while it is more subtle, that is exactly what is behind nearly all the obsessive hate of Israel we see every day of every year.  Nothing else explains this level of hate, and clearly it isn't because of the supposed victims - Arab persecution of Palestinians is ignored by the anti-Israel crowd as well. 

The way we know that anti-Zionism is antisemitism is that the anti-Israel Leftists who swear up and down that they are against antisemitism have not said a word about these incidents. And certainly none of them have popped up and said they would protect the Jewish right to counter-protest or even walk around unmolested.

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The pathology of evil
As the funeral was being held in the Israeli town of Kiryat Gat today for five year old Ido Avigal, whose mother and sister were wounded in the rocket strike from Gaza, Palestinian war criminals fired projectiles at the town forcing the mourners to take cover. According to the Kan public broadcaster, the timing of the rocket fire was clearly aimed at disrupting the funeral since Kiryat Gat has not been a regular target during the current fighting.

This was a war crime. All two thousand or so missiles that the Arabs have been raining down at Israel from Gaza over the last week are war crimes because they are intended to murder civilians. Hamas and their fellow jihadi attackers are guilty furthermore of a second set of war crimes in using their own civilians as hostages and human shields by deliberately siting their missile launchers, ammunition dumps and other infrastructure of war in and around apartment blocks, hospitals and schools.

Yet in most of the media coverage in Britain and America, there is virtually no mention of these Palestinian war crimes. Instead, Israel is being presented as the wanton slayer of Palestinian children.

The Hamas-run health ministry today put the Gaza death toll at 119, of whom 27 were minors.

Israel has consistently said that about one third of the now almost 2,000 Hamas rockets aimed at Israeli civilians in recent days have fallen short and landed in Gaza, some of them killing Palestinians.

Now Hamas itself has admitted that its own rockets have been killing its own people. The Gaza NGO “Defence for Children International - Palestine” says that eight Palestinians, including two children, died in a Hamas rocket attack. And on Tuesday alone, according to Palestinian NGOs, Hamas rockets killed 16 Gazans including eight children.

Yet British and US media have been misleading the public into believing that the entire Gaza death toll is the result of Israeli strikes. Not only is this media falsehood inflaming general anti-Israel sentiment, but it is also exacerbating the hysterical, paranoid and even murderous hatred of Israel among Muslims.

The media is refusing to acknowledge the fact that, far from bombing civilian targets indiscriminately as it implies, Israeli forces are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid unnecessary loss of civilian life.
Avi Bell and Eugene Kontorovich (WSJ): Almost Nothing You've Heard about Evictions in Jerusalem Is True
The narrative of Israel's critics connects Hamas' current onslaught to eviction proceedings in Israeli courts concerning a few properties in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

The truth about Sheikh Jarrah is that it involves an ordinary property dispute between private parties. The Jewish claimants' ownership of the few plots of land has been confirmed repeatedly in court, following laws that apply equally regardless of ethnicity. Israeli courts have gone out of their way to avoid evicting the Palestinian residents who haven't paid rent for half a century.

In the case now before Israel's Supreme Court, the owner is an Israeli corporation with Jewish owners whose chain of title is documented back to an original purchase in 1875. Until 1948, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was home to both Jewish and Arab communities. Then Jordan invaded Israel and occupied half of Jerusalem, expelling every one of its Jewish inhabitants and seizing their property.

This case has nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. The only discrimination in the legal treatment of Sheikh Jarrah property is historic, by Jordan, and against Jews to the benefit of Palestinians.

The plaintiffs have spent four decades in court seeking to recover possession of the properties. In the latest lawsuits, the courts ruled that four of the eight defendants were squatters with no legal rights to the land, and the remaining four were descendants of tenants who had never paid rent. Nevertheless, Israeli courts have treated the Palestinians as "protected tenants," and would shield them from eviction indefinitely if they paid rent. They have refused to do so.

Israeli courts adjudicate property disputes in Jerusalem between Arab parties, or by Arabs against Jews, with no protest. There is only one objection in this case: the owners are Jews. The manufactured controversy this time is an attempt to pressure Israel effectively to perpetuate Jordan's ethnic cleansing - in the name of human rights.
Richard Kemp: Trumpets and Tank Engines: A Turning Point in Gaza?
Hamas is no match for the IDF and could be quickly and much more cheaply defeated by blunt and crushing military force were it not for one thing — the Israeli need to minimise loss of civilian life. Hamas know that.

Over many years of conflict in Gaza, the majority of the world's media have enthusiastically reported the deaths of Palestinian civilians as though they were the deliberate object of Israel's callous and uncaring way of war. This blatantly false propaganda has been taken up by Hamas supporters and "useful idiots" in the West.... Human rights groups around the world have been doing the same.

The wilful ignorance combined with malice has always been breathtaking. Every commission of inquiry determined Israel's guilt before it even met for the first time.

Every debate and vote has overwhelmingly and of course falsely affirmed Israel's supposed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Meanwhile Hamas's actual multiple war crimes have been brushed aside.

[T]he IDF did all they could to ensure minimum loss of civilian life by selecting targets where the lowest levels of innocents would be harmed.... As in previous conflicts in Gaza the IDF has made radio broadcasts in Arabic, sent SMS messages and even phoned civilians inside the strip to warn them of impending strikes.... Gazans have given interviews confirming this.

Many in the media, human rights groups and international bodies have rushed to characterise all civilian casualties (other than those inflicted by Hamas of course) as war crimes. But the Geneva Conventions disagree. Inflicting civilian casualties is not illegal provided a military operation is necessary for the prosecution of a war, they are not disproportionate to the planned military gain and that combatant commanders do not intentionally target civilians while doing all they can to avoid hitting them.

The media takes reports from the Gaza health ministry as authoritative and objective. That is disingenuous and they know it. The health ministry is controlled by Hamas and follows their every order.

Despite all of this, as the media unceasingly show us, the real victims in this campaign have indeed been Gaza civilians. But they usually get the cause wrong. Every one is due to Hamas's unprovoked aggression against Israel. None would have occurred without it.

If Western governments, international bodies and human rights groups are genuinely interested in avoiding suffering in Gaza, they should start now, striving to end Hamas's reign of terror rather than support it by parroting their baleful narrative.
  • Sunday, May 16, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Last week, Israel killed a large number of senior Hamas terrorists, including Bassem Issa. 

Hamas has issued a martyr notice for Bassem Issa which admitted that he was killed "with a group of his brothers" - but it doesn't name them.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry is not reporting their names.

The Gaza "huamn rights" NGOs that pretend to list every person killed in Gaza don't mention that they were killed to begin with, let alone their names. 

Even though we know that many Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists have been killed, there are very few public funerals.

This is all deliberate policy - to make it look like Israel is indiscriminately dropping bombs and killing only civilians. Everyone is in on this deception, whether by choice or by intimidation. Journalists, NGOs, ordinary Gazans - all are keeping quiet about Hamas deaths, Hamas rocket firings, Hamas misfires that result in Gazan deaths.

If they would announce the names of their dead, it would be easy to see that many of the civilians killed were effectively meant to be human shields for them. In 2014, Hamas commanders were invariably among large families who were killed - but it took months to find that out. 

Sometimes, the terrorist was a member of the family that was killed. Here are two examples from 2014, which come from B'Tselem, showing the names of the terrorists who were killed along with their families:

More chillingly, sometimes it was found that one of the people killed with a family was a terrorist - NOT related to the family.

Mohammed al-Maqadma
In 2014, there were articles about the deaths and injuries to the Ziyada family in an Israeli airstrike, mentioning that they had a relative by marriage who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Among the dead in the rubble of the home was Mohammed al-Maqadmah, pictured above, apparently unrelated to the family but a member of the Qassam Brigades

Why was he there?

Perhaps he used the house as a command and control center. Perhaps he held them hostage as human shields. Either way, the IDF was targeting him, not the family. 

Similarly, we saw other lists of people killed in family homes who were not members of the family - and were members of terror groups. 

25 members of the Abu Jame' family were killed - along with a single terrorist named Ahmad Sahmoud, according to B'Tselem.

8 members of the Abu Nijem family were killed while hosting two terrorists, Daniel Mansur, 44 and Abd a-Nasser al-'Ajuri, 32.

3 members of al Al Masri family were killed while hosting terrorist Amjad Hamdan, 24.

6 members of the Al-Bakri family were killed , along with 32-year old Ibrahim al-Misharawi of Islamic Jihad.

We cannot know the circumstances of every incident yet - whether families were killed by errant terror rockets or IDF bombs - but we do know that the IDF warns civilians before it attacks a site where the target is terror infrastructure. 

So if there was no warning, either the target was a major terrorist or it was a mistake.

Based on what I know of the layers of approvals needed before the IDF drops bombs in populated areas, mistakes are rare. 

It is a shame that the IDF cannot publicize its targets while fighting is raging, because that would compromise security. But we have a large amount of information from previous wars that shows quite definitively that the IDF does not target random innocent families as the media likes to portray.

Journalists should be doing the job of identifying the actual targets of these attacks. But journalists in Gaza will not do anything Hamas doesn't approve.

Now, one an argue if such a strike is proportionate under international law. This means that given the information available to a military commander, the anticipated civilian toll is proportional to the anticipated  military benefit gained from the attack. I don't know how important these militants are - but the IDF does, and given how much care they take to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and the number of approvals needed before an airstrike, we can assume that they are operating within the law, despite what armchair critics say from thousands of miles away.

  • Sunday, May 16, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
As has been widely reported, the IDF apparently engaged in misleading journalists into thinking that IDF troops had entered Gaza last Thursday night.

Here was the IDF tweet:

Given that IDF ground troops were firing artillery into Gaza at the time, it appears that this was constructed to be purposefully ambiguous. Most media ran with this story, although the New York Times says that it confirmed with the IDF spokesperson that this meant IDF troops were on the ground inside Gaza. 

Now journalists are upset because this breaks the sacrosanct rules of telling the truth to journalists.

Except that spokespeople lie to journalists all the time, and when it isn't from Israel, the journalists shrug it off.

During Operation Desert Storm, General Norman Schwartzkopf showed the media dramatic video of what he said was the US destroying mobile Scud missile launchers. It was a lie - they were tanker trucks, and the US was ineffective at neutralizing the Scud threat. Reporters were in the dark for months, and there was very little outcry when the truth was discovered.

And that is the US military. Statements by Palestinian officials are often out and out lies, like just this past week with the revelation still unreported by nearly all that many of the children killed on the first day of the war were killed by errant Hamas rockets - yet journalists are reporting Gaza Health Ministry information as fact, without question.

The New York Times coverage of the IDF deception shows how little journalists themselves care about supposedly sacred journalistic ethics. It describes a raucous, off the record media event:

But the possibility that the military had used the international news media to rack up a bigger body count in Gaza generated sharp questions for Colonel Conricus in the conference call. Israeli officials insisted that the call be held off the record, but a Times reporter who did not join the call obtained a recording of it from another news organization.
If something is clearly stated to be off the record, journalistic ethics insist that reporters cannot even admit that the conversation happened, let alone the contents. The NYT here created a loophole that never existed before: if a journalist unethically recorded the off-the-record meeting and then gave that recording to a colleague from another media outlet, somehow it becomes on the record. 

It is so obvious that this fake loophole can be abused that it is ridiculous to even think that this is OK. It would be like saying that journalists could install a secret microphone in the room, or even listen with an ear to the door, and not be bound by the "off the record" restriction. 

If journalists are upset that they cannot trust anything IDF spokespeople say - which is a valid concern - now every single newsmaker must believe that "off the record" really means that journalists can reveal the entire conversation using a flimsy subterfuge.

The New York Times just proved that journalists cannot be trusted when they say that a conversation will not leave the room. 

Ethics are for other guys.

  • Sunday, May 16, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Journalists in Gaza are carrying water for Hamas.

There is no other way to spin the faux outrage they are writing about after Israel bombed a building that housed the offices of AP, Al Jazeera, Middle East Eye and other media outlets.

Al Jazeera issued a statement accusing Israel of targeting them:

Al Jazeera condemns in the strongest terms bombing and destruction of its offices by the Israeli military in Gaza, and views this as a clear act to stop journalist from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground. Al Jazeera vows to pursue every available route to hold the Israeli government responsible for its actions.
Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch quoted a journalist saying "The last attack by @IDF  raises the specter that Israel is deliberately targeting media facilities in Gaza to disrupt coverage."

Notice that none of these journalists are denying that Hamas had offices in that same building they were in.

Chances are very good that they knew about it - and withheld that information from the public.

An IDF source told Noah Pollak that the Al Jalaa tower contained multiple Hamas operations and offices including weapons manufacturing and military intelligence. It also hosted an Islamic Jihad office. And, the source says, AP's local reporters knew about it.

If AP and Al Jazeera knew about these terrorist offices, then they have been and continue to withhold relevant information from the public. It isn't Israel that is trying to disrupt coverage - it is the media themselves who self-censor and don't tell the world the truth about Hamas. 

More color comes from Matti Friedman, who used to work for AP, and wrote in The Atlantic in 2014:

Hamas understood that journalists would not only accept as fact the Hamas-reported civilian death toll—relayed through the UN or through something called the “Gaza Health Ministry,” an office controlled by Hamas—but would make those numbers the center of coverage. Hamas understood that reporters could be intimidated when necessary and that they would not report the intimidation; Western news organizations tend to see no ethical imperative to inform readers of the restrictions shaping their coverage in repressive states or other dangerous areas. In the war’s aftermath, the NGO-UN-media alliance could be depended upon to unleash the organs of the international community on Israel, and to leave the jihadist group alone.
When Hamas’s leaders surveyed their assets before this summer’s round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press. The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)

It is beyond absurd to imagine that Israel targeted journalists to slant coverage. If anything, coverage of Israel would become more critical as a result. There is absolutely no gain for the IDF to target journalists while trying to cripple Hamas' rocket attacks. Only people who know nothing about professional armies would even imagine that. 

Unfortunately, that includes journalists whose entire job is to understand and explain the fact to their readers. 

The sad fact is that Gaza journalists only say what Hamas allows them to say, and they willingly deceive the public who think that there are still journalistic standards. 

Saturday, May 15, 2021

From Ian:

Behind the Outbreak of Palestinian Violence - Amb. Dore Gold
Amb. Dore Gold addressed an Australia Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) webinar on May 12, 2021.

The eruption of the violence that we're seeing occurred during the month of Ramadan among the Muslims. While most Muslims find Ramadan to be a joyous time, for a small but very dangerous minority it's a time to initiate what they call jihad.

Whenever I see violence erupting, one of my questions is: Is it something spontaneous? Did the population suddenly decide to go out for its own crusade or was this something that was pre-planned? Was it something that was incited and for political purposes?

The evidence that the disturbances in Jerusalem were incited and planned is overwhelming. It was not spontaneous. One of the most disturbing aspects of what went on in Jerusalem is the evidence that the Palestinian organizations - Hamas and Islamic Jihad - were pre-positioning the implements they used for attacks on Israelis on the Temple Mount.

This is not a new phenomenon; it goes back to the days of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, when they would store firearms on the Temple Mount to be used during times of violence. The Israel Police had no choice but to go up on the Temple Mount, where they found large amounts of rocks and boulders which had been brought there to be used first against the Israeli security forces, and secondly, against Jews who prayed at the Western Wall just below the Temple Mount. But when you see material stored for future violent use, you know that this is a pre-planned operation and not something spontaneous.

The Abraham Accords was one of the biggest sources of defeat for Hamas and for Iran. All of a sudden you have Israelis coming to Gulf States and speaking about their joint interests, which include dealing with the problem of Iran. That was something which Iran wants to see rolled back and defeated. I believe they set as a goal for themselves to break the Abraham Accords.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has been developing ties with think tanks in the Gulf. I'm on the phone with their leadership quite frequently, and recent events did not lead to any sudden cooling on the other end. They were concerned, they wanted information, and they wanted to know why this is occurring and when it's going to end. The fundamental interest they have in a warm relationship with Israel continues, but it is under a potential strain should events drag out.

It's going to take a long time to defeat the forces we're dealing with. It's going to require a lot of patience on the part of the Israeli public. Some people get very frustrated in these situations and would like to see us take our F-35s and carpet bomb whole sections of the Gaza Strip. That's not what we're going to do. It's not smart and it's also not moral. One of the things we should take pride in is that Israel wages war with a sense of the moral elements of modern warfare, particularly when the other side is completely immoral and uses human shields to protect its highest-level officials.
Biden Repeats Obama’s Israel Mistakes
Congress can and should take immediate material steps to provide both the rhetorical and the material support the administration is not offering, starting with robust support for Israel’s obligation to defend its sovereignty. This has gone far beyond the milquetoast “right to self-defense,” which prompts the inevitable question of whether the Palestinians have a similar right. Of course the Palestinians can defend themselves, but they are not a nation-state under relentless attack from a terrorist group sponsored by a sworn enemy. There is no equivalence, and to pretend that there is does both sides a disservice.

In addition, Congress should insist that we not repeat the mistakes of 2014 and ensure that Israel has expeditious access to any resupplies it may need if the fighting is prolonged. In the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, Congress authorized the transfer of $600 million to replenish the WRSA-I for the period 2021–24, as well as the transfer of precision-guided munitions to the stockpile. The Pentagon could use the obligated funding provided for under the WRSA-I to supply, for example, an additional 1,000 Hellfire missiles to Israel, which would allow the Israel Defense Forces to target Hamas as precisely as possible. Members of Congress can also urge the Department of Defense to deploy a destroyer such as the USS Arleigh Burke, one of the four ships equipped with an AEGIS Combat System permanently based in Rota, Spain, to the Eastern Mediterranean. These vessels patrol the Mediterranean and Black Seas as part of our collective missile-defense effort to protect Europe against the Iranian threat; by making a port call at Haifa, the Arleigh Burke would also supplement Israel’s missile defense and deter Tehran’s other regional terrorist proxies from joining the fray. Such actions would be defensive in nature, designed to reduce potential civilian casualties while sending the signal that Israel is not in this fight alone.

Congress also can vigorously defend Israel from the standard attacks that will be coming from the United Nations in short order. While the White House originally protested that this week was too soon for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the fighting, the administration has now agreed to an open meeting on Sunday that will inevitably descend into a chorus of condemnation of the Jewish state and potentially include a UNSC resolution. It should be remembered that in its closing days, the Obama administration reversed decades of bipartisan U.S. rejection of such measures by abstaining from, rather than vetoing, UNSC Resolution 2334 condemning Israel. But given that the U.N. is almost as unpopular with the American people as Israel is popular, if Congress focuses sufficient attention on whatever goes on there, it may deter the Biden administration from repeating this particularly shameful bit of history in the event another UNSCR is proposed. And if the White House falters, Congress can continue leading support for the U.S.-Israel alliance.
The Squad’s Noxious Anti-Semitism
And yet, the Squad and their anti-Semitic rhetoric can no longer be considered mere outliers; they are, after all, treated as the vanguard of progressivism by the media, still the subject of fawning profiles and praise (the craven Peter Beinart praised Tlaib for the “raw honesty” of her speech on the House floor). In a stunning display of woke ignorance, Daily Show host Trevor Noah suggested Israel shouldn’t defend itself from terrorist rocket attacks because . . . .technology? “Like, set aside motives and intentions and just look at technology, technology alone,” he said. “Israel has one of the most advanced militaries in the world.” Even Teen Vogue agrees with the Squad’s talking points.

The Squad is engaging in what has become all too familiar a tactic on the progressive left—what Dominic Green, writing in the Spectator, called anti-Semitism as a form of “aspirational racism.” Green notes how “the glamorization of ‘resistance’, the overriding of the law, the calls for violence, the conspiracy theories, the obsession with Israel, the willingness to believe any lie about the Jews” are all hallmarks of this approach—and all clearly on display during the past week.

The Squad is also in open rebellion against the policies of the Biden Administration and of many fellow Democrats in Congress, who have been firm in their support of Israel’s right to defend itself from terror attacks (although the Biden Administration is also sending $10 million in aid to unspecified groups “in the West Bank and Gaza” to support “reconciliation” projects with Israel, according to reports yesterday).

The administration might want to spend more time discussing its policies with its own members. As people like Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib and Omar and Bush invoke the rhetoric of religious war, falsely accusing Israel of “attacking” al-Aqsa during Ramadan and using progressive buzzwords like “colonialism” and “apartheid” to describe the only democracy in the Middle East, they spread lies and misinformation about an American ally. In their incendiary rhetoric and attacks on Israel, they echo the violent and hateful talking points of the terrorists whose stated purpose is the destruction of the Jewish people. Here’s a senior Hamas official on television this week telling Palestinians in Jerusalem to behead Jews: “With your hand, cut their artery from here. A knife costs five shekels. Buy a knife, sharpen it, put it there, and just cut off [their heads]. It costs just five shekels.”

If woke Democrats really believe that words are violence, they might spare a few for a long-overdue condemnation of the members of their own party who continue to spread anti-Semitism.
JINSA PodCast: The Taylor Force Act and Regulating Aid to the Palestinians
The Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to run a “pay for slay” program, where terrorism against Israelis is incentivized and funded by the governing faction of the Fatah. This episode discusses the importance of the Taylor Force Act, passed by Congress in 2018, in thwarting the use of U.S. aid until the PA ceases its support for terror. Stuart Force, the father of U.S. Army Capt. Taylor Force, as well as JINSA Distinguished Fellow Sander Gerber, join Erielle to unpack the particulars of the legislation and how the Biden Administration can continue to push for meaningful reforms within the PA.

One Way of Thinking about Israel
It is only the Jewish state whose right of self-defense is denied.

Loathing of the Jewish state is inseparable from loathing of the Jewish people. What Ludwig von Mises wrote about Nazi anti-Semitism in 1944 continues to apply in our own time:
Nearly all writers dealing with the problem of anti-Semitism have tried to demonstrate that the Jews have in some way or other, through their behavior or attitudes, excited anti-Semitism. Even Jewish authors and non-Jewish opponents of anti-Semitism share this opinion; they too search for Jewish faults driving non-Jews toward anti-Semitism. But if the cause of anti-Semitism were really to be found in distinctive features of the Jews, these properties would have to be extraordinary virtues and merits which would qualify the Jews as the elite of mankind. If the Jews themselves are to blame for the fact that those whose ideal is perpetual war and bloodshed, who worship violence and are eager to destroy freedom, consider them the most dangerous opponents of their endeavors, it must be because the Jews are foremost among the champions of freedom, justice, and peaceful coöperation among nations. . . . As the parties seeking to destroy modern civilization and return to barbarism have put anti-Semitism at the top of their programs, this civilization is apparently a creation of the Jews. Nothing more flattering could be said of an individual or of a group than that the deadly foes of civilization have well-founded reasons to persecute them.

Hamas has its advocates and apologists in the United States. So did Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Mao, etc. — all of them “deadly foes of civilization.”
Don't Compare Israel to Hamas
The British Prime Minister's "both sides" response to the terrorist attacks on Israel underscores how Western political elites lose all critical reasoning when it comes to one tiny strip of land in the Middle East. Israel is under assault from Hamas, the Islamist mafia that runs Gaza like 19th-century Sicily.

You will have seen a lot of headlines about Israel "storming" the al-Aqsa Mosque. Buried in much coverage is that Israeli police raided the joint because Palestinians were rioting and using this sacred Islamic site to store concrete slabs, rocks and fireworks, which they turned on officers.

The pretense of equivalence between the IDF and a kill-the-Jews terror gang would be offensive if it weren't so risible, because the values of Hamas and the values of Israel don't exist in the same moral universe. Israel arrests Jews who try to pray at Judaism's holiest site while facilitating worship and pilgrimage by Muslims.

Israel is urged to show "restraint," as though more than a decade of rocket attacks without going into Gaza and toppling Hamas doesn't show a level of restraint most nations wouldn't dream of showing.

The international community from the Bush administration on down piled pressure on Israel to withdraw from Gaza, promising international legitimacy and recognition of its right to self-defense in return. When it withdrew, it was calumnied and arraigned for war crimes in the court of international public opinion every time it defended itself.

Friday, May 14, 2021

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Facing the real cause of the long Arab war
The time has come for Israel to stop giving a pass to Arab Jew hatred.

In his book From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel, the late historian Robert Wistrich documented how before, during and after the Nazi period scholars from the political left disregarded and denied the ideological power anti-Semitism held over the Germans and their collaborators. The cause of their blindness was Marxism.

Marxism has long been the theoretical prism through which the left sees the world. Marxism is hateful and contemptuous of Judaism because Judaism is fundamentally opposed to the obedient universality Communism demands. Karl Marx and his followers sought to eradicate Judaism through a world Communist revolution that Jews could only join if they first abandoned their national, cultural and religious identities.

One of the ways Marxism derides Judaism is by presenting it as an archaic dogma fundamentally irrelevant and counterproductive to the modern world. Since Marxists belittle Judaism, in the Nazi period they were incapable of recognizing that anti-Semitism was Nazism’s central organizing principle.

Leftist scholars of Nazism insisted that Nazis didn’t hated Jews because they were Jewish. They hated Jews because many Jews were Communists and Nazis were anti-Communist. By this reasoning, it was the Jews’ fault that the Nazis hated them and in due course, annihilated them. For scholars of the left, the Holocaust itself was a mere biproduct of Jewish membership in Communist parties.

Much of the same doctrinaire thinking has long informed – or misinformed – leftist understanding of the Arab war against the Jewish state. Immediately after the UN General Assembly adopted the partition plan to divide the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine into two separate states – one Arab and one Jewish on November 29, 1947—the Arab war against the Jewish state began. Until Israel declared independence six months later, the war was waged by local Arab militias. The local Arabs were joined by five invading armies the day Israel declared independence. The declared goal of all the Arabs was to eradicate the newborn State of Israel and throw the Jews into the sea to “finish Hitler’s work.” The rhetoric and actions of the Arabs left no room for doubt. Their aim was genocidal and it was driven by Jew hatred.

In 1949 – just four years after the gas chambers were shut down – the Soviets used the Marxist model to legitimize the Arab war against the Jews to a world still embarrassed by the Holocaust. That year, the KGB invented a new term, “anti-Zionism.” The Arabs weren’t anti-Semites. They only hated Jews who wanted to live as free Jews in their sovereign homeland. Notably, as the KGB laundered Jew hatred to suit post-war sensibilities, the Soviet regime was outlawing the practice of Judaism and purging Jews from public life in the Soviet Union.
Noah Rothman: An Exercise in Missing the Point
Today, Israel enjoys a functional diplomatic relationship with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, and Oman. And those are only the openly declared normalization deals. Last year, Saudi Arabia terminated a 70-year ban on Israeli-bound flights. Egypt and Israel share the goal of limiting both Iranian and Turkish influence in their respective zones of control, and the two states’ mutual security-cooperation agreement has rarely been more relevant. Israel is a participant in regional economic expos hosted in states that were its erstwhile enemies. It serves as a mediating party to disputes between Muslim-majority countries at their behest. Jewish tourists are an increasingly frequent and, apparently, welcome sight throughout the region—an unthinkable condition only a few short years ago.

And while many of these states have condemned Israel’s actions—both its policing of domestic unrest and its retaliatory strikes against Hamas military targets buried within civilian infrastructure in Gaza—theirs has been a lethargic response. Not all that long ago, many of these Sunni states, in coordination with the Arab Bank, supported the provision of lavish monetary rewards to the families of Palestinian “martyrs” who killed or were killed by Israeli forces. The restoration of that awful status quo ante is all but unthinkable today. It certainly bears no resemblance to the passionless (and, more importantly, toothless) condemnations of Israeli behavior you’re hearing from Arab capitals today.

That is the genius of the Abraham Accords. By decoupling these Sunni Arab state’s relations with Israel from the state of its intractable conflict with the Palestinian territories, the accords paved the way for a more stable, predictable, and peaceful region. This conflict might have slowed progress toward full normalization of diplomatic and security relations between Israel and the Gulf states, but it has not reversed it. The violence we’re witnessing today doesn’t disprove the thesis that yielded those accords; the conflict and the lackluster regional response only reaffirm its logic.

An epochal concord is being tested, but it is emerging intact. That is a near-miraculous event that is difficult to overlook. It seems that only a foreign-policy professional could miss it.
Alan M. Dershowitz: How To Assure Repetition of Hamas Rocket Attacks
There is one sure-fire way of guaranteeing that Hamas will continue to employ terrorism against Israel.... That sure-fire way is to reward the terrorists who employ this tactic and to punish their intended victims who try to fight back.

The real root cause of terrorism is that it is successful -- terrorists have consistently benefited from their terrorist acts. Terrorism will persist as long as... the international community rewards it, as it has been doing for the past [many] years.

Hamas has been greatly rewarded by the international community, by human rights groups, by the media, by many academics and by millions of decent people for its indecent double war crime tactic of firing rockets at Israeli civilians from behind Palestinian human shields. Israel has been significantly punished for trying to protect its citizens from these rockets.

So here... is the twelve-step program that Hamas and the international community should follow if it truly wants to see terrorism become the primary tactic used against democracies by those with perceived grievances.

Step 9: Accuse the democracy of war crimes and bring cases against its leaders and soldiers in courts sympathetic to Hamas around the world. Bringing the lawsuits will create a presumption of guilt, even if the charges are dismissed months or years later.

Step 10: Schedule various United Nations "debates" at which tyrannical dictatorships from around the world line up... to condemn Israel for crimes routinely committed by these dictatorships but not by Israel.

Step 11: Trot out the usual stable of reliable anti-Israel academics to flood newspapers and television shows with some of the worst drivel about international law, human rights and the laws of war -- drivel that would earn students failing grades in any objective law school course on these subjects.

Now here are six steps for those democracies that would actually like to put an end to terrorist attacks against its civilians.

Step 4: Never allow human rights, international organizations or war crime tribunals to be hijacked by the supporters or terrorism and the enemies of democracy to punish only those who seek to protect their civilians against terrorism.

Not only must terrorism never be rewarded, the cause of those who employ it must be made... worse off as a result of the terrorism than it would have been without it.

No wonder Hamas, and other terrorist groups, regard their war crimes tactic as a win-win for terrorism and a lose-lose for democracy.
  • Friday, May 14, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Stuff I made for Twitter:

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: For the Sake of Peace, Israel Must Rout Hamas
What can’t be emphasized enough, especially among those who think of themselves as pro-Palestinian: If you want a Palestinian state to exist and succeed, you must also want Hamas to be humiliated and defeated. Hamas’s sole aim for over 30 years has been to turn a difficult, but potentially negotiable, conflict into a nonnegotiable, zero-sum holy war. That strategy has to be proved a loser before Palestinian politics can move in a better direction.

By the same token, if you’d like a more moderate cast of Israeli leaders, then the last thing you’d want is for Hamas to emerge emboldened and essentially unscathed in the current round of fighting. No Israeli government of any ideological stripe is going to concede territory for a Palestinian state that’s likely to look like a larger version of Gaza today: one that terrorizes its neighbors while tyrannizing its people.

Nor is the Israeli public going to pay much heed to hectoring critics in the West who, like Sanders, somehow think that, for Hamas, a legal case involving an ugly eviction effort in East Jerusalem was anything more than a pretext to start a war while jockeying for political advantage against its Palestinian rivals in Fatah.

Israel made plenty of mistakes in the run-up to the current fighting, including heavy-handed policing in Jerusalem at Ramadan and inadequate policing in Arab-Israeli towns that have been hit by mob violence. But there is a vast difference in moral weight between Israel’s miscalculations and Hamas’s calculations, between blunders and crimes. That’s something to bear in mind when Palestinian rockets hit Israeli civilians by design and Israeli missiles hit Palestinian civilians inadvertently.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the U.S. does not have a vital national interest in creating a Palestinian state: It’s on the “nice” but not “necessary” list of America’s Middle East priorities. But we do have a vital interest in nurturing and sustaining an alliance of moderates and modernizers, people who can offer a plausible alternative to the forms of politics that have dominated the region and spread their pathologies worldwide: terror-sponsoring theocracies like Iran; military dictatorships like Egypt; cult-of-personality regimes like Turkey.

When it comes to Gaza, the goal of U.S. policy is to support Israel’s efforts to defang, deflate and ultimately disempower Hamas, not just for the sake of Israelis living under threat but also for Palestinians living in fear. Moderates only thrive when the shadow of terror lifts.
White House not bending to pressure from progressives to condemn Israel
President Joe Biden and the White House are showing little willingness to bend to pressure from liberal Democrats calling for more robust condemnation of Israel's actions amid the worst regional violence in years.

Speaking at the White House, Biden said he did not detect a disproportionate response to Hamas' rocket attacks from Israel, which has launched airstrikes in Gaza that have so far killed at least 87 people, including 18 children and eight women, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Health Ministry.

Later, press secretary Jen Psaki declined to say whether Biden pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the growing Palestinian civilian death toll in a telephone conversation on Wednesday.

"In our view, attacks from Hamas into civilian neighborhoods is not self defense, so he certainly reiterated that, but also reiterated the need to move to de-escalate the situation on the ground," she said.

Behind the scenes, officials have been more forceful with their Israeli counterparts, including urging against evicting Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, according to officials familiar with the matter. And a readout of Biden's phone call with Netanyahu said he "shared his conviction that Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith from around the world, must be a place of peace."

But in his public statements on the crisis, Biden has hewed toward staunch support for Israel, despite calls from within his own party to adopt a tougher stance.

"One of the things that I have seen, thus far, is that there has not been a significant overreaction. The question is, how we get to a point where -- they get to a point where there is a significant reduction in the attacks, particularly the rocket attacks that are indiscriminately fired into population centers," Biden said at the White House when asked whether Netanyahu is doing enough to stop violence from escalating.
Unreported: IDF Values Life as Hamas Aims to Maximize Casualties
After hundreds of rockets from the Gaza Strip targeted central Israel on Tuesday night, killing three more Israeli civilians, IDF airstrikes overnight destroyed military positions belonging to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups. According to the IDF, several senior terror operatives were killed in the retaliatory attacks. In some cases, the Israeli Air Force must contend with Hamas’ well-known strategy of militarizing residential areas by striking, for example, a house that was allegedly used as a weapons depot.

The world’s leading news organizations have repeatedly and uncritically cited the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry when it accuses Israel of “targeted attacks against civilians.” Experts, however, have cast doubt on these claims. Hamas has issued guidelines calling on Palestinians to always describe casualties as “innocent civilians,” even when they are terrorists. Moreover, roughly a third of the projectiles fired from Gaza landed inside the densely populated enclave, feeding suspicions that at least some of the civilian casualties were actually victims of Hamas rockets.

Several journalists were eager to blame Israel for the deaths of civilians. In some cases, they resorted to blatant lies to prove their point. For example, Bel Trew — Middle East correspondent for The Independent — on Tuesday said that in Gaza, “families don’t have warnings” against incoming airstrikes. That same day, her lie was refuted on Al Jazeera. In a news segment, a reporter for the Qatar-based news agency acknowledged that Israel gave advance warning before hitting a target:
  • Friday, May 14, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

I did a Twitter search of anti-Israel Jewish groups, supposed "experts" on antisemitism like Linda Sarsour and Marc Lamont Hill, on so-called "human rights organizations and on some Leftist politicians to see if any of them condemned - or even mentioned - Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, one of the biggest rocket barrages anywhere in history.

These tweeters haven't said a word:

Jewish Voice for Peace
JVP Action
Independent Jewish Voices 
Bend the Arc
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Jewish Currents
Peter Beinart
Rabbi Brant Rosen
Simone Zimmerman
Alice Rothchild
Linda Sarsour
Emily Mayer
Matt Duss
Rashida Tlaib
Marc Pocan
Ilhan Omar
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Democracy Now!
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International

IfNotNow and Marc Lamont Hill mentioned them once, but only to downplay them.

It isn't like they don't know about the rockets. It isn't like they don't know that rocket fire is a war crime and terrorism. 

The reason they don't mention the rockets is because they are on the side of the terrorists, but they know they cannot win the argument.

When you cannot win an argument, the best tactic is to reframe the argument. That is what Peter Beinart did in his NYT op-ed yesterday - he said the real issue is Israel's existence as a Jewish state, the unsaid implication that talking about Hamas rockets is a distraction from the main point. It was a masterful coup to attempt to reframe an argument right in the middle of the thousands of rockets.

More honest was James Zogby, who did mention the rockets, and why he was against them. Not because they kill and terrorize innocent people, though:

See? The problem with the rockets are they distract attention from the topic he wants to talk about! 

This is exactly the reason the so-called human rights defenders don't want to talk about rockets - because it shows that their worldview is false, that Palestinian rejectionists would all join in to try to destroy Israel if they could, that Israel is defending itself.

Their studious avoidance of mentioning rockets from people who obsessively post about Israel all the time shows that they aren't interested in the truth.

Beyond that, their refusal to say anything against Hamas rockets shows that they are embarrassed by Hamas' attacks. If they opposed Hamas, they would eagerly denounce it; their silence is a strong message that they share Hamas' goals, if not its tactics.  

They will never criticize Hamas because they are allies of Hamas, and one doesn't publicly disagree with their allies.

  • Friday, May 14, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Even during a war....

Even while Arab and Jewish gangs are attacking in mixed Arab-Jewish cities in Israel...

Even as Israelis are running to bomb shelters multiple times a day....

Israel allowed 100,000 Arab Muslims into the Temple Mount Thursday, for the Eid al Fitr holiday.

From reading Arab and far-left media, I thought Israel heavily restricted entry to the site. And it placed armed police all over. And the Jews desecrate it daily. And Israel plans to demolish it.

This almost looks like....tolerance. Tolerance of the type that no one would ever expect, nor demand, Palestinians to extend to Jews.

But it gets even more unbelievable.

The Arabs turned this religious event into an anti-Israel political rally.

They are chanting, "O Allah, O Allah, grant victory to Gaza."

Israel allows a peaceful anti-Israel rally on the most sacred site in Judaism!

I disagree with this - this is a true desecration of a holy place - but this small incident shows that everything the Palestinians say about Israel is a lie.

And it sure isn't a secret to these 100,000 people. 

  • Friday, May 14, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

From Mako - Israel's Channel 12  (Hebrew):

In Israel, last night (Thursday-Friday), an IDF air and ground operation was reported in the foreign media, things looked different . This created a great deal of ambiguity, and major media outlets reported the launch of a ground operation. Now it turns out that this was not a mistake, but a planned ploy whose role is to help eliminate Hamas' forces.

It is not for nothing that security officials have said in the past that Hamas does not understand this, but its tunnels will become mass cemeteries. The IDF has already planned how to turn the threat of the tunnels into an opportunity, and that is exactly what happened last night.

Gaza City is surrounded by a network of defensive tunnels: miles upon miles of tunnels used by Hamas to fight underground, to kidnap soldiers, to move from place to place, to launch rockets, and even as meeting spaces. During fighting, Hamas fighters stay underground and work from there.

Yesterday, the IDF managed to produce a vague picture of a ground operation. Infantry, artillery and tanks were moved towards the fence and at the same time the IDF spokesman in English released the ambiguous announcement. Thus, the IDF made Hamas think that a ground operation is beginning, which caused the organization to bring in all its fighters, including the Nahba, the special force of Hamas, to go down into the tunnels and prepare for combat.

Then for 35 minutes 160 planes hover over Gaza and drop 450 bombs, which are over 80 tons of explosives, on the entire Gaza "metro" tunnel system. IDF forces are collapsing the array of tunnels on their occupants. At this time it is still unclear - both to us and to Hamas - the extent of the damage and the number of terrorist operatives buried there, but it is likely that it is in the hundreds.

After the night operation, a security source who spoke with N12 says: "Yesterday we carried out at least 20 targeted assassinations of senior figures, and killed hundreds in Hamas. We destroyed most of Hamas' rocket production system, took care of the tunnel system, which was their strategic tool, and many other achievements."
These tunnels and bunkers are absolutely a valid military target, even though the damage to stores and houses above are inevitable and extensive. Under international law, a military cannot be hamstrung by the existence of civilian structures that are protecting critical military infrastructure as long as a reasonable military commander would believe that the target is important enough. In this case there is no doubt about it - this was an opportunity to inflict a huge amount of damage on Hamas, and it appears successful. 

There is no doubt that a lot of innocent Palestinians were killed and injured last night. This is entirely Hamas' fault for using them as human shields. 

Notably, neither Hamas' Al Qassam website nor the Islamic Jihad Saraya website have updated since the attack. (UPDATE: Hamas just did at 1 PM local time.)

UPDATE: The Jerusalem Post describes the scheme differently:

According to reports, due to the deployment along the border and the news coming out in the foreign media of a ground incursion, Hamas and Islamic Jihad sent their first-line of defense out of the tunnels and into their above-ground positions. These were the anti-tank missile teams and mortar squads meant to strike at incoming Israeli ground forces. 
What they did not know was that there was no ground offensive. Instead, once they were out of the tunnels, they were exposed to Israeli aircraft. Within minutes, the “Metro” attack went ahead. 


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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