Friday, May 21, 2021

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: How will we know who won the war?
In a press briefing on Tuesday, President Joe Biden's spokeswoman Jen Psaki indicated that the administration is just as unhappy with the Abraham Accords as the Iranians and Palestinians are. In response to a reporter's question about the Trump administration's peace efforts, Psaki pretended that the Abraham Accords don't exist.

"Aside from putting forward a peace proposal that was dead on arrival," she said derisively, "we don't think they did anything constructive, really, to bring an end to the longstanding conflict in the Middle East."

This asinine statement put paid the notion that Biden will ever opt for an alliance with the Abraham Accords member nations over the Iran/Hamas axis. Just as the administration refuses to even utter the term "Abraham Accords," so it insists on ignoring their political significance for the states of the region and their military capacity to contain Iran.

Despite the massive pressure that has been exerted against Abraham Accords member states to disavow their ties with Israel since Hamas opened its offensive last week, so far they have not wavered. The UAE, Bahrain and Morocco have put out mild statements on the Hamas war. Morocco sent humanitarian aid to Gaza. There have been no anti-Israel demonstrations in the streets of any of the Abraham Accords member states.

Sudan's leader, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan discussed the issue in an interview with France 24 in Arabic earlier this week. The interview was translated by MEMRI.

In his words, "The normalization [of relations between Sudan and Israel] has nothing to do with the Palestinians' right to establish their own state. The normalization is reconciliation with the international community, and with Israel as part of the international community."

Making clear that Sudan would not be bullied into ending its relations with Israel, Al-Burhan added that the decision to maintain relations with Israel is a sovereign Sudanese decision. It is "the prerogative of the state institutions," said.

Since it is clear that Israel made clear from the outset that it had no interest in conquering Gaza, Hamas will declare victory no matter how much damage it sustained from Israeli airstrikes. So too, after the Biden administration placed the threat of condemning Israel at the UN Security Council on the table in the first days of the conflict, it was clear that Israel wouldn't dare defy Biden for long once he publicly demanded a ceasefire. So Israel stood down without ever stating outright what it would view as a victory in this confrontation.

Despite the deliberate lack of clarity, Israel may well emerge the victor. Two parameters will determine who has won this round of war. First, if the Supreme Court sides with the law and respects the property rights of the Jewish land owners in Sheikh Jarrah, their ruling will deliver a stinging defeat to the Iranian/Hamas axis and their American and European supporters who insist that Jews have no property rights in the neighborhood because they are Jews.

Second, if the Abraham Accords survive the war and ties between Israel and its Arab partners expand and deepen, then Hamas and its partners will be the losing side. As for Mansour Abbas, time will tell if he is a friend or an enemy. But in the meantime, his political survival is a national interest.
Vivian Bercovici: Israel’s Unqualified Victory
Should this cease-fire hold, Israel can be assured that Hamas’ military capability is diminished in the short term. The country can take enormous solace in the fact that a ground war—which everyone dreaded—was avoided. And Israeli intelligence regarding “The Metro”—the underground military infrastructure in Gaza—seems to have been pretty darn good.

Netanyahu avoided a conflict with President Joe Biden, acceding to his clear demands in recent days to negotiate and agree to a cease-fire arrangement. And, as noted by the highly astute British-Palestinian, Ghanem Nusseibeh, Biden was able to take credit for brokering this ceasefire (actually negotiated by Egypt) by finally ending his unofficial boycott of President al-Sisi.

For its part, Hamas has demonstrated a serious ability to manage sustained and serious attacks on Israel, and they have enhanced their profile among radical Palestinians and their supporters, which may well be a majority. Recent polls among West Bank Palestinians indicate that if elections were held today, Hamas would win handily. This is why Abbas “postponed” the elections that were planned to take place this spring, attributing the move to the fictitious Israeli intention to storm and occupy al Aqsa.

Which brings us full circle.

Al Aqsa is not “occupied.” The property dispute involving a Jewish landlord who has held title to certain land in Sheikh Jarrah since 1875—on which Palestinian tenants have resided for more than 50 years, without title—remains unresolved.

And life will ease back into what passes for normal in these parts, until the next flare-up.
John Podhoretz: As Pogromists Activate, Chuck Schumer Cowers
In the city Schumer represents, in the state he represents, Jews are being attacked for being Jews and demonstrators are supporting a terrorist group that is firing rockets at Jews. Where is this vaunted shomer, this supposed guardian of his people? Spiritually cowering under his desk, terrified of a primary challenge from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in his 2022 election. His only significant action since hostilities began was supporting a bipartisan ceasefire statement. At the beginning of the week. The statement did say Israel has the right to defend itself. How nice. And how about my kids walking on the streets of Manhattan, Chuck? Who’s defending them, if only rhetorically? Hey, Chuck: How about your kids?

I am focusing on Chuck Schumer because he is the second or third most important Democratic elected official in America, and his silence speaks volumes about his party’s heartbreaking and disgusting refusal to confront the increasingly unmasked and open anti-Semitism spewing from the mouths and tweets of AOC and her fellow Squad members and other terrorist apologists in the House—not to mention Bernie Sanders, who shames the memories of his forbears with his humanitarian concern for every other minority group on earth save the very people whose blood courses through his ice-cold veins.

There is murder in the air. Do not mistake it for anything else. And do not mistake cravenness, and cowardice, and rancid ambition for anything else, either.
Commentary Magazine Podcast: The Violence Against Jews and the Democrats’ Complicity
Street violence targeting American Jews is on the rise across America. It is being provoked and condoned by progressives within the Democratic establishment, and the party is doing nothing about it.
Douglas Murray: Why do parts of Britain erupt whenever Israel defends itself?
This has been an observable rule throughout each of the interventions in Gaza, however long or short-lived they have been. It was observable during the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Each time the eruption on British streets is worse than the time before.

This exchange, for instance, has only lasted a couple of weeks so far and looks like coming to an end fairly soon. It has not involved a land invasion of Gaza. It has involved rocket barrages fired at Israel from Gaza, responded to by Israeli precision bombing against the launch sites and other targets that Hamas and co have built in among the Palestinian civilian population. So by the standards of previous exchanges this has been minimal. Yet here are just a few of the things that have happened in the UK as a result.

- Large scale protests outside the Israeli embassy in London involving openly anti-Semitic messages, attended by leading politicians of the opposition Labour party. Nine police officers injured by members of the crowd throwing missiles at the British police.
- Convoys of cars of pro-Palestinian activists drive through Jewish-populated areas of London, broadcasting out calls to 'Fuck the Jews. Rape their daughters'.
- While her colleagues are being injured by the mob, a police officer in London promises protestors that she is on their side and says she is ´praying day and night´ to Allah. Eventually joining the crowds, raises her fist and chants 'Free Palestine'.
- Elsewhere on Britain's streets, Muslims call for Jihad.

I could go on. This is just a taster of how Britain — still technically meant to be under Covid restrictions — loses control when a comparatively minor exchange occurs thousands of miles away. Naturally politicians of the mainstream on all sides condemn the outright racism, bigotry, and intimidation. But they have no strategy — how could they? — for dealing with the growing number of people in Britain who find Israeli self-defence so appalling that it makes them call for violence, and commit violence, on the streets of Britain.

Israel can look after her own affairs. But with each conflict Israel gets dragged into the question arises: can Britain look after hers?
Israel’s Allies Bristle at Claim that Iron Dome Perpetuates Conflict
Amidst Hamas’s continued rocket attacks on Israel and the Jewish State’s ongoing response, the Washington Post has published what some lawmakers and foreign-policy experts claim is a misguided “analysis” of the consequences of Iron Dome missile-defense system.

Iron Dome, which was declared operational in 2011, has a simple charge: to protect Israeli citizens from barrages aimed mostly at population centers from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. With a success rate hovering somewhere around 90 percent, it can only be considered an unqualified success by that metric.

However, the Post piece — authored by Israeli professor Yagil Levy — submits that it also has the unintended effect of perpetuating tension and violence in the region.

Levy argues that “by intercepting almost all incoming rockets, Iron Dome released the Israeli leadership from political pressure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

While he acknowledges that Iron Dome benefits Gazan civilians as well as the Israelis by sparing them the “potentially devastating outcomes of an Israeli ground offensive,” he also believes that the “reduced pressure to resolve the conflict with Gaza also means Iron Dome gives Israelis a false sense of security, based on technological success — which isn’t guaranteed forever — rather than political solutions.”

Levy is not the first to express doubts about Iron Dome in spite of the lives it saves on both sides. In 2012, the Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg passed along an anonymous critic’s concern that it would convince Israeli leaders that “the solution to Gaza will not be to simply build bigger and better walls — both on the ground and in the sky” and incentivize them “to put off hard political decisions.”
How Israel Won the War
After 11 days of fighting, both Israel and the Gaza militants will now strive to present a "victory picture" to their peoples and to the world.

But while Jerusalem may have lost the propaganda war, it emerges from this conflict the strongest, its security boosted by a hugely degraded enemy.

Hamas sought to position itself as the true figurehead of the Palestinian people by launching a major rocket barrage. Yet the price was much higher than the terror group had anticipated.

A significant portion of Hamas' network of tunnels - a vast subterranean world used to house arsenals, plan operations, train militants and move about undetected - were obliterated.

Intelligence sources report that factions inside Hamas are already grumbling about the reckless decision to invite so much destruction upon Gaza.
Ex-British commander, foreign-affairs minister debate meaning behind Hamas actions
Speaking during a webinar on the ongoing conflict in Israel on Wednesday, former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan Col. Richard Kemp said the Israeli government should be the determiner of when a ceasefire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip is appropriate, as the Jewish state has been on the receiving end of more than 4,000 rockets since May 10. His comments came a day before Israel and Hamas announced a ceasefire after 11 days of hostilities.

“We all want to see a ceasefire, of course, we do. We don’t want to see any more of this fighting and killing,” said Kemp. “But I think it’s wrong to try and pressure Israel into stopping now if the government of Israel does not feel that it is time to stop because the most important thing is not looking at this conflict, but the next conflict.”

Kemp was a panelist during a webinar hosted by the British think tank, the Pinsker Centre, where he was joined by former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and former director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dore Gold.

“Israel should be the one that decides how much more destruction they need to do of Hamas in Gaza in order to both deter them from further conflict and deny them their military capability of doing so,” continued Kemp. “And that’s not something that [U.S.] President [Joe] Biden can judge or [British] Prime Minister [Boris] Johnson or anybody else outside Israel. It’s only something that can be judged by the government of Israel.”

Israel and Hamas agree on Gaza ceasefire to end 11 days of fighting
Israel’s high-level security cabinet voted in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza Thursday night, potentially bringing an end to 11 deadly days of hostilities with the Hamas terror group.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that the security cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendation of all security officials, the IDF chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet, the head of the Mossad and the head of the National Security Council, to accept the Egyptian initiative for a bilateral ceasefire without any conditions, which will take effect later.”

At the same time, the statement added, “the political leadership emphasizes that it is the reality on the ground that will determine the future of the operation.”

Following the meeting, a Hamas official confirmed to the Reuters news agency a “mutual and simultaneous” ceasefire with Israel had been reached.

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan told the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news channel that the ceasefire will go into effect at 2 a.m.
Gaza war ‘scorecard’: Both sides say they won, here’s what they did
The recent 11-day operation in Gaza witnessed an unprecedented level of rocket fire, closed airports in Israel and a record number of interceptions of Hamas rockets in a short period of time. When the ceasefire came into force in the early hours of May 21 there were celebrations by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank claiming victory. Israel also says it made impressive gains. So what is the “scorecard” of the conflict?

Here is a look at what we know.
Israel’s IDF says that it killed at least 225 Gaza-based terrorists and 25 senior commanders. These were commanders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Israel also targeted the Hamas “metro” of underground tunnels that enable Hamas to move weapons and fighters underneath the Gaza Strip. 100 kilometers of the tunnel network was struck. The IDF also struck command and control centers located in the residences of 12 senior Hamas commanders in the Gaza Strip, used for terror purposes.

Israel carried out numerous strikes on the residences of Hamas members. For instance, it hit the operational apartments that “belonged to Hamas operatives, including those of Ja'adi Cha'alah, company commander in the Hamas 'Al-Farqin' Battalion, Jamal Alaeda, company commander in the Hamas ‘Northern’ Battalion, and Muhammad Shuaf, company commander in the Hamas 'Nuhba' Battalion,” according to a statement.

ONE OF the houses that was struck was the home of Izz al-Din Hadad, a senior member of the Hamas military wing and the head of combat support during recent hostilities. IDF statements also noted it struck “the house of Amjad Abu Najeh, the commander of the Nuhba battalion in the Gaza Strip, who directed attacks from his home; the house of Ibrahim Muhammad Mustafa Qareh, the commander of the southern Khan Yunis battalion, who was involved in shooting attacks against IDF forces as well as responsible for rocket fire at Israel; the house of Ahmed Shamali, the commander of the Nuhba battalion in Shuja'iyya - the building contained military communications infrastructure and stored weapons; and the home of Nasim Abu 'Ajuna, commander of the Beit Lahia Battalion, whose house contained military infrastructure."
Hamas Digging Out Dozens of Terrorist Bodies
The Arab definition of victory is apparently that they’re not all dead after attacking Israel. All night long, Arabs in Jerusalem, Gaza and other areas celebrated the “victory” they achieved over Israel once the ceasefire was declared. Admittedly, there is a certain lack of satisfaction on the Israeli side that all of Hamas wasn’t completely obliterated and the bodies of our two kidnapped soldiers have not been returned.

Yet in the meantime, as Israelis calmly prepares for Shabbat, Hamas has begun digging out the bodies of their terrorists from the 100 kilometers of destroyed terror tunnels. As of Friday morning, they managed to excavate 23 bodies, and that’s just the beginning.

The IDF estimates that 5 very senior level Hamas terrorists were eliminated, 20 mid to senior level terrorists were killed, and 200 regular terrorists were removed for good, and that Hamas’s terror infrastructure and capabilities were set back years.
Palestinians Fire 40 Rockets at Israel before Cease-Fire
Palestinians in Gaza fired about 40 rockets at Israel before the cease-fire came into effect at 2 a.m. Friday, with 90% falling in open areas and the others intercepted.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said the IDF destroyed over 100 km. of Hamas' tunnel network and conducted 570 airstrikes targeting rockets and their launchers. The IDF severely damaged Hamas' ability to develop and produce weapons, destroying workshops and research centers designed to upgrade their weaponry.

The IDF struck 10 government offices, 11 internal security targets and five banks that manage terror funds. Dozens of command rooms, some in high-rise buildings, were also destroyed. The IDF eliminated 25 senior officials and 200 operatives belonging to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
IDF: Most Main Targets in Gaza Have Been Hit
IDF Military Intelligence officials said Thursday that they had almost depleted their target bank in Gaza.

"We have carried out plans that we have been working on for years," said a Research Division officer entrusted with collecting a bank of quality targets.

"If I were to close my eyes and imagine how many of our plans would be executed and in such a short and successful period of time - I would not have been able to envision this."

"We've eliminated senior Hamas engineers, experts in rocket production and other types of armaments. These are sources of knowledge that otherwise don't exist in Gaza. It's also hard to find a replacement for them, as opposed to senior field commanders."

Poll: 72% of Israelis believe Gaza operation should continue, with no ceasefire yet
A survey cited by Channel 12 news finds that the majority of Israelis do not believe Israel should negotiate a ceasefire now.

The poll finds that 72% say “the operation should continue,” with the number rising slightly in the south of the country to 73%.

Only 24% say “we should agree” to a ceasefire, with the figure dropping to 22% in the south.

When asked whether Israel has made greater achievements in this round [of fighting Hamas] than previous rounds, 66% say yes, with the figure dropping to 30% of those who live in the south, while 30% say no (28% among southern residents).

The survey was conducted today by Direct Polls, and questioned 684 Israelis, with a 4.3% margin of error.
How Europe Became Pro-Israel
Last week, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz made the decision to fly the Israeli flag on official buildings in solidarity with the country facing Hamas rocket attacks on its cities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Hamas rockets "terrorist attacks," and the German political class on the left and right has echoed her support for Israel. Green candidate Annalena Baerbock has called Israeli security "the national interest of the modern German state."

In a 2003 poll, 59% of Europeans named Israel the gravest threat to world peace. However, the mood is changing as the Palestinian question has been deprioritized. It's rare today to find a European diplomat who would claim the Israeli-Palestinian issue is the key to unlocking all of the region's tensions, a view held almost religiously in European chancelleries in the 2000s.

Many European diplomats privately acknowledge the Abraham Accords have added another nail in the coffin of Europe's focus on Israel-Palestine. At the same time, Israel's economic and tech performances have started to attract European interest.

But the main change has come from European societies themselves. Facing terror attacks in the last few years, Europeans have increasingly associated Israel as a country facing similar challenges, the canary in the coalmine for European democracies. Aurore Berge, a member of the French National Assembly, said: "We have a common front with Israel: the struggle against Islamist terrorism. More than ever, it's what brings us closer and what explains the diplomatic shift in Europe."
Tell Us, Europe, What Should Israel Do?
You, who march through the streets of Italy, the UK or Germany with Palestinian flags and shout slogans accusing Israel of crimes against humanity, tell me, what should Israel do? You, who don't rush to protest against the blatant crimes against humanity contained in targeting innocent civilians when terrorists are bombing homes, schools, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. You, who solely condemned the right of Israel to defend itself from those ready to murder its citizens by blowing up buses and pizzerias, when suicide terrorists killed almost 2,000 Israelis during the Second Intifada.

Hamas attacked Israel for no reason. In another round of war, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, free of any Israeli presence for the past 16 years, tortures the entire Israeli civilian population by randomly targeting it with the goal to kill and destroy.

The truth is that it's the result of prejudice against the State of Israel by those who deem it unworthy of existence and survival. It's European anti-Semitism - mimicking past notions that the Jews as a people were unworthy of existence and survival.

Israel must stop Hamas, even if the asymmetric war is terrible and painful. Delegitimizing Israel's right to defend itself automatically legitimizes its enemies' goal to eliminate the Jewish people.
35-country pan-American group designates Hamas a terrorist organization
The Organization of American States, an international coalition of 35 countries in North and South America, has designated Hamas a terrorist organization amid Israel’s worst bout of fighting with the group in years.

“The recent attacks launched by Hamas against the Israeli civilian population undoubtedly constitute attacks of a terrorist nature,” Luis Almagro of Uruguay, the OAS secretary-general, wrote Monday in a statement. “Hamas’s terrorist aggression is unlimited and always seeks civilian victims, seeks to escalate conflict dynamics and armed actions, as well as sowing terror among innocent populations, be they Israeli or Palestinian.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Latin American branch applauded the move and pointed to four member states whose governments have expressed opinions counter to the OAS statement: Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico and Venezuela.

“We congratulate Secretary General Luis Almagro for clarifying this to the OAS’ member-states whose foreign ministries have taken positions of ignorance or partiality,” Simon Wiesenthal regional director Ariel Gelblung said.

The Argentina Foreign Ministry released a statement last week titled “Concern about the situation in Israel and Palestine” expressing “deep concern” over what it deemed a “disproportionate use of force” by Israel as well as the rocket fire from Gaza.

The United States, a member of the OAS, already considers Hamas a terrorist organization.
Israel Officials Approve a Ceasefire With Hamas, but It Wasn't Biden Behind Call to Foreign Leader
Israeli leaders have just approved a cease-fire with Hamas after 11 days of fighting the terrorist group which has launched more than 4000 rockets into Israel, killing 12 Israeli civilians. 232 Palestinians were also killed in the fighting.

The mutual ceasefire starts at 7 p.m. ET today without any preconditions.

Now, it’s clear while Biden was saying that they supported the right of Israel to defend itself, they were pressing for a ceasefire behind the scenes to cave to the left.

That said, regardless of any influence the U.S. was trying to bring to bear, it was really just a question of whether Benjamin Netanyahu felt that they’d taken out enough of Hamas’ ability to attack them.

So one has to believe that they finally agreed because Israel felt they’d done that. As Biden noted, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was helpful in achieving the ceasefire between the two parties.

Israel also left open the door to the resumption of the fighting if the ceasefire wasn’t honored, “The political leaders emphasized that the reality on the ground will determine the future of the campaign.”

But while Biden announced the information about the ceasefire, it was Kamala Harris who made a call to the President of Jordan today to talk about the U.S. support for a ceasefire.

Seth Frantzman: The Israel-Hamas War Reveals the Limits of Precision Warfare
Iron Dome and precision airstrikes may not be a magic wand. Militaries know this. The US believed the Revolution in Military Affairs after the Gulf War in 1991 would be a watershed. Global hegemony for the US followed but it suffered setbacks in the Balkans and in policing the skies of Iraq and in Somalia. Eventually, the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan showed all the precision in the world, even combined with airstrikes and modern drones can’t win wars. The US left Iraq in 2011, only to return. It has now left most of its facilities again, harassed by pro-Iranian militias using 107mm rockets and drones. The US responded with airstrikes in 2019, March 2020, and February 2021. But airstrikes didn’t win the war. Similarly, the US is leaving Afghanistan after 20 years. Us counter-insurgency doctrine and iterations like COIN are widely critiqued. The US now wants a big army and larger Navy to deal with near-peer rivals like China.

Israel has invested heavily in net-centric warfare, using artificial intelligence and knitting together units with new technology. This appeared to offer a new war of movement and lethality while cutting down on mistakes. However, the war in Gaza has shown the limitations. When the war is supposed to be totally clean, with almost zero casualties, mistakes are made and wars are not won decisively. In addition, there is no deterrence for the next round. Israel has openly said it is fighting a “war between the wars” in Syria using some 2,000 airstrikes on Iranian targets to slow down the Iranian weapons trafficking to Lebanon. But this approach, which some compare to “mowing the grass” doesn’t get rid of the grass. There are warnings that Hamas will emerge from this round with more legitimacy. Iran and Hezbollah may be strengthened. Israel has lost some international support. The new Israel-Gulf ties, based on a period of peace that saw economic ties as a major benefit and which would knit Israel together with Greece and India via the UAE, now could be harmed by the recent conflict. It is not clear what Israel has gained from this round. That will be a concern for those who have looked at precision warfare and the latest technology sponges, like the F-35 as a method to defeat near-peer rivals. It will also be a concern for the region because Iran and its proxies will be emboldened. The Houthis in Yemen, for instance, use a similar model of missiles and drones to attack Saudi Arabia. Like Israel, the Saudis and the US in Iraq, have seen challenges from this Iranian missile doctrine across the region. Precision airstrikes may have reached a high point. The doctrine that comes next, or the need to update this doctrine may be a big question mark for military planners. The tougher kind of conflict, with ground troops, that Azerbaijan waged on Armenian fighters last year, may be seen as more of a combined arms model, than just using air support and trying to have zero casualties.

The precision nature of this war, using the latest munitions with the latest intelligence, drones, and other methods of surveillance, has nevertheless resulted in Israel needing to forego ceasefires and claim that it hasn’t completed its mission in Gaza.
TikTok intifada: the role of new media in old conflicts
In Israel last month, a video on the social media platform TikTok encouraged users to film themselves assaulting Orthodox Jews. That video became a spark that ignited outrage across the country. A band of Jewish extremists, Lehava, organised a march in response. They clashed with Arab groups at Damascus Gate. In a situation that was already a tinderbox, things escalated from there.

Why did it happen? Why would any ordinary person get pleasure from assault? ‘There is a competition for likes and views,’ a 15-year-old victim told an Israeli news organisation. ‘A video of an Arab slapping an ultra-Orthodox man will get you both.’ A violent riot set off by teenage longing for likes. Welcome to the TikTokisation of global politics.

The genius of a social media algorithm is to find out what you like and give you more of it. YouTube brought videos. Facebook and Instagram brought photos. Twitter added argument and then soon ended up exerting a powerful hold over traditional media. But the big entrant in the past few years has been TikTok, which combines all of those elements in arguably the most addictive format yet.

The Chinese-owned social media platform has about 730 million users worldwide, of whom an estimated ten million are in Britain. To its fans, it’s a harmless stream of silliness. To critics, it’s an inferno of narcissistic rubbish. In just a few minutes, a user can watch everything from inspirational baking recipe videos and make-up tutorials to viral challenge clips — in the vein of the famous ice bucket challenge, which raised more than £150 million worldwide for motor neurone disease. But as the Israeli video shows, it’s not all so wholesome.

It’s not that violent clashes in Jerusalem are anything new. The difference today is that any one incident is far more likely to be filmed, uploaded and shared to millions within a matter of minutes. This has a radicalising effect, especially since clips can be edited to inflame passions. Last week, a video circulated of an Israeli car being stoned — then the driver ramming the crowd. The clip went viral in Gaza. At the same time, outrage in Israel was stoked by a film of a Jewish man being beaten up and ending up in hospital.

Hamas Targets Civilians, Israel Targets Terrorists
Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the UN General Assembly on Thursday:
We see an attempt to create a moral equivalence between Israel, a democracy that seeks peace & abides by international law, and a murderous terrorist organization that is committing the double war crime of firing at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians.
Let me share some truths: Hamas targets civilians. Israel targets terrorists.
Israel makes efforts to avoid civilian causalities. Hamas makes efforts to increase civilian casualties.
Israel uses missiles to protect children. Hamas uses children to protect missiles.
This is not a war between Israel & the people of Gaza. This is not a war between Israel & the Palestinians. This is a war only between Israel & Hamas. We will never apologize for defending citizens, even if some here might be happy to see a higher number of dead Jews.
Israel did everything to de-escalate the situation. Our efforts were met with rockets on Jerusalem. You cannot fire at our capital & then want a cease-fire.
If this institution strengthens Hamas, it will make the possibility of Hamas replacing the PA much more likely and eliminate the chance of future dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
The demonization of Israel in the international arena, spurred on by members of this assembly such as Turkey that use anti-Semitic tropes, is encouraging sickening anti-Semitic attacks. Never has there been a clearer example of the fact that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.
The State of Israel will always do whatever is necessary to defend our people and we will do so while continuing to protect human lives and aspiring to peace with all of our neighbors.
WATCH: Israel's UN Ambassador Walks Out on Palestinian Foreign Minister's False Claims
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, walked out of a speech by Palestinian Authority foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki at the UN General Assembly on Thursday as the Palestinian diplomat falsely accused Israel of targeting civilians.

Al-Maliki was speaking during a General Assembly debate on the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which was started by Palestinian Hamas terrorists. Hamas ousted the Palestinian Authority (PA) from Gaza in a coup in 2007, but the PA has encouraged violence against Israel over the past week, and spread false stories about Israel attacking the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

At the opening of his address, Al-Maliki claimed that “Israel, with its state-of-the-art arms, is targeting families as they sleep to sow the seeds of terror among our people.”

Israel has noted that most of the Palestinian casualties in the conflict have been Hamas terrorists, and that Palestinian civilians have often been killed by errant rockets that were aimed at Israel civilians but misfired.

Al-Maliki also claimed, falsely, that Israel had attacked the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on the holiest night of Ramadan. (Israeli police entered the mosque to clear rioters who had attacked civilians and police with rocks, fireworks, and other objects.)

As Al-Maliki made his claims, Erdan stood up, bowed, and left the chamber. He later tweeted a video of his response:

Democrats Reject Measure To Provide Funds For Israel’s Iron Dome, Block Attempts To Sanction Hamas: Reports
House Democrats voted against a measure on Thursday that would have provided Israel, America’s top ally in the Middle East, with funding for replenishing its Iron Dome missiles after it repeatedly had to use the system over the last 10 days to stave off incoming terrorist rocket attacks from inside Gaza.

“In a vote of 218-209, Democrats rejected a security funding amendment offered by Rep. Tony Gonzales (R., Texas),” the Free Beacon reported. “The measure would have paved the way for Israel to receive a tranche of emergency dollars specifically for missile defense, which has proven critical as Iranian-backed terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad target Israeli citizens.”

The measure came after House Democrats blocked a push by Republicans to consider legislation that would lodge sanctions against Hamas, which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), amid the recent terrorist attacks that they have launched against Israel.

“Democrats blocked a bid to bring the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act up for consideration in a 217-209 vote along party lines,” Fox News reported earlier this week. “The bill, introduced by Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., would impose sanctions on foreign entities known to have provided financial assistance to Hamas, among other measures.”

Biden Sends Michael Ratney to Israel; Deleted Emails in Anti-Netanyahu Plot in 2015
President Joe Biden is sending diplomat Michael Ratney to represent the U.S. in Israel in the absence of an official ambassador — despite Ratney’s role in an attempt by the Obama administration to interfere in Israel’s 2015 election and oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Times of Israel reported Ratney’s appointment Thursday. In 2015, Ratney was the Obama administration’s Consul General in Jerusalem, as the State Department spent $465,000 on a group called OneVoice, which then joined a group called Victory 15 (V15) and worked to defeat Netanyahu and his Likud Party in Israel’s elections. President Barack Obama saw Netanyahu as an obstacle to his efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, and to force Israel to make deep concessions to the Palestinians.

A Senate subcommittee report in 2016 found that Ratney had deleted key emails, in apparent violation of federal records laws:
The State Department was unable to produce all documents responsive to the Subcommittee’s requests due to its failure to retain complete email records of Michael Ratney, who served as U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem during the award and oversight of the OneVoice grants. The Subcommittee discovered this retention problem because one important email exchange between OneVoice and Mr. Ratney—described in Part III.C—was produced to the Subcommittee only by OneVoice. After conducting additional searches, the Department informed the Subcommittee that it was unable to locate any responsive emails from Mr. Ratney’s inbox or sent mail. Mr. Ratney later elaborated, “[A]t times I deleted emails with attachments I didn’t need in order to maintain my inbox under the storage limit.” There was an option to archive emails to stay below storage limits, but Mr. Ratney stated that he “did not know [he] was required to archive routine emails.”

The report also found that consular staff ought to have known that OneVoice was involved in efforts to unseat Netanyahu.

International Christian Embassy Donates 15 Bomb Shelters to Israeli Towns
Amid the intense rocket barrages of recent days, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is pressing ahead with orders for 15 new portable bomb shelters—nine to be delivered as soon as possible to vulnerable Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip and the other six to exposed villages along the northern border with Lebanon.

Thanks to gifts from concerned Christians worldwide, this will bring to 132 the total number of bomb shelters the ICEJ has donated since 2008. The majority of these shelters have gone to towns along the southern border with Gaza, with the remainder going to communities near the Lebanese border in the north.

The pro-Israel organization has issued an appeal to raise additional funds for more shelters in the coming weeks.

“We want to do all we can to stand in solidarity with Israel during these difficult days of relentless Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “And that starts with providing life-saving bomb shelters to the most vulnerable Israeli communities nearest Gaza, where the Iron Dome is less effective in intercepting rockets.”

An Anti-Semitic Hate Wave Grows in Los Angeles
Pro-terrorist rallies had already exploded into violence against Jews in Toronto, in New York City, and in Washington D.C. In Seattle, Antifa members burned an Israeli flag, chanted in support of the terrorist ‘intifada’ and assaulted a Jewish journalist. A Persian synagogue in Skokie, Illinois was vandalized by a man carrying a PLO terrorist flag. In Bal Harbour, Florida, a Jewish family was harassed by thugs in an SUV screaming, "Die Jew" and "Free Palestine".

Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, whose hate rally was linked to the previous Shavuot pogrom, posted material promoting the anti-Israel protest by the ‘Palestinian Youth Movement’. The PYM protest apparently included the thugs involved in the antisemitic assault over Shavuot.

BLM-LA’s Melina Abdullah posted a talk on Israel by Kwame Ture, the black nationalist racist, who had declared, “The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist, we must take a lesson from Hitler.”

While all sorts of statues have been toppled and public figures canceled, Abdullah and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles will never be touched no matter how much hate they spew.

Or their proxmity to antisemitic violence.

It may be a coincidence that the Jewish holiday of Shavuot in 2020 and 2021 has witnessed antisemitic attacks against Jews in Los Angeles. But it’s more likely that it’s not.

Too many Jewish organizations have failed to stand up to antisemitism.

The silence over the BLM Shavuot pogrom in 2020 helped lead to the violence in 2021.

When antisemitic hate and violence are met with silence, then more of the same will come. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Black Lives Matter, the Groypers or Hamas. Silence is complicity.

And the only thing worse than silence is actively standing with antisemitic movements.

That means defending those movements, covering up for them, and dismissing their hate. As alt-right vans drive around flying PLO flags and BLM backs Hamas, it’s time to recognize the essentially holistic nature of antisemitism whether it involves Israel or Jews anywhere else.

Two years of antisemitic violence in Los Angeles around the same Jewish holiday ought to be a wake-up call about the dangers of covering up antisemitism because it’s politically correct.
New Zealand Soccer Team Bans National Flags After Israeli Player Celebrates Goal With Shema Prayer, Israeli Flag
Israeli soccer player Tomer Hemed stirred controversy on Sunday when he celebrated a goal during a game by stopping midfield to pray for peace in Israel.

After scoring a goal for New Zealand’s soccer team Wellington Phoenix in a match against Melbourne City, Hemed pulled out a kippah from inside his jersey, put it on his head and said the Hebrew shema prayer for Israel. The 34-year-old shared a clip of the moment on Instagram and wrote in the caption “My heart is with you. Praying for PEACE!” alongside an emoji of the Israeli flag. At the match, which ended in a 2-2 draw, he was also photographed clutching an Israeli flag and saying shema again with the flag draped around his head.

In separate Instagram posts he wrote, “Physically far [from Israel] but my heart is there with you. Praying for quieter days.” He dedicated Sunday’s match to Israel and said, “My heart is with you. May the peace return soon amen.”
‘Unspeakable, Hideous’: German Parliamentarians Call for Tougher Measures Against Antisemitic ‘Free Palestine’ Demonstrations
Politicians of all stripes called for tougher measures against rising antisemitism during a Wednesday night debate in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament.

The packed chamber, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, also heard appeals to de-escalate the current round of fighting between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of the center-left SPD Party told the debate that Germany had to counter “antisemitic hate preachers, agitators, and violent criminals” with all the legal means at its disposal.

Muslim clerics promoting antisemitic hatred should be treated with equal severity “regardless of whether they have always lived here or have only come here in recent years,” Maas emphasized.

“There shouldn’t be an inch of space on our streets for antisemitism,” he said.

Maas said that he condemned Hamas missile attacks against Israel in the “strongest possible terms,” adding that the Jewish state had both the right and the duty to protect its citizens.

Amid Gaza Conflict, Global Response to Israel Not as Bad as TV and Social Media Portray
British-American television comedian John Oliver delivered a vicious 10-minute attack on Israel on his show on Sunday, arguing that since more Palestinians are dying than Jews, Israel is wrong, immoral and guilty of war crimes. That's the equivalent of saying that because 500,000 German civilians were killed in World War II, as opposed to "only" 67,000 British civilians, the Nazis were right in that war and Britain was wrong.

Social media amplifies these voices well beyond what they deserve. It would be a mistake to look at Oliver's rants, or the tweets of radical U.S. congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, as representative of where Israel stands today in the world. When it comes to the reaction of governments to Israel's campaign against Hamas, Israel's situation is better this time than during any of the previous rounds with Hamas in Gaza.

President Joe Biden and many other world leaders have given Israel the "critical time we needed" to carry out this operation, said former National Security Council head Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror. Biden gave unstinting support to Israel for its right to defend itself, and blocked three different UN Security Council statements calling for an immediate halt to the fighting without mentioning Hamas or the rockets from Gaza. "The Americans...understand we are talking about a terrorist organization that crossed all redlines, opened fire on Israeli cities."

Aviv Shiron, who served as Israel's ambassador to the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, said that in comparison with the past, "the international pressure this time is less significant and massive....The collateral damage [in Gaza] is less...and as a result, pressure coming from various governments is less....When you fire on Jerusalem, as opposed to Sderot, it is perceived differently in the world."
A story in the New York Times this week focused on two charged issues related to fighting between Hamas and Israel: War crimes and casualty counts. Unfortunately, the paper got the story wrong. On the plus side, the very same article that eventually rebutted its own misinformation.

The piece, written by reporter Declan Walsh and titled “When Fighting Erupts Between Israel and Hamas, the Question of War Crimes Follows,” opens with rather emphatic statements about the topics dealt with in the article. “Both sides appear to be violating” the laws of war, the reporter states, citing “experts.” Three subsequent statements elaborate on this allegation:
Hamas’s thousands of rockets fired at Israeli cities and towns, he notes, are “a clear war crime.”
Meanwhile, although Israel “says it takes to avoid civilian casualties,” its intense fire on parts of Gaza has levelled buildings and killed civilians. Israel, Walsh concludes, “has subjected Gaza to such an intense bombardment…that it likely constitutes a disproportionate use of force — also a war crime.”
Finally, the reporter asserts that “some facts are clear,” including the “fact” that Israeli strikes “have killed at least 197 Palestinians,” half of whom are women and children.

But later in the piece, thanks to some factual reporting, it becomes apparent that the reality is much less straightforward than the reporter initially suggested.
New Yorker Magazine Union Posts Anti-Semitic Tweet in Solidarity With Palestinians
The New Yorker Union posted a tweet Wednesday that used an anti-Semitic trope to express solidarity with the Palestinian people.

"Solidarity with Palestinians from the river to the sea who went on a 24-hour strike yesterday for dignity and liberation. #palestineonstrike," the union wrote on its Twitter account Wednesday afternoon.

The union deleted the tweet three hours later and posted a tweet apologizing for engaging in the anti-Semitic trope. It added that it did not intend for its endorsement of the elimination of Israel to distract from its "solidarity" with the Palestinian people.

"We stand in solidarity with the Palestinians who went on strike for dignity and rights. We’ve removed our original post, which used a phrase with connotations that distracted from our intended message of solidarity," the union wrote. "Solidarity is important—and so is accountability. We apologize."

The phrase "from the river to the sea" invokes an anti-Semitic trope that advocates for erasing the existence of the state of Israel. The phrase calls for a Palestinian state that runs from the Jordan River, which borders Israel to the east, to the Mediterranean Sea, which borders Israel to the west. The phrase is a rallying cry for Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas.

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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 18 years and 38,000 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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