Monday, November 06, 2023

From Ian:

Abe Greenwald: We’re Not All Complicit—But Obama Sure Is
Barack Obama hasn’t commented on many serious matters since he left the White House. So when he interrupts his showbiz and cocktail duties to speak up, it’s a sign that he actually cares about something going on in the world. He didn’t have much newsworthy to say about the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the crisis at our Southern border, or the state of our economy. But he’s now got a message that he needs to get out. Obama is concerned that we don’t forget about supposed Israeli cruelty to Palestinians just because Hamas massacred nearly 1,500 innocents in Israel.

In a recent appearance on the Pod Save America podcast, Obama said that in order to resolve the conflict, “it will require an admission of complexity.” We must face, he says, “what may seem contradictory ideas.” Namely, “what Hamas did was horrific, and there is no justification for it. And what is also true is that the occupation, and what’s happening to Palestinians, is unbearable.”

Ignorance as “complexity.” Vintage Obama. Ideological banality delivered as omniscient revelation of the true nuanced path. And the applause came roaring through—once he mentioned the “occupation.” Never mind that Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza and pulled out in 2005.

Obama speaks in stentorian generalities because details expose truth. And in this case, the truth is simple: It’s Hamas’s fault. All of it, the terrorism, the Palestinian trauma, the current war, and the deaths to come.

There’s nothing contradictory about the slaughter of Jews and the suffering of Palestinians. Hamas is responsible for both, keeping their own people in generational misery to justify an exterminationist war on Jews. Palestinian oppression hasn’t been “unbearable” to decades of Palestinian leaders (including Hamas); it’s the goal they’ve fought for every time Israel has tried to give Palestinians their own state.

Why? Because they’d rather kill Jews than be free. How’s that for nuance?
'This was lethal extermination driven by a fanatical ideology'
The war in Gaza and the barbaric terrorist attacks on the border communities have managed to clearly and forcefully shift the discourse in the world to Israel and Hamas, almost positioning the entire Muslim world alongside the Palestinians in demanding an end to Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip.

Worse still, antisemitic sentiment has been clearly on the side of Hamas more than ever and it has managed to deeply infiltrate social media channels in the Western world and from there to the streets.

However, within this turmoil, it is important to remember that even within the Muslim world, there are those who have been horrified by the barbarism of Hamas terrorists and the murderous ideology behind their actions. In fact, there are many around the world who have been fighting against this worldview for decades and have faced hatred and criticism as a result.

One of these individuals is Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a physician, a Muslim, and a social activist who is among the leading and prominent figures in the global fight against radical Islam, which has hit the world from Orlando to Karachi and from Moscow to Mozambique.

"I'm American and British. I was raised in England. I am Muslim by birth, and I observe Islam. I have spent close to the last 20 years, let's say since 9/11, combating radical Islam, and trying to distinguish radical Islam from true Islam," she told Israel Hayom in a recent visit to Israel aimed at understanding the scope of the atrocities committed by Hamas.

"I work as a physician, I'm an academic physician, at New York University. And in the course of the last couple of decades, I've been to places that were deeply affected by terrorism. In my everyday medical practice, I look after people who are survivors of 9/11, they were first responders that day," she says, explaining how the al-Qaida attack in 2001 on the US was a turning point for her. "I saw September 11 from Saudi Arabia, where I was a physician, and saw that event happening live in Riyadh, at a time when Saudi Arabia was under the grip of reactionary puritanism."

Dr. Ahmed traveled the world in the wake of the immense damage caused by Islamist terrorist organizations. She met survivors of the Taliban's terror; in Iraq, she met Yazidis who had escaped the massacre by ISIS in Sinjar; and in Mosul, she encountered children who had been recruited as fighters for the terrorist organization ISIS. These face-to-face meetings with the victims strengthened and sharpened her perception of the distinction between Islam as a religion and its use for murderous terrorism.

"I have been able to see the impact of terrorism from the moment that I witnessed it in Saudi Arabia, to the effects on the lives minds, and bodies of my patients that I've been treating for getting towards two decades, to the impacts on Muslim societies, the impacts on Muslim children, the impacts on the Yazidi people and their enslavement, almost every aspect that I can, I've been able to see with that, with that background," she says.
Israel is more committed to protecting civilians in Gaza than Hamas is
In the realm of international law, the laws of war represent a critical framework for regulating armed conflicts and minimizing harm to civilians. They are designed to strike a delicate balance between military necessity and humanitarian concerns, emphasizing the protection of innocent civilians who find themselves caught in the crossfire. While straightforward on paper, their application in the complex and fraught environment of conflict is challenging.

The existing conflict between Israel and Hamas has come under scrutiny in the context of these principles. Despite the complex nature of modern warfare, Israel has been making substantial pains (despite Hamas’s best attempts) to ensure the safety of civilians in Gaza while also maintaining its right to self-defense.

Under the legal definition of the laws of war, two key principles stand out: the principle of distinction and the principle of proportionality. The principle of distinction requires that parties to a conflict must distinguish between combatants and civilians, targeting only the former. Concurrently, the principle of proportionality obliges parties to ensure that the anticipated military advantage gained from an attack is not outweighed by the expected harm to civilians or civilian property.

One of the remarkable aspects of Israel’s efforts during this operation has been its restraint in the use of force. In the face of an unprecedented attack against its civilians, and while still under rocket attacks from Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north, Israel has shown great care in selecting its targets, prioritizing military assets, and minimizing civilian casualties.

Israel has taken measures to notify civilians in Gaza about impending strikes, urging them to leave targeted areas for their safety. This is a proactive measure aimed at preventing civilian casualties and fulfilling Israel’s legal and moral obligation to minimize harm to civilians.

In stark contrast to Israel’s efforts to protect Palestinian civilians, Hamas shows a complete disregard for the safety of its own population. Hamas has forced its citizens to remain in areas that are likely to be targeted, which undermines the fundamental principles that seek to safeguard the lives of non-combatants and places innocent lives in grave danger. Even though Israel is giving civilians time to try and leave, Hamas continues to disseminate its propaganda and lies in order to manipulate its citizens into being human shields.

'The Elephant in the Room': The Real Source of Jew-Hatred in the Middle East
The "elephant in the room," which few commentators have had the courage to explore, is that for many Muslims, "Jew-hatred" is dogma. For them, the Koran, every word of it, is the dictated word of Allah (God) as told by the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) to Allah's prophet Muhammad. The Koran does not, like much of the Bible, consist of descriptive stories that can be believed or not as the reader wished. It is more proscriptive, like the Ten Commandments. One cannot say, "Oh, He didn't really mean the one about adultery."

Like it or not, this "divine" word of Allah, compiled in the 114 sura (chapters) of the Koran, is replete with passages of Jew-hatred, such as the verse:
"So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]." — Koran 47:4, Sahih International translation

Beheading "infidels" is a centuries-long tradition in Islam, and still used today: a teacher, Samuel Paty, in France who showed his students "controversial" Mohammad cartoons ; a British soldier, Lee Rigby, in the United Kingdom, and, this month, babies in Israel (here and here).

Hamas includes this command in its original charter -- in particular Article 7 -- which advocates not only destroying Israel but killing Jews worldwide. In 2014 Hamas had planned a similar assault on the villages and towns near the border with Gaza. Hamas terrorists, at least 200 of them, had planned to invade through their Gaza-based tunnel system around the Jewish New Year holiday of Rosh Hashanah (that year, September 24). Israeli security services noted that Hamas had plans to kidnap Israeli citizens in this earlier plan as well.

In the Koran, Allah has cursed the Jews for the unseemly manner in which the Koran described the Hebrews treating and disobeying the prophets of God. This "divine" curse includes scattering the Jews throughout the globe, forever exiling them from their ancient homeland.

Some "true believer" Muslims therefore feel they have the right to murder Jews anywhere at any time. They believe there is no credence in the historically reality of a biblical Israel, no legitimacy in the geopolitical areas of Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank). Those they call "Zionists" (meaning Israelis and Jews), despite having lived in the land continuously for nearly 4,000 years, are falsely labelled "occupiers" and "colonialists" who must be made to disappear. There is to be no "Jewish National Home" as guaranteed by post-World War II international agreements and the UN.

The real dispute from that brand of Islamic Jew-hatred is not about land, or "refugees" or a "two-state solution." It is about the refusal by many Muslims to co-exist with Jews. The anti-Israel chant of pro-Palestinian protestors is: "From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, Palestine will be free" -- meaning "free" of Jews. This hoped-for Islamist outcome is reinforced in Arab school textbooks, maps that omit Israel, and even crossword puzzles. Ten years ago, U.S. soldiers being deployed to the Middle East who flew to Qatar or Kuwait on the United Arab Emirates airline, before the UAE's supreme leadership in spearheading the Abraham Accords, reported that on maps in flight brochures, a country named Israel did not exist. Many seem to be working now to make that a reality, not just on a map.
Bassam Tawil: A 'Humanitarian Pause' - To Save the Terrorist Group Hamas?! A pause or a ceasefire would allow Hamas to regroup and prepare new attacks against Israelis.

On November 4, Hamas took advantage of a humanitarian window of opportunity... and carried out attacks with mortar fire and anti-tank missiles against Israelis.

On November 4, however, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to his credit and that of the Biden administration, rebuffed calls for a ceasefire, as "such a halt right now would only allow Palestinian militant group Hamas to regroup and attack Israel again." The next day, however, Blinken continued his calls for "humanitarian pauses" -- which Hamas would also use to prepare new attacks.

The Biden administration should be denouncing Hamas for forcing Palestinians -- about whom it cares so deeply that it shoots at them to prevent them from fleeing to safety -- to die as human shields in its genocidal war to slaughter Israelis and destroy Israel.

The Israeli victims of Hamas's October 7 massacre were not given a chance to flee through a safe corridor. No one called on Hamas to accept a "humanitarian pause" as its terrorists were committing atrocities against Israelis that day in cities and towns near the Gaza Strip. The terrorists invaded Israel for one purpose: to murder, rape and behead as many Jews as possible.

Hamas and its patrons in Iran would be delighted to see a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip so that they can say that international pressure forced Israel to halt its war. Any "humanitarian pause" should start only after all the hostages have been released...

Should Jewish Communal Security Be Entrusted to Qatar?
Being Hamas’ major external funder and designated international go-between requires certain highly specialized skills. When the Islamist terrorist group took an estimated 240 hostages during its rampage through southern Israel on Oct. 7, the group’s sponsors in Qatar must have felt unusually well-prepared for the fallout. That’s because in late July, the Qatar International Academy for Security Studies, which identified the ex-FBI agent Ali Soufan as its executive director as recently as December of 2022, held a three-day bilateral hostage recovery exercise attended by Brigadier General Hamad Hassan Al Sulait of the Lekhwiya, Qatar’s internal security force. Representatives from the FBI, along with the U.S. departments of State and Defense, participated alongside counterparts in Qatar’s Ministry of the Interior and State Security Agency. Soufan himself attended the event, which was held “under the auspices” of Qatar’s interior minister, according to the pro-government Al-Arab Qatar website.

At the same time, Michael Masters, one of Soufan’s longtime deputies, was running Jewish communal security throughout North America as head of the Secure Community Network (SCN)—a post in which he remains in the aftermath of the Hamas slaughter of over 1,400 Jews.

As an FBI agent, Ali Soufan was one of the few people in the bureau who paid any attention to Osama bin Laden’s declaration of war against America, knowledge which did not enable Soufan or anyone else in federal law enforcement to prevent the 9/11 attacks. This now-25-year-old kernel of insight, given heroic dimensions in Lawrence Wright’s book The Looming Tower, turned Soufan into one of 21st-century America’s more enduring national security celebrities, a cable news regular with both a global security firm and a think tank named after himself, as well as deep contacts within a world-spanning counterterror establishment.

Qatar is one of that establishment’s hubs, thanks in part to Soufan, who did not respond to Tablet’s requests for an interview. The ex-FBI agent was in charge of the Doha office of Rudy Giuliani’s security firm in 2007, which trained the emirate’s security and intelligence forces. Today, QIASS is the Soufan Group’s “flagship training facility,” according to the company’s website, while the nonprofit Soufan Center and QIASS are the two co-organizers of the Global Security Forum, a policy-themed festival of Qatari regime self-aggrandizement held each March in Doha. QIASS has counted trusted figures in the Qatari government apparatus among its leadership: In the early 2010s, QIASS’ president was Mohamed Hanzab, a former senior official in both the Qatar Information Agency and Qatar’s Air Force. In 2011, Hanzab launched the International Center for Sports Security, with Soufan as one of five members of the group’s advisory board. Majid al Ansari, QIASS’ president since 2019, left the institute to become the Qatari Foreign Ministry’s official spokesperson and an adviser to the country’s prime minister in early 2022, according to his LinkedIn page. However, according to biographies on the websites of both the Qatari Foreign Ministry and the government-operated Hamid bin Khalifa University, Ansari is still QIASS’ president. On Nov. 1, al Ansari briefly listed “Nov. 2023” as his end date with QIASS on LinkedIn before changing his profile to eliminate any sign of overlap with his Foreign Ministry work. (The “about” section of the profile still opens by describing al-Ansari as “President of Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS).”) A sidebar on LinkedIn cached on Oct. 31, visible on Google as of this writing, still identifies him as president of the institute.

Soufan was not the only person at the company he’d founded to hold a leadership role at QIASS. “Several other Soufan Group employees are also listed as employees there,” Foreign Policy reported in 2014, “an affiliation they rarely disclose in U.S. media interviews.” The page on QIASS’ website listing its executive team is offline now, and the institute no longer publicly identifies any of its staff on its site, but in December of 2022 the organization named a number of Soufan associates among its leadership in addition to Soufan himself. Martin Reardon, listed as QIASS’ senior director, is an FBI counterterror veteran, former bureau sniper team leader, and current senior training consultant for the Soufan Group. QIASS training director John Waddell, a longtime combat arms instructor in the Marines, is a senior project manager at the Soufan Group, according to his LinkedIn page.

Satellite companies are restricting Gaza images
Key providers of satellite photographs to news organizations and other researchers have begun to restrict imagery of Gaza after a New York Times report on Israeli tank positions based on the images.

The satellite image provider Planet Labs, and a handful of competitors, have revolutionized coverage of wars and disasters by giving the public access to high-resolution images that were until recently available only to government intelligence agencies.

In the early days of the invasion of Ukraine in 2021, commercial satellite companies provided some of the most compelling images and insights into how the conflict was developing on the ground, making that war the first modern conflict in which journalists, researchers, and passionate amateurs could monitor developments in the conflict in such detail.

But as Israel begins its ground invasion of Gaza, the same satellite imagery providers aren’t being as forthcoming.

Planet, a San Francisco-based company launched in 2010 by former NASA scientists, has in recent days heavily restricted and obscured parts of images over the Gaza Strip for many users, including news organizations. Last week, some images of Gaza were removed from Planet’s web application for downloading imagery, and some have been distributed to interested media outlets through a Google Drive folder. The satellite company told some subscribers that during active conflicts, it may modify pictures published to the archive.

Two Planet subscribers confirmed to Semafor that between Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, the company did not provide low or medium resolution imagery of the northern area of the Gaza Strip where much of the Israeli military activity seems to be concentrated. Additionally, subscribers have not had access through Planet’s platform to the high-resolution .50cm imagery of Gaza since Oct. 22, according to two Planet subscribers. Several subscribers showed Semafor images taken by Planet’s “Dove” satellites that showed areas around Gaza in detail, but large solid-color blocks over the coastal strip. One person familiar with the imagery said that the company is sharing medium-resolution images at an infrequent clip, and said that there have been no low- or medium-resolution images of Gaza since Friday.

Some commercial satellite companies appear to be releasing their detailed images — but with a time delay. Planet and a competitor, Maxar Technologies, have released images shared with the New York Times, Washington Post, and other news outlets on a significant time delay. Starting on Nov. 3, both papers shared exclusive images taken by Planet on Nov. 1. Airbus, another major commercial satellite image provider, has not shared images of Gaza.
Israel’s ‘transparent’ targeting process being exploited by Hamas
Military lawyer and defence academic Dr Glenn Kolomeitz says Israel’s "transparent" targeting process which follows international humanitarian law is being exploited by Hamas.

He says Israel’s targeting process is about ensuring that any expected collateral damage, including the loss of civilian life, is not excessive in regards to the anticipated military advantage they will gain from the attack.

“Israel has very robust targeting processes to inform commanders when making targeting decisions,” Mr Kolomeitz told Sky News Australia.

“The planning processes and the application of … international humanitarian law in that planning are very transparent.

“That’s a double-edged sword, unfortunately, for Israel. It allows Hamas and other terrorist groups to exploit that transparency and to exploit international humanitarian law by hiding and operating among civilian populations.

“Israel is being transparent and that transparency is being exploited by Hamas.”

Israel Pushes Back on U.S. Advice for Reducing Gaza Civilian Casualties
American officials have advised Israel to take several steps to reduce firepower in the Gaza Strip and take a more exacting approach to its war against the Hamas terror group, pointing to its own experiences in Iraq two decades ago, according to a report Saturday.

However, Israeli officials see much of the advice as irrelevant, and the head of the Israel Defense Forces rejected the advice as liable to cause even more casualties, according to a separate Israeli report Saturday.

US officials say they have held a number of talks with Israelis in which they recommended taking actions to reduce civilian casualties, according to The New York Times, which cited officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Among the steps US advisers recommended was gathering more intelligence on Hamas command centers before launching strikes on them, improving their targeting of Hamas leaders, using smaller bombs against the terror group’s underground fortifications and deploying pinpoint commando squads to flush out fighters, the report said.

In meetings with Israeli leaders on Friday and Arab diplomats on Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had recommended steps Israel could take to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza, where the military has launched an offensive to eliminate the Hamas terror group.

“Israel must take every possible measure to prevent civilian casualties,” Blinken said during a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman. “In my meetings with Israeli officials yesterday, I conveyed additional steps that they can and should take to do just that. Protecting civilians will help prevent Hamas from further exploiting the situation. But most important, it’s simply the right and moral thing to do.”

However, according to Israel’s Channel 13 news, during a meeting with Blinken on Friday, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi countered that there would be even more casualties if the military took the advice of American generals sent to advise Israel on the operation in Gaza.

According to Israeli defense officials, Hamas fighters are deeply entrenched inside Gaza’s civilian fabric, with tunnels and command bunkers running beneath residential neighborhoods. Israel accuses the terror group of using civilians as human shields, even hiding a command center beneath Shifa Hospital, the Gaza Strip’s largest. The IDF has repeatedly urged civilians to move south, away from much of the fighting, and says it is taking precautions to avoid civilian casualties while also vowing to eradicate Hamas, which rules the Strip.
StandWithUs: HAMAS WAR ON ISRAEL (Urgent Briefing)
Join us for a briefing with IDF’s International Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus (res.), and Miri Eisin - Director, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Reichman University, Israel, and Col Richard Kemp - Former Commander of UK Forces in Afghanistan. In conversation with Michael Dickson.

Call Me Back Podcast: 30 days, 3 pressure points – with Haviv Rettig Gur
This week we release the new book by Saul Singer and me: “The Genius of Israel: The Surprising Resilience of a Divided Nation in a Turbulent World”.

Haviv Rettig Gur returns for our weekly conversation from Israel to provide real-time reporting and analysis on the war, and invaluable historical context. We focus on three pressure points facing Israel, and we also touch on some good news about Jewish-Arab relations inside Israel.
The 4-point plan for toppling Hamas
1. Hamas's military wing comprises roughly 30,000 people. Those who survive will leave Gaza permanently, following a similar model to the expulsion of the Palestine Liberation Organization from Lebanon in the 1980s. This should be Israel's clear and unequivocal position from the beginning of the conflict. The sooner Hamas surrenders, the more of its people's lives can be spared. This is also the only deal that is feasible in relation to the Israeli captives. When Yahya Sinwar understands that he can leave the Strip "alive or dead," he and his colleagues in leadership will choose to save their lives and be willing to exchange the captives. The IDF in Gaza in 2023 is more lethal and powerful than the IDF in Beirut in 1982. Israel needs to make sure the region knows this. Around 11,000 PLO members left Lebanon after more than a month of siege in Beirut. The military wing members of Hamas in Gaza cannot stay either, even if it requires a three-month siege. This is also a necessary condition for the return of the people of Sderot and Netivot to their homes. Just like the PLO went to Qatar, so too will Hamas members go to Qatar or Turkey.

2. The remaining heavy weaponry in Gaza, after the battles, will be transported in convoys towards the Sinai Desert. There, Israel can afford to let the rockets "go rusty," as was hoped during the pre-Oct. 7 massacre and its flawed misconception. Every humanitarian aid convoy that enters will be followed by a truck loaded with rockets that exits the enclave – no more rockets and missiles in Gaza.

3. Gaza will be declared a demilitarized area where the existence of rocket weapons will be prohibited. The term "demilitarization" is the only international term that allows for aggressive action to preserve peace and security. Demilitarizing Gaza from rockets and missiles will remove the Israeli population from the battlefield, where they have been for over a decade. From this point forward, Israel will act disproportionately against any force-buildup activity that undermines the demilitarization principle. No longer will there be sporadic "mowing of the grass" with a new cycle of escalation every few years; instead, a daily weeding of the garden will happen.

4. Israel will pre-announce its intention to maintain a security zone in Gaza to ensure no further ground incursions into Israeli territory. The October 7 events require an Israeli military takeover of the buffer zones between settlements and Gaza, in Gaza's territory. In the residents' language, this would be described as "removing Gaza from the border." Israel must declare its intention to maintain these areas under its control for at least a decade as a guarantee for peace. If calm and tranquility prevail in the area for a decade, Israel may consider a unilateral withdrawal to the current border. It should be remembered that Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005, with hopes of seeing Gaza flourish. Instead, we received rocket fire. Instead of Singapore, we have a violent Iranian Somalia next door. After more than a decade of missile strikes on our towns and cities and 1,400 fatalities in a single day, Israel is entitled and even obliged to reconsider its unilateral step to withdraw to the 1949 border, which did not provide sufficient security.

Hamas security chief killed; 34th IDF soldier falls in Gaza Terrorist kills Israeli American police officer in Jerusalem

Senators to introduce resolution to strike Iran if Hezbollah attacks Israel

Hamas claims responsibility for rocket barrage from Lebanon

New US ambassador to Israel: Oct. 7 a ‘stain on humanity’
The surprise Hamas assault on Israel is a “stain on humanity” but it has proven that the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew said on Sunday.

“This past month has tested Israel and it has also proven that the bond between our nations is unshakable,” Lew said after presenting his credentials to President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem.

“As two great democracies, we share values that underlie how we make decisions and explain why we remain so close,” Lew said.

The rare Sunday event with the newly installed ambassador, whose U.S. Senate confirmation was fast-tracked due to the war between Israel and Hamas, came nearly one month after the most lethal one-day attack on Jews since the Holocaust.

In his remarks, Lew noted that he met earlier in the day with the families of some of the approximately 240 hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including Americans.

“There are no words to explain the pain they feel and we share.” He said working to secure their release will be a “top priority.”

“The United States stands with you, we will work together and our resolve remains strong,” Lew said.
Incoming US Ambassador Presents Credentials to Israeli President But Adds Veiled Warning
Lew said that earlier in the day, he had met with families of the hostages abducted by Hamas terrorists and Gazan civilians during their barbaric invasion of southern Israel on October 7.

“Tthere are no words to explain the pain they feel and we share,” Lew said. “Working for the release of over 200 hostages, including Americans, will remain a top priority until their captivity comes to end.”

But the incoming ambassador made a point of politely warning the Jewish State that the Biden Administration is carefully watching exactly how Israel chooses to defend itself in the face of the existential threat it faces across its southern border.

“As President Biden has said so passionately, Israel has a right and indeed a responsibility to defend this nation and its people in a manner that reflects the values that we share (ed: italics added). We remain committed to providing the support to be successful in that effort.”

In a second warning, Lew added, “Even during a time of crisis, we must remain focused on the long term strategic challenges that will shape a future of greater stability and security, with better opportunities for all people of goodwill, regardless of religion,” a remark that appeared to echo code for the suicidal “two-state solution” the US and world leaders continue to try to shove down the throats of Israel’s leaders.

“There’s much to do, but we’ll do it together,” Lew pledged. And is in that unity of purpose that I find hope for a brighter future.

“What took place on October 7 is a stain on humanity. It cannot happen. And so I want to reiterate what President Biden and Secretary Blinken have said countless times since that very dark day: the United States stands with you. We will work together. Our resolve will remain strong. Thank you for this honor, and I look forward to working with the Government and people of Israel.”

Four Bedouin drove from Rahat to evacuate their cousin in Be’eri; they rescued dozens

Six Members of My Family Are Hostages in Gaza. Does Anyone Care?
On Oct. 24 my brother and I went to the United Nations to watch an emergency Security Council meeting in response to the war in Israel and Gaza. As the Israeli minister of foreign affairs listed the names and held up photos of some of the Israeli children who were taken hostage by Hamas, a white woman in her 30s stood up near us in the gallery to protest. She held up a handmade “Free Palestine” sign.

The disruption should have been jarring, but by this point in the war, I am accustomed to this response from those I once regarded as my liberal peers. I’ve seen too often the hijacking of the cause of Palestinian liberation to stand against the lives of Israeli children who have been in captivity for four weeks. Three of them are my little cousins.

On Oct. 7 I spent the day waiting for news from my family in Israel. My cousin Sharon Cunio; her husband, David; their 3-year-old twins, Emma and Yuli; my cousin Danielle Alony; and her 5-year-old daughter, Amelia, were hiding together in their bomb shelter while Hamas went on a murderous rampage through their kibbutz. The last contact my family has had from them is a WhatsApp message simply saying, “Help, we’re dying.” By evening, my aunt had confirmed our fears: My six relatives were missing from Kibbutz Nir Oz, a community in the south of Israel about three miles from Gaza now known as a scene of brutality and destruction.

An hour after discovering they were missing, I spotted some of my family on a TikTok video. They were being carted away, surrounded by machine-gun-carrying terrorists shouting “Allahu akbar.” The pain I experienced in that moment and in so many after has been so sharp, it follows my every breath. I wake up each morning only to remember again my family is being held hostage by terrorists.

Recently, my brother and I hung “kidnapped” posters of our family around Williamsburg in Brooklyn, a famously liberal community I’ve been part of for over a decade. Within a day, almost all of them had been ripped down. Some were replaced with posters reading, “Honor the martyr.” The behavior feels so senseless, even hateful, but it is not these overt acts that make me feel isolated.

Instead I feel loneliest when I scroll through Instagram and see friends and acquaintances, Jews and non-Jews alike, reposting a protest image calling for a cease-fire from Jewish Voice for Peace in between their fall foliage photos. These are the same people who watch my stories but who have not once shared the faces of my 3-year-old cousins or demanded the release of the hostages, despite my increasingly desperate cries for help and humanity. The silence is suffocating. What I wouldn’t give to not know this pain, to have a different truth from the one I am carrying.

Heartbroken mother of Hamas hostage breaks down begging for her release
Israeli mother, Ayelet Levy Shachar, has opened up about her heartbreak as she holds on to hope her 19-year-old daughter, Naama Levy, will be released.

Naama was filmed with bruises and cuts to her body as she was dragged away by Hamas terrorists on October 7 in Gaza.

Ms Levy Shachar broke down in tears as she spoke about the concern she has for daughter's wellbeing.

"Where does she lie down? Where does she put her head? What is she eating? Is she sleeping? Does she have water? Does she have fresh air? Does she have air at all?" Ms Levy Shachar said.

Ms Levy Shachar described Naama as a “strong girl” and “peace activist”.

Naama is one of more than 200 hostages still being held hostage by Hamas.

Girl 'murdered' by Hamas is ALIVE and being held hostage in Gaza: Fresh agony for family of eight-year-old as Israel says she was abducted and NOT killed by terrorists - a month after dad's heartbreaking interview

Israeli refugees slam United Nations for silence

UNRWA teachers praise Oct. 7 massacre

Boris Johnson condemns the 'torture and sadism' of Hamas as he visits Israeli kibbutz where armed men slaughtered innocent civilians - adding 'no one can doubt this was terror' in apparent swipe at those refusing to call the atrocities a terrorist act

PM Bennett to Ali Velshi of MSNBC: No, it’s not about land. Hamas wants to kill all Jews.

PodCast: What Is Real? Eli Lake on Disinformation, Despair and Dead Ends in the Israel-Hamas War
Everything you wanted to know about Israel but were afraid to ask.

Ben Shapiro: From the River to the Sea...?
Recently, I debated a Hamas supporter at Cambridge University who seemingly endorsed the idea of eliminating the Jewish community. Do they even know what "from the river to the sea" means?

Scott Morrison’s visit to Israel is what Anthony Albanese ‘should be doing’
Former prime minister Scott Morrison is doing what Anthony Albanese “should be doing” by visiting Israel, according to former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma.

Mr Sharma’s comments come after the former Australian prime minister toured an Israeli village with former UK prime minister Boris Johnson.

“Which is demonstrating leadership, showing solidarity with an important friend and ally at a critical time,” he told Sky News Australia.

“And getting a first-hand account of what is a very complicated strategic picture.

“I still find this government’s very casual and lackadaisical attitude to what is the most serious conflict we’ve seen in the Middle East for several decades to be astonishing.”

Hamas have ‘badly miscalculated’ consequences of going to war with Israel
Strategic Analysis Australia Director Michael Shoebridge says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been “crystal clear” about his intentions in continuing the war.

Mr Shoebridge told Sky News contributor Steve Price the Israeli PM is not going to stop the war before Hamas “suffers much more damage and destruction”.

“There might be the occasional brief humanitarian pause.

“Hamas has badly miscalculated.

“Hamas now realises they’ve brought down too much on themselves and the Palestinian people that they rule so brutally over.”

Hamas is ‘not in the truth business’: Michael Kroger sceptical about death tolls
Former Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger says all of the suffering in Gaza is being caused because Hamas are using civilians as “human shields”.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted there won't be a ceasefire in Gaza unless Hamas frees all hostages.

According to Israel's military, it is surrounding Gaza City as its bombardments of the enclave intensify.

Mr Kroger told Sky News host Rita Panahi that Hamas doesn’t care if civilians in Gaza are killed.

“The more that are killed, the better for Hamas,” he said.

“I wouldn’t believe a word Hamas says about their deaths.

“They’re not in the truth business.”

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: The Genius Of Israel, Now More Than Ever
Dan Senor joins us to talk about his new book, The Genius of Israel, co-written with Saul Singer, and why its portrait of the war-torn country—finished long before the war—offers an explanation for the country’s extraordinarily cohesive response to the October 7 attack and shows Israel its own way forward to victory.

The army of pro-Israeli TikTokers taking up arms against anti-Semitism: How social media influencers including an IDF reservist are helping fight Israel's information war

Progressive Dem. Senator Bernie Sanders REJECTS calls for Israel-Hamas ceasefire because Palestinian terror group 'is dedicated to turmoil and chaos and destroying the state of Israel'

Labor policy deemed 'hostile' towards Israel
Australian Jewish Association President Dr David Adler says Labor's position has become not only very "hostile to Israel", it’s become Hamas-friendly.

Dr Adler noted how the Labor Party in the budget doubled the foreign aid to Palestinian territories from $35 million to $70 million.

“And even since the 7th of October when that horrific Hamas terrorism occurred, there have been further announcements of 10 plus, 15 million dollars in additional aid," he told Sky News Australia.

“I understand however well-intentioned that someone might be and want to help disadvantaged people; it’s very naive.

“By changing Australia’s official position, it is legitimising the hatred of Israel in Australia and pouring petrol on the flame of anti-Semitism."

Dramatic scenes as Greens senators stage mass walkout of the Senate and yell 'free, free Palestine'

Greens slammed for being ‘openly hostile to the Jewish community’
Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler says the Greens are “openly hostile to the Jewish community”.

“For the first time … we have a political party in Australia that is openly hostile to the Jewish community,” Mr Leibler told Sky News host Andrew Bolt.

“But frankly, openly hostile to most decent Australians who are able to distinguish between a barbaric terrorist organisation and those who are seeking to defend themselves.

“The Greens don’t seem capable of doing so.”

Mr Leibler sat down with Mr Bolt to discuss the Israel-Hamas war and Palestine.

‘Frightening’ footage of ‘fired up’ hate preacher in Australia calling for Jihad
“Frightening footage” of a hate preacher in NSW proves Australia’s politicians have been so reckless with the people’s safety, according to Sky News host Andrew Bolt.

A preacher named Brother Ismail made headlines last week after he made alarming statements following Hamas’ attack on Israel early last month.

NSW Police is now investigating the individual as many have slammed the preacher.

“This one preacher that the police are now looking into is someone identified only as Brother Ismail, who is fired up by this Hamas war on Israel and is calling for Jihad,” Mr Bolt said.

“We are now paying the price for teaching new immigrants to despise this country.

“You can see the terrible danger now that our politicians have imported and coached – the hatreds now that make so many Jews here fear for their safety, for their children’s safety.”

'Abhorrent': Posters of Hitler wearing a mask of Netanyahu seen in Sydney’s East
Executive Council of Australian Jewry Co-CEO Alex Ryvchin says the posters depicting Adolf Hitler wearing a mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs are “abhorrent”.

It comes days after two men were fined $500 each for allegedly tearing down part of a display at Bondi Beach which was commemorating Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas on October 7.

“These were placed very deliberately in an area that is really the hub of Sydney’s Jewish community,” Mr Ryvchin told Sky News Australia host Peta Credlin.

“They knew that hundreds or thousands of Jews would pass through that area and witness this.

“This is where we are and it is inevitable when you have weekly protests all over the country where Holocaust analogies are made, where Israel is labelled as the greatest evil in the world, this sort of thing is going to happen.

“If these cretins that put this poster up want to look for a Nazi analogy and want to know who Hitler is in this, perhaps they should consider which side of the conflict just went door to door in Israeli towns and villages massacring, raping, burning, torturing as many Jews as they could find.”

‘Bring Them Home!’ — Thousands Peacefully Rally for Release of Hamas Hostages Outside UK Parliament

‘Kill the Babies!’ Anti-Israel Hecklers Taunt Jews at Stroller Protest

UMass Amherst student arrested for allegedly punching Jewish student, spitting on Israeli flag: university

Separating pro-Palestine from pro-Hamas becoming 'extremely difficult'
Sky News host Erin Molan says it’s getting “extremely difficult” to separate pro-Palestine from pro-Hamas.

“I know some incredible people who are pro-Palestine and condemn Hamas,” Ms Molan said.

“But some of these rallies – if you support Palestine but support Hamas, you cannot support Palestine.

“Hamas are the greatest enemy to Palestine in the history of the world.”

Pro-Palestine rallies have erupted across the world in support of Gaza, with some protesters supporting Hamas’ actions following the group’s brutal attack on Israel in October.

All Jews should leave the United Kingdom

Massive pro-Palestine demonstrations reveal that there are now two different Londons
On Friday's episode of The Ezra Levant Show, Ezra discussed his travels in London and what they reveal about the state of the West. Broadcasting from Westminster Abbey, an epicentre of British culture and therefore Western culture for hundreds of years, Ezra discussed how the civilization of which Britain is a symbol is in decline. "What I saw this weekend showed that England itself is being colonized," Ezra said. Pro-Palestine marches have taken over the capital, with up to 100,000 marching in London under a foreign flag.

As chaos threatens to overtake London on the most solemn of days, the authorities must find the courage to postpone the Pro-Palestine Armistice day march, writes former Colonel PHILIP INGRAM

Met Chief Sir Mark Rowley comes under pressure to call for a ban on pro-Palestine march in the streets of London on Armistice Day as deputy prime minister warns he has ‘grave concerns’ about the event

Armistice Day violence fears grow: Ministers warn pro-Palestine march could trigger clashes as they up pressure on police to cancel Gaza event in London - while Suella Braverman demands prison sentences for anyone vandalising the Cenotaph

Patriotic Brits vow to defend war memorials and poppy wreaths from vandalism as tensions rise ahead of planned pro-Gaza demonstrations over Remembrance weekend

How Melbourne has become a haven for the worst elements of the far-right and left - and why it's left Jews facing 'tsunami of hatred'

'Worst of our society' have 'made their voices known' amid pro-Palestinian protests
The worst of our society have “crawled out of the woodworks” and made their voices known amid recent anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian rallies, says writer and broadcaster Esther Krakue.

“Unfortunately like every movement, there will always be sort of people that really have no place, engaging in intellectual discussion, suddenly taking over the conversation,” Ms Krakue told Sky News Australia.

“So what we have seen in London is these massive protests that, on the face of it, that many are advocating for a two-state solution, and are pro-Palestine and are trying to highlight the humanitarian crisis going on in Gaza.

"And then you have literally people shouting 'jihad' in the streets and 'death to Jews' and all these horrific statements that you wouldn’t think you would even hear in a civilised country.

"It's genuinely just horrifying and I really can't believe what I'm seeing."

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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 19 years and 40,000 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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