Friday, December 08, 2023

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: An infernal alliance
At the core of this perverse reaction to the Hamas atrocities lies the fundamental progressive mantra of moral relativism, the abolition of objective truth and the dismissal of the need to distinguish between types of behaviour. But without such distinctions, morality doesn’t exist.

Liberals thus ignore the distinction between the deliberate slaughter of civilians and the unintentional killing of civilians in a justified war. They ignore the fact that Hamas tries to maximise the number of Israelis they kill (as well as deliberately using Palestinians as cannon fodder), while Israel goes to lengths unknown in any other country’s military to spare civilian lives as far as possible.

Liberals ignore the fact that among the Palestinians being killed are thousands of Hamas terrorists, and conversely present Israel falsely and venomously as deliberate child-killers. They call the Palestinian attempt at the genocide of the Jews “resistance” and Israel’s resistance to being annihilated “genocide”.

Refusing to distinguish between the Hamas aggressors and their Israeli victims, they scream for a ceasefire by Israel. None of them is calling for Hamas to surrender, which would stop all the killing immediately. A ceasefire by Israel, by contrast, would sentence yet more Israeli civilians to be murdered, tortured and raped.

Those who want Israel to “stop the killing” therefore aren’t gentle pacifists devoted to the ideal of the brotherhood of mankind. They are moral cretins. Alas, there are now a very large number of them in the west.

Now we can see why the genocidal incitement on campus is studiously ignored by university administrators; why those screaming to “globalise the intifada” are demonstrating alongside liberals who say they merely want the killing to stop; and why feminists have been silent about the barbaric rape, murder and sexual mutilation of Israeli women by the Palestinians of Gaza.

Liberal dogma has produced a society of moral depravity that is marching shoulder to shoulder with the savages of Islamic holy war.

The Hamas pogrom and the war in Gaza are acting as a kind of barium meal in the body of the west, illuminating from the inside a profound sickness in this poisoned civilisation that may prove terminal.
I reported on Hamas in Gaza for over a decade. Here are the questions I’m asking myself now
The Oslo process for dividing the land with Israel to create a zone of Palestinian autonomy — and possibly statehood — had been embraced, at least tepidly, by the late Yasser Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But Hamas, the PLO’s most significant Palestinian rival, was fundamentally opposed to peace with Israel, insisting the only path forward was “armed resistance” aimed at eradicating Israel. Throughout the 1990s, when the peace process was moving forward, Hamas sought to derail it by blowing up Israeli buses and cafes. By the early 2000s, when peacemaking ground to a halt, they had killed hundreds of Israeli civilians in this manner, leading to further separation of Israeli and Palestinian societies.

The Hamas leaders and spokesmen who agreed to our interviews were rarely what you would expect of representatives of a terrorist organization. They were men who were fluent in English, logical-sounding about their grievances and highly educated to boot, usually in engineering or medicine. They portrayed themselves as part of a “political wing” of Hamas, one that was unaware of what was being planned by the more secretive military wing. Often, these spokesman insisted, they had no idea that an attack was imminent.

By and large, we reporters ate it up. Our editors wanted us to have access to this shadowy group and to explain its lure for average Palestinians — and in particular, the strategic challenge it presented to Arafat. By claiming that the organization’s left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing, Hamas made it easy for themselves to evade tough questions — like, why target civilians rather than military targets? — and convenient for so many of us to feel like we were putting our fingers on the Palestinian pulse rather than sitting down for tea with terrorists.

So we sipped their bitter brews, and they talked a good game. “Look, we take no joy in seeing Israeli civilians get blown up,” one spokesman told me — back in the day when Hamas’ worst weapon was a suicide bomber in an urban area — before going on to insist that these attacks were the only rational answer to what they saw as the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. When I asked why Hamas wouldn’t take a crack at negotiations instead, they responded that there was no point in talking to Israel — and Israel wasn’t exactly jumping to talk to Hamas either. The spokesman insisted I not use his name with that almost-empathetic quote about not taking joy in killing Israelis. In retrospect, I wonder if he said it because he knew it sounded good to the Western ear.

Hamas played other games with language, presenting themselves as reasonable by saying that its leaders would in theory agree to a long-term hudna, or truce, with Israel. Their words sound nice — who wouldn’t chose a lasting truce over the horrific killing and destruction we are now witnessing? — but the reality was that Hamas would never ink a permanent deal with Israel because, their leaders told me, Islam forbade it.

And then there were the outright distortions. Ahead of October 7, Hamas duped Israel into thinking that the organization was uninterested in inflaming the situation and wanted Gazans’ lives to improve. With that in mind, Israel actually relaxed the Gaza border crossings in late September — a week before the attack — to let more Palestinian laborers into Israel. Sadly, the opening to thousands of additional workers from Gaza turned Israel into an information sieve from which Hamas reportedly gathered intelligence for its attack in October.
David Mamet: The self-delusion of secular Jews
Western Jews have traditionally voted for liberalism, which is to say for inclusion in some imaginary coalition of the right-thinking. We support the United Nations, a Potemkin village of remittance men hired to denounce Israel, and we elect politicians who kowtow to murderous antisemites. We send our children to elite universities, which teach antisemitism and support anti-Jewish demonstrations, and then advise them to “stay safe”. Can you name another group which behaves similarly?

After the liberation of Dachau, citizens of Munich were marched through the camp and forced to look. The 45-minute Hamas-filmed montage of bestiality should be aired continuously on all media, so that no one can say: “I didn’t realise.” Shelby Steele said that his beloved fellow black citizens have been confused by 400 years of slavery. As have my fellow Jews, since the eradication of the Temple, by life on sufferance.

Slavery creates a slave mentality — to survive or die. Black Americans survived the Middle Passage, chattel slavery and segregation through reliance on the family and religion; the Diaspora Jews had our cultural contiguity and The Torah. But that necessary and inescapable cohesion was shattered by the bright promises of acceptance; and our reference to religion as a guide broken by the Enlightenment (the Haskalah) in the 19th century.

Afterwards, the re-establishment of the Jewish State in the Levant offered a home to the tortured remnant of European Jewry, but their return exacerbated the antisemitism of the Arab world, and did nothing to expunge the seed of slave-thinking in the diaspora. The seed also flourished in a largely secular Israeli Jewish Left, still concerned with a curious inversion of reason called “fairness”. The utter fatuity of this view was seen on October 7.

Mike Tyson remarked that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the nose. Diaspora Leftist Jews have tried to escape punishment by staying out of the ring — and acknowledging our enemies’ right to an opinion, and our responsibility as Jews to defend that right at whatever cost to our interests. The American Civil Liberties Union stands up for the right of protestors to demonstrate — that is, to “act out” — in favour of genocide, much as their co-religionary Aaron explained to Moses: “What could I do? They took the gold and threw it in the pot and this calf came out, and we worshipped it.”

Jews were not instructed to worship fairness (a human concept, incapable of absolute determination), but to worship God and keep his ordinances. Indeed, a devotion to God and the Word of God is the sole protection we poor weak humans have against doing evil. Our devotion will not protect us from the evil others do, however — and that’s why we have armies.

Avi Mayer: Editor's Notes: When it finally hit home
Until, on Sunday night, it finally hit home.

Shortly after midnight, an image appeared in our community WhatsApp group. It was an announcement in a format familiar to all Israelis: black text in a blocky font, surrounded by a solemn black border. A death notice, it bore the name Ben Zussman, son of Tzvi and Sarit.

“Oh my God,” I immediately texted a close friend who is also in the group. “Please tell me it isn’t real.”

Of course, it was.

Ben grew up in our community. I remember him as a small boy, the oldest of a trio that included his sister, Mika, and their younger brother, Boaz. Over the years, that small boy grew into an impressive, tall young man. He had a reserved, serious demeanor but also a ready smile and was extremely popular. He was a talented, nationally ranked ping-pong player. His father, Tzvi, used to coordinate our Shabbat morning sermons; his mother, Sarit, has chanted the haftarah on numerous occasions. I knew Ben had become an infantry soldier in the IDF’s Combat Engineering Corps, and although his family had been attending our Shabbat services less of late, I still saw him from time to time. He was 22.

And there on my phone’s display was his name, in a font so large and so bold it couldn’t be denied, even as it was too terrible to be believed.

The next morning, several hours before the funeral, I took a cab to the office. As we drove past the Zussman family home, we saw dozens of people of all ages lining the street with Israeli flags. “What are they protesting?” the driver wondered aloud as he gazed through the window. I told him they were paying tribute to a fallen soldier who lived there. “Did you know him?” he asked. I said I did. He sighed and shook his head. “Too many,” he said. “Too many.”

Shortly before noon, I went to Mount Herzl Military Cemetery. Lingering at the entrance to finish a work call, I saw many familiar faces in the stream of people who had come to pay their respects. We nodded sadly to one another. I then made my way to the designated section, taking care not to come in close proximity to graves. An honor guard of soldiers with the gray berets of the Combat Engineering Corps stood at the ready as hundreds of people crowded around the burial site and lining the surrounding sections in the terraced cemetery.

Sobs swept through the crowd as the flag-draped casket was carried in by a complement of white-uniformed navy soldiers and carefully placed it atop the open grave as a friend of the family led the gathering in singing a prayer. Then, out of nowhere, the hauntingly beautiful song Beyachad (“Together”) by Israeli singers Marina Maximilian and Guy Mentesh started playing. The flag was removed and the casket was slowly lowered into the ground. The soldiers started emptying bags of soil over the casket and were joined by members of the family and friends of Ben’s until the grave was filled. A military chaplain chanted prayers and the family recited Kaddish, the mourners’ prayer.

After a eulogy by an officer representing the IDF, Tzvi came to the microphone and spoke about his son. He elaborated on four words that, he said, described Ben: dedication, love, pleasure, and respect. For each, he listed some of the various ways in which the attribute was reflected in Ben’s life, aside from the last. “Here I choose to mention only one thing: your respect for your parents, which you always, always made sure to maintain,” he said. “We will miss you so much. Go in peace, rest in peace, and we will continue to build here, in Israel, everything you started but didn’t get to finish.”

Mika tearfully reflected on the times they had spent together as brother and sister, describing him as “the older brother any little sister would ask for.” She shared that Ben had been discharged from the army in July and had nevertheless lept to action on October 7. “It was so clear to you,” she said. “As soon as we had a sense of what had happened, you went to pack a bag. You didn’t even wait for the official word. You just left, even though you didn’t have to. It was clear to you that if your country is in trouble, and if your friends are fighting, you have to be there.”
Douglas Murray: Universities have let evil grow on campus. They do not deserve to survive
One cannot help feeling that, if these university leaders had been asked the question about any other minority, their answers might have been different.

For American university presidents have presided over campuses which in recent years have become increasingly devoted to rooting out “hate speech”, “white supremacy” and every other “trigger” term of our time. They have disinvited members of the Trump administration. They have chased out women who have argued that biological sex is real.

Perhaps if black students had been hounded on their campuses, or Muslims, or trans students, then some moral clarity and leadership might have occurred. But not here. Because this was Jews, so everything – it seemed – had to be “in context”.

Which is all at one with the evil ideology which has gestated on American and British campuses for a generation. It has produced a population which claims that speech is violence and even “silence is violence”, but which in the wake of the biggest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, and a massive upsurge in anti-Semitism, has either said nothing or outright defended terrorists. That is the true nature of evil.

This time, thankfully, there has been a backlash – not least from business leaders and donors. So now new statements have started to be issued. President Magill, for instance, has finally found her tongue – or at least her career survival instincts. In a video she said: “I want to be clear, a call for genocide of Jewish people is threatening – deeply so. It is intentionally meant to terrify a people who have been subjected to pogroms and hatred for centuries and were the victims of mass genocide in the Holocaust.”

But it is too late for clarifications. The corruption of universities has been shown in real time. The moral bankruptcy which paraded under the banner of “social justice” is there for all the world to see.

Perhaps these women will save their careers. But they will not be able to save the reputations of the once-great institutions they led into this moral abyss.
Douglas Murray: Israeli president on college bosses: Can't they understand this is a fight against evil?
In quick order I put to him the advice and accusations which now come in regularly from American politicians and others.

Of a “ceasefire” he says: “And then what happens? Suppose we go to a ceasefire. Remember we have 150 hostages still there. Old people, young women, all under huge torture and suffering. If we don’t finish Hamas’s military capabilities we will simply go back to the same old stuff. Why can’t we offer the Gazan people some better hope? Why can’t we offer Israelis better hope?”

Of claims that Israel is committing “genocide” he says, “It’s a terrible remark. The genocide was applied on us [on October 7th]. It was a clear genocidal attack of thousands and thousands of people and thousands and thousands of innocent civilians.”

He defends the care of Israel’s operations in Gaza stating if someone comes into your home with missiles, guns and grenades “I have the full right to go and catch you and kill you.”

He points out that the Israeli forces phone Gazan civilians, leaflet them, text them and more to warn them when Israel comes to catch “the thugs and the villains and the bad guys.” Afterwards the Gazans will be able to go back and rebuild. “This is all in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

As for the insistence of many American Democrats — among others — that this is the exact moment to double-down on the two-state solution, Herzog has a message for them.

“This is all premature. OK you have a vision of how we live in peace. It makes sense. But right now it’s totally detached from the reality, because the reality requires us to deal with the pain, fear and trauma. Our nation has gone through huge trauma. Why would any Israeli accept under such circumstances the notion that five to 10 minutes from here there could be a hostile army all of a sudden doing the same?”

“We tried every possible avenue for peace when we pulled out of Gaza. We signed a bilateral agreement. Every time we tried we got more terror.”

He relates how workers from Gaza, brought into Israel by well-meaning left-wingers in the south of Israel, turn out to have acted as spies for Hamas. It is these Palestinians who made possible “the raping and burning and chopping. We’ve seen families bonded together in one wire and burned. Unbelievable.”

Does the President believe peace will come in his lifetime? He points to the success of the Abraham accords and then — looking wistful — he says, “You have to believe, you know. We must dream. My dad wrote in his book — in his memoirs — we must dream. And I believe in it. And actually you had examples in history that following terrible, terrible atrocities and wars, people find a way to build a better future.”

In the meantime, he has a parting word for all those people in American academia and elsewhere who have excused the violence that has been brought on the Jewish nation exactly two months ago to the day.

“Those who say [that those] crimes are justified will be judged by history.” They will be forever remembered as “People who were accomplices in thought to one of the worst crimes in humanity.”

Perhaps the presidents of America’s Ivy League universities could do with reflecting on that?
"Decades Of Brainwashing" - Israeli President Herzog SLAMS Left-Wing Academics Over Antisemitism
Author and journalist Douglas Murray is in Israel and Gaza for TalkTV. Yesterday, Douglas sat down with the Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

The President dismissed calls of genocide against the Palestinian people and said that Gaza would need a 'regime change' if it was to ever have a two-state solution.

He also told Douglas Murray that "decades of brain washing" had left the progressive left in the United States as "indifferent" to the plight of Jews, with the President questioning why 9/11 hadn't been a wake up call.

The heads of three top US universities had recently pushed back against claims that they are not doing enough to combat antisemitism on their campuses.

The leaders, who included Harvard president Claudine Gay, testified before the House of Representatives.

House Committee Launches Investigation Into Harvard, Penn, MIT After Anti-Semitism Hearing

Rustin, Sowell and Renewing Black-Jewish Relations

Liel Leibovitz: Hamas and the Lesson of Hanukkah
Two millennia later, American Jews are learning the same lesson. Before Oct. 7, many of us lived lives of quiet and content assimilation. Sure, we told ourselves, a bunch of kooky kids may be shouting offensive slogans on campus. The news media may be perversely determined to cast Israel in the worst possible light. Yet none of that ultimately mattered, we reasoned, for if we said and did the right things, we could still be part of America’s gilded elites.

Then came the attack, and suddenly the gilded elites proved to be much more like the Seleucids than anyone might have imagined. Anti-Israel activists have trapped and, in some cases, assaulted Jewish students on college campuses across the country. The press has related Hamas’s propaganda as news. Thousands of our neighbors have waved Palestinian flags and cheered for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state.

American Jews, as a consequence, are having their Mattathias moment. Though they aren’t picking up the sword, they’re becoming much more comfortable than ever setting themselves apart. You can see them filing into synagogues they’d never visited before, or buying Star of David necklaces to make sure they’re easily identified as Jews, even though or precisely because they may pay for it with a nasty look or worse. You can hear them at Shabbat dinners and read their posts on social media helping one another recover from the betrayal of so many people they once considered friends. Last month nearly 300,000 of them marched on the National Mall in Washington—the largest pro-Israel gathering in American history—to make sure they were counted as Jews.

The men and women who followed the ancient priest to victory never looked back. The dynasty Mattathias founded, the Hasmoneans, governed over a proud and independent Jewish community for more than a century. They witnessed and nurtured a religious and cultural awakening—much like what we’re seeing today. May it burn bright for decades to come.
Hanukkah celebrations: ‘We’ve had to hide our Jewishness’

Affirm Israel’s Right to Exist in Writing if You Want German Citizenship, Migrants Told by Saxony J Street to stick by Bowman, other endorsees despite split on Gaza

Seth Mandel: The Squad Gets a Pro-Israel Challenge

Bowman: Israel Is Guilty of ‘Mass Murder,’ ‘River to the Sea’ Is Seen as Genocidal, Antisemitism in Congress is from GOP

Major Canadian News Outlet Apologizes After Airing Gaza War Footage During Hanukkah Story

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Billionaire Bill Ackman says UPenn President Liz Magill 'will be asked to step down on FRIDAY': Jewish financier says 'one down' after she and presidents of Harvard and MIT sparked outraged for refusal to condemn Jewish genocide calls

UPenn Donor Pulls $100 Million Gift After President's Controversial Testimony on Anti-Semitism

Rabbi sensationally QUITS Harvard's antisemitism taskforce because 'the ideology that grips far too many students and faculty ... is evil': 'Ignoring Jewish suffering is evil'

Wharton board calls on the president of the University of Pennsylvania to RESIGN: Liz Magill's refusal before Congress to condemn calls for the genocide of Jews revealed the 'dangerous and toxic culture' in the college


Report: Jewish TikTok staff reveal rampant antisemitism, Israel hate in workplace

US needs to respond to Houthis after Red Sea attacks, former Middle East commander says

Iran Court Demands Donald Trump, CIA, Pentagon Pay $50 Billion for Soleimani Airstrike

20% of Young Americans Think Holocaust Is a Myth: Poll
One in five young Americans say that the Holocaust is a myth, according to a poll released Thursday, and around 30 percent express anti-Semitic views.

Twenty percent of Americans aged 18 to 29 agreed with the statement, "the Holocaust is a myth," the Economist/YouGov poll found, while a slightly larger percentage agreed with the statement, "the Holocaust has been exaggerated." Thirty percent, meanwhile, say, "they do not know whether the Holocaust is a myth," and 28 percent espoused the anti-Semitic canard that "Jews wield too much power in America."

Young Americans' Holocaust denial spans "all levels of education," according to the Economist, which reported that "social media might play a role" in exacerbating anti-Semitism. A recent Generation Lab survey found that "young adults who used TikTok were more likely to hold anti-Semitic beliefs," the Economist noted.

The alarming poll numbers come as anti-Semitism erupts on elite college campuses. House Republicans in a Tuesday hearing confronted the presidents of MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania with video of students calling for violence against Israel and chanting slogans such as "Globalize the intifada" and "Long live the intifada."

Jewish students from the three universities joined Republicans to describe numerous instances of anti-Semitism. "As a student, despite what my university says, I do not feel safe," said University of Pennsylvania senior Eyal Yakoby, who recounted "a bomb threat against Hillel, a swastika spray-painted, the Hillel and Chabad houses vandalized, a professor posting an armed wing of Hamas's logo on Facebook, a Jewish student accosted, 'Jews are Nazis' etched adjacent to Penn's Jewish fraternity house."
Feds identify man who allegedly fired shots outside NY synagogue on first night of Hanukkah
The man who fired a shotgun outside a synagogue in Albany and then yelled, “Free Palestine!” on Thursday — sending state troopers and the New York National Guard on high alert — is a 28-year-old Iraqi native, authorities say.

Mufid Fawaz Alkhader of nearby Schenectady allegedly fired two shots into the air from a Kel-Tec KS7 12-gauge shotgun in a wooded area outside Temple Israel in New York’s capital at 2 p.m., shortly before the official start of the first night of Hanukkah, federal prosecutors said..

Alkhader was quickly cuffed after laying down his weapon near the Jewish temple afterward. No one was injured in the incident.

He allegedly told investigators that he felt affected by current events in the Middle East, according to court papers.

A man who identified himself as Alkhader’s father at the accused gunman’s home said his son was mentally ill.

Alkhader appeared in an upstate federal courthouse briefly Friday morning shackled and wearing orange jail clothes with a green jacket over them.

French man sentenced to 12 years in prison for antisemitic attack

Stranger pummels Jewish man, calls him ‘dirty Jew’ on first night of Hanukkah in NYC

London Jewish woman is ‘kicked unconscious’ as attackers ‘laughed’ Happy Hanukkah from space: NASA astronaut 'lights' menorah

Unpacked: The Secret History of Hanukkah
With regards to the holiday of Hanukkah, while most everyone knows about the Maccabees’ victory over the mighty Seleucid Greek Empire and the subsequent miracle of the menorah oil lasting for 8 days, less known are the parts of the story that involve Jewish power struggles, religious oppression, civil war, and a political alliance with Rome. Even though the “good guys” aren’t all good, Hanukkah remains a celebration of resilience, beating the odds, and standing up for one’s beliefs.

00:00 Intro
00:35 Seleucid Greek Empire and Hellenism
01:28 Jewish life under Antiochus III
02:03 Jewish life under Antiochus IV
02:22 The clash between Second Temple priests
03:59 Antiochus bans Jewish practices
04:24 Mattityahu (Matthias) leads an uprising and civil war ensues
05:52 Judah Maccabee leads the war against the Empire
06:49 Maccabees make political alliance with Rome
07:57 The Maccabees retake and restore the Temple
08:05 The miracle of the burning oil and the Menorah
08:42 What happened next?
09:09 The Maccabees give Hellenizers an ultimatum
09:28 The Hasmonean Dynasty
09:44 Hanukkah as a celebration of standing up for your beliefs

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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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