Saturday, December 23, 2023

From Ian:

Jake Wallis Simons: The year Israelophobia took over
As the end of the year draws close, it’s clear the oldest hatred is back with a vengeance.

Following Hamas’s pogrom in Israel on 7 October, and Israel’s assault on Hamas in response, every day has brought new examples of Israelophobia. One episode from December that stands out in my mind was a statement from the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols. He said that the Jewish state had shot two women in a church in Gaza ‘in a cold-blooded killing’. But how did the clergyman, from the comfort of his home in London and having carried out no investigation, know with such certainty that it was a ‘cold-blooded killing’?

Similarly, Alex Crawford, Sky News’ most prominent foreign correspondent, tweeted at the start of December that Israel was barring entry for journalists into Gaza in order to hide its ‘war crimes’. Charges of ‘war crimes’ would need to be proven by a court of law. Yet without even being in Gaza, and presumably without any legal training, Crawford felt entitled to place the black cap of the hanging judge upon her head.

The ease with which supposedly impartial observers have unwittingly become activists belies something darker – the willingness to believe the very worst of the Jewish State. It has become commonplace to airily assert that Israel is committing ‘genocide’. And it has become commonplace to talk of its disregard for Palestinian life, especially the life of Palestinian children. Little wonder the fate of neonatal babies has been placed by Hamas at the very centre of its propaganda campaign. Hamas knows this will be lapped up by the world’s media. Why is this? Could it be because there has been a racist association between Jews and the murder of Gentile children since 1144, when the blood libel was invented in Norwich? Whether people realise it or not, the Israelophobia we see today contains dark echoes of an old anti-Semitism.

The rivers of anti-Semitism run deep. Fascinating research by two German economic historians, Nico Voigtländer and Hans-Joachim Voth, has revealed that areas of Germany in which people burned Jews at the stake in the 14th century, blaming them for the Black Death, were more likely to vote for the Nazis 600 years later. This is despite the fact that Jews had been absent from the regions in question for 400 of those years. This illustrates how, once it has taken hold, the potent virus of anti-Semitism can be passed down through the generations, inclining people to believe stories, as George Orwell once put it, ‘that could not possibly be true’.
Seth Mandel: The Press Has Lost Its Mind, Experts Say
You may have noticed that anti-Israel media bias has gotten markedly worse recently. Sketchy sources are given unquestioning platforms so long as they creatively bash the Jewish state, and finding ethically defensible Gaza war reporting has become the 2023 version of Where’s Waldo?

Those aforementioned shady sources have somehow found their way to the center of news coverage about the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. And their participation in a slew of dishonest reporting shines a light on the motivation behind the media’s turn toward unvarnished Hamas propaganda.

Outlets frequently cover Israel through the use of dubious comparisons. I’ve written about this phenomenon before: If you just explain Israel’s laws and policies, for example, you will prove that it is not an apartheid state. So writers instead deploy the comparison to apartheid South Africa and stop there.

The current trend in this type of misreporting is to find increasingly absurd apples to compare to Israel’s oranges and then quote some Ph.D. candidate calling them all apples. We were treated to a perfect example of this in yesterday’s Associated Press story, which begins: “The Israeli military campaign in Gaza, experts say, now sits among the deadliest and most destructive in history.”

Now, to be sure, the Gaza counteroffensive is obviously not anywhere close to the deadliest campaigns, and there is not a single legitimate way to defend that particular characterization.

But set that very clear lie aside. Although it means the AP editorial staff is full of people who have no business being in journalism, it’s not the real point of the article. The point is the “destructive” part. Because the word “destructive” is subjective enough that if you wanted to find some overeager researchers to lend their names to a dishonest interpretation of the term, you surely could.
Time: Inside the Israel-Hamas Information War
Amid cratering international support for Israel’s war, there is little debate over which side is winning the battle for hearts and minds. The number of Americans who want the U.S. to take Israel’s side has dropped from 43% in October to 37% in November, according to a survey conducted by the University of Maryland and Ipsos. After tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets in European capitals, some of the continent’s most prominent leaders dialed back their full-fledged embrace of the Israeli campaign, with French President Emmanuel Macron calling on Israel to halt the hostilities. The U.S. remains the only U.N. Security Council member to vote against a call for an immediate ceasefire. And now even the Biden administration, Israel’s staunchest ally and biggest supplier of military aid, is pushing the country to scale back its offensive in a matter of weeks. “They have to be careful,” President Joe Biden said on Dec. 11. "The whole world’s public opinion can shift overnight. We can’t let that happen.”

Interviews with dozens of current and former Israeli and U.S. officials reveal a recognition of the accelerating loss of global public support, and a scramble by the nation’s leaders in response. Behind the social media messaging of spokespeople like Michelson lies a rapidly growing operation to convince the world that Israel is fighting for nothing less than its own survival and is doing what it can to avoid civilian casualties. The IDF’s international communications office has doubled in size to more than 200 people. The IDF has taken reporters and prominent supporters—from Elon Musk and Jerry Seinfeld to a convoy of TikTok influencers—to visit the kibbutzim that became killing fields, in hopes of reminding the world of the scale and depravity of the Oct. 7 attack. The Israeli government has spent millions of dollars on online ad campaigns on platforms ranging from YouTube to the popular online game Angry Birds. Israeli embassies around the world continue to screen for journalists and politicians a 43-minute video of the Hamas atrocities, much of it filmed on the terrorists’ own cameras.

There are signs that the effort is working, to an extent; a Pew Research poll from early December found that 65% of Americans think Hamas is mostly responsible for the war. As the fighting in Gaza moves south and the U.S. pushes its ally to wind down the ground operation, the information war about the war is becoming more important than ever. If Israel wins the military battle but loses the war for worldwide public opinion, it could threaten the durability of American support, damage Israel’s ability to forge and maintain peace with its Arab neighbors, shape the perception of the Jewish state for the next generation, and put the safety and security of the Jewish diaspora at risk. “The stakes of the information war,” says Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesman, “are the stakes of the war itself.”

Three days after the Oct. 7 attack, Israeli officials brought a group of international journalists to Kibbutz Kfar Aza, where Hamas killed more than 50 people. The site was still an active crime scene. Corpses were everywhere: Israeli victims wrapped in body bags, Hamas fighters lying where they fell. Military officers led reporters into homes stained with blood, some still filled with mutilated bodies and the charred remains of burned victims. “You could smell the death in the air,” recalls Anshel Pfeffer, a veteran Israeli reporter who writes for The Economist.

NYTs: What Happened in the Hamas Attack on Be’eri, Israel
The massacre at Be’eri was not a single outburst of violence, over in a terrifying instant. It was a prolonged rampage, in which dozens of terrorists roamed freely through a pastoral village, killing methodically and with cruelty.

A 10-week New York Times investigation into what happened at Be’eri, based on interviews with scores of survivors and witnesses as well as on videos, text messages and recordings of phone calls, revealed a nightmare that lasted from just after dawn until well into the next day.

For a nation founded as a safe haven for Jews, the atrocities of Be’eri stand out as a defining trauma of the Oct. 7 attacks. An estimated 1,200 people died after Hamas and its allies surged across the border that day, provoking an Israeli campaign in Gaza that has killed roughly 20,000 people.

We interviewed more than 80 survivors, victims’ relatives, village leaders, soldiers and medics, and verified more than nine hours of security camera footage as well as phone and bodycam video shot by Gazans. We also reviewed more than 1,000 text messages and voice recordings, and used three-dimensional footage of Be’eri taken by Treedis, an Israeli software company, in the days after the massacre to reconstruct several sites where people were killed.

That allowed us to identify where most of the people at the kibbutz were killed. The loss of at least 97 civilians constituted almost one in every 10 people who lived in Be’eri, a community just east of Gaza that is roughly as small as Greenwich Village in New York City.

Hamas gunmen and their allies focused their attack on the western parts of the village, the area closest to Gaza. They ransacked those neighborhoods house by house, systematically setting fire to scores of homes, killing many of those they found inside and abducting others.

In the center of the village, the gunmen slaughtered most of the people hiding inside a besieged health clinic. On the eastern flank of Be’eri, another squad of attackers gathered 14 hostages inside a ransacked home and used them as human shields during a standoff with Israeli forces; some of the hostages were killed in the crossfire, during a delayed and chaotic military response.

Residents were shot in their bedrooms, on the sidewalk, and under trees, where they lay like rag dolls in a heap. Others were trapped in burning buildings, their bodies found charred beyond recognition. The oldest victim was 88, and the youngest was less than a year old.

Family met female hostages who were sexually abused: ‘We’ll never forgive’: Mom, daughter on life of fear in Gaza captivity, pain upon return
A mother and daughter freed from Hamas captivity have described their complex, terrifying 51 days in the hands of Gaza terrorists, which included threats and mind games but also efforts to keep them “happy,” as well as harrowing brushes with Israeli air strikes in the Palestinian enclave.

Chen Goldstein-Almog, 48, and her 17-year-old daughter Agam Goldstein-Almog were taken hostage on October 7 during Hamas’s shock onslaught, along with young boys Gal, 11, and Tal, 9. Father Nadav and second daughter Yam were murdered by the terrorists at the family’s home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza. The four — mother, daughter and two boys — were released from Gaza in late November under a temporary truce deal.

Speaking to Channel 12 news Friday, some three weeks after they were freed, Chen and Agam said they did what they could to survive and “stay sane,” and developed a sometimes tense and combative but largely civil rapport with their captors under terrifying circumstances. Their account of their lives in captivity is one of the most detailed and nuanced yet provided.

The family of six was at home on the morning of October 7 when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists launched their vicious attack on southern Israeli communities that Saturday morning, under the cover of a deluge of rockets.

They were in their saferoom, hiding in fear, when terrorists entered.

“I was very afraid, and then when they came,” Agam said, “when they stood outside the door and shouted at us, I had some kind of stress release like, ‘That’s it, I’m going to die.’ And I accepted that.”

Nadav tried to defend the family with a wooden plank and was “shot in the chest at point-blank range,” said Chen. Yam was “shot in the face,” she said, adding that it was very difficult to process at that moment what she was seeing. Chen said that every day in Gaza, she forced herself to “never forget what I saw,” even in “the most difficult, and scary, and dark moments.”

Chen, Agam and the boys were taken out of the house at gunpoint and dragged into Gaza, among some 240 people who were taken hostage that day and held in the Palestinian enclave.

Nadav and Yam joined some 1,200 people who were murdered, most of them civilians.

Chen described the “seven-minute” car ride into Gaza: “I remember the look on my children’s faces. To process what happened there, at home, and where I was going, it was crazy.”

During the ride, the terrorists picked up bodies into the vehicle. It was not clear whose they were, but Chen thought they were likely the corpses of other terrorists killed in the attack.
Rabbi Leo Dee: The IDF – The World’s Most Moral Army
So this is the paradox: The key to fighting successfully for our country is not our aggression but our love for our people. Training in hatred might enable people to commit the greatest crimes against humanity, such as those we witnessed on October 7, but it does not empower them to win a war. Training in love and kindness, and learning to appreciate each other, are the greatest predictors of success in battle.

This extends to the tools of war as well. The cooperation required to produce an Iron Dome defense apparatus or an Arrow missile interception system is tremendous. From planning to design, from procurement to production, from logistics to training, there are tens of thousands of people involved – highly educated, highly skilled, and highly committed to defending life. All have to work in harmony in order to meet a delivery deadline. Contrast this with the simplicity of creating a Molotov cocktail or procuring a Kalashnikov rifle on the black market. That can be done by any fool with cash provided by a terror-supporting entity that wishes to create destruction and fear.

Countries are defended by their morality. That’s why, in the history of warfare, every war has been fought either between a free country and a totalitarian state, or between two totalitarian states. In the former case, the free country has always been perceived to be the defender and the totalitarian state as the aggressor, because morality – that invisible glue that holds people together and makes us see ourselves as an extension of the other – is always worth defending. Strangely, the only wars in the history of mankind between a free country and a totalitarian state where the free country is regarded as the aggressor are the wars fought between Israel and her enemies.

Ironically, it is the Jewish people, the purveyors of morality in the world, who are the most frequently accused by hostile nations of acting immorally. When you win a war, you prove that your side’s morality was greater, because your soldiers’ ability to perceive themselves as part of the bigger picture was superior. You then have the right to take the moral high ground over the vanquished.

By winning this war against Hamas, Israel will not only destroy the source of terror on our border, but also demonstrate to the world our superior morality over the regressive culture of our foes. Our soldiers are our true tzaddikim – they are the purveyors of truth, kindness, brotherhood, and morality. May G-d defend them in all their battles, and may He bring them home safe, whole, and victorious, speedily in our days.
Comedy Cellar USA: Ken Roth - We Have It Out! Human Rights Watch Director Counters Charge of Anti-Israel Bias.
He walks off after about 35 minutes of a 60-minute interview. In our view, this is an expose of the deep bias that permeates Human Rights Watch. You be the judge.

Roth even goes as far as to claim that Israeli soldiers knowingly shot at people speaking in Hebrew.

Audio: Ken Roth - We Have It Out! Human Rights Watch Director Counters Charge of Anti-Israel Bias

Fueled by DEI, A Dangerous Generation of Jew Haters Has Arisen
Looking at the impact of this diversity and justice ideology domestically, 79 percent of younger Americans support the idea that white people are oppressors and that “nonwhite people and people of certain groups have been oppressed and as a result should be favored today at universities and for employment;” while a majority of younger Americans think that this ideology is helpful for society. As for Jews specifically within this DEI framework, 67 percent of young Americans think that “Jews as a class are oppressors and should be treated as oppressors.”

What is critical here is that this question refers to Jews collectively—not necessarily Zionists, not the Israeli government, but specifically Jews, many of whom have been on the front lines of social justice and are routinely critical of Israel. Again, regardless of Israel, there is intense hate, antisemitism and ignorance among younger Americans; and while pogroms have not yet begun, we have seen less than a century ago what happens when ideologies and misinformation take over the minds of a young group.

I cannot see how any Jew, on the left or the right, can dismiss these findings. All Jews should be calling for the end of the toxic diversity, equity and inclusion programs that have seeded this hate and ignorance. The Harvard-Harris poll is certainly imperfect as all polls are, but the findings are consistent: It is now clear that younger Americans hold a set of beliefs that call for the destruction of the Jewish homeland and support terror and violence. This should trigger immediate action among the global Jewish community.

We must act now because these same people maintain a worldview that says Jews can be harmed and hurt in the name of justice and equity. As was vividly seen during the Holocaust and now after October 7th in Israel, Jews globally are subject to linked fate—that is, a deep connectedness that minority groups have when under assault—and all Jews should be worried about the fact that a large segment of younger Americans holds such abhorrent views.

Even those Jews who traditionally see themselves on the left and who marched for BLM or are calling for a ceasefire now must understand that they are not viewed as allies; historically the Left eventually turns on itself and that is clear today when it comes to standing up to Jew hate. We must remember this critical piece of human nature as well as the events of the past which came on quickly, like today.

We cannot allow history to repeat itself and all Jews must recognize where young Americans now stand.
Anti-Israel teachers getting away with blatant antisemitism as parents, critics decry ‘double standard’
Anti-Israel teachers in NYC public schools get away with unchecked antisemitism while critics of Palestinians are immediately reprimanded, critics charge.

James Parra, a paraprofessional at Brooklyn Arbor Elementary School in Williamsburg, shared a photo of himself on Instagram — apparently inside the school — wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf. He wrote, “It’s a good time to remind y’all that Palestine will be free from the river to the sea within our lifetime.”

“That alone for us is a direct call for a genocide,” said Shy Galor, a Jewish and Israeli mother in Brooklyn’s District 14.

In another Instagram post, Parra called Israel a “racist” and “terrorist” state, saying, “If me calling someone a Zionist pig infuriates you and offends you I’m going to need you to do some self-examination and reflection as to why.”

Parra’s Instagram account, “Rebels of Today,” was switched from public to private this month after the city Department of Education received more than 850 complaints, an activist said.
Daniel Greenfield: The Only Free Speech the Left Believes In Is Praising Hamas
Human Rights Watch complains that Facebook prohibits “organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence [from having] a presence on Meta” and “’praise’ and ‘substantive support’ of groups or individuals from Meta’s platforms. These are vague and broad terms that can include expression that is protected under international human rights law. In its scope and application, the DOI policy effectively bans the endorsement of many major Palestinian political movements and quells the discussion of current hostilities.”

Which groups is Human Rights Watch referring to?

Facebook uses “sweeping bans on vague categories of speech, such as ‘praise’ and “support’ of “dangerous organizations,” which it relies heavily on the United States government’s designated lists of terrorist organizations to define. The US list includes political movements that have armed wings, such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The ways in which Meta enforces this policy effectively bans many posts that endorse major Palestinian political movements and quells the discussion around Israel and Palestine;”

So Hamas.

Human Rights Watch complains that Facebook is taking down posts in support of Hamas.

Not that it comes right out and says it. Neither does Sen. Warren. Instead they dance around what they actually mean, pretending that the issue is censorship of “mere mentions of Hamas”, but eventually the truth will out. And this is the real agenda.

The good news is that the Left still believes in free speech. The bad news is that the only free speech it believes in is praising Hamas.
Avi Issacharoff: Hamas misreads Israeli public sentiment to its own detriment
The top leadership of Hamas has stated that renewed negotiations for a prisoner and hostage exchange would only be possible after a complete cessation of hostilities, including the withdrawal of IDF forces from Gaza.

Israel's willingness to present Hamas with an improved proposal for a hostage deal was interpreted by Hamas as weakness and an opportunity for extortion. Hamas seeks the release of "high-profile" terrorists with blood on their hands.

However, Hamas' aspirations seem to lack a firm grip on reality. Sinwar and his cohorts have not fully grasped that the Israeli public will not accept anything less than the dismantling of Hamas rule in Gaza.

The IDF continues to achieve significant military gains daily.
Mahmoud Abbas Must Go
I joined Fatah Youth in Jerusalem during the First Intifada in 1987 when I was 15. Several years later, with other young Fatah leaders, I met Mahmoud Abbas in his office in Ramallah. He was then No. 2 in the Palestine Liberation Organization. He was in his 50s; we were in our 20s. "You are tomorrow's leaders," he would tell us. Today, Abbas is in his late 80s, we are in our 50s, and that tomorrow never came. Abbas' leadership as president of the Palestinian Authority has failed to deliver democracy to his people, failed to keep them safe, failed to manage a viable economy, and failed to ensure they can live a dignified life.

The Palestinian Authority is increasingly invoked as the one entity that could bring unity back to Gaza and the West Bank. But for us Palestinians, that solution will have legitimacy only if there are fundamental changes in the authority's structure - and that includes removing Abbas and his cronies from power.

Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, Palestinian citizens have been watching their leaders' manifest lack of respect for the rule of law. Violation of their constituents' rights and freedoms have included allegations of embezzlement, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and beatings. Today, the president effectively controls the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government. Allegations of corruption are widespread.

A new government for the Palestinians must find a way to join hands with Israel in bringing down the curtain on one of the most complex conflicts of the modern era. President Abbas must leave the political scene and be allowed to live his remaining days in dignity.
DEBATE - Four Voices, One Dilemma: Diverse Perspectives on Gaza's Future
Former Peace Now Director, Yariv Oppenheimer, Maj. Col. (Res.) Eitan Dangot, Fatah activist, Samer Sinijlawi, and former Likud Party MK, Yehuda Glick debate Gaza’s future

UN urges more Gaza aid, UN chief says Israel creating distribution 'obstacles'
The United Nations Security Council on Friday approved a toned-down bid to boost humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and called for urgent steps "to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities" after a week of vote delays and intense negotiations to avoid a veto by the United States.

Amid global outrage over a rising Gaza death toll in 11 weeks of war between Israel and Hamas and a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave, the US abstained to allow the 15-member council to adopt a resolution drafted by the United Arab Emirates.

The remaining council members voted for the resolution except for Russia which also abstained.

Following high-level negotiations to win over Washington, the resolution no longer dilutes Israel's control over all aid deliveries to 2.3 million people in Gaza. Israel monitors the limited aid deliveries to Gaza via the Rafah crossing from Egypt and the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing.

But a weakening of language on a cessation of hostilities frustrated several council members - including veto power Russia - and Arab and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation states, some of which, diplomats said, view it as approval for Israel to further act against Hamas for a deadly Oct. 7 attack.

The adopted resolution "calls for urgent steps to immediately allow safe, unhindered, and expanded humanitarian access and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities." The initial draft had called for "an urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities" to allow aid access.

Earlier this month the 193-member UN General Assembly demanded a humanitarian ceasefire, with 153 states voting in favor of the move that had been vetoed by the United States in the Security Council days earlier.

Hamas calls UN resolution 'insufficient step' for bringing aid into Gaza
The Palestinian foreign ministry and the terrorist group Hamas issued opposing statements on Friday in response to the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of a resolution intended to help bring more humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian foreign ministry, which is part of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, called the resolution "a step in the right direction," and said it would help "end the aggression, ensure the arrival of aid and protect the Palestinian people."

"We consider it a step that may contribute to alleviating the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip," the foreign ministry statement said. Hamas complains that not enough is being done

But Hamas, the terrorists who run Gaza, called the resolution an "insufficient step" for meeting the impoverished enclave's needs.

"During the past five days, the US administration has worked hard to empty this resolution of its essence and to issue it in this weak formula... It defies the will of the international community and the United Nations General Assembly in stopping Israel's aggression against our defenseless Palestinian people," the statement said.

‘Frogmen, hang gliders, kidnapped Israelis’: Netanyahu described Hamas’s plans in 2017
In 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described an onslaught by the Hamas terror group that would prove to be a prescient description of the horrifying events of October 7, but said at the time that his policies had deterred the terror group.

Hebrew-language media published footage on Thursday from a 2017 Knesset meeting in which Netanyahu described the terror group’s plans in eerie detail.

“Hamas has an operational plan for a multi-pronged attack, including thousands of missiles on Israeli cities, naval commando raids, hang gliders and incursions from dozens of tunnels, some of which come up in [Israeli] territory,” Netanyahu said during a hearing held by the parliament’s State Control Committee to discuss a report on the 2014 Gaza war against Hamas.

During the emotionally fraught three-and-a-half hour discussion, Netanyahu described the “special forces” that Hamas was training in order to murder and kidnap Israelis, a reference to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing.

“They’ve assessed that if they can surprise us, they can put the plan into action,” Netanyahu said.

The scenario the prime minister described was similar to the events some six years later on October 7, when some 3,000 Hamas terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing over 240 hostages of all ages — mostly civilians — under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 people were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists.

In 2017, Netanyahu said that the Hamas leadership had begun planning a massive onslaught years earlier.

“At any given moment they could have put that plan into action, but contrary to popular opinion, we don’t control our opponent’s decisions — at most, we can influence their ability to carry them out,” he said.
Many Gaza Civilians Identified with Hamas and Assisted It
As the IDF ground operations in Gaza deepen, it has come to light that there is hardly a spot in the Gazan public sphere that has not been used to serve in the struggle against Israel, including an elaborate system of tunnels, weapon storage facilities, snipers' posts, observation or rocket firing posts, headquarters and safe houses. Gaza as an entity was dedicated in its entirety to anti-Israel jihad.

This makes one wonder about Gazan residents' attitudes toward the atmosphere that had developed in their living quarters, permeating their schools, kindergartens, mosques, UNRWA facilities, hospitals and recreational areas. It is highly unlikely that Gazans were not aware of the terror state existing among them. Many might have identified with the Hamas project and assisted it.

The immense terror infrastructure currently being dismantled is a prime manifestation of Hamas' authentic set of priorities, which Israel had, to a large extent, failed to understand before Oct. 7. The financial value of the "tunnel cities" and the inconceivable scope of the weapons captured are estimated to be worth billions of dollars, the kind of money that could have dramatically improved the lives of Gazans over the last few decades.

In Hamas' view, the ideological objective clearly outweighed any improvement in quality of life, and the Gazans themselves did little to object. The Oct. 7 massacre is rooted in ideological yearnings perceived as overarching considerations.

The comprehensive rehabilitation that Gaza would require cannot focus merely on housing and infrastructure, but on the forming of a normal civil sphere, free of the murderous militarization spread by Hamas throughout Gazan society. This would require a profound change in Palestinian views - a mission even more complex than removing the military threats posed by Gaza.

A profound change in Palestinian views cannot be achieved solely through Israeli actions. It must involve efforts from within the Palestinian system itself. We cannot but hope that the younger Palestinian generation will begin to grasp that the battle slogans and victimization embraced by their ancestors have led its people to nothing but disasters, and start to examine the possibility of replacing them with compromises and focusing on developing life here and now.
Hamas Tactics in the Gaza War: Deception, Ambushes and Booby Traps
As the conflict rages in Gaza, Hamas tactics have included deception, surprise, and ambush. In recent days, IDF soldiers have been hearing recordings of weeping and people speaking Hebrew, intended to lure them into a deadly trap. Hamas fighters dart from building to building in civilian clothes, the IDF says, and attempt to ensnare Israeli soldiers with booby traps and lures.

Kobi Michael, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said the deceptions "are designed to entice the army to enter areas that Hamas prepared in advance as kill zones."

Ron Ben-Yishai, a veteran national security commentator for Yediot Ahronot, entered Gaza recently with the IDF and described a children's room: "The bombs were hanging in sandbags on the walls to explode at the head level of the soldiers. With the crying of children and all these gimmicks, the goal is to lure the IDF forces into traps. They lay bait to bring the forces to the area where explosives are placed in a circuit and connected to each other. And it did happen. They managed to hit soldiers like that."

Compilation: IDF Troops Destroyed Hamas’ Multi-Level Tunnel Underneath Gaza City
Over the past few weeks, IDF troops conducted operational activity in the Issa area in the southern part of Gaza City; a tunnel network serving as an underground post and numerous buildings used as Hamas headquarters were destroyed

As part of operations in the south of Gaza City, soldiers of the Yiftah Battalion (11th) and combat engineering forces struck Hamas headquarters in the Issa area. The soldiers identified a terrorist cell attempting to attack the forces and eliminated them in close-quarters combat. In the operations in the Issa area, many Hamas terrorists were eliminated, along with many buildings used for terrorist activities and weapons that were destroyed.

Soldiers of the Paratroopers Brigade who were operating in the area located and discovered a number of shafts leading to a significant undergound tunnel route.

Soldiers of the Yahalom Unit and the Oketz K-9 Unit examined the significant and strategic underground tunnel route beneath the "Issa" post - used as an underground base by the Hamas terrorist organization. This multi-level structure served as an underground post. Its floors were used for storage, hideouts, command and control, and movement of operatives between different areas. After investigating with various technological means and in collaboration with the combat engineering forces of the 99th Division, the soldiers destroyed the underground tunnel route.

The IDF released footage from the Marom Brigade's Oketz K-9 Unit's dog cameras, revealing a tunnel network hundreds of meters long, including command and communication rooms, hideouts with dozens of meters of space, concrete bunkers, and water and electricity installations. So far in the war, the unit's soldiers and dogs have scanned dozens of tunnels, locating findings that allow the forces to enter the tunnels.

IDF, Shin Bet assassinate key Hamas weapons smuggler, Hassan Atrash, in Rafah

Iran ‘Provides Houthis with Tracking Info to Target Ships in Red Sea’

More Than 20 Countries Now Part of US-Led Red Sea Coalition: Pentagon

Iran Threatens Mediterranean Closure Over Gaza, Without Saying How

Biden ‘Heartbroken’ That American Believed Kidnapped by Hamas Is Dead

Ben Shapiro: Five Lessons For 2024
We learn the lessons of 2023 and look forward to a – maybe? – brighter 2024.

The British activist accused of being a key Hamas ally
British man has been accused by the German authorities of being Hamas’s key liaison in Europe with numerous alleged links to the terrorist organisation. Majed Al-Zeer, 61, a prominent Palestinian activist who has appeared in parliament at events with Jeremy Corbyn and several other British MPs, is alleged to have contacts at the highest levels of the Hamas leadership.

A file from the German interior ministry, first reported by Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, names Al-Zeer as the “person responsible for Hamas” in Germany and across Europe. In 2015 Al-Zeer was photographed alongside Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’s political bureau in Qatar, and in 2008 with Khaled Mashal, who led Hamas from 1992 to 2017.

Al-Zeer, who moved from London to Berlin in 2014, is believed to be an influential figure in at least two European-based Palestinian groups that have been linked to Hamas by German and Israeli security agencies. The groups deny supporting Hamas activities.

Hamas has been banned in Germany since it killed more than a thousand Israeli civilians in a surprise offensive on October 7. While it has traditionally confined its activities on German soil to fundraising and propaganda, there is increasing concern that it may be making preparations for terrorist attacks on European targets.

Last week it emerged that three alleged members of Hamas — an Egyptian national and two men born in Lebanon — had been arrested in Berlin on suspicion of attempting to acquire weapons in preparation for a possible attack on a Jewish institution.
UNICEF EXPOSED: Criticized for misleading public on fundraising information
After contacting UNICEF, it was confirmed that no program exists to support Israeli victims of the October 7 attack led by Hamas. The exclusive program is solely accessible to Gazans, allowing people worldwide to donate solely to them.

Israelis of color push back against race-based, anti-Israel narratives spread abroad
Kalkidan Tegin wanted to get a few things straight in a recent TikTok video.

Yes, there are Black people who support Israel, the 20-year-old Ethiopian Israeli says emphatically to the camera; yes, Black Jews like her exist. No, she’s not a convert or an adoptee.

She then responds to critics who claim that Israel mistreats its Black citizens.

“When my grandparents lived all the way in Ethiopia, they were literally hunted and chased and hated just because they were Jews, just because of their religion,” she says. “I lived here in Israel my whole life and I never felt hated. I never felt hunted just because I’m Black.”

In a mock American accent she adds, “It’s insane, right?”

Tegin, who has more than 25,000 TikTok followers, is part of a group of Black Israelis in their 20s and early 30s who have been vigorously defending Israel online — and in English — since the Hamas atrocities of October 7 sparked the ongoing war in Gaza.

They are an informal but increasingly visible part of Israel’s public diplomacy, known as hasbara, which seeks to defend Israel from criticism and burnish the country’s image overseas, and kicks into high gear during wartime. (TikTok, especially, has become a major online battleground, with a recent analysis showing that pro-Palestinian hashtags are massively outperforming pro-Israel hashtags on the platform.)

In social media posts and TV appearances, they have shared stories about how they and other Black Israelis have been affected by the war. They have called out African-American critics of Israel, including those aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement. They have also pushed back against race-based, anti-Israel narratives spread by pro-Palestinian activists, such as that Israelis are white, European colonizers of land belonging to indigenous Palestinians.

In addition to Tegin, the most prominent Black content creators include Titi Aynaw, an Ethiopian Israeli model and former Miss Israel; Noah Shufutinsky, better known as the rapper Westside Gravy, an African-American Jew who immigrated to Israel last year; Ashriel Moore, a former contestant on Israel’s version of the reality show “The Amazing Race” and a Hebrew Israelite activist; Yirmiyahu Danzig, a Caribbean-American Israeli educator; and Lilaq Logan, an IDF commander with both Jewish and Hebrew Israelite heritage.
A day after being heckled for his Israel views, Ritchie Torres gets a hero’s welcome at Bronx Jewish school

The organizations leading the pro-Hamas demonstrations in Britain since the outbreak of Operation Iron Swords
The Hamas movement has been designated as a terrorist organization in the UK since November 2021, when the political wing of the movement was included in the list of proscribed organizations, after the military-terrorist wing, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, was outlawed in March 2001. Thus membership in Hamas, or support for the movement, is considered illegal and the government can freeze Hamas’ assets in Britain’s jurisdiction and impose economic sanctions on activists affiliated with it.[1]

The Hamas movement does not have an official presence in the UK, but over the years affiliated institutions, associations and charity funds have been established, mainly camouflaged as Muslim Brotherhood activities or as organizations “supporting Palestinian rights.” Key Hamas operatives are also based in Britain, led by Muhammad Sawalha, a former member of Hamas’ political bureau who helped establish Hamas headquarters in Judea and Samaria.[2]

Since Hamas’ terrorist attack and massacre in Israel on October 7 and the beginning of Operation Iron Swords, mass pro-Palestinian demonstrations against Israel have been taking place across the UK, where along with the calls for a ceasefire, the slogans “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Globalize the anti-intifada” are chanted. The protest is jointly organized by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, the Muslim Association of Britain and the Palestinian Forum in Britain, all longtime pro-Palestinian groups that participate in Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaigns against the State of Israel and have clearly anti-Semitic positions. Even though Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization in the UK, the pro-Palestinian organizations publicly expressed support for the October 7 attack and massacre and later for the “armed resistance” [i.e. violence and terrorism] against Israel.

Along with the groups which routinely focus on pro-Palestinian activity, the current protest is also led by the Stop the War Coalition and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, two left-wing anti-war organizations. British labor unions also express clear support for Hamas and the terrorist attack and massacre. In addition, a number of politicians from the left side of the political map identified with and expressed solidarity for Hamas even after October 7, the most prominent of whom is known anti-Semite Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of the Labor Party.

Although the British authorities have so far allowed the demonstrations to be held in the name of freedom of speech, the police are working to prevent obvious displays of support for Hamas, including Hamas symbols and flags or the use of memes associated with the terrorist attack of October 7, such as illustrations of motorized gliders used by the terrorists who infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip. However, there were also many cases in which the police did not act against anti-Semitic incitement, such as calls for intifada and “violent resistance” against Israel and against Jews.

The Hamas-American Bund
Here we have a problem. Obama, not Biden, is running America’s 10/7 response, and after the massacre, he issued no clear and outright condemnation of Hamas. Their attack was “horrific,” he said, but “what is happening to the Palestinians is unbearable.” Americans might imagine a president saying that the Nazis’ Einsatzgruppen was “horrific” and that an Allied strategy to wipe them out would be unbearable and “could ultimately backfire.” The Allies utterly extirpated the Nazi death squads, and the strategy did not backfire.

If Hamas is worse than the Nazis, it follows that supporters of Hamas are worse than Nazi sympathizers of the 1930s and 1940s. Many found a home in the German-American Bund and with call for the annihilation of an entire people, the Ivy League anti-Semites become the Hamas-American Bund. With her endorsement of a post claiming that “genocide” is happening in Gaza, Greta Thunberg transitions to Mildred Gillars, better known as Axis Sally.

Meanwhile, Delaware Democrat Joe Biden apologized to American Muslim groups for questioning death-toll statistics from Hamas, which at this writing still holds American hostages. Biden continues to appease the Iranian Islamic regime, which backs Hamas and still chants “Death to Israel! Death to America!”

As the people might recall, in 1979 that regime took 52 Americans hostage and held them for 444 days. The struggle against Islamic terrorists, who are worse than Nazis, is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
Democratic dark money giant behind anti-Israel protests has scored $81M in taxpayer dollars
An influential liberal dark money group propping up anti-Israel activism across the United States has pocketed massive amounts in taxpayer-backed grants and contracts in recent years, according to a Washington Examiner analysis of federal spending records.

The Tides Center, which funds organizations behind Hamas-sympathetic protests held after the terrorist faction's deadly Oct. 7 attack against Israel, has long helped shape the progressive agenda with the financial backing of billionaire philanthropists such as Bill Gates and George Soros. But the Democratic-allied charity sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars in assets also retains another key supporter in the federal government, which directly or through subawards steered more than $81.2 million to the Tides Center between 2006 and 2023, documents show.

The U.S. government's extensive support for the Tides Center is a window into how taxpayer dollars regularly flow to charities closely affiliated with the anti-Israel movement. The Tides Center has faced scrutiny from conservatives for facilitating a dark money pass-through system allowing wealthy Democrats to pour donations into initiatives housed under the nonprofit group, whose projects do not have to file their own tax forms with the IRS. This process, known as fiscal sponsorship, has the effect of obscuring sources for donations to and from the California-based charity.

Pro-Palestinian projects benefiting from the Tides Center's tax-exempt status, including the Adalah Justice Project, Palestine Legal, and the Catalyst Project, have repeatedly justified and downplayed the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack — which killed more than 1,200 people in the Jewish state. The Tides Center and its sister group, the Tides Foundation, also have granted millions of dollars combined over the years to Alliance for Global Justice, a charity in Arizona revealed through a Washington Examiner investigation to share ties to Palestinian terrorism, and other entities that have celebrated convicted terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

"The Tides Center is a clearinghouse for funding far-left causes, including radical anti-Israel ‘resistance' groups that have been spotted on college campuses chanting for the destruction of Israel," said Benjamin Baird, director of Middle East Forum Action, a watchdog tracking terrorism-tied groups. "It does not need any help from the federal government, which is only subsidizing extremism by bankrolling a Marxist-Islamist piggy bank like Tides."
Direct Action Campaign Calls Out Pro-Hamas Campus Hate Groups

LA synagogue relocates Shabbat services due to planned pro-Palestinian rally nearby
Temple Beth Am, Los Angeles’ third-oldest Conservative synagogue, told congregants it would be moving its Saturday afternoon Shabbat services this weekend due to safety concerns over a pro-Palestinian protest happening at a nearby park.

In an email sent to the community on Thursday, Rabbi Adam Kligfeld and temple president Mark Samuel said that “out of an abundance of caution,” afternoon services would be moved to a private home. But they stressed that the synagogue did not make the decision lightly.

“I don’t remember a more agonizing decision,” Kligfeld wrote in the email, which was obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “On one hand, not that much is at stake. This was not Kol Nidre or a bar/bat mitzvah or even ‘normal’ Shabbat AM service, times during which hundreds of people are on our campus happily and unselfconsciously and proudly doing Judaism. This was about ‘only’ the 12-16 people or so who normally show up for Shabbat afternoon services and learning. Not that momentous.”

He continued: “On the other hand, it felt hugely momentous. In 2023? In the city of Los Angeles? A Jewish community even considering not holding religious services at their own synagogue because of a looming threat posed by a rally that has a very good chance of spilling from pro-Palestinian rhetoric to virulently anti-Zionist and dangerously antisemitic? It boggles the mind that that is where we are in modern America. But it is where we are.”
Troubling Mall Protests Are Like the War on Christmas, Hamas-Style
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in excerpts from a year-end interview with Global News that’s to be fully released on Christmas Day, criticized the mall protesters and said they shouldn’t be allowed to be there and indicated support for their arrest, if required. These are strong words coming from Trudeau, as he’s been criticized for not being firm enough on the more threatening elements of these protests.

It shows how little tolerance people have for these mall disruptions and for this war on Christmas, Hamas-style.

The other evening, I was driving across my east-end neighbourhood and was struck by just how many homes had placed holiday lights and elaborate ornaments. There’s also now an unspoken competition to feature increasingly elaborate blow-up displays. One house had an inflatable nutcracker statue that was over two storeys tall. It was an impressive display. While people may begrudgingly accept how companies and public institutions are opting for neutral “holiday” events over loud and proud Merry Christmas celebrations, they aren’t holding back when it comes to their own homes. The Christmas spirit is alive and well.

These are the same families who are heading to the mall for holiday shopping and some Christmas cheer. It’s a huge miscalculation on the part of pro-Palestinian protesters to think their mall disruptions are a good idea.

U California Tables Anti-Israel Proposed Ethnic Studies Admissions Requirement After Pushback

North Carolina Pulls $40 Million in Investments From Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever Over Israel Boycott

TikTok insiders slam alleged bias against pro-Israel posts claim company: 'serve Hamas’ narrative'

CBC blames teleprompter error for 'Israel started the Hamas war' statement

South Africa Helps Iran Skirt US Aviation Embargoes

France’s Most Controversial, and Most Celebrated, Writer on Why There Must Be a Safe Haven for the Jews
The author of several works of fiction and collections of poetry, Michel Houellebecq gained international fame beyond literary circles with his sixth novel, Submission, which imagines France becoming an Islamic country. Recently, he spoke with Tamar Sebok, the French correspondent for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, about rising anti-Semitism and the war in Gaza:
Houellebecq’s screensaver displays a powerful image of Ido Shamir from Be’eri, who survived the massacre. In the center of the picture, among the ruins of a kibbutz home, lies [his] book To Stay Alive and Other Essays.

Houellebecq tells Sebok:
I’m supposed to be a depressed, depressing, disillusioned writer. That’s what I’ve read the critics say about me. Eventually I believed it myself. But this time, I was really way off with my illusions. I was certain that even the worst leftists, the ones who unreservedly support the Palestinians and always criticize Israeli politics, would say they can’t stand behind what happened this time. I was sure there’d be a wave of sympathy and solidarity for the Jews. The very opposite happened—anti-Semitic attacks skyrocketed. It’s been two months, and I still find it hard to believe that it’s happened.

We’ve gotten used to terrorist attacks. No one’s surprised anymore [in France] when a priest’s throat is slit. The best metaphor for the Jewish Question—and I don’t know who came up with it—is the canary in the coalmine. When a Jew is persecuted because he’s a Jew, a Christian should worry. He’s next in line.

Recent events in France, across Europe, and in the United States have proven, more than ever, that there needs to be a safe haven for Jews. I ask myself whether, as an exception, I might one day be able to emigrate to Israel.
Anti-Zionism is antisemitism: Here's the proof
JEWS KNOW they are in for a long ride. Thus we must strengthen our physical, emotional, and moral stamina. Hamas’s jihadi violence and the outrageous support it received opened our eyes. We must have moral clarity about right or wrong, just or unjust. Without any doubt or hesitation, we must declare our rightful claim to our land and forgo any need to belong to progressive politics at the cost of our Jewishness or support of Israel.

This Jewish catastrophe has also opened the world’s eyes, forcing it to confront the dangers facing it. Jews as the canary in the coal mine is followed by an immediate danger for all. The West has been astounded by the moral damage their universities have unleashed upon their students. It finally recognizes that virulent antisemitism makes Jewish students feel physically unsafe.

More devastating is the moral turpitude of the country’s elite faculty and students. They find raping women, killing babies, decapitating, and burning people alive justifiable. Congress is trying to address this repulsive turpitude. It is a complex fight that involves the West, not just the Jews.

Arab countries realize how this massacre and the ensuing war would threaten their own security if Israel did not destroy Hamas. They need a strong Israel and are trying to defuse the tension, sending discreet signals for connection with Israel, despite fearing the Arab street.

The massacre has also brought into focus the role of misguided or ideological media promoting misinformation and fueling violence – a theme to also address.

There are many pieces to the puzzle of bringing antisemitism and anti-Zionism to tolerable levels. We must all address each piece carefully and methodically. We have friends and allies to help. Let’s take a deep breath and dive in to help wherever we can!
As 'Color Purple’ adaptation hits theaters, Alice Walker’s antisemitism returns to spotlight
Walker’s troubles with antisemitism would break into public view the following year, when The New York Times Book Review asked her to list her favorite books for a regular column. Among her choices was “And The Truth Shall Set You Free,” by antisemitic conspiracy theorist David Icke. The book purports to explore the secret forces behind global power, and contains numerous screeds on Israel, the Jews, and familiar conspiracy theories like the Rotshchild family.

“I believe that researchers over the years who have blamed the entire conspiracy on the Jewish people as a whole are seriously misguided; similarly, for Jewish organizations to deny that any Jewish person is working for the New World Order conspiracy is equally naive and allowing dogma or worse to blind them to reality,” Icke writes at one point in the book. Later, discussing the events that led up to the Holocaust, he states, “I believe that all this was coldly calculated by the ‘Jewish’ elite.”

Walker had nothing but praise for the book, telling the TImes, “In Icke’s books there is the whole of existence, on this planet and several others, to think about. A curious person’s dream come true.” It wasn’t her first time praising Icke, whom she has also boosted on her website and in other writings; she soon suggested that her critics were merely upset over her pro-Palestinian activism.

Walker’s outspoken love of Icke has prompted a more widespread reckoning with her beliefs on Jews. Last year, a book festival in Berkeley, California, disinvited her from a major event over what the festival said was her “endorsement of antisemitic conspiracy theorist David Icke.” Walker had been promoting “Gathering Blossoms Under Fire,” a newly published collection of her journals. Playhouses staging “The Color Purple” started publishing statements addressing Walker’s links to antisemitism.

A new ‘Color’ with shades of old
The new “Color Purple” is marketing itself as a “bold” reimagining of the novel, swapping out its dour, punishing prose for splashy, elaborate choreography. Like the first Spielberg adaptation, it also features an all-star Black cast: in this case headlined by Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, “The Little Mermaid”’s Halle Bailey and musician H.E.R.

It is also being positioned by studio Warner Brothers Discovery as a major awards contender — notable as the Spielberg-directed version was famously shut out of all 10 Oscars it was nominated for. At the time, film critic Roger Ebert, who named Spielberg’s film the best of the year, suspected this was due to the racism of a nearly entirely white Academy.

In the midst of Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Walker has continued to advocate for Palestinians. Last month she appeared in a webinar hosted by Socialist Action entitled “Palestine Will Be Free From the River to the Sea“ that also featured an editor of the anti-Zionist website Electronic Intifada.

Meanwhile, Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation has launched an initiative to collect testimony from Israeli survivors of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. Spielberg himself, while not directly involved in the project, has endorsed it, saying, “I never imagined I would see such unspeakable barbarity against Jews in my lifetime.”

Spielberg has made no public comments about Walker or the new “Color Purple” this year, though the two of them both walked the red carpet at the film’s premiere.
Was Jesus Palestinian? Spoiler alert: No! Here's why
Just in time for Christmas, Rebel News reporter Drea Humphrey sits down to interview Pastor Rabbi Giulio Lorefice Gabeli about the historical scriptures that debunk the recently trending claim that 'Jesus was a Palestinian.'

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

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


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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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