Sunday, April 07, 2024

From Ian:

Lee Kern: Six Months
It has been six months since the October 7th massacre. Six months since the hostages were taken. Six months since a war of extermination against us began. And that is what it is. A war of extermination. Not just against Jews in Israel. Against Jews everywhere. If they could kill us all in one go they would. If they have to do it piecemeal they will. If they can destroy us physically they’ll go for it. If they must shatter our spirits and see us retreat from the world they will. We are six months into this war that was forced upon us. Right now there is unresolved pain, unprocessed trauma and unfinished business. There is also uncertainty over what comes next. Horrors have preceded us, but there will be challenges ahead. I’m going to say one thing I want you to acknowledge. I’m going to say one thing in the hope it gives you strength. You - you the individual reading this - you have had six months learning to manage and cope with the most intense and difficult feelings. You are still here. You have had six months learning to manage and cope with a new world no one would think is possible to handle. But you did. You are now a master and expert at dealing with fear and stress and you will deal with whatever comes next. You are an expert and master at living life on the edge. You are an expert and master at keeping your head above the water. Whatever happens next, there is no one more expertly placed on earth to deal with it than you. No one more equipped to complete the task ahead than you. This is a truth as sure as our inevitable victory. I cannot wait to celebrate with you my friends, my brothers, my sisters, my soulmates, my beautiful Jewish tribe.
A letter from Israel
Explanations for how Hamas’s attack on 7 October was made possible are wide and varied. The right blames the army high command for being too left-wing and pro-Arab, and blames young people for dividing Israel over the controversial judicial reform bill. The left blames Netanyahu for focusing on politics rather than security.

There is also widespread distrust and fear about the spread of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the West. Many Israelis cannot understand why we do not understand that Israel is in the frontline of a wider struggle for democracy and civilisation. I do my best to explain that there are many in the UK and elsewhere who recognise the right and duty of Israelis to fight for their country. But when Israelis look at Western media, all they see and hear are ‘pro-Palestine’ protests and ‘pro-Palestine’ voices.

It is difficult for foreigners, especially non-Jews, to fully grasp the existential character of this conflict for Jews. This is a people who were murdered in their millions before and during the Second World War. Afterwards, they were unwanted and so they came to this patch of desert and mountains to build a fortress.

Today, Israel, a country the size of Wales, is surrounded by hostile nations and facing an almost constant insurgency. Israelis cannot afford the luxury of believing that they can survive without a fight.

But there remains a sense that things could have been different. Kibbutz Magen has a population of around 500. It is a prosperous-looking place. Low buildings with brown gabled roofs, lots of open spaces covered with lush grass. It is spring and there is pink blossom and white flowers everywhere you look. A herd of several hundred black and white cows is sheltering in assorted sheds. Swallows wheel in the air and hawks hover. All you can hear is birdsong. The occasional patches of wasteland are sandy, a reminder that this kibbutz is in the Negev desert – a desert that has been transformed.

The last thing Isi of Magen did as we left the hill, from which he and his friends fought off Hamas, was to gesture towards Khan Yunis. ‘This could have been a paradise for everybody’, he says.
Jim Geraghty: Is Israel Really Alone, When It Counts?
The Israel Defense Forces strike that killed seven employees of the World Central Kitchen on Monday may cause the Israelis more friction with the U.S. government than all previous military actions combined. A lot of people want you to believe that President Biden has turned his back on the Israelis.

But in the ways that Israel needs the U.S. to help it continue its war effort in Gaza, the Biden administration has quietly signed off and nodded in agreement. In late March, the administration authorized the transfer of more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs. Between October and early March, the Biden administration authorized the sale of "thousands of precision-guided munitions, small-diameter bombs, bunker busters, small arms and other lethal aid."

President Biden may be raging about Netanyahu, but he is not actually willing to take a step that would directly harm the ongoing Israeli campaign against Hamas. It's in the anti-Israel movement's interest to act as if Biden is more opposed to Israel than he really is, because that makes it appear like they are winning the argument, and that the movement is powerful and influential.

Each week and month since the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, world opinion has shifted against the Israelis more and more. The victims of Hamas have been quickly forgotten, as have the remaining hostages whom Hamas refuses to release, and whom Hamas men are almost certainly still abusing in the most horrific ways.

Funny thing is, as widely and furiously denounced as Israel has been over the past half year, the Israel Defense Forces' effort against Hamas just continues. Sometimes they have good days. Sometimes they have bad days. And sometimes they have extremely bad days like when the erroneous strike killed the workers from World Central Kitchen. But the IDF keeps going, no matter how much the rest of the world denounces them.

Netanyahu: Israel isn’t preventing a hostage deal, Hamas is
Netanyahu told his government that he was determined to destroy Hamas and return the hostages, as he underscored the fact that Iran was behind the Hamas-led October 7 attack against Israel, in which over 1,200 people were killed and another 253 seized as hostages.

“We have been attacked on many fronts by Iran's affiliates - Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, militias in Iraq and Syria, and other attacks as well.

Anyone who harms us or plans to harm us - we will hurt them,” he stated, noting that this was true for Israel’s enemies close to home or far away.

“The absolute majority of the people are united in the need to continue fighting until victory,” Netanyahu said as he called for national unity.

He also condemned a ramming attack on Saturday night, in which an Israeli driver injured five demonstrators in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu said he condemned “any manifestation of violence within us - riots and violations of the law, trampling on demonstrators or attacking policemen and wild incitement,” including on social networks.
Ruthie Blum: The only deal on Hamas’s table is defeat of the Jewish state
In a monologue on Friday during Israeli Channel 12’s current-affairs program “Ofira and Levinson,” the mother of one of the remaining 133 hostages in Gaza called on Benjamin Netanyahu to resign.

“Mr. Prime Minister, you are running out of time,” said Einav Zangauker, whose 24-year-old son was abducted on Oct. 7 by Hamas terrorists. “You’re not returning Matan; you’re not accepting the hostage-release deal that’s on the table. Go home.”

She went on: “I’ll find someone responsible enough to bring [him] and the other hostages back to their families…I’ve run out of patience, and invite you to step aside. You’re just sitting around wasting time and that’s a pity.”

Zangauker has been expressing this sentiment with increasing frequency. And it’s hard not to shudder sympathetically at what she and the rest of the devastated families have been going through for the past six months.

But where do they get the idea that there’s a “deal on the table” being prevented by Netanyahu? And what do they imagine would happen if he were to “step aside”?

Do they actually believe that a different leader or government in Jerusalem would spur Hamas to soften its stance? Can’t they see that every crack in Israel’s societal armor serves to stiffen the terrorists’ intransigence?

Terror-supporting Qatar is no friend of the West
ISGAP’s research shows that the Qatari Emir and the Qatari government are directly behind the industry funneling billions of dollars into leading American universities such as Texas A&M, Georgetown, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Virginia Commonwealth and others.

In light of the findings, ISGAP has issued letters to relevant authorities calling on Cornell to close its campus at Doha Education City and expose all contracts related to the university partnership with Qatar. Earlier this month the Board of Regents at Texas A&M decided to end the university’s 20-years partnership with Qatar and close the TAMUQ campus in Qatar.

Charles Asher Small, executive director of ISGAP, called upon American universities “to follow Texas A&M’s decision to pull out from Doha Education City. Qatar, a state that supports, funds and hosts terrorists should have no place in America’s higher education.”

ISGAP initiated the “Follow the Money” research project in 2012, focusing on the illicit funding of U.S. universities by foreign entities promoting anti-democratic, antisemitic ideologies, often linked to terrorism. This ongoing investigation unearthed substantial Middle Eastern funding, primarily from Qatar, to U.S. universities, previously unreported to the Department of Education (DoED) as required by law, revealing billions of dollars in unreported funds. This groundbreaking work led to a federal government investigation in 2019.

Despite its close ties to the United States and other Western nations, Qatar has cultivated an extensive network of Islamist partners, hosting, supporting and representing entities such as the Muslim Brotherhood, maintaining ties with Iran, hosting the Taliban, supporting Hamas and backing militias in Syria and Libya.

It is clear that Qatar is no friend of the West. By hosting Hamas’s leaders, allowing Al Jazeera to spread anti-Israel propaganda and funding U.S. universities in exchange for influence, Qatar has demonstrated clearly it is on the side of evil.

In Inbar’s view, Israel needs to “take the gloves off” and Qatar’s leadership should “pay for their behavior.”

At the same time, he added, “Israel should increase efforts to delegitimize Qatar’s behavior in the United States.”
Hamas Actually Believed It Would Conquer Israel
I flew to Cairo to meet Gazans who fled from the war, some of them old friends. Sufyan Abu Zaydeh, 64, former minister of prisoner affairs in the Palestinian Authority, had been living in Jabalya. He said that when he saw a military jeep go by his home, carrying a woman abducted from Israel, and saw how dozens of jubilant local residents surrounded it, "I knew that Gaza was finished....I told my wife that the Israelis were going to run over us with tanks and that they would destroy everything....They will level all of Gaza."

"There were many statements by Hamas before Oct. 7, and we in Fatah would laugh. For example, someone from Hamas wrote on Facebook: 'Remember, in another few months the al-Qassam men will get to Ashkelon, enter the jail and free all the prisoners.' That was the atmosphere. It was hard for us to grasp that they believed that with 3,000, 5,000 or even 10,000 armed militants they would conquer Israel. That's insane. But when you believe that God is sending you to do his bidding, there's no one to argue with. The signs were out there the whole time."

For the past two years, the Hamas leadership had been talking about implementing "the last promise" - a divine promise regarding the end of days, when all human beings will accept Islam. But outside the hard core of the Hamas leadership, talk of an apocalyptic showdown was considered no more than a pipe dream, intended to serve the PR purposes of Sinwar in order to divert public discussion away from the distress of Gazans. Only a few realized that these were not just fantasies but a concrete plan.

Another friend whom I met in Cairo is 60, a former high-ranking figure in Fatah, who left Gaza a month ago to save his family. He said the entire Hamas leadership had been taken captive by the Sinwar group's deranged idea of an all-out battle. "So strongly did they believe in the idea that Allah was with them, and that they were going to bring Israel down, that they started dividing Israel into cantons, for the day after the conquest. One day, a well-known Hamas figure calls and tells me with pride and joy that they are preparing a full list of committee heads for the cantons that will be created in Palestine. He offers me the chairmanship of the Zarnuqa committee, where my family lived before 1948."
US-based Gazan peace activist calls on Palestinians to abandon armed resistance narrative
When it comes to lashing out against Hamas, Gazan peace activist Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib does not mince words — or expletives.

“They are such f**** criminals. They are now capitalizing off of the Security Council resolution,” he said, referencing a resolution passed at the United Nations last week demanding an immediate ceasefire. “But instead of working to prevent an Israeli operation in Rafah, that Haniyeh a**h*** went to Tehran to receive instructions,” he said.

“He is now telling the Iranians that October 7 and the war have brought such amazing benefits to the Palestinians. I am so furious,” he railed.

Alkhatib, 33, is an analyst and nonprofit administrator living in California’s Bay Area, who has recently been admitted as a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Middle East Initiatives. He is an outspoken peace activist who wears his heart on his sleeve.

Although he has lived in the US for the past 19 years, he does not conceal his deep concerns about the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in his native Gaza, where most of his family still lives, and about the future of the Palestinian people in the absence of a pragmatic vision for coexistence with Israel.

He recently sat down to speak with The Times of Israel about what he considers to be some of the greatest obstacles to peace on the Palestinian side; namely, the delusions the Palestinian leadership has been selling its people for decades.

Since October 7, Alkhatib has embarked on a one-man social media campaign to discredit Hamas, draw attention to the human plight of the majority of Gazans who are not involved with terror, and call for mutual recognition between Palestinians and Israelis in the hope that the two peoples will one day be able to share the same land in peace. He has published editorials in Haaretz, the Wall Street Journal, and The Forward, among others, and has laid out his vision for peace in his blog with The Times of Israel.
Biden Exploits a Tragic Israeli Mistake
Israel did the right thing this week by immediately investigating, taking responsibility and apologizing for its missile strike on Monday that killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen in Gaza. "It shouldn't have happened," Israel's top military officer said. "It was a mistake that followed a misidentification." Israel's Prime Minister, President and Defense Minister have also apologized and announced steps to try to prevent it from happening again.

Many people who know better seem to have forgotten that errors are a tragic and inevitable part of war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken threatened, "If we don't see the changes we need to see" from Israel, "there will be a change in our policy."

The message Hamas will take away is clear: Keep rejecting hostage deals, do whatever you can to worsen the humanitarian catastrophe, and watch Mr. Biden blame and pressure Israel to compromise on its war aims. Rather than hold Hamas accountable and demand at every opportunity that it release the hostages, including five Americans, Mr. Biden places the full burden on Israel. He puts Israel on trial each day from Washington lecterns, undermining support for its war effort.
Hamas May Have Baited IDF Into Striking WCK Convoy in Error
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) called the World Central Kitchen (WCK) after seeing a gunman mount one of its vehicles and fire into the air on Monday evening, but WCK could not reach its employees, according to a report.

That would suggest that Hamas might have tried to ensure that the IDF misidentified the WCK convoy as terrorists — a tactic consistent with Hamas’s use of civilian deaths to generate global pressure on Israel to stop the war in Gaza.

The Jerusalem Post reported that late Monday evening, before the WCK convoy reached a hangar, an IDF drone unit reported seeing a Hamas gunman climb the lead vehicle and fire into the air — a signal used by Hamas terrorists.

The IDF apparently called off airstrikes on the convoy at that point, and tried calling the aid workers. The Post noted:
As the events developed, the IDF tried to call the aid workers involved in the field and was unable to reach them.

Next, the IDF called the WCK headquarters. The WCK headquarters tried to call its own aid workers in the field, but they did not answer.

When vehicles left the hangar, the IDF drone unit believed that these were not the same vehicles and thought that these were Hamas vehicles or that around four Hamas operatives had joined or taken over the convoy.

The IDF mistook the WCK vehicles for Hamas vehicles because infrared cameras could not see the logo atop the vans.

As Breitbart News reported, the IDF will now require all aid vehicles to use a sticker that can be identified by infrared cameras. It is not clear what would prevent Hamas terrorists from stealing the stickers or using similar ones to hide.
Head of aid group struck by IDF says Gaza campaign ‘war against humanity itself’
World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres raised questions on Sunday over the Israeli probe into a strike that killed seven of his staff in Gaza, and warned that the conflict had become a “war against humanity itself.”

Speaking about his firsthand experience working in war-torn Ukraine, where “entire towns” have been destroyed, the head of the US-based charity also compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This investigation and many others should be done right, should be done in an independent way,” Andres said in an emotional interview with ABC’s “This Week.”

“This doesn’t seem like a war against terror. This doesn’t seem any more like a war about defending Israel,” he said. “It really, at this point, seems like a war against humanity itself.”

Andres is a celebrity chef in the United States, and the White House has called the killing of the aid workers from his charity a “catalyst” for sterner calls by US President Joe Biden for Israel to curtail the killing of civilians and aid workers, and improve the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Andres called the new aid routes a “first step” and said he supports Israel’s right to defend itself, but questioned why the United States was supplying weapons to a country that is “killing American citizens who are humanitarians.”
‘Unspeakable nonsense’: Richard Kemp dismisses claims IDF intentionally killed aid workers
Former British commander Richard Kemp has dismissed claims of the IDF intentionally killing aid workers to worsen food deprivation in Gaza as “unspeakable nonsense.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong heaped criticism on Israel after the “utterly inexcusable” deaths of seven aid workers in an airstrike including Australian Zomi Frankcom.

Two senior IDF officers were fired and several others were reprimanded for the "grave mistake" from "serious operational failures".

Mr Kemp noted that Israel “scrupulously” adheres to the laws of war and argued it would make no sense for Israel to intentionally kill aid workers.

“Israel is doing everything it can, everything in its power to allow aid to get into Gaza,” he told Sky News Australia.

“In fact, in the last six months since this war began, Israel has permitted aid into Gaza, which is about twice as much as it requires.”

Britain has turned against Israel. It’s an unforgivable betrayal
The urge to show keenness for punishing Israel – to essentially align ourselves with those who don’t want the Jewish state to win – increasingly appears stronger than the urge to do right, and make Britain and the West safer with it.

For, as we’ve seen in the past, failure to defeat Islamist terrorists may have ramifications for our own cities: fail to destroy Hamas and people in London, Paris, Berlin and New York could be at risk.

A Hamas plot to kill Jews in Europe has already been foiled by German and Danish police. Cutting off their ideological source would seem a no-brainer. We ought to be thanking Israel for doing such a nightmarishly difficult job. It is one of our absolutely key allies – strategically, emotionally, historically and in every other way – and this is how we treat it in its hour of need?

Many of those demanding an arms embargo appear to be using the World Central Kitchen tragedy as an excuse to further their long-standing anti-Israel agenda.

In other warzones, it seems to be acknowledged that tragedies happen. Among many examples, there was an occasion when the US bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan (Biden was vice president: no ceasefire demanded).

In Kabul some years later, a US drone strike killed civilians – including children. Yet the headline in the New York Times ran: “No US Troops Will Be Punished for Deadly Kabul Strike, Pentagon Chief Decides”.

In betraying Israel we are betraying ourselves.

“Not only will Israel win this war,” posted Hillel Fuld, an expert on Israel’s tech industry, “but Israel is establishing itself as we speak as the global authority on urban warfare.

“All countries will be turning to Israel in the future to learn how to find a war in the 21st century”.

If Britain continues like this, Israel may very well choose not to teach us. And our lives will be nastier, more brutish and shorter because of it.
David Collier: Palestine Solidarity Campaign – paving the road to extremism
The UK government recently adopted a new definition of ‘extremism’. They will begin to label groups ‘extremist’ if the group promotes an ideology based on ‘violence, hatred or intolerance’ which aims to negate the freedom of others, undermine democracy, or help others do the same. It is seen as a way of helping to remove oxygen from groups that are pushing poison into the veins of our society.

Given everything we know about the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), it should be near the top of any list of extremists that the government produces.

The price of blindness
On September 9 2015, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) held a protest outside Downing Street. One of those demonstrating with the PSC was Salman Abedi, the Manchester bomber:

When extremist groups meet on the streets of the UK the police take the opportunity to gather intel. Faces are photographed, people are traced – and UK security services attempt to protect citizens by identifying potential dangers linked to these extremist networks.

So what would have happened if the UK had *fully* recognised the extremism connected to the PSC before 2015? Perhaps diligent officers would have been alerted to that young face standing alongside the Libyan flag. Maybe initial security checks would have picked up that his family had deep ties to Islamist groups opposing the Gaddafi regime. Perhaps they would have uncovered images of Salman Abedi and his brother carrying weapons alongside Al Qaeda figures. It is therefore possible Abedi could have been clocked as a major risk and the Manchester Arena bombing may have been averted.

It is not like our government was not consistently warned. Whilst most in the Jewish community leadership would rather gorge themselves on gala dinners than upset their parliamentary connections, some, like the NGO Jewish Human Rights Watch were compiling information on the PSC and trying to get the British establishment to wake up to the dangers. I have personally seen JHRW correspondence dating back almost a decade – addressed to the UK government – calling for action against the PSC because of its ties to terrorist groups.

And let us not forget. Within weeks of Abedi’s appearance at a PSC demo, the Co Op bank closed down the PSC’s bank account because of fears money could inadvertently be funnelled to illegal groups in Gaza. How many red flags did the authorities need?
Only 1 in 4 British Muslims believe Hamas carried out rape and murder on October 7, according to survey
Only 1 in 4 British Muslims believe that Hamas committed murder and rape in Israel on October 7, according to the largest survey conducted of British Muslims since the Israel-Hamas war began.

The survey, commissioned by the Henry Jackson Society, a counter-extremism think-tank, found that just under half of British Muslims, 46 per cent, said they sympathise with Hamas.

The findings arrive on the six-month anniversary of October 7, when Hamas invaded Israel and murdered some 1,200 Israelis and took a further 253 hostages, about 130 of whom are still believed to be held by the terror group in Gaza.

Asked whether Hamas committed murder and rape in Israel on October 7, only 24 per cent of British Muslims said they had, compared to 62 per cent of the wider public.

The report found that younger and well-educated Muslims were the most likely to think Hamas carried out no atrocities on October 7, with 47 per cent of 18–24-year-olds and 40 per cent of the university-educated.

The survey also found that over half of British Muslims, 52 per cent, want to make it illegal to show a picture of the Prophet Mohammed, and about a third, 32 per cent, wish to see Shariah law implemented in the UK.

Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism and the interfaith group Faith Matters, told the Sunday Telegraph that the findings are “shocking but also not shocking.”

He said: “The sense that Hamas did not conduct massacres and rapes in Israel is atrocious because it shows a closed-off mentality of anything emanating from Israel.”

The survey, carried out by polling company J L Partners, also found that 46 per cent of British Muslims say Jews have too much power over UK government policy (compared to 16 per cent of the general public) while 41 per cent said Jews have too much power in the media and 39 per cent said Jews have too much power in the UK’s financial system.

Mughal said the findings confirm that “a lot of work needs to be done to inform, challenge, and address old antisemitic tropes,” adding that a failure on the part of the government to invest in better guidance for teachers and education establishments risks “a social cohesion problem.”

39 per cent of British Muslims said Hamas did commit atrocities on October 7, with 37 per cent saying they did not know whether they had or not.
Six months after October 7: UN's Guterres says 'Nothing can justify horror unleashed by Hamas'
UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that "the 7th of October is a day of pain for Israel and the world" in a post on X marking the six-month anniversary of the October 7th massacre on Sunday morning.

"The United Nations and I personally mourn with Israelis for the 1,200 people, including many women and children, who were killed in cold blood," said Guterres. "Nothing can justify the horror unleashed by Hamas on October 7th."

The UN secretary general added that he condemns "the use of sexual violence, torture, injuring, and kidnapping of civilians, the firing of rockets towards civilian targets, and the use of human shields" and called for the "unconditional release of all the hostages."

Guterres has consistently disappointed with his responses to the ongoing war
Guterres has come under fire repeatedly throughout the war for his focus on condemning Israel and for comments concerning the October 7 massacre, including remarks made just two weeks after the massacre in which he stressed that the attack "did not happen in a vacuum."

Guteress also failed to comment on reports of sexual violence committed by Hamas for over a month. After a month of the war, he stated, "There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on October 7 that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted," in a post on X. The UN subsequently opened an inquiry on war crimes with a focus on sexual violence committed by both sides.

British PM six months after Oct. 7: War must end
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak marked six months since the Hamas massacre by calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the terrorist group and announcing additional aid to Gaza via sea.

Sunak noted that the Oct. 7 attacks were “the most appalling attack in Israel’s history, the worst loss of Jewish life since the Second World War. Six months later, Israeli wounds are still unhealed. Families still mourn and hostages are still held by Hamas.

“And after six months of war in Gaza, the toll on civilians continues to grow—hunger, desperation, loss of life on an awful scale. We continue to stand by Israel’s right to defeat the threat from Hamas terrorists and defend their security,” said Sunak.

“But the whole of the U.K. is shocked by the bloodshed, and appalled by the killing of brave British heroes who were bringing food to those in need. This terrible conflict must end. The hostages must be released. The aid—which we have been straining every sinew to deliver by land, air and sea—must be flooded in,” added the premier.

“The children of Gaza need a humanitarian pause immediately, leading to a long-term sustainable ceasefire. That is the fastest way to get hostages out and aid in and to stop the fighting and loss of life. For the good of both Israelis and Palestinians—who all deserve to live in peace, dignity and security—that is what we will keep working to achieve,” said Sunak.

His government also announced a package of military and civilian support to set up a maritime aid corridor to Gaza.

Last month, more than 130 British parliamentarians signed a letter urging London to cut off weapons sales to Israel.

Daniel Greenfield: After Letting Osama Go 9 Times, Ex-Clintonite Complains Israelis “Fire First and Then Ask Questions”
The Clinton administration had 9 opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden. Hours before 9/11, Bill Clinton gave a speech in Australia bragging that, “I nearly got him once. I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have had to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him.”

Almost 3,000 people died. Over a hundred thousand died in the ensuing conflicts.

Now Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton’s former chief-of-staff who served various security roles in the Obama administration, which belatedly got Osama, has popped up to criticize Israel for being too ready to kill terrorists.

“You have to be able to verify to take time to make sure that information that you’re getting is accurate with regards to targets,” Panetta said on CNN “And I have to tell you that in the past, at least in my experience, the Israelis usually fire and then ask questions.”

That’s not true. Israel has a decision pipeline of its own. One that has cost the lives of Israeli soldiers including on Oct 7 where helicopters did not have permission to attack soon enough.

But do Americans really want the Democrat approach to national security in which the failure to get Osama bin Laden 9 times led to 9/11 or a willingness to actually take out the terrorists?

Under Obama, the onerous rules of engagement costs the lives of thousands of American soldiers.

And Leon Panetta’s old boss was bragging about his moral superiority about refusing to value the lives of Muslim terrorists and their family members in Kandahar over that of Americans.

That’s not morality, it’s a suicide pact.

Gallant: IDF troops withdrawn from Khan Younis to prepare for Rafah operation
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says Israeli troops were withdrawn from the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza to prepare for the expected offensive in Rafah.

“The forces came out [of Gaza] and are preparing for their future missions, we saw examples of such missions in action at Shifa [Hospital], and also for their future mission in the Rafah area,” Gallant says following an assessment at the IDF Southern Command.

“We will reach a situation where Hamas does not control the Gaza Strip and where it does not function as a military framework that poses a risk to the citizens of the State of Israel,” he adds.
IDF facing what no military has faced in 'modern history': John Spencer
Modern War Institute urban warfare studies chair John Spencer breaks down accusations against Israel's military tactics on 'Life, Liberty & Levin.'

Natasha Hausdorff on GB News' 'Sunday with Michael Portillo' refuting legal claims against Israel
Michael Portillo interviews Natasha Hausdorff on the '600 lawyer letter' and discusses the response signed by over 1000 lawyers calling out the legal errors.

Four IDF soldiers die in Gaza tunnel ambush
Four Israel Defense Forces commandos were killed in action in southern Gaza on Saturday, the IDF announced on Sunday. Terrorists emerged from a tunnel in Khan Yunis and ambushed the soldiers at close range, the army said.

The attack raised the military’s death toll to 604 on all fronts since the war started six months ago.

The soldiers were identified as Capt. Ido Baruch, 21, from Tel Mond; Sgt. Amitai Even Shoshan, 20, from Moshav Azri’el; Sgt. Ilai Zair, 20, from Kedar; and Sgt. Reef Harush, 20, from Kibbutz Ramat David.

Their deaths bring the number of soldiers slain since the start of Israeli ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27 to 260.

Two Israelis wounded in Samaria terror shooting
Two Israelis were wounded on Sunday in a shooting attack in western Samaria.

According to medics, a woman in her 20s was seriously wounded and a man in his 40s was moderately hurt. The female victim, later identified as an Israel Defense Forces soldier, was evacuated to Beilinson Medical Center in Petach Tikvah and the man was being treated at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.

One was wounded by gunfire directed at a bus and the other was hit while driving a car. The attack occurred east of Qalqilya on Route 55, between the Palestinian towns of Azzun and Nabi Ilyas.

IDF troops were dispatched to the scene and police blocked the highway in both directions.

Security forces launched a manhunt for the terrorist after he fled on foot towards Qalqilya, Ynet reported.

IDF soldiers found a large explosive device in the suspect’s car, which was located near the scene. Security agencies are investigating the possibility that the terrorist planned to carry out a secondary attack.

Mourner’s wreath sent to hostage’s family; police suspect Iran The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) announced on Sunday that a mourner’s wreath left outside the door of Hamas hostage Liri Albag’s family was the work of “Iranian elements.” Police have opened an investigation into the incident.

The wreath was delivered to her family’s home in Moshav Yarhiv in central Israel. It included the inscription, “May her memory be blessed. The country is the most important.”

Albag, 19, was captured from the Nahal Oz Base on the Gaza border on Oct. 7. She is still presumed to be alive, particularly following a Daily Mail report late last month stating that Israeli forces had found traces of her DNA in Gaza.

“Upon receipt of the complaint, it [the wreath] was sent for examination by professionals in the Investigations and Intelligence Division, together with the management of initial investigations of the Central District’s online crime unit,” said the Israel Police on Sunday.

Liri’s sister Roni told the Walla! new site, “On Friday, the security officer of the moshav saw it, took it straight to the police so that we wouldn’t see it and filed a complaint.

“I cried hysterically. How in the world are there people who would dare to send a mourner’s wreath to the family, when we know she is alive? I have no words. It’s shocking and makes me sick.”

Mother ran 13-miles while three months pregnant and suffering morning sickness in desperate bid to save her baby as Hamas attacked
Bullets kicked up desert sand and rockets exploded overhead as Astar Moshe ran for her life – and the life of her unborn son.

Astar, 35, was three months pregnant and suffering morning sickness on October 7.

But with Hamas terrorists on her tail she kept going for more than 13 miles before finally reaching safety.

'Some kind of maternal instinct came over me,' she said of her ordeal while at the now infamous Nova music festival exactly six months ago today.

'I would do anything to protect my child,' she said. 'There was no way we were going to get killed. We were going to survive and that was it.'

Insurance worker Astar gave birth to 6 lb Benaya Moshe two weeks ago. She and her partner Shlomi, 37, a building maintenance manager, call him their 'miracle'.

Astar told The Mail on Sunday: 'When I found out I was pregnant we tried to cancel the festival tickets, but we didn't succeed. So, we thought, 'Why not? Let's have one last bit of fun.' '

While at the festival, at 6.30am on October 7 the couple were startled by sirens and explosions.

Christians United For Israel, US representatives speak out against Biden's ceasefire comments
The leadership of the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) released a statement on Thursday, criticizing Joe Biden for stating that he supports an immediate ceasefire during a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“President Biden is playing directly into the enemy's hands by undermining Israel’s effort to defeat Hamas. If the President wishes to help Israelis and Palestinians, he should do everything in his power to hasten the end of Hamas, not ensure their survival. Placing demands on Israel is not the answer to peace in the Middle East, and never has been,” said CUFI founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee.

“This war started after Hamas sent thousands of terrorists into Israel so they could rape and murder innocent Israelis. The 10/7 Massacre will not advance Palestinian interests, and no one associated with that atrocity will escape justice," added CUFI Action Fund Chairwoman Sandra Parker. "The sooner both the Biden administration and Congress understand those simple facts and act accordingly, the sooner Israel will defeat Hamas, rescue the hostages, and restore stability to the region."

CUFI is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States and one of the leading Christian grassroots movements in the world, with over 10 million members.

US politicians react to Biden's statements
US Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson also reacted critically to Biden's comments in a post on X on Thursday.

"The president’s ultimatums should be going to Hamas, not Israel. Hamas resisted a ceasefire, brought about needless bloodshed, and refuses to release Israeli and American hostages. Biden should not undercut our ally amidst an existential threat by conditioning our support," Speaker Johnson said in his post.

Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) laid out his thoughts in a post as well, saying "Let’s put this idea of a ceasefire into perspective. You want Israel to stop fighting against an enemy that has no intention of ever stopping. There was a ceasefire, Oct 6. Then what happened on Oct 7? The biggest massacre of Israelis in recent history."
Sen. John Fetterman blasts squatters, violent crime: ‘I am not woke’
Fetterman brought plenty of red meat to the sitdown at famously vegan Eleven Madison Park, touching on a range of subjects including Israel and the 2024 presidential campaign.

On the issue of Israel, the senator has remained a bulwark.

As national Democrats drift ever closer toward Hamas — and their swing state voters in Michigan — Fetterman has remained completely steadfast in his support of the Jewish state and called out New York Sen. Chuck Schumer for his remarks calling for new elections in the country.

“It’s reasonable if you want to criticize, but to call for effectively like a regime change, I disagree,” Fetterman said. “I didn’t agree because Israel is a democracy, it is our key special ally. And our nation wouldn’t appreciate any kind of foreign input. So why should we do that for Israel?” He also condemned the United States decision to allow a United Nations ceasefire resolution to pass and said Israel had the “right” and “imperative” to proceed with their invasion of Rafah.

On Thursday he posted to X his objection to President Biden’s warning that future aid to Israel could become conditional.

“In this war against Hamas — no conditions for Israel,” he said.

Students protest ‘war criminal’ Hillary Clinton at alma mater appearance: ‘Blood on her hands’
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced student protests during a visit to her alma mater, Wellesley College, on Saturday.

Clinton had returned to campus in order to receive the honor of a college building being named after her.

Protesters were lined up to harass attendees of a women-led democracy summit on campus that also featured Clinton.

Local news outlets say angry students also circulated pamphlets around campus saying Clinton is Wellesley’s “most beloved war criminal,” and arguing that she has “blood on her hands.”

School administrators acknowledged the protest but did not condemn it.

“I encourage all who participate in activism to follow the demonstration policy and be mindful of our Code of Student Conduct so that you remain safe for yourself, and for our community,” vice president and dean of students Sheilah Shaw Horton said in a statement.

Clinton is no stranger to facing protests during her visits to American universities.

‘We’re cutting them loose,’ chief Florida financial officer says of Morningstar
Florida intends to cut its ties with Morningstar until the investment firm can prove it has rooted out anti-Israel bias in its investment ratings platforms, the state’s chief financial officer told JNS on Thursday.

“We’re not renewing our services with Morningstar. We’re cutting them loose,” Jimmy Patronis, who manages some $60 billion in Florida funds, told JNS exclusively. “There are other ways we can do this and we don’t need Morningstar helping manage our ratings here in the state’s treasury.”

Morningstar has provided ratings for Florida’s deferred compensation program for state employees at least since 2016. The contract is in the low five figures annually and will end this August, according to the Florida chief financial officer’s office.

Chicago-based Morningstar is “a leading provider of independent investment insights,” which had $2 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year, per its most recent earnings release. Its subsidiary, Sustainalytics, has more than 1,000 clients and serves “18 of the top 20 asset managers,” per its site.

Morningstar and Sustainalytics have been altering their environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings systems, which a coalition of U.S. Jewish and pro-Israel organizations have alleged was inherently biased against Israel.

The coalition accused the firm of heavily weighing anti-Israel sources, such as those advocating a boycott of Israel (BDS), to generate “controversies” that downgraded scores, which socially conscious investors use in their decisions.

Critics allege that Morningstar and Sustainalytics automatically penalized companies doing business in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, beyond the so-called “green line,” which Sustainalytics referred to as “occupied territory” that belongs to the Palestinians.

Some have termed this a case of low-key or “backdoor” BDS, which they say has a chilling effect on companies that may want to do business in Israel-controlled territory but fear being slapped with investment ratings penalties.
Controversial lecturer, accused of antisemitism, sues Stanford
A Stanford lecturer who was suspended for allegedly singling out Jewish students in his classroom and downplaying the Holocaust has sued the university, claiming that Stanford made false accusations against him because he is Black and Muslim.

Lecturer Ameer Loggins said he became the subject of an “unrelenting” racial and religious harassment campaign after Stanford suspended him in October.

In his lawsuit, Loggins included five pages of racist and threatening emails that he received after he was suspended.

In response to the lawsuit, Stanford spokeswoman Dee Mostofi said the university is “disappointed” that Loggins decided to sue.

“We will vigorously defend against the claims being made,” she said.

The incident in question happened on Oct. 10, three days after the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel. Rabbi Dov Greenberg, executive director of Stanford’s Jewish Student Center, told reporters at the time that Loggins had Jewish students stand up and move to a corner of the room away from their belongings.

This is what Jews do to Palestinians, and Israel is a colonizer, Loggins allegedly said.

Loggins also asked students how many Jews died in the Holocaust. He then brought up genocides where more people had died, according to Greenberg, who spoke with three students.

Guest on George Galloway’s new show appears to call for people to join Hezbollah-affiliated group
A guest on a show of newly-elected MP George Galloway highlighted to viewers that a group affiliated with the terror group Hezbollah is ready to accept anyone wishing to join in the fight against Israel.

The vehemently anti-Israel commentator’s new programme, Have It Out With George Galloway, appears on the Iranian regime’s propaganda channel Press TV. Press TV broadcasts online after it was forced off the air by Ofcom for breaching foreign-ownership rules.

One of Galloway’s first guests last week was Lebanese activist Dr Marwa Osman who during the interview invited citizens around the world to join a Hezbollah-affiliated group and the “axis of resistance.”

She pleaded that Galloway and the show’s watchers remember “there’s Lebanon and there is the Muqawama (resistance) in Lebanon and there’s the Saraya Muqawama (resistance brigades) in Lebanon which actually accepts anyone who [would] like to come and take part in the fight against Zionist Israel, because you know, we have 120km between us, give or take, plus or minus 120km between Lebanon and occupied Palestine.”

She added, “just as Zionist Israel brought from all over the world mercenaries to help out in this genocide against our people in Palestine, from all over the world despite the fact that they say they are natives to Palestine, which they are not, we can also do that.

“How? Well you have to go to the people who are capable of doing that. Lebanon always welcomes whoever wants to fight against Zionist Israel,”

Saraya Muqawama is a Lebanese paramilitary group founded, trained, and armed by Hezbollah, the terror group proscribed in the UK since 2019.

Ex-Reform UK candidate decries Ashkenazi Jews, had Holocaust denial on blog
A Reform UK Party candidate for Orpington was removed from the candidate list after an NGO highlighted tweets by the politician that included denouncing Ashkenazi Jews, but The Jerusalem Post has since found a more extensive history of such statements and an article about anti-Jewish conspiracies on the blog he edited.

Ex-Reform Orpington candidate Mick Greenhough and South Ribble candidate Jonathan Kay appeared to have been removed from the party’s list following an expose by left-wing NGO Hope Not Hate. Kay was accused by the group of Islamophobia and racism for social media posts commenting on the IQ of Africans and Muslims.

Greenhough was also alleged by the group to have expressed racist and Islamophobic sentiments for calling for the removal of Muslims from Britain and posting a meme about Africans only having invented sticks. Hope Not Hate had also uncovered a 2019 social media post in which Greenhough said, “Most Jews are reasonable people. Their problem is the Ashkenazi Jews who have caused the world massive misery.”

While Greenhough has commented in favor of Israel, in support of British Jewry, and against the October 7 attacks, he has a longer history of social media posts decrying Ashkenazi Jews than the NGO reported.

“It is the Ashkenazi Jews who are the problem,” Greenhough said in 2020 in response to a video about comedian Seth Rogen dismissing the need for a Jewish state.

This is how Iran helped Israel in the war on Hezbollah
As long as the fighting in Gaza continues, even if we have a ceasefire or escalate the fighting from the Israeli side, Hezbollah will not stop its war against us and its plot to wipe out Israel. If we escalate sparingly, they will escalate sparingly. If we escalate to full-scale war, they will escalate accordingly.

At the moment, both sides prefer to avoid all-out war. However, for internal reasons in Lebanon and as a result of Iranian "advice," it appears that recently, they fear an all-out war even more than we do. This is a strategic advantage that Israel has begun to take advantage of. It is true that both sides still maintain a mutual understanding that limits the conflict, but it is Israel that is slowly escalating the conflict, and Hezbollah is simply reacting. The recent attacks on Hezbollah facilities more than 100 kilometers from the border are an expression of Israeli escalation. Israel has no choice but to try to use the war to their advantage as much as possible, and it is, in fact, possible.

Israel's goal is to create a new reality in the Galilee that will allow residents to return, or at least most of them. If it is not possible to subdue and crush Hezbollah in an all-out war, and such an option is probably not practical today, the result that Israel can live with is a partial implementation of the Security Council Resolution 1701 from 2006, which requires Hezbollah to withdraw north of the Litani River and disarm.

Additionally, the war creates an opportunity for Israel to force one part of the decision on Hezbollah: A withdrawal beyond the Litani River or at least 15 kilometers beyond the firing range of anti-tank weapons. There is no certainty in this possibility, but every effort must be made. In order for the residents of the Galilee to return, the Israeli government must announce two obligations it is accepting.

First, a permanent and significant reinforcement of IDF troops on the border.

Second, the immediate destruction of any Hezbollah posts and terrorists found in the agreed-upon area in southern Lebanon. It should be hoped that a prime minister who betrays this commitment will be removed immediately, but here we are talking about the Israeli political system, not Hezbollah, Iran, or the Western powers.
US Concessions Fuel Tehran's Nuclear Ambitions And Internal Oppression
The juxtaposition of these various measurements shows that US policy on Iran influences both American national security and the welfare of the Iranian people. Therefore, both aspects should be integral to the formulation of any future US strategy regarding Iran. While applying 'maximum pressure' on the regime has yielded positive outcomes, providing 'maximum support' to the Iranian people is an essential complementary measure.

This is not about politicians nor personalities, but rather policy – you may note that the time periods in the graph are divided based on US policy on Iran, not US presidents. The United States needs a bipartisan policy on Iran, one that has a clear long-term goal and doesn’t dramatically shift every few years. Such a policy should not only aim to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions and support for terrorism but also seek to uphold human rights and democratic values.

The data presented suggests that a US policy characterized by consistency, clarity, and firmness is more likely to restrain Iran's adversarial actions than one marked by conciliation and appeasement. As we move forward, it is crucial for policymakers to internalize the lessons learned from past engagements with Iran, crafting a coherent strategy that addresses the multifaceted nature of the challenge at hand.

Youngkin signs into Virginia law two bills combating Jew-hatred
Two of the 100 bills that Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed into law on Tuesday address antisemitism.

“From day one, we have made combating antisemitism and religious bigotry a top priority,” the Republican governor stated. “As one of my first executive orders, I formed the Commission to Combat Antisemitism, which issued a recommendation that Virginia revise its laws to ensure Jewish Virginians are protected from hate crimes, along with Muslims, Sikhs and other ethnic and religious groups.”

On Tuesday, Youngkin signed SB 7, which unanimously passed the state Senate (36-0) and House of Delegates (100-0). The law’s aim is “to safeguard all individuals within the commonwealth from unlawful discrimination in employment and in places of public accommodation because of such individual’s ethnic origin and prohibits such discrimination.”

The legislation “also adds victims, who are intentionally selected because of their ethnic origin, to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery or trespass for the purpose of damaging another’s property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense.”

The governor also signed the identical HB 18, which also passed both the state House (99-0) and Senate (40-0) unanimously.

“As the first state to weave religious freedom into the fabric of our nation, Virginia is leading once again and sending a clear message that Virginians should not be the victim of a crime simply because of their religion, race, or ethnicity,” stated Youngkin, who also vetoed four bills on Tuesday.
Judge tosses Louis Farrakhan’s $4.8B lawsuit against ADL over antisemitism claims
A federal judge tossed Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s $4.8 billion lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League accusing the civil rights group of falsely smearing him as an antisemite.

Farrakhan — who over the years has said Hitler was a “great” man, repeatedly claimed “Satanic” Jews control the government and Hollywood and compared Jews to termites — sued the ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Manhattan Federal Court in October, insisting the groups had harmed him and the Nation of Islam by pushing the “false narrative” that he is an antisemite.

In dismissing the suit Friday, Manhattan federal court Judge Denise Cote wrote Farrakhan had failed to provide any evidence demonstrably linking the groups’ actions and writings to injuries sustained by him or his religious organization.

Regarding Farrakhan’s claim that Morgan State University barred him from speaking at the school in 2023 due to pressure from the ADL, Cote wrote he did not prove there was “an injury fairly traceable to the ADL.”

Cote also noted in her decision the ADL’s writings on Farrakhan and his comments about the Jewish people were not defamatory because they “constitute non-actionable opinions” and that Farrakhan “has not pled actual malice.”

'Migrant influencer' who encouraged squatting whines to NY Post that he's a victim of 'persecution' in jailhouse interview The Anti-Defamation League cheered the judge’s decision on X and linked to a blog post listing a selection of Farrakhan’s “hateful and conspiratorial statements.”

“Truth is a defense and no, we will not stop calling out antisemitism wherever and whenever we see it,” the ADL wrote.

French president leads tribute to victims of 1944 Nazi raid on Jewish orphanage
French President Emmanuel Macron will on Sunday mark 80 years since Nazi forces raided a Jewish orphanage in the southeast of France and sent almost all its occupants to extermination camps.

A handful of former residents of the orphanage in the village of Izieu are to attend the ceremony headed by Macron, one of a string of events he is leading this year as France marks eight decades since the key penultimate year of World War II.

On April 6, 1944, the 44 Jewish children aged four to 12 then hosted in the orphanage were rounded up by the Gestapo with their seven instructors, also Jewish.

The raid was carried out on the orders of Klaus Barbie, the notorious Nazi known as the “Butcher of Lyon.” Barbie fled to South America after the war but was extradited from Bolivia to France in 1983 and in 1987 was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of crimes against humanity. He died in prison in 1991.

All the Izieu victims were deported to the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland or Reval in Estonia. Only one instructor survived.

Until then it was “a magnificent place,” where the children could be “among friends,” take classes or take a walk as in peacetime, remembered Roger Wolman, 85 years old, who left the orphanage in 1943.

Between May 1943 and April 1944, the Izieu colony, founded by Sabine Zlatin, a Jewish resistance fighter of Polish origin, took in around 100 children whose parents had been deported. Until the raid, it had been left relatively unmolested.
'White Bird': A Holocaust movie saved by Helen Mirren
White Bird is a new Holocaust drama that opens in theaters around Israel on Thursday, book-ended by a framing device that features Helen Mirren, and most of it is gracefully done and quite moving.

Based on a novel by R.J. Palacio, the author of the best-selling Wonder, which is referenced at the beginning, it has moments of heavy kitsch toward the end, but by then you may be so caught up in the story, that you can forgive the lapses.

Were the narrator who tells the story in the framing device anyone other than the incomparable Mirren, one of the greatest actresses of all time, White Bird wouldn’t have worked nearly as well as it does.

What is White Bird about?
The movie opens with a short section showing Julian (Bryce Gheisar), Mirren’s grandson, starting at a new, fancy private school in New York. This actor played the same character in Wonder, a bully who tormented the hero because of his facial deformity. At the end of Wonder, he is being transferred to a new school, and in the opening of White Bird, we see him coming home, feeling dejected after a day at that school. The cool kids have rejected him, leading him to be mean to an earnest, uncool minority student who invites him to a political club. When he gets into his apartment, he hears a noise and is startled, not expecting anyone, since his parents are usually out at rich people’s fundraisers. As soon as he sees that the unexpected visitor is his grandmother, played by Mirren, we are as pleased to see her as he is.

She knows the story of how he bullied the other boy and was made to switch schools, and she chides him for being “unkind.” In order to explain to him the importance of kindness, she says she’d like to tell him a story about her girlhood in France during World War II, and we settle down happily because if you can’t see Mirren on screen every moment, the next best thing is hearing her voice.

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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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