Friday, May 10, 2024

From Ian:

Douglas Murray: Biden betrays Israel for the feeling of a few clueless college students
What a difference a day makes.

On Tuesday President Biden was speaking at the Holocaust Memorial Museum commemoration at the Capitol in Washington.

There he drew a direct comparison between the events of the Holocaust and the attacks on Israel of October 7th.

That is not my comparison. It was President Biden’s. Talking about the phrase “Never Again” he said:

“Here we are not 75 years later but just seven and a half months later, and people are already forgetting. They’re already forgetting that Hamas unleashed this terror. It was Hamas who brutalized Israelis. It was Hamas who took and continues to hold hostages. I have not forgotten, nor have you. And we will not forget.”

As I say, what a difference a day makes.

Within hours the same President who uttered those words was attempting to prevent Israel’s victory in Gaza. By withholding arms shipments to Israel Biden made it clear that he does not want Israel to achieve its military objectives in the final battle of Rafah.

Opponents of the war have briefed for months about the need for a pause or a ceasefire. But there has been an effective pause for months as Israel has waited for this push into Hamas’s final stronghold.

It is believed that Rafah is the place where the remaining Israeli hostages are being held, and the place where Yahya Sinwar — the mastermind of the October 7th attacks — is hiding.

Most likely surrounded by “the best” hostages — which to his sick mind would include the remaining child captives.

“Never again” indeed.

If the Israeli army does not destroy Hamas in Rafah then the war is effectively for nothing, and all the pain and grief on all sides might as well not have occurred.

As I have said before, there is no point in putting out 80% of a fire. Until the Israeli army can clear Hamas out of Rafah the fire of Gaza is not out.

But Biden seems to be bowing to pressure from some of his own base. As someone joked a few months back, Biden does indeed want to focus on a two-state solution, but the two states are Minnesota and Michigan.

He is desperate to chase the few tens of thousands of voters who might turn on him because they care about Hamas more than they care about America.
Bret Stephans: President Biden Just Made His Biggest Blunder
The munitions cutoff helps Hamas.
The tragedy in Gaza is fundamentally the result of Hamas’s decisions: to start the war in the most brutal way possible; to fight it behind and beneath civilians; to attack the border crossings through which humanitarian aid is delivered; and to hold on cruelly to Israel’s 132 remaining hostages, living or dead. Whatever else the arms cutoff might accomplish when it comes to Israel, it is both a propaganda coup and a tactical victory for Hamas that validates its decision to treat its own people as human shields. And it emboldens Hamas to continue playing for time — especially in the hostage negotiations — with the idea that the longer it holds out, the likelier it is to survive.

It doesn’t end the war. It prolongs it.
No Israeli government, even one led by someone more moderate than Benjamin Netanyahu, is going to leave Gaza with Hamas still in control of any part of the territory. If the Biden administration has ideas about how to do that without dislodging it from Rafah, we have yet to hear of them.

That means that, one way or the other, Israel is going in, if not with bombs — and the administration is also considering barring precision-guidance kits — then with far-less accurate 120-millimeter tank shells and 5.56-millimeter bullets. Other than putting Israeli troops at greater risk, does the Biden administration really think the toll for Palestinians will be less after weeks or months of house-to-house combat?

It diminishes Israel’s deterrent power and is a recipe for a wider war.
One of the reasons Israel isn’t yet fighting a full-blown war to its north is that Hezbollah has so far been deterred from a full-scale attack, not least from fears of having its arsenal of an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles decimated by the Israeli Air Force. But what if the Lebanese terrorist group looks at reports of Israeli munitions’ shortages and decides that now would be an opportune time to strike?

If that were to happen, the loss of civilian life in Tel Aviv, Haifa and other Israeli cities could be immense. Biden would have no choice but to authorize a massive airlift of munitions to Israel — reversing this week’s decision. And the United States might have to even more directly support Israel militarily.
Jake Wallis Simons: The West is proving that Islamist terrorism works
What would be the worst foreign policy message imaginable? There are many contenders, but the frontrunner has to be simply that “terrorism works”. Once this lesson has been learnt, the door will be open to years of violence against us. It’s called appeasement, and history has taught us where it leads.

If you, like me, are concerned by the rise of Islamist extremism around the world, the danger it poses to Jewish communities everywhere, and the way it threatens both the firmness of liberal values and our national security, the inconstancy of Western support for Israel in its mission to destroy Hamas – including here in Britain – should fill you with dread.

Most voters want our country to stand up for democracy, not capitulate to the terrorist forces rising to menace it in the most brutal manner imaginable. Why can’t our leaders express without equivocation that backing Israel in its fight to destroy Hamas completely was, and is, the right thing to do? Why do they stay silent, giving succour to our enemies.

Instead, seven months on from October 7, Western politicians seem intent on pursuing what Ronald Reagan called the “utopian solution of peace without victory”. As he put it during the Cold War: “They call their policy ‘accommodation’ and they say if we only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he’ll forget his evil ways and learn to love us.” Of course, the opposite is true.

UNGA votes 143-9 to upgrade Palestinian statehood status
The United Nations General Assembly voted 143-9 to upgrade the Palestinian's status as a non-member observer state, granting it all but voting rights with regard to all activities related to its plenum.

Argentina, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Micronesia, Nauru, Papa New Guinea, Palau, and the United States opposed the resolution.

Among those countries that supported the text were many European Union members, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

Australia also supported the resolution, while Canada, Great Britain, and Ukraine abstained.

There are already some 143 countries that recognize Palestine as a state.

The UNGA vote, which is mostly symbolic, is viewed as an international referendum in support of unilateral Palestinian statehood.

Controversy over Palestinian recognition
Many Western and European countries have believed that full Palestinian statehood recognition and Palestinian UN membership should come at the end of a final status agreement that tends to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In light of Hamas’s invasion of southern Israel on October 7 that sparked the Gaza War, a number of Western countries have reconsidered their position.

Israel immediately attacked the decision, as a prize for terrorism, given that it comes in the aftermath of Hamas’s October 7 attack, which sparked the Gaza war.

It also warned that such a step would harm negotiation for the release of the remaining 132 hostages held by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza.

“The message that the UN is sending to our suffering region: violence pays off,” the Foreign Ministry stated.

“The decision to upgrade the status of Palestinians in the UN is a prize for Hamas terrorists after they committed the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and perpetrated the most heinous sexual crimes the world has seen,” it stated.

“The decision also provides a tailwind to Hamas amid negotiations for the release of the 132 hostages and humanitarian relief, further complicating the prospects for a deal,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated.

“Israel seeks peace, and peace will only be achieved through direct negotiation between the parties,” the Foreign Ministry said, as it thanked those countries that opposed the resolution, explaining that they stood “on the right side of history and morality.”

Analyzing the UN after 75 years of Israeli membership and navigating the various challenges
THIS PAST week, we commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day. The world today is witnessing an unprecedented rise in antisemitism that can only be compared to the 1930s – the period of the rise of fascism and the ascent of Hitler. We fear for what the future holds, especially for our children and grandchildren, as we witness university campuses globally rife with thousands participating in pro-Hamas gatherings, where virulent, uninhibited antisemitism is voiced.

Having recently returned from the UK and witnessed the increase in security required at Jewish establishments – the result of today’s antisemitism – questions arise as to Diaspora Jewry’s tomorrow. To what extent will governments (not only in the UK but worldwide) confront the increased volatile antisemitism, specifically when elections are imminent?

The Brits will be voting in the coming months for a new government. The polls predict a Labour Party win by an overwhelming majority. Labour’s former leader, Jeremy Corbyn – a glaring antisemite – took himself to the International Court in The Hague to support South Africa’s defamatory claim that Israel carried out genocidal acts against the civilian population of Gaza.

Labour’s current leader, Keir Starmer, does not have the full support of his colleagues. Following the election, the Corbynites could come out of the woodwork and take the reins of the party. If this were the case, then a situation might arise where Britain emulates the Germany of the 1930s, with antisemitism becoming state-sanctioned antisemitism.

And what of those of us who live in Israel? We are engaged in a war like no other since Israel’s rebirth in 1948: a war raging on the country’s southern and northern borders, necessitating the evacuation of thousands of citizens, with some 90,000 from the North unable to return to their homes in the foreseeable future.

We suffered the most horrific and bestial attack on our men, women, and children on Oct. 7, which too many states at the UN have chosen to forget. Israel cannot afford to lose this war – not only because of its responsibility to its citizens but also because Diaspora Jewry takes comfort in the existence of the one state whose gates remain ever open.

Back to the beginning. While the UN came into being in the aftermath of the Holocaust, currently it is a contributing factor to Jew-hatred. The time is ripe for a new international body that recognizes the difference between right and wrong.
Spain, Ireland, Slovenia to recognize Palestinian state
Spain, Ireland and other European Union countries plan to recognize a Palestinian state on May 21, Brussels’ foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell confirmed on Thursday.

He was speaking ahead of a U.N. General Assembly vote on Friday on a resolution that would grant the Palestinians additional perks, following the Security Council’s rejection of their full membership.

An annex to the resolution, which could be revised ahead of the vote, would grant unprecedented rights to a non-member observer state, which has been the Palestinians’ status for the past 12 years.

Those benefits would include the right to be elected to committees, to submit proposals and amendments, to raise procedural motions and to be seated among member states in alphabetical order—all privileges not granted to the institution’s other non-member observer state, the Vatican Holy See, or to the European Union, which holds similar status.

The Slovenian government earlier on Thursday said that it would be taking steps to recognize a Palestinian state, claiming the move would act as an incentive to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Borrell recently revealed that five E.U. countries are expected to recognize a Palestinian state by this summer.

Israel previously criticized the reported plans, calling it a “prize for terrorism” that would reduce the chances of a negotiated resolution.

Brendan O'Neill: Biden’s unforgivable betrayal of Israel
Only one group of people benefits from Biden’s creeping betrayal of Israel. It’s not Israelis, that’s for sure, who have a clear moral interest in defeating the racist pogromists that threaten their security. And it’s not the Biden administration itself – they must know that nothing short of denouncing Israel as the New Nazis who should be boycotted out of existence will satisfy the vengeful urges of the Israelophobes who masquerade as peace activists. No, it’s Hamas. Biden’s instruction to Israel to stay out of Rafah is an implicit acceptance of Hamas’s right to stay in Rafah. The White House is conferring legitimacy, no doubt unwittingly, on Hamas’s cynical dominion of Rafah. It is an unconscionable position, as lethally foolish as it would have been to say ‘Leave Raqqa alone’ in 2017.

We need to call out the phoney pacifism of the ‘Hands off Rafah’ lobby. The architects of the worst anti-Jewish pogrom since the Holocaust are there. The racist militants who’ve promised to carry out more 7 Octobers – right up to ‘October 1,000,000’ – are there. Attacks on Israel are being planned there. Attacks on Israel are happening there. Rafah has been turned, by Hamas, into a base for its cosmic crusade against the Jewish State. The opposition to a clash in Rafah is less a plea for peace than an insistence that Israel accept war. That it learns to live with the existence, a few miles from its border, of a terrorist-ruled city from which deadly attacks on its soldiers and civilians will be launched. What poses as a defence of Palestinian life is really a devaluing of Israeli life.

Let’s be clear: all-out war in Rafah would be terrible. An estimated 1.5million Palestinians have fled there as a consequence of the conflict wrought by Hamas’s pogrom. The suffering that would flow from urban warfare in this teeming city will be unbearable. No one wants it. Not Israel, not the young IDF soldiers who will have to execute it, certainly not the people of Gaza. But if the pontificators of the Western world were serious about preventing war in Rafah, they’d be calling on Hamas to return the hostages and to surrender to Israel. That’s the only way this conflict ends: with the vanquishing of the fascists who started it.

Those of us who support Israel’s right to pursue the terrorists who invaded its territory and murdered its citizens have made a moral judgement: that war, awful as it is, is worth it if it defeats those pogromists. The fake peaceniks of the ‘pro-Rafah’ lobby have made a moral judgment too, though they rarely give voice to it. Their moral judgement is that it is preferable for the Jewish State to be surrounded by Jew-hating armies than for the Jewish State to take decisive action against its enemies. So you see, we are both ‘pro-war’, only one of us favours just war, and the other racist war.
Stephen Pollard: Biden’s weapons threat has made peace less, not more, likely
Which brings us to Biden, who appears to be trying to outdo Obama as a disastrous failure - scuttling out of Afghanistan, given the Taliban a triumph, then in 2022 reaping the rewards of the 2014 failure to act against Putin when he invaded Ukraine. And his first priority on taking office in 2021 was seeking to revive deal.

Now this: “If they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, to deal with that problem… It’s just wrong. We’re not going to supply the weapons and the artillery shells… that have been used.”

There has been one consistent theme of Biden’s presidency, which he shares with Obama: damaging long standing US allies with what often appears to be an almost unbelievable lack of basic understanding of the mindset and behaviour of the various actors.

Take this latest. Even if Biden believes that threatening the security of the US’s main Middle East ally in the middle of a war is good policy, making that threat public is catastrophically, recklessly, unforgivably dangerous. At a stroke, it undermines – indeed almost entirely removes - Israel’s leverage in negotiations over a hostage deal and cease fire. Biden has effectively told Hamas that the war is over – a message Hezbollah will also have taken – making conflict in the north even more likely than before. Iran, too, will have taken note and will act accordingly through its proxies.

More fundamentally. Biden has shown Israel – not just Netanyahu – that the US can no longer be depended on. At the very time when thoughts have been turning to possible progress towards some sort of wider Middle East deal after the conflict, Israel now knows that a US security guarantee is meaningless. That is about as damaging a development for the cause of peace as can be imagined.
Israel Ready To 'Fight With Our Fingernails,' Netanyahu Says After Biden Threatens Aid
Israelis are ready to fight with their "fingernails," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday in a thinly veiled rebuff to President Joe Biden's warning that arms supplies could be withheld over a planned operation in Gaza.

Israel's long-threatened move against Rafah, where it says thousands of Hamas fighters and potentially dozens of the hostages they seized in an Oct 7 attack are ensconced among more than a million war-displaced Palestinians, began this week with the evacuation of some civilians followed by limited incursions.

The Biden administration has said it cannot support a major Rafah invasion in the absence of what it would deem a credible plan to safeguard non-combatants. Israel has said victory in the seven-month-old conflict is impossible without taking Rafah.

The Netanyahu government had kept silent over reports that Washington was holding back a shipment of aerial bombs—until, on Wednesday, Biden went public with the measure, saying it was part of a U.S. warning to the Israelis not to "go into Rafah."

"If we must stand alone, we shall stand alone," Netanyahu said without referring specifically to the U.S. announcement.

"If we must, we shall fight with our fingernails," he said in a video statement. "But we have much more than our fingernails, and with that strength of spirit, with God's help, together we shall be victorious."

Biden’s Israel arms embargo will go down as one of the worst American betrayals
On Tuesday, President Biden declared, “Never forget.” On Wednesday, he forgot.

On purpose.

In remembrance of the Holocaust, Biden solemnly proclaimed, “Never again, simply translated, means never forget.”

Actually, it means never again will a genocide of the Jews be allowed.

But Biden’s interpretation is convenient, since he endangered the Jewish state the very next day by threatening to cut off deliveries to Israel of offensive weapons if it entered Rafah to finish off Hamas.

This will go down as one of the worst American betrayals of a close ally in recent memory.

After Hamas’ savage attack on Israel on Oct. 7, Biden declared, “The United States stands with Israel. We will not ever fail to have their back.”

He immediately supplied Israel with weapons and visited the Jewish state.

But the White House determined that to win reelection the president needed to cater to pro-Hamas, anti-Israel, anti-American Arab-Americans in Michigan and to young Americans with similar views.

The Biden administration then pressed for a Palestinian state, which is anathema to Israelis post-Oct. 7.

It increasingly criticized Israel over Gaza, opposed letting it finish off Hamas’ last battalions in Rafah and pressed for a lasting cease-fire even without Hamas’ release of hostages.

Biden’s arms embargo against Israel doubles down on this approach.

Hamas’ survival would be a huge victory for it and its Iranian and Qatari backers, and a big defeat for Israel and its American partner, with Israeli deterrence and security further undermined.

It also would condemn both Palestinian and Israeli civilians to indefinite suffering and unending cycles of conflict.

Politically, this approach has also proved lousy.

If Biden had backed letting Israel destroy Hamas months ago, perhaps the recent antisemitic, anti-Israel, anti-American university encampments might not have sprung up.

Those vile, raucous protests have hurt Biden politically — and his embargo announcement will only further embolden protesters, who’ll see it as a victory.
Matthew Continetti: Once Again, President Biden Caves to the Bernie Sanders Left
Since May 8, when President Biden told CNN's Erin Burnett that the United States would not supply Israel with weapons if the IDF enters Hamas's stronghold in the Gaza Strip, many of Israel's supporters in the United States have felt a sense of shock, confusion, anger, betrayal, abandonment, and dread.

Shock at the suddenness of the policy reversal and the banal setting of Biden's major shift. Confusion at the incoherence of a policy that denounces anti-Semitism one day and protects Hamas the next. Anger at the news that Biden tried to hide his "pause" in munitions shipments to Israel so that it would not interfere with coverage of his speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Betrayal at his threat to deny Israel the tools it needs to finish the task of ending Hamas as a coherent military force. And dread at what might befall the United States and Israel during the remainder of this presidency.

What happened to the Joe Biden who exhibited moral clarity toward Israel? Did he shuffle off the stage in search of ice cream?

For a while after the October 7 attacks, it looked as if Biden might back Israel to the hilt. As Biden said in Tel Aviv on October 18, Hamas's despicable acts "recall the worst ravages of ISIS, unleashing pure unadulterated evil upon the world." In America's campaign against ISIS, we dropped heavy bombs on urban environments. Not because we wanted to. Because terrorists who burrow underground and use civilians as shields force us to.

Then the war in Gaza ground on. Media outlets amplified Hamas propaganda. Biden's poll numbers dropped. He lost the plot. He began to waver. And he retreated to his usual corner: the Bernie Sanders left.

Sanders's priorities have informed Biden's governance as far back as the unity task force in the summer of 2020. Biden filled his government with allies of Sanders's left-wing ally, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.). True, Biden repudiated Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, Defund the Police, and Abolish ICE. But his "Build Back Better" agenda would transform the United States into a social democracy. His Inflation Reduction Act and electric vehicle subsidies and environmental regulations are catnip for the green movement. He's done little to stop the millions who have crossed the southern border illegally. His regulatory agencies are anti-business. His student-loan forgiveness initiatives are an unconstitutional sop to the campus left. Biden hasn't endorsed the Sanders-Warren program. He just dances to its tune.
Source: Biden's Bomb 'Pause' Will Cause Israeli Soldiers to Die in Rafah
President Joe Biden’s decision to withhold bombs from Israel will cause more Israeli soldiers to die in booby-trapped buildings that would otherwise have been destroyed from the air, according to a military source in Israel.

As Breitbart News reported, the Biden administration confirmed this week that it had withheld 2,500-lb. and 500-lb. bombs, and would also withhold artillery rounds, in opposition to Israel’s decision to attack Hamas’s last stronghold in Rafah.

Israel, which views the defeat of Hamas in Rafah as a military necessity, has decided to continue its operation. But in order to avoid antagonizing Biden, or running out of bombs, Israel will have to send soldiers directly into buildings.

“Everything is rigged to blow [in Rafah],” a military source said. “We are being engaged in numerous buildings, and tunnels rigged in a manner we have not yet encountered. Hamas is organized, and was waiting ready for the IDF to enter Rafah.”

Hamas had plenty of time to prepare, after Biden’s opposition forced Israel to delay an operation in Rafah for three months.

Israel acted after Hamas refused to budge in hostage talks, and attacked the Keren Shalom border crossing, a key entry point for humanitarian aid. Four soldiers died in the attack and several more were wounded.

Since Monday, Israel has held the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, as well as the Philadelphi corridor road that runs along the Gaza-Egypt border. It has also undertaken limited operations against Hamas terrorists in Rafah.
Caroline Glick: SHOCKING: Biden BETRAYS Israel After Rafah
Biden takes an unprecedented move and stops a weapons transfer to Israel as the Jewish State makes moves to finish Hamas.

Bethany Mandel: Biden’s arms embargo against Israel is a national disgrace
On the heels of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Biden gave a speech addressing surging anti-Semitism around the world in the aftermath of the October 7 attacks: “just seven and a half months later, and people are already forgetting. They’re already forgetting that Hamas unleashed this terror, that it was Hamas that brutalised Israelis, that it was Hamas who took and continues to hold hostages. I have not forgotten, nor have you, and we will not forget.”

That statement was a nod to the “Never Again” proclamation that became famous after the Holocaust and its tragic connection to the events of just seven months ago. On October 7, the world saw the most devastating slaughter of Jews in one day since the Holocaust, and “Never Again’’ took on fresh relevance.

Which is why it’s so disturbing that just a day later, Americans heard Biden say: “We’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells.” That red line Biden applied pertains to an Israeli ground operation in Rafah, a city in the south of the Gaza strip where three Hamas battalions and the majority of the Israeli hostages are believed to be holed up. After months of attempting diplomatic means to free the hostages, including half a dozen American citizens, negotiations reached an impasse and the Israel Defence Force (IDF) began a limited ground operation in eastern Rafah.

A Rafah invasion is the most significant leverage the IDF holds in its multi-prong efforts to free Israeli hostages being held by the murderous regime. By threatening Israel for continuing its military campaign during a defensive war, Biden isn’t just endangering Israel during a war for survival, but endangering American citizens being held in Gaza by Hamas.
Seth Mandel: Biden and the Danger of Hitting the First Domino
It’s worth asking because the U.S. sets the tone on myriad foreign-policy issues for the Western alliance. And Israel is one such issue.

In February, the Biden administration unveiled sanctions against Jews in the West Bank whose behavior the U.S. interprets as running counter to America’s strategic interests. It was a vague, broad executive order targeted at one specific religious group in one specific area of one specific country. And its intent was merely to blow a spitball at Israel and be seen doing so, to get progressive activists off Biden’s back.

But then the other kids saw it and thought, “Hey, that looks like fun!” And soon the UK had taken some potshots at a few naughty settlers, too. Not to be left out, France and Poland and Germany got in the game.

A couple of weeks ago, with the tentifada raging, Biden figured he’d toss his party’s base some more avocado toast by hitting the settlers and Jewish organizations in the West Bank some more. Soon, France was promising to join in again. Last week, the UK added its own second round of sanctions on Jews over the green line.

Europeans can’t let the Americans look like they’re tougher on Israel—that’s Europe’s whole thing!

Biden can’t control how far European copycats go when they take his lead. He might not even be able to control how far the U.S. Congress takes it. That’s the problem with hitting the first domino without knowing if there’s a second domino within striking distance. It’s reckless. And a reckless foreign policy aimed at punishing our allies is unlikely to be cost-free.
U.S. Aid to Israel Hurts Israel. Biden Just Proved It
Last July, my colleague Jacob Siegel and I wrote a piece for Tablet Magazine entitled "End U.S. Aid to Israel." It made three simple arguments.

First, American aid is anything but. The roughly $3.8 billion that flows from Washington to Jerusalem each year isn't a gimme—it's a backdoor subsidy to defense contractors that may be nominally based in the U.S. but are global corporations invested in global conflict. And whereas Israelis were previously allowed to spend up to 26 percent of the aid package on domestic products, the Obama administration changed the terms to make sure not a single dollar ever left the United States. To call this arrangement aid, then, is misleading; if you want to see what real American aid looks like, follow the dollars, $75 billion of which were awarded to Ukraine in 2022 alone.

Second, American aid is actually curbing Israel's ability to develop its own home-grown industries. In 2020, for example, the Institute for National Security Studies, a leading Israeli think tank, estimated that reliance on American aid is costing Israel between 20,000 and 80,000 defense industry jobs. Israel's Ministry of Defense backed this assessment, and put the nation's subsequent lost revenue at $1.3 billion. Put bluntly, American aid is losing Israel money, and forcing it to invest not in its own essential innovation, but in failing American projects like the troubled F-35 fighter jet.

Finally, and most troubling, the aid puts Israel center stage in the age-old kabuki theater of American domestic politics masquerading as foreign policy. It enables agitators like Rep. Ilhan Omar, for example, to engage in ripe antisemitic conspiracy theories, as she did in 2019 when she tweeted "It's all about the Benjamins," suggesting that America's own interests were subverted by a powerful lobby of rich Jews forcing lawmakers to send taxpayer dollars to Israel instead of to, say, Minnesota. And it allows the White House to intervene in Israel's diplomatic, military, and even domestic decisions, threatening to hold off on those billions unless are American conditions are met.

When the piece first ran, a host of high-profile critics, including prominent lawmakers from both parties, responded by defending the existing arrangement, offering more talk of the so-called "special friendship" between Israel and the United States.

But this week, President Joe Biden showed the true nature of America's current relationship with Israel. Talking to CNN's Erin Burnett, the president summoned his famed eloquence when answering a question about his decision to halt military aid to Israel should the Jewish state proceed to stage an operation in Rafah. "I've made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet that they're not going to get our support if in fact they go into these population centers," Biden said. "We're not walking away from Israel's security, we're walking away from Israel's ability to wage war in those areas."

It wasn't mere talk: The administration has now reportedly withheld a shipment of 3,500 bombs and other weapon systems to Israel. Appearing at a Senate hearing shortly after the announcement was made public, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called America's commitment to Israel "ironclad," but added that the Biden administration will not supply the munitions until it assesses and approves of Israel's military response.
Mark Levin EXPLODES on Biden's betrayal of Israel
Fox News host Mark Levin sounds off on President Biden's vow to cut off weapons aid to Israel if PM Benjamin Netanyahu moves forward with Rafah invasion on 'Hannity.'

Why the White House turned on Israel
I myself saw this in action. Whenever the NSC’s Principals Committee—composed of the relevant cabinet-level officials minus the president—displayed a strong policy preference, State Department officials would rapidly adopt policies they abhorred in order to be tasked with drafting the policy. They could then slowly manipulate the policy back to their preferred position.

For example, in a 2003 Rose Garden speech, President George W. Bush clearly stated that the United States could not deal with any Palestinian leadership tainted by terror or corruption. By 2004 to 2005, this had become the “Roadmap for Peace,” a plan to build a Palestinian state around the corrupt PLO and Mahmoud Abbas.

Bruce Reidel, the NSC’s senior director for the Middle East, had given the task of drafting this policy to none other than Bill Burns, who was then the assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, and his team. I saw this same phenomenon take place on Iran policy in 2003 to 2004, though I cannot write about this in detail because it remains classified.

So what happened regarding Israel?
Basically, the consensus in Israel that the U.S. government was emotionally, materially and, most importantly, conceptually on Israel’s side after Oct. 7 is wrong. In fact, the Biden administration never abandoned any of its Oct. 6 delusions. Quite the opposite: It saw the possibility that Israel would demolish the paradigms on which U.S. policy’s house of cards is built as a major threat. The administration was terrified that Israel would take actions that demolish the “two-state solution” paradigm that involves a PLO-run Palestinian state. It also feared that potential Israeli escalation against Hezbollah and then the Houthis would threaten the paradigm that holds that the United States must reach a regional strategic condominium with Iran.

At the same time, the Biden administration understood that Israel had been deeply wounded and thus was likely to lash out, preempt and act decisively and uncontrollably. As a result, the administration’s immediate policy imperative became how to re-establish control over Israel’s actions. True to State Department tradition, it decided to co-opt Israel—to act more pro-Israel than Israel. This was intended to win confidence and establish influence over Israeli actions, and then, over time, slowly bend Israel back into the paradigm.

A reasonable argument can be made that President Joe Biden himself acted out of friendship. In fact, he probably did. But those of us living in Washington have seen for years that conclusions cannot be drawn from any presidential statement under this administration until one sees how the State Department and NSC spokesmen clarify it as real policy. Often, they do so in direct contradiction to what the president said.

Indeed, White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki once famously said that one should wait for the administration’s spokesperson to tell you what official policy is rather than rely on what the president says. In other words, Biden is not the prime shaper of operational policy.

Unfortunately, Israelis—both left and right—never appreciated that the administration’s initial embrace was never genuine. It was designed to place a warm blanket over Israel so it would calm down, pause and return to controllable strategic dependency.
Cotton on weapons freeze: ‘No choice but to impeach Biden’
U.S. President Joe Biden’s choice to halt offensive munitions transfers to Israel has inspired some Republicans to see a parallel in former President Donald Trump’s conduct with Ukraine which led to his first impeachment.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) stated on social media on Thursday that “the House has no choice but to impeach Biden based on the Trump-Ukraine precedent of withholding foreign aid to help with re-election. Only with Biden, it’s true.”

John Bolton, former U.S. national security advisor and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also invoked his old boss in discussing Biden’s move with NewsNation.

“What strikes me about this decision by Biden among other things is just how Trumpian it is,” he stated. “It is classic Donald Trump. Forget American national security interests. Forget the security of closest allies. What benefits me politically? That’s the definition of Donald Trump. That is what Joe Biden is doing here.”

Vulnerable Democratic Senators Mum on Biden's Israel Weapons Pause
After President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he would suspend the delivery of high payload munitions to Israel if the Jewish state proceeded with its offensive in Rafah, most Democratic senators stayed silent on the decision, especially those running for reelection in swing states.

Biden’s decision to pause shipments of weapons to Israel over its assault on Rafah—the last major Hamas stronghold in Gaza—has come with harsh criticism from some pro-Israel lawmakers in his party. But of the Democratic senators running for reelection, most are staying mum, including those running in swing states. They include, at the time of publishing, Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, Montana’s Jon Tester, Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, and Nevada’s Jacky Rosen. Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin—who is running to replace the state's outgoing senator, Debbie Stabenow—has also remained silent, as have her fellow House colleagues running for Senate seats, Rubén Gallego of Arizona and David Trone of Maryland.

None responded to requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon on whether they support Biden’s move.

The collective silence suggests that Democrats could be wary both of provoking the party’s progressive flank, which has been harshly critical of President Biden’s support for Israel, and of alienating the pro-Israel voters who make up a majority of the country.

Of the 20 Senate seats up for reelection held by Democrats and the three held by independents who caucus with Democrats, only five have spoken about Biden’s announcement. Four of those five senators—Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Tim Kaine of Virginia—praised the president's remark. But Pennsylvania's Bob Casey expressed a "difference of opinion" on the issue.

"I respectfully disagree," Casey said of Biden during a Thursday morning radio interview. "[Israel] can't just move on and hope that Hamas will somehow disintegrate. They have to continue to prosecute the war. I don't think it's the time right now to constrain their ability to do that. So I have a difference of opinion."
Senior senator: Biden turning his back on Israel ‘politically oriented’
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) denounced U.S. President Joe Biden’s threat to withhold military aid to Israel if it goes into Gaza as “back-pedaling” and “a complete reversal” of his promise to the Jewish state after Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack. GrassleySen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Credit: Official portrait.

“Biden swore Israel would not be alone in this fight. Now, he’s making a politically-oriented decision to turn his back on our greatest ally in the Middle East,” the senior Republican senator said on Thursday.

Grassley, 90, added that since October, the Israel Defense Forces has taken “taken necessary actions to respond to the violence instigated by Iran-backed Hamas terrorists while working to minimize the collateral deaths of civilians.”

“Make no mistake: If Hamas had not invaded Israel on Oct. 7, there would be no deaths today,” Grassley said.
Biden ‘pacifying’ Jew-haters, says ranking Senate Foreign Relations Committee member
Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated on Thursday that U.S. President Joe Biden is prioritizing antisemites over a close U.S. ally in his threat to withhold weapons from Israel if it launches a military operation in Rafah, the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip.

“President Biden’s clear threat to Israel, made on network television, made it obvious that he and his administration are more concerned with pacifying anti-Israel, and often antisemitic, sentiment among potential voters than with supporting our close partner during a critical time of need,” Risch said.

Biden admitted to “blocking—at the 11th hour—a contract that was already approved by Congress, paid for by Israel, and manufactured,” the senator said. “This sale would actually reduce collateral damage in Rafah and elsewhere.”

U.S. partners and allies are watching the Biden administration’s actions closely. “Israel is our closest partner in the Middle East, and Iran and Hezbollah delight in seeing what President Biden is doing to publicly shame our ally,” he said.

“President Biden has given Hamas the greatest victory it could hope for; he has driven a wedge between the United States and Israel,” he added.
Schumer, ‘Squad’ members praise Biden for halting weapons aid to Israel
Major American Jewish organizations, Republicans and even some congressional Democrats have criticized U.S. President Joe Biden’s statement in a CNN interview that he would deny weapons aid to Israel if it attacks Rafah.

Some members of Congress have come to the defense of the president, who reportedly sought to keep the withheld weapons under wraps until after he had delivered a talk about the Holocaust in the U.S. Capitol.

“I believe that Israel and America have an ironclad relationship, and I have faith in what the Biden administration is doing,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote that Biden “is right to halt bomb deliveries to this extreme Israeli government. But this must be a first step.” He added that Washington “must now use all its leverage to demand a ceasefire, stop attacks on Rafah and secure delivery of massive humanitarian aid throughout Gaza.”

Biden’s decision was an “important step in the right direction,” according to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wrote that he was “pleased to see that certain offensive arms deliveries have since been paused” and encouraged the administration “to continue to be wary of transferring weapons that could be used in offensive military actions that result in significant civilian casualties.”

Five members of the so-called progressive “Squad” of far-left members of Congress weighed in.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) responded to a social media post by the former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who said that Biden had “lost his mind” and is helping Hamas win.

“Biden has not ‘lost his mind.’ He is upholding the word of the U.S.,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “There are 1.3 million people in Rafah. You do not need to slaughter them to go after Hamas. Biden stated the U.S. red line was Rafah. It would make us weaker and the world less safe to let Bibi, or anyone, cross it.”

Reporter scolds State: ‘I was under the impression that you guys didn’t speak to hypotheticals’
Matt Lee, the Associated Press diplomatic writer who asks the first questions at U.S. State Department press briefings, pressed the Foggy Bottom spokesman on Thursday about U.S. President Joe Biden’s threat to the Jewish state.

Biden said that Washington would withhold weapons from Israel if the latter launched a major operation in Rafah—Hamas’s last remaining stronghold in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip.

“Isn’t it ‘if?’ Isn’t there a big ‘if’ in here?” Lee asked Miller.

“I was under the impression that you guys didn’t speak to hypotheticals,” Lee said. “Every time you’re asked any question that’s got the word ‘if’ in it or it’s not something that has already happened, you refuse to answer. And now, all of a sudden—.”

“I wouldn’t say every time,” Miller said. “Wouldn’t say every time.”

“Pretty much,” Lee said. Miller responded, “Look, this—I—so just to be—I know we should be serious about this.”

“I am not trying to be making light of it,” Lee said. “You guys have made or the president has made a policy prescription, apparently, based on something that hasn’t happened yet.”

Miller said there is “a very real difference, obviously” between his getting a hypothetical question in the briefing room and “something that we’re engaged with a foreign government that they say they intend to do. And we treat those differently for quite obvious reasons.”

“Okay, so you’re saying you won’t tell us the full truth but you will—anyway,” Lee responded.
Report: State Department set to confirm Israel not breaking international law in Gaza
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to submit a report to Congress as early as Friday on Israel’s conduct in Gaza that criticizes the IDF’s conduct but stops short of concluding it has violated international law, according to a report presented by Axios on Thursday.

The report from US news site Axios Friday, citing three officials, claimed that the submission will include cases in which international humanitarian law was suspected of being broken, describing them using “very critical terms.”

However, the report will not conclude that Israel took actions that could disqualify it from US military aid, as required by a directive issued by US President Joe Biden in February requiring that Congress be notified if arms recipients are violating international humanitarian law.

The report was due to be filed by May 8; the State Department has insisted the submission is imminent even as it has blown the deadline.

A national security memorandum, NSM-20, issued by Biden in February, required the department to report to Congress by May 8 on the credibility of Israel’s written assurances that its use of US weapons does not violate US or international law, and that the provision of humanitarian aid is not being obstructed.

According to Axios, the State Department is also reviewing the use of weapons by six other countries engaged in different armed conflicts under the directive.

The order does not place any tangible new conditions on foreign assistance, given that recipients have always been required to use the aid in a manner consistent with the laws of war; the White House has acknowledged that the memo was the result of pressure from progressive lawmakers who believe Israel might not be abiding by these terms.

'Israel must be able to prevent October 7': US Jewish organizations blast Biden administration
Large U.S. Jewish organizations published unprecedented statements on Thursday criticizing U.S. President Joe Biden after he announced his administration would halt military aid to Israel should the IDF launch a military operation in Rafah. Those join condemnations by former president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump against Biden and his administration.

Former American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO and Democratic House of Representatives member Ted Deutch, wrote, “It is Hamas that started this conflict. It is Hamas that month after month refuses to accept proposals to release hostages and pause fighting. It is Hamas that continues to endanger Israeli and Palestinian lives. President Biden should not take steps that could impair Israel’s ability to prevent Hamas from attacking it again and again.”

“The U.S. knows that defeating Hamas is critical to Israel’s long-term security and to defeating the global threat posed by the Iranian regime and its proxies. Over the past week, Hamas has stolen humanitarian aid from Palestinians and fired rockets from Rafah at a humanitarian zone, killing four Israelis and preventing humanitarian aid from entering Gaza,” he added.

“With thousands of Hamas terrorists still in Rafah, Israel must be able to prevent 10/7 from happening again. The protection of civilians during conflict is vital, and we encourage the U.S. to continue working with Israel to ensure the safety of civilians.”

Jewish organization Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), which supported and funded Biden’s election campaign, wrote, “We are deeply grateful for President Biden’s unprecedented support for Israel and its security. The President has demonstrated that support in word and deed, including approving over 100 weapons transfers to Israel during a war Hamas started.”

“At the same time, we are deeply concerned about the Administration’s decision to withhold weapons now and potentially impose further restrictions. A strong U.S.-Israel alliance like the one President Biden has created, plays a central role in preventing more war and making the path to eventual peace possible. Calling the strength of that alliance into question is dangerous,” the statement read.

These unusual statements were published on behalf of bodies that have supported Biden thus far. AJC is one of the largest and most influential Jewish organizations in the United States, and Deutch is considered an influential figure in the Democratic Party, which is close to Biden.

Jewish organization American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) joined the criticism, writing, “It is dangerous and counter to American interests to deny our ally the weapons necessary to remove Hamas from power and prevent it from ever attacking Israel again.”

“Congress recently overwhelmingly approved aid to Israel. It should now send a clear message to the Biden Administration that America must continue to stand by Israel and supply what she needs to defeat this terrorist army,” it added.
Haim Saban blasts blocked US weapons to Israel: ‘Bad decision on all levels’
U.S. President Joe Biden’s choice to halt offensive military transfers to the Jewish state out of opposition to a ground invasion by the Israeli Defense Forces into Rafah to defeat Hamas has earned praise from his party’s left-wing while rankling pro-Israel Democrats, including a longtime top funder.

Israeli American Haim Saban, the entertainment entrepreneur, has called for a change of course in the policy, emailing Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, and senior advisor Anita Dunn.

“We, the U.S., as you stated numerous times, believe that Hamas should be defeated,” he wrote. “We, the U.S., in this case, you Mr. President, have decided to stop sending munitions to Israel to achieve a goal that we/you have set up for Israel and ourselves.”

Saban stated that “even beyond Israel, this sends a terrible message to our allies in the region, and beyond that, we can flip from doing the right thing to bending to political pressure.”

The billionaire creator of the “Power Rangers” franchise reminded Dunn and Ricchetti that “let’s not forget that there are more Jewish voters, who care about Israel, than Muslim voters that care about Hamas.”

Saban labeled the weapons halt a “bad, bad, bad decision on all levels” and urged that the administration “please reconsider.”

JCPA: Deflating the Threat Posed by the International Criminal Court
Experience has shown that the International Criminal Court (ICC), in its efforts to appease the Palestinians and vilify Israel, has been willing to disregard facts and the law and even make decisions lacking any jurisdiction. The prosecutor and the court have been willing to adopt factual and legal positions devoid of any basis, recognizing a state that does not exist and inventing its geographical territory, in explicit contradiction of multiple legally binding documents.

Petitioning the UN to admit "Palestine" as a state is a fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords since it would have prejudged the outcome of the negotiations. Joining the ICC as a means to attack and delegitimize Israel further compounded the breach.

As part of the Oslo Accords, Israel agreed to waive substantial tax income in favor of the newly created PA. According to the agreements, Israel collects the tax income on behalf of the PA and transfers it every month. The PA income from these taxes rose from 4.8 billion shekels in 2010 to 11.3 billion shekels in 2022. From 2016 through 2022, the taxes collected by Israel accounted for 75%-79% of the PA's annual tax revenue.

While Israel waived the income so that the PA would use the funds to further the goals of the Oslo Accords for the benefit of the Palestinians and to prevent incitement to terror and violence and combat terror, in practice, the PLO/PA uses the funds to bankroll all of its practices that breach the Oslo Accords.

From the outset, the PLO/PA has breached every single one of the commitments it made in the Oslo Accords. Yet Israel has continued to collect and transfer billions of shekels a year to the PLO/PA. Every month, Israel pays the PLO/PA for peace. Every month, the PLO/PA responds with terror and violence.

Israel should give the PLO/PA an ultimatum: choose adherence to the Oslo Accords and their ensuing funds from Israel or choose unilateralism, the UN, and the ICC, and lose all the funds from Israel. Israel cannot be expected to continue funding its own demise.
UKLFI: Francesca Albanese reported to UN Office for breaches of impartiality
The UNHRC Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories has been reported for breaching multiple regulations on impartiality.

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) has written to the Office of Internal Oversight Services at the UN about Francesca Albanese regarding her public social media statements. As an independent UN expert and Special Rapporteur, she is supposed to act with impartiality, integrity, truthfulness and honesty at all times. However, in particular since 7 October 2023, Albanese has displayed conduct entirely unbefitting of her role.

She posted dozens of offensive posts, screenshots of which have been presented as part of the complaint in a 70 page dossier. Examples of her many social media posts:
On 7 October 2023 she tweeted: “Today’s violence must be put in context. Almost six decades of hostile military rule over an entire civilian population (incomprehensibly ignored by too many official statements & media outlets) are in themselves an aggression, and the recipe for more insecurity for all.” Here she was justifying Hamas’s horrific attack on 7 October.
On 11 October 2023 she referred to Israel’s operation against Hamas in Gaza as a “policy of revenge”.
On 11 October 2023 Albanese claimed that “Hamas’ crimes including rape” had not been confirmed, and that divulging information about the perpetration of rape by Hamas risks “to escalate tensions and endanger lives in a volatile context”.
On 14 and 26 October 2023, she claimed that Israel is “carpet bombing” Palestinian civilians.
On 21 and 27 October 2023, she claimed that Israel is not acting in self-defence and that it is committing “ethnic cleansing”.
On 5 December 2023 Albanese spread misinformation that there were “no more functioning hospitals” and “no more medications” in Gaza.
On 12 December 2023, she claimed that “The Israeli army is fighting everyone and everything in Gaza – including the UN”.
On 23 December 2023 she spread the misinformation that Israel had not created any safe areas in Gaza and that it had “dropped ammunitions equal to 2 nuclear bombs including during evacuations or in “safe zones””.
On 28 December 2023, she tweeted that “what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, especially in Gaza, is “the monstrosity of our century””.
On 18 and 29 February 2024, she reposted misinformation that the Israeli military had opened fire against Palestinians in Gaza waiting for aid, and that Israel is “starving a population and trying to kill them when they look for means of survival”.
On 3 March 2024, she reposted misinformation that Israel has been “intentionally starving the Palestinian people in Gaza since October 8” and called for sanctions against Israel.
On 8 March 2024, she posted a tweet directed at Israeli women, stating “what have you done, what have you become. Dears, when you realise it, you will be haunted forever.”
On 31 March 2024, she reposted misinformation that “Israel has created kill zones in Gaza where they kill everything that moves”.

As a UNHRC Special Rapporteur, Albanese is obliged to abide by the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council, Standards of Conduct for International Civil Servants, and various other codes. She is supposed to “Uphold the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, meaning, in particular, though not exclusively, probity, impartiality, equity, honesty and good faith.”

She should “Always seek to establish the facts, based on objective, reliable information emanating from relevant credible sources, that she has duly cross-checked to the best extent possible”.

She is supposed to “Rely on objective and dependable facts based on evidentiary standards”

Hamas says no budging from already-rejected hostage deal offer as Cairo talks break up
Indirect talks between Israel and Hamas over a deal to halt fighting in the Gaza Strip and free hostages kidnapped on October 7 appeared to break up with no discernable progress, as the terror group said it had no intention of budging from a proposal already rejected by Israel.

With negotiations seemingly once again stuck after the sides had appeared close to an elusive agreement earlier this week, Egypt said both Israel and Hamas would need to show “flexibility.”

Izzat El-Risheq, a member of Hamas’s political office in Qatar, said Thursday that the Hamas delegation had left Cairo for Doha, Qatar, where its leadership is based, after affirming it was sticking with the terms it had agreed to Monday.

A senior Israeli official said the Israeli team had also left after handing mediators a list of its reservations about the Hamas proposal.

On Monday, Hamas claimed to have accepted a truce agreement with Israel, though it later emerged that the proposal it said had come from Egyptian and Qatari mediators included several elements fundamentally different from what Israel had agreed to. Jerusalem swiftly rejected the proposal for falling short of its “vital demands,” but okayed dispatching a working-level delegation to the indirect talks in Cairo.

In a message to other Palestinian factions published by the group’s al-Aqsa TV mouthpiece Friday, Hamas said talks had ended after Israel “rejected the proposal submitted by the mediators and raised objections to it.”

It said Hamas had decided to stick to the terms of the proposal it agreed to Monday, rejecting the possibility of making any concessions.

“The ball is now completely in the hands of the occupation,” the statement read.
Wasting troops’ hard-fought gains, Israel is taking time it doesn’t have in Gaza
Seven months after it carried out the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, Hamas is still very much alive and kicking.

It has reportedly reasserted significant civil control in Gaza cities troops swept through and then left. In some areas, Hamas fighters have resumed their rocket fire, including a recent attack on Sderot and the deadly strike on Israel Defense Forces infantrymen near Kerem Shalom on Sunday.

Not only is Hamas surviving, it looks increasingly plucky about its chances to guarantee its return to power.

The recent Kerem Shalom rocket strike that killed four troops was evidence of Hamas’s mood, argued Meir Ben-Shabbat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former national security adviser.

“It reflects the self-confidence of Hamas commanders who didn’t hesitate to initiate such an attack, from a humanitarian zone, during critical negotiations for the organization despite the risk of damaging a vital supply artery for the population,” said Ben-Shabbat, adding that the strike was intended to stress to Gazans that its attempts to force Israel into a ceasefire “come from a position of strength and not from surrender or fatigue.”

As the weeks go by, the world has shown a diminishing appetite for Israel’s defeat of Hamas. Almost no one talks about the dismantling of Hamas’s military capabilities anymore; the priority among Israel’s closest allies is to arrange a ceasefire and to get the hostages out.

But rather than move with lightning speed to finish the job, Israel’s military appears to have adopted a plodding pace that only allows plenty of time for resistance to the war’s continuation to build up, both abroad and domestically. And that resistance — most notably United States President Joe Biden’s warning that Israel won’t get offensive weapons if it goes into Rafah — will likely slow the campaign even further.

Not all of the blame can be laid at the feet of Israel’s political leadership. The IDF too, in decisions made years ago and after October 7, has played a central role in crafting a campaign that has been adrift for months.

Four IDF soldiers killed as battles rage across Gaza; tanks said to advance into Rafah
Four Israeli soldiers were killed and several wounded as fierce battles raged across the Gaza Strip on Friday, while Hamas fired rockets at the southern city of Beersheba for the first time since December, lightly injuring a woman.

Israeli tanks reportedly advanced on a main road dividing the eastern and western halves of southern Gaza’s Rafah on Friday, amid heavy clashes taking place in the area, as well as in Gaza City in the north of the Strip.

The four soldiers were killed in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood. According to an initial IDF probe, they were hit by an explosive device or devices in an alleyway.

The troops had been raiding a school complex where the military had indications of Hamas activity. Weaponry and at least one tunnel were discovered in the area of the school.

The IDF has returned several times to the Zeitun neighborhood since the war’s outbreak, as Hamas has managed to regroup in areas previously cleared by the army.

The soldiers were identified as Sgt. Itay Livny, 19, from Ramat Hasharon; Sgt. Yosef Dassa, 19, from Kiryat Bialik; Sgt. Ermiyas Mekuriyaw, 19, from Beersheba and Sgt. Daniel Levy, 19, from Kiryat Motzkin. All four were from the Nahal Brigade’s 931st Battalion.

Another officer and soldier of the 931st Battalion were seriously wounded in the same incident.

Their deaths bring the toll of slain troops in the IDF’s ground offensive in Gaza and amid operations on the border to 271.

Separately, another two soldiers of the 401st Armored Brigade’s 9th Battalion were seriously wounded by RPG fire on a tank in the Rafah area of southern Gaza.

UKLFI: Hamas Statistics - True or False? Webinar with Prof Greg Rose, Prof Lewi Stone & Natasha Hausdorff
Grim statistics of Palestinian casualties in the current war in the Gaza Strip, produced by the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza, have been repeatedly reported in the media. They are having a major impact on public opinion, political discourse and legal proceedings, such as South Africa’s claim against Israel in the International Court of Justice for genocide. Reference is frequently made both to the overall total and the breakdown into men, women and children, with the implication that most of them cannot be combatants since they are women and children.

But are these figures true? A number of statistical analyses have been published indicating they are not true, including an article in Fathom Journal by Professors Tom Simpson, Lewi Stone and Gregory Rose. In this webinar held on 5 May 2024, two of the authors of that article discussed the problems with the statistics and their legal implications with UKLFI Charitable Trust’s Legal Director, Natasha Hausdorff.

Professor Lewi Stone is a Professor Emeritus at Tel Aviv University, and currently working as a professor of maths at RMIT University Melbourne. He has decades of experience working as a Mathematical Biologist and Population Modeller with strong interests in statistics and multidisciplinary research. This includes digital humanities and quantifying warfare.

Professor Gregory Rose is a Professor of Law and Chair of the Academic Senate at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He has conducted Australian government funded projects on detention operations and counter-terrorism legal training and United Nations projects on implementation of international environmental law. He teaches international law of the sea and maritime regulation and enforcement.

Natasha Hausdorff is a barrister at 6 Pump Court Chambers and a frequent speaker on International Law. She has a law degree from Oxford University, qualified as a solicitor at Skadden, and subsequently gained an LLM from Tel Aviv University, focussing on public international law and the law of armed conflict. She clerked for Miriam Naor, President of Israel's Supreme Court, and was a Fellow at Columbia Law School's National Security Program. Natasha is legal director of UKLFI Charitable Trust.

Call Me Back PodCast: Screams Before Silence – with Sheryl Sandberg
Hosted by Dan Senor
Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most accomplished executives in the tech industry. After attending Harvard University for undergrad and for an MBA, Sheryl’s early career included stints at the World Bank and the U.S. Treasury Department in the Clinton Administration, where she served with then-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. She then joined Google as VP of online sales and operations in 2001, before joining META as COO, where she worked from 2008 to 2022.

Today both companies are among the top 10 market cap companies.

Sheryl is also an accomplished author: she co-authored “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013)”; and “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” (with Adam Grant, 2017).

But since 10/07, Sheryl has been focused on one cause – Israel and the Jewish people. Sheryl has been confronting: Rape Denialism. She has done this primarily through a documentary film she created called “Screams Before Silence”, which you can watch on YouTube here.

Sheryl has also raised awareness about this issue all over the world, from the UN to capitals throughout Europe.

In this conversation, Sheryl and I discuss how Judaism and Israel had shaped or fit into her life before 10/07, how 10/07 changed her, and how she came to create this film and commit to this cause.
Recipes beloved by October 7 victims published to help community remember the fallen
The recipes of 36 Israelis killed during and since the October 7 terror attack have bee published in English to help diaspora Jews remember the fallen

From the privations of the Shoah to the old Jewish saying “they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat”, food and pain sit close to each other in the collective Yiddishe psyche.

Now, in the continuing shadow of October 7, a project has been launched that shares the favourite recipes of some of those murdered by Hamas – both as a way to remember the victims and to help diaspora Jews connect with Israel’s trauma.

Inspired by an Israeli initiative, Matkon Im Zikaron (“Taste of Memories”), United Synagogue’s Israel Office and the Jewish youth programme Tribe have now published in English the recipes of 36 people killed since the terrorist attack, each one accompanied by a poignant note about the victim. The English-language initiaitve is named “Recipes in Memory”.

The recipes, which were submitted by bereaved families, all give a flavour of who that person was.

A simple vegetable salad containing celery leaves and cranberries was picked by his uncle Nir for 17-year old Tomer Arava — murdered in his home on Nachal Oz —because “it has everything he liked”.

“Curbia” cookies were associated with 20-year-old soldier Yael Leibushor — who was also murdered at Nachal Oz — because those were what she had made and brought to her base on her penultimate Shabbat.

For Rotem Doshi — killed at Kfar Aza — it was malabi, a milky, rosewater-scented pudding. Doshi loved the dessert so much that his family found a note in his wallet for a malabi he was intending to try out.

“When you see their faces and read a little bit about them you can really identify with that one person and that one family by what they liked to eat. The families want these recipes to be made — they want them to be remembered,” said Anna Coleman, director of operations at Tribe.

“For people not living in Israel [who might feel] that one step away, this is to bring them that bit closer to what’s happening in Israel and how people are feeling.”

The Commentary Magazine Podcast: Has Biden Become Israel’s Worst Enemy?
Hosted by Abe Greenwald, Christine Rosen, John Podhoretz & Matthew Continetti
We begin with a clip of an interview with Joe Biden in 2019 saying the idea of withholding military aid from Israel would be unthinkable to him. And we’re off and running with the question of just how damaging and destructive his moves this past week have been.
Ben Shapiro: Biden Sides With Satan
Joe Biden announces a weapons cutoff for Israel if they go into Rafah; and Marjorie Taylor Greene’s bizarre quest to unseat Speaker Mike Johnson fails.

The Israel Guys: Trump Declares the End of a Palestinian State as the UN Votes to Create One
UN will take a vote tomorrow on the full recognition of the Palestinian terror state. The big question is will Joe Biden stop it? As all this goes down Trump takes a clear stand against creating a PA state and stands solidly with Israel and its sovereignty over the region!

Ben breaks it all down for you on the show.

Anti-Israel protester, 16, arrested for vandalizing Central Park WWI memorial after father turns him in
A teenage anti-Israel protester who vandalized a World War I memorial in Central Park earlier this week has been arrested, according to the NYPD and police sources.

The 16-year-old boy was charged with criminal mischief in the third degree, a felony, and making graffiti, which is a misdemeanor, for allegedly defacing the 107th Infantry Memorial during an unruly demonstration on Monday night.

The youngster has been a regular face at rallies organized by the anti-Israel group Within Our Lifetime, according to sources.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry posted a blurred photo to X of the young vandal in handcuffs sitting on a bench in a police station. Sources had previously believed he was turned in by his dad Thursday night but cops have since refuted that.

“The despicable vandalism we saw earlier this week on the WWI Memorial will not be ignored, and will not go unpunished,” Daughtry tweeted as he announced one of the culprits’ arrest.

“This isn’t simply juvenile hijinks — it’s an act of desecration that undermines the freedoms our heroes fought and died for,” he added.

Sources said the youngster attends Tottenville High School and has no prior arrests.

The war memorial was defaced by several vandals who scrawled “Gaza” and “Free Palestine” on its base and plastered the statue with anti-Israel stickers.
Leaked email shows why Toronto area school board didn't use Star of David in multifaith calendar
A Toronto-area school board “will be making changes” after its decision to use a Menorah instead of the Star of David as a symbol for Judaism in its multifaith calendar sparked backlash.

The Menorah — a candelabra that is lit over the course of the eight nights of Hannukah, known as the festival of lights — is currently being used to mark Jewish holidays.

Many were upset after the screenshot of an email by the York Region District School Board mentioned the recent tensions in Israel as a reason for not using the Star of David.

“For judaism, the Menorah was chosen over the Star of David due to its purely religious significance, while the Star of David carries political connotations with the State of Israel,” reads the leaked email.

The email was addressed to York Region District School Board trustee Estelle Cohen and superintendent of education Michael Grieve.

Deborah Lyons, the special envoy for Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, responded to the swap on X, formerly Twitter, calling it “inconceivable.”

“A true insult to the Jewish community in the York region and across (Canada),” Lyons tweeted early Thursday. “I will reach out to Ontario’s Minister of Education and the York Region District School Board to reiterate that this must be reversed, and an apology should be issued immediately.”

Joe Roberts, managing director at Ottawa-based consultancy firm Winston Wilmont, said, “The insanity has to stop.”

“That some administrator at the York Region District School Board thought that removing the Star of David as a symbol of Judaism because it is a ‘political symbol’ was a right and good decision tells us everything we need to know,” he wrote on X.
‘Is your fav author a zionist?’: Viral list sparks antisemitism fears among authors Novelist Talia Carner’s agent got in touch on Thursday morning to let her know she was on a list that had gone viral.

Usually, that’s good news for an author. But Carner knew better: Since December, she said, she has faced harassment from people who believed the content of her latest book, set in the aftermath of the Holocaust, proved that she supports Israel. Now, she had landed on a viral Google Doc titled “Is your fav author a zionist?” — firmly in the “yes” category.

She didn’t dispute the conclusion, but she feared the consequences. While the adage says all publicity is good publicity, “it’s not for me. It gives me agita,” she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The antisemitism is eating me.”

The spreadsheet, created earlier this week by an X user named Amina, compiles social media posts, public statements, and close readings to sort authors into categories: “Pro-Israel/Zionist,” “Pro-Palestinian/Anti-Zionist” and various shades of “It’s complicated,” including “Both sides-ing it.”

The spreadsheet also offers suggested responses to the title question. “If YES, it’s suggested you do not give them any money (purchasing their books, streaming their shows/movies) or promote their work on any social platforms,” a key reads. “If UNCLEAR, at the end of the day it’s up to you. I suggest refraining from buying/promoting until more evidence is out.”

To advocates for Jews in the literary world, the spreadsheet offered bitter confirmation of a climate of intolerance in which authors who are perceived to be pro-Israel are facing exclusion and harassment.

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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