Monday, May 13, 2024

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: After 76 years of Israeli independence, Jews must still be Zionists
A new debate about Zionism
The antisemitism of the Soviet Union and the reality of the Nazi Holocaust destroyed the illusions of the Socialists (or at least should have), as well as convinced Western Jews that there was no alternative to a Jewish state. And once Israel came into existence, those who feared it for secular or religious reasons generally made their peace with it.

Today, there is a new anti-Zionist movement among the Jews that gets disproportionate coverage in the corporate press, yet represents only a minority of non-Israeli Jews. Unlike past opponents of Zionism, it doesn’t oppose Israel’s existence because they have a better idea to protect Jews. Rather, these Jews who belong to groups like IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace exalt Jewish powerlessness and twist Jewish beliefs into a creed that believes Jews alone of the peoples of the world ought not to have the right of self-determination or the power to defend themselves.

It is no accident that they also traffic in antisemitic blood libels, such as the claim that Israel trains American police to murder African-Americans. As the reaction to Oct. 7 has shown, these Jewish anti-Zionists may be loud and have strong support from the mainstream media, but they have nothing to do with normative Jewish values and represent only themselves.

Yet the battle over Zionism isn’t merely this faint echo of past Jewish squabbles. Today, anti-Zionism is a main plank of leftist activists, whether they are environmental extremists like Thunberg (who want the world to give up air travel, the right to own cars, as well as to eat meat or cheese); Black Lives Matter activists in the United States who smear America as an irredeemably racist nation; or the LGBT+ community that sees Palestinians as fellow victims, even though unlike Israel but in most Arab countries, they would be in danger because of their lifestyle. Ze'ev JabotinskyRevisionist Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky (bottom right) meeting with Beitar leaders in Warsaw, circa 1939. Future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin is on the left in the first row. Source: National Photo Collection of Israel

Another variant of antisemitism
They claim to speak for human rights but have little interest in any conflict or alleged humanitarian crisis unless it can be blamed on the Jews. Like intellectuals of the early 20th century who blazed the trail for the acceptance of Nazism, they claim to be moved by the suffering of victims of war but have a curious blind spot when those victims are Jews. The plight of the hostages or those who were slaughtered in the orgy of rape, murder, torture, kidnapping and wanton destruction committed by Hamas and Palestinians on Oct. 7 move them not at all.

Their nurturing of Palestinian fantasies of Israel’s destruction is helping to doom the supposed objects of their sympathy to a future of more war, terrorism and destruction. The fact that their reaction to Hamas barbarism was not merely to oppose Israel’s justified war to eliminate a genocidal terrorist group, but to vow to “crush Zionism” and erase it from “the river to the sea,” remains proof that it is not so much an intersectional human-rights cause as it is just a new variant on the same old tropes of antisemitism. They aren’t merely criticizing an Israeli government’s policies or actions. Their problem is with the fact that there is one Jewish state on the planet.

They seem to believe the Jews are the only people on the planet whose right to self-determination deserves no respect. While they reject accusations of antisemitism, what else can you call those who discriminate against Jews and judge them by a standard they would never apply to any other people?

Jew-haters are now recirculating tropes that Soviet propagandists first issued a half-century ago to label Zionism as racism. The only rational reaction to this is for Israelis and Jews wherever they live to embrace not just the label of Zionist but the ideas behind it. Zionism recognizes age-old ties between a people and their land, and at its core is a fundamental expression of Jewish rights.

Zionism has created a nation that for all of its flaws and frailties is a unique experiment in the ingathering of a people in a democratic state. In the last 76 years, Zionist Jews have worked miracles not just in surviving wars waged by enemies bent on their elimination but also in a society capable of enormous economic, technological and cultural achievements. It should be celebrated—not reviled—and people of good will, whether Jewish or not, should know that by embracing it, they are identifying themselves with among the most just causes and most amazing stories in modern history.

Israelis are still mourning their dead since Oct. 7 while they battle Hamas and work for the safe return of the remaining hostages held captive in Gaza. But they are also celebrating a nation that needs no permission from any foreign power to exist and, false accusations of antisemites about “genocide” notwithstanding, whose conduct under excruciating circumstances has been exemplary by any standard.

Zionism isn’t dead. Nor will it be defeated by Hamas and its leftist enablers in the streets of Malmö or on North American college campuses. It is very much alive, and on Yom Ha’atzmaut—Israel’s 76th Independence Day—every Jew with a conscience and sense of self-respect should be proudly calling themselves Zionists.
The Jewish Oyster Problem
The one who best answered Steiner was Isaiah Berlin, who, in a witty article called “The Cost of Curing an Oyster,” compared the exile of the Jews to a disease. “A people condemned to be a minority everywhere, dependent on the goodwill, toleration or sheer unawareness of the majority, but made aware of its insecure condition, of its constant need to please, or at least not to displease … cannot achieve a fully normal development either individually or collectively.” Exile created distortions of personality: self-insulation, anxiety, aggressive defensiveness. True, the peculiar position of the Jews as a minority on the margins of society resulted in works of genius, like Kafka, Freud, or Heine. When your life depends on understanding the whims of the majority, you develop a clear and critical view of that majority, an outsider’s perspective. But that deeper insight possessed by gifted individuals was “purchased by untold suffering of entire communities” and “could not be accepted as natural or unavoidable.” Exile, in this sense, subjected Jews to mental illness and, as mental illness sometimes does, produced works of genius. But at what cost?

“Hundreds of thousands of oysters,” wrote Berlin, “suffer from the disease that occasionally generates a pearl. But supposing an oyster says to you, ‘I wish to live an ordinary, decent, contented, healthy, oysterish life; even though I may not produce a pearl. I’m prepared to sacrifice this possibility for a life free of social disease; a life in which I need not look over my shoulder to see how I appear to others.’”

Maybe Imre Kertész, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, synthesized better the bargain that Jews needed to make. During a visit to Israel, a foreign journalist, aware of Kertész’s humanist and pacifist leanings, asked him, “How does it feel for you to see a Star of David on a tank?” “Much better than seeing it on my concentration camp uniform,” he answered.

The exercise of power is messy. Always. Not a single national liberation movement in the world was neat and blameless. Thinkers like Steiner don’t deny that. In fact, they admit to the dirty nature of statehood and consider that the only way for Jews to stay “pure” is to forego political power and submit to the rule of others. This is different than universalist utopians. Anti-Zionists who long for powerlessness don’t necessarily harbor a Lennonesque dream of “no countries and no religion.” Pointedly, they see nothing wrong in Palestinians exercising political power in the context of a Palestinian national state and even oppressing Jews—or killing them. It’s Jewish power that bothers them; it’s Jewish sovereignty that they disdain and rage against for exposing their own pretensions to moral superiority as fallacious.

That their supposed moral excellence is acquired by trading on the bodies of dead Jews doesn’t bother them, since they’ve established that playing the victim is by definition a morally superior posture. Jews need to be oppressed to produce their best.

Under the layers of intellectual distortion and self-righteousness, this pretension of moral superiority is, paradoxically, morally rotten. The carefully crafted self-image of privileged Jewish academicians, who observe the world from the heights of their tenured positions, seems ruined by Jews who refuse to be at the mercy of others. “How dare those plebeian oysters deny me the right to be a pearl? Don’t they know that they must die so that I can be an ethical beacon to the world?”

Those who criticize Israel for pushing “Jewish supremacy” are, in fact, advocating for another type of Jewish supremacy, probably more racist and self-righteous than the former. But more important than the question of whether being a Jewish oyster with or without a pearl is better, the argument that powerlessness is necessary for “the Jewish genius” to develop is factually false.

Yes, the diasporic persecution produced Freud and Kafka, but Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel produced the Bible and the Mishnah. Israeli Jews win more Nobel Prizes and gain more patents than French Jews or Russian Jews. The truth is that a people, any people, can develop its greatness only by being the master of its own destiny. True, you mess up bigger and more noticeably if you run an economy, an army, and a police force than if you run a corner store or a physician’s office. But avoiding power to avoid the problems of power is like starving to death to avoid obesity.

The anti-Zionism of powerlessness is deeply cowardly. It avoids the real challenges of power, its messiness, its insolvable moral dilemmas, and its endless shades of gray. Diasporism is a facile escape, for which someone else is expected to pay the tab. Easier to sit in judgment in an air-conditioned room at Columbia University writing about the virtues of powerlessness than to work hard to make prophetic visions a reality.

Zionism’s Israel presents a historical opportunity for Jews to deploy the values we developed in the Diaspora and move them from the abstract realm of books to the arena of real life. It may not be so pristine and pure as Steiner wanted, but that’s okay. Our values were never meant to be theoretical. They were meant as a practical guide to life in the here and now, not in the hereafter.

Refusing the opportunity and rejecting the challenge is craven. Doing so while putting other Jews at risk so that our unearned sense of our own superiority can remain intact is a morally criminal act.
The Betrayal of Israel by the US Administration Is Almost Complete
The Biden administration does not appear ever to have issued the slightest threat, warning or ultimatum to the authors of the war: Hamas, Iran or Qatar.

US Senator Chuck Schumer, after declaring himself a friend and defender of Israel, suggested overthrowing Israel's democratically elected prime minister, and -- as if Israel, and not America, were within his jurisdiction -- called for new elections.

Meanwhile in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where anti-government demonstrations began again, one of their leaders, Ami Dror, revealed on social media that the demonstrations and riots are part of a plan by the Biden administration to bring down the Netanyahu government.... The US State Department has, for more than a year, been providing financial support for protests hostile to the Netanyahu government.

Biden, it seems, is frustrated that Netanyahu is objecting to humanitarian aid -- which basically resupplies Hamas. Hamas, Israel's argument goes, released hostages only after unremitting pressure. Relieving that pressure by backing Hamas makes the probability of seeing any more hostages released less likely. Biden is also reportedly frustrated that Netanyahu, for some inexplicable reason, objects to the creation of a terrorist Palestinian state next door.

One cannot leave aside that the Biden administration, through ignoring sanctions on Iranian oil, has allowed the Iran's regime to earn up to an estimated $100 billion... Without those funds, the massacre of October 7 would not have been possible, Hezbollah would not have been able to fire so many missiles into Israel from Lebanon, and Iran itself would not have been able to launch more than 300 drones and ballistic missiles at Israel in April, and to attack US troops more than 150 times on, just since October 7, 2023 -- evidently in an attempt to drive the US out of the Middle East.

The Biden administration, it seems, does not want a definitive end of the conflict -- as with Ukraine as well -- especially if the end would entail the defeat of Hamas or Russia. Hamas is a protégé of Qatar and Iran, the world's two leading state sponsors of terrorism. The Biden administration has been rewarding them -- Iran with money and Qatar with renewing its protection by Al-Udeid Air Base, headquarters of America's CENTCOM, as well as controlling the new terror pier the US has built in Gaza At the same time, the Biden administration is falsely accusing Israel of violating human rights.

The Biden administration may even be complicit in the arrest warrants for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials that might be issued by the International Criminal Court – possibly as a way to dispense with him.

The mullahs are, in effect, using their proxies – Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and so on -- as their "human shields".

The Biden administration has placed the existence of Israel in danger to protect Biden from the dangerous voters of Michigan.

UN seemingly halves estimate of Gazan women, children killed
The United Nations seemingly halved the estimated number of women and children killed in Gaza, according to UN data published on May 6 and 8.

The UN published the number of fatalities reported by the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health. The Government Media Office in Gaza and Israeli authorities provided a disclaimer below the data: "The UN has so far not been able to produce independent, comprehensive, and verified casualty figures."

On May 6, the UN published data showing that 34,735 people had reportedly been killed in Gaza, including over 9,500 women and over 14,500 children.

On May 8, the UN published data showing 34,844 people had reportedly been killed, including 4,959 women and 7,797 children.

The new figures showed the number of identified deaths as of April 30, which total 24,686 people. The new data also specified that 10,006 men and 1,924 elderly had been killed.

The UN also highlighted that the plurality of identified fatalities were 40% men, while children were 32% and women were 20%. Questions over data accuracy

This comes after months of accusations from leading statisticians that the numbers produced by the Gazan authorities cannot possibly be accurate.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy released a report in January that showed major discrepancies in the fatality reports. The research concluded that such discrepancies were most likely caused by manipulation.

Professor Abraham Wyner also told Tablet Magazine that the rate of deaths was unnatural and climbed far too regularly.

He concluded that in war, the pattern of deaths should be irregular as the intensity of war is irregular. the UN reported that the number of deaths climbed by 15%, which is statistically impossible.
UN blames ‘fog of war’ for major overcounting of Gazan child deaths
‘The false data has infiltrated everywhere’
“Now that the U.N. has suddenly reduced some of the figures by half, they’ve essentially admitted to have been feeding the media and the world completely false numbers,” he said.

As recently as last month, the Hamas-run government media office has repeated claims that 70% of the deceased were women and children.

Haq, the U.N. spokesman, told JNS that “numbers get adjusted many times over the course of a conflict. Once a conflict is done, we’ll have the most accurate figures.”

But Aizenberg’s research has shown that “for many months, there have been obvious errors identified in the numbers published daily by OCHA, which are ultimately based on Hamas reporting,” the scholar told JNS.

Aizenberg pointed to an immediate claim by Hamas of nearly 500 deaths in an Oct. 17 strike on Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, which turned out to be a Palestinian rocket misfire and evidence suggests a drastically lower death total. Still, Hamas hasn’t corrected its initial tally.

His analysis has also revealed that Hamas reported on certain days in the first months of the war that more women and children were killed than the total number of all fatalities.

“We’re just going with what we can absolutely confirm, which will always be the low end of what the numbers are,” Haq, the U.N. spokesman, told JNS on Friday.

Abraham Wyner, a professor of statistics and data science at the University of Pennsylvania, published a statistical analysis two months ago that showed how Hamas faked casualty numbers.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy also released a report in January showing major discrepancies in the fatality reports, concluding they were most likely caused by manipulation.

“While it’s better late than never that the U.N. finally admits that the casualty numbers issued by Hamas for the last 200 days are not reliable, the false data has infiltrated everywhere,” Aizenberg told JNS.

He cited U.S. President Joe Biden’s claim in his March 7 State of the Union address that “more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed.”

The U.S. State and Defense Departments have also used that statistic officially, apparently relying on Hamas data.

Neuer told JNS that “If U.N. officials continue to legitimize a Hamas-run system that has now proven itself to be completely false, they will be complicit with terrorist propaganda.”

The revised Hamas casualty numbers, taken together with Israel Defense Forces claims of terrorists killed—a distinction Hamas does not make—“demonstrate that the civilian/casualty rate in Gaza is likely 1:1 or lower, which would amount to the lowest ratio in the history of urban combat, starkly contradicting any notion of indiscriminate IDF attacks,” Aizenberg told JNS.

JNS asked Haq on Friday if U.N. figures can be considered reliable.

“You can consider them reliable from the fact that we’re continually checking them,” he said. “We’ll continue to do that over the course of the war. But the numbers, you know, ultimately have to be regularly checked so that we can be sure that what we’re putting out is valid.”

In Jan. 2014, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights announced it had stopped updating the death toll from Syria’s civil war, as it could no longer verify the sources of information.

Cong. Brian Mast: Congress must restore Trump-era sanctions on the International Criminal Court
In 2020, Trump issued an executive order sanctioning nearly 14,000 ICC employees, citing the agency’s corruption and bias against the U.S. government. Unfortunately, President Joe Biden revoked these sanctions when he took office, emboldening the ICC.

Now, the ICC appears to be readying bogus charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the war Cabinet.

If it moves forward, the ICC will likely smear Israel as a war criminal for its pursuit of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Israel has taken significant action to protect civilians from the tragedy of war. After the drone strike that killed seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian workers, for example, the IDF immediately began to investigate and reprimand those responsible for the tragic accident. Similarly, Israel’s efforts to evacuate civilians ahead of its invasion of Rafah exemplify its commitment to shielding innocent lives from the brutality of war.

While Israel will ultimately be proven righteous, the ICC’s conduct cannot go without a response from the United States. We may not recognize the ICC formally, but they better recognize what happens when you target America or its allies.

My legislation, crafted with Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), would impose sanctions on any ICC official working to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute Israeli officials. The sanctions apply to not just ICC employees, but their immediate families as well.

Under our bill, ICC officials and their families would be denied visas to enter the United States. Those already here would have their visas revoked and face deportation.

While the bill is drafted in response to the ICC’s harassment of Israelis, it goes much further. The sanctions would cover any actions the ICC takes against American citizens and officials from allied countries. The latter includes NATO and major non-NATO ally countries, including Israel, Japan, and Taiwan.

Unlike other sanctions bills introduced in the past, ours does not include exemptions allowing individuals to enter the U.S. to attend meetings of the United Nations. You shouldn’t be allowed to stab America in the back one day and then fly here the next to be toasted and celebrated by the United Nations.

Our sanctions bill is premised on the simple idea that America’s interests can and must be put first.

There is no scenario where the U.S. wins if a faraway judicial body, unaccountable to hard-working American taxpayers, can punish our allies for defending themselves. It’s also insane to argue that our citizens will benefit if Hamas, a terrorist group that hates America and is funded by Iran, is given free rein in the Middle East — which is apparently the ICC’s goal.

Now, you already know where I stand on terrorists such as Hamas. But it’s time for Congress to show where we stand with our allies. The only right answer is shoulder to shoulder.
Rashida Tlaib calls on ICC to arrest Netanyahu; US Senators tell ICC to back down
Democratic representative and "Squad" member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), called for the arrest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what she alleges are violations of the Genocide Convention.

In a statement last week, Tlaib condemned the Israeli government for its current military operation in Rafah, in the southern Gaza strip, and insinuated that the US was complicit due to the funding it provides Israel.

Tlaib’s website statement on May 7 said, “It’s no coincidence that immediately after our government sent the Israeli apartheid regime over $14 billion with absolutely no conditions on upholding human rights, Netanyahu began a ground invasion of Rafah to continue the genocide of Palestinians—with ammunition and bombs paid for by our tax dollars.”

Tlaib calls Israel an apartheid-state
She continued by referencing Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry statistics that “Israeli forces have already killed over 35,000 Palestinians”.

Tlaib also condemned her colleagues who voted to continue aid to Israel by saying that they “gave their consent for these atrocities, and our country is actively participating in genocide.”

She called for the “end all US military funding for the Israeli apartheid regime” and demanded that President Biden push through a ceasefire with the release of hostages and withdrawal of all IDF forces from Gaza.

The statement ends with Tlaib urging the ICC to issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials who she claims are “accountable for genocide”.
Coons warns Netanyahu his legacy could be the breakdown of relations between the US and Israel
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his next war strategy could affect his country’s relationship with the United States.

As President Joe Biden’s campaign co-chairman, Coons appeared on This Week on Sunday to predict the repercussions of Israel attacking Rafah in Gaza, which is filled with Palestinian refugees. According to Coons, an invasion of Rafah could result in Biden holding all weapons from Israel or worse.

“It is tragic that we’re at this point, and Martha, I want to conclude by saying that I hope Prime Minister Netanyahu is thinking about his legacy,” Coons said. “Right now, his legacy is the huge, strategic, and defensive failure of October 7th, and his legacy could be a real gap, a break in the long, strong, bipartisan strategic relationship between the United States and Israel. I think that would be tragic. His legacy could instead be achieving regional security and peace for Israel.”

McCaul blasts Biden for withholding ‘precise’ weapons from Israel
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) blasted President Joe Biden for holding back “precise” weaponry from Israel amid its conflict against Hamas.

McCaul appeared on This Week on Sunday to go into further detail about the weaponry that the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which he chairs, signed off to give to Israel. It has been over 200 days since Hamas launched its attack on Israel and the country responded with military missions across Gaza to eliminate the terrorist group.

“What we’re worried about is sort of a defiance of congressional intent here that we passed these weapons out of Congress, and now the president’s holding them back,” McCaul said. “I would say most of these weapons are precision-guided weapons and that means precise, and that means that it spares civilian casualties because the targeting is so precise.”

This interview came almost a month after the passage of H.R. 8034, the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act. Congress allotted another $26.38 billion to Israel despite the opposition of some 58 representatives. On the same day, the House approved $60.84 billion in aid to Ukraine, which McCaul suggested could appear to be in jeopardy.

“Where it matters is a signal and the message we’re sending the rest of the world that you can’t count on the United States, can’t trust the United States. That our allies, you know, and our enemies see this as well,” McCaul said. “I think Russia and China are right there looking at this too.”

Chris Van Hollen blasts Hillary Clinton’s comments about anti-Israel protesters as ‘dismissive’
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) pushed back on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s comments about anti-Israel protesters on college campuses after she had claimed they did not “know very much at all about the history of the Middle East.”

Clinton, while on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last week, said she had conversations with various young people and that she found they were uninformed about the history of the Middle East, U.S., and “many areas of the world.”

Van Hollen responded to his fellow Democrat’s comments by saying she was “quite dismissive” of student protesters’ alleged concerns while speaking on CBS News’s Face the Nation on Sunday.

“Well, I thought, Margaret, that Secretary Clinton’s comments in that regard were quite dismissive of students’ concerns about the awful humanitarian crisis and high civilian death toll in Gaza,” Van Hollen said.

He also added that while students on campus have a right to protest, they must also “make sure that students feel safe on campus,” and specifically denounced antisemitism. The various anti-Israel protests on college campuses have seen several reported incidents of intimidation and harassment of Jewish students.

Van Hollen did say that he believes most students understand the conflict and what they are protesting for.

Jewish Democrats concerned over Maryland’s Democratic party’s leftward tilt
It’s not just Van Hollen who has drawn concern from the Jewish community’s side. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who represents Van Hollen’s old House district, was one of 58 lawmakers (including two Jewish lawmakers) to oppose security funding to Israel in the just-passed supplemental aid package.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, a leading contender to serve alongside Van Hollen in the Senate, told the Washington Post that the U.S. should withhold offensive aid to Israel if it invades Rafah. “I do not support an invasion of Rafah and agree with President Biden if [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu does not change course, that the U.S. will need to withhold offensive weaponry,” Alsobrooks said last week.

Alsobrooks’ primary rival, Rep. David Trone (D-MD), a longtime AIPAC donor during his time in the House, has been critical of Israel’s conduct in its war against Hamas in Gaza as he appeals to Democratic voters in the state. The winner of Tuesday’s primary is expected to face popular former GOP Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election. Polls show the Democratic primary contest to be a dead heat.

The public antagonism from some of Maryland’s leading Democratic figures stands in sharp contrast to its northern neighbor, Pennsylvania, where the state’s Democratic governor and junior senator — Gov. Josh Shapiro and Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) — are among the biggest champions of Israel and critics of antisemitism in the country. But unlike Maryland, a Democratic stronghold, Pennsylvania is a battleground state, where Democrats have to resonate with swing voters to prevail.

Van Hollen, who will become Maryland’s senior senator next January, is seen by critics as driving the party’s shift against Israel — and his role as senior statesman within the party may be fueling down-ballot candidates to follow his lead. He has emerged as one of the leading critics in Congress of Israel’s war effort as up-and-coming lawmakers offer less supportive positions towards the Jewish state.

“There’s no doubt that Chris has been saying things that many of us wouldn’t have said and don’t believe, but he believes what he’s saying as an experienced and knowledgeable member of the Foreign Affairs Committee based on what he saw firsthand,” Susie Turnbull, who served as chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, told JI.

“Chris was pretty much out there by himself for a while,” she added.

Van Hollen has vocally opposed military aid to Israel without conditions and accused Israel of deliberately causing mass starvation in Gaza back in February.

“Kids in Gaza are now dying from the deliberate withholding of food,” Van Hollen said from the Senate floor. “That is a war crime — it is a textbook war crime. That makes those who orchestrate it war criminals. So now the question is, what will the United States do?”

He also defended the students protesting on campuses against Israel from recent criticism from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Van Hollen maintains that his positions are not anti-Israel, though a group of over 70 Maryland rabbis wrote to him in March warning that his efforts to target Israel aid “in the Senate have only stoked deeper divisions and further isolated Israel and our Jewish community.”

Turkey's Erdogan: 'Netanyahu's genocidal methods would make Hitler jealous'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again likened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler in an interview with the Grecian newspaper Kathimerini on Saturday.

"Netanyahu has reached a level that would make Hitler jealous with his genocidal methods," Erdogan said in response to a question on Turkey's position on the Israel-Hamas war and previous comments he had made regarding the Israeli prime minister.

Furthermore, Erdogan said on Sunday that the United States and European countries were not doing enough to pressure Israel to agree on a ceasefire in Gaza after the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas' move to accept a truce proposal.

Turkey has denounced Israel's attacks on Gaza, called for an immediate ceasefire, and criticized what it calls unconditional support for Israel by the West.

Ankara has halted all trade with Israel and said it had decided to join South Africa's initiative to have Israel tried for genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Speaking to Muslim scholars in Istanbul, Erdogan said Hamas had accepted a ceasefire proposal by Qatar and Egypt in a "step in the path toward a lasting ceasefire." Still, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government did not want the war to end.

FDD Morning Brief | feat. Jonathan Conricus Vivian Bercovici (May 13)
Former IDF Spokesperson and FDD Senior Fellow Lt. Col. (Ret.) Jonathan Conricus delivers timely situational updates and analysis on headlines out of the Middle East, followed by a conversation with former Canadian ambassador to Israel, Vivian Bercovici.

Four IDF soldiers wounded in Hezbollah attack on Kibbutz Yiftah
Four Israeli soldiers were wounded, including one moderately, by Hezbollah anti-tank fire from Lebanon on Monday.

The other three troops were lightly injured after two missiles hit Kibbutz Yiftah, south of Kiryat Shmona in the Upper Galilee.

They were evacuated to Ziv Medical Center in Safed and their families were informed.

The Hezbollah terrorist group took responsibility for the “anti-tank fire at Yiftah at 10:35.”

In addition, the IDF said that an unarmed aircraft that crossed from Lebanon crashed near the border moshav of Zar’it in the Western Galilee, with no casualties reported. This incident was followed shortly after by incoming missile and rocket fire alarms activated in the Western Galilee communities of Moshav Netu’a, Moshav Elkosh, the Christian Arab village of Fassouta and Mattat.

Hezbollah also took responsibility for an “air attack using UAVs at 6:20 in Beit Hillel.” The two kamikaze drones exploded near the moshav without an alarm being triggered in the area. A fire broke out as a result of the attack that was extinguished. There were no casualties.

October 7 rape deniers need to see the truth, says Sheryl Sandberg: ‘Only one side to sexual violence’
Sheryl Sandberg’s new film, “Screams Before Silence” marks a return to public life for the former Facebook boss.

It’s a harrowing watch in which Israeli women testify about being raped and taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

Witnesses tell Sandberg in graphic terms how they were forced to look on as women were assaulted, mutilated and murdered.

And she sees gruesome photos of the carnage taken by first responders on the scene.

Sandberg, 54, stepped down from the board of Facebook’s parent company, Meta, in January less than two years after quitting as chief operating officer.

But the billionaire has returned to the spotlight simply because there are so many who refuse to believe that there was systematic sexual violence on Oct. 7 .

On that day, 1,145 people, both Israelis and non-Israelis, were killed, including 364 at the Nova music festival, and the rest on kibbutzim close to Gaza, according to the latest official tally.

It was the worst single loss of life since Israel’s founding in 1948. According to Israel, 252 hostages were taken during the attacks and a total of 128 hostages remain unaccounted for; at least 36 of them are presumed dead.

“This work feels like a responsibility,” Sandberg tells The Post.

“I really feel like this is the most important work of my life, like everything I’ve done has led me here.”
Caroline Glick: Mother of Fallen Soldier: My Son's Death Cannot Be In Vain
This Yom HaZikaron, author and journalist Caroline Glick spoke with bereaved mother Sarah Schwartz on what it feels like to have lost her son on Oct. 7th. Her son, Sekev Schwartz, died fighting Hamas in Kibbutz Sufa. Sarah is active in pushing the Israeli government to finish Hamas in Gaza and to not listen to an outside world that doesn't understand the Middle East and the war Israel faces.

The family is running several campaigns to support bereaved families and in memory of their son.

“Hamas Aren’t Oppressed, They’re Billionaires!” Elica Le Bon Exposes Hypocrisy
Now that Israel has begun its operation into the city of Rafah, people are preparing for the final stages of Israel’s invasion of Gaza; and the inevitable civilian deaths that will result.

Piers Morgan brings Rania Khalek, Emily Schrader, Elica Le Bon and Thomas Hand onto the panel to discuss the assault. Thomas Hand recounts the suffering his family went through when his daughter Emily was taken hostage on October 7th, and explains that Israel will continue to fight with or without US military aid.

Rania refuses to condemn the actions of Hamas on October 7th, calling it part of Palestinian resistance. However, British-Iranian lawyer Elica immediately rebukes her, explaining that the leaders of Hamas have become billionaires. Rania, however, won’t budge on her convictions.

00:00 - Introduction
02:08 - President Biden halting weapons to Israel if it invades Rafah
05:03 - "There's clear genocidal intent from Hamas, isn't there?"
07:30 - "Would you condemn what Hamas did on October 7?"
12:56 - At what point does Israel maintain the moral high ground?
17:03 - Why doesn't Hamas just release the hostages?
20:07 - Thomas Hand's reaction to Israel going into Rafah
21:18 - Thomas Hand's reaction to Biden halting weapons to Israel
22:17 - How many hostages do you think are still alive?
22:44 - Do you fear a large number of hostages are dead?
23:04 - Thomas Hand's concerns about the women being held by Hamas
24:55 - The hostage families waiting for more than 200 days
26:25 - Hostage families urging Netanyahu to accept a ceasefire deal
27:20 - Pro-Palestinian protests at Auschwitz
29:50 - What do you say to people who don’t condemn October 7?
30:33 - How is Emily Hand doing now?
31:30 - To the panel, has Thomas Hand made you pause for thought?
32:16 - Why can’t you express sympathy over October 7?
35:30 - It’s easy to understand why people like Thomas want to eliminate Hamas?
38:18 - Emily, do you feel empathy with the Palestinians in Gaza?
42:18 - Do you accept that Hamas are billionaires?

‘Jew hate’ disguised in the form of anti-Israel sentiment
Barrister and UKLFI Charitable Trust Legal Director Natasha Hausdorff says the pro-Palestine movement is disguising itself as a “modern form of anti-Semitism”.

Ms Hausdorff told Sky News host Sharri Markson that it is “supposedly acceptable” forms of anti-Semitism.

“This jew hate in the form of anti-Israel sentiment.

“That needs to be called out for what it is.”

UN vote for Palestine revealed as Anthony Albanese’s ‘personal decision’
It has been revealed the United Nations vote for Palestine was Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s “personal decision”, Sky News host Sharri Markson says.

“Some breaking news, I can exclusively reveal it was Anthony Albanese’s personal decision to support the vote at the United Nations to grant Palestine a seat, there were still ongoing discussions about whether to abstain when the prime minister made the final call,” Ms Markson said.

“Anthony Albanese confirmed this to Labor caucus today saying, and he said this twice, and I quote, ‘it was my decision’ … this is the most disgraceful decision yet taken by Albanese and Penny Wong.”

‘Entirely transactional’: Greg Sheridan blasts Labor over supporting UN Palestine vote
The Australian Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan has blasted the Albanese government’s “entirely reactive” move to back the United Nation’s vote on Palestine.

“I think the whole government bears collective responsibility for this, and it goes to the character of the government at the moment,” Mr Sheridan told Sky News host Andrew Bolt.

“It’s entirely reactive; it has no traction, and it just makes completely transactional decisions based on the lowest common denominator in domestic politics.

“Any two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians can only come about when the two parties negotiate reasonable borders and a promise to safeguard each other’s securities.”

‘Disgusting’: Andrew Bolt blasts pro-Palestine protests at Eurovision
Sky News host Andrew Bolt has hit out at pro-Palestine protesters dominating this year's Eurovision.

“We've just seen how ugly the new Jew hatred is, over the last week, during the Eurovision song festival in Malmo, Sweden,” Mr Bolt said.

“What has the Left become?

“20-year-old, Eden Golan, was Israel’s contestant and just having her, a Jew, in the contest, had hundreds of anti-Israel protesters outside her hotel, trying to intimidate her, stopping her from going outside.

“How can anyone of the Left look at how the mob treated that lone Jewish woman and feel anything but disgust.”

Gary Lineker is embroiled in another Gaza row as he is accused of being 'tone-deaf' after referring to the October 7 terror attacks in Israel as 'the Hamas thing'
Lineker has been slammed for his 'tone-deaf' comments, with claims they minimised the atrocities of the October 7 attacks.

A spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said: 'Gary is not a lone heroic voice: he is one of a mob offering up one-sided, tone-deaf interventions on social media.

'It has not escaped anyone's notice that, despite his clear interest in the topic and social media habit, he has barely commented on the worst anti-Semitic atrocity since the Holocaust on October 7 - 'the Hamas thing', as he now reluctantly referred to it in passing.'

The CAA added: 'Far from being silenced, Mr Lineker's stance has become so normalised - and the voice of the mob of which he is part has grown so loud - that the BBC is desensitised to it and regularly ignores the clear breaches of its impartiality guidelines that these interventions represent.'

MailOnline has contacted the BBC for comment.

Protest groups like Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action could be banned in similar ways to terror organisations under plans to update the law to deal with extreme-Left demonstrations
Protest groups such as Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action could be banned in a similar way to terror organisations under plans to update the law to deal with extreme-Left demonstrations.

A report by the Government’s adviser on combating political violence will recommend creating a new category for proscribing protest groups who regularly commit crimes to achieve their aims.

Crossbench peer John Woodcock, whose title is Lord Walney, says the overhaul is needed because the threat of arrest is no longer a deterrent for some.

The measures would restrict a group’s ability to fundraise and its right to assemble in the UK, tackling the issue at source.

Lord Walney’s report will also recommend a ban on protesters wearing masks during marches, as seen in the weekly pro-Palestine demonstrations in London.

The 100,000-word report, to be published as early as this week, says the Intelligence Services and Home Office should reclassify ‘Left-wing, anarchist and single-Issue’ (LASI) threats’ and add the word ‘extreme’ to avoid unintentionally conflating mainstream Left-wing views with the far-Left.

One extract seen by the Daily Mail states: ‘While the Government clearly has taken steps in recent years to improve understanding of the extreme Right – to bring it up to the level and depth of its understanding of Islamist and jihadist activities – it has not done the same with the far-Left or single-issue threats, violent or non-violent.’

One of its 41 recommendations is to create the ability to ban extreme-Left protest groups regularly on the wrong side of the law. Under what it suggests could be called ‘Extreme Protest Restriction Orders’.

It states: ‘The Government should introduce a mechanism to restrict the activity of organisations which have a policy of using criminal offences... to influence government or public debate.’
Ministry of Defence spent £40,000 removing red paint sprayed on its walls by pro-Palestine protesters from Youth Demand and Palestine Action last month
The Ministry of Defence spent £40,000 removing red paint sprayed on its walls by pro-Palestine protesters last month, MailOnline can reveal.

Youth Demand and Palestine Action carried out the stunt in Whitehall as part of its campaign demanding that both the Conservative Party and Labour pledge to impose a ban on selling arms to Israel.

With specialist cleaners required to leach the paint out of the stonework and a water supply installed specifically for the work, the repair bill for the MoD hit £40,000, figures released under Freedom of Information laws show.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps hopes to recover the costs through civil prosecutions, which he has ordered his department to pursue.

A source said: ‘The taxpayer should not have to pay a penny to clean up the criminal and wholly unpatriotic damage from this childish PR stunt.

‘That’s why the Defence Secretary has ordered the MoD to pursue civil prosecutions of those responsible to recover the entire cost.

'Crimes like this can’t go unpunished – that’s why the perpetrators were right to be arrested and why they must pick up the bill.

‘This was not only a criminal stunt but a self-defeating one as the men and women in our Ministry of Defence have been working night and day to save lives in the region.’

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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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