Saturday, June 08, 2024

From Ian:

‘Operation Arnon’: How 4 hostages were freed from Hamas captivity in central Gaza
The Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet security agency and Israel Police on Saturday morning carried out one of the most daring, complex, high-risk yet successful operations amid the war against Hamas, rescuing four hostages alive from the terror group’s captivity in the Gaza Strip. The mission was conducted in broad daylight and in an area where Israeli forces had not previously operated.

The operation to rescue Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41 was planned out weeks in advance, according to information seen by The Times of Israel. Known originally as “Seeds of Summer,” its name was changed after the event to “Operation Arnon” after Yamam officer Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, who was critically wounded by Hamas fire amid the rescue of three of the hostages and later died of his wounds.

During the planning period, intelligence on the hostages’ locations was obtained and studied. Amid the war, Hamas has repeatedly moved hostages around Gaza, in an attempt to prevent Israeli rescue operations.

In the days leading up to the rescue, the police’s elite Yamam counter-terrorism unit drilled various models of the extraction from central Gaza’s Nuseirat, which military officials said were “similar to the Entebbe raid” of 1976, when Israeli commandos rescued more than 100 hostages in Uganda.

Also in the days before the mission, the military launched a new operation in eastern Bureij — to the east of Nuseirat — and in east Deir al-Balah — to the southeast of where the hostages were rescued — in an apparent feint to reduce Hamas’s defenses in Nuseirat.

And according to a diplomatic source, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved the operation on Thursday evening when a war cabinet and security cabinet meeting was canceled.

Simultaneous attacks
Ultimately, the raid was carried out Saturday morning, after the Shin Bet recommended it would be an optimal time to surprise the Hamas terrorists holding the four hostages captive. Previous hostage rescue operations in Gaza have taken place overnight.

At 11:00 a.m. the order was given to the Yamam and Shin Bet officers to raid two multi-story buildings in Nuseirat, where Hamas was holding the hostages.

Nuseirat is one of the few areas of Gaza where ground troops have not yet entered during the IDF’s ground offensive against the Hamas terror group.

The buildings were about 200 meters apart, and the decision to go for both simultaneously was due to the possibility that Hamas may murder the hostages after identifying the rescue operation at the other location.

Argamani was held by Hamas guards alone in the home of a Palestinian family, while the other three hostages were held at a separate home, also with guards. According to the IDF, Hamas pays such families to hold the hostages in their houses. (Meir Jan said on his release that he, Kozlov and Ziv were held together throughout their eight months in captivity, in a total of four homes, Channel 12 reported on Saturday night.)

Argamani’s rescue was described by military officials as relatively smooth considering the circumstances. But a major gun battle erupted at the home where Meir Jan, Kozlov, and Ziv were held.

Zamora, the commander of the rescue team at the second building, where the three hostages were being held, was critically wounded by Hamas fire and later died of his wounds. The Hamas guards were killed in the exchange.

Under fire, and stuck
A short while later, as the three hostages and Zamora were being extracted from Nuseirat, their vehicle came under fire, causing it to get stuck in Gaza. Other forces quickly reached the scene to rescue them, bringing them to a makeshift helipad in Gaza, from where they were airlifted to Tel Hashomer Hospital in central Israel.

Noa was similarly taken by helicopter to the hospital, shortly before the other three were extracted from Gaza.

According to the IDF, the rescue forces faced a massive amount of gunfire and RPG fire in Nuseirat, leading the ground troops and the Israeli Air Force to carry out major strikes in the area.

The strikes, targeting the areas from where Hamas operatives were opening fire, were aimed at protecting the rescue forces and the hostages.

Hamas’s government media office said at least 210 people were killed amid the operation.

The IDF acknowledged that it killed Palestinian civilians amid the fighting, but it placed the blame on Hamas for holding hostages and fighting in a dense civilian environment.

“We know about under 100 [Palestinian] casualties. I don’t know how many of them are terrorists,” IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a briefing with journalists, reported by Reuters.

Hamas operatives also fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli helicopters over the area amid the operation, without managing to score any hits.

Aside from Zamora, several more troops were slightly hurt by shrapnel amid the operation.
IDF rescues four hostages from Hamas captivity in daring Gaza operation
Ch.-Insp. Arnon Zamora, 36, the Yamam fighter who was wounded in Saturday's hostage rescue operation, succumbed to his wounds at the hospital, the Israel Police announced later Saturday.

The operation to free Aramani went off without much of a hitch, but the operation to free the other three hostages in a separate building around two meters away led to a significant exchange of gunfire in which Zamora was killed. Both buildings were around three to four stories high.

The operation started to be planned months ago, but was delayed a number of times to improve the exact intelligence about the whereabouts, risks, and security parameters related to rescuing the hostages.

At one point, the operation was going to be only to rescue Argamani, but at a later stage, it was decided to carry out a higher risk simultaneous operation in both locations, lest Hamas guards in the second location kill the other three hostages, hearing there was a nearby IDF attack, and not realizing that they were not part of the operation.

Part of the operation was also facilitated by the fact that the hostages were being held in civilian apartments above ground, as opposed to tunnels, where many other hostages are held.

On the other hand, the fact that some of those holding the hostages were not official members of Hamas but civilians who were paid to supervise them to better conceal their location created complications for the entire operation.

The operation was finally approved in principle by the war cabinet, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and National Unity party officials Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot (both former IDF chiefs) on Thursday night.

Around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar ordered the operation to be executed from a joint operations command center, with the belief that in this specific case, an operation in broad daylight would achieve greater surprise, despite the additional risks of being seen more vividly in daylight than in a nighttime operation.

Further, after all four hostages were taken out of the locations they were being held and brought into a land escape vehicle, the vehicle got stuck.

At this point, the hostages were more exposed, and the entire operation could have ended in disaster with at least dozens of terrorists descending on the hostages and IDF rescue forces, with some of the terrorists armed with rocket-propelled grenades that could kill both the ground rescue forces and rescue helicopters.

In response, additional forces of IDF division 98 and the air force let loose a massive barrage of fire.

Any Hamas terrorists who tried to attack the hostages and initial IDF rescue force were killed, along with potentially civilians.

Because this part of the operation was not only unplanned, but occurred under tremendous time pressure and in a mixed terrorist-civilian area, the IDF still does not know the exact breakdown of Palestinian terrorists to Palestinian civilians killed.

However, both in this and some past instances, the IDF was suspicious that Hamas was inflating the numbers of civilians to cover up its embarrassing military losses and to try to tar Israel’s legitimacy globally.

Eventually the mix of reinforcements and rescue helicopters successfully evacuated the IDF forces and the hostages.

Incidentally, it turned out that much of the operations that Division 98 has been carrying out in central Gaza and Nuseirat since the middle of last week were part of an elaborate decoy to make the Hamas terrorists feel like the IDF was nearby but did not know where the hostages were while allowing security forces to clandestinely setup a close by rescue operation.

In a statement, Hagari said, "This operation was a success in rescuing and returning four hostages. We will continue to do everything to return the 120 hostages still held in Gaza. We are confident that we will reach you, and this operation will not end until you are returned home.”

He added, "We will not give up on a single hostage. I want to say that it is a great pride to see the security forces working together, shoulder to shoulder, in a vital operation: returning the hostages home. When the operation reached this level of intelligence and was approved [by the relevant bodies] ... only then were we permitted to proceed. Hamas intentionally hides the hostages in civilian neighborhoods."

Friday, June 07, 2024

From Ian:

Hussain Abdul-Hussain: Why Is there no Palestinian State?
The model of Palestinian leadership compares to neighboring Arab countries Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. Since independence, these countries have lived in one of two states: Autocracy or civil war. Since the rise of Islamism in the 1980s, civil wars have been won by Islamist militias, all of them backed and bank-rolled by the Islamist regime of Iran, which uses them as tools in its bid to dominate the region.

When dealing with these Arabs, including Palestinians, Israel has had to deal with enemy dictators like Egypt’s Gamal Abdul-Nasser, Iraq’s Saddam Hussain, and Syria’s Assad dynasty, or friendly autocrats like Jordan’s Hashemite monarchs and the Egyptian presidents since Anwar Sadat.

With militias, Israel has not been as lucky as with friendly autocrats. Militias are Islamists whose ideology — as outlined by Sunni Egyptian Sayyid Qutb and endorsed by Shia Iranian Ruhollah Khomeini — considers the conflict with Israel not as one over national interests but as a zero-sum game that started with the rise of Islam, over 1400 years ago.

In 1993, Israel hoped that Arafat — then PLO chief since 1968 — would be the friendly Palestine dictator who could guarantee peace, like his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts. Arafat proved unable or unwilling to do so. Like him, Abbas, 89, has been weak, corrupt and deflects blame for his failure unto Israel.

Among Palestinians today, Marwan Barghouti commands majority support. Barghouti is a former Arafat lieutenant who is serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison for his role in the death of Israelis during the Second Intifada.

So far, Barghouti’s allure has been his animosity toward Israel. Should he sue for peace if released, he would likely lose his popularity.

With the impossibility of a liberal Palestinian democracy, and with no apparent strongman, the chances of creating a Palestinian state are next to nil. And since one of the two states in the two-state solution should be the Palestinian state, and since such a state is nowhere to be found, the two-state solution will remain elusive.

Israel, for its part, would almost certainly concede 1967 territory to a friendly Arab sovereign, Palestinian or otherwise. It could, therefore, hand the West Bank over to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt. But it is most likely that, judging by their 1948-1967 experience, neither Amman nor Cairo would want to take back the territory of rowdy and violent Palestinian militias, whose attention might then turn away from Israel and unto their new governments, causing instability, as they did in Jordan in 1970.

As it stands, the Palestinians are unable to stand up a state required for peace with Israel. No Arab country wants to take them or rule their territories. After October 7, Israel will never repeat its 2005 unilateral withdrawal experiment that, instead of leading to a Palestinian state, turned Gaza into an enemy military camp.

For Israel and the Palestinians, the only possible solution in the foreseeable future is more of the same: A makeshift arrangement of Palestinian self-governance meshed with Israeli policing and periodic flareups.

Unless America is willing to go back to state-building and spreading democracy, it will have to wait until Palestinians figure out how to build a state that Israel can make peace with. Israel cannot build a Palestinian state for them. Only Palestinians can, but first, they must listen and learn how.
Experts split on significance of Palestinian state recognitions
Recognition of a Palestinian state now also encourages Hamas, as noted by Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who called the move by Ireland, Spain and Norway “a gold medal to Hamas terrorists who kidnapped our daughters and burned infants.”

Switzerland’s House of Representatives on Tuesday rejected a motion to recognize Palestinian statehood with SWI reporting that the Swiss Federal Council believes “the time is not right” for such a move.

French President Emmanuel Macron, too, said in late May that while he is open to recognizing a state, the timing is not right.

“There are no taboos for France, and I am totally ready to recognize a Palestinian state. … I think this recognition must be at a useful moment,” he said in Germany. “I will not do an emotional recognition.”

Denmark and Australia, too, both recently voted against recognition.

Brom does not think the countries recognizing “Palestine” are doing so out of anti-Jewish or anti-Israel sentiment but out of a sincere belief that a Palestinian state is the best solution. Even so, he would rather that recognition came about in a different way.

“I would prefer [recognition] came about through an agreement instead of unilateral recognition,” he said, adding, “but that won’t happen with the [current Israeli] government.”

There are also the thorny questions of who is to govern “Palestine” and what its borders are.

During his speech announcing recognition, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez described “Palestine” as composed of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, connected via a corridor, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital and unified under the “legitimate government” of the P.A.

However, according to polls of public opinion in both Gaza and Judea and Samaria, Palestinians do not share that assessment of the P.A.

Only some 8% of respondents favor a P.A.-controlled government, according to the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) research firm.

A poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that only 14% of Palestinians approve of P.A. head Mahmoud Abbas and only 18% want to see the P.A. in control of Gaza after the war. Sixty-three percent of respondents preferred Hamas.

This is an inconvenient fact for the Spanish premier, who declared in his speech that his country’s recognition of “Palestine” “reflects our absolute rejection of Hamas, a terrorist organization [that] is against the two-state solution.”

According to customary international law, a state is a body with a defined territory, population and government—most of which do not apply in the case of “Palestine.”

Denmark cited this in its rejection of recognition.

“We cannot recognize an independent Palestinian state for the sole reason that the preconditions are not really there,” Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen noted when the legislation was first debated in parliament in April.

On the whole, while the moves arguably do have a negative impact, which Israel is taking seriously, the degree to which they’re actually advancing Palestinian statehood on the ground is questionable.
The progressive left hates the Jews
It’s been an especially strange time to be a Jewish woman on the left. When we explain why we might not want trans women in our single-sex spaces, referring to past experiences of male violence, we are accused of  “weaponizing our trauma.” When we talk about our fear of Hamas, because Jews have some experience when it comes to genocidal fascist groups, we’re accused of “weaponizing the Holocaust.” Women in general – like Jews – tend not to be believed anyway when they describe violence committed against them. After all, according to a recent annual report from the victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, only 5% of reported rapes result in charges being brought, never mind convictions. So when stories started to emerge fairly soon after October 7 that Hamas had committed horrific sexual violence during the pogrom, I knew the reaction would be bad. I hoped, given we’d so recently come through the #MeToo movement, with its urgent messaging that women should be believed, that it wouldn’t be too bad. I was wrong.

The October 7 rapes of Israeli women – and men – were so brutal that Meni Binyamin, the head of the International Crime Investigations Unit of the Israeli police, said it was “the most extreme sexual abuses we have seen.”

It took UN Women fifty days even to acknowledge that these sexual assaults had happened. When Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, was asked why, she reportedly replied that the evidence of rape was “not solid,” even though there was video footage of Israeli women with blood-sodden crotches and reports from witnesses about dead Israeli women’s mutilated vaginas. On October 30, almost 150 “scholars in feminist, queer and trans studies” signed an open letter implying that to support Israeli women was to endorse “colonial feminism.” Not a single UK charity that purports to protect women from violence condemned Hamas’s brutality – except Jewish Women’s Aid. After I wrote an article in the Jewish Chronicle asking how this fitted in with [the charities’] feminist credentials, they replied with a statement saying that the reports of Israeli women being raped were merely “the Islamophobic and racist weaponization of sexual violence that presents it as an Arab, as opposed to a global, problem.” Screenshot from a video released by the IDF showing a Hamas terrorist in a Kibbutz near Gaza on October 7, 2023. (IDF)

In an attempt to make people believe what had actually happened on October 7, the IDF compiled and edited the footage they had from Hamas’s GoPro cameras, made it into a film, called Bearing Witness, and took it around the world to show small, carefully selected audiences. Most journalists who watched it wrote afterwards about how traumatizing they found it. Others had different reactions.

The far-left activist Owen Jones, The Guardian’s most high-profile journalist, went to a screening of Bearing Witness and afterwards posted a 25-minute video review. He claimed that “the purpose of the film was made very clear: that we were to ‘bear witness,’ as it was repeatedly put, to the horrors committed by Hamas and also make the PR case for Israel’s onslaught against Gaza.” Others who attended the screening told me that no one said any such thing – the purpose was to provide video footage of the pogrom. Jones said, “If there was rape and sexual violence committed, we don’t see that on camera,” apparently unaware that the IDF had already said it only included footage that “preserved the dignity” of those killed.

When progressive-left identity politics takes you to a place where you are jazz hands-ing away the rapes of Israeli women by fascist Islamists, maybe you should ask yourself if this movement has outlived its purpose.

Identity politics has filled the gap left by the fall of communism, when people on the left could identify as part of a distinct tribe and duly subscribe to all of its beliefs, no matter how absurd, self-defeating and cruel…. It reveals such vanity, but also such bankrupt intelligence, this desire to outsource any critical thinking to an external, prefabricated ideology. And identity politics, like communism, like fascism, gives license to its followers to celebrate sadism and dehumanize entire demographics. Perhaps the thing that surprises me the most about human nature, even in my mature middle age, is how enduring this desire is.
From Ian:

Seth Mandel: Palestine Is a State of Mind
One of the great drawbacks of the pro-Palestinian support structure in the West is that it has almost nothing to do with Palestinians. It is, instead, entirely constructed around hating Israel. The attention the Palestinians receive from their Western activists is precisely correlated with the level of blame that can be pinned upon the Jewish state.

Even the “resistance by any means” mantra furthers this dynamic. What can be done for the Palestinians and their society? Only the destruction of Israel. Until that happens, the “pro-Palestinians” are conveniently absolved of improving anyone’s life. That’s the beauty of making it all about “the occupation.” Root causes require pulling up the roots.

But now we have an example of how this applies not just to anti-Zionist activists but to national governments. It is a museum-worthy display of the West’s Israel-obsessed worldview.

You may remember in late May, when the governments of Spain, Ireland, and Norway jointly announced that they were recognizing “Palestine.” The Europeans have been under increasing pressure to DO SOMETHING about Israel’s continued pursuit of Hamas leaders and the Israeli hostages they hold. By that they mean: find a way to hurt the Israelis.

But the tangible ways to do so would be insane. Should they switch from the American side to the Iranian side in this conflict? Government leaders wanted to show their citizens that they were being heard, but you can’t just go around breaking apart the Western alliance over anti-Zionist hysteria. (I mean, you can, but it’s a line even Europeans prefer not to cross.) So they “recognized a Palestinian state.”

The only real effect a move like this might have was to shatter any remaining hope for many of the hostages by encouraging Hamas to see Israel as increasingly isolated and likely to be blamed for the failure of any deal. And that’s exactly what happened.
The Root Cause of October 7: Iran's Regime
The October 7 attack was timed to shift the focus from fundamental challenges to the survival of the decayed, inept Islamist theocracy. Iranians’ unprecedented nationwide mobilization for peaceful overthrow – the Woman, Life, Freedom movement – was being brutally suppressed at home as Hamas butchered in Israel. Had the community of democratic nations seized the opportunity and found the will to support the mass uprising in Iran (rather than give mere lip service to the violation of Iranians’ human rights), the seat of Islamist revolutionary terror could have been sacked and a difficult but viable transition to a responsible, reasonable Iran at peace with Israel and the world could well have been fostered. Instead, with the October 7 attack Khamenei and his IRGC henchmen sealed the indifference of Western politicians toward Iranian liberal aspirations and enabled the regime to tighten its grip on the thousands of young protestors it was torturing and raping inside its prisons.

The expansion of the Abraham Accords was also in the sights of the ayatollahs. It was imperative that a new bilateral peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel be thwarted. The shock and awe of October 7 was so severe, and the Israeli response to it so massive, that it forced the Saudis to cancel overtures to the Israeli government. October 7 took the Middle East backward to a time when world media attention on the region was dull and flat, concerned only with the seemingly implacable “Arab-Israeli conflict” rather than hopeful transformation by Iranians and Saudis pressing for an entirely new future.

The Iran regime’s role in the October 7 attack is fundamental and a manifestation of its daily “Death to Israel” chants and call to wipe Israel off the map. The Biden administration, however, has chosen to minimize the fact that Hamas has been developed and directed by Tehran, deflecting scrutiny from the world’s top state sponsor of terror. This appeasement mindset helped Tehran to believe it could get away with a massive terror attack on Israel in the first place. The Biden foreign policy is predicated on a worldview that seeks to end American presence in the Middle East region, has little interest in aiding democracy movements to topple authoritarians, rejects as the Obama administration did the post-9/11 vision to link democratization with security and sustainable peace in the region, sees appeasement of the ayatollahs as means to minimize instability and its own involvement in the region, and so has lifted the Maximum Pressure placed on the regime by the Trump administration. But feeding the crocodile has resulted in only a bigger appetite, as the delisting of the Houthis, a first move by the Biden administration to show its willingness to please Tehran, quickly proved. On the nuclear file, too, Iran’s regime has taken advantage of Washington’s overtures and willingness to turn a blind eye on sanctions to up its enrichment.

The October 7 attack on Israel is part and parcel of the Islamic Republic’s larger, multifaceted war on the West and liberalism. It has resulted in suffering and insecurity for the Israeli people, rising antisemitism across the globe, and moral confusion within democracies. Terror that should have been met with global condemnation and solidarity with the Israeli people instead resulted in the proliferation of the hate projected by Iran’s regime. Any policy truly designed to prevent Islamist terror and cultivate peace for the region must begin with a strategy to bring down that regime, but as evidenced by messages of condolences on the passing of the mass executioner Raisi, Western governments remain determined to appease it.
  • Friday, June 07, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
IMPACT-SE, which monitors and reports on textbooks and bias in various countries, just issued a new report on Saudi Arabian textbooks.

Besides looking at how the textbooks portray Israel, which is slowly improving, it looks at other topics like polytheism, Christianity, gays and others, and in all areas the books are more liberal and tolerant compared to previous textbook editions.

While how they portray Palestinians was not a topic of the study, some of the findings indicate that the Saudis are de-emphasizing the Palestinian cause compared to earlier years. Officially, they still support it wholeheartedly, but some changes are significant.

For example:
The 2023 editions of grades 5 and 9 social studies textbooks show the systematic trend of featuring the area of Israel proper and Palestine as unnamed, as opposed to the 2022 editions which marked it as “Palestine”

In several geography textbooks, when previously Israel was replaced with "Palestine," now they removed all labels naming countries that do nto directly border Saudi Arabia. Other maps which replaced Israel with "Palestine" were completely removed.

In a social studies textbook, the entire chapter addressing the Palestinian cause was removed in 2022.

In 2023, a picture of the White Mosque in Ramlah, featured in a chapter about the Umayyad dynasty, no longer mentions that it is located in Palestine. The city, located near Tel Aviv, was established in the 8th century during of the Umayyad era as the capital of Jund Filastin, the military district of Palestine, in the Bilad al-Sham province. 

There are still several maps that still replace Israel with "Palestine." But the trend is away from that. (Also, several mentions of "the Israeli enemy" have been replaced with "the Israeli occupation.")

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!



  • Friday, June 07, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
The top story on the UNICEF webpage UNICEF webpage about Gaza. It says "The conflict in the Gaza Strip is taking a catastrophic toll on children. More than 14,000 children have reportedly been killed, according to the latest estimate by the Palestinian Ministry of Health; thousands more have been injured."

Similarly, UN Women's latest article on Gaza says "over 10,000 women have been killed, among them an estimated 6,000 mothers, leaving 19,000 children orphaned."

But the Ministry of Health has walked back those statistics, which came from Hamas. It currently says roughly half those number of children and women have been killed. UN-OCHA updated its statistics to reflect those changes weeks ago, albeit in small print.

So why do UNICEF and UN Women still report the Hamas-created lies as truth, more than a month after even other UN agencies reluctantly admit that the numbers are wrong?

It is clear that the truth doesn't matter to these UN agencies. They want to make Israel look as monstrous as possible, and if that means relying on a terror group that murders women and children in cold blood, that is fine. 

Today, AP made a tentative step to correct the record. The article is far from perfect and doesn't note that the health ministry is parroting unsourced Hamas claims of women and children killed. But hopefully other media will do their own analyses of the data and finally admit what we've known all along - their claims of civilian deaths in Gaza come from Hamas propaganda and not from any actual counting of victims. 

Will the UN and NGOs then correct their own reporting? It seems highly unlikely. UN Women and UNICEF need the higher numbers to justify their fundraising and public relations, so they have strong incentive to pretend the Hamss numbers are the real ones.  

Both these agencies are making a huge mistake. While much of the UN is obviously politicized against Israel, agencies dedicated to protecting children and women have been assumed to be more honest and less political because of their humanitarian objectives. Every day they refuse to correct their own increasingly obvious errors, they risk appearing to care more about demonizing Israel than protecting children and women. 

And then it will be the women and children themselves who be hurt by their loss of credibility.

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!



  • Friday, June 07, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
In the town of Katoomba in New South Wales, Australia, is an antique and Persian rug shop.

Prominently displayed in the window is this picture of the Nordic anti-Santa Claus known as Krampus.

In the legend of Krampus, this devil-like character - with horns, a hooked nose and who is a puppet master. He punishes naughty children ahead of Christmas, and in some traditions he eats them. Scholars have noted the similarity between Krampus and medieval antisemitic depictions of Jews who were accused of murdering Christian children. 

But why would anyone think that this version of Krampus is antisemitic?  Well,just read the caption that the shop owner put on the picture.


And the shop-owner helpfully adds another sign:

The Australian adds, "Another conspiracy theory-filled sign in the window alleged Zionists, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and the Rothschilds were going to reduce the global population through vaccines."

Here's where right-wing antisemitism meets left-wing "anti-Zionism."  The horseshoe looks more and more like a circle. 

(h/t Alex Ryvchin)

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!



Thursday, June 06, 2024

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The Middle East’s fateful moment
The West refused to see that the Palestinian cause was the principal means by which the Islamists realized they could destroy Israel and conquer the free world for Islam. The Palestinian cause has accordingly brought together the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood—whose military wing consists of Hamas, Al-Qaeda and ISIS—and the Shi’ite fanatics of Iran.

The most lethal component of this infernal alliance is Iran because it has become a regional hegemon. And it is America that has enabled that to happen.

As president, Obama viewed Iran as an essential component of a new Middle East order. The aim was apparently a balance of powers in the region which would ensure that everyone was forced to rub along with each other.

The strategy of taming Iran by bringing it in from the cold led to the 2015 nuclear deal which, falsely claiming to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, explicitly legitimized such a development after only a few years delay and funneled billions in sanctions relief into Tehran’s war chest.

This was the equivalent not only of giving a box of matches to an arsonist but providing the kerosene and the dry tinder as well.

The Biden administration has continued with the kumbaya liberal fantasy that genocidal fanaticism can be neutralized by negotiated concessions. In practice, this appeasement of the implacable and unconscionable means letting Israel swing in the murderous winds of the Palestinian and Iranian agendas.

Virtually none of this is understood by the Western public whose media and leaders, in cahoots with the Hamas-compliant international human rights and humanitarian establishment, have instead demonized Israel and incited hatred of the Jews with malicious falsehoods about Israel’s conduct in Gaza.

People in the West have been indoctrinated by the BBC, The New York Times and others that Israel is the reason for the war in Gaza, Israel is the problem and this crisis is all Israel’s fault.

They have heard virtually nothing about Hezbollah’s daily rocket and missile attacks. They are told nothing about the plight of tens of thousands of Israelis who have been displaced from their homes in northern Israel by the war and been made refugees in their own country. They saw almost no reports at all of the fires that consumed northern Israel this week.

Consequently, when Israel goes to war in Lebanon to defend its people against annihilation it will be vilified and demonized even more intensely as the region’s aggressor.

But it is in fact Biden and Obama’s America, whose delusional fantasies facilitated the Oct. 7 pogrom, empowered the enemies of civilization and are hanging Israel out to dry, that is now leading the world into a terrible war.
Bassam Tawil: Palestinian Libels Against Jews: No Difference Between Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas
The only problem is: the claim [that Jews are trying to take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque] is not true. Of course, there are no such plans. These plans only exist in the deranged imaginations of the Palestinian leaders fabricating the accusations against the Jews. In fact, it was Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who gave control over the Temple Mount to the Islamic Wakf authorities in 1967.

In reality, Arafat had agreed that non-Muslims may, at certain times, tour the exterior of the Al-Aqsa Mosque -- the gardens and patios -- as long as they do not go inside and pray there.

Abbas and his media nevertheless continue to portray the peaceful visits by Jews to the Temple Mount as violent incursions. On June 5, 2024, Abbas's official news agency Wafa reported: "Hundreds of Israeli colonists today broke into the compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque...[they] raided the holy Islamic Mosque from al-Maghariba Gate and took provocative tours in its compounds."

Needless to say, Abbas is again lying: no Jew had "raided" or "broken into" the mosque.

The Biden administration and some European countries that want to give the Palestinians a state fail to recognize that, when it comes to rejecting Israel's right to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people and denying any Jewish link to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, there is no real difference between Abbas and Hamas. If anyone is desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque, it is Palestinians who are using it to justify murder -- of Jews.
How Israel Remains Sane under Pressure
In the past decade, U.S. political discourse has become increasingly shrill, while social cohesion appears to be fraying. By contrast, Israel—part of which is literally on fire—has been fighting its longest and most harrowing war since 1948, yet society seems to be functioning quite well. Cole Aronson makes the case that Israel is the “saner” of two countries.

The Iranian fusillade in the early hours of April 14 was Israel’s scariest moment since October 7. . . . But ten hours later, the two large supermarkets near my apartment were full of diapers, milk, bread, and eggs. The mall had four floors of squealing kids. No surge in crime, no looting, no riots. The largest missile and drone launch in history, and Israel didn’t even have to muddle through. It could just carry on.

While some of its detractors have tried to portray Israel as a “nation gone mad,” Aronson notes that this is not at all so:

Israelis are brusque and they are sometimes even frantic. But they deal rationally with danger, which is to say they can distinguish real threats and harms from fake ones. The industriousness with which coastal Americans manufacture and perform grievances is not a habit of Israel’s public character. Israelis resent hypocrisy and they grumble about their elites. But revolution is not popularly demanded, statues aren’t torn down, memorials aren’t desecrated, the nation’s founders aren’t contemned. Israelis pay dearly to govern themselves, and so can’t afford civic disdain.

Americans live free from armed invaders under a masterful, basically peaceful constitutional system. Things have been good for a long time. The republic’s achievements seem commonplace, so commonplace they aren’t even recognized as achievements. . . . America has responded to its generous inheritance with a listless hysteria.
From Ian:

WSJ Editorial: Who's Really Prolonging the Gaza War?
After Oct. 7, President Biden told Israel to scale down its ground invasion of Gaza. Then he supported Egypt's decision to trap Gazans in the war zone. When the Israelis defeated Hamas in northern Gaza, he pressured Israel to "shift to the next phase" by sending most troops home and fighting with less firepower in southern Gaza. Israel did so, and it very slowly won in Khan Yunis.

Next, Mr. Biden tried to stop Israel from invading Rafah. He cut off weapons as leverage. Israel eventually invaded Rafah, but with fewer troops to satisfy the President. That means a slower operation. His decision to pressure Israel, while going soft on mediators Egypt and Qatar, has also given Hamas reason to draw out hostage talks and continue the war.
John Podhoretz: Israel’s Two-Front Crisis
Joe Biden did something extraordinarily beneficial at the beginning of the Israel-Gaza war: He moved two aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean and parked them right off the shores of Lebanon. The purpose was unmistakable. America was telling Hezbollah to keep quiet and stay out of it while Israel went to war with Hamas down south. It didn’t quite work, since intermittent rocketry still led Israel to evacuate much of its northernmost population. But it worked well enough.

Something happened quietly a few months ago. The carriers left. The USS Gerald Ford returned to Norfolk. The USS Eisenhower was redeployed to the Red Sea to deal with the shipping crisis. And guess what? Without American deterrence, Hezbollah has been emboldened, the more so as time has gone on.

Another 70,000 Israelis have been newly evacuated from the North as bombardments from Lebanon have become extraordinarily savage. The town of Kiryat Shmoneh is on fire. A Druze village was unmercifully attacked. Israel is wracked with uncertainty. It cannot allow Hezbollah’s depradations to continue. It must respond. It must restore deterrence by raising the cost to Hezbollah of its actions. But it’s still got Rafah to finish. And it’s still trying to navigate the weird situation of the past two weeks, in which an “Israeli proposal” for a ceasefire and hostage release created a new sense of urgency for negotiations with Hamas—a proposal offered and re-offered that Hamas has, by my count, now rejected five different times.

Joe Biden made this all public with his strange speech “accepting” Israel’s proposal to which he then doodled a conclusion on top that said “end of war end of war” like Annette Funicello in a beach party movie writing “Mrs Frankie Avalon” over and over on her chemistry notebook. For nearly two weeks now, America has said the ball is in Hamas’ court because the Israeli proposal is so good (while Biden and others say Bibi wants to keep the war going because he’s mean or something). Hamas has replied, in effect, “well, if it’s in our court, we’re keeping the ball. Drop dead.” And still the Bidenites keep on, insisting if Hamas wants a good future for the Palestinian people it will accept the deal. What does Hamas have to do to convince these supposed experts that it has no interest in a “good future for the Palestinian people”—that what it wants are dead Jews and a crippled Israel on its way to destruction?

No matter. The tattered coat upon a stick who resides in the White House has grabbed onto this “proposal” like a walker and will not let go. And the fact that Biden and his people are doing what they can to prevent Israel from finishing its work has given Hezbollah the opportunity to open what appears to be a second front against Israel in this proxy war whose real master is in Tehran.
Daniel Henninger (WSJ): Don't Blame Israel First
As reports come out of the Biden administration about ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, bear in mind that the goal of one side in the discussions remains the elimination of the sovereign nation of Israel.

Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose wealth subsidizes Hamas's military operations, has said, "The perpetual subject of Iran is the elimination of Israel from the region."

The debate over the terms of the current Israel-Hamas ceasefire proposals turns mainly on whether a stop to the fighting would be permanent or temporary, following a hostage and prisoner exchange.

The Biden administration's proposal for a six-week ceasefire includes the withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in Gaza. Such a departure surely would be interpreted as a victory for Hamas.

Hamas's military leader, Yahya Sinwar, the primary architect of the Oct. 7 invasion, apparently believes he has Israel bogged down in a quagmire and that international opinion has turned the Jewish state into a pariah, pushing the Israelis toward a settlement on his terms.

A belief has emerged in what passes for world opinion that if Mr. Netanyahu can be forced out of office, a "moderate" Israeli leadership will emerge, and somehow the war will end. Yet the assumption that any successor Israeli government would allow the Sinwar-led Hamas to emerge intact in Gaza is incredible.

The debate over the Israel-Hamas war has fallen deeply into a moral imbalance. The conflict has little hope of changing until the statements of foreign leaders, analysts, the media and Mr. Biden begin to impose serious political and moral pressure on the man who put this horror in motion: Hamas commander Yahya Sinwar. Blame him first.

Australian Green Party leader Adam Bandt:
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Ashdod, June 6 - A Biden administration public relations boondoggle that failed in its stated purpose and would up drifting away from its intended zone amid poor planning and poorer execution still proves more popular among Israeli voters than the existing legislative factions and lawmakers, recent surveys confirmed today.

The floating pier that White House and State Department officials touted in March to relive humanitarian suffering in the Gaza Strip, operated only briefly until several weeks ago when tidal and other weather forces severed its moorings and send it floating north. Recovery and reinstallation on the Gaza shore could take several more days. Despite the debacle, the facility - which could only supply a fraction of the aid already entering the coastal territory from Israel by truck - still enjoys more popular support from voters than any of the parties or legislators in the Knesset. It was fully operational for a mere ten days.

Polls by Geocartographia, Bar-Ilan University, and Channel 14, among others, in the last three weeks have shown consistent favorability among Israelis for the failed floating pier, at 45%, while no single party, Member of Knesset, or government minister has garnered anything higher than 30%.

Respondents cited multiple reasons for their dislike of the politicians, and their preference for the Biden Boondoggle. Self-identified leftists disliked the right, as expected, but even figures from the center and the left itself attracted opprobrium for failing to exploit Prime Minister Netanyahu's continued political weakness. Centrists showed displeasure with the more radical elements of both camps, but also with the stalwarts of the "centrist" factions in the Knesset, for doing little other than shore up support for a historically unpopular government. Right-wing voters suspect all non-right-wingers of dangerous weakness on security matters, but also showed their disappointment with the prime minister, his allies, and the smaller right-wing parties, who, in their view, have fumbled repeated opportunities to implement an actual right-wing agenda.

The pier on the other hand, despite its high-profile failure, bears no responsibility in the public perception for the security lapses and conceptual rigidity that allowed the October 7 massacre to occur.

Unconfirmed reports had multiple parties developing plans to recruit the floating pier to their ranks. Polling remains unclear whether agreeing to any such overtures will dampen the Israeli electorate's positive opinion of the facility.

If the pier reinstallation proceeds without mishap, analysts believe its relative favorability will wane. The researchers noted that the likelihood of a mishap-free reinstallation remains low, but the history of Hamas firing on the pier might still generate sympathy from Israelis facing the same threat.

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  • Thursday, June 06, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
Earlier, I posted an infographic from the Hamas ministry of health showing alleged injuries and deaths in Gaza.

Here's the detail about injuries:

On the bottom right is says that 19.6% of those injured (and they mean of the 54,802 number, not the fictional 82.777 number)  were referred for treatment abroad. The wording is misleading.

In a more detailed report released today, the ministry wrote, "The total number of requests for treatment abroad reached 25,000, while the number of those allowed to travel reached 4,895." That is the 19.6% the graphic is referring to - the number of injured Gazans requiring treatment abroad who were permitted to travel.

Over 20,000 injured Gazans who needed lifesaving treatment abroad could not leave Gaza - either before Israel's takeover of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing on May 7, or afterwards.

This is a decision Egypt makes. Not Israel, not Qatar, not the PA - Egypt alone decides that they prefer thousands of injured and sick Gazans stay in Gaza, presumably to die.

And they continue to maintain that position today. Egypt could open up Rafah today for the injured if it wanted - and it refuses. 

Where are the articles and UN resolutions and human rights reports about the tens of thousands of Gazans who cannot leave for critical treatment because Egypt would prefer that they die?

They don't care.

 If this war has proven anything, it is that the "pro-Palestinian" community really doesn't give a damn about Palestinians. Like Hamas, they use them as pawns to attack Israel, which has always been their real aim.  

(h/t Irene)

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  • Thursday, June 06, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
It has now been two weeks since the UN Protection Cluster reported that aid workers and others in Gaza are forcing women into prostitution, presumably in exchange for food.

[I]nsufficient and unreliable aid, distributed under conditions of insecurity that do not allow adequate targeting, expose vulnerable groups to violence, exploitation and abuse, trafficking and forced prostitution, including by aid workers. Specific risks observed in Gaza associated with aid include the presence of unofficial humanitarian workers without identification [in] mixed distribution lines for men and women. There are reports of individuals adopting harmful coping mechanisms, such as reducing food and liquid intake, to minimise such risks.  
This has been reported by exactly no one besides this site.

The report also mentioned that Gaza women prefer to go without food rather than stand in line together with men for food, because they know they will be sexually harassed,.  

And that young girls are being raped and married off to older men in the camps.

And that disabled girls are especially vulnerable to being raped in shelters.

This isn't "Zionist propaganda." This is the UN.  They buried the information in the report but it is there, and if anything, they are downplaying the extent of the problem.

Where is the outrage? Where's the media? Where are the NGOs? Where are the politicians?

Apparently, all eyes aren't really on Rafah. 

And this makes it clear that when self-declared humanitarians are reporting about Gaza, they are really only looking for new ways to slander Israel, not to protect Palestinians. 

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  • Thursday, June 06, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here is an infographic by Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry.

As we've been mentioning for months, the health ministry shows that there are about 10,000 alleged deaths with incomplete documentation, to align with Hamas' Media Office claims, inflating the number of deaths they have evidence for (and those self-reported) by some 38%.

NGOs pretend that the 10,000 difference are for legitimate deaths that for whatever reason do not have complete information like day of birth or ID numbers, even though even thousands of the victims they claim do have complete information are in fact incomplete or fictional.

But another proof that the 10,000 deaths are imaginary comes from the statistic beneath it, on injuries. 

The ministry claims there have been 82,777 injuries, of whom only 54,802 are "recognized" with complete data. 

That's nearly 28,000 undocumented injuries, or 51% above the ones they have documentation on.

For the documented injuries, they break it down into men, women and children, but  not for the "incomplete documentation" injuries.

As with the "deaths," the "injuries" statistics come straight from the Hamas media office.  The health ministry, not wanting to contradict their bosses, pretend to square away the numbers that they directly counted with the fictional numbers claimed by Hamas by saying they have "incomplete documentation" on the pretend victims Hamas made up.

But the injured aren't dead - anyone can see their gender, their ages, and the vast majority would be conscious and they could ask their ID numbers and names. 

It is obvious that 28,000 of the injured are fictional, numbers taken out of thin air by Hamas' propaganda arm. There is zero documentation on them. And if that is how the health ministry reports on the injured, when the high level  statistics of age and gender would be readily available, then that must also be how the health ministry reports on deaths as well - by pretending that the extra 10,000 are real.

Any news media that continues to report on "Gaza health officials" statistics without mentioning that they have no credibility is actively collaborating with Hamas, which regards propaganda as a critical part of its war effort.

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Human Rights Watch issued another report accusing Israel of violating international law by using white phosphorus in Lebanese towns.

White phosphorus is a chemical substance dispersed in artillery shells, bombs, and rockets that ignites when exposed to oxygen. Its incendiary effects inflict death or cruel injuries that result in lifelong suffering. It can set homes, agricultural areas, and other civilian objects on fire. Under international humanitarian law, the use of airburst white phosphorus is unlawfully indiscriminate in populated areas and otherwise does not meet the legal requirement to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm.

... Lebanon should promptly file a declaration with the International Criminal Court (ICC), enabling the investigation and prosecution of grave international crimes within the court’s jurisdiction on Lebanese territory since October 2023.

The wording is carefully chosen . WP is not an incendiary weapon nor is it a chemical weapon, which have very specific definitions under international law. It is a legal weapon used by major militaries including the US. But HRW makes sure to use the words "incendiary" and "chemical" to give the impression that white phosphorus is an illegal weapon.

HRW counts 17 alleged incidents of Israel using WP in populated areas. Yet, it admits, "Human Rights Watch did not obtain evidence of any burn injuries resulting from the use of white phosphorus munitions but heard accounts indicating possible respiratory damage."

If white phosphorus' main problem is that it can burn people, and not one case of anyone being burned was found, then it appears that Israel is using the weapon responsibly (if indeed this is white phosphorus and not a similar smokescreen.)

Unlike Human Rights Watch, the Lieber Institute at West Point goes into detail on the legality of using white phosphorus, and finds that it is quite legal, as long as it is not used to violate other laws of war like the principle of proportionality.. In fact, its legal use is far more expansive than HRW claims. Israel uses it for smokescreen and marking; but international law allows it to be used to directly attack enemy militants. 
There is no per se prohibition on the use of white phosphorous. For instance, a March 2009 HRW report notes that “[w]hen used properly in open areas, white phosphorous munitions are not illegal.” A 2017 article in the New York Times likewise noted that “it is not illegal under international law for militaries to possess and use white phosphorus.” The military manuals of several States indicate that it may be used lawfully, even as an anti-personnel weapon, in certain circumstances (e.g., United States (§, Canada (para. 521.3.), France (p. 20-21), Germany (paras. 453-458), and Australia (paras. 4.30-31)). The question, then, is whether the use of white phosphorous munitions is restricted by weapons treaty law or the law of armed conflict rules governing the conduct of hostilities.
....[E]ven if white phosphorous munitions did qualify as “incendiary weapons,” Protocol III would not ban their use. Rather, it regulates the use of incendiary weapons by parties to the instrument for the purpose of protecting civilians.

The US Army War Manual says "[W]hite phosphorus may be used as an antipersonnel weapon. However, such use must comply with the general rules for the conduct of hostilities, including the principles of discrimination and proportionality.In addition, feasible precautions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians must be taken." 

Israel says it only uses shells with WP in urban areas under very specific (undisclosed) circumstances that have been approved by Israel's High Court. While the specific use cases are secret, we could get some clues from the footnotes in the US Army Manual, which says the army used white phosphorus in urban areas in Fallujah directly against terrorists: "We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE [High Explosive]. We fired ‘shake and bake’ missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out.

The Lieber article quotes the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons, which says that even as an incendiary weapon, it is permitted "when such military objective is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians and all feasible precautions are taken with a view to limiting the incendiary effects to the military objective and to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.

The Lieber article concludes, "The application of the law of armed conflict to the use of white phosphorus munitions must be done on a case-by-case basis. Like the use of any munition in combat, whether the use of white phosphorous munitions is lawful depends on the attendant circumstances." HRW cannot point to any illegal use of WP in Lebanon, and says that it does not know if there were any Hezbollah military targets in the areas where it was used. Even the implication that Israel would use WP without any Hezbollah targets - meaning, aiming it at civilians or using it indiscriminately  - is slanderous and nonsensical, not to mention that it shows that HRW knows nothing about the layers of review the IDF goes through in making decisions on types of weapons used in targeting. 

HRW's report can be summarized as "we cannot find that Israel did anything wrong, but it's Israel, so they must have."

There is a further irony here. The same day that HRW released this report, there are major forest fires in Israel's north sparked by Hezbollah weapons. If Hezbollah deliberately tried to set these fires and used munitions designed for that purpose, they would be violating the same prohibition on incendiary weapons HRW pretends Israel is violating. The same Protocol mentioned earlier says, "It is prohibited to make forests or other kinds of plant cover the object of attack by incendiary weapons except when such natural elements are used to cover, conceal or camouflage combatants or other military objectives, or are themselves military objectives."

Palestinians have deliberately set Israeli forests and fields on fire from the 1920s to today.. Some believe the current wildfires were purposefully set. The amount of damage to civilian property in Israel from fires dwarfs that from WP in Lebanon. 

But you can be very sure that Human Rights Watch is not going to write a report accusing Hezbollah of violating the same protocol they accuse Israel of violating. 

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Wednesday, June 05, 2024

From Ian:

Amb. Alan Baker: Can Contemporary International Law Cope with Today's Terror?
The war between Israel, Hamas, and other terror organizations has heightened the awareness of the question of whether today's international law is capable of addressing armed conflict between a state and terror organizations. How is a sovereign state, obligated by the conventional rules of international humanitarian law and the laws of armed conflict, expected to engage in asymmetrical war with terror organizations that distinctly, and by definition, do not consider themselves bound by such rules?

The international community lacks practical and legal means, as well as the basic desire and capability, of obliging such terror groups to abide by the rules. It is questionable whether the law of armed conflict as it exists today is capable of providing legal as well as operative answers to the practical issues arising out of today's struggle against terror.

In light of the biased and partisan reaction of the international community and its automatic accusations against Israel of committing war crimes and even genocide, it is high time that responsible states come to terms with the fact that modern-day terror undermines and abuses accepted humanitarian norms and standards. This must be dealt with both militarily and legally.
Seth Mandel: How the Anti-Israel Propaganda Ecosystem Works
In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these NGOs are extremely powerful, because their perceived authority magnifies their voices above those who may know much more about the issues but who don’t have the megaphone or the credibility lent to the European-funded activist groups masquerading as “humanitarians.” Throughout the current war, polls of American public opinion have never demonstrated that the progressive pro-Hamas rump on college campuses or among city protest groups should be catered to. In Israel vs Hamas, Americans don’t hesitate to side with Israel. Even the “ceasefire at any cost” crowd is smaller than it looks and sounds. A Marist poll last week put their share of the public at 25 percent. Yet they have nudged President Biden’s policies in their direction.

How? The protests on college campuses showed not just the organizing power of the left but the role of the media in amplifying their grievances and whitewashing their violence and lawbreaking. And it works in the other direction too: In many cases the media plays a key role in feeding the wildfire of misinformation that fuels the protests before turning around and reporting on them.

UN groups have been uncritically parroting the obviously inaccurate Hamas-produced death tolls. So have the media. In explaining why the Washington Post trusts Hamas propaganda enough to report it as fact, the paper quoted Omar Shakir in Hamas’s defense. Shakir is the Israel/Palestine director of Human Rights Watch and someone who was expelled from Israel over his support for BDS-affiliated groups that seek Israel’s destruction. In other words, if you switched the staffing of the Hamas Health Ministry and Human Rights Watch, the output of both organizations would likely be unchanged.

Employees of the UN’s Palestinian agency, UNRWA, have been credibly accused of taking and holding one or more hostages during the current conflict and of participating in the Oct. 7 attack. UNRWA was caught sharing space and resources with Hamas commanders, and its schools have reliably been found to host Hamas weapons and tunnel entrances. Yet high-level officials and directors at UNRWA, this clear adjunct of Hamas, go on to leadership positions at the International Committee of the Red Cross (and vice versa). Despite the Red Cross’s clear pro-Hamas orientation during this conflict, journalists quote it as if it speaks in the voice of God.

All of which, as we have seen, feeds the hysteria of the crowds organized by Palestinian groups. That hysteria, in turn, is reported on by the same journalists who’d whipped those protesters into a lather by using Omar Shakir or a Red Cross official on loan from a Hamas-linked UN agency.

In 2013, Karim Khan explained clearly how all of this creates a weighted narrative that influences supposedly objective processes. Now, a decade later, Khan is using that same system to his benefit just so he can nail the Israelis with bogus smears. Those charges will then get reported ad nauseum in the press, and the cycle continues from there.

Though he didn’t intend it at the time, Khan was shining a light on the entire squalid ecosystem of institutional corruption, unethical journalism, and incestuous melding of propaganda outfits that are often funded by governments that then justify their policies toward Israel by citing that very propaganda. If you can’t beat ’em, Khan decided, might as well join ’em.

What’s everyone else’s excuse?
Biden’s mixed messaging on Israel confuses friends and foes alike
On Tuesday morning, Time magazine published the full transcript of its recent Oval Office interview with President Joe Biden, conducted a week prior. One line quickly went viral among Middle East experts: When asked whether Biden believes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prolonging the country’s war with Hamas to further his own political survival, Biden said the answer might be yes. “There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion,” the president responded.

Hours later, Biden appeared to reverse himself on that sentiment. A reporter shouted a question at Biden as he left an event: Is Netanyahu “playing politics” with the war? “I don’t think so. He’s trying to work out a serious problem he has,” Biden said.

That Biden’s public reversal took place in a single day made the incident especially notable, even for an 81-year-old gaffe-prone president known for speaking off-the-cuff (much to the chagrin of his staffers). But it was not the first time onlookers were confused by his comments on the Middle East.

The White House’s pattern of contradicting itself over Israel’s war against Hamas has become a regular occurrence since October. Interpreting what the administration’s precise policy is at any given moment can take Talmudic levels of parsing, and clarifying whether Biden’s often-vague language reflects a change in message, or is simply a function of misspeaking, is a frequent challenge for journalists.

Stakeholders and experts describe a White House approach rooted in a desire to appease divergent and at times conflicting constituencies, stemming from difficult political realities at home and a fear that the bloody conflict in Gaza will still be raging as Election Day approaches. But trying to make everyone happy is often a self-defeating strategy in Washington, especially on one of the most divisive issues in politics.

“There’s a big danger that the Biden team faces in trying to be everything to everyone and all people at once, that you may end up risking being nothing meaningful,” said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute.

Biden has tried to chart a course that maintains U.S. support for Israel, leaning on his longtime self-identification as a Zionist, while also criticizing Israel for not doing enough to protect civilians in Gaza. The farthest he has gone was a threat last month to withhold some U.S.-made offensive weapons depending on Israel’s actions in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Yet his frequent criticism of Israel’s military tactics does not go far enough to appease left-wing Democrats unhappy with Biden’s overall support for Israel; meanwhile, his outreach to the anti-Israel segment of the party irritates Jewish voters and pro-Israel moderates. And Biden’s frequent admonitions of Israel risk hampering the country’s war effort, in the view of many of its supporters. (A National Security Council spokesperson declined to comment.)

Biden’s occasionally harsh rhetoric toward Israel amid the mounting death toll in Gaza is “an indication of real anger and frustration, without actually being willing to confront or be identified fully, to make real what [he] feels, so you get a policy that is conflicted,” said Aaron David Miller, a former longtime State Department employee and a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I think the reason they’re conflicted is because he’s got these constituencies that he certainly isn’t going to satisfy. He can try to manage them.”

Behind closed doors, the messaging differs depending on whom the White House is addressing — and who is delivering the message. Biden’s closest advisers on the Middle East are National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan; Sullivan’s deputy, Jon Finer; and Brett McGurk, White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. Each of them takes a slightly different approach to the unfolding conflict.


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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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