May 25, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: 60 Percent of Americans Say Hamas Responsible for Mideast Violence - Julia Manchester (The Hill)
    60% of Americans blame Hamas for the recent violence, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll conducted on May 19-20 and released Monday. 40% blame Israel.
    58% said they support President Biden's stance on Israel, while 42% said they opposed it.

Report: Israel Buried 80 Hamas Fighters in Terror Tunnels - Chris Hughes (Mirror-UK)
    Search teams are still digging Hamas fighters out of the blown-up underground system of tunnels dubbed the "Gaza Metro."
    In Israel, a source said: "It is now believed around 80 were killed, many of whom are still buried deep underground."

The Arabs Could Offer an Alternative to the Palestinians in Gaza - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Ephraim Sneh (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas suffered a devastating blow in Gaza. Its military assets, administration, infrastructure and underground tunnels have been destroyed.
    Israel had proved yet again its military superiority, mainly in anti-missile defense, intelligence, and in precise air strikes.
    It is impossible to provide a normal life to the Gaza population under the banner of "resistance," which means permanent military conflict with Israel.
    Several Arab countries, those who struggle with the subversion of Hamas and other like-minded organizations, want to see the Hamas regime in Gaza cease to exist.
    This is the time for these countries to take action, to offer Palestinians in Gaza an alternative.
    When the people in Gaza realize once again the calamity brought on them by Hamas, they may welcome a reasonable alternative.
    The external security of Gaza could be under the responsibility of Egypt.
    The writer, a former deputy minister of defense, is chairman of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue at Netanya Academic College.

Home of Nigerian Soccer Star in Israel Hit by Hamas Rocket - Oluwashina Okeleji (BBC Sport Africa)
    Nigerian soccer star Ibezito Ogbonna, 38, says he is lucky to be alive after being injured when his apartment in the Israeli city of Ashdod was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza last week.
    Ogbonna, who played with Hapoel Tel Aviv, was at home with his wife and two young daughters when the building suffered a direct hit.
    "I heard the loud bang of the rocket and felt the immediate impact. I was thrown into the air and it took me from my dining room to my living room."
    With no home to return to, the Ogbonnas and 13 other families are now staying at a hotel as the Israeli government looks to resettle them.
    "Hapoel Tel Aviv fans have been incredibly amazing. Without my knowledge, they had started fundraising to help support me."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • President Biden Condemns "Despicable" Rise in Anti-Semitic Attacks in U.S.
    President Joe Biden on Monday called for an end to anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. that have been on the rise in the wake of the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He tweeted: "The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad - it's up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor."  (Twitter)
  • Blinken Dispatched to Middle East amid Israel-Gaza Truce - Lara Jakes
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the Middle East this week to try to bolster the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, but he intends to steer clear of longer-term peace talks that currently have almost zero chance of success. Landing in Israel on Tuesday, Blinken will also visit Ramallah, Cairo and Amman.
        The U.S. considers Hamas a terrorist organization and does not deal directly with the group. In the past few weeks it has relied on Egypt and to a lesser extent Jordan, Qatar and Turkey to act as intermediaries. (New York Times)
  • Federal Judge Says Georgia's Anti-BDS Law Violates First Amendment - Harper Neidig
    Federal District Court Judge Mark Cohen ruled Friday that a Georgia law banning the state from doing business with anyone promoting a boycott of Israel violates the First Amendment. (The Hill)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Seeks Assurances that Foreign Aid Won't Reach Hamas - Lahav Harkov
    Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the international community must actively work to weaken Hamas while rebuilding Gaza. He delivered the same message to the foreign ministers of the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. In addition, the rehabilitation of Gaza must be monitored closely by international supervisors. Moreover, the two Israeli civilians held by Hamas and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed in the 2014 war must be returned. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Soldier, Civilian Wounded in Jerusalem Stabbing Attack - Nir Hasson
    An Israeli soldier and a civilian were stabbed by a Palestinian assailant at a light rail train station in Jerusalem on Monday. The attacker was killed by Israeli security forces. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Anti-Semitism in America - Gerard Baker
    There's something especially unsettling about the newest eruption of the oldest hatred - anti-Semitism. We live in an age of heightened awareness of ethnic and racial victimhood, but in the quarter-century the FBI has kept records, hate crimes against blacks have declined by more than a third between 1996 and 2019. By contrast, the number of anti-Semitic crimes - which are, proportionate to the share of Jews in the population, much more frequent than anti-black crime - has scarcely changed.
        In the past, most of the anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. have been the product of the usual depraved minds: white supremacists or sick individuals deciding to take out their pathologies on the group most often blamed for society's flaws. But mostly they haven't occurred as the kind of street-level response to geopolitical events that is too common among political activists in Europe. This latest outbreak, however, has come about in direct response to the recent conflict in Gaza.
        The wider political and cultural environment is what makes this outbreak of anti-Semitism especially unsettling. The latest conflict in the Middle East has been made to fit the binary classification of the human race into oppressor and victim on the basis of identity. The wide penetration of this notion into the consciousness and discourse of prominent elected figures is new. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Violent Attacks on American Jews Prove "Anti-Zionism" Is Anti-Semitism - David Harsanyi
    Last week, a wave of Jew-hatred broke out in the U.S., with attacks by men waving Palestinian flags in Los Angeles and New York. If there were such attacks against Muslims, the media would rightly speak of nothing else right now. These weren't clashes between pro-Israel demonstrators and pro-Palestinian demonstrators. These were attacks by the latter on whatever Jews they could find. And they should prove the falsehood of the narrative that "anti-Zionism" is distinct from anti-Semitism.
        Israel is in the business of protecting Jews, in a world that has repeatedly and dramatically threatened the lives of Jews and/or failed to protect them. It's an especially tough task when your neighbors are continually plotting to murder your people. (National Review)
        See also Anti-Zionism Isn't Anti-Semitism? Someone Didn't Get the Memo - Bret Stephens (New York Times)
  • Despite Gaza Bloodshed, Few See Abraham Accords Derailing - Sean Mathews
    Plans are still quietly underway for the upcoming opening of the Israel-Gulf Cooperation Council Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Dubai, UAE. The chamber was established in February, after the Abraham Accords. While the voices condemning the Abraham Accords are loud, there are other voices.
        "People call us from the Gulf, and also Morocco saying, 'Be careful, it's dangerous. Be safe and let's hope it will be finished soon and we can go back to our activities and everything we want to do'," Henrique Cymerman, president of the Israel-GCC Chamber of Commerce, told Al Jazeera. Eitan Na'eh, head of mission at Israel's new embassy in Abu Dhabi, said 130,000 Israelis have visited the UAE since normalization.
        Ibrahim Al-Assil, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said, "Normalization was driven by national security needs and economic aspirations. They didn't attempt to solve the Palestinian conflict, nor can they....The Abraham Accords will lose some momentum, but I do not expect them to change because the rational behind them and goals that drove them are still there."
        A controversial Emirati cleric and vocal supporter of normalization with Israel, Waseem Yousef, recently tweeted, "Hamas launches rockets from within civilian neighborhoods and when the response comes, Hamas cries, 'Where are the Arabs and Muslims?' You have made Gaza a graveyard for the innocent and children."  (Al Jazeera)

Hatred of Jews Hardens Israel's Resolve - Walter Russell Mead (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Gaza war spilled into America last week as some pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas demonstrators crossed the line separating protest from mob violence in several U.S. cities. Mobs visited widespread violence on random Jews, or in some cases "Jewish-looking" non-Jews.
  • The core insight that drove Theodor Herzl, architect of the Zionist movement, was that though the ideals of the liberal enlightenment were beautiful and appealing, European Jews would perish horribly if they entrusted their fate to them. Many Israelis believe from familial and personal experience that Herzl got it right.
  • Rising violence against Jews in the UK, Germany and France has been winning Herzl new converts. Last week's attacks likely caused some U.S. Jews to wonder, perhaps for the first time, if Herzl had a point.
  • Those who challenge the place of Jews in America challenge the basis of America itself. Jew-hatred aims to destroy the beliefs that allow our diverse population to live in peace and that make our democracy work. Jew-hatred is the implacable enemy of the American way.
  • Anti-Semitism did more than fill Israel with persecuted Jews. The constant threat of destruction by hostile neighbors welded Israeli immigrants into a single people. It forced Israel to build its military and intelligence capabilities.
  • Anti-Semites also made Israel tough. Missiles from Gaza, missiles from Lebanon, and unceasing incitements to genocide from Iranian mullahs busily enriching uranium all promote the idea among Israelis that their enemies are implacable and irrational and can be deterred only through strength.

    The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, is Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College.