November 8, 2023
Special Report
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

House Censures Rep. Rashida Tlaib for Calling for the Destruction of Israel - Kayla Guo (New York Times)
    The U.S. House of Representatives voted 234 to 188 on Tuesday to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for "promoting false narratives" surrounding Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel and "calling for the destruction of the state of Israel."
    22 Democrats joined most Republicans to pass the resolution.

On Oct. 8, American Jews Woke Up to Discover Who Our Friends Are Not - Bret Stephens (New York Times)
    Oct. 8 wasn't just the day after the single greatest atrocity against Jews since the Holocaust, an atrocity whose details were impossible to miss because the perpetrators made sure to film them.
    It was the day when that atrocity was celebrated. Not just in places like Tehran, but also on the streets of Manhattan and on too many college campuses.
    On Oct. 8, Jews woke up to discover who our friends are not.
    Knowing who our friends aren't isn't pleasant, particularly after so many Jews have sought to be personal friends and political allies to people and movements that, as we grieved, turned their backs on us.
    But it's also clarifying. More than 3,800 years of Jewish history keeps yielding the same bracing lesson: In the long run, we're alone.
    What can Oct. 8 Jews do? We can stop being embarrassed, equivocal or defensive about Zionism, which is, after all, one of the world's most successful movements of national liberation.
    We can call out anti-Zionism for what it is: a rebranded version of antisemitism, based on the same set of libels and conspiracy theories.

We Will Defend Ourselves - Gadi Taub (Tablet)
    We did not think we would ever see such sights in Israel. Helpless Jews tormented, raped, torched alive, beheaded, and mutilated.
    The promise of Zionism, the promise of Israel, was "Never Again." Zionism meant that we will defend ourselves or die trying.
    It is an instinct, an existential orientation toward life and death, more than it is a thought or an ideology.
    At the heart of Israel's Declaration of Independence it says: "It is the natural right of the Jewish people to be like all peoples, master of their own fate, in their own sovereign state."
    It means that henceforth, Jews will not be hunted in the streets. They will die, if they must, on their feet, a weapon in their hand - not like hunted animals but like human beings.
    The horrors of Oct. 7 reminded us that the existential condition of Zionism is not a given and cannot be taken for granted. It is something we must constantly protect and uphold, because it can be lost.
    I think the Israeli public, emerging gradually from the initial shock, senses this.
    What Hamas has now done has not just buried the two-state solution and killed all hopes for peace in our lifetime, or in our children's lifetime. It has also tripped the wire that triggers the deepest of Jewish fears.
    Hamas has committed crimes against humanity and we will not sustain its rule under the guise of "humanitarian aid."
    The writer is a senior lecturer in communications and public policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Is Campus Antisemitic Hate Fueled by Middle Eastern Money? - Bari Weiss (Free Press)
    For several decades a toxic worldview - morally relativist, anti-Israel, and anti-American - has been incubating in "area studies" departments and social theory programs at elite universities.
    Whole narratives have been constructed to dehumanize Israelis and brand Israel as a "white, colonial project" to be "resisted." The students you see in the videos of campus hate rallies have been marinating in this ideology.
    The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), a nonprofit research center, has found that the number of reported antisemitic incidents on a given campus has a meaningful relationship to whether that university has received funding from regimes in the Middle East.
    The report found that "a massive influx of foreign, concealed donations to American institutions of higher learning, much of it from authoritarian regimes with notable support from Middle Eastern sources, reflects or supports heightened levels of intolerance towards Jews, open inquiry and free expression."
    From 2015-2020, institutions that accepted money from Middle Eastern donors had, on average, 300% more antisemitic incidents than those institutions that did not.
    At least 200 American colleges and universities illegally withheld information on approximately $13 billion in undocumented contributions from foreign regimes, many of which are authoritarian.
    See also Report: How Concealed Foreign Funding of U.S. Higher Education Predicts Erosion of Democratic Values and Antisemitic Incidents on Campus (Network Contagion Research Institute)

German Air Force Chief Donates Blood at Israeli Hospital - Renee Ghert-Zand (Times of Israel)
    The Commander of the German Air Force, Lt.-Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, donated blood at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
    "I have done so much with the Israeli Air Force, and especially the people living here in the last years," Gerhartz said. "Now as you fight a war with Hamas, it is an honor for me to be here and show solidarity with your country and people and donate blood in case you need it."
    "General Gerhartz's visit serves as a symbol of hope, unity, and the belief that in times of crisis, we must stand together as one global community," Sheba hospital said.

U.S. Cowboys and Ranchers Arrive to Help - Shai Segev (Ynet News)
    Ten American cowboys and farmers from Arkansas and Montana arrived in Israel Monday to help Israeli farmers in need of workers since Oct. 7.
    They paid for their own trips, and they aren't Jewish, but are part of a Christian evangelical group that identifies with the State of Israel and the Bible.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Advances Rapidly in Gaza, but Eliminating Hamas Leaders to Take Time - Ben Caspit
    The Israeli army has been advancing faster than its own commanders anticipated in encircling Gaza City and reaching Hamas headquarters, but accomplishing the goal of eliminating the group's political and military leadership will take time. Israel's vision of a knockout victory includes killing or capturing Hamas' entire military and political leadership, killing all the planners and perpetrators of the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel, eliminating all Hamas arsenals and firepower, and denying its ability to run Gaza or maintain its sovereignty there.
        Three IDF divisions are currently operating in Gaza with artillery, helicopter gunships, drones and fighter jets backing up their advance. Hamas has so far avoided confronting the Israeli troops head on, opting to exploit its advantage in ambushing and attacking from tunnels, and booby-trapping their route. The IDF estimates that between 1,500 and 2,000 assailants have been killed, including 15 officers at tactical command levels. The number of Israeli casualties, as of now, is at the low end of the preliminary estimates.
        Hamas is not showing any signs of breaking and has maintained much of its military strength. "This will not end until we reach the command bunker of Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif," a senior Israeli military source said. "It will be expensive and ugly, but we will not leave Gaza before that happens."
        IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari has repeatedly mentioned in his recent daily briefings that al-Shifa hospital in Gaza shields the underground Hamas nerve center and military command. Reporters have been presented with video and audio clips, photos and testimony to prove that Hamas was launching rockets at Israel from tunnel shafts located dozens of meters from the hospital.
        Israel will eventually have little choice but to roll into the compound and purge it of the Hamas commanders. To that end, advanced discussions are underway on equipping field hospitals inside or near Gaza as an alternative to al-Shifa hospital. A senior Israeli source said that the Hamas leadership was mistaken in thinking Israel would avoid the hospital compound. (Al-Monitor)
  • The Ruins of Kibbutz Kfar Aza - Deborah Danan
    Hamas terrorists burst into Kibbutz Kfar Aza on Oct. 7. From a community of 750, between 52 and 60 people were murdered and 17 are believed to have been taken hostage.
        In the area of the kibbutz earmarked for young couples and families, 40 houses of modest appearance and size had sustained varying degrees of destruction. Some were entirely blackened out, their walls pockmarked with holes from grenade fragments. Others were left with gaping holes in their exterior walls from RPG impacts. All of them bore remnants of the lives that were once lived within their walls. A soldier at the site said Hamas terrorists were hiding in homes for days following the attack.
        Kibbutz resident Hanan Dann recounted the harrowing story of the Almog-Goldstein family, which took a full week to determine using DNA samples. The father, Nadav, was killed alongside his eldest daughter, Yam, and his wife, Chen, had been abducted to Gaza along with the couple's three younger children. Dann asked, "What would you rather hear? That your family has been all slaughtered and burnt to death? Or that they are being held captive by Hamas in Gaza? Which is the better news?"
        ZAKA is an organization that specializes in search and rescue for bodies. ZAKA volunteer Simcha Greineman was asked by one reporter to verify IDF claims of Hamas beheadings. He said, "I collected heads without bodies, I collected bodies without heads, I collected children that were stabbed. One child had his whole body burned but there was a knife stuck in his head from side to side."
        Greineman recounted a scene in which a family of five, including parents, two children and a grandmother, were found in the bedroom "standing in a circle, hugging each other, locked arms." ZAKA was tasked with detangling the family. "We"re taking these last moments of life that they had, this circle, and we're taking apart every body that was attached to each other, and putting them in the bags," he said. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Rejects U.S. Request for "Pause"; No Truce before Hostages Are Freed - Emanuel Fabian
    U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday confirmed that during a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday he asked Israel to "pause" the fighting in Gaza against Hamas. The Walla news site reported that in their call Monday, Biden tried to convince Netanyahu to agree to a three-day humanitarian pause, which would begin with the release of 10 to 15 hostages.
        Netanyahu responded on Tuesday evening, telling "our enemies and our friends alike...there will not be a ceasefire without the return of our kidnapped." He also said no fuel would be allowed into Gaza before the hostages were freed. Netanyahu noted that he appreciates the support from the White House and from the American people.
        Israel estimates that Hamas currently holds 180 hostages, Palestinian Islamic Jihad holds 40, and unaffiliated mob families hold an additional 20, complicating negotiations significantly. An Israeli official said the contacts of the Qatari mediators trying to arrange the release of hostages are largely with Hamas political leaders abroad who have largely been sidelined by the group's military leaders in Gaza. (Times of Israel)
  • Gazans Are Evacuating to the South - Einav Halabi
    Hundreds of residents of Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood were seen on video Tuesday leaving their homes through humanitarian corridors opened by the IDF and evacuating south. More and more residents are realizing that, in light of the advance of the IDF soldiers, it is better for them to evacuate to the south - even on foot. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Forces Foil 2 Stabbing Attempts
    After a masked Palestinian man wielding a knife approached soldiers near Ofra on Tuesday, Israeli forces killed the would-be assailant. Also Tuesday, a Palestinian woman wrapped in a Hamas flag and carrying a knife was shot and wounded by Israeli forces at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Hamas Tried to Kill My Children on October 7 - Amir Tibon
    One month ago, Oct. 7, as the sun was rising over my home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, I had to tell my two daughters - 3-years-old and 20-months-old - that they must remain completely silent. Five men soon began firing bullets into our home through the living room window. They tried to break through our locked door with their guns. They sprayed our two cars with bullets. One of them held a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Another threw a grenade toward our neighbors' home. These men were Hamas terrorists, armed from head to toe, on a mission to get in and kill us.
        They deliberately chose to enter civilian communities and the homes of families, to murder innocent people. In my community, they shot to death a teenage girl who worked in our kindergarten. They kidnapped two sisters, ages 14 and 8, after murdering their father. Had they managed to break into the room where we silently barricaded ourselves, we all would be dead now. We survived, but many didn't. We lost 14 people on Oct. 7, while five others were taken to Gaza. Had the military arrived 20 minutes later, the death toll would have doubled.
        Hamas chose to start a war after many years in which successive Israeli governments looked for new ways to improve the economic reality in Gaza. In my own community, we were proud to employ workers from there, paying them 10 times the average wage inside the Strip. The Gazans who came to work in our community were able to build homes for their families and finance an education for their children. In a shocking act of betrayal, some of them provided intelligence to Hamas that helped it plan its deadly attack on our kibbutz. No Israeli will ever want to employ workers from Gaza in the near future.
        No country in the world would have accepted what happened to my family on that awful morning - and you must multiply that by many hundreds of families. A country that doesn't kill the people who tried to murder my daughters, and those who sent them, has lost its right to exist.
        Israel must first of all defeat Hamas. This organization can't remain an active force in Gaza. This isn't genocide or ethnic cleansing. It's a terrible war. It's a war for our very ability to keep living in this land and raising our children here.
        The writer is Ha'aretz's diplomatic correspondent. (Ha'aretz)
  • After the Black Sabbath, the Light Will Return - Fiamma Nirenstein
    After the descent of Hamas barbarians on communities in Israel, we now realize that there are many essential things we do not know. We do not know if there is a limit to human cruelty, after having witnessed through the cameras of the terrorists the atrocities committed against children in front of their mothers, against mothers in front of their children. We do not know if the nightmare of an army of murderers who, shouting "yehud, yehud" and "Allahu akbar," killed 1,400 innocent people is really over.
        We see that these cries of terrorism and murder are now invading Western cities, and we do not know if there will be the strength and will to counter it. We do not know whether the extreme suffering of the families of the 240 hostages, including 30 children, will awaken the conscience of the West and prompt a collective demand for their release, which thus far has not yet been heard.
        But one thing is clear. The Jews continue to love life while their enemies love death. Jews fight to win. Israel's young people at the front know that they are fighting a historic battle for the entire Jewish people even while they weep for the fallen.
        The writer, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. (JNS)
  • I'm an Expert in Urban Warfare. Israel Is Upholding the Laws of War - John Spencer
    All war is killing and destruction, and historically civilians are inordinately the innocent victims of wars. Noncombatants have accounted for 90% of casualties, as per international humanitarian experts, in the modern wars that have occurred in populated urban areas such as Iraq's Mosul and Syria's Raqqa, even when a Western power like the U.S. is leading or supporting the campaign.
        The destruction and suffering, as awful as they are, don't automatically constitute war crimes - otherwise, nearly any military action in a populated area would violate the laws of armed conflict. Scenes of devastation, like Israel's strikes on the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, quickly spark accusations that Israel is engaging in war crimes. But war crimes must be assessed on evidence and the standards of armed conflict, not a quick glimpse at the harrowing aftermath of an attack.
        Hamas forces indisputably violated multiple laws of war on Oct. 7 in taking Israelis hostage and raping, torturing and directly targeting civilians, as well continuing to attack Israeli population centers with rockets. Nothing I have seen shows that the Israel Defense Forces are not following the laws of wars in Gaza.
        Under international law, Israel needs no permission to enter the territory and resort to using force in order to wage defensive operations because Israel's right to immediate and unilateral self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter is universally recognized. The IDF said the intended target in Jabalya was the senior Hamas commander who oversaw all military operations in northern Gaza; neutralizing him is an objective that most likely clears the proportionality bar.
        The writer is chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point. (CNN)
  • Life under Hamas Is Unbearable; Please, Remove Hamas from Power - Bassem Eid
    Hamas, with its iron-fisted rule in Gaza, has once again revealed its true colors, not as a liberator of my people, but as a kleptocratic tyrant. With hospitals running dangerously low on fuel, Hamas has hoarded over 200,000 gallons of fuel for its own militant apparatus, siphoning the lifeblood of innocent Palestinian civilians to fuel its hate-filled agenda against Israel.
        Hamas' actions directly contribute to the suffering of the very people they vow to protect. They reveal a moral bankruptcy that holds the lives of Gaza's Palestinians as ransom. Hamas' unyielding grip on power remains the principal obstacle to relief and peace.
        And here's more truth: It is Hamas that is holding its own people hostage as human shields. Hamas put up roadblocks to prevent Gazans from moving away from the area that Israel had called on them to evacuate. Hamas' callous nature toward its people's rights includes storing weapons and other targets of military value next to schools, hospitals, and mosques.
        In the West Bank where I live, senior Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders praised the Hamas carnage of Oct. 7 as a "dream come true," a "miraculous victory" and a "source of great joy."
        Any legislator right now calling for a ceasefire is misguided. Leaving Hamas in power after the horrific human rights violations they have committed is unimaginable. Life under Hamas is unbearable, much like under the similar regimes of the Taliban and ISIS; many Gazans are tortured and killed for deviating from the approved lifestyle.
        Let us not forget why my brothers and sisters in Gaza are in this situation in the first place. If Hamas had never violated Israel's borders and butchered 1,400 Israelis, torturing and raping the massacred, there would be no fuel crisis in Gaza today. Please, remove Hamas from power and defeat these wicked terrorists who hold us captive.
        The writer is a Palestinian peace advocate, political analyst and human rights pioneer. (Newsweek)
  • The U.S. Media's Moral Blindness over Hamas Is Showing - Becket Adams
    In the clearest moral test in a generation, much of the U.S. media is failing spectacularly. On Oct. 7, the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas murdered an estimated 1,400 Israelis, many of whom were civilians, and kidnapped nearly 250 others to use as hostages. Israel has since responded with military force, vowing to root out and destroy Hamas. In this specific moment, when Israel is responding militarily to the greatest single-day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, the question of who committed evil and who is justified could not be any clearer.
        Yet despite the universally shared principle that murder and terrorism are wrong, many journalists and editors appear to be morally confused. A combination of "both-sides-ism" and kid-gloves treatment for Hamas terrorists is not just morally repugnant; it's absurd. It wasn't so long ago that many of these same journalists laid out, in explicit detail, why it's so dangerous to say there are "very fine people on both sides."
        There is a key difference between Israel's military-state struggle for self-preservation against armed enemies and Hamas' wanton, intentional massacre of helpless civilians. For anyone with a moral compass, there is nothing that could ever excuse or even explain the deliberate, targeted atrocities. (The Hill)
  • Hamas Defenders Wield Words as Weapons - Gerard Baker
    From the streets of American and European cities, television studios, newspaper columns and legislatures, we are being bombarded with rhetoric that seeks to persuade us not to believe what we see, to convince us that right is wrong, justice is tyranny, terrorism is heroism. All kinds of cunning efforts have been used to get us to see that the country whose citizens were wantonly slaughtered on Oct. 7 by an enemy that has sworn to wipe it from the planet is in fact the wicked oppressor.
        "Cease-fire" sounds straightforwardly decent. But we know it would mean victory for Hamas. It would mean that the terrorist group should be allowed to continue to run a statelet only a few weeks after it has made good on its commitment to attack its neighbor and done so with complete disregard for international law or common decency.
        There is something especially malignant about the term "genocide" to describe Israel's operation in Gaza - and those propagating it know that full well. They use it deliberately to equate what happened to the Jews at the hands of the Nazis with a military action today that is justified in self-defense. If you can suggest that what Israel is doing in Gaza is equivalent to what happened in the gas chambers, then you are explicitly reducing the Holocaust to the level of a regrettable byproduct of a legitimate military campaign.
        "Decolonization." The idea that Israel is a colonist settlement on Arab soil is such ahistorical nonsense that we can understand why it could be tolerated only on the campuses of our most prestigious universities. (Wall Street Journal)

Why a Humanitarian Ceasefire Will Bolster Hamas - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Jerusalem Center Fellow Khaled Abu Toameh told the JCPA War Room zoom briefing on November 5, 2023:
  • A so-called "humanitarian ceasefire" means that only Israel will stop fighting. This would only serve to bolster Hamas. A humanitarian "pause" would benefit Hamas and allow them to regroup. How can you declare war on a terrorist organization and then grant it a humanitarian pause?
  • Arab states express "brotherhood and solidarity" rhetorically while rejecting Palestinian refugees in reality, rationalizing their decision by saying that Gazans should hold their ground no matter what the consequences. The international community has not condemned these Arab states' refusals.
  • Any prisoner exchange with Hamas would boost their popularity and give them more public credibility, emboldening and empowering Hamas and its leader, Sinwar, making them heroes who secured the release of security prisoners.
  • Not all Palestinians in Gaza support Hamas, though many do. Many are afraid to speak out but express dissent in private. Palestinians who condemn Hamas need to be empowered and engaged.
  • PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is eating the bitter fruit of his own radicalization of his West Bank populace. As a result, Abbas empowered Hamas and pushed West Bank residents into their hands. The West assumes that the PA are the "good guys" while Hamas are the "bad guys," but when examined, their rhetoric is nearly identical.

    Khaled Abu Toameh is an awarding-winning Israeli Arab journalist, lecturer, and documentary filmmaker. Watch the full video.

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