February 28, 2024
Special Report
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: 82 Percent of Americans Support Israel in the Conflict with Hamas (Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll)
    82% of Americans support Israel in the conflict with Hamas, according to the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll of 2,022 registered voters conducted on Feb. 21-22, 2024.
    68% say Israel is trying to minimize civilian casualties in fighting the war.
    67% say a ceasefire should happen only after the release of all hostages and Hamas is removed from power.
    63% continue to support Israel's ground invasion of Gaza.
    78% say Hamas needs to be removed from running Gaza.

Israel Sees Massive Jump in Aliyah Requests from U.S., Canada and France since Oct. 7 (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel has seen a massive increase in aliyah requests from the U.S., Canada, and France since Oct. 7, World Zionist Organization President Tova Dorfman said Tuesday.
    There was a 100% rise in aliyah applicants from the U.S., aliyah from Canada saw a 150% rise, while a 300% rise was observed from France.

The Fictitious Distinction between Tehran and Its Proxies - Seth Cropsey (Wall Street Journal)
    Much of the world considers the Oct. 7 massacre another round of Israeli-Palestinian violence, not an Iran-orchestrated attack.
    From 2021 on, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah have reportedly planned and coordinated operations jointly from a nerve center in Beirut with direct Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps supervision.
    America has insisted on a fictitious distinction between Tehran and its proxies.
    Tehran hides behind implausible deniability by claiming that it has no direct control over these proxies.
    Washington has failed to respond seriously to an Iranian attack since Oct. 7, holding to the lie that Tehran isn't in control of an "axis of resistance" it quite obviously is.
    The writer, former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, is president of the Yorktown Institute.

Hizbullah Has Taken Lebanon into a Risky Conflict with Israel - Michael Young (The National-UAE)
    Lebanon's former president Michel Aoun has been openly critical of Hizbullah's decision to intervene on Hamas' side in the Gaza conflict.
    Aoun declared: "We are not linked to Gaza through a defense treaty....A part of the Lebanese population has made a choice [not to enter the war]."
    "Saying that participation in the war is to pre-empt an Israeli attack is merely an opinion. Entering into a confrontation may not reduce the danger, but increase it."
    Aoun was making a larger point. Hizbullah has effectively hijacked the state's prerogative to declare war, and it has taken Lebanon into a risky conflict with Israel that could, if things go wrong, lead to the country's destruction.
    Most Lebanese, including many within the Shiite community, don't want a war with Israel.
    Lebanon suffered greatly in the past, and while many Lebanese sympathize with the people of Gaza, they do not want to see their country again pay a price for such solidarity.
    The writer is senior editor at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas Rejects Cease-Fire Proposal, Dashing Biden's Hopes of Near-Term Deal - Aaron Boxerman
    Hamas officials said Tuesday there had been no breakthrough in the mediated talks with Israel aimed at pausing the war and freeing the remaining hostages in Gaza. (New York Times)
        See also Biden Optimism on Gaza Truce Breakthrough Met with Pushback, Surprise
    Officials in Israel and Qatar indicated that a breakthrough hostage deal had yet to be reached. A Hamas official described Biden's statement as "premature" and not reflecting the situation on the ground. There were "still big gaps to be bridged," another Hamas official told Reuters. Hamas official Ahmad Abdel-Hadi told Al Mayadeen TV, "The resistance is not interested in giving up any of its demands, and what is proposed does not meet what it had requested."
        While 130 hostages abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7 remain in Gaza - not all of them alive - a senior source close to the talks said the proposal under discussion would see Hamas free around 40 hostages. Israel's Channel 11 said that Hamas has yet to provide a list of living hostages held in Gaza. (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Urges Allowing Palestinians to Work in Israel - Elizabeth Hagedorn
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday that she had written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a "number of steps that the United States believes must be taken" that are "vital for the economic well-being of Palestinians and Israelis alike," including reinstating permits for West Bank Palestinians to work in Israel. (Al-Monitor)
  • Five Houthi Attack Drones Shot Down in Red Sea
    On Tuesday, U.S. aircraft and a coalition naval ship shot down five Iranian-backed Houthi one-way attack UAVs in the Red Sea. (CENTCOM)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Continues to Target Terrorists in Gaza
    The IDF attacked targets in Gaza in the area from which rockets were launched towards Ashkelon on Tuesday, the military said on Wednesday. Troops also targeted terror shafts and infrastructures from which the terrorists had exited. In parallel, troops killed five terrorists in a vehicle. In addition, Israel air force jets attacked two military compounds, killing terrorists.
        Paratrooper forces killed terrorists with sniper fire. Two terrorists were killed by an IDF aircraft directed by soldiers of the Givati Brigade. Other forces directed a fighter jet that struck terrorists who were readying an ambush in the Khan Yunis area. The attack triggered secondary explosions, illustrating the presence of additional weapons. In Zaitoun in the center of Gaza, Nahal Brigade forces killed terrorists, assisted by a combat helicopter. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Says 50 Trucks Carrying Food Entered Northern Gaza
    Close to 50 trucks carrying food have entered northern Gaza over the past three days, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said Wednesday, adding that "there is no limit to the amount of humanitarian aid for the civilians in Gaza." Israel has said hundreds of trucks filled with aid sit idle on the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom Crossing. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Why a Palestinian State Isn't Going to Happen - Mark Lavie
    The Palestinians will never accept a state within reasonable parameters. They have painted themselves into a corner with their non-negotiable "right of return" claim, as if 5.9 million "refugees" have the God-given right to "return" to the villages in Israel that their grandparents left 75 years ago. Many of the villages don't exist anymore. Anyway, that demand would mean that while the Palestinians would have their own state, they would insist that the majority of their people must go and live in someone else's state, namely Israel.
        Creation or even declaration of a Palestinian state would relieve Israel of several burdensome chores under the Oslo process, which would be automatically canceled. No more Palestinian use of Israeli seaports. Israel would no longer collect taxes for the Palestinians. Coordination of customs duties would end. So would security cooperation.
        Israel could close its borders to a Palestinian state completely if it so decided, just as Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon are closed. Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers in Israel? Treatment of Palestinian patients in Israeli hospitals? Commerce? Not unless Israel agrees.
        The writer has been covering the Middle East for major news outlets since 1972. (Medialine)
  • The New Antisemitism - Noah Feldman
    The superficial sense of security that many Jews feel on a daily basis in the contemporary world turns out to be paper-thin. Jews know enough of their own familial stories to realize that in historical terms, such moments of safety have often been fleeting. People everywhere who believe that all humans are created equal know that the presence of antisemitism in a society has often been the forerunner of other visceral, irrational hatreds.
        The core of the new antisemitism lies in the idea that Jews are not a historically oppressed people seeking self-preservation but instead oppressors: imperialists, colonialists, and even white supremacists. Israel, the first Jewish state to exist in two millennia, plays a central role in the narrative of the new antisemitism.
        The new narrative of Jews as oppressors is, in the end, far too close for comfort to the antisemitic tradition of singling out Jews as uniquely deserving of condemnation and punishment. Like earlier forms of antisemitism, the new kind is not ultimately about the Jews, but about the human impulse to point the finger at someone who can be made to carry the weight of our social ills.
        The writer is a professor at Harvard Law School. (TIME)
  • My Friends in Canada Told Me to Come Home, But I'm Doing Something Meaningful in Israel - Danna Frank
    Jay Deering, 60, who lives in British Columbia, wears a Magen David Adom rescue service patch on his vest. He said in an interview, "I work in aviation engineering, specializing in helicopters. The company I work for is a supplier for Magen David Adom, which now has an airborne unit.... Most helicopter pilots in Israel have experience with military helicopters. These are more civilian ones. I've worked a lot overseas....I always work for a month and a half, and then I have a month and a half off."
        "I help train local pilots and lend a hand in the daily maintenance of the helicopters....I happened to be here when the war started....I was the only helicopter technician of this sort in the country. I went back and forth between military bases in the north and the south, because the helicopters have to be authorized by a maintenance person every day....I was here 75 days before others on the team calmed down a little and agreed to come back to work."
        "If I had left, there wouldn't have been anyone to sign off on the helicopters and they would have become useless, they wouldn't have been able to fly....I didn't want to leave. All my friends in Canada told me to come home immediately, but I told them, 'I'm doing something meaningful here, I have a purpose, I'm helping. I don't want to leave. And besides, there's Iron Dome.'"
        "I really like Israel, even from before the war. People here are very nice and friendly. I feel very safe here. It's one of the nicest places I've worked anywhere in the world."
    Q: Do you feel comfortable walking around with a Star of David patch?
    Deering: "For sure. I'm a Christian but I'm part of MDA, and I'm proud of it. I know all their paramedics. When I come back in another six weeks there will be big hugs. It's a real family, especially once I stayed on during the war."  (Ha'aretz)

Please Boycott My Country, Norway, over Antisemitism - Torkel Brekke (Wall Street Journal)
  • I have spent years researching religious discrimination against Jews and Muslims globally and am deeply troubled to find a modern strain of antisemitism spreading in my own country. Though cloaked under another name - anti-Zionism - this poisonous ideology is a threat to Jews everywhere.
  • Recent decisions by Norwegian universities to cut institutional ties with Israel are clear indications of anti-Zionist sentiment here. Oslo Metropolitan University on Feb. 14 condemned "Israel's attack on Gaza," put on hold an exchange program with the University of Haifa, and announced it wouldn't enter into new agreements with Israeli universities. The University of Southeastern Norway criticized Israel's actions in Gaza and terminated cooperation agreements with two Israeli universities on Feb. 19.
  • A rational conversation on this subject would begin with people debating the ethics of academic boycotts, then weighing criteria for boycotts, and finally considering boycotts against the worst states - such as Iran, North Korea and Myanmar. But the debate about boycotts of Israel is no more rational than debates about the "sins" of the Jews in earlier periods of history.
  • Universities in the U.S. should consider setting up counter-boycotts against foreign universities that attempt to isolate Israel. Norway would be a great place to start. This could mean terminating strategic partnerships for research and student exchange.
  • More broadly, a counter-boycott could prompt Norwegian students and scholars to think critically about how they have allowed this progressive, post-Holocaust strain of antisemitism to fester under a different name.

    The writer is a professor of religion and society at the MF School of Theology, Religion and Society in Oslo, Norway.

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