May 21, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Americans Continue to Strongly Support Israel (Harvard-Harris Poll)
    79% of American voters, including 80% of Independents, support Israel in the Gaza war, while 21% support Hamas, according to a Harvard-Harris Poll conducted on May 15-16, 2024.
    69% agree that Israel is trying to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.
    66% think any ceasefire should happen only after the release of all hostages and Hamas is removed from power. 78% say Hamas needs to be removed from running Gaza.
    74% think Israel should move forward with an operation in Rafah to finish the war with Hamas.
    56% agree that threats to withhold weapons from Israel embolden Hamas and its backers to continue the war. 58% say such threats hurt negotiations to get the hostages back.
    57% think Biden should continue to provide Israel with weapons even if it enters Rafah.

Gaza Aid Trucks from U.S. Pier Raided by Palestinians - Michelle Nichols (Reuters)
    As aid deliveries began arriving at a U.S.-built pier on the Gaza coast on Friday, the UN said 10 truckloads of food aid - transported from the pier site by UN contractors - were received on Friday at a World Food Program warehouse in Deir al Balah.
    But on Saturday, only five truckloads made it to the warehouse after 11 others were cleaned out by Palestinians during the journey.
    "They just basically mounted on the trucks and helped themselves to some of the food parcels," said a UN official.

Goods from Aid Packages on Sale at Inflated Prices in Gaza Markets - Raja Abdulrahim (New York Times)
    Wartime vendors lined a street in Deir al Balah, Gaza, selling entire aid parcels - still emblazoned with the flags of their donating countries and meant to be distributed for free.
    "Most of the goods found in the markets are labeled, 'Not for sale,'" said Issam Hamouda, 51. Humanitarian aid and looted items end up in makeshift markets.
    Hamouda said that the aid his family occasionally received came from the Hamas-run Ministry of Social Development. He said packages were often missing items - especially sugar, dates or cooking oil.
    The food items that go missing from aid parcels eventually end up in markets sold at high prices.
    In the years before the war, the economy in Gaza was beginning to improve, according to economists and Gazan businesspeople.
    Beachside hotels and restaurants were opening. More Palestinians got permits to work in Israel and earned good salaries.
    All of those gains - and more - have been lost.

Palestinian Authority Building Illegal City in Judean Desert Nature Reserve - Hanan Greenwood (Israel Hayom)
    The Palestinian Authority is rapidly building a new illegal city in the Judean Desert nature reserve, said Gush Etzion Regional Council head Yaron Rosenthal.
    In addition to causing severe damage to the nature reserve, the construction poses a severe security threat, turning eastern Gush Etzion communities into an enclave surrounded by Arab cities and villages.
    Currently, the construction is rapidly advancing without any intervention from law enforcement. Many new roads and buildings have been built, scattered across 6 km.
    A Palestinian tourist resort is also being built swiftly, together with access roads.
    Rosenthal stated: "If we do not stop the rampant illegal construction in the reserve today, in a few years we will be dealing with one of the most severe security incidents here. This...is a security threat to the State of Israel."

Iran Is Trying to Punish Jordan for Helping Israel - Ahmad Sharawi (Ha'aretz)
    Jordan earned the gratitude of Israel and the U.S. for intercepting Iranian drones on April 13, but Amman is now facing explicit threats from Tehran.
    Fars News Agency, linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, announced, "Our armed forces are closely monitoring Jordan's movements during the operation to discipline the Zionist entity."
    Jordan's King Abdullah II sought to frame the operation as completely unrelated to protecting Israel.
    As the king faces domestic upheaval because of the war in Gaza, Tehran has stoked this unrest through both propaganda and proxy forces, including increasing trafficking of weapons and narcotics.
    Jordan is especially enticing for Iranian intervention, since a foothold in Jordan - replicating Tehran's model in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon - could serve as a direct gateway to Israel.
    The writer is a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Salman Rushdie: Palestinian State Would Be "Taliban-like," Ruled by Hamas (Times of Israel)
    Salman Rushdie, the British-American author who narrowly survived an attempt on his life in 2022 by an Islamist radical, told the German tabloid Bild on Sunday that it was "strange" that progressive youth would support a "fascist terrorist group" like Hamas.
    Rushdie says, "If there were a Palestinian state now, it would be run by Hamas and we would have a Taliban-like state - a satellite state of Iran. Is this what the progressive movements of the Western Left want to create?"
    He thought protesters should at least hold the terror group responsible for the war too. "It all started with them [Hamas]," he said.
    Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa - a religious edict - calling for Rushdie's death over the publication of his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, which he declared blasphemous.

Israel Cannot Afford to Allow a Terror State to Exist along Its Borders - Israel Kasnett (JNS)
    Biden administration warnings that an Israeli military incursion into Rafah would cause a great number of civilian casualties are being proven wrong, as few Palestinian civilians have died since Israel decided to enter the Hamas stronghold.
    The international community's claim that Israel had no credible plan to deal with the Palestinian civilians in Rafah is also being proven wrong, as hundreds of thousands of civilians are moving out of harm's way and relocating to other areas of Gaza.
    Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, noted the West's seeming obsession with the Arab-Israeli conflict compared to many other conflicts with far greater civilian casualties.
    "No one cares about people in Congo, Sudan or Syria. There was no uproar when civilians died in the thousands in these countries. When Jews are responsible, suddenly they are sensitive to civilian losses."
    Inbar added that the Biden administration's obsession with establishing a Palestinian state as a seeming reward for terrorism is "naive."
    Such an entity would be a terror state, and the tragic events of Oct. 7 prove that Israel cannot afford to allow terror states to exist along its borders.

U.S. Repels Houthi Anti-Ship Missiles that Are Faster than Cruise Missiles - Jake Epstein (Business Insider)
    U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea have been intercepting deadly Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles that no military had ever faced in combat.
    Cmdr. Jeremy Robertson, captain of the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney, said Monday that while the missiles are a challenge, "we have certain capabilities to be able to detect stuff like that."
    Some of the missiles are Iranian in origin, while others just contain parts from Tehran. Ballistic missiles, generally, fly at faster speeds than cruise missiles.
    Robertson said the complex process of detecting a threat, making sure it's real, sorting the trajectory, and engaging may last "anywhere from nine to 20 seconds."
    "Our systems are doing exactly what we've designed them to do," he said.
    Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti said the Carney "conducted 51 engagements in six months. The last time our Navy directly engaged the enemy to the degree that you have was way back in World War II."

Masked Anti-Israel Protesters Are Hiding the Shame of Their Prejudice - Douglas Murray (New York Post)
    How do we explain all the young protestors who seem so unnaturally scared of Covid that they wear masks?
    How to explain all those rage-filled keffiyeh-wearing students who just happen to mask up whenever a camera is around?
    By last month, the total of Covid deaths in New York state was down to 15 a week. What's more, young people are at the lowest risk of dying from Covid. So rejoice, brave protestors. The masks can come off.
    But why is it that in 2024, today's brave protestors in New York are nearly always wearing a mask? Why should students making their demands for ceasefires in the Middle East have to holler their demands through a piece of cloth?
    The reason is that they are bullies. And like all bullies, they are at the same time terrible cowards. Despite pretending that they are world-beating revolutionaries, the protestors are trying to keep their identities hidden.
    Perhaps these people want to cover their faces because the media in this country might just notice that the same professional revolutionaries tend to turn up wherever there is trouble, almost as if they are paid to do so.
    Or just maybe, what they are afraid of are the opinions they are espousing. Because they know, at some level, that bullying other students and shrieking about things they don't know about is not a good look.
    The KKK was the last organization in America that was so proud of their beliefs that their members covered their faces during protests. Now "Students for Jihad" are doing the same job.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • ICC Seeks Arrest Warrants Against Sinwar and Netanyahu for War Crimes over Oct. 7 Attack and Gaza War - Ivana Kottasova
    The International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza, the court's prosecutor Karim Khan told CNN on Monday. The ICC is also seeking an arrest warrant for Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
        The decision puts Netanyahu in the company of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi. By applying for arrest warrants against Israeli and Hamas leaders in the same action, the ICC is placing a terror organization and an elected government on an equivalent footing. A panel of ICC judges will now consider the matter. Israel and the U.S. are not members of the ICC. (CNN)
        See also Statement of ICC Prosecutor regarding Applications for Arrest Warrants (International Criminal Court)
        See also Deflating the Threat Posed by the International Criminal Court - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
        See also below Commentary: Reactions to ICC Prosecutor Seeking Arrest Warrants for Israeli Leaders
  • Biden Calls ICC Bid for Arrest Warrants Against Israeli Leaders "Outrageous"
    President Biden said Monday: "The ICC prosecutor's application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous. And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence - none - between Israel and Hamas."  (White House)
        See also Biden: Israel Will Get "Everything It Needs" to Fight Hamas; Gaza War Is "Not Genocide" - Ron Kampeas
    President Joe Biden told a White House reception on Monday marking Jewish American Heritage Month, "I'll always ensure that Israel has everything it needs to defend itself against Hamas, and all its enemies." Responding to charges of genocide against Israel in the International Court of Justice, Biden said, "We reject the ICC's application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders. Contrary to allegations made against Israel in the International Court of Justice, what's happening is not genocide."
        "We stand with Israel to take out [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar and the rest of the butchers of Hamas. We want Hamas defeated, and work with Israel to make that happen."  (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: ICC Decision "a Moral Outrage of Historic Proportions"
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday: "The outrageous decision by the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, to seek arrest warrants against the democratically elected leaders of Israel is a moral outrage of historic proportions....Israel is waging a just war against Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization that perpetrated the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Hamas massacred 1200 Jews, raped Jewish women, burned Jewish babies, took hundreds hostage."
        "Now, in the face of these horrors, Mr. Khan creates a twisted and false moral equivalence between the leaders of Israel and the henchmen of Hamas. This is like creating a moral equivalence after September 11th between President Bush and Osama Bin Laden, or during World War II between FDR and Hitler. What a travesty of justice! What a disgrace!"
        "Eighty years ago, the Jewish people were totally defenseless against our enemies. Those days are over....Israel will continue to wage this war in full compliance with international law. We will continue to take unprecedented measures to get innocent civilians out of harm's way and to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches those in need in Gaza."
        "Mr. Khan also sets a dangerous precedent that undermines every democracy's right to defend itself against terror organizations and aggressors. The ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel and Mr. Khan's actions will not stop us from waging our just war against Hamas...until that war is won. Because 'never again' is now."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • IDF Succeeds in Evacuating Most Palestinians from Rafah in 2 Weeks - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The IDF has succeeded in evacuating 950,000 Palestinian civilians from Rafah in only two weeks since May 6, the IDF said Monday. 30-40% of Rafah is now under IDF control, and 60-70% of the city has been completely evacuated. This is despite U.S. predictions that the civilian population could not be evacuated without a huge death toll and requiring four months to do so.
        The IDF has also taken control of the majority of the Philadelphi Corridor along the Egyptian border and has begun to destroy cross-border tunnels under the corridor. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Prepared Humanitarian Zones for Rafah Evacuees - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF's Rafah operation is proceeding slowly and deliberately due to sensitivities with the U.S. and Egypt. The IDF has been pleasantly surprised by the rapid evacuation of residents from the area to designated humanitarian zones prepared in advance. The IDF has repaired water lines to the zones, and field hospitals, supplies of food and medicine have been transferred to the zones.
        In the Rafah area, IDF "forces have killed over 130 terrorists, located dozens of tunnels, and several significant underground routes that are currently being investigated and destroyed," the military said. Israel has established a coordination mechanism with the Egyptian military during the operation, which has been functioning well on a daily basis. IDF artillery batteries are exercising extreme caution and precision due to the proximity to Egypt. (Ynet News)
  • With Most Civilians Moved Safely, Is the U.S. Still Opposed to the IDF's Rafah Operation? - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Israel has resolved the debate with the U.S. over whether Palestinian civilians taking refuge in Rafah could be moved without a mass loss of civilian life. Israel said "yes," and the U.S. said "no." Between 2/3 and 80% of the Palestinian civilian population has now been moved out of Rafah with a minimal number of casualties in under two weeks.
        American concerns about harm to Rafah civilians were not realized. If those concerns led Washington to threaten an offensive arms embargo against Israel, then perhaps that threat can now be removed. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Reactions to ICC Prosecutor Seeking Arrest Warrants for Israeli Leaders

  • U.S. "Fundamentally Rejects Shameful" ICC Warrant Applications for Israeli Leaders
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday: "The United States fundamentally rejects the announcement today from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that he is applying for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials, together with warrants for Hamas terrorists. We reject the Prosecutor's equivalence of Israel with Hamas. It is shameful."
        "Hamas is a brutal terrorist organization that carried out the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and is still holding dozens of innocent people hostage, including Americans. Moreover, the United States has been clear since well before the current conflict that the ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter."
        "Despite not being a member of the court, Israel was prepared to cooperate with the Prosecutor. In fact, the Prosecutor himself was scheduled to visit Israel as early as next week to discuss the investigation and hear from the Israeli Government....[Then] the Prosecutor went on cable television to announce the charges. These and other circumstances call into question the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation."  (U.S. State Department)
  • UK Opposes ICC Arrest Warrants Against Israeli Leaders
    A British government spokesman said the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not have jurisdiction over either Israel or Hamas, because Israel is not a party to the court's underlying treaty and Palestine is not a state. "We do not believe that seeking warrants will help get hostages out, get aid in, or deliver a sustainable ceasefire. This remains the UK's priority."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Italy Says "Unacceptable" for ICC to Put Israel, Hamas on Same Level
    "It is completely unacceptable that Hamas and Israel are put on the same level - the leaders of the terrorist group that started the war in Gaza by massacring innocent citizens and the leaders of the government elected by the people of Israel," Italy's foreign minister Antonio Tajani told Corriere della Sera on Tuesday. "In no way can one even imagine such an equivalence."  (AFP)
  • Israeli President Herzog: ICC Prosecutor Decision "Beyond Outrageous"
    President Isaac Herzog said that the ICC prosecutor's decision on Monday to seek arrest warrants against Israel's prime minister and defense minister was "beyond outrageous."
        "Taken in bad faith, this one-sided move represents a unilateral political step that emboldens terrorists around the world, and violates all the basic rules of the court according to the principle of complementarity and other legal norms. Hamas' leaders are oppressive dictators guilty of launching mass murder, mass rape, and mass kidnappings of men, women, children and babies."
        "Any attempt to draw parallels between these atrocious terrorists and a democratically elected government of Israel - working to fulfill its duty to defend and protect its citizens entirely in adherence to the principles of international law - is outrageous and cannot be accepted by anyone."
        "We will not forget who started this war, and who raped, butchered, burned, brutalized, and kidnapped innocent citizens and families." He expects "all leaders in the free world to condemn outright this step and firmly reject it."  (Ynet News-Times of Israel)
  • Israel's Knesset Condemns ICC Announcement - Eliav Breuer
    106 out of 120 members of Knesset from the coalition and opposition signed a statement on Monday condemning the ICC announcement to request arrest warrants for Israeli leaders on charges of crimes against humanity in the Gaza war. "The state of Israel is in the midst of a just war against a criminal terror organization. The IDF is the most moral army in the world. Our heroic soldiers are fighting with courage and dedication that has no second, according to international law, like no other army has ever done."
        "The scandalous comparison by the Hague prosecutor between Israel's leaders and the heads of terror organizations is an unerasable historic crime and a clear expression of antisemitism. We reject this with revulsion. 80 years after the Holocaust, no one will block the Jewish state from defending itself."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Foreign Ministry: ICC Prosecutor's "Morally Twisted" Decision "Folly of the Highest Order" (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • U.S. Jewish Groups Condemn ICC Warrants - Michael Starr
    The Jewish Federations of North America said Monday that the ICC decision to seek arrest warrants for Israeli leaders was "appalling." "The prosecutor's decision to single out the Jewish state, which goes above and beyond the requirements of international law to protect civilians, while the court has turned a blind eye to the world's real human rights violators, is antisemitism, pure and simple."
        B'nai B'rith International, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee also condemned the move. (Jerusalem Post)
  • ICC in the Service of Terror, Axis of Evil - Ben-Dror Yemini
    International law has never before become a slave to the axis of evil and to terror, until now. A terror organization that openly announces its aim to destroy Israel, murder Jews and Christians and dominate the world, is equated to a country defending itself against the murderous organization out to destroy it.
        When the U.S. killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese when Tokyo was bombed, who was to blame? The U.S. or Japan? When the UK bombed Dresden and Hamburg during WWII, who was to blame? Hitler or Churchill? When the war on terror caused the death of half a million people, 70% of them innocent civilians, who was responsible, Osama Bin Laden or George Bush and Barak Obama? When the U.S. destroyed 70% of the buildings in Mosul and Raqqa, who was responsible, the U.S. or ISIS? The answers are clear, until it comes to Israel. (Ynet News)
  • The ICC Has Disgraced Itself - Editorial
    The International Criminal Court prosecutor's decision to seek arrest warrants for Israel's prime minister and defense minister makes a mockery of both the institution and the laws it claims to uphold. Israel is engaged in an existential struggle against a foe which hides among the civilian population. IDF soldiers have gone to extraordinary lengths to minimize non-combatant casualties, often at greater risk to their own lives.
        Hamas, in contrast, initiated this conflict by slaughtering innocent civilians on Israeli soil. Its leader, Yahya Sinwar, has made clear his intention to "wipe out" the world's only Jewish state.
        The court has, in a single moment, willfully sabotaged any right to be considered a fair and impartial arbitrator of justice, undoing decades of work. This ideologically motivated ruling will not hasten the end of the conflict or expedite a ceasefire. (Telegraph-UK)

  • The Gaza War

  • American Jews Overwhelmingly Support Israel in a War Imposed upon It by Genocidal Forces Seeking Its Destruction - Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch
    Liberal Jewish voters consider President Biden a longtime friend. At the same time, they are troubled by the growing influence of anti-Israel forces in the Democratic Party. They view Mr. Biden's freeze on sending some weapons to Israel as evidence of capitulation to a radical fringe.
        American Jews overwhelmingly support Israel. Most consider the Jewish state an important component of their identity. They distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and hatred of the Jewish state. Contrary to the impression the media often gives, anti-Zionist Jews are few, a marginal part of the American Jewish community.
        Judaism hates war and American Jews share the world's concern for Palestinian civilians. Revenge is for God, not human beings. We are prohibited even to rejoice in the deaths of enemy combatants, let alone civilians. Still, most American Jews understand that the West's nearly exclusive focus on Palestinian casualties - the result of a war that Gaza's own government launched - distorts reality.
        This war was imposed on Israel by genocidal forces seeking its destruction. Oct. 7 revealed what is in store for Israel if these forces win. If Hamas defeats Israel, its Islamist supporters will come for us in Europe and America. Most Americans understand this and support Israel over Hamas by huge margins.
        Since Oct. 7, American Jews understand much better the nexus between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. With the explosion of antisemitism in America, it is clearer to us than ever why there must be an Israel. We now realize that in most cases anti-Zionism constitutes, or leads inevitably to, antisemitism.
        The writer is senior rabbi of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York.  (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. "Day After" Proposals Will Only Bolster Hamas - Meir Ben Shabbat
    While Secretary of State Antony Blinken has criticized Israel's conduct in Gaza for not achieving "an enduring result" on the ground, the same could be said about the reality in northern Samaria. In Jenin and the Tulkarm area, IDF forces go in, arrest or eliminate targets, and withdraw - only to see terror elements rear their heads again, forcing a continuous cycle of operations. Nevertheless, no one has doubted the necessity of such action.
        This has been refined into an almost official policy called "mowing the grass," the belief that the fight against terror is an ongoing process, not a one-time thing. The Hamas order of battle in Gaza still includes thousands of fighters, ammunition, weaponry, and tunnels. In such a situation, the debate over the "day after" is akin to arguing over the skin of a bear that has yet to be hunted.
        The truth must be told: There are no good options in Gaza. If there were, they would have been implemented over the years of conflict. Israel did not enter this war to find a replacement for Hamas but to destroy it. That is the goal. Given the current balance of power in Gaza, no entity can replace Hamas in the civilian administration of the Strip without its consent. This applies to the "Palestinian Authority," the "Dahlan camp," "technocratic ministers," or local "clan" leaders.
        Given this situation, it must be stated that even after seven months, the conditions for establishing an alternative to Hamas' rule have not yet matured. From Israel's perspective, the question of the "day after" in Gaza is secondary to the more important goal: destroying Hamas' military and governing capabilities and restoring Israeli deterrence. Israel must not be tempted by proposals that provide the appearance of a solution while leaving the problem intact.
        The writer, a former Israeli national security advisor, is chairman of the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy in Jerusalem.  (Israel Hayom)
  • The PA's Return to Gaza Is Impractical and Unwanted - Yoni Ben Menachem
    PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was severely criticized for his remarks at the Arab Summit in Manama, Bahrain, on May 16, 2024. Abbas blamed Hamas for providing Israel with reasons to attack Gaza. In February, he urged Hamas to complete a deal for the release of Israeli hostages to prevent further disaster for Palestinians.
        Despite pressure from the Biden administration for the PA to manage Gaza post-war, the Israeli government does not see the PA as a viable option. Prime Minister Netanyahu views the PA as a promoter of terrorism, pointing to its failure to condemn the Oct. 7 massacre, its practice of paying salaries to terrorists, and its incitement against Israel in its educational and media systems.
        The PA's legitimacy is questioned on the Palestinian street, where it is seen as corrupt and unfit to govern the West Bank and Gaza. The PA's refusal to hold general elections exacerbates this distrust, as many believe Abbas would lose.
        The Gazan public harbors significant animosity towards Abbas, who imposed sanctions on Gaza in 2018 to incite rebellion against Hamas. The Biden administration is also disappointed with the PA, labeling the new technocratic government led by Mohammad Mustafa a puppet of Abbas.
        Moreover, the PA's loss of security control in northern Samaria to Iranian-backed terrorist groups raises further doubts about its ability to manage Gaza. It is unlikely that PA security personnel would confront Hamas' armed terrorists.
        The writer, a Senior Researcher at the Jerusalem Center, is a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television.  (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Antisemitism

  • In the Wake of October 7: Reflections on the American Jewish Community - Dr. Steven Windmueller
    Since Oct. 7, American Jews are experiencing a fundamental repositioning of not only how they see themselves but also how others perceive them. It includes seismic shifts in their relationship to Israel, how they form political alliances, and their way of being Jewish in a world that feels scarier, lonelier, and, in some surprising ways, more Jewish than ever.
        This spring, American Jews awoke to a coordinated assault on American universities as pro-Palestinian groups orchestrated a set of demonstrations and demands designed to remove U.S. involvement with Israel and to disengage higher educational institutions from any academic or financial connection with the Jewish State. With their distortions of Zionism, misrepresentations of Judaism, and outright dismissal of the Jewish people, these players are attempting to rewrite the Jewish narrative concerning who we are and what we represent.
        These activists seek to deny both our presence in the land of Israel and our historic connection to this holy space. Our opponents in this moment are calling for our genocide, comfortably aligning themselves with those in prior periods who were committed to seeking our demise.
        The writer, Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles, is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Soil Beneath the Encampments: How Israel and Jews Became the Focus of Hate at Harvard
    A former Harvard student wrote: "Harvard signals that Jews are only acceptable so long as they don't fully embrace Judaism and choose to practice their religion....The only hope of surviving Harvard as a Jew was to not dress 'too Jewish,' request the university accommodate Jewish holidays, speak Hebrew, or, God forbid, actually support Israel's right to exist."
        On Oct. 8, the day after Hamas murdered 1,200 people in Israel, more than 30 Harvard student groups signed a statement that "held the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence." In the following weeks, many Harvard students rallied in support of a genocidal terrorist group that had just committed crimes against humanity, while simultaneously condemning Israel as a racist, apartheid, and genocidal state worthy of elimination.
        This was a wake-up call and led to the formation of the Harvard Jewish Alumni Alliance, to research the day-to-day experiences of Jewish and Israeli Harvard students and to explore the root causes of the hatred on display. We found that Harvard has been a hostile environment for many Jewish students since before Oct. 7.
        "[The professor] said, 'Where are you from?' I said, 'Israel.' He looked at me and said...'I need to ask you to leave the class.' No other visiting student was asked to leave." - Kim Nahari, sophomore. Our research found that when student protesters rally for Hamas as freedom fighters, they are repeating what they are taught in classrooms and at department-sponsored events.
        The recurring narrative taught is that Israel - a tiny country with half of the world's Jewish population - is the last remaining colonial settler power embodying the world's worst evils, that the Palestinian people are innocent victims of Jewish (white) oppression, and that known terrorist groups are simply "political movements." In 2022-23, Harvard held at least 20 events that spread the virulently anti-Israel narrative. (Harvard Jewish Alumni Alliance)
        See also What It's Like Being Jewish at Harvard - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
  • University of Illinois Professor Retiring Early Due to Antisemitism - Barbara J. Risman
    I came to the University of Illinois at Chicago as head of sociology, expecting to spend the rest of my career here. I co-chaired the universitywide committee on faculty equity for more than a decade. Then came Oct. 7. Across the country, support for Palestinians quickly escalated into committing hate crimes against Jews.
        Just days after Hamas' terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7, the faculty in women and gender studies and Black studies posted a joint statement with no mention of antisemitism, the terrorist killings or the hostages. Jewish and Israeli students were rendered invisible. Perhaps there is some legalistic "context" that allows for political rhetoric to support one group of students even while excluding others, at least when the "others" are Jews.
        UIC is a public university using tax dollars to educate future citizens. We shouldn't allow anyone with an anti-Zionist agenda to make UIC a hostile environment for Jewish, Israeli or Zionist faculty and students.
        I will retire before I intended to because UIC is no longer an institution comfortable for me, as a Jew who believes Israel has a right to exist. And to be clear, more than 80% of Jews in America share that belief.
        When university departments and programs publish statements implying support for the destruction of the state where more than half of all Jews alive today live, they have crossed the line from simple micro-aggressions against Jewish students and faculty to outright institutional antisemitism. (Chicago Tribune)

  • Other Issues

  • Biden's Commitment to a Two-State Solution Clashes with Harsh Realities on the Ground - Editorial
    President Joe Biden said Sunday, "I'm working to make sure we finally get a two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet the landscape is increasingly resistant to such dreams. A poll by the Israel Democracy Institute after Oct. 7 found that only 35% of Israelis now believe peaceful coexistence between Israel and a Palestinian state is possible. The brutal reality of violence has transformed public opinion, solidifying the perception that territorial concessions equate to security risks.
        Historical experiences, such as the 2005 Gaza disengagement, have left deep scars, reinforcing fears that a Palestinian state could become a launchpad for more attacks. This sentiment is echoed across political lines. Israeli leaders and a significant portion of the public prioritize immediate security needs over long-term diplomatic solutions that seem increasingly impractical under current conditions.
        The persistent violence and lack of trust have repeatedly undermined the concept of a two-state solution. In February, the Knesset voted overwhelmingly against the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. It underscored the prevailing sentiment in Israel that any move towards a Palestinian state must be carefully negotiated and secured. The fear of repeating mistakes, where territorial concessions brought increased violence, looms large. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Israel and much of the world have a legal obligation under international law to stop the genocidal intent of Hamas in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre, former U.S. Justice Department Office of Special Investigations director Eli Rosenbaum said in an interview on May 15. Rosenbaum, a veteran of 38 years in Department of Justice war crimes investigatory departments, explained that "Israel has a legal obligation under international law as a signatory of the [1948] Genocide Convention. The treaty obligates all signatory nations not just not to commit genocide and punish it, but to prevent it."
  • Hamas' indiscriminate targeting of civilians regardless of age or gender during the pogrom, and the nature of the murders, were indicative not just of genocidal intent, but of genocidal acts, he said. "Hamas intentionally carried out an attack that was so gruesome, so far beyond what anyone could have imagined in terms of cruelty, attacks that rivaled and even exceeded the cruelty seen at the hands of Nazi forces in World War II. And I feel fairly well qualified to opine on that, having studied and investigated and prosecuted Nazi cases for some 40 years."
  • The accusation of genocide by Israel during the war is an "obscene falsehood," according to Rosenbaum. The crime of genocide requires not just an outcome of mass death over the course of war but the intent "to destroy a population in whole or in part. It is not simply a matter of casualty numbers." He noted that in World War II, aerial bombing by the British Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Force "killed somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 people. No one would say that the Allies committed genocide against Germans. That's just absurd. Germany started a war."
  • Rosenbaum said that Israel did not target civilians. On the contrary, genocidal intent was disproven "because of the extensive measures they've taken to try to protect civilians, despite the best efforts of Hamas to maximize civilian casualties in Gaza. Israel is taking measures to protect civilian life in Gaza that no military has ever taken in any war. It causes Israeli casualties."
  • "In addition to the fact that the accusations are fundamentally false, I think they're also racist....The unstated assumption is that thousands of men in Gaza who took part in these attacks, for some reason can't be held to even minimal standards of decent and humane conduct with respect to other innocent human beings....Every single death in Gaza of Palestinians and hostages is the doing of Hamas. They are responsible, morally and legally, for all of those deaths."
  • Regarding calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, he said, "The Allies did not say to the Germans in January of 1945, 'Well, this is a very destructive war, a lot of people are dying on both sides. We'll call it off now. You all can stay in power in Berlin, and you can have four battalions of SS mobile killing units, and we'll just see what happens down the road.'" The Allies had, as the Israelis have now, a moral obligation to finish the fight in the face of the supreme crime of genocide, Rosenbaum said.

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