May 23, 2024
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Indicates Initial Satisfaction with Changes to Israeli Military Plans for Rafah - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    A senior Biden administration official said Tuesday, "It's fair to say that the Israelis have updated their plans [for a military offensive in Rafah]. They've incorporated many of the concerns that we have expressed."
    Earlier this month, Israel launched targeted operations in the eastern neighborhoods of Rafah and at the border crossing with Egypt.
    Ahead of those operations, nearly 2/3 of the Rafah population fled to humanitarian zones to the west.
    The U.S. official noted that the situation in Rafah has changed dramatically over the past several weeks, given the mass evacuation of Palestinians.

The Israelis Prove Biden Wrong on Rafah - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
    Remember Rafah? For months, the Biden Administration bitterly opposed an Israeli invasion of Hamas's last stronghold in Gaza.
    The mantra was that Israel had "no credible plan" to evacuate the city's 1.3 million civilians. That was the justification for the President's arms embargo.
    Yet the Israelis went ahead anyway, and two weeks later they have safely evacuated an estimated 950,000 people.
    "This Administration never supports anything we do until we do it," a senior Israeli official said early this month.
    To win Mr. Biden's consent, the Israelis first had to advance and succeed. But the delay his opposition caused has dragged out the war.
    Now the Biden team has moved on to criticizing Israeli readiness for the "day after" the main fighting.
    It's reasonable to ask what force will control Gaza in the future. But no one else will fight and die to defeat Hamas for Israel, or even to resist it as a civilian power.
    Israel probably will need to fill the vacuum in Gaza for a time.

The Emerging Reality in Gaza - Jonathan Spyer (Spectator-UK)
    What appears to be emerging in Gaza is a situation in which a truncated, half broken but still viciously repressive Hamas continues to be the de facto governing authority.
    Israel, meanwhile, maintains freedom of operation throughout the Strip, striking Hamas and its leaders at will, with the involvement of only a limited number of forces.
    At the same time, an IDF zone of control along the Gazan side of the border prevents further Oct. 7-style attacks on Israeli border communities.
    The writer is director of research at the Middle East Forum.

Israeli President: Hamas Butchered the Biggest Supporters of Peace in Israel (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog told UK broadcaster Piers Morgan on Wednesday:
    "Following October 7, in Israel, the deep feeling is that the neighbors that everybody promised us will be peaceful neighbors have attacked us in a brutal way and killed and butchered and raped and abducted first and foremost the biggest supporters of peace in Israel."
    "There is also a national feeling that there is no trust - and in order to move to any possible future, there must be first and foremost trust."
    View the Video

Ayatollah Khamenei Calls for "Destruction of Zionist Regime" as Hamas Leader Attends Raisi Funeral in Iran - Sophia Yan (Telegraph-UK)
    At the funeral of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, the "destruction of the Zionist regime is feasible and, God willing, the day in which Palestine will be created from the sea to the river will arrive."
    As chants of "Death to Israel" came from the crowd, Haniyeh recalled how Raisi told him that Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel was an "earthquake in the heart of the Zionist entity."

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The Israelis Have Nowhere Else to Go - Bret Stephens (New York Times)
    The danger to Israel from moves at the ICC, or from campus protests, boycott and divestment efforts or various kinds of arms embargoes, are minimal.
    Contrary to some opinions, Israelis are not "settler-colonialists." Jews believe they are originally from the Land of Israel because they are.
    And Zionism, far from being a colonialist project, is the oldest anticolonialist struggle in history, starting during the Roman era, if not the Babylonian Captivity before it.
    The idea that Israeli Jews should return, like the Algerian French, to the lands of their forebears misses the point. The Israelis have nowhere else to go, a fact underscored by the waves of hatred now engulfing Jewish diasporic communities.
    They will not return to the lands of Russian pogroms, or Arab massacres, or the Holocaust.
    The more pressure is exerted on Israel to relent in the face of its enemies, the more Zionism it will generate.
    Nothing so crystallizes Jewish identity as the daily reminders of bigotry.
    Jews have the right to rule themselves as a sovereign state in their original homeland.

The Illustrated Hostage Diary of Moran Stella Yanai - Rachel Shalev (Tablet-Yediot Ahronot)
    Moran Stella Yanai, 40, opened her jewelry stall at the Nova festival on Oct. 6.
    She was captured twice and escaped, and on the third occasion, she was violently kidnapped to Gaza.
    She was held captive by Hamas for 54 days before being released on Nov. 29 in the final round of the prisoner exchange.
    "They dragged me as if I was Jesus. They put a white casket hat over my head and a hoodie on top of that. And all around, a deadly hustle of men."
    "One military helicopter passed above us, I lifted my head and prayed silently that it would drop a bomb on us."
    "I'm now inside the jeep with two terrorists in the front, four terrorists in the back, and three more terrorists in the trunk. And I'm alone with them."

IDF Pivots to Domestic Ammunition Production - Navit Zomer (Ynet News)
    Israel's Defense Ministry on Tuesday signed a $756 million contract with Elbit Systems to supply ammunition for IDF ground forces over the next two years.
    Israel will produce air-to-ground bombs, which until now have been exclusively supplied by the U.S.

Pro-Palestinian College Protests Have Not Won Hearts and Minds - Aaron Blake (Washington Post)
    Pro-Palestinian college protests have faded somewhat from the news, as law enforcement has cracked down on encampments and schools break for the summer.
    While the protests might have earned some concessions from administrators, it's become clear that they've failed in winning over the American public.
    Multiple polls in recent weeks have shown relatively little sympathy for the protesters or approval of their actions.
    Large numbers of Americans have attached the "antisemitic" label to them.
    The Siena College poll of New Yorkers shows they agreed 70% to 22% that the protests "went too far, and I support the police being called in to shut them down."
    YouGov polling this month showed Americans disapproved of the protests by around a 2-1 margin.
    A Fox News poll showed just 16% said the protests made them more sympathetic to Palestinians, while 29% said the protests made them less sympathetic.
    The Fox poll showed Americans said that "antisemitic" described the protests, 46-45. A Suffolk University poll showed Americans said the protests "reflect antisemitism," 41-40.
    A Yahoo/YouGov survey showed 37% of Americans said that "all" or "most" protesters are antisemitic - more than the 30% who said only "few" or "none" are.
    The Siena poll showed that New Yorkers agreed 61-25 that the protesters have lost sight of Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre of Israelis and that "it feels like these demonstrations have crossed the line into antisemitism."
    Even Democrats agreed, 54-32. Even adults under the age of 35 agreed, 46-38.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli War Cabinet Member Ron Dermer Denies There Is a Famine in Gaza
    Ron Dermer, Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs and a member of the War Cabinet, told Sky News on Tuesday there is no famine in Gaza and there "never has been." He described the claim as "nonsense" and said there were "bustling markets" selling fruits and vegetables in the territory.
        He said claims that both children and adults were dying after being reduced to the "size of a skeleton" were "just all false....That is a false story." He added: "The problem in Gaza is not the trucks getting into Gaza. It's food getting distributed within Gaza because Hamas, a terror organization, is stealing it."
        "Right now we are flooding Gaza with humanitarian assistance, and the markets have shown that prices have dropped about 90% on basic food items in Gaza." Dermer said there were two pictures circulating of "children apparently starving in Gaza," but said they had "pre-existing genetic conditions that were responsible and had nothing to do with famine. This is an outrageous attack on Israel. It is a libelous attack against Israel."
        "There hasn't been a policy of trying to starve the population of Gaza or to target civilians in Gaza. I'm a member of the war cabinet. We've never had such a policy."  (Sky News-UK)
        See also Video - Israeli Minister: "There Is No Famine in Gaza" (Sky News-UK)
  • U.S. Urges Egypt to Ensure Aid Is Flowing into Gaza - Simon Lewis
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a hearing in the House of Representatives on Wednesday that fighting near the Rafah crossing in Gaza has made providing humanitarian aid challenging, but aid could still be getting through. "We do strongly urge our Egyptian partners to do everything that they can on their end of things to make sure that assistance is flowing," Blinken said.
        Israel's strategic affairs minister, Ron Dermer, told MSNBC: "Right now, Egypt is withholding 2,000 trucks of humanitarian assistance from going into Gaza because they have a political issue about the Rafah crossing."  (Reuters)
        See also AP Misreporting on Rafah Food Shortages - Tamar Sternthal
    The Associated Press is feeding the allegation that Israel is starving Gazan civilians. In an article on Wednesday holding Israel responsible for the reported food shortage in Rafah, AP concealed that it is Egypt - not Israel - that has forced the shutdown of the Rafah border crossing, thereby stopping the flow of aid through that point. AP egregiously covered up Egypt's closure of the Rafah crossing, instead citing "an untenable security situation caused by Israel's expanding military operation."
        At no point did AP clearly report that Egypt closed the crossing at the expense of Palestinian civilians. Even state-controlled Egyptian television reported that Egypt refused to coordinate with Israel on the transfer of aid.
        Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Tuesday that there was a "need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing to allow the continued delivery of international humanitarian aid to Gaza....The key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends." In contrast, Reuters published an article on May 11 titled, "Egypt Refuses to Coordinate with Israel on Entry of Aid from Rafah Crossing."  (CAMERA-Israel Hayom)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • How the IDF Is Dislodging Hamas from Jabalya - Seth J. Frantzman
    Jabalya is a densely populated urban area northeast of Gaza City. Terrorists came from Jabalya to attack Israel on Oct. 7. Jabalya had been cleared of terrorists last December, but there were areas the IDF didn't reach, and Hamas returned. The IDF has now been operating in Jabalya for 10 days. Raids are carried out with an understanding of the need to clear Hamas from areas both underground and aboveground.
        The IDF's tactic in Gaza of clearing areas but not remaining in them has been critiqued because it lets Hamas return. But leaving soldiers to control civilian areas, where they are likely to be targeted by enemy snipers, is not currently seen as an ideal use of them.
        The fighting continues every day, and about 10 to 20 terrorists are eliminated each day. In the first 10 days of the current operation, about 200 terrorists were killed. The IDF tactic of going into an area and clearing it, leaving it, and clearing it again is having an effect. Even though the enemy returns, they return in fewer numbers. After seven months of war, troops are learning how to recognize areas where there might be improvised explosive devices (IEDs). They also learn to sense where tunnel shafts may be located.
        The IDF continues to find weapons in many civilian homes. Almost every house has been used by terrorists in some form or another, including providing entrances to tunnels or observation posts, or hiding ammunition. The soldiers fighting in Gaza believe they will defeat Hamas over the long run. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also 70 Percent of Philadelphi Corridor Now under Israeli Control
    The IDF said Wednesday it had destroyed multi-barrel rocket launchers in eastern Rafah along the Philadelphi Corridor, which Egyptian officials say is now 70% under Israeli control. At the same time, IDF soldiers operating in Jebalya in northern Gaza located and destroyed several ready-to-use launchers and dozens of rockets, as well as other weapons. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Gaza War

  • Israel's Victory Is a Victory for Freedom over Barbarism - Bernard-Henri Levy interviewed by Dr. Eithan Orkibi
    French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy told me, "For 50 years I've been going to the front lines to bear witness, to write, and to use my weapon - the pen - whenever I can to support just causes. What's happening now is no different. It's a war that Israel did not wish for even for a second - and one it must win. It's about Israel's survival, but it's also about justice, freedom, and human rights."
        Amidst the atmosphere of Israel-hatred and antisemitism pervading Europe and North America, his newest book is titled, The Loneliness of Israel. He says, "There's absolute ignorance about [Israel], about the history of the state, and about the place of the State of Israel in Jewish history. That's why I wrote the book. It answers simple questions....How can a people present in a place for 3,000 years be considered occupiers?"
        "Israel's allies are saying: Jews are allowed to be strong, but not too strong. To defend themselves - but only up to a point. What country would allow its citizens to be attacked like that? None! And yet Israel is being asked to restrain itself. There's no limit to the double standards. The problem with Hamas is that it's not a normal, rational enemy, and yet we in the West keep trying to treat it as one."
        "I've been saying from the start that the way to win in Gaza is to go through Rafah. Hamas must be dismantled for Israel's future, but also for the future of the Palestinians. Israel and the Palestinians must be liberated from Hamas. The world needs a Hamas-free space - from the river to the sea."
        "Israel's victory is a victory for freedom, for democracy, for everything right and just, whereas a Hamas victory is a victory for barbarism, for terror, for murder and rape....A Hamas victory is a victory for the Islamic Republic, for Russia, for Turkey, for China, for extremist Islam. To allow such a thing - that is, to push Israel to stop the war - would not just be a defeat for Israel but for all of us. And that is unacceptable."
        "The world has forgotten about the need for a State of Israel. It has forgotten that if nations ultimately gave the Jews this small strip of land called Israel, it was to erect a barrier, to build a fortress against the rivers of Jewish blood spilled by hatred, pogroms, and the Holocaust over thousands of years. Today, it seems, no one understands that Israel is waging a war of existence."  (Israel Hayom)

  • Support for a Palestinian State

  • Hamas Should Not Be Rewarded for Terrorism with a Palestinian State - Editorial
    In a video released by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum on Wednesday, footage from Hamas terrorists' body cameras captures the violent kidnapping of female IDF soldiers on Oct. 7. The footage shows the violent, humiliating treatment to which they have been subjected. Seven female soldiers were abducted. Fifteen others were murdered. Should such barbaric behavior earn Hamas and its followers a sovereign state?
        To respond to this carnage by recognizing "Palestine" as a state is an affront to justice and human decency. By recognizing Palestine now, Ireland, Norway, and Spain are effectively sending a message that the international community is willing to overlook or even excuse acts of terror when perpetrated against Israelis.
        A two-state solution cannot be achieved by legitimizing entities that engage in and support terrorism. It can only be done through sincere and peaceful negotiations, which Hamas has repeatedly shown no interest in pursuing. Unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood encourages those who believe that terror and violence are effective means by which to achieve political ends, enabling further acts of terror not just in the Middle East but globally. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Bloodier the Terror Attacks, the More Support for a Palestinian State - Eugene Kontorovich
    Hamas's grisly terror raid on Oct. 7 has proved to be the single most stunningly successful act in gaining support for the Palestinian cause across the Western world. One might think that a campaign of unrepentant killing, torture, rape, and hostage-taking would be disqualifying. But in Washington, Hamas's ongoing crimes have resulted in much of the weight of the U.S. government being brought to bear on advancing the cause of Palestinian statehood.
        The Oct. 7 massacres made President Biden make the establishment of a Palestinian state with all deliberate speed a central priority of U.S. Middle East policy. International institutions such as the UN General Assembly and the International Criminal Court, seeing that Israel's protection by the U.S. has been lifted, have also showered gifts on the perpetrators of Oct. 7.
        The green light from the White House has given new life to efforts by NGOs to isolate and stigmatize the Jewish state. The recent wave of campus protests are the domestic mirror image of the administration's foreign policy, which elevates and rewards Palestinian terror.
        The specific identity of the perpetrators of gruesome violence does not account for Western advocacy on their behalf. That is explained only by the specific identity of the victims: Jews. This is the common thread that ties together support for Palestinian barbarism abroad and for antisemitic mobs at home.
        Supporters of Palestinian statehood have long maintained that if such a state were to attack Israel, the international community would support decisive Israeli actions to neutralize the threat. But the U.S. response to the Oct. 7 attack from Gaza, as well as to the subsequent attacks from Lebanon and Iran, shows the opposite. The atrocities a Palestinian state could inflict on an Israel reduced to the 1949 boundaries would make Oct. 7 look like a bar fight.
        The writer is a professor at George Mason University Law School and director of its Center on the Middle East and International Law. (Tablet)
  • Ireland Has Taken the Side of Hamas Terrorism - Stephen Pollard
    The Irish, Spanish and Norwegian governments have decided to recognize Palestine as a state. Hamas has already welcomed it. The terrorist organization (which is committed to the elimination of Jews) now has direct causal evidence to show to Palestinians that terrorism works. Hamas murdered Jews and a few months later, bingo: the Irish, the Spanish and the Norwegians all fall into line.
        Don't think this will have any beneficial impact for the Palestinians themselves. Previously, 141 countries recognized a Palestinian state. If you think the addition of three more countries will somehow magic up the existence of an actual Palestinian state rather than the imagined one, then, as they say, I have a bridge to sell you. Moreover, Israel will continue to have diplomatic relations with almost all of these now 144 countries.
        All three countries have long been in the vanguard of support for Palestine, mostly because it is costless and bolsters their domestic support. It's also frivolous showboating. Try asking any of these countries what the borders are of this supposed Palestinian state and you'll get no response, because there is no state to recognize and there are no agreed borders. (Telegraph-UK)

  • The International Criminal Court Targets Israel

  • Can the ICC Ever Give Israel a Fair Hearing? - Editorial
    Was there ever any doubt that the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor would eventually accuse Israel of war crimes? He represents an institution that is seen by some as a political pressure group as much as a court of law. The truth is, Karim Khan's decision is an absurd overreach.
        His call to also arrest three Hamas leaders draws a moral equivalence between the genocidal terror group that sparked this latest conflict with an orgy of rape, murder and kidnap, and a democratic government acting to defend itself. It's true that Israel has exacted a heavy price in Gaza, but its sole aim is to stop such abominations as the Oct. 7 massacre happening again. This is not a "war crime," it's simply war. It's easy for puffed-up ICC lawyers to pronounce judgment, but they are not the ones Hamas wants to exterminate. (Daily Mail-UK)
  • Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice: Request for Arrest Warrants from ICC Is "Blood Libel" - Jeremy Sharon
    Former Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein has described the request for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders by the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor as "a blood libel." "Requesting these arrest warrants is wrong and not appropriate in any way, not in the manner and framework in which it was done, and not in the substance [of the decision]....To juxtapose the Israeli prime minister and defense minister to the Hamas criminals is awful."
        "Allegations of crimes against humanity such as starvation against Gazans simply have not happened - there is a hidden line connecting between the ICC allegations and the proceedings against Israel in the International Court of Justice on allegations of genocide, which are both blood libels."  (Times of Israel)
  • Does the ICC Prosecutor Have a Case Against Israel's Leaders? Experts Doubt It - Jeremy Sharon
    Does International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan have a convincing case against the two Israeli leaders he has targeted? Khan said on Monday that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant would be charged with "starvation of civilians as a method of warfare" as well as "intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population."
        Roy Schondoff, a former deputy attorney general for international affairs, said that the offense of causing starvation would be hard to prove. Khan would need to prove that the Israeli government was "intentionally starving people in Gaza, notwithstanding all the difficulties caused by Hamas [in distributing aid], and the far from perfect performance of international organizations." "Intentionality" is key here, since the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding document, states that the crime against humanity of "extermination" requires the "intentional infliction" of conditions of life calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population.
        "But there is no intention in that regard," said former Canadian justice minister and international law expert Irwin Cotler. "It is clear that there has been no policy of starvation; there is no evidence of that."  (Times of Israel)
  • The ICC Prosecutor Has United Israel in Opposition - Avi Mayer
    As the war against Hamas dragged on, deep disagreements arose in Israel about its direction, postwar planning, and the price that ought to be paid to free the hostages still held by Hamas. That is, until Monday.
        International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan's announcement that he will seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has produced a groundswell of anger and indignation that has united the country once again. 106 of the Knesset's 120 members - including most of the opposition - have signed a statement slamming Khan's comparison of Israel's leaders to the mass murderers of Hamas.
        To Israelis, the suggestion of moral equivalence between their government and a terrorist group that openly and actively seeks their destruction is repulsive and contemptible. The notion that any comparison could possibly be drawn between the Jewish state, endeavoring to defend itself in the wake of the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, and the perpetrators of that very massacre, is horrifying.
        The world might have moved on from Oct. 7, but Israelis have not. Just this week the nation buried the mutilated bodies of four of its people brutally murdered that terrible day. Any effort to tie Israel's hands while it is defending itself will be met with wall-to-wall resistance and steely determination.
        The writer is a former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. (Washington Post)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • Does the Palestinian Authority Really Want to Return to Gaza? - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Although the PA has publicly indicated its desire to return to Gaza, Palestinian officials in Ramallah say this could not happen as long as Hamas' military capabilities have not been completely destroyed. PA President Mahmoud Abbas' top concern right now is ensuring that Hamas does not win on the battlefield or in the arena of public opinion. The growing popularity of Iran-backed Hamas among Palestinians following the Oct. 7 massacre of Israelis appears to be Abbas' primary concern.
        To prevent the return of Abbas loyalists, Hamas security personnel in civilian clothes are patrolling the streets of several Gaza communities. Last month, Hamas announced that its men detained several PA intelligence officers who had "infiltrated" Gaza while posing as humanitarian assistance workers. Despite the significant losses Hamas has sustained during the war, it still maintains many eyes and ears throughout Gaza.
        The writer, a veteran Israeli journalist, is a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Center.  (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Palestinians Threaten to Attack U.S. Troops - Bassam Tawil
    The Biden administration has spent more than $300 million to construct a floating pier on the coast of Gaza to aid the local Palestinian population. Rather than expressing gratitude to the U.S., the Palestinians have publicly denounced the Biden administration and warned Arabs and Palestinians not to cooperate with the project.
        Hamas and other Palestinians have no problem taking the aid and at the same time cursing the Americans and threatening to target U.S. soldiers overseeing the delivery of the aid. They consider the presence of U.S. troops in the region as another form of "occupation" and an unwelcome intervention in the internal affairs of the Arabs in the Middle East. Their criticism of the U.S. pier is simply another example of their longstanding practice of insulting those who assist them.
        On May 18, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said: "We warn any Palestinian, Arab or international parties against coordinating with the American administration or working in this port." The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) said: "We view with great danger the American floating pier dock and warn against it....The pier is a service to the Zionist enemy and an act of propaganda and deception....Any American, Zionist, or other force present on any inch of our land will be a legitimate target for our resistance."
        Even the Palestinian Authority's ruling Fatah faction has come out against the U.S. pier. Fatah spokesman Abdel Fattah Dawla called the pier "a consecration of the [Israeli] occupation."  (Gatestone Institute)

  • Israel in the Media

  • Israel Doesn't Need Better PR - Richard Hanania
    A narrative has developed that Israel needed to do a better job of making its case in the international media. Sniping about shortcomings in messaging can be constructive, but more often it distracts from the underlying forces that have created so much pressure on Israel to not fight the war in Gaza in the way that would be necessary to win. To see global hostility toward Israel as primarily a problem of optics rather than something deeper is to miss the entire essence of the conflict, and why the world cares so much about it in the first place.
        If one believes that Israel's optics problems in the current war are the result of flawed public relations, consider how the nation was treated before it began. The UN General Assembly adopted 140 resolutions on Israel between 2015 and 2022, twice as many as on the rest of the world combined. Media coverage shows the same disproportionate focus as the activities of international institutions.
        Information is filtered through various ideologies and in many cases a worldview that centers Jews, or white people with Jews as proxies, as a fundamental cause of many of the problems humanity is facing. Most of the international community is committed to anti-Western, Third Worldist, or antisemitic narratives for one reason or another. These are forces beyond the ability of any spokesman of the IDF to control or significantly influence.
        The bad news is that most of the world is going to hate Israel no matter what. At the same time, the U.S. is really the only country outside the region that matters. The best thing individuals can do to shape public opinion in Israel's favor is to be more confident and assertive allies. This involves not granting the premise of moral equivalency between Israelis and the Palestinians. A nation defending itself and inflicting collateral damage is not the same as a movement with exterminationist goals, which seeks to slaughter innocent people as an end in itself.
        Friends of Israel must push back on any ideology that emphasizes Western wickedness and identity politics, of which hostility to the world's only Jewish state must be a byproduct. These larger battles will ultimately determine whether Israel can in the coming years continue to count on the U.S. as an ally. The war in Gaza has captured the attention of the world because Israel has emerged as the main avatar of Western civilization. (Tablet)
  • Impartiality Breaches at BBC Arabic Occurred So Often They Almost Look Deliberate - Danny Cohen
    The BBC's royal charter contains a commitment to impartiality. Yet the Israel-Hamas war has seen the BBC fail to deliver on this crucial test on more occasions than can be explained away as "errors" or bad luck. Since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, BBC Arabic has been forced to make 80 corrections to its reporting. Mistakes don't happen 80 times.
        The failures of impartiality have included BBC reporters describing Hamas terrorists as "the resistance," as well as labeling attacks which targeted and killed civilians as "resistance operations." It's the language you would hear from a Hamas spokesman.
        An episode of the BBC Arabic program "Trending" questioned whether the Kfar Aza kibbutz massacre on Oct. 7 actually happened. How is it possible that editorial standards at BBC Arabic had fallen so low that this was seen as legitimate reporting?
        The BBC continues to employ people who actually celebrated the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, including Sally Nabil and Sanaa Khouri. This means that our license fees are paying the wages of people who celebrated the rape and slaughter of men, women and children. If any other publicly funded organization supported terrorist sympathizers, the outcry would be enormous.
        The writer was the director of BBC Television from 2013 until 2015.  (Telegraph-UK)

  • I am a Roman Catholic American who has spent much of my adult life in the Middle East. I made many Arab friends and have come to admire the richness of much of Arab culture. Yet, I would be lying by omission if I did not note what was appalling about what I saw: women treated as property, third-country nationals living as literal slaves, gay and lesbian people as criminals, utter religious intolerance, fascist restrictions on free speech, and monarchies ruling by fiat.
  • Amid all of this, Israel stood apart to me, a shining light in a region full of dark despotism - a true democracy with guaranteed liberties, a technological wonderland carved out of a stark desert devoid of resources, and a place where 21% of the citizenry of this ostensibly Jewish state consists of non-Jewish Arabs. In Israel, gays are not criminalized and women are not property. Given the sharp contrasts with its neighbors, why is Israel so repeatedly singled out as if it is the only (and worst) bad actor in that region?
  • In my experience, the IDF is one of the most professional militaries the world has ever seen. Most importantly for this conversation, it trains and practices civilian harm mitigation with the same zeal as all professional Western militaries. At the top of the mitigation list is constant warnings to civilians to evacuate tightly targeted areas before engagement with minimally destructive munitions. As a matter of training and doctrine, the IDF does all it can to minimize civilian casualties - and in this it is as good as, and I'd argue maybe even better, than U.S. forces.
  • In war it is impossible to prevent all damage to civilians. It cannot be done. Innocents die. Most importantly, there is a huge difference between killing innocents by accident, and killing them on purpose (like Hamas does with its random rockets aimed at Israeli civilians). If the unintentional death of innocents is inevitable in all wars, why does Israel get special moral disapproval when it happens with the IDF? The IDF's efforts are as measured and tempered as those of any Western military at war. They are simply being singled out.
  • If you want to commit genocide, you do not warn civilians to seek safe shelter before you engage the combatants in their midst. You're upset about the pictures of a leveled Gaza? Have you seen what the U.S. military did to Fallujah?
  • When you know that Israel is the freest, most liberal state in the region; when you know that war is hell and civilians die in all wars; when you know that the IDF engages in state-of-the-art mitigation measures to protect innocent civilians; and you still engage in the blood libelish lies of "Israel is committing genocide," the only logical conclusion is that this is due to Jew-hatred. Anyone who spreads it to fellow Americans is a predator.

    The writer is a retired U.S. Army officer who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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