Saturday, November 25th, 2023
I am disappointed in Gadi Taub and Michael Doran’s latest Israel Update conversation, “Understanding the Hostage Exchange Deal” on the video platform Rumble. Gadi comes to agree with Mike that the Kaplan compaigners are not actually going to affect the continued prosecution of the war despite the pause. This acknowledgement effectively nullifies his reason for not supporting the hostage deal. And yet instead of taking Mike’s point on board or making some other argument Gadi simply concludes the discussion by reiterating his opposition to the hostage deal.
The deal is too important an issue to treat so cavalierly; doing so at the very least affects Gadi’s intellectual credibility. At the risk of belaboring the point, he seems here to be suffering from a strong case of KDS — Kaplan Derangement Syndrome, wherein anything a Kaplanist wishes for must inherently be suspect. There are it seems to me vital reasons for supporting this hostage deal that are far from wanting to undermine Netanyahu, and unfortunately this episode touches on none of them.
For example, I believe Gadi’s position about setting a bad precedent for future conflicts is wrong; after all, it’s not as if the idea of taking hostages had never occurred to anyone before this. And if anything this deal has reduced rather than raised the price Israel pays for the return of hostages given the crazed lopsidedness of previous deals. As well as humanitarian there are military and societal morale reasons to support the deal, and long-term national mythic ones.
Mike shrinks from opposing Gadi’s poor position here by stating that being neither Israeli nor Jewish he lacks the bona fides to opine on such heavy issues. But I for one as an Israeli — and Gadi should have said this emphatically otherwise what’s the point of this show: Of course we want you to opine! Indeed if it were up to me I’d give the wonderful Mike Doran the keys to cities from Metulla to Eilat!
Monday, November 13th, 2023
Among other points, in his piece “Initial Lessons From the October 2023 War” at The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune, Yaacov Amridor admonishes:
It is wrong to argue – as some significant critics have done – that too much money has been spent on technology at the expense of training and high levels of combat readiness. As it turns out, ground operations are demonstrating that technology is vital for the IDF’s success in general and for the specific challenges of urban warfare in particular.
Saturday, November 11th, 2023
In a saner world, what Elie Kirshenbaum writes at Mida would be the mainstream viewpoint:
The Greek government had basic self-respect and understanding of where to draw the line with the international community and with its neighbors. Unfortunately, Israel did not wake up in time to the existential threat posed by the Palestinian national movement, but it is better that to wake up late than to continue to remain asleep on this issue.
Such a double-hitter in today’s Wall Street Journal editorial page, both pieces by Muslims. Kudos.
From “The Theology of Hamas” by Ed Husain:
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar has said that Palestine is only a “toothbrush in our pocket.” Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood aspire to create a regionwide Shariah state, a more anti-Western confrontational caliphate in line with Iran’s political model than that of moderate Arab nations in the neighborhood. That intention has led several Arab nations—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt—to ban both groups from organizing within their borders. In 1979 Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a peace agreement with Israel. Two years later Islamists assassinated him.
From “The Scenes of Genocide I Saw in Israeli Morgues” by Qanta A. Ahmed:
I’ve been to northwestern Pakistan and met child Taliban operatives groomed for suicide missions. I still attend to 9/11 first-responders in New York. I’ve been to post-ISIS Iraq to meet with Kurdish and Yazidi survivors of genocide. I’ve spoken with former ISIS child soldiers and the Peshmerga veterans of that brutal and bloody three-year war. The Oct. 7 genocide was different, more barbaric than anything before it.
Thursday, November 9th, 2023
I just finished watching Michael Doran’s 6-part lecture series on the Yom Kippur War at the Tikvah Fund (requires free registration). After Walter Russell Mead, Doran is doing so much to promote the American-Israeli relationship.
Monday, November 6th, 2023
What a masterful, lengthy piece by Shany Mor in Mosaic, “Ecstasy and Amnesia in the Gaza Strip”. His first theme is that Palestinians have demonstrated a clear pattern of murderous exultation leading up to a defeat in which they cast themselves as the terrible victims. His second theme is that these spasms of aggression have consistently been parts of larger global intellectual currents. And thirdly that the subsequent defeats have unnaturally been rewarded by outside larger powers, which eggs them on to the next catastrophe.
Again and again, the Palestinians have served as the tip of someone else’s spear. But the tips of spears tend to break when thrown, and when they do, it’s evidently easier to blame the wall they hit than the person who threw them.
Kobi Michael and Gabi Siboni write:
The Gaza war is also a historic opportunity to dismantle UNRWA, which is an active partner in perpetuating the conflict by fostering the ethos of armed resistance, the demand for the return of refugees, and incitement against Israel.
And the next step:
The sole course of action vis-à-vis Hezbollah must be its complete and utter destruction.
Saturday, November 4th, 2023
Wow I find this moving: in the plaza outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, people paint portraits of the kidnapped.
Each artist in that Tel Aviv square was directing their talent toward a singular cause: the creation of a portrait of one of the hostages as part of a project called This Is Us, which seeks to call attention to the plight of the missing and help bring them home safely.
On Tel Aviv University’s YouTube Channel, host Ido Aharoni interviews former Director of TAU’s program in Ottoman and Turkish Studies at the Department of Middle East and African History Ehud Toledano on the current situation.
Toledano characterizes himself a believer in credible ultimatums. Rather than finishing off the Hamas leadership, Israel should surround them and offer them death or expulsion (perhaps to Turkey) akin to the PLO model from Beirut to Tunisia, with exile also contingent on hostage release.
He’s against Israel occupying Gaza in the aftermath, instead recommending a laissez faire approach of instant withdrawal resulting either in the West rushing in or else letting locals organize, with Israel conducting offshore balancing militarily (ie bombing) to suppress any jihadists emerging victorious.
Then with credibility at a high, he suggests Israel present Hizballah with an ultimatum: dismantle the missiles and retreat north of the Litani River or face war. Hizballah would not go for it, he points out, as Hizballah’s very existence is to provide a deterrent against an Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear program. So Hizballah would not comply and Israel would face two devastating days of missile attacks and it would be over.
It’s all perhaps slightly fanciful — starting wars is not Bibi’s style — but worthy strategic thinking in the mix (plus he may not be in the saddle by then).
Friday, November 3rd, 2023
I hesitate to even bother linking to Matthew Continetti’s Washington Free Beacon column “Let Israel Win” because it’s such a statement of the bleedin’ obvious, as even Continetti himself writes:
Hamas could end all this tomorrow if it released the hostages, put down its arms, and surrendered. Hamas, not Israel, is the aggressor. Hamas, not Israel, is the “occupier” of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, not Israel, rejects international law. Hamas, not Israel, steals food, fuel, and water from civilians. And the fact that these words need to be written at all is evidence that the culture-producing institutions of the West—the media, the universities, cultural and political celebrities—are irreparably broken.
Thursday, November 2nd, 2023
Should Israel’s UN delegates be wearing those yellow Never Again stars? Along with Yad Vashem, The Jerusalem Post editorializes not to wear it though most of the comments disagree and ultimately so do I; subtlety is not a virtue in today’s overcrowded information landscape. One perspective on this: in David Goldman’s formulation of Christians abhorring power and Muslims humiliation, the yellow star might positively influence the former but be merely a counterproductive Kick Me sign to the latter.
Einat Wilf addresses Palestinian refugeeism. Finally taking UNRWA with the deadly seriousness it deserves should be the next top priority of a resourceful country that needs to stay mobilized for the foreseeable future.
One group only of refugees from that time and those wars [of the 20th century] were allowed to maintain themselves as endless refugees in anticipation of one day winning a war they had lost.
Wednesday, November 1st, 2023
Hamas official Ghazi Hamad is pretty sober in his insanity, as translated and promoted by MEMRI:
The existence of Israel is illogical. The existence of Israel is what causes all that pain, blood, and tears. It is Israel, not us. We are the victims of the occupation. Period. Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7, October 10, October 1,000,000 – everything we do is justified.
Frank Furedi and Brendan O’Neill discuss Gaza, anti-Semitism and the global culture war and it is a single topic. Ultimately, Furedi argues, Hamas is not even an entirely Middle Eastern phenomenon but at least partially a cultural creation of an influential strand of Western self-loathing that seems to be on track for a self-evisceration.
Do the woke not see that if they are successful in their takeover of the modern state they will immediately become actually oppressed, this time by their erstwhile favored activists who have already demonstrated their methods? All the glories and technologies that have come about as a result of the new liberties of modernity will fall into the hands of ruling barbarians. We need no longer fear the singularity; technology will have peaked and start regressing. I hope the American high school curriculum still assigns A Canticle for Liebowitz alongside Brave New World, Animal Farm?? and 1984.
Wednesday, October 25th, 2023
It’s good to hear the sensible center-left voice of Times of Israel founder and editor David Horowitz getting exercised:
Hamas remains all too evidently functional as a military and terrorist army, is still waging practical and pyschological war, and its most senior figures are not known to have been neutralized. On Tuesday night, it sent terrorists by sea to try to attack two border towns. It maintains the capacity to launch barrages of rockets, including an ongoing effort to target the airport area. And its vast underground tunnel network is apparently still largely intact.
But we should have patience; as the new posture settles in, as the face of Israel becomes a military uniform in the guise of the excellent IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, it seems from afar at least not difficult to have faith in the seriousness of the upcoming response.
Aha, more spot-on clarity from Tablet magazine in “America Needs a Decisive Israeli Victory” by Raphael Benlevi.
America is being tested no less than Israel; the outcome will determine whether regional states will ally with America or with China and Russia. In other words, the Gaza war will determine whether the American-led order in the Middle East is still sustainable, or rather a relic of a historical period whose time has passed.
Take heed, o Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and Commentary Magazine: your might is being eclipsed!
Kudos to Tablet for publishing “Biden’s Three Nos” by Gadi Taub:
The closer you examine Biden’s hug, the more it appears like a full nelson. To be sure, there are positive aspects to the visit, but the cons decisively outweighed the pros. Biden came to Israel to preserve his—and President Barack Obama’s—disastrous policy of appeasing Iran.
Together with Caroline Glick, Taub is a useful right-wing voice in the mix that is my head, and I’m inclined to agree with much of this piece, except for one glaring and ultimately overriding omission: events, dear Gadi, events. The leopard will not change its spots; momentum has its own momentum; reality itself will pop — is already popping — the Democrat delusion of an appeasable Iran.
More in sorrow than in anger, Peter Hitchens admonishes Israel for aiming to uproot Hamas, the great man’s brother even kindly offering a speech for Israel’s Prime Minister to deliver:
We have seen enough blood. Nothing is to be gained by shedding more of it. In fact, we are sure that our enemies want us to do precisely that. We will cease to bombard Gaza, and will abandon attempts at a ground invasion which will, in truth, bring only grief, much of it to innocent people. Most will understand our national rage at what was done to us and our initial desire to hit back. But our considered response to the Hamas murders is to turn to the world – and remind everyone in it exactly what Israel’s enemies did on October 7.
Hitchens suggests that Israel “seek out and punish known individual culprits” as if this were a terrorist atrocity like that at the Munich Olympics. But Munich happened in, well, Munich, not within Israel. This isn’t about rage, it’s about deterrence, and before that even, self-defence, because if we leave them there they could find a way to do it again when we get sloppy again. I wonder: has Peter Hitchens had this thought and dismissed it, or not even had it?
Brigadier General Pat Ryder speaks to and takes questions on the missiles that the USS Carney shot down:
There were no casualties to U.S. Forces and none that we know of to any civilians on the ground. Information about these engagements is still being processed and we cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting but they were launched from Yemen, heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel.
The US has now had to defend Israel in this war. On Iran’s part, might firing from so far away have been a strategic mistake?
Monday, October 23rd, 2023
You gotta larf. On the same day that the BBC posts an article about marchers chanting “Jihad!” in London…
“Jihad” literally means “effort” or “struggle” in Arabic. In Islam the main meaning is an internal struggle, such as a believer’s struggle to live in accordance with their faith. Jihad can also be an outward struggle or war, which in Islamic teaching must be in self defence and within prescribed limits.
…National Review posts its lampoon of an academic’s apology “Sorry You Misinterpreted My Comments about Israel”, with notes such as:
It should be noted that, in Arabic, the word “massacre” has a different connotation than it does in English, denoting something akin to “an internal struggle to alter the religious composition of a geographical area.”
Tim Stanley at The Telegraph also has a go:
And what are we to make of those activists shouting for Jihad who[m] the Met declined to arrest because, according to its finest theologians, Jihad has “a number of meanings”? For me it suggests the name of a balmy port in Oman, of nights of perfume and satin, caressed by Arabian breezes. For others it means “kill all Jews” – and the inability to infer the bleeding obvious exposes a moral blindness in British society.
Great interview [Hebrew audio] with Prof. Danny Orbach on historical comparisons to Israel’s current war, including 1973, 1948, Vietnam, Lebanon, WWII, etc.
Israel shows 200 foreign journalists 43 minutes of footage of the Hamas invasion and mass murder — I think this could make a difference. I think at last Israelis understand that other people are not us and need to be told, need to be shown, otherwise falsehoods will rush in to fill the new empty space of attention that is demanding filling.
Sunday, October 22nd, 2023
A strong piece by Yinon Weiss in response to Thomas Friedman’s latest condescending piece to Israel:
It has not been since 1945 that an enemy was entirely and irrefutably defeated. It has been so long that many people, rank and file and leaders alike, forget that such a war is even a strategic option. I am not one to downplay risk or quickly advocate for any war, let alone total war. As a U.S. combat veteran, I have seen the horrors of war up close, and like many veterans, I have been against virtually all military interventions of the last 15 years. However, when your neighbor ceases being a manageable threat and instead enters your house and kills and rapes your family, you can no longer rely on bigger fences and brainstorming sessions to unwind the situation – the evil force must be removed.
Saturday, October 21st, 2023
Discomfiting and Olympian, this top story at UnHerd “Israel is no longer Britain’s war” by Aris Roussinos:
Discomfiting because he opens with:
…as the righteous bloodlust of the sensible centrists has been awoken once again…
Ouch. And Olympian because he steps way back to look at the issues, beginning with:
Though there is no obvious linkage between any of these matters, if I knew your opinions on wokeness or gender issues, or on Net Zero or Covid restrictions, then I could ascertain, with 99% accuracy, your opinions on a distant ethnic conflict in the Middle East.
If you hate Human beings, chances are you will hate the Jews.
Thursday, October 19th, 2023
Oh that’s a shame, I’ve always loved Steve Coogan. Goodbye, dear Saxondale. Oh fuck it, who am I kidding, I will be watching him as Stan Laurel until my end.
To paraphrase: “What do you all think sovereignty means? Vibes? Papers? Essays? Losers.”
With some distaste I link to the BBC Verify page on Gaza’s Al-Ahli Hospital explosion (whatever the heck BBC Verify is, at any rate you’d think it would not be a separate thing from BBC News). I would wager that the link, currently 3rd on the BBC News homepage, will soon quietly disappear and this story will not be heard from until weeks or months from now, when it is acknowledged that the preponderance of evidence indeed points to an Islamic Jihad misfire. There’s no mention that the US Department of Defense has determined the explosion was “very unlikely” to be the result of Israeli action — arguably fair enough, the US is not above the fray. Yet not in the lede, nor at the beginning nor end of the article, does the closest text to a conclusion appear:
Three experts we spoke to say it is not consistent with what you would expect from a typical Israeli air strike with a large munition.
Rather, it is buried in paragraph 14 of 22, caveated by: “So far, the findings are inconclusive.”
As I write this, I remember that in even as a high schooler at the American School in Israel I was examining British press reports for media bias. I think I will stop now. But this example is especially important because it should make Westerners pause and note their eagerness to believe a false version of events put out by organizations their own governments have classified as terrorists, should the historic horrors of October 7th be leaving them with any doubt. It can affect whether or how much the person in the European living room trusts and supports Israel to do what it must in response to Hamas’s surprise attack.
Another barnstormer interview with Haviv Rettig Gur on Israel on Dan Senor’s Call Me Back podcast, all the more powerful this time for the steely quiet tone.
Posted — amazingly enough — on AMAC, the right-leaning American senior citizens lobbying group, and linked to from the mainstream RealClearPolitics albeit authored anonymously, the taboo concept: transfer:
The reason the problem persists is that the entire world insists that Israel must keep 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza against their will, and then denounces the Jewish state for creating “an open-air prison.”
Tuesday, October 17th, 2023
Beejeezus, is Victor Davis Hanson telling it like it is or what.
Is the U.S., as professed, really able to fund a $120 billion—and counting—war in Ukraine, and to replenish Israeli stocks (300,000 artillery shells shipped from U.S. depots in Israel to Ukraine, a reportedly mere one-month supply for Kyiv), and to restore depleted existing U.S. munitions (note the billions of dollars of equipment abandoned in Kabul), and to ramp up our forces to deter China (while allowing 8 million illegal aliens to flow across an open border and $33 trillion in national debt) without going on a massive war footing?
Monday, October 16th, 2023
I’ve been saying it all week and here Michael Oren has posted it up nicely in Israel Hayom: “A golden opportunity to focus on Hezbollah”:
Hamas cannot escape anywhere; it is trapped within Gaza, which can be sealed off gradually, and the air force can strike it at any time without significant hindrance. Rooting out Hamas can be done at a later stage. On the other hand, Hezbollah has a vast geographic area and open supply lines.
In terms of military capabilities, the organization poses a much greater threat than Hamas, including hundreds of thousands of missiles (some with precision capabilities) and many experienced fighters with combat experience in Syria. As long as Hezbollah remains unchallenged, it will continue to pose an intolerable strategic threat to the State of Israel.
Tackling Hizballah first seems to me the most rational order, so much so that the onus should be on why not to proceed so. Some questions:
Hostages: Does dealing with Hizballah first improve or degrade the hostages’ chances of safe return? It does buy some time to locate them and also provides a credible threat of destruction to Hamas while also providing its leaders with the option of at least personal survival, which is a reason to deal. But it also delays matters, which might be critical.
USA: Presumably the Biden Administration will oppose it — hence perhaps the aircraft carriers — because it brings things closer to a head with Iran, a confrontation the Democrats seem unwilling to have. Yet that is what proxies are for, and Iran seems to always climb down. And America has unfinished business with Hizballah. [Update 2023 Oct 17: Victor Davis Hanson has mused: “Why does the U.S. discount any possibility of a strategic response from Russia—which reportedly has some 6,000-7,000 nuclear weapons—to attacks on its homeland, but seems almost terrified about calling Iran to account for its central role in arming and funding terrorists to start a war with Israel by slaughtering 1,200 civilians?”]
1948: Oren’s analogy to 1948 may not be the best one; wasn’t Egypt on the southern front the more serious military threat? It is true though that Jerusalem, like the kidnapped Israelis, was being held hostage; moreover, the spiritual and moral imperative of relieving Jerusalem is analogous to that of saving hostages. In which case, perhaps the 1948 comparison resolves back into the issue of hostages.
Clearly Oren has thought about this a bit, if maybe not enough, and the op-ed is a whittled-down version. I’m sure decisionmakers are bandying about the notion, which might one of the reasons there’s been no ground invasion yet.
Ultimately I think the reason not to go this route, and it is an overwhelming one, is to not start a war that might be avoided. Perhaps here intelligence matters; if Israel can induce that this attack was truly a joint one in which Hizballah as well as Hamas has an active assigned role, that tilts things further towards starting first on the northern front. But if that role is as passive deterrent, like Biden’s aircraft carriers seem to be, then it seems prudent to not fan the flames further for now.
Update 2023 Oct 17, 12:11am GMT:
Some corroboration of my thinking:
- “Israel weighing possible ‘first strike’ against Hezbollah in north, former soldier says” in The Washington Times
- “The Next Unthinkable Attack: Growing Risks of a Third Lebanon War” at JINSA
In fact if it’s coming at all it could come at any moment.
Update 2023 Oct 21:
Do the warnings of Itzhak Brik regarding the IDF’s unreadiness [Hebrew video] have any bearing here? We are all assuming Israel has the capability, maybe it doesn’t. Well, maybe it didn’t three weeks ago, but — and I hope this too isn’t merely a misleading conceptzia — democracies once awakened are the most formidable war machines.
Aviv Rettig Gur has become one of the go-to writers on Israel, and his latest, “Hamas does not yet understand the depth of Israeli resolve” makes some pithy points:
If the response of Palestinian politics to the Oslo peace process was the mass murder of Israeli civilians, and the response of Palestinian politics to the stagnation of the peace process under Benjamin Netanyahu is the mass murder of Israeli civilians, then Israeli policy isn’t the cause of Palestinian mass murder of Israeli civilians.
But Israelis’ minds are already made up regarding the dissolution of Hamas, so this piece reads merely as a primer for foreigners to grasp that implacable determination. In fact, what strikes me most is the gaps in logic that seem almost deliberate given how well Gur reasons; Straussian even perhaps. He writes:
That enemy is not the Palestinian people, of course, even though support for terror attacks is widespread among Palestinians.
What is his explanation for teasing apart the enemy — some sort of historical meme — from the people who believe it?
When Hamas is destroyed, Israel will finally have liberated the Palestinian cause from the bottomless brutality of its most fervent practitioners, from the shattering albatross of a violent decolonization movement that refuses to grasp its enemy has no colonial motherland to which they can return, and so from an addiction to cruelty without purpose or function.
I see no reason why destroying Hamas will achieve this; as Gur points out in the same piece, this attitude predated Hamas.
In The Wall Street Journal, poetic justice from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who suggest “each of these countries should be called on to take ownership of their terrible decisions” by taking in Gazans:
- Iran: Hamas’s chief financier and arms supplier
- Turkey and Qatar: material and financial support [to Hamas]
- Malaysia: a haven for Hamas in years past
- Algeria and Kuwait: cheered on Hamas’s violent and brutal tactics
One wag (I’ve been reading so much I can’t remember who) deliciously suggested Ireland. [Update 2023 Oct 19: Scotland!
Now, forcible population transfer, or ethnic cleansing to use the pejorative language, is a terrible thing — it’s what Meir Kahane was banned from the Knesset for advocating — but Allah help the jackals we have entered war footing, wherein historic generational changes occur.
(That said, these proposals are historic and controversial enough to warrant nitpicking. The authors write:
Civilians are seeking to flee in advance of the fighting…
This is a bit disingenuous, as the IDF has been instructing the population in northern Gaza for days now to head south.
The Rafah crossing on the Egypt-Gaza border is open.
This seems false, it’s most definitely closed, though there is talk of it opening this afternoon for a few hours.)
For decades Palestinians have absurdly been calling themselves refugees even while sitting on territory they control and maintaining refugee camps with nary a tent on their own territory. Ditto the contradictory simultaneous accusation of both occupation and apartheid. So, as it goes for what you wish for, herein lies a lesson: be careful what you lie about.
In The Free Press, a round-up of what various pieces-of-shit have said and written in support of Hamas’s invasion, with Najma Sharif’s
“What did y’all think decolonization meant? vibes? papers? essays? losers.”
likely the most memorable.
Sunday, October 15th, 2023
So much, so much to say and catch up on. Here’s a start: Victor Davis Hanson’s “An Annotated Guide to American Middle East Madness”. Events have caught up with VDS’s dark predictions and he has dropped the dark sardonic tone for straightforward exposition.
Saturday, October 14th, 2023
On a call driving south, Jerusalem Post defence correspondent Yonah Jeremy Bob muses on Israel’s war in Gaza, echoing many thoughts I’ve had lately.
Israel could turn to a hybrid solution, with autonomy for the Palestinian Authority, helped by a multinational group, and the Israeli military in some way involved to prevent a Hamas comeback. “That is utter speculation on my part,” Mr. Bob says.
Thursday, October 5th, 2023
From the Center for Peace Communications, a thinktank led by Dennis Ross, this amazing litany of regional grassroots cooperation with Israel.
Thursday, August 3rd, 2023
At the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Tony Badran provides bracing clarity on the Biden Administration’s inimical posture in Lebanon, fallout from the ongoing preposterousness that an accommodation can be reached with the horrendous Iranian mullahs.
Each time Hezbollah provokes, the U.S. reliably steps in to “mediate” between the terror group and Israel, with the goal of “stabilizing Lebanon.” Needless to say, the Israeli role is strictly to make concessions in the framework of a U.S.-brokered agreement, at the risk of displeasing its American patron. Hezbollah, meanwhile, knows that the structure of this Kabuki performance prohibits Israel from retaliating, making its provocations more or less risk-free — especially given the fact that the “Lebanese state” is a fiction.
When the Israel–Lebanon maritime deal went through, I thought: this will bring Bibi back to power; the average Israeli will correctly perceive the deal as a dangerous sell-out by Lapid and vote for no more of it.
At the Gatestone Institute by Turkish journalist Uzay Bulut, a tour de force survey of other nations while Israel suffers the calumny of being called a racist state.
Tuesday, June 20th, 2023
Sometimes a straightforward number cuts through all the crap. Research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Times of Israel blogger Hussain Abdul-Hussain notes that the populations of Arab minorities in Israel have grown just as the population at large has. “So much for “ethnic cleansing”,” he concludes.
Monday, April 24th, 2023
Increasingly, Dan Senor’s weirdly-named podcast Call Me Back is becoming my favorite due to frequent regular output on topics close to my heart with authoritative guests. This is Micah Goodman on the Israel protests. He’s more sympathetic than I am towards the
elitist tantrums protests but has the perspicacity to step back and view things historically.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2023
Monday, March 13th, 2023
Bar Ilan University’s BESA Center is optimistic after two years of Israel being in USCENTCOM.
Friday, March 10th, 2023
In Rome, Netanyahu speaks to La Repubblica. “What we can do is protect our freedoms,” he says, “using force if necessary, for as long as possible…” This is the second time in recent weeks I’ve heard the great man introduce this concept of existence as temporary. Not that it’s not true, but it’s unusual to hear a national leader speak that way. Intimations perhaps of his own mortality. Anyway, I love that he is coming with a vivid clear ask: Roma, recognize Yerushalayim.
In Mosaic Magazine, the redoubtable Evelyn Gordon lays out the issue of Israel’s judicial reform.
Tuesday, March 7th, 2023
What a vile and unserious letter to Binyamin Netanyahu from members of the Entebbe commando squad. They write:
You compared us to those who carried out the pogrom in Huwara, and your son, who has not held a rifle in his life, calls us ‘terrorists’…
Perhaps I’m touchy about this because a friend recently dismissed my view on Israeli matters because when we served in the IDF some over 30 years ago he was in a combat unit and I was not, but really, does Yair Netanyahu’s military service or lack thereof belong in a serious discussion on national affairs? They go on:
You called us ‘conditional Zionists.’ You, whose father, left Israel in 1939 and returned only in 1949 when the Independence War ended. And then a second time left the country in 1962 and returned after his son fell [in Entebbe].
Now after insulting his son they’re after his father. Never mind that the senior Netanyahu was also the father to the son Yoni whom they valorize earlier in the letter…
The increasingly indispensable Michael Doran points out that:
If the goal of the Biden administration were to work with Israel to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, then Nides would either avoid any intervention whatsoever in Israeli domestic politics, or he would urge Lapid publicly to put forth practical proposals that could lead to a constructive compromise. Nides has demonstratively done neither.
Sunday, March 5th, 2023
Prof. Nir Keidar, legal historian and President of Sapir College, appears on the predictably leftist podcast The Tel Aviv Review ostensibly to discuss his book David Ben Gurion and the Foundation of Israeli Democracy but the conversation is mostly about today’s judicial reform, and he is reasonable and helpful.
Saturday, March 4th, 2023
As interviewed by Netael Bandel in Israel Hayom, Professor Yoav Dotan opposes judicial activism:
The High Court took the accepted understanding of reasonableness – intervening when a government authority harms the citizen in an absurd and capricious manner – and turned it into something else entirely. Everyone must be reasonable, the government and the prime minister, except that they always think they are acting reasonably. The court’s reasonableness approach states that the government will balance its own considerations and that the court will reverse-engineer the government’s determination. In effect, the court becomes a second government that oversees the elected government, and in instances that have no bearing whatsoever on personal liberties.