Tag: Israel

No Light at the End of the Tunnel for Hamas


Over the past several hours, Israel has been withdrawing most of its troops from Gaza after having destroyed all — or almost all — of the cross border tunnels Hamas had burrowed deep under Gaza and across the border into Israel.

This is a much bigger deal than most of the media realize.

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On this week’s podcast, Judith lamented the desire of many to make Israel like any other Western nation. Even on the Right, not everyone accepts the premise that Jews uniquely need a state of their own. Some would destroy Israel through demographics, Judith said. Indeed, Israel might even destroy itself one day through its acceptance […]

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A View from Nowhere


GAZA, PALESTINIAN TERRITORY - DECEMBER 2: A child passes a bombed-out residential block in the Al-Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, December 2, 2012.Kevin Williamson is one of my favorite National Review columnists. Few people are as deft as Williamson when it comes to making an argument in 1,000 words. So I’m going to use his new piece, which is up today at NR, to make some points I need to make about Palestine.

I’ve been mentally arguing with pundits in my head for the past few weeks now, so maybe it’s time to bring a bit of this to Ricochet. Some of you know that I lived there for about eight months in the year 2000. I spent the spring in at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, which is in Jerusalem, but sits right on the green line bordering Bethlehem. (There was an Israeli checkpoint just outside our building.) We took classes both at Bethlehem University and at Hebrew University. Then I spent the summer teaching English in Gaza City.

While I was abroad, I talked politics constantly, both with Israelis and with Arabs. It’s like Washington that way; everyone wants to discuss politics. I found that most people on both sides were pretty prepared to hash things out, drink some tea and still be friends. I sat in the living rooms of Palestinians and told them that their ideas about “returning home” were totally unrealistic, and some people got mad at me but not mad enough to serve me cold tea. I guess when you’re used to wars of bullets, you’re not easily intimidated by wars of words.

‘Good vs. Evil’ vs. ‘Weak vs. Strong’


As the fight rages between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza, those supporting Israel shake their heads at progressives around the world. How can a movement which boasts of its dedication to tolerance, feminism and LGBT equality endorse a terror state founded on thuggery and theocracy?

Israel is a modern, multicultural nation in a sea of medieval misery. Women can vote, gays can marry, and Arabs can serve in government. Just over the security fence, women are subjugated, gays are lynched, and there isn’t a Jew to be found (unless he has been kidnapped).

I Believe We Have a Duty to Condemn Anti-Semitism and Unprovoked Acts of Aggression Against Israel


Throughout my lifetime, everyone I know has decried anti-semitism and denounced the genocidal horror of the Holocaust, many virtually implying it could never happen today. Surely we are more enlightened now. “Never again.”

We tend to look upon the German population at that time with disdain for standing silent and/or acquiescing in the slaughter of innocent Jews, as if to suggest such passivity or tolerance for unspeakable evil could never happen among civilized peoples.

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Please take a few minutes to read this Andrew McCarthy piece in full. The Hamas charter proudly proclaims that the organization exists for the single purpose of destroying Israel, claiming all territory therein for Palestinians as part of the global Islamic-supremacist movement. Manifestly, Palestinians knew this when they voted to be led by this notorious […]

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Are American Leftists (especially Barack Obama) anti-Israel?


I suppose this subject has been beaten to death but it still fascinates me. Why is it that the left tends to be unsympathetic toward Israel’s position? I would word it more strongly (why are so many leftists anti-Israel), except I don’t want to get hung up on the question of whether they are really that far out there. But as a practical matter I see little distinction, for I can’t fathom how anyone could be neutral in this conflict, or declare the opponents morally equivalent without a visceral anti-Israel bias. Hamas (and so many other groups) are committed to the extermination of the Jewish state.

There is no question that Bibi Netanyahu was not exaggerating when he said, “If the Arabs lay down their arms there will be no more war, but if Israel lays down its weapons there would be no more Israel.” Israel consistently acts with restraint, warning civilians of its imminent attacks and providing humanitarian aid. It targets tunnels and weapons, not civilians. Hamas, the opposite. In light of these FACTS, how can any objective person believe there is moral equivalence here? Other than their reflexive wrongheadedness on most issues, how can even leftists be so openly off-base on this? I do believe Obama has a deep, abiding affection for Islam based on statements in his books, and his speeches and policies since in office.

Jerusalem Diary: Shabbat


I arrived in Jerusalem a week ago on Friday afternoon — just as the Jewish Sabbath was about to begin. Mindful that, on the Sabbath it is hard to find anywhere to get a bite to eat in Bakah (where I was staying), the Provost of Shalem College invited me to join his family for dinner that night. Thinking that I would be exhausted and not a suitable guest, I declined and ordered takeout from a burger joint that delivers to hotels and homes. The next day, however, I took a taxi to Ramot Bet — some distance away in northwestern Jerusalem — to join my host and his family for the mid-day meal and for the dinner held at the end of the Sabbath.

This was for me a treat. I have a great many Jewish friends in the United States, and some of them are what they call “observant.” What that word means in Jerusalem, however, is something else again. Within Israel, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have become opposites. The pious have gravitated to Jerusalem. The hedonists tend to live in or near Tel Aviv, which has the feel of Miami Beach. The Israelis of Jerusalem and many of the Jews from abroad who come to the Holy City for a visit are strictly observant. On the Sabbath, they not only do not work. They do not answer the phone, make phone calls, check their email, turn on or off the lights, drive, cook. The list is long. Instead, they pray, they read, they converse with the members of their family, they relax.

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In the past two hours, I have observed at least eight rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. All of them were headed North by Northeast, towards Tel Aviv. Thank God, all of them were intercepted and destroyed by Israel’s Iron Dome. No, I am not in Israel. I am sitting at my kitchen table in […]

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Jerusalem Diary: Why Gaza?


Israel-MapI learned something today while listening to a briefing regarding the current situation in Israel. It is something that I should have learned long, long ago and explains a great deal. There is a profound difference between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 1947, the population of the latter was miniscule. By 1948, it was considerable. Something on the order of 80% of those now living in the Gaza Strip are descended from refugees who fled from territory now Israeli as the Egyptian army approached.

The same is not true of the West Bank. There are refugees camps in that region, to be sure. But most of its inhabitants live in homes occupied by their parents or grandparents in 1948.

If Gaza now belongs to Hamas, it is because it is largely populated by Palestinians unwilling to settle for anything short of the destruction of the state of Israel. If the West Bank still tolerates Fatah and the PLO, it is because the majority of those who live there are less bitter than their counterparts in Gaza.

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John Podhoretz’s sister, Ruthie Blum, writes in her Israel Hayom column: It is one thing to be convinced, as I was and still am, that a ground incursion (with Israeli soldiers going literally and figuratively door-to-door to snuff and stomp out terrorists and tunnels) is the way to go. It is quite another to cheer […]

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Alternate-Side Parking is a podcast I do whenever I feel like it. Each episode lasts approximately as long as it takes for me to find a new alternate-side parking space in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York; plus however long I feel like sitting in the driver’s seat gabbing. Or, sometimes in my apartment. In […]

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The Invisible Gorilla, Nuclear Edition


One of my favorite psychological parlor tricks is the Invisible Gorilla. A subject is shown a video in which a few people pass around a ball. The subject is told to count the number of passes. In the process of counting, the subject completely misses the fact that a man in a gorilla suit walks through the frame. The phenomenon is called “inattentional blindness”. When you focus your attention on one thing in particular, it can blind you to significant things that occur right in front of your nose.

Keep your eye on the ball: We must be evenhanded in pursuing Middle East peace. Via the Daily Caller:

From the “Any More Such Victories and We Are Doomed” Department


shutterstock_27568873The Modern Language Association is the latest academic group attempting to pass a resolution condemning Israel for things that it doesn’t like. This is being done because the organization has an interest in pretending that it is good, righteous, and filled with God’s noblest creatures, and it feels that the best way to pursue this particular interest is to take a publicly anti-Zionist stance. Readers will, of course, wonder why the MLA doesn’t try to demonstrate its uprightness by adopting resolutions condemning the actions of the governments of China, Russia, Iran, and various other nation-states where repression and inhumanity are woven into the fabric of public policy. Don’t hold your breath.

The Modern Language Association has utterly bizarre voting rules that allow for the adoption of resolutions with the approval of a mere 10 percent of the association’s active population. When the resolution was put to a vote, however, it only garnered 6.5 percent approval, with 4.4 percent voting against it. As anti-Zionist showings go, this one is rather pathetic. You would think that it would be easy to find enough people within academia to speak out against Israeli policies with a vehemence not found in the condemnations of any other country (assuming that an effort is even made to condemn anyone else. But the MLA couldn’t even find 10 percent. Wow.

So, this was a pretty cataclysmic defeat for supporters of the resolution, right? Well, amazingly enough (or not, given this particular group’s lack of attachment to reality), that’s not how they see it:

Czech President Delivers Bold Speech in Support of Israel


milos-zeman-praesident-wahl-tschechien-vaclav-klaus-karel-schwarzenbergThe Czech Republic breeds an uncommon moral vision in its politicians. Perhaps being an early victim of Nazi occupation followed by decades of Soviet domination created fertile soil for the likes of Václav Havel and now Miloš Zeman.

President Zeman recently gave a speech celebrating Israel’s Independence Day, a bold move considering the growing antisemitism in modern Europe. Speaking just two days after the jihad-inspired murders at the Brussels Jewish Museum, Zeman clearly identified Israel’s precarious position:

The only holiday of independence which I can never leave out is the celebration of the independence of the Jewish State of Israel.