Tag: Israel

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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.

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Martyrdom is not a central theological concept in Judaism. But given the span and scope of post-exilic Jewish history, the fact of Jewish martyrdom is inescapable. So the Sabbath prayer service includes a brief appeal on behalf of martyrs’ memory: Compassionate Father, who dwells on high, in His deep compassion may He remember the pious, […]

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Alternate-Side Parking is a semi-regular, once or twice a week (or less), podcast. 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. In this episode, I talk […]

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America and Israel: Sentiment and Strategy

 

shutterstock_170342135I was recently at a dinner party in mixed company. The political views of my fellow diners ranged across the spectrum from archconservative to radically liberal. I prefer the sort of arrangement. I’m a bit of a contrarian and I find nothing more tedious than agreement. This is particularly so when, as in this case, everyone at the table is intelligent and articulate.

Because we were a politically minded group, the topics focused mostly on current events, including Ukraine, the Obamacare rollout, and the latest Supreme Court decision on affirmative action. Eventually conversation turned toward the recently failed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and, inevitably, to a discussion of settlements and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute generally.

Opinion at the table was fairly evenly divided, with conservatives taking a staunchly pro-Israeli stance and the liberals (with the exception of one of my friends who is Jewish) taking a more sympathetic view of the Palestinian position. I tend to side with Israel because I admire its liberal democratic values and military prowess, and I consider the Palestinian leadership to be at best corrupt and disingenuous and at worst genocidal terrorists. On settlements I’m fairly agnostic, as I have not taken the time to delve into the intricacies of the subject. To the extent that I care about the specific issue of settlements or even the larger Israeli-Palestinian dispute, it is through the lens of how it affects America and its interests.

Podcast: Israel and the Arab Turmoil, with Itamar Rabinovich

 

In a one-off podcast for the Hoover Institution, I recently sat down with Itamar Rabinovich, President of the Israel Institute and former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. (he also spent three years as Israel’s chief negotiator with Syria). In this talk, Ambassador Rabinovich takes us on a guided tour of the Arab Middle East and explains how the situations in Syria, Egypt, Iran, and other countries in the area will affect the future of Israeli security.

On Israeli “Apartheid”: A response to Zafar

 

In Judith Levy’s post regarding Secretary Kerry’s use of the word “apartheid” in the Israeli-Palestinian context, Zafar wrote:

Under Apartheid in South Africa the benefit from the majority of the land and its resources was allocated to one ethnic group at the expense of another – one group had freedom of movement, the other didn’t. One group basically controlled the other for its own benefit.

Passover: The Essence of Judaism —iWc

 

Passover starts tomorrow night. Torah-observant Ricocheteers have been building up to this moment for months now – cleaning, and preparing and learning and planning… whew! The iWc home has an average of 15 people for 8 separate formal meals (we are eating out for 2 of them) over the course of 8 days.

I wanted to share a thought that will be new to all readers. Here goes!

John Mearsheimer is Sober, Level-Headed, and Clear-Thinking . . . Except When He Isn’t

 

I recommend to everyone this piece on the present and expected future interplay between China, Taiwan and the United States written by my former professor, John Mearsheimer. It is exceedingly well-written, very hard-headed, and reveals that Mearsheimer has done his homework when it comes to the history of China and Taiwan. It doesn’t make for comfortable reading if one is Taiwanese, American, or a member of any Asian country that seeks to offset or balance against Chinese hegemony in Asia, but, if anything, the unsettling nature of the piece makes it all the more important.

Speaking of well-written Mearsheimerian articles, check out this recent one on the crisis concerning Russia and Ukraine, and the state of American policymaking. Again, Mearsheimer lays out the facts persuasively, accurately gauges each side’s interests and bargaining power, and then offers policy prescriptions that demonstrate a realistic understanding of the situation at play.