Reflections from Bari Weiss, Michael Oren, Shadi Hamid, Einat Wilf, Bruno Maçães, Haviv Rettig Gur, Andrew Sullivan, Rachel Goldberg-Polin, and more.
I'm not Jewish and I live in a postcard kind of town. What hit me on October 7 like a sharp blow to the stomach was how fine the line was between barbarism and the civilization we take for granted. Thousands of men, celebrated by millions, could maniacally behead, burn alive, dismember, put babies in ovens, rip babies from the womb, throw a grenade in a father's lap, chop off hands and feet so that young women could not fight back against rape, or rape a corpse in the bed of a pick up truck, parade mutilated bodies and terrified hostages through the streets - not once, but 1200 times. That's a bone-chilling threat to civilization itself. It was justified or celebrated by far too many college students and "progressives." Taking out the evil isn't optional- living next to Hamas is akin to living next door to Hannibal Lecter, sans the mask, after he's already killed and eaten half your family. But he has a "right" to be there, say some- and roam free, and do it again. For Israel, it's 40,000-60,000 Hannibal Lecters. Nobody sane would agree to that. The vile Hamas uses babies as shields. The men certainly seem to be protecting themselves.
Let us be perfectly clear here, Israel's actions against Hamas are NOT the reason for rising antisemitism. That demon resides in the hearts of those expressing it and has ALWAYS resided there! All that is needed is a spark, or in this case a war, to fan those flames in the hearts of those who need to be utterly humiliated and defeated. Hamas feeds into this by operating in civilian areas. The unfortunate, and inescapable, case is that Palestinians will die. It is not Israel's fault alone, but is primarily the fault of Hamas, Iran, and everyone in the world who support them, even those in the USA!
Only Haviv Rettig Gur touched on, what I feel, is the biggest disconnect, and that is that this isn't a war between Israel and the 'Palestinians', but against Radical Islam as being managed, funded and promoted by Iran. No solution can be found in peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel, as Iran, who controls the out come, which in their mind, requires the death of Jews and elimination of Israel.
The Palestinians are just a group of people who have never been accepted by most of the Arabs in the ME, and are still not welcome in any of the nations surrounding Israel. They've been a pawn in the larger war between the ME, and now Persia against the state of Israel.
Until we frame this conflict for what it is, a religious war, and who controls the entity that is currently orchestrating it, Iran, this conflict can't end.
That brings up a problem closer to home. Barak Obama has been behind the US support for building a stronger Iran as he believes Israel has too much power in the ME. This is a hugely flawed strategy, and Trump not only stopped it, but between the Abraham Accords, the moving of the embassy and other things, reinforced our commitment to Israel while strengthening their relationships to the ME. Once Joe Biden was elected it became clear that Obama was still highly influential in the Biden Administration as we again embarked on supporting Iran by reinstituting many flawed Obama policies.
Until we drop the façade that this is an Israel-Palestinian conflict, and acknowledge that this is Iran versus Israel, and all of the West, this conflict will never be resolved. You can't find a political solution to a religious war.
I will simply say that America didn't worry too much about civilian deaths in World War 2. We just didn't talk about them. Think of that scene in Saving Private Ryan where the father, in an apartment whose entire side has been blown off by artillery fire, tries to give his kid to Vin Diesel. France was filled with ruins like that. So too, presumably, were Belgium and Holland and obviously Germany. And we blew up outright Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after killing even more people in fire bombing attacks that preceded them.
Israel has to try and control the land of an enemy which uses every square inch, PARTICULARLY civilian areas which would otherwise be exempt from attack. They have to control the whole, in order to fully eliminate the tunnels which are used for everything from torture and rape rooms to weapons manufacture and storage.
And as I have been saying nearly from the outset, when Gaza is rebuilt with international money--we all know this is the future--the architects of this disaster will make billions. It would be an interesting move for Israel somehow to make land title transfers a condition for a cease fire. I would have to look at the details to make specific plans, but that a good lawyer and someone who understands development could do some interesting and disruptive things seems likely. Maybe they reserve one square foot per block and sell it dearly.
But I have been saying since the Obama years that the fact that the American people were capable of supporting someone about whom they knew so little was the largest problem our nation faced, not Obama himself. That the propaganda has been so effective is obviously correlated with an overall diminishment both of general knowledge, and the ability to perform basic reasoning, of which moral reasoning is one component.
There will never be peace in the Middle East as long as there are useful idiots in the West.
Always remember that there was a ceasefire on October 6 that Hamas chose to end on October 7.
Any deaths of Gazans are on Hamas and only on Hamas.
"If anti-wokeness results in an inability to acknowledge profound power imbalances and the suffering of the truly marginalized, then I’m not sure it’s a movement that makes sense for those of us who cannot reconcile ourselves to the violations Palestinians must endure daily."
And why is this the case? Whose fault is it that these poor oppressed Palestinians must suffer such daily indignations?
Perhaps because they have repeatedly rejected offers for their own state, living in peace next to Israel? In 1937, 1947, 1967, 1990s, 2000, 2008, 2020? Perhaps because they have 100 years of intransigence, absolute commitment to violence and jihad, refusal to compromise or to accept legitimate Jewish indigenous claims to the land, and adherence to a Moloch death cult in which they raise their children to become martyrs while killing Jews? Perhaps because 'two states living side by side in peace and security' is not actually what they really want?
And progressive Western useful idiots only enable this "from the river to the sea" ultimate goal with their bigotry of low expectations, in which Palestinians have no agency and no responsibility for the choices they have made.
Who are the real racists here?
I fear that support for Israel from the West will crater. More and more, if seems like pro-Palestine/anti-Israel sentiment is winning. I keep seeing headlines and reports from news media that give me an impression people 35 and younger are basically on the side against Israel. How much longer will the Biden administration hold on to its commitment to support Israel when its staff and the federal government staff keeps demanding they withdraw support? And even if Israel wins this war, what happens 10 years from now? Or 20? What happens when these younger generations take over and they overwhelmingly think Israel should not exist? Will Israel find itself all alone in the world in 30, 40 years' time?
I can't believe there are still so many Americans who still deny the brutal rapes and murders of women in Israel by Hamas didn't happen.
The seeds of the massacre were planted by those who tried to be peacemakers in this region:
The land for peace that had Israel pull out of Gaza.
Those who thought that Democracy could change the world led to the election of Hamas.
Those who decried the blockade of Gaza as if they were a normal country looking for peace.
I have yet to see an article in the mainstream press about how Hamas was funded and how they would instead build tunnels, buy rockets, and create terrorists. Are the civilians in Gaza complicit in this? I say yes. And throughout history, sadly, those who buy into or support evil have to pay the consequences.
Every person who supports Israel should say this War ends when Hamas surrenders unconditionally. There is no two-state solution. There is no peace partner. There is only total victory, and then, and only then, can Gaza be rebuilt from the ashes. How that gets done is a story for another day, but I am in complete support of destroying Hamas by any means necessary.
I find the attachment to Shadi Hamid as a moderate voice and Andrew Sullivan as a keen observer of anything peculiar. Hamid offers a deflection from the reality of the dangers of Islamism and the role of Iran that are drivers of global anti semitism and regional instability in the Middle East. While I respect Sullivan as a thinker, he unfortunately was responsible for promoting much of the Trump authoritarian narrative that distracted many observers from the primary threat of virulent leftism that needs to be combatted more forcefully. They have nothing to offer our threatened West in this moment.
Shadi Hamid and Andrew Sullivan live in “lala land”. Some people will be confused forever. Israel is in an existential war for survival of a country and all Jews everywhere. Many read “Mein Kampf” and didn’t believe it till they were murdered. Believe “from river to the sea”!
Tomorrow Joe bidens federal employees will have a walkout for Hamas. OK they won’t say that explicitly but it’s to protest the help for Israel. Same thing
You think any will be fired? Dream on. That only happens if you’re a conservative
I get the impression that Shadi Hamid simply woke up to the fact that his antisemitism is stronger than his leanings toward conservatism.
The Silence of the Feminists: This myopia/selective outrage/cognitive dissonance (call it what you will) about the women victims of Hamas is the latest instance of something huge and longstanding: "Early March 2020 saw the publication of a remarkable book on a shamefully neglected subject: the brutality visited on literally millions of civilian women in war zones....... to read her harrowing account of sexual atrocities - in Burma, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Ruanda, Bosnia, Bangladesh and elsewhere - is to be brought hard up against a recognition of the huge disconnect that can exist between the gravity of events unfolding around the world and the amount of attention they receive.... some of the atrocities Lamb describes were ongoing in 2017 when Western media attention was suddenly so mesmerised by casting-couch exploitation in the film industry that it seemingly left no emotional capital for anything else." https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/life-in-the-shadows-of-metoo
“ The same actions committed by Russia and Israel—the same propaganda, the same gory videos—are judged differently simply because Israel is one of us and Russia is one of them.”
Hey Bruno, Ukraine didn’t invade and attack Russia as Hamas did Israel. Fundamental difference you seem to have forgotten.
I think the Jews in America and the Israelis are letting the narrative be all about “the poor victim Palestinians”. The useful idiots supporting The Poor Palestinian Victims could use a history lesson. As I type this I know how hard it would be to change their minds. But here’s a thought---
What would the world be like if all the Jews had been exterminated by Hitler in the 1930s? What inventions, medical miracles, scientific discoveries would not have happened? Things that have benefited humankind in innumerable ways would not have been created.
Now ask the same question about Palestinians, or for that matter, Muslims in the ME in general.
The problem with the “oppressor/oppressed dialectic” is that the so called oppressors are also the achievers. We need them.
A brief comment on Bari’s expose of the “feminists” who have nothing to say about Hamas’s savagery against women and girls:
Their conspicuous silence is because prominent “feminists” are leftist ideologues before they are supporters of female achievement. They hate the Israeli “colonizers” and “oppressors” of Palestinians, therefore they will not call out Hamas for its atrocities.
True feminists would take the side of Riley Gaines against Lia Thomas. They would stand up for the brilliant, uniquely successful female author, J.K. Rowling. They would celebrate the achievements of high-ranking women politicians like Joni Ernst, Kim Reynolds, Elise Stefanik, Marsha Blackburn; but no, those are Republicans, so can’t be acknowledged. Ruth Ginsburg gets vastly more recognition from feminists than does the first female Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor - who was, oops, a Republican. True feminists would embrace motherhood as perhaps the most important role a woman who wants children can fulfill; but modern “feminists” disparage motherhood.
Conservatives have known for a long time that feminist organizations like NOW, NARAL, and even UN Women are really ideological hotbeds of leftism. The primacy of Hamas in Palestine is a leftist cause. Get real: There was no chance that prominent “feminists” would criticize Hamas; any more than they are outspoken about the Taliban’s subjugation of women and girls in Afghanistan, which would obliquely criticize Joe Biden. (Oh, and what about Senator Biden’s alleged molestation of Tara Reade in a Senate office building? Never mind. That went quickly under the rug.)
Anyway … good on Bari for highlighting this issue. “Feminism” is moribund except when promoting a leftist cause.