More on the violence by Hamas against Israeli women

December 6, 2023 • 11:30 am

Tom Gross frequently puts out newsletters full of article and videos about the Hamas/Israel war, a newsletter not available to the public. I do, however, have permission to reproduce it here. Below I’ve taken a lot of his latest summary and indicated what I’ve used, indenting Gross’s words. Then I added a few more recent articles on the sexual violence used by Hamas on October 7.

This is a particularly important series of articles and videos because Western feminists (and UN Women itself) have deliberately ignored the hideious sexual violence practiced on Israeli and foreign women on October 7. This silence (and of course the violence that was ignored by feminists) is really something to get agry about.

Gross’s original article and link is below, but I believe the Sunday Times piece been retitled online as “The Hamas fighters were raping her. She begged them for death.”


[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach a number of videos I cut and posted. You may wish to watch them when you have time.

After that, there is a front page article from yesterday’s Sunday Times of London. It is doubtful that other media — and certainly not the New York Times — would inform its readers the full extent of what Israeli Jews suffered in such detail.



Christina Lamb, one of Europe’s most experienced foreign and war correspondents, writes in the (London) Sunday Times:


Although what you see below is undoubtedly paywalled (click on it), judicious inquiry may yield you a full copy. Tom Gross’s email has the whole text, but you can’t see it.

Here’s an extract I’ve chosen:

After an hour, he peeked out. “I saw this beautiful woman with the face of an angel and eight or ten of the fighters beating and raping her. She was screaming, ‘Stop it — already I’m going to die anyway from what you are doing, just kill me!’

When they finished they were laughing and the last one shot her in the head.

. . . . “Opening the body bags was scary as we didn’t know what we would see. They were all young women. Most in little clothing or shredded clothing and their bodies bloodied particularly round their underwear and some women shot many times in the face as if to mutilate them.

“Their faces were in anguish and often their fingers clenched as they died. We saw women whose pelvises were broken. Legs broken. There were women who had been shot in the crotch, in the breasts … there seems no doubt what happened to them.”

Her team had to wait while doctors, dentists and DNA experts worked to identify the bodies before they could then gently put them in white linen burial shrouds. “We are just normal women not doctors, we never expected to see such horrors,” she said. Yet what really made them cry was the occasional flash of colour. “Some bodies we took out had pretty pink or bright purple nails — and we would all pause and at that point many of us broke down.”

Now, back to Tom’s links, these ones to videos. I’ve replaced the YouTube links with the videos themselves:

Sasha Ariev talks about her sweet teenage sister Karina, 19, kidnapped alone by Hamas, still a hostage:

Horrifying: Eyewitness account of Hamas gang rape, cutting off breast of Jewish woman on Oct 7, 2023


JewsToo. Jewish women in LA show what is happening to Israeli Jews

Western feminists supporting Hamas should watch this 9-second clip from Hamas’ own recordings

Sheryl Sandberg has emerged as one of the most vociferous critics of feminists (actually, everyone) who remained silent in the face of Hamas’s violence. One example of her eloquence is below:

Sheryl Sandberg: Why are the women’s organizations and UN ignoring Israelis who were raped, murdered?

Click on all the headlines to go to the links (these were chosen by me, not Tom Gross):

About time the NYT highlighted this! A quote from the above:

On Monday, some 800 people, including women’s activists and diplomats representing about 40 countries, crowded into a chamber at U.N. headquarters in New York for a presentation laying out the evidence of large-scale sexual violence, with testimony from witnesses like Ms. Mendes and Mr. Greinman.

“Silence is complicity,” Sheryl Sandberg, the former Meta executive, told those assembled. She, along with Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, was among the event’s primary organizers. “On Oct. 7, Hamas brutally murdered 1,200 souls and in some cases, they first raped their victims,” Ms. Sandberg added. “We know this from eyewitnesses, we know this from combat paramedics, we would know this from some victims if more had been allowed to live.”

Hamas has denied that its fighters committed sex crimes, which it said would violate Islamic principles.

But ample evidence has been collected, like the bodies of women found partially or fully naked, women with their pelvic bones broken, the accounts of medical examiners and first responders, videos taken by Hamas fighters themselves, and even a few firsthand witnesses like a woman, in a video made public last month by police officials, who said she had watched Hamas terrorists take turns raping a young woman they had captured at a music festival, mutilate her and then shoot her in the head.

Biden waited too long, too, but at least he said something:

President Biden on Tuesday condemned the “unimaginable cruelty” of Hamas attackers who raped and mutilated women in Israel on Oct. 7, and he blamed the group’s refusal to release its remaining female hostages for the breakdown in cease-fire talks.

Speaking at a fund-raising event in Boston, Mr. Biden cited reports that Hamas fighters “used rape to terrorize women and girls” on Oct. 7, as they swept through Israeli towns and a music festival in the southern part of the country, killing more than 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities.

“Over the past few weeks, survivors and witnesses of the attacks have shared the horrific accounts of unimaginable cruelty,” Mr. Biden told donors at the event at a Westin hotel. “Reports of women raped — repeatedly raped — and their bodies being mutilated while still alive — of women corpses being desecrated, Hamas terrorists inflicting as much pain and suffering on women and girls as possible and then murdering them.”

He added: “It is appalling.”

Bret Stephens, who doesn’t adhere to the NYT’s love of Palestine and hatred of Israel, is a sensible voice on the Hamas/Israel war (my opinion ,of course):

An excerpt (Jayapal’s weaselly words are in a video below):

On Sunday, CNN’s Dana Bash asked Representative Pramila Jayapal why so many progressive women have been silent about the extensive reports of widespread rape and sexual assault carried out by Hamas against Israeli women during the massacres of Oct. 7.

What followed was a master class in evasion, both-sidesism and changing the subject from the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“I’ve condemned what Hamas has done,” Jayapal allowed, briefly, before moving immediately to condemn Israel. Bash persisted: “I was just asking about the women, and you turned it back to Israel. I’m asking about Hamas.”

“I’ve already answered your question, Dana,” Jayapal replied, adding that while rape was “horrific,” it “happens in war situations. Terrorist organizations like Hamas obviously are using these as tools. However, I think we have to be balanced about bringing in the outrages against Palestinians.”

. . . it took U.N. Women, the agency that has that mandate to look out for women’s rights globally, eight weeks before issuing a perfunctory statement saying it was “alarmed” by accounts of gender-based atrocities during the attacks of Oct. 7.

As for other so-called human-rights organizations, the website of Human Rights Watch — which includes a page ostensibly devoted to women’s rights — has dozens of news releases about the war in Gaza. Not a word about the rapes. From Amnesty International: nothing that can be found on its website. The National Organization for Women denounced the Oct. 7 attacks on the day they occurred and last week issued a news release condemning “rape as a weapon of war.” But it contained no mention of Hamas.

Why not?

In a remarkable floor speech last week, Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, spoke of “the sting of the double standard,” which, he said, “is at the root of antisemitism.” He also recalled a talk he heard in college by Abba Eban, then Israel’s foreign minister, who confronted left-wing hecklers at an event at Harvard.

“We have lived with the double standard throughout the centuries,” Eban told the protesters, Schumer said. “There are always things the Jews couldn’t do. Everyone could be a farmer but not the Jew, everyone could be a carpenter but not the Jew, everyone could move to Moscow but not the Jew, and everyone could have their own state, but not the Jew.”

To which one can today add: Every victim of sexual violence should be heard; no condemnation of rape should ever come with qualifiers; “Silence Is Violence.”

But not when it comes to Jews.

Jayapal is a “progressive” Democrat and a reliably Israel-condemning member of “The Squad”.  Her strategy for ending the war: “it’s complicated.” She says there’s an alternative for Hamas as the leader of Gaza, but doesn’t say who it is. The Palestinian Authority? She’s asked “who’s going to get rid of Hamas if there’s no continuing war?. She blames Israel’s attack on Gaza for the failure of Hamas to disappear, but Hamas isn’t going to voluntarily go away.  Jayapal also lies about Hamas using civilians as human shields, not admitting that it even happens.

As for the question Stephens mentions above if brought up at 6:45, and Jayapal waffles, condemning what Hamas did but then begins chastising Israel for violating “international humanitarian law.” What’s notably absent is Jayapal’s condemnation of the genuine violations of international law by Hamas. This woman blames everything on Israel, which she clearly wants to disappear—even though she calls for a two-state solution.

As Stephens says, this is a great exemplar of one-sideism masquerading as general humanitarianism.

Finally, an NBC News report summarizing the sexual violence of Hamas.


Three University Presidents testify in Congress about antisemitism

December 6, 2023 • 9:45 am

A ton of readers and friends have sent me videos of the interrogation of three University Presidents (Harvard, MIT, and Penn) yesterday by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Yes, some of the Presidents waffled or seemed unprepared for the Congressional grilling (they should have had a mock “interrogation” beforehand at their schools), but, except for Harvard’s Claudine Gay, who seemed pretty much out of it, they did okay. (A video of the entire hearing is at the bottom of this post.)

Where the Presidents apparently failed, at least in the eyes of the House members who interrogated them, was in their unwillingness to affirm that their universities unequivocally condemned antisemitism, especially calls for genocide of the Jews. But I think the representatives were misguided.

Calling for genocide of Jews, or saying stuff like “gas the Jews” is, in fact, nearly always speech that is legal under the First Amendment. The only time it isn’t is when it constitutes personal harassment of someone, creates a hostile atmosphere in the workplace, or is meant to incite imminent and predictable violence.  Thus, a group of Students for Justice in Palestine standing on campus in a permitted demonstration and chanting “Gas the Jews” or “Another intifada,” or even (I haven’t heard this), “Genocide against Israel!” is in conformity with the courts’ interpretation of the First Amendment.

Repeated harassment of a Jewish person is of course illegal, as is any form of harassment, and is properly against university rules. Likewise, creating an atmosphere in the classroom designed to intimidate or harass Jews is also illegal, though the line between teaching one’s opinion and what Jewish students see as harassments could be tenuous.

Finally, it’s hard to imagine a situation in which calling for genocide of the Jews in an on-campus speech could -lead to imminent and predictable lawless violence against Jews. Even if you say this in front of Jewish students, that would incite violence only if there were people there prepared to commit violence if they heard such a statement. I have not seen this on any campus, but it’s conceivable.

Because I believe that all universities should have speech codes like Chicago’s, which conform to that Amendment, I think the only way to answer the question “Do the values of your university unequivocally condemn calls for genocide of the Jews?” is “It depends.” That is what the three Presidents tried to say. And for that they were universally condemned. Apparently the Representatives (and some people who wrote me) don’t understand their own Constitution.

Here’s an example, but first the YouTube notes:

Harvard University President Claudine Gay, the University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about the universities’ response to antisemitism incidents that have occurred on campuses since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Below: New York Republican Congresswoman Else Stefanik bullying (there’s no other word for it) the three college Presidents, mocking their responses and saying that there’s only one right answer: a college must condemn calls for genocide of the Jews no matter what the circumstances.  She is relentless and clearly interested only in humiliating the Presidents.

Below Stefanik goes after President Gay further, but also mentions racist comments as well as antisemitic ones.

Gay responds that calls for genocide against Jews, “is against the values of Harvard.” She screwed up here, for Harvard does not (or should not) have values, and I doubt that there is even a “Harvard code of conduct” that stipulates such a value. (If it does, it quashes free speech.) This is one example of where Gay should have been better prepared. Likewise, she doesn’t handle very well Stafanik’s question about why Harvard was dead last on FIRE’s ranking of colleges’ policies on freedom of speech.

But Gay does say that odious speech is allowed under many circumstances, and in that case she’s right. But her handling of the pro-Palestinian statement blaming October 7 on Israel, in which she had to issue not only an initial statement, but then two subsequent corrections, was hamhanded.

My own prediction is that Gay won’t be President of Harvard much longer. She just doesn’t seem to have the composure or judgement to hold such a position.

Below is a statement from Harvard’s Hillel chapter criticizing President Gay for refusing to ban calls for genocide against the Jews. (h/t Mark). The statement reads in part:

A call for genocide against Jews is always a hateful incitement of violence. President Gay’s failure to properly condemn this speech calls into question her ability to protect Jewish students on Harvard’s campus.

While highlighting the conflict between free speech and intimidation or offense by Jewish students, this misunderstands the First Amendment.  Yes, these calls are calls for violence, but they aren’t (and shouldn’t be) illegal since they aren’t intended to produce imminent and predictable violence Here we see how organizations abandon adherence to freedom of speech when it leads to speech considered odious.

Dear Harvard Hillel Community,

Earlier today, Harvard President Claudine Gay testified before Congress about rising antisemitism at Harvard. When pressed during her testimony, President Gay repeatedly equivocated, refusing to characterize calls for the genocide of Jews as a breach of Harvard’s code of conduct, instead saying the offense “depends on the context.”

President Gay’s refusal to draw a line around threatening antisemitic speech as a violation of Harvard’s policies is profoundly shocking given explicit provisions within the conduct code prohibiting this kind of bullying and harassment.

We are appalled by the need to state the obvious: A call for genocide against Jews is always a hateful incitement of violence. President Gay’s failure to properly condemn this speech calls into question her ability to protect Jewish students on Harvard’s campus. Chants to “globalize the intifada,” an endorsement of violent terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli civilians, and “from the river to the sea,” an eliminationist slogan intended to deprive Jews of their right to self-determination in Israel, have become tragically routine at Harvard. President Gay’s testimony fails to reassure us that the University is seriously concerned about the antisemitic rhetoric pervasive on campus. We call on President Gay to take action against those using threatening speech that violates our community standards.

We do agree with President Gay’s testimony that education on antisemitism is urgently needed at Harvard. Harvard Hillel is ready to work with the administration to bring robust education and training on the history of the Jewish people and the evolution of antisemitism to every audience at Harvard — administration, faculty, staff and students.

We will continue to hold the University administration accountable to make Harvard a place that Jewish students can learn, live, and thrive without fear and intimidation.


Jacob Miller

Harvard Hillel President

Rabbi Getzel Davis

Harvard Hillel Campus Rabbi

Below is a clip (h/t Al) in which Representative Tim Walberg (Republican, Michigan, though the nametag says Representative Thompson) asks Harvard’s Claudine Gay how non-odious views—like accepting the sex binary or having heterodox opinions on sex and abortion could lead to professors being fired (he’s referring to Carole Hooven, who I had dinner with last night) and to Tyler Vanderweele)—while having reprehensible views like calling for genocide of Jews is okay.  He’s trying to paint Gay as a hypocrite. Gay doesn’t handle the question well: another example of her hamhandedness.

Carole Hooven corrects the record; she was not fired by Harvard, and she links to a piece that explains what happened to her.

VanderWeele wasn’t fired either: here’s his story (he’s still at Harvard).

The whole interrogation seems to me an attempt of Republicans to flex their muscles by humiliating the elite: the Presidents of three high-class colleges.  Yes, there is a hard problem to deal with: how to maintain freedom of speech while preventing an atmosphere of hate from pervading their campuses. I have no solutions to offer, but the Republicans here seem to be bullying the Presidents. That said, the Representatives do highlight this conflict, which has led to difficulties on campuses.  But they could have been less hostile!

Someone pointed out Gay’s hypocrisy on Twitter (“X”), contrasting her words on George Floyd with her reluctance to condemn antisemitism (Harvard has no policy of institutional neutrality), and I retweeted it with a comment:

Finally, here is the full hearing: nearly 5½ hours:

Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ purity

December 6, 2023 • 8:15 am

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “spiral,”  came with a few short words and a link:

Oh, just get on with it, for God’s sake.

The link refers to a “purity spiral,” which according to Wikipedia is:

. . . . a form of groupthink where it becomes more beneficial to hold certain views than to not hold them, and more extreme views are rewarded while expressing doubt, nuance, or moderation is punished (a process sometimes called “moral outbidding”). This feedback loop leads to members competing to demonstrate the zealotry or purity of their views.

And here’s an example as the boys prepare to sing a duet:





Wednesday: Hili dialogue

December 6, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to a Hump Day (“Ден на грпка” in Macedonian): Wednesday, December 6, 2023, and National Gazpacho Day, a day of cultural appropriation You cannot eat it unless you’re of Spanish or Portuguese ancestry:

It’s also National Microwave Oven Day, St. Nicholas Day, National Pawnbrokers Day, and, in Canada, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the December 6 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*War news from the NYT. The whole tenor of the NYT’s coverage of the war is about how Israel’s military response to Hamas’s attack is damaging everything, and, frankly, I’m tired of this bias, for the military is also eliminating Hamas, which impoverished Gaza as a military and terrorist government.

But here’s one example of where they try to justify Hamas’s toll of Israeli’s killed, even though Hamas lies like a rug. This also includes some war news that’s surely accurate, but I’m now convinced that the editors of both the NYT and the Washington Post want the war to end with Hamas still around and Israel pulled back to its former border—and perhaps the papers even secretly want Israel to vanish, which would happen if Hamas is not taken down.  An excerpt:

The Israeli military said on Wednesday that its forces were advancing around the southern city of Khan Younis, where Israeli commanders have described house-to-house gun battles with Hamas fighters in some of the heaviest fighting of the two-month-old war.

A military spokesman, Avichay Adraee, warned Gazan civilians not to approach Salah al-Din Road, the main highway that connects Khan Younis to northern Gaza, calling it “a battlefield” and “extremely dangerous.” Gazans attempting to head north to seek refuge should instead use the main coastal road, he said in a post on social media, although it was unclear whether many people would do so given the intense bombardment — or how many could see the information given communications disruptions in Gaza.

On Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, head of Israel’s southern command, had said its forces were battling in “the heart” of Khan Younis, where the fighting was “the most intense day since the beginning of the ground operation” in late October.

Hamas said it had killed 10 Israeli soldiers in the city and had injured several more, a claim that could not be immediately verified. Nir Dinar, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said the army did not comment on casualties until after soldiers’ families were notified.

Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, also claimed in online posts that its fighters had totally or partially destroyed 24 Israeli military vehicles; that its snipers had shot at least six soldiers in the city; and that eight Israeli soldiers were injured with an anti-personnel bomb, though it did not say where.

Get a load of this “reporting”:

None of Hamas’s claims could be immediately verified, but the pace of the posts seemed to confirm Israeli accounts of intense urban combat around Khan Younis, the largest city in the coastal enclave’s south.

In other words, “we can’t verify Hamas’s claims about the deaths of Israeli soldiers, but they are buttressed by how fast Hamas issues posts, so the claims are probably true.”

*From reader Ken, some rare good news:

According to this section of the Death Penalty Information Center’s Year End Report, for the first time since such statistics began being kept, more Americans (50%) believe that capital punishment is unfairly applied than that believe it is fairly applied (47%).

There may be hope yet that we will become a civilized society.
The Year End Report is chock full of interesting information.

*You’ve probably heard that climate-change activist Greta Thunberg has become an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause against Israel.  If you want to read more about it, here’s a Guardian op-ed sent in by reader Niklas, “We won’t stop speaking out about Gaza’s suffering—there is no climate justice without human rights.”  Somehow Greta has managed to connect her movement for awareness of global warming with Israel’s “genocide” against Gaza. Here’s how she does it (remember, she’s the first author of this stuff):

More than 15,000 people, of whom at least 6,000 were children. That’s how many people Israel has reportedly killed in the Gaza Strip in a matter of weeks – and those numbers are still rising. Israel has bombed basic societal infrastructure and civilian targets such as hospitals, schools, shelters and refugee camps. Israel has imposed a siege, preventing food, medicine, water and fuel from reaching the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in the occupied Gaza Strip, leading Oxfam to accuse Israel of employing “starvation as a weapon of war”.

Dozens of United Nations experts have described the situation as “a genocide in the making”, hundreds of international scholars have warned of an unfolding genocide and prominent Israeli genocide expert Raz Segal has called it “a textbook case of genocide”. But most of the world, particularly the so-called global north, is looking the other way.

Despite these horrors, some have chosen to focus the public debate on attempts to delegitimise statements about Gaza made by young people in the climate justice movement. Contrary to what many have claimed, Fridays for Future has not “been radicalised” or “become political”. We have always been political, because we have always been a movement for justice. Standing in solidarity with Palestinians and all affected civilians has never been in question for us.

Advocating for climate justice fundamentally comes from a place of caring about people and their human rights. That means speaking up when people suffer, are forced to flee their homes or are killed – regardless of the cause. It is the same reason why we have always held strikes in solidarity with marginalised groups – including those in Sápmi, Kurdistan, Ukraine and many other places – and their struggles for justice against imperialism and oppression. Our solidarity with Palestine is no different, and we refuse to let the public focus shift away from the horrifying human suffering that Palestinians are currently facing.

That’s a pretty tenuous connection, but it gives Thunberg a chance to vent her spleen against Israel. Although the article does mention the Hamas attacks of October 7, it doesn’t mention the hostages; and the bulk of the article is devoted to condemning Israel, not Hamas or Palestine. All this goes to show is.that although Greta might be savvy about promoting climate-change awareness, she’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to judging military conflicts.

The authors didn’t neglect giving their pronouns, but one has “all pronouns’!  All of them?

Greta Thunberg (she/her), a Swedish activist who inspired Fridays for Future, a movement of school strikes against global climate inaction

Alde Nilsson (all pronouns), a global development student and climate justice activist with Fridays for Future Sweden

Jamie Mater (they/them), a researcher and climate justice activist with Fridays for Future Sweden

Raquel Frescia (she/they), a writer/researcher and climate justice activist with Fridays for Future Sweden

*Here’s a new Gallup poll on the proportion of Americans in various groups who support or don’t support Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

The first bit of data:

Half of Americans approve of Israel’s military action in the Hamas-led Gaza Strip, and 45% disapprove, according to a Gallup poll conducted several weeks after Hamas launched a deadly attack on Israel that led to a major military operation by Israel.

I would have thought that the green bar would be longer. Nearly half of Americans apparently think that Israel should have done either nothing or very little in response to Hamas’s brutal attack.

More: a big age effect, so the youngest Americans are least approving of Israel’s going into Gaza, while older people are more approving. (No surprise there.) People of color are far more disapproving than are white people, while there’s not much effect of education on the data. Finally, Democrats are far more disapproving than Republicans, while Independents are in between.  The Democrats are clearly clueless, and Biden is right to buck them, though how long he can fight the “progressives” on this one is unknown.

And what about Biden’s handling of the crisis?

President Joe Biden’s 32% approval rating for his handling of the Israel-Hamas situation is lower than his already-anemic 37% overall job approval rating in the new poll.

This approval deficit is especially pronounced among the groups who are most opposed to Israel’s military action in Gaza: Democrats, people of color, women and young adults. These groups express significantly less approval for the job Biden is doing on the Middle East situation than they offer for his job performance overall.

Finally, 72% of Americans are following the Middle East situation either very closely or somewhat closely, a figure that increases with both age and education.

*Here’s a video from Tom Gross with the caption below. As you’ll see, Amit was released, so it’s a sort of happy ending, though we don’t know what happened to her in captivity.

Amit bravely tries to fight off seven armed terrorists. She is the freedom fighter, not them

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows off her knowledge of evolutionary history:

A: What are you looking at?
Hili: At a V-formation of dinosaurs.
A: Those are probably geese.
Hili: It’s possible.
In Polish:
Ja: Na co patrzysz?
Hili: Na klucz dinozaurów.
Ja: To chyba gęsi.
Hili: Możliwe.


From Bat: Columbia University circling the drain. You can bet that someone will be defending the “offensive” today. However, this conference was canceled by Columbia on the grounds that the organizers violated university protocol.

From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0:

From Masih; what a horrible existence this poor protestor has to lead.

How the UN is complicit in propagandizing kids and fomenting Jew hatred:

From Barry, who adds, “See? A dog can be helpful.”  Yes, to a cat!!

From Jez (I may have posted this before):

From Bat: “A minute and a half clip of Julia Steinberg from The Free Press testifying before Congress on education that ties DEI structure with the Jew hatred she sees at Stanford and on other campuses”:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman who died in the camp at about 32:

Two tweets from the estimable Dr. Cobb. First, an obsessed d*g:

Matthew calls this one “saucy,” but it’s good advice:

Intercessionary prayer fails again, this time with covid recovery

December 5, 2023 • 11:30 am

This is the third study I know of in which intercessory prayer (prayer by strangers for the afflicted) has failed to show results.  The first two papers, whose titles are below (click to read) showed that such prayer failed to help patients with heart disease.  I’ve discussed these before, and you can see for yourself that if God exists, listens to prayer, and sometimes responds, He clearly was not listening in these two experiments.

I give the conclusions of each of the first two studies below. Notice that the second study was funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation, which clearly hoped for a positive result!

First, a study from 22 years ago:

Conclusion: The study found no evidence of an effect of intercessory prayer on the primary outcome of mortality or on the secondary outcomes of hospitalization time, ICU time, and mechanical ventilation time.

Second, a study from 17 years ago:

Sadly, no gods with any power to respond to prayer did anything. Note as well that, in fact, intercessory prayer increased (nonsignificantly) the percentage of  bad outcomes (bolding is mine). Perhaps god doesn’t like intercessory prayer!

Results: In the 2 groups uncertain about receiving intercessory prayer, complications occurred in 52% (315/604) of patients who received intercessory prayer versus 51% (304/597) of those who did not (relative risk 1.02, 95% CI 0.92-1.15). Complications occurred in 59% (352/601) of patients certain of receiving intercessory prayer compared with the 52% (315/604) of those uncertain of receiving intercessory prayer (relative risk 1.14, 95% CI 1.02-1.28). Major events and 30-day mortality were similar across the 3 groups.

Conclusions: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.

And look at the acknowledgements:

This study was supported by the John Templeton Foundation. The Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation supported the Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation site only.

And here’s the latest study, published in a weird journal, but one that is peer-reviewed: Heliyon. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it:

Heliyon is a monthly peer-reviewed mega journal covering research in all areas of science, the social sciences and humanities, and the arts. It was established in 2015 and is published by Cell Press. The journal is divided into numerous sections, each with its own editorial team.

Click the title to read, or you might find it more convenient to download the entire pdf here. The reference is at the bottom of the page.

The experiment was done in Brazil, and I don’t think I need to reprise the methods and results since the summary below gives all the essential information. I’ve highlighted the lack of positive results by bolding part of this summary:

Between September 2020 and December 2020, a total of 199 participants (out of 244 that were screened) were randomly assigned to either the Intervention group (n = 100) or the control group (n = 99, Fig. 1). Baseline characteristics, presented in Table 1, were well balanced between the two groups. The study population consisted of 34 % women, with a mean age of 61 years. Additionally, 44 % of participants had hypertension, and 6 % had obesity. At the end of the study, no significant difference in the primary outcome of mortality was observed between the intervention and control groups. Among the 99 subjects in the control group, there were 8 deaths, and the same number of deaths [8] occurred in the intervention group (HR 0.86, 95 % CI 0.32 to 2.31; p = 0.76). Similarly, there were no statistically significant differences in the secondary outcomes between the two groups. The need for ICU admission (p = 0.471), length of stay in the ICU (mean difference 􀀀 0.77, 95 % CI -4.13 to 3.20; p = 0.70), need for mechanical ventilation (p = 0.457), duration of mechanical ventilation (mean difference 3.89 days, 95 % CI -7.09 to 14.71; p = 0.54), and length of hospital stay (mean difference 1.96, 95 % CI -2.78 to 7.85; p = 0.45) were all similar between the two groups, as shown in Table 2. Due to the necessary change in participant identification during the study, we also evaluated the outcomes among participants who were identified by initials and received direct prayers (Table 3) and among participants who were identified by the number of the hospital beds (Table 4). Similarly, we did not observe any changes in the primary or secondary outcome. 

Other aspects of the study worth knowing about include the fact that subjects were admitted to intensive care or clinical inpatient facilities with a PCR-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. All patients were older than 18, and were used regardless of their religion or lack thereof. The study was double blind with a control group of patients; patients didn’t know whether they were being prayed for (half were; half were not) and the pray-ers didn’t know the names of the patients, who were identified and prayed for only by their initials and, later, by the number of their hospital bed (God presumably knows all this stuff).

The pray-ers were “Protestant religious leaders” who were able to pray daily for one of the patients. And the prayer devoted to each patient was INTENSIVE, as detailed below:

Each intercessor prayed from their own homes or workplaces, dedicating a total of 240 min per day, divided into three shifts of 80 min each (morning, afternoon, and night). The content of each prayer was not specifically assigned, but it was required to include the following topics: 1) preservation of the patient’s life, 2) avoidance of orotracheal intubation or mechanical ventilation for those not yet intubated, 3) shorter duration of intubation and mechanical ventilation for those already in that state, 4) reduced length of stay in the ICU, and 5) reduced total length of hospital stay.

Now that is what I call prayer. Nevertheless, there was no difference in the outcomes of the experimental (prayed-for) and the control (not-prayed-for) group). The authors do give some caveats, including the small sample size and the fact that the method of identifying patients changed mid-study from initials to hospital bed number (Brazilian law was invoked), but if there is an omniscient God, He should know these things.

This is three out of three studies that haven’t worked.  The possible explanations include these:

1.) There is no God to hear the prayers.

2.) a God, but he can’t hear the prayers.

3.) There is a God who hears the prayers, but he pays no attention to them.

4.) God doesn’t want to be tested, and so ignored the whole experiment. But note that God was effectively tested in a Bible passage (1 Kings 18) in which sacrifices were offered to a false god versus the real God simultaneously, and only the sacrifices to Yahweh worked. This was a controlled experiment!

5.) Protestant prayers are less effective than prayers of other denominations.

Inventive readers can think of other explanations.

Of course as an atheist I think that #1 is the right answer. As the late Victor Stenger said, “The absence of evidence [for God] is indeed evidence of absence if the evidence should be there.”

Naturally this study won’t make a dent in the belief of the godly, for they will simply discount it on one ground or another—probably #4 above.  All we can say is that three sincere attempts to see if prayers work showed that they don’t.

And did I mention that although Lourdes is full of discarded crutches and wheelchairs, there are no false eyeballs or prosthetic limbs on display? Apparently God can cure lots of stuff, but is impotent before blindness and amputation.


Soubihe Junior NV, Bersch-Ferreira ÂC, Tokunaga SM, Lopes LA, Cavalcanti AB, Bernadez-Pereira S. 2023. The remote intercessory prayer, during the clinical evolution of patients with COVID -19, randomized double-blind clinical trial. Heliyon. 2023 Nov 17;9(11):e22411.

doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e22411. PMID: 38045114; PMCID: PMC10689938.


Tuesday: Hili dialogue

December 5, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the cruelest day, a Tuesday, which happens to be December 5, 2023, and National Comfort Food Day. Here’s an American classic in that genre: tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich:

It’s also National Blue Jeans Day, National Sachertorte Day (cultural appropriation), Repeal Day (the day in 1933 when the 21st Amendment banning the manufacture and sale of booze was repealed), Walt Disney Day (Walt was born on this day in 1901), International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social DevelopmentWorld Soil Day, Saint Nicholas’ Eve in Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Germany, Poland and the UK, and, finally, Krampusnacht in Austria. Wikipedia describes Krampus as

. . . a horned, anthropomorphic figure in the Central and Eastern Alpine folklore of Europe who, during the Advent season, scares children who have misbehaved. Assisting Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, the pair visit children on the night of 6 December, with Saint Nicholas rewarding the well-behaved children with gifts such as oranges, dried fruit, walnuts and chocolate, while the badly behaved ones only receive punishment from Krampus with birch rods.

Here’s an Austrian postcard showing Krampus in action (the caption is “Greetings from Krampus”). The girl has clearly been good this year, but the boy is going to get his bottom swatted—or worse:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the December 5 Wikipedia page.

Most important: there are only 20 shopping days left until Coynezaa (for newbies, this is the personal holiday celebrating your host, which extends for the five days between Christmas and my birthday (December, 30).

Da Nooz:

*War nooz from the NYT. We have two items. First, the movement of the IDF to southern Gaza has begun:

The Israeli military has begun an invasion of southern Gaza, according to a New York Times analysis of satellite imagery, evidence of a long-awaited operation that could decide the fate of its war with Hamas and create more peril for Palestinian civilians.

After capturing large parts of northern Gaza since late October, Israeli troops have now advanced into the last section of the territory that had been under full Hamas control. Their move sets the stage for what is likely to be the decisive battle of the war: a showdown in Khan Younis, the largest city in the south, where Israeli officials believe Hamas’s military and political leadership has sought shelter since fleeing from the north.

. . . The invasion of the south is expected to be the most intense phase of a war that is already the deadliest in the Arab-Israeli conflict since Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and which has prompted the largest displacement of Palestinians since the wars that surrounded the creation of Israel in 1948.

And a group of women at the UN, partly organized by Sheryl Sandberg, Ceiling Cat bless her, have brought to the body’s attention how it ignored the sexual violence of women during Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel. (The UN hates Israel, of course):

Shari Mendes, a member of an Israeli military reserve unit tasked with preparing the bodies of fallen female soldiers for burial, said her team saw several who were killed on Oct. 7 “who were shot in the crotch, intimate parts, vagina, or were shot in the breast.” Others had mutilated faces, or multiple gunshots to their heads.

Since the Oct. 7 attack, during which more than 1,200 people were killed and some 240 people were kidnapped, Israeli officials have accused the terrorists of also committing widespread sexual violence — rape and sexual mutilation — particularly against women.

Yet those atrocities have received little scrutiny from human rights groups, or the news media, amid the larger war between Israel and Hamas — and until a few days ago, they had not been specifically mentioned or condemned by UN Women, the United Nations’ women’s rights agency, which has regularly spoken out about the plight of Palestinian women and girls.

On Monday, some 800 people, including women’s activists and diplomats representing about 40 countries, crowded into a chamber at U.N. headquarters in New York for a presentation laying out the evidence of large-scale sexual violence, with testimony from witnesses like Ms. Mendes and Mr. Greinman.

“Silence is complicity,” Sheryl Sandberg, the former Meta executive, told those assembled. She, along with Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, was among the event’s primary organizers. “On Oct. 7, Hamas brutally murdered 1,200 souls and in some cases, they first raped their victims,” Ms. Sandberg added. “We know this from eyewitnesses, we know this from combat paramedics, we would know this from some victims if more had been allowed to live.”

. . . . Hamas has denied that its fighters committed sex crimes, which it said would violate Islamic principles.

But ample evidence has been collected, like the bodies of women found partially or fully naked, women with their pelvic bones broken, the accounts of medical examiners and first responders, videos taken by Hamas fighters themselves, and even a few firsthand witnesses like a woman, in a video made public last month by police officials, who said she had watched Hamas terrorists take turns raping a young woman they had captured at a music festival, mutilate her and then shoot her in the head.

Hamas are brutal (and also liars of course), and the UN is reprehensible. At least they’re forced to listen to evidence of violence against women that the organization UN Women chose to ignore.

Here are 20 minites of testimony and speeches from the event, which was indeed held under the auspices of the UN. A longer, 90-minute version with more testimony, some of it horrific, is here.

*Trump is back in the news as the Hamas/Israel war becomes more familiar And yesterday’s headline in the NYT is a scary one (any headline containing “Trump” is scary: “Why a second Trump Presidency may be more radical than his first.” OY!

. . .Mr. Trump’s violent and authoritarian rhetoric on the 2024 campaign trail has attracted growing alarm and comparisons to historical fascist dictators and contemporary populist strongmen. In recent weeks, he has dehumanized his adversaries as “vermin” who must be “rooted out,” declared that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country,” encouraged the shooting of shoplifters and suggested that the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, deserved to be executed for treason.

As he runs for president again facing four criminal prosecutions, Mr. Trump may seem more angry, desperate and dangerous to American-style democracy than in his first term. But the throughline that emerges is far more long-running: He has glorified political violence and spoken admiringly of autocrats for decades.

. . .What would be different in a second Trump administration is not so much his character as his surroundings. Forces that somewhat contained his autocratic tendencies in his first term — staff members who saw their job as sometimes restraining him, a few congressional Republicans episodically willing to criticize or oppose him, a partisan balance on the Supreme Court that occasionally ruled against him — would all be weaker.

As a result, Mr. Trump’s and his advisers’ more extreme policy plans and ideas for a second term would have a greater prospect of becoming reality.

And then comes a laundry list of things an autocratic second-term Trump could do:

Other parts of Mr. Trump’s agenda, however, are aberrational. No U.S. president before him had toyed with withdrawing from NATO, the United States’ military alliance with Western democracies. He has said he would fundamentally re-evaluate “NATO’s purpose and NATO’s mission” in a second term.

He has said he would order the military to attack drug cartels in Mexico, which would violate international law unless its government consented. It most likely would not.

He would also use the military on domestic soil. While it is generally illegal to use troops for domestic law enforcement, the Insurrection Act allows exceptions. After some demonstrations against police violence in 2020 became riots, Mr. Trump had an order drafted to use troops to crack down on protesters in Washington, D.C., but didn’t sign it. He suggested at a rally in Iowa this year that he intends to unilaterally send troops into Democratic-run cities to enforce public order in general.

“You look at any Democrat-run state, and it’s just not the same — it doesn’t work,” Mr. Trump told the crowd, calling cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco crime dens. “We cannot let it happen any longer. And one of the other things I’ll do — because you’re supposed to not be involved in that, you just have to be asked by the governor or the mayor to come in — the next time, I’m not waiting.”

Mr. Trump’s plans to purge undocumented immigrants include sweeping raids, huge detention camps, deportations on the scale of millions per year, stopping asylum, trying to end birthright citizenship for babies born on U.S. soil to undocumented parents and invoking the Insurrection Act near the southern border to also use troops as immigration agents.

Best not to think about this stuff yet. Maybe he’ll sit out his second term in jail. .

*When I was reading about press coverage of the war, I kept coming across the name of Owen Jones, usually mentioned in a pejorative way. Wikipedia says this about his background doesn’t mention anything about the war.

Owen Jones (born 8 August 1984) is a British newspaper columnist, political commentator, journalist, author, and left-wing activist. He writes a column for The Guardian and contributes to the New Statesman and Tribune. He has two weekly web series, The Owen Jones Show, and The Owen Jones Podcast. He was previously a columnist for The Independent.

Reader Jez Grove gave me more information (indented) below and I’ve given or quoted from some of the links. His response to “Who is Owen Jones?”

. . . . a misogynistic and anti-Semitic  man who is a columnist at the Guardian (where else?)

He recently posted a YouTube video of his reaction after watching the 7 October film compiled from footage recorded by Hamas terrorists and CCTV cameras on the day of the atrocities. Essentially,  his take was (I paraphrase, but probably not by much), “Yes, there were shots of dead women with their skirts pulled up and no underwear, but how do we know that they were raped?”

It seems to have provoked civil war at the Guardian, with his fellow columnist Gaby Hinsliff writing a powerful retort to denialists like Jones. She didn’t mention him by name, but it might as well have been called “An open letter to Owen Jones”. You can read her piece here [JAC: see below]

UnHerd has this article about him: “How the Guardian enables Own Jones.

He’s alleged to have bullied female colleagues, two of whom left the Guardian. (They were Hadley Freeman, who happens to be Jewish, and Suzanne Moore.)

He was called a “shit weasel” on Twitter after his reaction video came out and that insult was trending on Twitter here soon afterwards.

Jones released his video as an individual rather than as a Guardian “journalist”, which I presume is the figleaf that prevents the paper from dispensing with his services.

Here’s Jones in Hamas-apologetic mode. This video caused a lot of ruckus.  About the rapes: Israel is investigating this assertion by examining the bodies of the dead for wounds, semen, and the like. We’ll know more if and when Hamas releases more women prisoners—if they release any. But as far as I know from observers, including those at the rave party who actually witnessed rape, there’s already ample evidence of sexual violence committed by Hamas against women.

Judge for yourselves. All I can say that in his constant insistence on “good journalistic practice”, he’s seems far more credulous about the claims of Hamas than about the claims of Israel.

Hinsliff’s piece is called “Whatever your view of the Israel-Hamas war, rape is rape. To trivialise it is to diminish ourselves.”  An excerpt:

Why do people who would probably happily judge an allegedly predatory actor or MP based on little more than hearsay seemingly struggle to entertain doubts about the sexual conduct of a terrorist, as if to do so would somehow be a betrayal of the Palestinian cause? For those who still conceive of Hamas gunmen as freedom fighters engaged in glorious resistance, it’s perhaps easier to rationalise away dead women than raped ones. It’s a war, they might tell themselves, and people die in war; anyway, look how many thousands more innocent women and children have died in Gaza. But a crime so obviously born of misogyny, revenge and exploitative power is not so easily explained away. For those who can’t deal with the troubling cognitive dissonance, the easiest thing is to decide that it just didn’t happen. The survivors must be liars, along with the first responders who reported finding half-naked bodies with injuries I won’t describe here, and the pathologists and women’s rights activists and news agencies claiming to have been shown supporting photographs and ambassadors saying they believe what they’ve heard from morgue workers; liars, the lot of them. Because if they aren’t, what are you?

Here’s another critical take from Honest Reporting: “The dangerous lies of Guardian columnist Owen Jones about Israel-Hamas War.”

*If you’ve read Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (and you should; it’s a fantastic but disturbing book), you’ll know about the Sackler family, who were big-time philanthropists, all the while keeping their deep involvement in promoting opioids like Oxycontin a secret. The way they made Americans addicted to painkillers is frightening, but it came out and now they’ve been sued and are going into bankruptcy. Now, according to the WaPo, the Supreme Court is weighing their bankruptcy plan, which pays big bucks to plaintiffs but also protects the family’s finances (it’s discussed at the end of the book.

The Supreme Court on Monday seemed torn about both the merits and the legality of a proposed Purdue Pharma bankruptcy plan thatwould allocate billions of dollars to help ease the nation’s opioid crisis, but also shield the family that owns the company from future lawsuits.

Justices across the ideological spectrum asked tough questions of lawyers from the Justice Department, which opposes the deal, and attorneysfor Purdue and the vast number of parties that have an interest in the outcome.

Those parties say unraveling the settlement plan would leave some victims with nothing.

“Forget a better deal — there is no other deal,” said Washington lawyer Pratik Shah, who represents the interests of states, hospitals, tribes, insurance companies, individual victims and other creditors who agreed to the settlement.

But Curtis E. Gannon, representing the Justice Department, said that claim already has been proven untrue. After some states and individuals objected to a previous version of the plan, he said, the Sackler family — which owns Purdue — ponied up more cash, increasing their contributions from more than $4 billion to about $6 billion, to be paid over nearly two decades.

. . .Purdue declared bankruptcy in 2019, as it faced thousands of lawsuits and allegations that the company helped fuel the opioid crisis by the marketing of its blockbuster painkiller OxyContin. But members of the Sackler family did not themselves file for bankruptcy.

It’s complicated, but comes down to the question of whether individuals who aren’t part of the bankruptcy proceedings can be individually sued. And the nature of the questions suggests that this isn’t going to be decided along ideological lines.

*From the ever-engaging “oddities” section of the Associated Press, we hear of a woman who got a bit more than she bargained for when she ordered a restaurant salad. Note the name of the restaurant!

A customer has filed a lawsuit against the fast casual chain Chopt over a salad that she says contained a piece of the manager’s finger.

The lawsuit filed Monday by Allison Cozzi of Greenwich, Connecticut, alleges that she bought a salad at a Chopt location in Mount Kisco, New York, on April 7, 2023, and realized while eating it that “she was chewing on a portion of a human finger that had been mixed in to, and made a part of, the salad.”

According to the suit, a manager at the restaurant accidentally severed a piece of her left pointer finger while chopping arugula.

The manager went to the hospital but the contaminated arugula was served to customers including Cozzi, the lawsuit says.

Westchester County health department records show that Chopt was fined $900.

Cozzi said in the lawsuit that she suffered injuries including shock, panic attacks, migraine, cognitive impairment, nausea, dizziness, and neck and shoulder pain as a result of eating the contaminated salad.

She is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Crikey! How did they let that finger get in there?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili gets praise for being editor of Listy:

Hili: Running a serious website is a big challenge.
A:You are managing to do it very well.
In Polish:
Hili: Redagowanie poważnej strony internetowej to duże wyzwanie.
Ja: Doskonale sobie radzisz.

Here’s Hili’s position of “editor in chief” given on Listy:


From Merilee:

From Annie:

From David:

From Masih.  The bravery of young Iranian women never ceases to arouse my admiration. Be sure to watch the video. It looks like the odious Morality Police are walking around her. . .

From reader Roz:

From Simon, who claims that his Twitter feed “is not a happy place”:

Bill Ackman is a billionaire hedge fund manager, a philanthropist who has donated extensively to Harvard, and a Jew who has refused to donate more to Harvard after some of their students wrote a screed blamed Hamas’s attack on Israel. Ackman wrote this long letter to Harvard’s President Claudine Gay excoriating Harvard for its low free-speech rating and censorious atmosphere on campus. The long tweet includes a lot of anonymous but damning quotes from faculty. (h/t cesar)

The latest count of hostages:

A critique of the Red Cross’s behavior in the Hamas/Israel war, which has been reprehensible. All they do is drive the hostages back into Israel.  It’s in response to the second tweet, in which a Red Cross official makes pathetic excuses.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a four year old boy gassed upon arrival:

Two tweets from Professor Cobb. First, a gorgeous nudibranch:

. . . and juggling skills:

I need a book

December 4, 2023 • 10:15 am

I have finished the collected short stories of Saul Bellow, which I read as a way of deciding whether I wanted to tackle his longer novels. And I decided that his prose style, which has been much lauded, doesn’t appeal to me, so it’s into the bin with Saul. That’s sad, as he wrote a lot of highly-rated and fat novels that would have kept me busy for a while.

Therefore I’m appealing to readers for suggestions of good books to read.  They can be either fiction or nonfiction, though I think I’m in a nonfiction mood. As I’m old and on the downhill slide to oblivion, the books should be world class, as I have little no time for less than brilliant works.

Let us know what you’re reading, but particularly put your recommendations in the comments. For example, you could tell us what you think is the best book you ever read. For me it’s Anna Karenina for long fiction and Joyce’s The Dead for short fiction. Non-fiction is harder, but Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson come to mind (I’ll probably think of another choice soon).  “Best books,” then, are what I’m looking for, and I realize that such choices are subjective.

Please comment below.

Antisemitism march in Paris

December 4, 2023 • 8:15 am

For some reason I find it hard to post travel photos here after my journeys are over; I guess part of the fun of being overseas is documenting the trip as it happens.  When I recently visited Paris, the world’s most beautiful city, I was pretty good about posting as I traveled, though it’s often hard because you want to travel more than you want to write about it.

Here is the last batch of photos I took in Paris—at the antisemitism march on November 13.  It was not a pro-Israel march, but designed to bring the French together by dispelling hatred of Israel, but also of Muslims. There were thus many French flags and other tricolored items on display, but few Israeli flags. It was heartening to experience the feeling of togetherness.

Similar marches occurred in other French cities, with the total attendees estimated at 180,000.

About 105,000 people showed up near the Invalides, coincidentally the number of people estimated at the antisemitism march in Washington, D. C.

Some photos:

Part of the crowd, with Les Invalides in the backroom.

The VIP arrival spot, including the right-wing Marine Le Pen. I didn’t see her, as I was squashed by the crowds (note all the media microphones).

I was told that this guy was head of the French Socialist party, but I can’t be sure. Readers?

Some made their statements in a subtle way, like this lady with a tricolor in her hat.

This serious woman seemed to me to be our Marianne. I was told that those who wore tricolored sashes were some kind of officials:

This was the banner that, I was told, was used at the beginning of the march.

The crowds were so dense that there was a traffic jam on the stairs up to the bridge over to the Invalides from the Right Bank.  The cops made it very hard to even get to the demonstration, continually diverting us until we found that this was the only way in from the Left Bank:

Les flics. There were tons of cops around, though the demonstration was peaceful (and much less numerous than the pro-Palestinian demonstrations):

Somehow this statue, which I saw while walking back after the gathering, seemed appropriate: “The bird of peace“, sculpted by Mirza Moric. It will be exhibited until February.