It’s Friday the 13th! Welcome to Friday, October 13, 2023, and National Peanut Festival. Here’s the famous “Mr. Peanut,” the symbol of Planters. Did you know that his real name is Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe?
It’s also English Language Day, National M&M Day, World Egg Day, Good Samaritan Day, the U.S. Navy’s birthday (the Continental Congress established the Continental Navy on October 13, 1775), National Yorkshire Pudding Day (cultural appropriation), and International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 13 Wikipedia page.
*As I posted a short while ago, the ground invasion of Gaza by Israel, an inevitability, has started, at least with Israel telling civilians to move south. Hamas has told them not to move. Stay tuned.
*Here’s the good news of the day: Stanford University is apparently going to adhere to the kind of institutional neutrality on ideological, political, and moral issues as prescribed by the University of Chicago’s Kalven Report:
They did this in the context of addressing several concerning events on campus.
They defend free expression but also make clear what is permitted and what is not: pic.twitter.com/s846kxctCo
— Steve McGuire (@sfmcguire79) October 12, 2023
I have no objection to anything in Saller’s and Martinez’s statement, which is very good. I wish only that other schools would adopt this sensible position, designed to avoid chilling speech by avoiding taking “official positions” on issues that don’t affect the University. But only the University of Chicago and the University of North Caroolina at Chapel Hill have adopted such a policy. I hope that other schools follow.
There’s a reason that four successive Israeli prime ministers have chosen not to invade and occupy Gaza. Urban combat is a nightmare, whether for Americans in Falluja or Russians in Grozny, and civilian casualties are often enormous. That’s particularly true in a place like Gaza, where civilians cannot flee.
If we owe a moral responsibility to Israeli children, then we owe the same moral responsibility to Palestinian children. Their lives have equal weight. If you care about human life only in Israel or only in Gaza, then you don’t actually care about human life.
What that means in practice is difficult to navigate. Israel has a right to respond, and in war, civilians inevitably suffer.
. . .There will be no optimal solution in Gaza, any more than there was in Afghanistan or Iraq. We are fated to inhabit a world with more problems than solutions, and it’s fair to feel conflicted about next steps. Israel will face hard choices in the coming weeks; its challenge will be to respond to war crimes without committing war crimes.
We don’t want to replicate in Gaza the approach reportedly expressed by an American Army major in Vietnam in 1968: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”
The counsel we Americans should offer Israel is threefold and admittedly difficult to follow. First, Israel has right on its side when it goes after its assailants. Second, urban combat has a poor record in achieving its goals — and a considerable history of horrendous casualties. Third, if your moral compass is attuned to the suffering of only one side, your compass is broken, and so is your humanity.
Okay, Mr. Kristof, what’s your sollution. You won’t countenance increased bombing because, given Hamas’s policy of using human shields, that will kill civilians. You won’t countenance a siege because Palestinians will suffer. And you won’t countenance a ground invasion because there will again be carnage that involves civilians. What kind of “going after its assailants” do you recommend. I can say this: no matter what answer Israel comes up with, the world will condemn it.
*I am sick to death, and deeply depressed, as I see students from all over America blaming Israel for Hamas’s brutal slaughter. (For one addlebrained and morally obtuse example, from Stanford, go here.) It’s as if many students hate Jews so much that they blame Israel for the slaugher, rape, and kidnapping of Jewish civilians. Here’s one response by Bari Weiss at the Free Press: “Campus cowardice and where the buck stops“:
But according to the prevailing ideology that rules American college campuses, violent acts include “misgendering” and “harmful language,” and so these acts must be condemned publicly in the strongest possible terms, the perpetrators punished.
When it comes to the mass slaughter of Jews in Israel by a genocidal terrorist organization, however, such condemnations and consequences are curiously absent.
Contrast what colleges will tolerate with what they won’t. Microaggressions are met with moral condemnation. Meanwhile, campuses will tolerate—even glorify—the wanton murder of Jews—actual violence. Indulge in this at UCLA and you can get extra credit. [Check the link.]
Yale professor Zareena Grewal has spent the last few days apologizing for Hamas on social media. “Settlers are not civilians. This is not hard,” she said on X, as more horrifying details emerged about the pogrom in southern Israel. Grewal also explained that you shouldn’t feel too sorry about the kidnapping of an Israeli woman taken back to Gaza on a motorbike by Hamas because she had once served in the IDF.
. . . .The campus administrators—so quick to offer statements on climate change and the war in Ukraine and Roe v. Wade—offered silence or equivocation this week in the face of mass murder. Meanwhile, student groups at some of the most elite college campuses in the country were positively gleeful.
- Over 30 student groups at Harvard said of the 1,200 Israelis who have been slaughtered that “The apartheid regime is the only one to blame.”
- A joint statement from Columbia University’s Palestine Solidarity groups wrote “we remind Columbia students that the Palestinian struggle for freedom is rooted in international law, under which occupied peoples have the right to resist the occupation of their land.”
- Northwestern University’s Middle Eastern and North African Student Association “grieves for the martyrs and the civilians lost in this time.”
- A student group at California State University in Long Beach advertised its “Day of Resistance: Protest for Palestine” event on Tuesday with a poster that showed a crowd waving the Palestinian flag and a Hamas paraglider—a symbol of mass murder—in the top corner.
- At Stanford, hand-painted signs appeared on buildings declaring: “The Israeli occupation is NOTHING BUT AN ILLUSION OF DUST.” (In The Stanford Review, Free Press intern Julia Steinberg wrote that, on Instagram, “my classmates posted infographics declaring that, ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’ ”)
- Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Virginia declared on Sunday that “The events that took place yesterday are a step towards a free Palestine.”
. . .College leaders, this isn’t complicated. If you’re still confused, take a leaf out of University of Florida president Ben Sasse’s book. Two lines stick out in the statement from the former U.S. senator from Nebraska. First: “What Hamas did is evil and there is no defense for terrorism.” Second: “We will protect our Jewish students from violence.”
See how easy that is?
*People keep doubting whether Iran has a role in Hamas’s attack on Israel: even Wednesday’s NBC News said that the U.S. government couldn’t confirm a role of Iran. Yesterday’s NYT says this (my emphasis):
In Washington, a Treasury Department official told Democrats in Congress that Iran would be blocked from accessing $6 billion that the Biden administration, as part of a deal that freed five Americans last month who had been imprisoned in Tehran, had sent to Qatar to be released to Iran for humanitarian purposes. Iran has publicly endorsed the Hamas attacks but denied involvement, and U.S. officials have said there was reason to doubt Iran was directly involved.
But Iran apparently did give Hamas a lot of help, according to two articles (here and here) from MEMRI, which simply translates the Arab media (h/t Malgorzata) Some quotes from Iranian and Hamas officials (go see the videos for yourself).
From senior Hamas official Ali Baraka:
“Our allies are those that support us with weapons and money. First and foremost it is Iran that is giving us money and weapons. There is also Hizbullah, and the Arab and Islamic people who are standing by us. There are countries that support us politically. Even Russia sympathizes with us. Even the Russians sent us messages yesterday morning. They sympathize with us. Russia is happy that America is getting embroiled in Palestine. It alleviates the pressure on the Russians in Ukraine. One war eases the pressure in another war. So we are not alone on the battlefield.”
Intro para below from MEMRI:
In an October 10, 2023 article titled “[Operation] Al-Aqsa Flood Is the Beginning Of The End Of [Israel’s] 75-Year Occupation,” the Iranian regime mouthpiece Kayhan stated that a plan for Israel’s destruction, formulated and organized by Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and dictated by him to the commanders of the resistance organizations just before his assassination by the U.S. in January 2020, has begun to be implemented. Kayhan in fact clarified that Khamenei was party to the plan and hinted twice that a great victory was on the horizon. The following is a translation of the article:
The significance is that, last year, the Leader [Khamenei] gave ‘the promise of the imminent conquest,’ and this year he gave ‘the announcement of the complete conquest,’ and Operation Al-Aqsa Flood [Hamas’s recent attacks on Israel[ is part of this imminent conquest. This promise and announcement, along with the clarity and power of [Khamenei’s] statements and positions in this meeting [with leaders and ambassadors of Islamic countries] on the occasion of the Prophet [Muhammad’s] birthday, have profound significance and content, which strategists and analysts in the region and the world will take seriously.
, , . “First, this operation was unique in terms of the powerful planning and coordination between [Iran’s] resistance factions, [for] it was carried out in 30 minutes in an occupied area three times larger than the Gaza Strip [itself], so that, for several hours, all the countries and politicians [in the world] could do nothing but watch the events in silence. Hours later, reactions came from all over the world, which showed that the Zionist regime has no defense strategy whereas the resistance groups have a powerful offensive strategy.
I can predict with almost complete certainty that Hamas’s attack on Israel involved substantial help from Iran. We shall see.
*From the NYT: when you see the word “context” used in a headline like this, you know that they’re ultimately going to blame Hamas’s massacre on Israel:
When it comes to packing on the pounds to survive an Alaska winter, this year’s undisputed champ is Grazer.
Grazer, also known as Bear 128 to the fans of Fat Bear Week at Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, won this year’s contest, handily defeating Chunk 108,321 to 23,134 in the finals.
The annual contest, which this year drew more than 1.3 million votes from dedicated fans watching the bears live at explore.org, is way to celebrate the resiliency of the brown bears that live on the preserve on the Alaska Peninsula, which extends from the state’s southwest corner toward the Aleutian Islands.
Viewers of Alaska’s most-watched popularity contest are glued to computer screens all summer long to see which bears are stocking up the most on salmon. They then vote in tournament style brackets over the course of a week, advancing bears to the next round until a champion is crowned. Grazer took the title Tuesday.
According to Grazer’s biography on the Katmai website, the large adult female is often one of the fattest bears to collect salmon on Brooks River inside Katmai. Park officials call her “one of the best anglers” in the park, fishing day or night from many different parts of the river, even chasing down fleeing salmon.
Grazer is one of an estimated 2,200 brown bears that call Katmai home.
A true mama bear, she’s known to attack larger bears, even adult males, to ensure her cubs are safe. She’s used her skills to successfully raise two litters of cubs.
Look at this chonk!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is prognosticating, and correctly:
Hili: Bad times are coming.A: How do you know?Hili: They are moving stealthily.
Hili: Idą złe czasy.Ja: Po czym poznajesz?Hili: Skradają się.
From Rick, a Dave Blazek cartoon:
Another funny piece from a newspaper:
And remember these old days? Let’s not bring them back again!
Masih weighs in on the Israel/Palestine conflict. I have very little doubt (and I do have some evidence) that Iran played a substantial role in helping Hamas:
Mohammad Khatami, the Iranian regime's former president and The Great Reformist Hope: "Hamas's attack on Israel is a great achievement for the Palestinian people."
A reform movement that pinned its hopes on such people was always a sham. pic.twitter.com/OvpxnYZehW
— Kaveh Shahrooz کاوه شهروز (@kshahrooz) October 11, 2023
Dylan Mulvaney has been named as Woman of the Year! 👏👏👊
If all women were more like Dylan, the patriarchy would be finished. https://t.co/GJ4JLND7TZ
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) October 12, 2023
From the Internet:
Stumbled upon a protest today at the @UWMadison campus, gross chants including “glory to the murders”
— Geoffrey Datz (@gdatz) October 11, 2023
More of the same from Luana (I retweeted it).
Really great, a paraglider on the poster. I don't think that was an accident. https://t.co/bFYoXIr4l9
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) October 12, 2023
From Simon, wbo says, “I don’t like her politics, but her hatred for trump is almost unbounded.” I hadn’t heard Trump’s statements mentioned below.
After Hamas slaughters hundreds of Jewish families, and Israel confronts an unprecedented security crisis, Donald Trump attacks the Israeli govt and praises Hezbollah terrorists. Are Republicans really going to nominate this dangerous man to be President of the United States?
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) October 12, 2023
From a reader:
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) October 11, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a one-year-old boy gassed on arrival:
13 October 1942 | A French Jewish boy, Jean Stolowicz, was born in Paris.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 12, 2023
Tweets from Dr. Cobb. Matthew thinks this is a person in a Chewbaccca suit, and I agree:
— OutThere Colorado (@outthereco) October 10, 2023
Matthew is concerned about British beavers, and said this:
Less leafy than I thought! Not sure what will happen when they successfully breed though – where will their offspring move to? Look at the map.
London's first urban beavers make a splash! 🦫
It's an absolute joy to release a family of beavers into Paradise Fields, Ealing, and to see them exploring their new home.@WildlifeEaling @CitizenZoo @EalingCouncil @FriHoHi @ThatVetSean @fivesisterszoo pic.twitter.com/GYSXyq2LV0
— Beaver Trust (@BeaverTrust) October 11, 2023
This is one of the weirdest plants I’ve ever seen. Read more about it here.
Hydnora africana is a holoparasitic plant (not fungus). It produces no chlorophyll & is entirely dependent on a host plant. In place of roots it feeds off of its host via a special structure called a haustorium. This species parasitises on Euphorbias. pic.twitter.com/qyo7bFz30t
— alexlansdowne (@alexlansdowne) October 11, 2023