How the week has flown! But it always does in Paris, and we’re already at Friday, November 10, 2023, and National Vanilla Cupcake Day (ergo a boring day).
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the November 10 Wikipedia page.
*According to the NYT, U.S. officials have pronounced that Israel’s time in Gaza is limited before their presence, and the death of Palestinian civilians during the fighting, leads to a wider war.
The Israeli military has limited time to carry out its operations in Gaza before anger among Arabs in the region and frustration in the United States and other countries over the spiraling civilian death toll constrain Israel’s goal of eradicating Hamas, U.S. officials said this week.
As senior Biden administration officials push Israel to do more to minimize civilian casualties, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday that he was worried each civilian killed in Gaza could generate future members of Hamas.
General Brown did not call for a cease-fire. But when asked by reporters traveling with him to Tokyo if he was worried that high civilian casualty numbers would generate future Hamas militants, he replied, “Yes, very much so.”
His comment offered a rare glimpse of divisions between Israel and the Biden administration, which has declared its support for Israel’s military campaign even as the civilian death toll has increased. It came as the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said that the number of civilians killed in the Gaza Strip showed that there was something “clearly wrong” with Israel’s military operations against Hamas.
That last sentence is strange given that the high number of civilians killed in Gaza (we don’t know the number for sure, since stats come from Hamas) largely reflects Hamas’s deliberate use of civilians as human shields, a war crime. It’s not clear how, given that strategy, the terrorists can be rooted out without civilian deaths, and it’s not cynical to say that, for Hamas, military operations that kill more Gazans are exactly what the terrorists want. Israel’s goal is to eliminate Hamas while doing all they can to avoid killing civilians. In the meantime, Hamas appropriates humanitarian aid and prevents civilians from fleeing.
*Another NYT article, “Behind Hamas’s bloody gambit to create a ‘permanent’ state of war,” adds some realism:
Thousands have been killed in Gaza, with entire families wiped out. Israeli airstrikes have reduced Palestinian neighborhoods to expanses of rubble, while doctors treat screaming children in darkened hospitals with no anesthesia. Across the Middle East, fear has spread over the possible outbreak of a broader regional war.
But in the bloody arithmetic of Hamas’s leaders, the carnage is not the regrettable outcome of a big miscalculation. Quite the opposite, they say: It is the necessary cost of a great accomplishment — the shattering of the status quo and the opening of a new, more volatile chapter in their fight against Israel.
It was necessary to “change the entire equation and not just have a clash,” Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas’s top leadership body, told The New York Times in Doha, Qatar. “We succeeded in putting the Palestinian issue back on the table, and now no one in the region is experiencing calm.”
Since the shocking Hamas attack on Oct. 7, in which Israel says about 1,400 people were killed — most of them civilians — and more than 240 others dragged back to Gaza as captives, the group’s leaders have praised the operation, with some hoping it will set off a sustained conflict that ends any pretense of coexistence among Israel, Gaza and the countries around them.
To Hamas, the deaths of Gazans are “the necessary cost of a great accomplishment”, while for Israel they are the regrettable costs of rooting out terrorism. What is still unclear to me and others is the endgame: can Israel really end terrorism in Gaza by what it’s doing now? Won’t new terrorists simply emerge, even more energized What happens next with the governance of the region? And what about the hostages? By using human shields, Hamas is in fact accomplishing exactly what it intended.
*Bret Stephens has a good (but sad and scary) column on his trip to Israel after the October 7 slaughter but before Israel went into Gaza: “Israelis were shattered on Oct. 7. Can they recover?” One quote:
Just as frightening to many Israelis I spoke with was the turn against Israel in the West, a turn that, increasingly, is nakedly pro-Hamas and antisemitic. It’s visible in more than just the attempted firebombing of a synagogue in Berlin or the chants of “gas the Jews” in Sydney, Australia. It’s also in the sheer indifference among educated elites to Israeli suffering — typified by college-age students tearing down campus posters of kidnapped Israeli civilians.
“The effort on campuses and progressive circles to equate Zionism with all that is evil prepared the ground for the hardening belief that ‘the Jews had it coming,’” Einat Wilf, a Harvard graduate and former member of the Knesset for the Labor Party, told me. To many Israelis, there’s a distinct echo of what happened at German universities beginning about a century ago.
*According to the WaPo, Israel is now agreeing to daily pauses for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, but Biden wants longer ones. A rift is clearly forming between the U.S. and Israel on war strategy.
Asked whether he was “frustrated” that Netanyahu hadn’t “listened more” to things Biden had asked of him, the president replied, “It’s taking a little longer than I hoped.” Confirming that he had asked for a three-day pause, Biden said “I’ve asked for an even longer pause” in some instances.
To enable more humanitarian aid to be distributed, “a pause is something more, in our view, than a couple of hours,” the senior Biden administration official said. “A pause has a duration of a day, a couple of days, long enough to move significant quantities of humanitarian things in that would not otherwise be doable, and to get more foreign nationals … out” of Gaza.
*Back in the U.S., to the immense frustration of Democrats, renegade Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has announced that he’ll not run again. His absence will pose two big problems:
Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday that he won’t run for another term in deep red West Virginia, delivering a blow to fellow Democrats’ longshot effort to hold on to their narrow majority and renewing speculation about whether he could pursue a presidential bid.
Manchin, a 76-year-old centrist who faced an uphill battle for re-election, said that he plans to travel the country and look for opportunities to “mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.” He didn’t address whether he could potentially seek the White House as an independent, an idea he has floated in the past, and a person familiar with his thinking said he hasn’t ruled out a run.
Manchin, whose term ends in January 2025, has been a pivotal deal maker in recent years and has repeatedly flirted with becoming an independent, citing increasing frustration with both parties over issues including abortion, energy production and budget deficits.
His decision, and the lack of clarity about his plans, presents another wrinkle for the 2024 election, in which the fights for control of the Senate, House and presidency are all expected to be tight. Democrats are mostly playing defense in the Senate, with West Virginia as well as Montana and Ohio seen as particularly vulnerable. Both parties are also worried about a possible independent candidate tipping the race for the White House.
Right now the Democrats hold 48 seats in the Senate, the Republicans 49, and there are three independents.
*The University of Chicago Police finally took action at trespassing pro-Palestinian demonstrators, as seen in by the headline below in the Chicago Maroon, the student newspaper (click to read). Two faculty members, not identified, were also arrested. The events described took place yesterday evening:
At 6:15 p.m. University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) officers began to arrest demonstrators engaged in a sit-in inside Rosenwald Hall. In addition to student demonstrators, two faculty members were also arrested. The arrested individuals were processed inside adjacent Walker Museum as protesters surrounded all exits. They were charged with “criminal trespass to real property,” a Class B misdemeanor under Illinois state law.
Protesters from UChicago United for Palestine (UCUP) have been engaged in a sit-in in the building since 11:30 a.m.. Protesters outside, who had been present on the quad since an 11 a.m. protest at Levi Hall, began to gather and chant around the entrance of Rosenwald at 5:10 p.m. About 250 were on hand to protest and to witness the eventual removal.
During the protest, UCUP asked for a legal observer to be present if allowed into Rosenwald—a request that the UChicago dean-on-call denied.
“Let them stay!” protesters chanted with increasing intensity as police milled around the front entrance to the building. They also chanted “Shame on you!” at police and University officials alike.
“Deans-on-call are cops too!” they yelled. “Fuck UCPD! Fuck UChicago!”
. . .By 7:58 p.m., 13 demonstrators had been arrested, processed and released. Those remaining inside were still engaged in the sit-in inside the admissions office.
UCPD officers took protestors from the admissions office to the financial aid office inside Walker Museum, which is connected to Rosenwald Hall. There, they were ticketed and given a court date, then handcuffed, escorted to the exit of Walker, and released.
. . . The arrested individuals were processed inside adjacent Walker Museum as protesters surrounded all exits. They were charged with “criminal trespass to real property,” a Class B misdemeanor under Illinois state law.
It’s likely that there were more arrests later, as protestors remained inside the building after the 13 arrests described above.
The Hyde Park Herald has a story and photos from Thursday of demonstrators blocking the entrance to Levi Hall, the administration building (The faces are blocked because the photo was provided by the protestors.). The demonstrations included a sit-in inside Rosenwald Hall, which, like the blocking below, is also illegal:
Just after 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, about 30 students gathered for a sit-in demonstration on the second floor of the U. of C.’s Rosenwald Hall, demanding that the university commit to several demands for transparency and divestment in the Israel-Hamas war.
“Our tuition money is funding the slaughter of the Palestinian people right now, and we as students cannot just sit back, go to class as usual and allow university business to go on as usual,” said a protestor at the sit-in. “We are staying here until the administration listens to our demands.”
Demands include a public meeting with U. of C. administration and President Paul Alivisatos, transparency in university investments and full divestment from weapons manufacturers supplying the Israeli military.
The protest was organized by UChicago United for Palestine (UCUP), a coalition of campus activist groups including CareNotCops, UChicago Students for Justice in Palestine and the National Lawyers Guild at UChicago.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili mourns the coming of winter:
Hili: Evenings are longer and longer.A: It’s natural.Hili: Yes, but they used to be nicer.
Hili: Wieczory są coraz dłuższe.A: To naturalne.Hili: Tak, ale dawniej były przyjemniejsze.
From Merilee via Facebook:
From Divy, cat sympathy cards:
An illusion from Pradeep. The blue and green spirals are actually the same color (check for yourself):
Masih talks about how the women of Iran are continuing their civil disobedience by removing their hijabs, despite strict government surveillance:
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐨𝐦 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐈𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐨𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐭𝐲@SaschaFahrbach was joined by @AlinejadMasih to discuss the Iranian people's struggle for freedom and the Iranian regime's responsibility for… pic.twitter.com/NytV4QiR38
— TVP World (@TVPWorld_com) November 7, 2023
An article in Peter Singer and Co.’s Journal of Controversial Ideas has raised a lot of hackles, as it justifies zoophilia. Well, that’s what the journal is about. You can read it for free, but the author uses a pseudonym,
Reading the zoophilia paper so you don’t have to:
“An inaugural study by Kinsey and colleagues found that 8% of the male and 3.5% of the female US populations had had at least one sexual interaction with an animal in their life, with the percentage exceeding 50% in some rural… https://t.co/dylgvVPEX0 pic.twitter.com/WeXycpReWw
— Alexander (@datepsych) November 9, 2023
Titania on the Anne Frank Kindergarten:
Fantastic to hear that the Anne Frank kindergarten is being renamed to be more diverse and progressive. ✊🏾
Which of the following would work best?
• Queen Latifah Day Center
• Michelle Obama Playgroup
• O.J. Simpson Pre-School Wonderland
• River-to-Sea World of Adventures pic.twitter.com/lcEBSl0Foo
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) November 6, 2023
From Jez: twins! And they’re apparently BFFs, too:
Twins.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/qGpAav3DtB
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) November 9, 2023
From Anna, a satire on college politics. It looks like it comes from an Israeli show, as it’s too strong even for Saturday Night Live.
— Yonit Levi (@LeviYonit) November 5, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a 14 year old gassed upon arrival:
9 November 1928 | Dutch Jewish girl Jenny Trui Spier, was born in Amsterdam.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 9, 2023
From my own “home” selection of tweets:
This is how homemade freezers are made in Mongoliapic.twitter.com/ez37eVcJrI
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) November 9, 2023
From Barry, a really puffed-up bateleur from sub-Saharan Africa:
A puffed up bateleur eagle pic.twitter.com/AQMhnqzFTa
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) October 19, 2023