Washington Post removes cartoon because it was offensive—to Hamas

November 10, 2023 • 12:08 pm

Both the New York Post (in an editorial-board opinion piece) and the Free Press‘s Nellie Bowles, in her TGIF column this week, report that this political cartoon appeared in the Washington Post, but then was taken down by the editor. It was drawn by Pulitzer-Prize winner Michael Ramirez:

Of course it satirizes Hamas’s tactic of using human shields, thus upping the number of civilian deaths among their civilian countrymen—something that Hamas, for some strange reason, doesn’t seem to mind at all. Nellie has the best take on it:

Deep apologies to Hamas: The Washington Post is very sorry for running a cartoon that is very, very bad. It made light of Hamas’s legitimate wartime tactic of hiding military operations under Gaza’s schools and hospitals. A Post editor took it down and offered an abject apology for implying there is anything wrong with that: “I had missed something profound, and divisive, and I regret that.” Those Palestinian children (sorry, martyrs) love knowing that Hamas is firing rockets from the schoolhouse, and it’s racist to imply otherwise. The Post included letters from readers calling the cartoon “deeply malicious” and “enabl[ing] genocide.” We preserve it here only in solidarity with The Washington Post’s in-house Hamas advocates.

Here’s the apology from David Shipley, the Post’s editorial-page editor, followed by a number of outraged letters from readers that I haven’t reproduced (go to the first link), but whose publication under Shipley’s apology apparently serves to justify his cowardly decision.

Editor’s note: As editor of the opinion section, I am responsible for what appears in its pages and on its screens. The section depends on my judgment. A cartoon we published by Michael Ramirez on the war in Gaza, a cartoon whose publication I approved, was seen by many readers as racist. This was not my intent. I saw the drawing as a caricature of a specific individual, the Hamas spokesperson who celebrated the attacks on unarmed civilians in Israel. [JAC: it was!]

However, the reaction to the image convinced me that I had missed something profound, and divisive, and I regret that. Our section is aimed at finding commonalities, understanding the bonds that hold us together, even in the darkest times.

Since when is an editorial page a place for kumbaya and reconciliation? Look at that last sentence again. Does it match your idea of what an editorial section is about? Shipey goes on, unbelievably asserting that he will CONTINUE to publish views and perspectives that “challenge readers.”  Well, this one surely challenged some readers, so why was it deep-sixed? If an editorial cartoon—or an editorial itself—doesn’t anger some, it hasn’t done its job.


In this spirit, we have taken down the drawing. We are also publishing a selection of responses to the caricature. And we will continue to make the section home to a range of views and perspectives, including ones that challenge readers. This is the spirit of opinion journalism, to move imperfectly toward a constructive exchange of ideas at all possible speed, listening and learning along the way. —David ShipleyOpinion Editor

Now you might say that it’s “racist” because it exaggerates the noses of Palestinians, the way the Nazis exaggerated the noses of Jews in their antisemitic literature, but that’s not what most people objected to, although one reader said this:

The caricatures employ racial stereotypes that were offensive and disturbing. Depicting Arabs with exaggerated features and portraying women in derogatory, stereotypical roles perpetuates racism and gender bias, which is wholly unacceptable.

The fact is, though, that Nazi propaganda is not the same as exaggerating features in individual editorial cartoons, a tactic that has been used for ages. Just google any public figure along with “cartoon”, and you’ll see. (Boss Tweed, trying to escape prison, was in fact recognized in Europe from the exaggerated editorial cartoons of Thomas Nast.)

What really riled up most people in the letters seemed to be that the cartoon appears to excuse or neglect Israeli “war crimes”, even though Hamas is a regular practitioner of war crimes, beginning with terrorist attacks on civilians, continuing through firing rockets at civilians (this is still happening), and then the butchery of October 7 followed by the continual practice of using human shields and building headquarters in or under schools or hospitals. That’s what this cartoon is trying to say.

Apparently you cannot criticize Hamas unless you criticize Israel equally—or more so. Such a view implies that you can’t even draw a political cartoon, which always criticizes one side more than another. As the increasingly anodyne Barack Obama said the other day (also quoted by Nellie):

“If you want to solve the problem, then you have to take in the whole truth. And you then have to admit nobody’s hands are clean, that all of us are complicit to some degree.”

What Obama fails to recognize is that some hands are cleaner than others, and if I’m assessing whose hands are cleaner, it’s Israel’s by far. (Just compare the adherence of both sides to wartime morality.)

The cartoon makes a point, and it should not have been taken down. Of course it’s divisive: the whole war is divisive! But defending Israel and going after Hamas is not something a good progressive Leftist does these days, and thus the cartoon had to go. Shame on the Washington Post!  (Editorial cartoons, by the way, don’t have to always go along with the paper’s own political slant. Like editorials themselves, they should inspire thought and discussion, and this cartoon surely did.)

Finally, it has not escaped my notice that perhaps there’s a wee bit of fear in the Post‘s decision, fear that irate and violent Muslims might go after the paper or the artist. Remember Charlie Hebdo and the Jyllands-Posten cartoons?

Antisemitic hatred in Palestinian schoolbooks

November 5, 2023 • 9:30 am

From time to time I mention the incitement of hatred of Israel and Jews that pervades Palestinian textbooks (and texts from other Arab countries as well) and give some examples. The reason this is important is that it provokes hatred in children—hatred that carries over into adulthood. It’s brainwashing.

Thus, even if Hamas is eliminated in the current war, another cohort of Palestinians will grow up indoctrinated to hate Jews and Israel. It’s hopeless until they eliminate this stuff from textbooks, which are also used in textbooks at UN-run schools (see below):

As the song from Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s South Pacific goes (written by a Jew and another a man of Jewish ancestry; see the song from the movie here). I wish more people knew about this song, which is now 80 years old.

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught from year to year,
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear—
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade—
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate—
You’ve got to be carefully taught!
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Here’s a series of photoshots of Palestinian textbooks used by children; the original with the translation. Click the screenshot to read, and then the photos below to read the textbooks. Note that some of these are from textbooks provided by the UNRWA.


An introduction from the site (bolding is mine):

With anti-Israel and antisemitic protests spreading throughout the world, many are asking where could this hate come from.

A look into Arabic textbooks is a place to start finding answers to the spread of anti-Israel and Jewish protesters being filled with the fuel of jihad.

Arik Aggasi, COO and head of global partnerships for IMPACT-se (The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education,) presented compelling evidence undermining UNWRA’s credibility to international journalists.

From over 1,000 textbooks published since 2016, the evidence shows a shocking promotion of hate among young children and a deterioration in content, falling far short of UNESCO standards. Some examples included the removal of content discussing peace agreements, negotiations, and the Two-State Solution, as well as the encouragement of violence and demonization of Israel across all grades and subjects, even infiltrating math and science.

IMPACT-se has been diligently monitoring and analyzing education worldwide since 1998. Their aim is to ensure that education complies with international standards of peace, tolerance, and non-violence, as derived from UNESCO declarations and resolutions.   They note UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudia Arabia have removed some of the hate material.

IMPACT-se’s findings have had a significant impact, such as the European Parliament’s decision to freeze parts of Palestinian Authority funding until their curricula align with international standards. A joint report by IMPACT-se and United Nations Watch, presented to Congress, shed light on 47 new cases of incitement to hate and violence by UNRWA teachers and schools, in clear violation of the agency’s policies. This report revealed a disturbing pattern of calling for the murder of Jews, glorifying terrorism, and inciting antisemitism within UNRWA’s education system.

Norway’s decision to cut funding over textbook incitement in December 2020 was met with a defiant response from Palestinian PM Shtayyeh, who declared that the “curriculum will not be surrendered.” This resistance to reforming the curriculum, even in exchange for the release of frozen EU funds, was reiterated by PA Foreign Minister Al-Maliki in March 2022.

As I said, some of these books are used in schools run by the UNRWA, or the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.  The books are distributed and paid for by the United Nations, which means that the U.N. and the U.S. helps fund the UNRWA. Yes, your money is going to foment hatred and terrorism.

Click screenshots to enlarge them to make reading easier.



Richmond, Californa: the first city in U.S. to accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing”

November 4, 2023 • 11:15 am

Earlier yesterday I argued that if one party to the conflict between Israel on one hand and Hamas on the other (and you can also include “much of Palestine”) were to be truly guilty of “genocide”, it would be Hamas. And many Palestinians and their leaders also argue that Israel (viz., “between the river and the sea”) should be eliminated.  Now genocide is roughly equivalent to “ethnic cleansing”, so—in view of the many offers by Israel of a “two-state solution” that were rejected by Palestine—it’s hard to make a coherent argument that Palestine is more guilty than Israel of hoping for ethnic cleansing. Israel has shown no desire to wipe out the Palestinian people; the country just wants to be let alone, free from terrorism.

But the arguments against Israel are still made, without any basis in fact, for a “white Israel oppressor of brown Palestinians” scenario aligns neatly with Critical Social Justice ideology.

And so we have this article from the Los Angeles Times about Richmond, California becoming the first U.S. city to back Palestine and accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing”. It’s laughable, for the members of the Richmond City Council really have no idea what they’re talking about. They’re mindlessly following what they see as the au courant liberal ideology and view of Social Justice.

Chick on the screenshot, or, if the article is paywalled, you can find it archived here

A summary:

The Richmond, Calif., City Council voted early Wednesday to support the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip with a resolution that accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing and collective punishment” nearly three weeks after war broke out in the Middle East.

The resolution is believed to be the first show of support by a U.S. city for the Palestinian people after the Oct. 7 attack carried out by Hamas on Israel.

Some 1,400 people died in Israel during the initial attack this month, and more than 200 Israeli and foreign nationals are being held captive in Gaza, according to Israeli officials. Since then, roughly 6,000 people have died in Gaza amid intensifying Israeli airstrikes, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health.

The city of Richmond, in the San Francisco Bay Area, passed its resolution of support in a 5-1 vote that started Tuesday evening and ended around 1 a.m. Wednesday after a five-hour public hearing. The resolution calls for a cease-fire and for humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza. It says “the state of Israel is engaging in collective punishment against the Palestinian people in Gaza in response to Hamas attacks on Israel” — while also highlighting Richmond’s support for Jewish people in the local community and its recognition of the atrocities carried out by Nazis during the Holocaust.

. . .On Tuesday evening, as Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez opened the hearing for the resolution, people in the audience were shouting, calling out “Nazi!” and other comments that were drowned out in the noise. The disorder derailed the meeting, and a brief recess was called.

. . . “We are one small city weighing in on a conflict that has the attention of the entire world and on which global superpowers are pouring in money, political attention and military aid,” Martinez said. “The people of [the] United States, whose government and tax dollars directly support Israel’s military, have an immediate moral obligation to condemn Israel’s acts of collective punishment and apartheid state.”

They barely mention Hamas (see the resolution below). It’s absurd that resolutions like this will call out Israel at length but barely mention Hamas and not specify a single act of Palestinian terrorism!

. . .Councilmember Cesar Zepeda cast the lone vote not to support the resolution, recognizing the issue as divisive.

“Let’s call out the atrocities that Hamas has done on the Israel communities and the atrocities the Israeli government has done on the Palestinian people,” Zepeda said, requesting a revised resolution. He said he wanted the city to “bring everyone together in a community for peace.”

The resolution is below the fold (click “continue reading” to see it):

Continue reading “Richmond, Californa: the first city in U.S. to accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing””

Students sympathizing with Palestine demonstrate on campus, block access to administration building

November 3, 2023 • 10:45 am

I don’t believe an incident like this has occurred since the Vietnam war, but within the last two hours students and other sympathizers with Palestine (and those who hate Israel) demonstrated in front of the administration building on campus (Levi Hall), blocking access to the building. I was told that those in the building couldn’t get out, and those wishing to enter couldn’t get in.

I was also told that this was a violation of university regulations in several ways: demonstrating without a permit, disrupting campus activities with loud noise, blocking access to University offices, and constituting a fire hazard.  Also, the University police told me that several demonstrators actually entered the building, which is also a violation if you don’t have business there. And while it would be free speech if it were a more quiet and a permitted demonstration, and didn’t block entry to buildings, it should have been broken up by the University. The police told me that couldn’t do anything as they were “waiting for orders from above” (i.e., the administration).  I have no idea what the administration did, if anything.

The demonstration lasted well over an hour, and then, at about 10 a.m., the students who blocked the building entry scuttled away very quickly. I don’t know if someone in the administration spoke to them, or there was a time constraint on the demonstration.

For the last such demonstration I recall (I wasn’t here), look on this page under “1960s protests and sit ins“.

Here are some photos and a video I took. Click photos to enlarge them.

Students and their supporters blocking access to the administration building. The masks they’re all wearing may be to avoid identification, as I think they could be suspended or punished for what they’re doing:

A group of students holding signs. There were many, and of course no openly pro-Israel student dared show up:

One of the students (I’m not sure, of course, if these are all students) shouting slogans through a microphone. Several students took over the mike, and the slogans included the “From the river to the sea” chant calling for Israel’s elimination, as well as a call for the University to disinvest from Israel (we have an ideologically-neutral investment policy), and other calls, most of them strongly anti-Israeli. It was very loud, as the demonstrators chanted in a call-and-response with the person holding the microphone. There was also one chanter with a megaphone.

A short video of the demonstration:


The misguided accusations of “genocide” against Israel—from those who approve of genocide against Jews

November 3, 2023 • 9:15 am

Last night I had a nightmare about some unknown group of people who were going after me for some unspecified thing that I did, and eventually I realized that they were going to arrest me and I would be convicted of an unspecified crime and sent to jail. I can’t remember all the details, but it was so realistic that I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn’t shake the idea that it had really happened. I couldn’t get back to sleep because, unlike with other bad dreams, I continued to be terrified until I got up. I told Malgorzata about the dream, who replied, “You are a Jew in a world that hates Jews.” She added that she had had similar dreams of terror after the WWII, after she and her mother returned to Poland from their exile to the Soviet Union (Malgorzata was born in the Caucasus in 1943 after her mother fled Poland during the war, and both returned to Poland—only to face more antisemitism—in 1946.

I give this information only because today I am quite depressed about the situation in the Middle East, and especially about the unwarranted hatred for and accusations against Israel emerging throughout the world—even in the American Left.  This is surely the source of my dream.  So I may write a couple of posts today about the war and the ensuing hatred, just to calm myself down,

Some of the accusations flying around are palpably false, including the assertion Israel is committing a genocide against Palestinians, and that Israel is also an apartheid state that, many imply, should be erased.

In fact, both of these terms, “apartheid” and “genocide” apply better to Palestine and Hamas than to Israel.

Here’s an article from Quillette about the misuse of the “genocide” accusation. The author, Zachary Goldsmith, is identified as “the author of “Fanaticism: A Political Philosophical History” (2022). His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, NBC News, and Law & Liberty, among other venues.”

Click to read:

First, the definition of “genocide,” which comes from the UN:

The crime of genocide was codified by the United Nations in 1946 with the passage of General Assembly Resolution 96, defined as “a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings.”

In 1948, the UN General Assembly passed its “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” which refers to five distinct acts, the commission of any one of which constitutes the crime of genocide: (1) killing members of the group in question; (2) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (3) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (4) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (5) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

So, do the actions of the State of Israel during the current war against Hamas satisfy any of these definitions?

Goldsmith argues “definitely not”:

Has Israel lived up to these guiding principles in Gaza? Yes. The IDF has gone to considerable lengths to minimize civilian casualties. As in previous wars, Israel has dropped leaflets and sent text messages directing Palestinian civilians to evacuate dangerous areas—in this case, the north of Gaza. This evacuation is being monitored from Israel by tracking the movements of cell phones in Gaza. Israel also uses precise targeted weapons in order to minimize civilian casualties in dense urban environments. One such weapon, used for the first time in this war, is the precision mortar dubbed “Iron Sting.” According to the Jerusalem Post, “The mortar is designed for use in both open terrain and urban environments, while using its precise targeting to reduce the possibility of non-combatants being injured.”

Tragically, all wars claim civilian casualties—and this is especially true in Gaza, due to the dense urban conditions and to Hamas’s deliberate strategy of attempting to maximize civilian casualties. According to a recent NATO report, Hamas “has been using human shields in conflicts with Israel since 2007”:

Hamas relies on the Israeli government’s aim to minimise collateral damage, and is also aware of the West’s sensitivity towards civilian casualties. Hamas’s use of human shields is therefore likely aimed at minimising their own vulnerabilities by limiting the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) freedom of action. It is also aimed at gaining diplomatic and public opinion-related leverage, by presenting Israel and the IDF as an aggressor that indiscriminately strikes civilians.

Hamas has used its nearly two decades of control over Gaza to build an extensive network of fortified tunnels in, under, and around civilian infrastructure in order to smuggle contraband and weapons, while carrying out a campaign of terror against Israel and its civilians. Even more tellingly, Hamas is currently using Gaza’s largest hospital as its headquarters. While the first duty of any government is to protect its citizens, Hamas’s central governing principle is to oppress its people while placing them squarely in harm’s way. Given this, it is clear that Hamas bears moral responsibility for all lives lost in this conflict, both Israeli and Palestinian, including those civilian Palestinians whom Israel has taken great pains to protect.

The demographic data also contradicts the idea that Israel is committing genocide. Since the year 2000, the population of Gaza has nearly doubled; it boasts the 39th highest birthrate among the world’s countries, and the average life expectancy is nearly 76 years of age (the average life expectancy in the US is just over 77 years of age). If Israel is intent on committing genocide in Gaza, it is doing a very poor job.

But Hamas is committed to the genocide of the Jews, and cries of “Israeli genocide” started even before Israel began its post-October 7 defense by bombarding Gaza:

Hamas’s founding covenant calls for an “Islamic Resistance Movement” that “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” and provide “one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders.” The raison d’être of Hamas, then, is to expel every Israeli and Jew from Israel-Palestine, eliminating both the state of Israel and the Jews who inhabit it. “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad,” the document states. It cites a Hadith (a saying of the Prophet Mohammed) that makes this point chillingly clear:

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.

(Hamas issued a new charter in 2017. It is still rife with inflammatory language about the “Zionist entity.”)

So, whereas the IDF Code of Ethics requires all Israeli soldiers to act with “purity of arms” and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties, Hamas’s 1988 charter calls for unremitting jihad against  Jews. While the IDF Code of Ethics prohibits war crimes up to and including genocide, the Hamas Covenant defines genocide as its core mission.

We saw this mission in action on 7 October, when Hamas carried out one of the most heinous anti-Jewish pogroms in history in a campaign of terror that satisfies every definition of genocide.

Now I’m not denying that innocent civilians are being killed by the IDF during the war, and that is a tragedy, for every life lost leaves behind loved ones and relatives who are devastated. But, as you know, this is largely because Hamas uses human shields, and in fact relishes Palestinian deaths because they’re good propaganda.  And I’m not denying that a few errant Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian civilians out of hatred (if caught, these soldiers are charged with crimes). But that is a far cry from what Hamas does, which is to repeatedly and deliberately target Israeli civilians, and celebrate those who commit murder (they also pay them off if they go to prison).

What bothers me is that everyone with two neurons to rub together knows that Hamas, many Palestinians, and many Palestine supporters in the West either explicitly or implicitly call for a genocide of the Jews. Hamas is committed to it, and those who shout “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, are, some perhaps unknowingly, calling for an elimination of Israel and of the Jews who live there. (Or are they only suggesting that Israel’s Jews be moved to another place? A “one-state solution” is also a recipe for genocide.).  In contrast, Israel, though it’s an enemy of Hamas and not friends with Palestine, is not sworn to eradicate it, either. In fact, Israel has made five offers of a two-state solution to Palestine since the 1930s—and all were rejected.  It is Palestine who attacks Israel repeatedly—with terrorist attacks on civilians, with rockets aimed at civilians, and with the horrible butchery of October 7.

Yes, if you’re going to single out which entity is sworn to eradicate the members of the other, the answer would be Palestine. Those who answer “Israel” do so in the face of the facts and in light of their “settler-colonialist” analogy between Jewish “white” oppressors and subjugated Palestinian “people of color”.  Of course I’m a secular Jew, but I wasn’t a particularly big defender of Israel until recent events have offended me as a scientist with their arrant distortion of the truth in service to ideology.

And, as part of their linguistic tactics, Palestine and its supporters level the worst possible accusation against Israel and the Jews—that they’re Nazis.

This new blood libel—the charge of genocide—is also an attempt to yoke the state of Israel to that very regime whose industrial murder of Jews gave rise to the necessity to create the term “genocide” itself: Nazi Germany. As the philosopher Bernard Harrison has argued, the intent “is to defame Israel by association with the most powerful symbol of evil, of that which, because it contains not the least scintilla of goodness, must be utterly rejected and uprooted from the face of the earth.” Harrison continues:

To use “Nazi analogies to criticize Israel’s policies” is to disseminate the suggestion that Israeli policies are morally indistinguishable from Nazi policies, and hence that the state of Israel is therefore in no way morally distinguishable from the Third Reich, from which, if true, it surely follows that the existence of the State of Israel has as little to be said for it as the existence of the Third Reich; which is to say, nothing; and from that that the Jews, since so many of them support the existence of Israel, are, collectively, enemies of mankind. To disseminate such suggestions, for whatever reason, and with whatever color of moral commitment or humanitarian concern, is, I submit, to disseminate anti-Semitic views of a rather traditional kind.

It is for this reason that likening Israel to Nazi Germany has been recognized as an antisemitic act by the US State Department in its working definition of antisemitism.

Goldsmith concludes:

Today, these ideologues have a new weapon with which to target Israel—the baseless smear of genocide. This libel is fundamentally antisemitic and opens the door to greater and more extreme hostility toward Israel. It makes violence against Israel and against Jews worldwide seem more acceptable. At the same time, fallaciously accusing Israel of genocide serves to obscure the nature of the real genocide occurring here. It conceals Hamas’s genocidal acts and intentions, while furnishing an anti-Jewish blood libel refashioned for the 21st century.

It’s tine to call out the brainless ideologues who accuse Israel and the Jews of practicing “genocide” against Palestinians, as it’s a palpably false accusation that, if you know history, actually is the other way round. Likewise for calling Israel an “apartheid” state. Whether you construe that term to mean that Arabs in Israel are discriminated against (another completely stupid claim) or that Israel doesn’t want a two-state solution (ditto, though the possibility is vanishing), it’s a false accusation.  If you’re a gay person, an atheist, a woman, or a critic of Islam, you are a victim of apartheid in Palestine.  A Jew who is found in Palestine alone is doomed to be killed. This is not true of Palestinians, 18,000 of whom crossed the border every day to work in Israel.

Yes, Palestine is committed to genocide against the Jews, and is also an apartheid state.

Tom Gross’s newsletter

November 2, 2023 • 10:30 am

Tom Gross’s newsletter about the war isn’t public, but he sends it to journalists, and I’m allowed to reproduce it here. It has a lot of useful information, so here’s the latest issue (indented). I’ve added the videos instead of the links.

[Notes below by Tom Gross]

Dozens of Jewish children and babies continue to be held hostage by Hamas. Meanwhile, posters and vigils in their support have been defaced in America and elsewhere, and far-left politicians such as AOC are being criticized for refusing to condemn her supporters for defacing pictures of child hostages.

Many say that these so-called “progressives” are bringing shame on America. Dalia Al-Aqidi, an Iraqi-born Sunni Muslim refugee who obtained asylum in the United States, is currently running in the Republican Party primary election, hoping to clinch that party’s nomination to challenge “progressive” Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District seat.

Dalia Al-Aqidi is currently in Israel on a solidarity visit. In remarks reported in the Jerusalem Post, she said that her opponent’s approach is causing “irreparable harm” to both the United States and Minnesota.

“I fled the brutality of Saddam Hussein. I know what dictators can do, and I understand what terrorists like Isis and Hamas. I didn’t move to the US so someone else [like Omar] would want to import that [hateful] culture into it. I decided to come here to Israel to show solidarity and to tell the Jewish people that you’re not alone. This is not your fight by yourself [against Islamic terrorism].”

Earlier this week, Hamas released a hostage video, showing the Israeli mother pictured above. The picture on the right is a still image from the Hamas video. I’ve chosen not to show the video since it is a Hamas propaganda and the words delivered by the hostages in it are clearly scripted by Hamas and read out to the camera by hostages under extreme duress.

Worldwide antisemitism is being inflamed not just by highly inaccurate and inflammatory media coverage in publications such as the New York Times, but by some Ivy League professors and students.

For example, Columbia University law professor Katherine Franke initiated a letter signed by 130 other faculty members, which described the burning and beheading of Jewish babies and the mass rape of Israeli women, girls and children by Hamas on October 7 as a “military action” and a legitimate form of “resistance to settler colonialism”.

The image above is one of the antisemitic threats made against Jewish students at elite American universities in recent days.

Jews and organizations which care for Jews, including the Polish-run museum at the Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland, are under sustained attack online.

Ahed Tamimi is one of several Palestinian antisemites and terror supporters who have been lionized in recent years by the New York Times, BBC and other media. In an online post yesterday (text above), she once again showed her true colors.

The documentary film about her, titled “Radiance of Resistance,” was screened worldwide at a number of festivals, including the Respect Human Rights Film Festival in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where it won Best Documentary. Singapore is among only a handful of countries to have banned public screenings of Radiance of Resistance for its promotion of terrorism and the murder of Jews.


Almost four weeks on, where does the Israel-Hamas conflict stand? What will happen?

I attach a new interview with me from Turkish TV in which I discuss the conflict to date and where it is heading.

I am told I am just about the last person who is still being allowed to provide a different perspective on Turkish state-controlled, pro-Hamas TV.

Unlike Facebook and YouTube, both of whom are now censoring my posts and videos or “shadow banning” them in other instances, the Turks have not edited or censored my remarks. Turkey is one of the most powerful countries in NATO, led by the anti-Israel President Erdogan.

An interview with Gross:


Please do share these video links with your friends.


[These are also brief takes by Gross]:

No Arab government except perhaps Qatar wants Hamas to win against Israel

No country on earth can live with the constant rocket attacks Israel endures

Protest marchers in US and Europe should understand Hamas are the obstacle to peace

Inflammatory and inaccurate Gaza coverage by media leading to antisemitic attacks worldwide

What do people understand what they really mean when they call for a ceasefire with Hamas?

Saudi Arabia and other Arab states will draw closer to Israel after the Hamas conflict, not further apart

Māori doctors come out for Palestine

November 1, 2023 • 11:40 am

It’s no surprise that a group of Māori doctors have constructed and signed a letter showing their solidarity with Palestine. After all, they see both themselves and Palestinians as people of color who were brutally oppressed by white colonialists (Jews are seen as “white-adjacent”, analogous to New Zealand’s “settler-colonialists” from England, often call representatives of “The Crown”).  And so, from the New Zealand Doctor, we have the following letter, sent via a physician who wants to remain anonymous (of course). The accompanying email said this:

This is medicine, not science, but I thought I should send this to you as an example of the elasticity of the local brand of critical social justice ideology.

And the letter:


17th October 2023


We the undersigned, as Māori medical practitioners, medical students, academics, and as members of the global Indigenous health community, wish to convey our grave and urgent concern for the genocide the people of Palestine face on their ancestral lands. We offer solidarity with Palestine and condemn the violent dispossession and oppression of Palestinians at the hands of the nation-state of Israel, who are supported in their actions by the U.S, the U.K and even some of our own politicians. We write to say they do not speak for us. We condemn colonialism in all forms, we condemn racism, including anti-Muslim racism and we condemn hate.

Locating ourselves at the intersection of Indigenous solidarity and medicine requires us to always speak in solidarity with those who stand against colonialism and racism, to speak for those who cannot speak, and to always challenge those who refuse to speak. We refuse to be silent and complicit as we observe the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people. We cannot be silent while human rights and Indigenous rights are being violated. We understand the blocking of access to crucial emergency healthcare services as a facilitator of genocide. The denial of access to healthcare and medical supplies in the context of war is a further denial of Palestinian humanity.

We call for the widespread condemnation and immediate cessation of the military assault on the peoples of Palestine. As a collective of Indigenous doctors, student doctors and academics we stand in solidarity with a free Palestine. Again we say, Free Palestine.

In indigenous solidarity,

Note that there is not an iota of empathy for Israel or what they suffered during the violence of October 7, or the ongoing Hamas terrorism (they continue to fire rockets into Israel); no mention of Hamas, and no mention of the kidnappings (do they think kidnapping is okay?) There is condemnation of “anti-Muslim racism and hate”, but no condemnation of anti-Semitism. There has never been “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians in Gaza, but that’s what the Palestinians and Hamas explicitly want for Israel (“from the river to the sea. . . . and so on; and read the Hamas charter). There is no mention of Palestinians being used as human shields, no mention of Palestinian hospitals used as institutional shields for terrorists who operate beneath them. The hospital issue is particularly odious, and surely a group of doctors would object to using doctors and patients as human shields, wouldn’t they?

I’m wondering if the statement, “Locating ourselves at the intersection of Indigenous solidarity and medicine requires us to always speak in solidarity with those who stand against colonialism and racism. . ” means that the signers would have supported Hamas before Israel started defending itself. After all, Hamas claims to stand against colonialism and anti-Muslim racism, so aren’t they required to be supported?

There is no moral compass here, just approbation for one side and condemnation for the side that was viciously attacked. It’s a good example about how one’s moral judgements can be warped by social-justice considerations and misguided identity politics.

Did I mention that Hamas is still firing rockets at Israel, targeting civilians? And that over 200 hostages from Israel and other places remain in Hamas’s hands? The Māori doctors, far away on an island, apparently don’t care; they sympathize with one side only.

There are a pile of signers whose names I’ve put below the fold for the record (access is restricted to the journal)

Click “continue reading” to see the signers:

Continue reading “Māori doctors come out for Palestine”

An excellent Atlantic article on the false “decolonization” narrative for Gaza

October 31, 2023 • 11:15 am

The big news is still the war between Israel and Hamas, and one of the most thoughtful articles about it was just published in the Atlantic. A reader sent me an archived link where you can access it clicking on the screenshot below. The writer, Simon Sebag Montefiore, is identified as “the author of Jerusalem: The Biography and most recently The World: A Family History of Humanity.” Wikipedia, where he has his own page, says he’s ” a British historian, television presenter and author of popular history books and novels.

This is must reading for several reasons: it speaks the truth about Hamas and their leftist supporters in the West who celebrate its butchery; it shows the futility of calls for Israeli withdrawal, and it debunks the “settler-colonizing” myth that underlies must of the West’s demonization of Gaza. It limns what’s necessary for a “two state solution”, but, at the same time, excoriates Netanyahu, his government, and the settlement of the West Bank.  While I wouldn’t call it biased towards Israel, some might think so, yet it condemns the country and its leadership for how it’s run the West Bank.  And it’s in the Atlantic, which is getting more and more rational and less “progressive.”

Click below

All I can do is give some quotes (indented) and comment on them (flush left). I’ll try to group them under headings.

The problem: the misguided behavior of many Westerners, based on a false narrative:

Whatever the enormous complexities and challenges of bringing about this future, one truth should be obvious among decent people: killing 1,400 people and kidnapping more than 200, including scores of civilians, was deeply wrong. The Hamas attack resembled a medieval Mongol raid for slaughter and human trophies—except it was recorded in real time and published to social media. Yet since October 7, Western academics, students, artists, and activists have denied, excused, or even celebrated the murders by a terrorist sect that proclaims an anti-Jewish genocidal program. Some of this is happening out in the open, some behind the masks of humanitarianism and justice, and some in code, most famously “from the river to the sea,” a chilling phrase that implicitly endorses the killing or deportation of the 9 million Israelis. It seems odd that one has to say: Killing civilians, old people, even babies, is always wrong. But today say it one must.

How can educated people justify such callousness and embrace such inhumanity? All sorts of things are at play here, but much of the justification for killing civilians is based on a fashionable ideology, “decolonization,” which, taken at face value, rules out the negotiation of two states—the only real solution to this century of conflict—and is as dangerous as it is false.

The narrative: “imperialist settler colonialism”

Today’s Hamas apologists and atrocity-deniers, with their robotic denunciations of “settler-colonialism,” belong to the same tradition but worse: They have abundant evidence of the slaughter of old people, teenagers, and children, but unlike those fools of the 1930s, who slowly came around to the truth, they have not changed their views an iota. The lack of decency and respect for human life is astonishing: Almost instantly after the Hamas attack, a legion of people emerged who downplayed the slaughter, or denied actual atrocities had even happened, as if Hamas had just carried out a traditional military operation against soldiers. October 7 deniers, like Holocaust deniers, exist in an especially dark place.

The decolonization narrative has dehumanized Israelis to the extent that otherwise rational people excuse, deny, or support barbarity. It holds that Israel is an “imperialist-colonialist” force, that Israelis are “settler-colonialists,” and that Palestinians have a right to eliminate their oppressors. (On October 7, we all learned what that meant.) It casts Israelis as “white” or “white-adjacent” and Palestinians as “people of color.”

This leftist analysis, with its hierarchy of oppressed identities—and intimidating jargon, a clue to its lack of factual rigor—has in many parts of the academy and media replaced traditional universalist leftist values, including internationalist standards of decency and respect for human life and the safety of innocent civilians. When this clumsy analysis collides with the realities of the Middle East, it loses all touch with historical facts.

Why the settler-colonizing trope is false for Gaza and somewhat false for the West Bank (Montefiore is not talking about the West Bank here)

Contrary to the decolonizing narrative, Gaza is not technically occupied by Israel—not in the usual sense of soldiers on the ground. Israel evacuated the Strip in 2005, removing its settlements. In 2007, Hamas seized power, killing its Fatah rivals in a short civil war. Hamas set up a one-party state that crushes Palestinian opposition within its territory, bans same-sex relationships, represses women, and openly espouses the killing of all Jews.

Very strange company for leftists.

Of course, some protesters chanting “from the river to the sea” may have no idea what they’re calling for; they are ignorant and believe that they are simply endorsing “freedom.” Others deny that they are pro-Hamas, insisting that they are simply pro-Palestinian—but feel the need to cast Hamas’s massacre as an understandable response to Israeli-Jewish “colonial” oppression. Yet others are malign deniers who seek the death of Israeli civilians.

At the heart of decolonization ideology is the categorization of all Israelis, historic and present, as “colonists.” This is simply wrong. Most Israelis are descended from people who migrated to the Holy Land from 1881 to 1949. They were not completely new to the region. The Jewish people ruled Judean kingdoms and prayed in the Jerusalem Temple for a thousand years, then were ever present there in smaller numbers for the next 2,000 years. In other words, Jews are indigenous in the Holy Land, and if one believes in the return of exiled people to their homeland, then the return of the Jews is exactly that. Even those who deny this history or regard it as irrelevant to modern times must acknowledge that Israel is now the home and only home of 9 million Israelis who have lived there for four, five, six generations.

Most migrants to, say, the United Kingdom or the United States are regarded as British or American within a lifetime. Politics in both countries is filled with prominent leaders—Suella Braverman and David Lammy, Kamala Harris and Nikki Haley—whose parents or grandparents migrated from India, West Africa, or South America. No one would describe them as “settlers.” Yet Israeli families resident in Israel for a century are designated as “settler-colonists” ripe for murder and mutilation. And contrary to Hamas apologists, the ethnicity of perpetrators or victims never justifies atrocities. They would be atrocious anywhere, committed by anyone with any history. It is dismaying that it is often self-declared “anti-racists” who are now advocating exactly this murder by ethnicity.

. . . Even when the word decolonization does not appear, this ideology is embedded in partisan media coverage of the conflict and suffuses recent condemnations of Israel. The student glee in response to the slaughter at Harvard, the University of Virginia, and other universities; the support for Hamas amongst artists and actors, along with the weaselly equivocations by leaders at some of America’s most famous research institutions, have displayed a shocking lack of morality, humanity, and basic decency.

. . . Whenever you read a book or an article and it uses the phrase “settler-colonialist,” you are dealing with ideological polemic, not history.

Why the narrative holds, to some extent, for the West Bank:

I should also say that Israeli rule of the Occupied Territories of the West Bank is different and, to my mind, unacceptable, unsustainable, and unjust. The Palestinians in the West Bank have endured a harsh, unjust, and oppressive occupation since 1967. Settlers under the disgraceful Netanyahu government have harassed and persecuted Palestinians in the West Bank: 146 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were killed in 2022 and at least 153 in 2023 before the Hamas attack, and more than 90 since. Again: This is appalling and unacceptable, but not genocide.

. . . Israel has done many harsh and bad things. Netanyahu’s government, the worst ever in Israeli history, as inept as it is immoral, promotes a maximalist ultranationalism that is both unacceptable and unwise. Everyone has the right to protest against Israel’s policies and actions but not to promote terror sects, the killing of civilians, and the spreading of menacing anti-Semitism.

See also the conclusion below.

The “white” Israeli versus the “Palestinians of color” trope:

Even more preposterous than the “colonizer” label is the “whiteness” trope that is key to the decolonization ideology. Again: simply wrong. Israel has a large community of Ethiopian Jews, and about half of all Israelis—that is, about 5 million people—are Mizrahi, the descendants of Jews from Arab and Persian lands, people of the Middle East. They are neither “settlers” nor “colonialists” nor “white” Europeans at all but inhabitants of Baghdad and Cairo and Beirut for many centuries, even millennia, who were driven out after 1948.

Why Israel is demonized? (For Montefiore, it’s not just because they’re “white adjacent” and Palestinians are “people of color”, or simply because Israel is a Jewish state)

The open world of liberal democracies—or the West, as it used to be called—is today polarized by paralyzed politics, petty but vicious cultural feuds about identity and gender, and guilt about historical successes and sins, a guilt that is bizarrely atoned for by showing sympathy for, even attraction to, enemies of our democratic values. In this scenario, Western democracies are always bad actors, hypocritical and neo-imperialist, while foreign autocracies or terror sects such as Hamas are enemies of imperialism and therefore sincere forces for good. In this topsy-turvy scenario, Israel is a living metaphor and penance for the sins of the West. The result is the intense scrutiny of Israel and the way it is judged, using standards rarely attained by any nation at war, including the United States.

This does make sense to me, but I don’t think one can leave out that Israel also happens to be a Jewish “imperialist” state. There are other liberal democracies that are or have been “colonizers” but don’t get criticized as much.

The “right of return” idea:

In this brutal war, Israelis did indeed drive some Palestinians from their homes; others fled the fighting; yet others stayed and are now Israeli Arabs who have the vote in the Israeli democracy. (Some 25 percent of today’s Israelis are Arabs and Druze.) About 700,000 Palestinians lost their homes. That is an enormous figure and a historic tragedy. Starting in 1948, some 900,000 Jews lost their homes in Islamic countries and most of them moved to Israel. These events are not directly comparable, and I don’t mean to propose a competition in tragedy or hierarchy of victimhood. But the past is a lot more complicated than the decolonizers would have you believe.

Out of this imbroglio, one state emerged, Israel, and one did not, Palestine. Its formation is long overdue.

Note that Montefiore calls for a two-state solution. I agree, but think it’s impossible for the time being—not until both the West Bank under the PA and Gaza under Hamas get new leadership. The PA, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, is deeply corrupt and cannot be a good-faith negotiator. This is what the author says about it:

Why Palestine needs new leadership before we get a two-state solution:

The Palestinians have legitimate grievances and have endured much brutal injustice. But both of their political entities are utterly flawed: the Palestinian Authority, which rules 40 percent of the West Bank, is moribund, corrupt, inept, and generally disdained—and its leaders have been just as abysmal as those of Israel.

. . . This month, the Hamas terrorists unleashed their slaughter in part to undermine a peace with Saudi Arabia that would have improved Palestinian politics and standard of life, and reinvigorated Hamas’s sclerotic rival, the Palestinian Authority. In part, they served Iran to prevent the empowering of Saudi Arabia, and their atrocities were of course a spectacular trap to provoke Israeli overreaction. They are most probably getting their wish, but to do this they are cynically exploiting innocent Palestinian people as a sacrifice to political means, a second crime against civilians. In the same way, the decolonization ideology, with its denial of Israel’s right to exist and its people’s right to live safely, makes a Palestinian state less likely if not impossible.

Some truths about Hamas:

Although there is a strong instinct to make this a Holocaust-mirroring “genocide,” it is not: The Palestinians suffer from many things, including military occupation; settler intimidation and violence; corrupt Palestinian political leadership; callous neglect by their brethren in more than 20 Arab states; the rejection by Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, of compromise plans that would have seen the creation of an independent Palestinian state; and so on. None of this constitutes genocide, or anything like genocide. The Israeli goal in Gaza—for practical reasons, among others—is to minimize the number of Palestinian civilians killed. Hamas and like-minded organizations have made it abundantly clear over the years that maximizing the number of Palestinian casualties is in their strategic interest.

, , . Since its founding in 1987, Hamas has used the murder of civilians to spoil any chance of a two-state solution. In 1993, its suicide bombings of Israeli civilians were designed to destroy the two-state Olso Accords that recognized Israel and Palestine. This month, the Hamas terrorists unleashed their slaughter in part to undermine a peace with Saudi Arabia that would have improved Palestinian politics and standard of life, and reinvigorated Hamas’s sclerotic rival, the Palestinian Authority.

It is telling, but still strange, that the Western press, and many progressives, use “equal body counts” as a surrogate for “equal morality in conducting war” when they know that Hamas not only uses civilians as human shields, guaranteeing more civilian deaths, but actually wants Palestinian civilians to die. Why else would they put their headquarters under hospitals and rocket launchers in populated areas? Further, almost everyone knows that Israel does its best to not kill civilians (see above). If the war were purely a military conflict, with civilians kept out of the way (that’s the reason Israel has urged Gazans to move south), far, far fewer Palestinians would be killed.  “Body count equity” is simply not the way to judge whether the war is proceeding on a legal basis, or whether it’s a “just war”.  Already people are judging it an “unjust” war, but I don’t agree.

Montefiore’s conclusion:

Hamas’s atrocities place it, like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, as an abomination beyond tolerance. Israel, like any state, has the right to defend itself, but it must do so with great care and minimal civilian loss, and it will be hard even with a full military incursion to destroy Hamas. Meanwhile, Israel must curb its injustices in the West Bank—or risk destroying itself— because ultimately it must negotiate with moderate Palestinians.

The last phrase is the rub: where will the “moderate Palestinians” come from? After this war, Palestinians will be angry, like wasps whose hive has been poked, and surely (especially given the antisemitic and anti-Israel propaganda ubiquitous in Palestinian schools), a cohort of young terrorists will be ready to go. How will Palestine prevent them from taking over

I don’t know the answer, and that’s why I despair of a two-state solution.

h/t: Carl