Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Applying the Law of War to Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah

Many of the rioters on college campuses and in public spaces appear to be mindless and faceless cowards who have been emboldened by the weak response to their illegal tactics; when they appear on camera they are incapable of coherently explaining exactly what they are protesting and what they are trying to achieve. They are mindless because they chant "From the River to the Sea" even though many of them could not find Gaza on a map; they are faceless because they choose to wear masks to hide their identities, in contrast to legitimate protesters who proudly show their faces. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a famous and glorious dream: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." In contrast, these rioters are working to create a living nightmare world in which Hamas is glorified and Jews are demonized. They hide their faces to avoid being held accountable for their actions until they can eliminate anyone who opposes their fanatical goals.

However, it should be noted that some of Israel's slightly more sophisticated enemies have specific talking points, including the false allegation that Israel is committing war crimes. Upon close examination of that false allegation, it becomes evident that anyone who believes that has no formal legal training, and no foundational understanding of the relevant principles of international law regarding what is permissible during a war.

Professor Louis Rene Beres is a scholar of international law, and he often uses the phrase "International law is not a suicide pact," an apt description of Israel's legally protected self-defense rights.

In a May 30, 2024 article in The Wall Street Journal titled "Israel, Hamas, and the Law of War," attorneys David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee A. Casey--both of whom worked at the Justice Department and the White House Counsel's Office--discuss at length the proper application of international law to Israel's wartime conduct in Gaza. In particular, they focus on the principles of distinction and proportionality, noting that international law forbids a country from intentionally targeting civilians and from making attacks resulting in civilian deaths and damage to civilian property that are disproportionate to "the concrete and direct military advantage expected to be gained." 

The required distinction between military targets and civilian targets does not stipulate that any civilian casualties are proof that a war crime has been committed. It is illegal to deliberately target civilians, which has long been the modus operandi for Hamas, culminating in Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty terrorist attack against Israel; in contrast, Israel has gone to great lengths to avoid hitting civilian targets, to the extent of putting the lives of Israeli soldiers at risk. It is also illegal to deliberately put civilians in harm's way, which is another war crime committed regularly by Hamas, which utilizes "human shields" both to discourage Israeli attacks and as fodder for propaganda. 

The law regarding proportionality is often misunderstood; media outlets regularly compare the inflated and unverified casualty totals from Gaza with Israel's casualties to imply--or even directly state--that the larger number of casualties in Gaza proves that Israel has committed war crimes. However, international law does not mandate proportional casualty totals; proportionality refers to the lethality of the attack in proportion to the legitimate military goal of the attack. Here, Hamas has vowed to repeat October 7 "again and again and again," which means that Israel legally can take the necessary measures to render Hamas incapable of ever committing such an attack again; to the extent that Israeli operations against Hamas result in civilian casualties, as long as Israel is not intentionally attacking civilian targets those casualties are the responsibility of Hamas as both the initial aggressor and as a party that deliberately deploys human shields.

The article does not specifically mention Hezbollah, another Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization that commits the same kinds of war crimes that Hamas commits--and Hezbollah's forces are more numerous, better trained, and better armed than Hamas' forces. If Israel does not eliminate Hezbollah as soon as possible, Israel will pay a terrible price later--a price that will make October 7, 2023 seem minor in comparison. Permitting Hezbollah to become so powerful is one of the greatest strategic errors in Israeli history; hopefully, it will not prove to be a fatal strategic error. Israel's neglect of the threat posed by Hamas should serve as a lesson and a warning. Just a few days before Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty terrorist attack against Israel, I decried Israel's Ongoing Oslo Accords Folly, and I declared, "The core unresolved issue is not 'land for peace' nor is it autonomy; it is the unrelenting quest to destroy Israel that is fomented by various Arab/Islamic states and the terrorist groups (including the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and others) that they sponsor. There is zero chance that Israel giving up land will resolve that issue, and the Oslo Accords are just one example of the folly of assuming otherwise."

The sad reality is that the people who are protesting the loudest about Israel's alleged war crimes do not care at all about the alleged war crimes victims; the protesters hate the Jewish people, and seek to cloak their antisemitism as "merely" anti-Zionism--but anti-Zionism is indistinguishable from antisemitism because Israel is the Jewish homeland. It should be noted that being Jewish does not mean that you cannot be antisemitic, and there are some Jews who hate their own heritage and their own people--in short, they are traitors: instead of expressing concern for the October 7 victims and their families, these traitors give aid and comfort to Hamas' rapists, kidnappers, and murderers.

Friday, May 17, 2024

The Correct Way to Deal With Violent Insurrections on College Campuses

Over the past few weeks, many of the most prominent U.S. colleges have permitted violent insurrections to take place on their campuses. These violent insurrections have targeted Jews in general, and also specifically Israel, the Jewish State. Jewish students have been assaulted verbally and physically, and have been physically blocked from accessing the educational facilities that they have paid to use. It is inconceivable that such violent insurrections against women, Blacks, homosexuals, or any other minority group would be tolerated, but college administrators far too often lose their moral compasses and their backbones when Jews are targeted. Instead of fulfilling their duty to provide access to education for all students, college administrators issue vague, nonsensical pronouncements about free speech.

This is not about and has never been about free speech. No one is disputing that, subject to the same time/place considerations that apply to any exercise of free speech, students have a right to peacefully express their views--but chanting hate-filled slogans, openly wishing for the murder of people based on their religion, ethnicity, or political viewpoint, and denying access to educational facilities are not permissible exercises of free speech rights: such actions are violent insurrections that should be dealt with accordingly.

In the 1960s, many U.S. college campuses faced disruptive protests about the Vietnam War and other issues--but, perhaps because Jews were not the targets, college administrators understood their responsibilities and acted swiftly. For example, here is an excerpt from a letter by Theodore Hesburgh--then the President of Notre Dame--that was published in The New York Times:

Now to the heart of my message. You recall my letter of November 25, 1968, which was written after an incident. It seemed best to me then not to waste time in personal recriminations or heavy-handed discipline, but to profit from the occasion to invite this whole university community--faculty, administration and students--to state their convictions regarding protests that were peaceful and those that threatened the life of the community by disrupting the normal operations of the University and infringing upon the rights of others.

In general, the reaction was practically unanimous that this community recognizes the validity of protest in our day--sometimes even the necessity--regarding the current burning issues of our society: war and peace, especially Vietnam; civil rights, especially of minority groups; the stance of the University vis-à-vis moral issues of great public concern; the operation of the University as a university.

There was also practical unanimity that the University could not continue to exist as a society, dedicated to the discussion of all issues of importance, if protests were of such a nature that the normal operations of the University were in any way impeded, or if the rights of any member of this community were abrogated, peacefully or non-peacefully.

I believe that I now have a clear mandate from this University community to see that: (1) our lines of communication between all segments of the community are kept as open as possible, with all legitimate means of communicating dissent assured, expanded, and protected; (2) civility and rationality are maintained; and (3) violation of another's rights or obstruction of the life of the University are outlawed as illegitimate means of dissent in this kind of open society.

Now comes my duty of stating, clearly and unequivocally, what happens if. I'll try to make it as simple as possible to avoid misunderstanding by anyone. Anyone or any group that substitutes force for rational persuasion, be it violent or non-violent, will be given fifteen minutes of meditation to cease and desist. They will be told that they are, by their actions, going counter to the overwhelming conviction of this community as to what is proper here.

If they do not within that time period cease and desist, they will be asked for their identity cards. Those who produce these will be suspended from this community as not understanding what this community is. Those who do not have or will not produce identity cards will be assumed not to be members of the community and will be charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace on private property and treated accordingly by the law.

After notification of suspension, or trespass in the case of non-community members, if there is not within five minutes a movement to cease and desist, students will be notified of expulsion from this community and the law will deal with them as non-students.

There seems to be a current myth that university members are not responsible to the law, and that somehow the law is the enemy, particularly those whom society has constituted to uphold and enforce the law. I would like to insist here that all of us are responsible to the duly constituted laws of this University community and to all of the laws of the land. There is no other guarantee of civilization versus the jungle or mob rule, here or elsewhere.

We can have a thousand resolutions as to what kind of a society we want, but when lawlessness is afoot, and all authority is flouted--faculty, administration and student--then we invoke the normal societal forces of law or we allow the university to die beneath our hapless and hopeless gaze. I have no intention of presiding over such a spectacle. Too many people have given too much of themselves and their lives to this University to let this happen here. Without being melodramatic, if this conviction makes this my last will and testament to Notre Dame, so be it.

Imagine the immediate, positive impact if the leaders of our "elite" colleges issued such a statement.

Imagine the impact if President Joe Biden made such a statement instead of having his "good people on both sides" moment that media outlets have chosen to ignore.

Imagine the impact if the editorial pages of The New York Times and other bastions of Leftist rhetoric made such a statement.

The profound failures of our colleges, our President, and many of the most prominent media outlets to condemn antisemitism and anti-Zionism is sobering, as is their failure to make a clear distinction between permissible free speech and impermissible violence.

Any Jewish person who is still clinging to "progressive" political views should very carefully note how quickly the public discourse shifted in "progressive" circles after Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty terrorist attack against Israel; at most, Israel received a few days of tepid expressions of sympathy before the talking points became vile antisemitic and anti-Zionist outbursts, attacking not just specific Israeli policies but the right of Jewish people to live in peace and the basic right of Israel to exist. Israel is the only country in the world whose basic right to exist is questioned; no matter how many horrific things China, Iran, North Korea, and other totalitarian regimes do, no one questions that those nations have a right to exist. There are no mass protests on college campuses about China committing genocide or Iran's war mongering/sponsorship of terrorism or North Korea's human rights violations. 

The area extending from Morocco to Pakistan is a vast swath of Arab/Islamic fanaticism and totalitarianism. Israel, the only nation in the region that has free speech, equal rights, and legitimate elections, is unfairly rebuked while the real war crimes and real war criminals are ignored or even praised.

The fear and shame at the heart of antisemitism and anti-Zionism is breathtaking to behold. Israel's success in liberating herself from British colonialism and building a free and open society should be viewed as a model for other nations to emulate, but instead Israel is slandered while our political leaders, our educators, and our media members are either silent or complicit.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Pictures of Four Israeli Soldiers Killed in Gaza Bring Several Thoughts to Mind

Looking at the pictures of the four brave young men who just fell in battle in Gaza to defend IsraelI have many thoughts but three thoughts come to the forefront:

1) If Israel were truly trying to commit genocide then she would not put her soldiers at risk in building to building targeted combat but she would just bomb Gaza to oblivion. 

2) If Israel were truly an "apartheid state" as the modern blood libel insists, then pictures of her soldiers would not look like a United Colors of Benetton ad. The reality is that tiny Israel--just twice the size of L.A. County--is the only nation between Morocco and Pakistan that embraces ethnic diversity while having free elections, free speech, women's rights, and religious freedom. An Arab who publicly questions Israel's right to exist can run for election and serve in Israel's Knesset (Parliament); the equivalent opportunity does not exist in any other country in that region. 

The outside agitators and brainwashed fools who are rampaging across U.S. college campuses chanting hate speech against Jews and Israel probably could not find Gaza on a map, and they have no clue about the historical truth about Israel or Gaza; the propaganda they spout is not only false but it is not even internally consistent: I am waiting for them to decide if (1) Gaza was a thriving area until Israel bombed it or (2) Gaza was an "open air prison." Logically, both cannot be true, but once you decide to chant "From the River to the Sea..." you abandoned logic a long time ago.

3) By pressuring Israel to delay the Rafah operation and then refusing to deliver various weapons to Israel, the United States emboldened Hamas, gave Hamas time to prepare, and thus put Israeli lives at risk. A stronger Israeli leader than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have either sent forces into Rafah weeks ago, or else made the determination that instead of endangering Israeli soldiers in close combat Israel must bomb into submission the entrenched Hamas forces.

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Esq. provided a brilliant analysis of the history of American diplomatic pressure leading to catastrophic results, and he concluded, "The United States can weather its bad policy choices; it is big country protected by two oceans. It rarely pays any price for its diplomatic follies. That price is paid by its erstwhile allies pressured into acting against their own interests." 

In order to survive, Israel must be brave and must act in her own self interest. When Menachem Begin was Prime Minister of Israel and Joe Biden was a U.S. Senator, Begin rebuked Biden by declaring, "Don't threaten us with cutting off your aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history. Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid." 

Unfortunately, Netanyahu must be an octopus, because it seems that he does not have two trembling knees but eight trembling knees that paralyze his ability to move decisively. He bears great responsibility for weakening Israel by repeatedly caving in to outside pressure for the past two decades, and if he wants to salvage what is left of his good name then he only has two choices: finish the job in Gaza and then resign, or resign now to make room for a true leader who will finish the job in Gaza.

Finishing the job means, at a minimum, the following:

1) Hamas is eliminated as a functioning terrorist, military, and political entity.

2) Hamas' state sponsors--including but perhaps not limited to Iran and Qatar--must pay reparations for the killed, for the injured, and for the destruction of property.

3) All hostages held by Hamas must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Just hours after Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty terrorist attack, I predicted the following:

The broad outline of events for the next few weeks is sadly predictable:

1) For the next 24-48 hours, America and many Western countries will express sympathy for Israel.

2) After 48 hours at most, attention will shift to Israel's allegedly "disproportionate" response, and both sides--but mostly Israel--will be urged to "act with restraint."

3) Most media outlets will present false narratives about alleged "legitimate Palestinian grievances" that supposedly justify Hamas' attacks. Few people will have the courage to publicly state the truth

There has never been a sovereign country called Palestine, nor is there a distinct Palestinian people. If you don't believe me, then consider the words of Zuheir Mohsen, who was a high-ranking PLO leader in the 1970s. In a March 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw, Mohsen declared:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.

For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

The word Palestine has nothing to do with Arab or Islamic history, but it dates back to the Latin name that the Romans gave to Judea (the second Jewish Commonwealth) after conquering and subjugating the Jewish people (and the Latin name is derived from a Greek word). After destroying the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the Romans renamed the city Aelia Capitolina, and they proudly printed coins bearing the words "Judea Capta." The Roman Empire was long ago consigned to history's dustbin, but the Jewish people are still here and the Jewish people have reestablished their historical state in their historical land. We know when the first Jewish Commonwealth was founded (roughly 3000 years ago), we know its approximate and fluctuating borders, we know that Jerusalem was its political capital and main religious center, we know when that state was conquered by the Babylonians (roughly 2500 years ago), we know when the Maccabees established a second Jewish Commonwealth (roughly 2200 years ago), we know when the second Jewish Commonwealth was conquered by the Roman Empire (roughly 2100 years ago), and we know when the final Jewish revolt against Rome was defeated (less than 2000 years ago). We know that the people in the first and second Jewish Commonwealths spoke Hebrew. 

In contrast, the notion of a distinct Palestinian Arab nation is quite recent, and has no historical basis. The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) was founded in Cairo, Egypt in 1964, with funding and support provided by the Soviet Union. What exactly was the PLO founded to "liberate"? In 1964, Egypt controlled Gaza, while Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria plus the eastern portion of Jerusalem. If the PLO had been truly interested in creating a Palestinian national state in Gaza plus the West Bank then why was the PLO conducting terrorist attacks against Israel, a nation that had no control over the areas that the PLO supposedly wanted to "liberate"? Of course, the reality is that the Soviet Union helped create the PLO to destabilize Israel and thus increase the Soviet Union's influence and power in the region. This was all about oil and about expanding Communism's reach, and had nothing to do with helping "Palestinians" or creating a "Palestinian" nation. That is why the PLO and other Arab/Islamic terrorist groups are still waging war against Israel decades after Israel gave up control of Gaza and of portions of the so-called West Bank: the goal is not creating a "Palestinian" state but rather destroying the Jewish State. The PLO has not even attempted to create a functioning government in Gaza, because the PLO was not created to govern, does not know how to govern, and has no interest in governing. 

This is a tragedy not only for Israel, but also for the innocent Arabs who are not terrorists and who just want to live in peace; being placed under the control of the PLO was the worst thing that happened to those Arabs, but many media outlets would rather blame Israel than examine and explain historical truths.

Until the nations of the world, the U.N., and major media outlets speak truth to power about both Israel and about the Palestine myth, there will never be Mideast peace.

4) In three to six weeks, Israel will declare victory. That victory will result in some form of limited ceasefire or Israel ending major military operations--but Gaza will still be governed by Hamas, and large portions of Judea and Samaria will still be governed by the terrorist organization that calls itself the Palestinian Authority, even though there is no such country as Palestine and the only "authority" that this terrorist organization exercises is waging war against Israel.

It has taken a bit longer than I expected to reach stage four but--sadly--the broad outline of events that I predicted has unfolded as I expected, which is a tragedy not just for Israel and the Jewish people but for democracy and freedom in general. Victory for Hamas--and this is turning into a victory for Hamas--is defeat for anyone who values democracy, freedom, and human rights.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Remembering Rabbi Dr. Samuel Press

I am saddened by the recent passing of Rabbi Dr. Samuel Press, who led the congregation at Beth Abraham Synagogue in Dayton, Ohio for 25 years starting in 1978. Prior to moving to Ohio, he served as the Chief Rabbi of Alaska and was also the Alaska Command Jewish chaplain for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

I have four memories/stories to share about Rabbi Press: 

1) Not long after Rabbi Press moved to the Dayton area, I was hospitalized for five days and four nights with a partially dislocated joint in my neck (it is not clear what caused this injury, but what I remember is that my head tilted to one side, I could not lift my head up, and it hurt a lot). I was in first grade, about to turn seven years old, and it meant a lot that Rabbi Press visited me while I was in the hospital with my neck in traction. I remember talking to Rabbi Press about my passion for the Cleveland Browns, and I remember that he listened intently even though--if I recall the details correctly more than 40 years later--he was a sports fan but not much of an NFL fan.

2) Rabbi Press placed enormous emphasis on treating people right, and displaying compassion for others. It is a great honor to receive an aliyah (a Hebrew word meaning to go up, and referring to being called up to read from the Torah during a Jewish prayer service), but Rabbi Press said that if you knock someone over in your haste to do an aliyah then you wipe out the entire honor.

How many people go through life so focused on themselves that they don't care about how their actions harm others? F. Scott Fitzgerald offered this vivid description of such people in his classic novel The Great Gatsby: "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made." 

Rabbi Press attempted to transform Beth Abraham Synagogue into a congregation of people who cared instead of being careless. He set an example by treating people kindly and with compassion. I can't say that every congregant followed his example, but I can say that he never wavered from setting the right example and challenging everyone--in a proactive way--to follow his example.

3) After the writer Eric Breindel passed away, I read a tribute to him that I will never forget: it stated that he spoke the truth without fearing the consequences. I can think of no higher praise that could be provided about someone. 

Rabbi Press spoke the truth without fearing the consequences.

I will never forget a sermon he gave during which he thundered from the pulpit about "That antisemitic Pope!" He was talking about Pope John Paul II, who invited Nazi war criminal Kurt Waldheim to the Vatican for an official visit and who consistently expressed support for terrorist Yasser Arafat while remaining silent about the Jewish victims of terrorism committed by Arafat's PLO. It also should never be forgotten that the Vatican still holds over 800 Hebrew manuscripts that are the rightful property of the Jewish people; scholar Dr. Manfred Lehmann described with unflinching criticism the Vatican's shameful handling of this issue

It was not easy or popular for Rabbi Press or Dr. Lehmann to speak the truth. Jews who speak the truth about the Catholic Church often face as much or more criticism from within the Jewish community than from outside the Jewish community, because many Jews think that if they shuffle and bow enough then they will be spared during the next wave of persecution--ignoring the fact that such cowardice has never been rewarded. We are seeing this today as leftist Jews who thought that being self-proclaimed "progressives" protected them from antisemitism are finding out--to their shock and dismay--that antisemites do not distinguish between religious Jews, secular Jews, right-wing Jews or left-wing Jews; for antisemites, the only good Jew is a dead Jew.

4) A few years after Rabbi Press gave that sermon, I wrote a well-researched and in depth article about the Catholic Church's long, sordid history of institutional antisemitism which sadly continues to this day. The Dayton Jewish community's "leaders" did not like this article and sought to isolate and discredit me. Dr. Lehmann supported and encouraged me, but most of the Dayton Jewish community remained silent while some cowards lashed out with ad hominem attacks against me (because they had no valid refutation for what I had written). One Dayton Rabbi supported me: Rabbi Press. I was never daunted or intimidated by  those who attacked me--despicable people, many of whom are now deceased, and none of whom deserve to have their names remembered for posterity--but I never forgot how Rabbi Press stood up not just for me but for the truth.

Rabbi Press was a man of courage and honor. I miss him, and I send thoughts of comfort and consolation in his memory to his family.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Orit Ettinger's Inspiring Faith and Positivity Provide a Powerful Glimpse into Israel's Spiritual Strength

"Orit" means "light" in Hebrew. Orit Ettinger embodies light and positivity despite suffering many tragedies during her young life, and when she speaks about her experiences she uplifts others. Ettinger's father was killed in a terrorist attack, one of her brothers died in a motorcycle accident, her cousin was killed while rescuing people during Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty attack in Israel, and another one of her brothers was killed during the current war in Gaza, but she remains determined to be happy and to focus on the positive aspects of life. I must confess that the deep faith and unwavering positivity demonstrated by religiously observant Jews inspires me but also confounds me; I have not suffered a fraction of what Ettinger has suffered, but my reaction to suffering--both my own, and the suffering that I see inflicted on innocent people like Ettinger and her family--is to become angry and to question why such things happen. It is very difficult to remain positive in the face of pure evil, but I am inspired by those who are able to do that.

Ettinger notes that we all suffer hardships during our lives but that the world is still a beautiful place. She finds joy in that beauty, and every day she expresses a moment of gratitude. Her message is that we must find the ray of light in all situations:

I told my sisters that we don't have the privilege of sitting and crying in our house, because there is a war going on and people are worn out and emotionally broken. We understand this saga and know what helps and what doesn't, what comforts and what doesn't, and we can help people get back up. I went to comfort mourners and families of hostages, and I saw how, through my pain, I have the chance to comfort others.

We're all in a war. Some whole families were killed. We don't have the privilege of sitting at home and if I have the job of encouraging soldiers then I will do it and worry about the consequences afterwards.

I have told families of hostages, as well as the families of those whose loved ones were killed in action, and soldiers as well--there is something in realizing that not everything is under your control. Wives worry for their husbands, but does that help? No--so stop worrying. You can worry, but you can't let it take you over, because there is nothing we can do about it.

The love of life will triumph over the lust for death. There are nearly two billion Muslims in the world and there are less than 16 million Jews in the world. I don't know how many Muslims hate Jews and support Hamas, but the empirical evidence suggests that the number is large. However, Israel's strength and the Jewish people's strength derive not from population numbers or from military weapons but rather from a deep well of spiritual fortitude. A death-affirming culture can only bring death to itself and others, while a life-affirming culture brings life. Look at what the Jewish people have achieved in the Land of Israel in less than 100 years by driving out British colonists, defeating the armies of multiple Arab/Muslim nations in several wars, and then building world class agricultural, scientific, and technological infrastructures--and then contrast that life-affirming progress with how little the Arab/Muslim world has accomplished during the same period despite enjoying vast advantages in size and natural resources (most notably oil): in the Arab/Muslim world one searches in vain for democracy, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, women's rights, and other basic human rights. Israel is the only Mideast nation where basic human rights exist, because Israel is the only Mideast nation founded on life-affirming principles.

There will not be peace in the Mideast until the Arab/Muslim world adopts a life-affirming mindset that rejects political extremism and hatred; that truth does not fit into the preferred narratives promulgated by many media outlets, political organizations, and nations, but understanding and accepting that truth is the only path forward for the Mideast's dysfunctional nations. Clinging to the desire to transform the world into Dar-al-Islam will only lead to misery and death.

Professor Louis Rene Beres' Insights About Applying International Law Principles to Israel's War Against Hamas

Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty attack in Israel displayed the barbarism at the heart of radical Islam. Any attempt to assert a moral equivalency between Hamas' war crimes/crimes against humanity, and Israel's restrained, lawful, and justified military response is obscene and unfounded. Unfortunately, self-proclaimed "progressives" continue to prove their moral bankruptcy by asserting this false equivalency, in the process demonstrating that their true agenda is not "peace and love" but rather the overthrow of Western civilization.

Professor Louis Rene Beres often uses the apt phrase, "International law is not a suicide pact," which in this context means that Israel does not have to consent to being destroyed merely because other parties do not approve of her methods of dealing with Hamas' depravity and violence. More specifically, Professor Beres explains why Israel's response--including the recent targeted assassination of Hamas commander Marwan Issa--is fully justified under the principles of international law.

The entire article is well worth reading. Here are several of Professor Beres' key points, in his own words:

1) "Under international law which is binding upon all sovereign states, terrorism represents a crime that should be prevented and must be punished. As was learned originally from Roman law and Jewish law (Torah), a universal rule exists. This 'peremptory' rule affirms the core principle of 'No crime without a punishment,' or Nullum crimen sine poena. It can be discovered, among other sources, at the London Charter of August 8, 1945. This is the founding document of the post-war Nuremberg Tribunal."

2) "In formal jurisprudence, terrorists are known as hostes humani generis or 'common enemies of humankind.' While the world legal system allows or even encourages certain insurgencies in matters of 'self-determination,' there is nothing about these matters that can ever justify deliberate attacks on civilians. In this connection, it is important to remember that an integral part of all criminal law is the underlying presence of mens rea or 'criminal intent.'

On this point, there can be no reasonable comparison of Marwan Issa's deliberate mass murder of Israeli noncombatants and the unintended civilian harms now being suffered in Gaza. As a matter of law, responsibility for such ongoing harms falls entirely upon the 'perfidious' behavior (i.e., 'human shields') of Hamas and Iran, and not on Israeli forces acting on behalf of legitimate self-defense."

3) "Under the law of war, even where an insurgent use of force has supportable 'just cause,' it must still fight with 'just means.' Accordingly, the vapid phrase 'One man's terrorist is another’s freedom fighter' is never more than an empty witticism."

4) "The willfully indiscriminate nature of jihadist terrorist operations (not just Hamas) is well documented. Such intentional blurring of the lines between lawful and unlawful targets is rooted in certain generic principles of 'holy war.' Several years ago, an oft-repeated remark by Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, then a prominent Muslim cleric in London, explained core doctrinal linkages between Islamic terror and 'holy war:'

Said the Sheikh, 'We don't make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever (a Jew or Christian) has no value. It has no sanctity.'

International law is not a suicide pact, especially when an adversary remains indifferent to its unassailable claims. As was learned yet again on October 7, 2023, jihadist attackers add gratuitously barbarous effects to their corrosive primal ideologies. At 'bottom line,' these are belief systems that gleefully embrace the sacrificial slaughter of 'unbelievers.' To wit, for Hamas and related terror groups, 'military objectives' have 'normally' included elementary schools, bomb shelters, ice-cream parlors, civilian bus stops and elderly pedestrians. In law, these perpetrators ought never to be called 'militants.' Whatever their alleged cause, they are criminals of the irredeemably worst sort."

Professor Beres concludes his analysis by pointing out that the nations of the world should be helping Israel instead of condemning her:

William Blackstone's 18th century Commentaries, the foundation of United States jurisprudence, explain that because international law is an integral part of each individual state's "common law," all states are "expected to aid and enforce the law of nations." This must be accomplished "by inflicting an adequate punishment upon the offenses against that universal law." Derivatively, by its precisely targeted removal of Hamas terrorist leader Marwan Issa, Israel acted not in violation of the law of nations, but in its indispensable enforcement. Presently, this neglected clarification of global justice should not be undervalued or overlooked.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Understanding the Full Dimensions of Hamas' October 7, 2023 Mass Casualty Attack in Israel

During Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty attack in Israel, Hamas not only committed rape and torture while killing over 1200 people and taking more than 200 hostages, but in the aftermath of the attack--and attacks launched by Hezbollah against northern Israeli communities--hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been displaced and dozens of children have become orphans. The tragic impact of Hamas' terrorism will be felt for generations. When you see pictures or descriptions of whatever is happening in Gaza, remember why it is happening: Israel is making sure that Hamas will never again have the capability of inflicting such suffering--and another reason that Israel is operating in Gaza is to find and hopefully rescue the 100 or so hostages still being held by Hamas.

A less publicized aspect of Hamas' attack, as Rebecca Sugar pointed out recently, is that Hamas also committed agricultural terrorism:

The human tragedy of Oct. 7 still grips the country and is compounded by another kind of devastation Hamas inflicted on Israel. Danielle Abraham, executive director of Volcani International Partnerships, a nongovernmental organization that addresses global hunger using Israeli technological innovation, calls it "agricultural terrorism."

Terrorists targeted farmland, livestock, plants and infrastructure as they made their way across the western Negev, which produces roughly 70% of the country's vegetables, 20% of its fruit and 6% of its milk. "The attack was designed to intentionally destroy agricultural production, but more than that, it was meant to destroy the identity of the region, to break the community," Ms. Abraham says.

Hamas terrorists damaged greenhouses and barns, many beyond repair. They slashed crop nets and flooded orchards. They burned irrigation pipes and shot at fertigation systems. They destroyed the filtration system for the local reservoir...

Known for producing some of the world's sweetest tomatoes, Israel is now importing them. Lettuce and onion shortages are expected, and up to 20% of strawberry fields were abandoned. Estimates of income losses and infrastructure damage total more than $500 million.

Israel's barbaric enemies have not only demonstrated an inability to build functional societies, but they are determined to destroy the beautiful society that the Jewish people have built in Israel. It is disturbing that so many organizations that claim to be concerned about human rights, global hunger, sustainability, and other issues are either silent about this or are even hostile toward Israel.

Hamas revealed and celebrated the barbarism at the heart of radical Islam, and Hamas' actions against Israel fit the legal definition of genocide, which consists of two elements:

  1. A mental element: the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such"; and
  2. A physical element, which includes the following five acts, enumerated exhaustively:
    • Killing members of the group
    • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
    • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
    • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
    • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

The intent is the most difficult element to determine. To constitute genocide, there must be a proven intent on the part of perpetrators to physically destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Cultural destruction does not suffice, nor does an intention to simply disperse a group. It is this special intent, or dolus specialis, that makes the crime of genocide so unique. In addition, case law has associated intent with the existence of a State or organizational plan or policy, even if the definition of genocide in international law does not include that element.

The facts documented above point to several important conclusions/action items:

1) In order to survive, Israel must destroy Hamas, because Hamas has demonstrated the ability and inclination to inflict mass destruction on Israel.

2) Any ceasefire in Gaza helps Hamas to regroup, and is therefore an existential threat to Israel.

3) In light of the significant support and collaboration that Hamas receives from the civilian population in Gaza, Israel must strongly consider what is the most humanitarian way to relocate most or all of that civilian population elsewhere; most wars involve population transfers to protect the innocent and minimize the likelihood of more warfare, and there is no reason that this war would be an exception. After World War II, population transfers of millions of people took place, and something similar happened in the Indian subcontinent after India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh became independent countries. Humanitarian population transfer is the best way to not only protect Israel but to also remove Gazans from the current war zone so that Israel can destroy Hamas with as few civilian casualties as possible.

In this context, it should also be remembered that--as I previously documented--after the creation of the modern State of Israel the Arab/Islamic countries expelled almost 1,000,000 Jews. Those Jews have never been compensated for their suffering or for their lost property. In essence, the Arab/Islamic countries already did an involuntary population transfer affecting Jews, and the population transfer process can now be completed--in an orderly, humane fashion--regarding Gaza (and this should be seriously considered for the hotbeds of Arab/Islamic terrorism in Judea/Samaria as well).

4) Israel faces a significant human and financial cost to rebuild everything that Hamas destroyed. Therefore, the Arab/Muslim world must foot the bill to pay whatever it costs to help Gaza's civilians now, and to relocate them to new homes out of Gaza at the earliest opportunity. The extensive sponsorship that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States provide for sports--including but not limited to auto racing, chess, and golf--demonstrate that those nations have more than sufficient funds to pay for this. Those states depend on American military muscle to survive, so it should not be difficult for America to persuade those states to do their part: the simple message is "Pay your share to fix a problem created by terrorists who you have funded and sheltered, or we will withdraw all military support and leave you to your own devices vis a vis Iran." By the way, delivery of that same message would provide sufficient incentive for Qatar--which sponsors Hamas and shelters many of Hamas' leaders--to pressure Hamas to unconditionally free all of the hostages that Hamas is holding in Gaza.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Deplorable Criticism of Israel's "Deadly" Hostage Rescue Operation

Israel just accomplished something that no one else is willing or able to do: Israel went into the heart of Gaza's nest of terrorist compounds in Rafah, and rescued two of the hostages who have been held captive since Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty attack in Israel. Former hostages Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har are alive and free today because Israel did not surrender, did not give in to cruel international pressure, and instead stayed laser-focused on the dangerous but necessary task of rescuing hostages and destroying Hamas. I fervently hope that we will see many more videos like this of Israeli soldiers bravely rescuing hostages.

It is deplorable and disgusting that Israel's brave and heroic rescue mission is labeled as "deadly" by biased media outlets; these same biased media outlets also devote a lot of attention to what they term a "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza. Few people are brave enough to speak the truth: what Hamas did and continues to do is "deadly," and the only humanitarian crisis in Gaza is that Hamas is holding over 100 hostages. Everything that is happening in Gaza is a direct consequence of Hamas' deadly actions.  

Israel is saving lives by rescuing hostages and dismantling Hamas. Hamas is responsible for every death in Gaza, and Hamas could end the war by surrendering unconditionally and releasing all hostages unconditionally. Gazans voted Hamas into power, Gazans cheered (and participated) on October 7, and now Gazans are paying the price for their decisions and their actions. As the saying goes, "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes." Or, to put it more bluntly, "F-around and find out." The Gazans played their stupid games, and now they are receiving their "prizes" for killing at least 1200 people and kidnapping hundreds of others. Israel and the world community provided billions of dollars to Gaza to build a paradise, but the Gazans chose to build a hell--and after they chose to export that hell to Israel they should not be surprised or outraged by Israel's justified response.

People who speak about "proportionality" do not understand international law; in a war of self-defense, a country may legally use the necessary force to eliminate the threat. Hamas decided to use Gazans as human shields, and Israel may legally use whatever force is necessary to destroy Hamas' command centers, bases, and tunnels as long as Israel is not deliberately attacking civilian targets.

Israel must stay strong, and her supporters must stay strong as well. President Biden pretended to support Israel for a hot minute before looking at his cratering poll numbers and deciding to pander to the self-proclaimed "progressives." He cannot be trusted, and that is sadly true of the leaders of many other countries as well. It is better to be a living Jew who is criticized than a dead Jew who is mourned.

The international organizations that are supposed to protect the innocent are instead demonizing Israel. The United Nations is worse than useless; it has become an instrument of evil, and should be disbanded as soon as possible. The so-called Palestinians are the only group in the world that has an entire UN organization devoted exclusively to their particular concerns: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). UNRWA collaborated with Hamas before, during, and after Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty attack in Israel; it is long overdue that UNRWA be shut down, and now that the full truth has been revealed about UNRWA's participation in war crimes the UNRWA officials who worked with Hamas should be prosecuted for their crimes against humanity. This is unfortunately not the first time that UNRWA collaborated with Hamas to attack Israel, but it must be the last time.

President Biden and others are pressuring Israel to accede to the creation of an Arab state in Gaza, but there must never be two states west of the Jordan River. Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and there is already an Arab state in the former Palestine Mandate territory: Jordan. Arab civilians from Gaza should relocate to Jordan as soon as possible, to secure their safety and as part of a long overdue permanent solution to decades of strife and war. This is no different than the population transfers that happened as a result of World War II, the wars in the Indian subcontinent, and just about every other war in human history. 

It should be noted and emphasized that the Arab/Muslim world and the international community as a whole prefers that Gazans die while serving as Hamas' human shields as opposed to peacefully relocating Gazans to Jordan (or to other Arab/Muslim countries). Israel has encouraged Gazans to flee the war zone, and Israel has provided safe passage to Gazans to do so; it is Hamas and Hamas' supporters in the international community that have forced Gazans to remain in Gaza as human shields. That decision is regrettable, but it is not Israel's fault, nor is it Israel's responsibility.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Understanding Today's Mideast Through the Lens of the Bravery of the Jews and the Brutality of the Arabs During Israel's War of Independence

There is a false, multi-layered narrative asserting that Israel was founded by white Jewish colonists who displaced native peoples of color and destroyed an Arab nation called "Palestine" (sic). I refuted those notions in Who Are the Invaders, and Who are the Invaded? An Analysis of Inversions of Truth:

In a world where so many dangerous delusions are presented as important facts, it is refreshing to catch a glimpse of truth emerging from the darkness. In How the true story of Mizrahi Jews defeats anti-Zionist mythology, James Sinkinson writes:

What most anti-Zionists miss is that despite the perception that resettling Israel was largely (though not completely) an Ashkenazi initiative, the majority of today's Israelis are ancestors of refugees from the Middle East and Africa. Most are brown-, black- or olive-skinned—not what anyone could describe as white—and as a group are called Mizrahi (Eastern) Jews...

While for millennia Jews lived with unbroken continuity in the land of Israel, many Jews also lived in neighboring countries, predating the birth of Islam and the Arab conquest, occupation and colonization of the region. While many think of the region today as "Arab," places like Morocco, Syria and Egypt were invaded 1,300 years ago by Muslims, and their indigenous populations killed or forced to convert and adopt the Arabic language and culture.

In Iraq, for example, Jews had lived for almost 2,500 years—since the destruction of Jewish sovereignty in the First Temple period—but all this ended just a couple of generations ago with an orgy of bloody pogroms and public hangings.

Few indigenous populations survived the centuries of onslaught on their authentic identity, and simply disappeared. Despite having second-class, dhimmi status imposed on them by Muslim rulers, Jews refused to relinquish their culture and tradition. They were made subservient to the majoritarian Muslims, who had arrived via invasion and colonization.

This history of conquest, occupation and colonization is one many anti-Zionists would like to hide, since it turns every popular Middle East narrative on its head. Today, strong forces and lobbies ensure that anything exposing Muslim colonial history is censored.

Far too few people know the real history, and far too many people refuse to read/listen/learn. In addition to the points that Sinkinson makes, it is worth thinking about why the United Nations created a separate organization (United Nations Relief and Works Agency--UNRWA) to deal with the "Palestinian" refugees but every single other refugee situation in the world--which includes the fates of tens of millions of refugees--falls under the domain of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It is also worth thinking about why there is no UN agency to help the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab/Islamic countries in the late 1940s.

Much has been said and written about the "Palestinian" nation and about "Palestinian " rights. I agree with anyone who fights for the basic human rights of every single human being, but I have some questions about Palestine as a nation. When did a sovereign country named "Palestine" exist? What was its capital, and what were its borders? What distinct, unique language was spoken there? Such questions arouse outrage and venom from some people, but I have yet to hear or see any answers--and there is a simple reason for that: it is a demonstrable historical fact that no such sovereign country ever existed.

The Jewish people's successful struggle for independence against British colonists and the armies of multiple Arab/Muslim nations is the greatest story that is never (or at least rarely) told accurately in its full glory. What other nation has preserved its identity, language, and culture despite suffering a two millennia exile? When nationalism emerged in the 1800s, the Land of Israel was largely barren and sparsely inhabited. The native Jewish community--bolstered by their Jewish brethren fleeing persecution in various countries--lovingly made the desert bloom, and displayed remarkable tenacity despite facing overwhelming military and political opposition. 

No one gave the Jewish people a state: the Jewish people built a state, and for more than 75 years the Jewish people have tenaciously fought to keep that state.

"A Bravery Fiercer Than Death: The 35 Heroes of Gush Etzion" provides eyewitness accounts of the 35 Jewish soldiers massacred by Arabs while trying to provide supplies to the besieged Etzion Bloc communities during Israel's War of Independence:

 

There are several striking aspects of the Gush Etzion story, beyond the bravery of the young Jewish soldiers:

1) The descriptions of the barbarities committed to the Jewish bodies by the Arabs (which can be heard at around the 13 minute mark of the video) should not be surprising to anyone who has studied history, and they underline the reality that what Hamas did during the October 7, 2023 mass casualty terrorist attack is neither isolated from Arab/Muslim history nor in any way a response to anything that Israel ever did; rather, it reflects the barbarism at the heart of radical Islam. The sad reality is that radical Islam enjoys wide support in the Arab/Muslim world; as one of the veterans of Israel's War of Independence stated during the movie, "We understood the reality of our situation. We understood what we could expect, if they were to defeat us." What they could expect was torture, murder, and desecration of murdered bodies, which is what Hamas did on October 7, 2023 and has publicly pledged to do "again and again and again."

2) As noted early in the movie, Jewish individuals and organizations legally purchased the land. There was no colonization, no depopulation, and no deportation. The only thing more stunning and disheartening than the Arab attitude that the entire Mideast from Morocco to Pakistan should be free of any Jews is the world willfully ignoring this grotesque antisemitism. Why did the Arabs seek to massacre Jews living peacefully in Gush Etzion (and the rest of the Land of Israel)? Regardless of who would ultimately have sovereignty over the area, why did the Arabs feel compelled to try to kill every Jew there? That same antisemitic attitude persists today; the Arabs not only demand that Israel give up land, but that Israel render that land Judenrein. How can one make peace with an enemy who is not willing to live side by side together?

If it is that important for the Arabs/Muslims west of the Jordan River to live in Judenrein lands, then they have over 20 Arab/Muslim countries from which to choose, but they have no legal or moral right to demand that a single Jew leave the ancestral Jewish homeland. That is (or should be) a non-negotiable principle.

3) The deep love of the Jewish people for the Land of Israel is very moving. The Jewish people dreamed of Zion for 2000 years, fought so hard to keep Gush Etzion in 1947-48, and spent 19 more years longing for Gush Etzion until finally liberating the area during the Six Day War. 

4) I have thought a lot about Zionism and the Mideast for a long time, and one thought has increasingly become prominent: what Israel's enemies misunderstand the most is at the heart of their false narrative about colonization, namely their assertion that Israeli Jews are European outsiders who should "go back home." The Jewish people in Israel are home. The Jewish people in Israel are not the Romans, the Turks, the British, or any other foreign colonizers of the Land of Israel.

I don't know how much Israel's enemies believe the lies that they tell, but if they believe that violence will drive Jews out of Israel then they are gravely mistaken. Within the Jewish community, it is understood that the Zionist response to terrorism is to plant another tree and to build (or rebuild) a community. Jewish kindness should not be mistaken for weakness: the Jewish people's enemies may love death more than the Jewish people love life, but the Jewish people's strength is love of life and love of the Land of Israel, and it is that love that will triumph over the lust for death.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Menachem Begin Understood How to Respond to Calls for a "Two State Solution"

Proponents of the so-called "two state solution" overlook the fact that a two state solution was implemented in Palestine decades ago: Jordan was formed by slicing off nearly 80% of the Palestine Mandate's territory, controverting the League of Nations plan that Palestine would be the location of the reborn Jewish State after the Jewish people had suffered in exile for nearly two millennia. 

Menachem Begin, Israel's Prime Minister from 1977-83, understood that a "two state solution" is based on a lie that Palestine has not already been divided into two states, and is proposed as a means for destroying Israel. In 1981, when West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt stated that Germans have a moral obligation to facilitate the creation of another Palestinian state in addition to Jordan by carving territory out of Israel, Begin did not mince words:

From a moral point of view, Schmidt's statements certainly rank as the most callous ever heard. It seems that the Holocaust had conveniently slipped his memory and he did not make mention of a million and a half small children murdered, of entire families wiped out.

The German debt to the Jewish people can never end, not in this generation and not in any other. The entire nation cheered on the murderers as long as they were victorious. But what do we hear? We hear of a commitment to those who strove to complete what the Germans had started in Europe.

Begin declared that Schmidt "must have concluded some very lucrative business deals with Saudi Arabia."

Begin's conclusion about Schmidt's motivations is the same conclusion that I have reached about both President Trump and President Biden. President Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century" envisions a two state solution and thus puts Israel's survival at risk. President Biden's funding of the PLO's "Pay for Slay" program compensates terrorists for murdering Jews, and President Biden's impotent response to Iran's nuclear program and sponsorship of terrorism has emboldened the Iranians to attack U.S. and Israeli targets in the Mideast. I believe that President Trump, President Biden, and many other leaders are well compensated for their advocacy of the "two state solution" and other policies that clearly do not represent the best interests of the United States (or anyone else other than Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others who stand to make money from brokering such deals).

President Biden is not as overtly hostile to Israel as his predecessors Barack Obama or Jimmy Carter, but Biden--like most U.S. Presidents--has an agenda that is at best indifferent to Israel's survival, and Begin understood this when he confronted then-Senator Biden in 1982 regarding the possibility of U.S. aid to Israel being reduced if Israel dared to allow Jewish people to live in Judea and Samaria (often erroneously called "The West Bank," a name which makes no sense geographically or politically, as the territory in question is part of the Palestine Mandate and does not constitute the entire western bank of the Jordan River):

Don't threaten us with cutting off your aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history. Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.

The notion that any place in the world should be "Judenrein"--let alone places within the Land of Israel such as Judea and Samaria--is despicable. Even if yet another Arab state is carved out of the territory of the former Palestine Mandate, why wouldn't Jews be allowed to live there? For that matter, why are Jews not welcome to live in Gaza, and in many Arab/Muslim countries? 

Instead of blaming Israel for problems that Israel did not cause and cannot unilaterally solve, it should be noted that Jews are not welcome throughout most of the Arab/Muslim world: after Israel's rebirth in 1948, more than 800,000 Jews were expelled (or fled to avoid being killed) from Arab/Muslim countries. It also should be noted that the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan--accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by Arab leaders--further divided what little remained of the Palestine Mandate. What should have happened in 1948 is a population exchange, which is what typically happens after a war: the expelled Jews should have found homes in Israel (which most of them did, though some went to other countries), and the Arabs living in the western 20% of Palestine that became Israel should have either accepted Israeli citizenship (which many did) or else moved to Jordan or other countries to become full citizens. The world's cynical manufacturing, manipulation, and perpetuation of a "Palestinian refugee crisis"--including but not limited to the creation of a corrupt UN agency (UNRWA) separate from the UN agency that deals with every other refugee crisis around the world--has resulted in much misery for both Arabs and Jews.

The reality is that a two state solution has already been implemented, and it has failed because (1) creating two states in Palestine has not brought peace, (2) the "Palestinian refugees" have not been resettled in Jordan (or any other Arab country), and (3) Jordan is a non-democratic state that is barely functional. It does not make sense to assert that carving a third state out of the Palestine Mandate's territory would lead to peace, or solve the "Palestinian refugee crisis" (which should have been solved decades ago, and could be solved tomorrow if Arab nations were willing to take care of their brethren instead of exploiting them for public relations purposes). It is delusional to think that carving a third state out of the Palestine Mandate's territory would even result in the creation of a stable, functioning nation: the Gazans spent the past two decades using billions of dollars of foreign aid to build a terrorist stronghold, not a functioning state. It cannot be said that Hamas does not represent ordinary Gazans when the evidence shows otherwise: Gazans voted Hamas into power, polls have repeatedly shown that most Gazans support Hamas, and Gazan civilians were active, enthusiastic participants in Hamas's October 7, 2023 mass casualty terrorist attack (and UNRWA personnel actively collaborated with Hamas before, during, and after the attack).

For several decades, outside forces have coerced Israel into failing to achieve decisive victory each time she has been attacked by her Arab/Muslim neighbors, but Israel must not permit that to happen now. Israel's war against Hamas must continue until all of these events happen:

1) Hamas is eliminated as a functioning terrorist, military, and political entity.

2) Hamas' state sponsors--including but perhaps not limited to Iran and Qatar--must pay reparations for the killed, for the injured, and for the destruction of property.

3) All hostages held by Hamas must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Israel is under no legal or moral obligation to waste more money funding terrorist organizations in Gaza. Hamas attempted to use Gaza as a launching pad to destroy Israel, Hamas failed, and now Hamas and the Gazans who voted Hamas into power will have to live with the consequences of their bad choices and their military defeat. Name one other terrorist entity in world history that launched a failed war of extermination (Hamas' stated goal regarding Israel) and then was rewarded by being granted statehood in the very territory from which it launched the failed war of extermination? That is not how the world works.

"Two state solution" is just the polite way of saying "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." As I noted in the immediate aftermath of Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty terrorist attack against Israel, "When Israel's Arab neighbors and their self-proclaimed 'progressive' supporters chant 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free' those words must be understood for their literal meaning and intention: every Jew from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is to be killed, Israel is to be destroyed, and yet another authoritarian Arab/Muslim state is to be established. The Arabs don't want 'land for peace'; they want to kill Jews and take control of all of the land from the 'river to the sea.' They mean exactly what they say. This is a sad and scary reality, but denying that reality will not change it. Israel's policies--and America's policies--must be grounded in reality and must be directed toward making sure that 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free' is a slogan consigned to history's dustbin."

The Arabs/Muslims control most of the territory spanning from Morocco to Pakistan, and they will have to be satisfied with not controlling an area barely twice the size of Los Angeles County that is the historic homeland of the Jewish people. What many Arabs/Muslims and others fail to understand is that the Jewish people did not colonize the Land of Israel. The Romans, Turks, British, and others were the colonizers. The Jewish people returned home, and triumphed over the colonizers. The Jewish people have as much right as any other nation to live peacefully in their homeland.

October 7, 2023 is a defining historical moment. Anyone who still advocates for the "two state solution" after October 7 is either clueless, paid off, or trying to destroy Israel. Zionism is a just cause and a successful movement, regardless of the slanders and lies promulgated about the Jewish people. There is fear and shame at the heart of antisemitism and anti-Zionism because of how much the Jewish people have accomplished in Israel: triumphing over the British colonists and sending them packing back home, repeatedly defeating Arab aggressors despite being vastly outnumbered, and building a thriving democracy with a modern economy.

Israel is a role model for what post-colonialist nations can accomplish with hard work and the right mindset; her enemies provide examples of the depravity to which humanity can sink with an entitlement mentality and an ideology based on "loving death more than you love life," which is the opposite of the Jewish worldview.

All contents Copyright (c) 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 David Friedman. All rights reserved.