Wednesday afternoon round-up — the Israel edition

Israeli flagI have so many stories on Israel lined up that I’m dedicating this entire open thread to Israel issues. Here goes:

** 1 **

The mainstream media is catching on to the fact that one of the things that’s different about this war is that Israel, instead of the usual approach to war — having tight-lipped military spokesman make inscrutable pronouncements on behalf of the IDF, even as Hamas hogs the air with carefully staged dead bodies and well-coached wailing women — is finally using social media to drive its point home. (Apologies if there’s a pay wall in the way of that article.) The war will not be won on social media; it must be won on the ground. As Israel knows to her cost, though, she can lose the war if she does not garner sufficient world support.

** 2 **

Another thing that the media — in this case, the BBC — is realizing is different about this war is that Israel is united behind it. There’s no left-wing or right-wing. By striking at Israel’s heart, Hamas managed to bring all Israelis together in a common goal, namely destroying Hamas.

** 3 **

If videos are anything to go by, Israel’s young men, the ones who are marching into the booby-trapped rabbit warren of Hamas, are both embracing life and embracing the cause they fight. May God walk with each one of them:

I am reminded of Joshua and the Israelites outside the walls of Jericho.

** 4 **

Before this war, I’d never head the phrase “lone soldier,” although the concept is not new to me. A lone soldier is a person who does not live in Israel, but who travels to Israel to volunteer in her military as she fights for survival. Indeed, I knew an American who, in 1973, traveled to Israel and ended up being in one of the first tanks in the Golan. Nice guy and a very decent human being.

Currently almost 2,000 lone soldiers are serving in the IDF.

The fact that they are not Israelis has not kept these lone soldiers out of the fight. The grandson of Rite Aid’s founder was wounded, although thankfully this brave young man, who walked away from extraordinary riches into great danger, will recover. Sadly, neither Los Angeles native Max Steinberg, 24, and Texan Sean Carmeli, 21, will ever return home.

To die far away from home is a terrible thing, especially for the family and other loved ones left behind. The Israelis, fully cognizant of this tragedy, as well as grateful for the gift of people who donate their bravery, skills, energy, and heart to Israel, have hastened to repay the favor that Steinberg and Carmeli did for them:

With no family members nearby, there were concerns that the lone soldiers’ funerals wouldn’t be well attended, according to the Times of Israel. But 20,000 Israelis came to Carmeli’s funeral on Monday, and 30,000 attended Steinberg’s funeral Wednesday.

Breitbart notes that the large attendance is especially remarkable considering that the constant threat of rocket attacks on Israel makes traveling and gathering in large crowds very risky.

There is something about dying with honor that is just incredibly heart-wrenching. I’m leaking tears all over my keyboard here.

** 5 **

Hamas’s ability to penetrate Iron Dome and land a missile near Lod Airport is a terrible thing. Aside from being a war crime to target a civilian airport, it gave Obama an opportunity, more than two weeks after missiles flew into Israel non-stop, to deal Israel a telling blow: cutting off air-travel to a small nation surrounded by hostile countries.

Nevertheless, John Podhoretz says that, while this was a signal success for Hamas, there are pitfalls for it too:

Yet, while the action might have worked tactically, the targeting of Ben Gurion Airport may prove a strategic calamity for Hamas.

The fact that it was preceded by the shootdown of Flight 17 may have enhanced the terror effect inside Israel, but it also suggests a danger the international community (even the large part of it deeply hostile to Israel’s existence) must reckon with.

If Hamas is rewarded now (with a cease-fire on terms acceptable to it) for having threatened air traffic, the terrorist playbook around the world will have a new and terrifyingly low-cost go-to entry.

** 6 **

I haven’t been nice about Mayor Michael Bloomberg when it comes to soda and guns. I still disagree with him on those things, but he’s earned great admiration from me for ignoring Obama’s and Kerry’s boycott of Lod Airport and for publicly, and boldly, flying there.

** 7 **

Of course, the cost to the whole world of caving to Hamas now won’t deter Obama. Obama’s goal, his primary, overarching goal, is to end the fighting to Israel’s disadvantage. So in addition to rewarding an attack on a civilian airport he is demanding a cease-fire just as Israel begins to get some momentum.

** 8 **

The attack on Lod also ends all pretense of a two-state solution, says Alan Dershowitz (a DemProg who is a wonderful lion in Israel’s defense):

Hamas’ actions in essentially closing down international air traffic into Israel, considerably reduces the prospect of any two-state solution. Israel will now be more reluctant than ever to give up military control over the West Bank, which is even closer to Ben Gurion Airport than is Gaza.

Were Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank—as distinguished from its civilian settlements deep in the West Bank—it would risk the possibility of a Hamas takeover. That is precisely what happened when Israel removed both its civilian settlements and its military presence in Gaza. Hamas took control, fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian targets and have now succeeded in stopping international air traffic into and out of Israel.

** 9 **

While the Germans have been watching the far Right, they ought to have been watching the far Left. That’s because the far Left has joined forces with German Muslims to demand that Jews be gassed. I’d like to think that ordinary Germans, who have been taught for decades that gassing Jews is a bad thing, will not let this go unaddressed.

** 10 **

Compare and contrast: Even as Hamas bombs her cities, tunnels under her homes, and kills her troops, Israel sends Hamas aid in the form of medicines and foods for civilians (or, as Hamas calls them, “future dead bodies for photo ops”). Meanwhile, even as Hamas bombs Israel’s cities, tunnels under her homes, and kills her troops, Barack Obama sends billions of dollars in hard cash to Hamas’s corrupt leadership.

** 11 **

In 2011, Hamas terrorists entered the Fogel home in Israel and murdered a family of five — mother father, an 11-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 3-month-old. Just to to make very sure their message was clear, the terrorists decapitated the baby.

Hamas has now published photographs of the Fogel family massacre and claimed that they are recent pictures showing an Israeli massacre against a Gaza family. (Be aware that the image is graphic and deeply disturbing.) This is, quite possibly, the most revolting act of propaganda Hamas has ever committed.

** 12 **

David Goldman argues (correctly) that if Israel doesn’t finish the job now against Hamas, things will only get worse. Iron Dome will not be able to protect Lod Airport, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv once Hamas gets precision guided missiles.

The stars are also aligned now: The other Arab and Muslim nations are making no effort to back Hamas. You’ve no doubt noticed that the anti-Israel rallies have been in Paris, London, Germany, and Boston, not Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

Moreover, the Israeli population finally seems to have accepted that, if your enemy says “Kill my child or I’ll kill two or three or all of your children,” then you kill your enemy’s child. There is nothing else one can do. Indeed, I would argue that destroying an enemy that uses its own children as cannon fodder is the kindest thing you can do for those children in the long run.

** 13 **

Israel never forgets, though, how high the cost is to fight a soul-less enemy.  In a small country that values each individual life (as opposed to seeing people as submissive, amorphous blob to be used as the tyrants in power wish), every death is personal. Every person is a father, uncle, son, brother, boyfriend, and friend.

David Lapin

** 14 **

I don’t know if it’s possible for my hatred for the UN to increase. Is there a ceiling on deep, wide, fervent hatred for an utterly corrupt organization that, although funded primarily by America, in fact serves as an outlet for every tin-pot anti-Semitic, anti-American regime in the world? Is there a limit on contempt, disdain, and disgust for a multi-tentacled behemoth that abuses children all over the world, including Palestinian children, into whose schools the UN places weapons that are not only dangerous in and of themselves, but that also make the schools a military target? No, really, I don’t think there is a limit.

Next question:   Will the U.S. finally, finally step in and use its economic heft against the UN?  Sadly, if it hasn’t so far, I doubt it will now.  So much for “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”

** 15 **

I believe that, to the extent Palestinian citizens voted for and support Hamas, knowing that its primary tactics are (a) to hide weapons amongst civilians, especially children, and (b) to then use the resultant dead civilians as a propaganda weapon, are themselves combatants. However, not everyone voted for Hamas, and many who voted may regret their vote. Even inside the Palestinian territories there are people who support Israel.

Those freedom-loving Arabs who live in Israel are fortunate in that they don’t have to hide their sympathies. Still, it’s dangerous to be an Israel-loving Arab in any part of the world, so I can only applaud the 17-year-old Israeli Arab who speaks out so bravely in Israel’s defense.

** 16 **

Howard Stern loses his temper with an anti-Israel caller and unloads about the difference between Israel and the Palestinians. (It’s Howard Stern, so language alert.)

** 17 **

Hamas new missile defense system

Sol Giggleweed tries to weigh in on Jon Stewart’s pro-Israel bona fides — and fails spectacularly

Palestinians-Sieg-Heil--620x311Two weeks ago, I introduced you to Sol Giggleweed, a representative of DemProg passion in politics and society. I chanced to meet up with Sol today — or, more accurately, with a real human being whose views march in lockstep with Sol’s, but who doesn’t wish to have his name made public.  He’ll therefore be Sol Giggleweed in perpetuity at this blog. The topic of our very real conversation this morning was Jon Stewart and Hamas.

The conversation Sol and I had was a continuation of an earlier Jon Stewart-inspired discussion we had. It all began last week, when Jon Stewart decided to weigh in on the Israel=Hamas conflict. Stewart’s shtick was the usual “disproportionate force” argument that comes from the anti-Israel crowd: He essentially said that Israel’s warnings to civilians in advance of an attack were a fraud, since the Gazans had nowhere to run in their crowded rabbit warren of a city. Poor Gazans.

I explained a few things to Sol:   (a) Hamas routinely instructs civilians to stay in place in order to create more propaganda moments, which is the major weapon in Hamas’s arsenal; (b) Israel’s citizens had survived more than a thousand rockets in the past two weeks because Israel specifically created an infrastructure to protect them, something Hamas purposely did not do; and (c) contrary to Stewart’s implication about a lack of shelters, Gaza is riddled with perfectly good tunnels that are barred to civilians because the tunnels are for the gun-carriers, not the future telegenic dead bodies.

Sol was unimpressed.  When all was said and done, Sol’s primary argument boiled down to this: Jon Stewart is brilliant, so I believe him, not you, and certainly not the mountains of IDF evidence (videos, photographs, military images, Hamas’s own words, etc.) to the contrary.  There’s got to be some equivalency and nuance there.

I’d forgotten about that conversation, but today Sol contacted me, chortling gleefully about the fact that Jon Stewart, “showed them.”

I not unreasonably inquired, “Jon Stewart showed what to whom?”

“He showed the conservatives like you, the ones that think the IDF is the only voice to listen to. He showed them that they’re wrong.”

Sol then told me to check out this video footage, only the first couple of minutes of which are relevant:

“See,” said Sol. “See, Jon Stewart knows what you guys are saying. He’s aware of you.”

“Yeah, Sol, I see. But what’s your argument?”

“Jon Stewart,” he replied, “is showing that there’s nuance there. Because both sides are mad at him, he’s subtly telling the audience that it’s not clear-cut. Both sides have valid arguments.”

“So you’re saying that there’s an equivalence between Israel, the only free, democratic, pluralist society in the Middle East, and Hamas, an anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-American, anti-Christian entity that’s so bad even Egypt hates it?  And that this equivalence exists because both sides are willing to argue their cause against anyone who isn’t clearly siding with them?”

“No, I’m not saying that at all. After all, I emailed you that Wall Street Journal article about Hamas tactics. But there are other views than just the one the IDF says. You’re so judgmental and narrow-minded that you won’t listen to anything at all. If it doesn’t come from your right-wing blogosphere, you just dismiss it.  Jon Stewart listens to everything and he’s subtle, not dogmatic.”

Being a closed-minded right-wing wacko, I felt free to ignore Sol’s premise about my closed-mindedness.

“Sol, in many cases, there are nuances and sides. But in some cases, there’s just pure evil and you are complicit with evil if you do not reject them entirely. For example, would you argue that, in the fight between the Allies and the Nazis, there was nuance?”

Sol bridled. “Don’t be stupid. Hamas isn’t the Nazis.”

“Okay, tell me one thing that makes Hamas different from the Nazis.”

“Are you kidding?” Sol smirked. “You want me to compare Hamas to the Nazis?”

“I’m not kidding,” I answered. “I want you to tell me how Hamas is different from the Nazis.”

“Really, you want me to tell you how Hamas is different from the Nazis?”

“Yes, that’s what I’m asking you to do. And I’ve got to take something off the stove top, so you can think about it while I’m doing that. I’ll be back in five minutes.”

Five minutes later, I announced, “I’m back. Now you can tell me what’s different between Hamas and the Nazis.”

“This is stupid. You can write pages about things that are different between Hamas and the Nazis,” a now very ruffled Sol told me.

“I’m not asking for pages. Just tell me one thing.”

“Really? Really! You really want me to tell you one thing that’s different between Hamas and the Nazis?”

“Yeah. And let me clarify. It can’t be something like ‘The Nazis were Germans and Hamas is Arab.’ Or ‘Hamas is Muslim and the Nazis weren’t.’ Or ‘Hamas isn’t engaged in a world war’ (although it would certainly like to be). You have to tell me about one thing that differs in the basic values between those two organizations.”

“That’s easy,” Sol finally replied. “Hamas doesn’t have concentration camps and it didn’t start a world war.”

“Not tactics,” Sol, I sighed. “I was talking about values. You know, principles, like anti-Semitism or homophobia or genocidal desires or the lust for world domination. Things like that.”

Sol snapped, “This conversation is stupid.  Jon Stewart is brilliant and you’re just being dogmatic.” And then he hung up on me.

It was only after our little talk had ended that I realized that there was one difference between Hamas and the Nazis, and that it didn’t reflect well on Hamas: the Nazis revered their women.

Let me say again what I tried to impress upon Sol Giggleweed, a smart man who is so in thrall to moral relativism that he has lost his moral compass: While there are many disputes in which both sides are roughly equal, not necessarily on the battlefield, but at the ideological level (e.g., the equally evil sides in Syria), there are some circumstances in which one side is irredeemably and completely evil, while the other is not. In that battle, we should support the less evil side, even if it is only marginally less evil.

Thankfully, that’s not the case with Israel.  That is, we don’t have to choose between evil and somewhat less evil.  Israel, unlike all other nations in history, is struggling to fight an existential war with a moral standard so exquisite it runs the risk of being self-defeating.

It’s easy to support Israel.  All people of true good will should recognize that, in the fight between, on the one hand, an entity that has less going for it even than the Nazis and, on the other hand, a nation that is incomparable in the care it brings to protecting non-combatants (indeed, it cares much more than the U.S. and Barack “I choose who dies” Obama), there is no room for nuance or relativism. Israel wins hands down, and anyone who takes a contrary position is a moron and a moral midget.

Open thread — the illustrated edition

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556Not to make you feel less fortunate than I am or anything, but I won’t be blogging for a few hours today because I’m going to hear Daniel Hannan speak!! Even better, I’ll be going with Charles Martel. Yay!

While I’m gone, please consider this an Open Thread. I can suggest a few topics, and I’ve got lots of posters to spur you on regarding Israel’s latest fight for survival:

1. Are the tunnels that Hamas has dug into Israeli territory a game-changer in terms of Israel’s commitment to a long war?

2. Is Obama going to get a way with erasing the border between the United States and Mexico?

3. If you had the ability to act today to change that border situation, what would you do?

4. Are Europeans going to look at the anti-Israel riots in their cities and learn that they’ve nurtured a Muslim viper in their bosom?

5.  Has the UN finally gone too far?

6. Any cheerful news to report?

And now the pictures. First, one to lighten the mood:

Dog day in court

And second, a bunch from Israel. If you use social media, please think about sharing them. This is the first war in which Israel and pro-Israel NGOs are fighting back, not just on the field and in state houses, but in social media. We’re soldiers in this battle too and, if we support Israel, should help out:

Who protects the children

Hamas human shield

Terrorist tunnels under your street

Hamas ambulances

UN supports Hamas with rockets

Israel is launching a limited ground offensive in Gaza

Israeli flagThere’s been a lot of discussion about whether Israel would follow up on her air bombardment with a ground offensive. On the pro side, if done correctly, it could potentially clear out Hamas forever, or at least disable it for the foreseeable future. On the con side, Israeli casualties, something that Israel always tries desperately to avoid.

It seems, though, as if the decision was made for Israel in the last 24 hours. The IDF killed around a dozen terrorists who were trying to sneak into Israel via a tunnel in Hamas:

Their objective (presumably discovered via searching the bodies) was to launch a major terrorist attack in Israel. This is a risk too great to take, so Israel is launching what it calls a limited ground offensive aimed at knocking out terrorist tunnels. Frankly, I’d be surprised if Israel was able to keep the ground offensive limited. These things tend to metastasize. Whatever happens, I will be rooting for the most moral military in the history of the world to defeat an enemy that is worse than the Nazis.

Ground operation in Gaza

Super quick round-up about Israel

Israeli flagI’m heading out in a minute to have lunch with one of my more wonderful conservative friends in Marin (it’s wonderful that she’s conservative, and she’s just a great, thoughtful person), so I’ll be brief, and try to funnel as much info to you as possible in a small amount of time.

I linked yesterday to an old American Thinker article I wrote about “economically flexible morality” in connection with Richard Fernandez’s article that rich countries are considered evil because they’re rich, rather than because of anything they do. In my American Thinker article, I’d commented that, to the Left, poor people are considered moral because they’re poor, regardless of what they do. In the same article, I touched upon the reflexive “underdog” syndrome that afflicts the Left: if one side to a fight is smaller than the other side, they automatically side with the smaller side. They never stop to look at the values driving the two sides. After all, back in 1923, with the Munich Beer Hall putsch, Hitler’s was the smaller side. Did that make him the good guy? (Incidentally, if you try pulling this logic on a DemProg, he or she will look at you as if you’re insane.)

I mention this old article, because the putrid excrescence on the Comedy Channel known as Jon Stewart did a shtick implying that Israel is a mean bully because it’s firing into Gaza. I went ballistic about this in exactly the same way Mark Levin did, although my audience was only my DemProg spouse, who couldn’t understand why I was upset. After all, it is unfair that the Israelis are giving those poor Palestinians only 3 minutes warning to vacate a specifically targeted building. He was shocked to learn that the Gazans are sending rockets into Israel about every 6 minutes, aimed at densely populated areas, with no warning at all:

Israel warns Gaza

He also didn’t understand that, when Israel sends a warning, it’s enough for the Palestinian civilians to leave the building that Hamas is using as a launch site. If they run into the streets, they’ll survive. This is what happens if you read and listen to the MSM. You know nothing.

What both Stewart and Mr. Bookworm, obsessed as they are with who has the bigger guns, ignore entirely is that Hamas is utterly evil, while Israel is one of the world’s more decent and prosperous nations. John Podhoretz explains.  Also, Alma Geifman explains that Hamas deliberately targets Israel’s children as a war strategy intended to destroy what their enemy holds most dear.  In other words, those bombs aimed at schools, the buses hijacked, the children murdered — it’s not accident.

One wishes the Department of Homeland Security would understand the difference too.  It doesn’t, though, opening the door to the worst kind of people having an input into our burgeoning, all-too-powerful, biased federal bureaucracy:

Mohamed Alibiary

If this was misspoken (if he really meant to talk about missiles against Gaza), it nevertheless is a perfect Freudian slip, insofar as it inadvertently reveals the truth:

Missiles aimed against Israel

Playing the long game, Left is working to convert evangelical youth to antisemitism.

And the last word to Dennis Prager, on the Jewish State in a Morally Sick World.

Muslim impatience leads a fed-up world to express surprising support for Israel

Israeli flagI told my sister that I had reached out a few days ago to a relative in Israel, who assured me that she and her family, who live around Haifa, are currently far enough north that they’re not affected by the rockets.

“What rockets?” asked my sister, who has been unable, for the past week, to read the news.

“The rockets from Hamas,” I told her.  Then, knowing how she hates to hear “scary” bad news, I hastened to add, “What’s happening in Israel is actually good news in a peculiar way.”

Good news? Why, yes.

I’ve long said that the Islamists made a mistake when they started their jihadist rampage in dead earnest with the attack on 9/11. If they’d done nothing, the West would have continued its complacent ignorance, unaware of a demographic time-bomb ticking in its midst.

The nature of Islam, though, is that it cannot wait. As soon as it reaches critical mass, off it goes. Back in 2008, Edward Cline riffed off a friend’s email that used a percentage rule of thumb to measure levels of Muslim violence in any country:

“As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country it will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone….”

[snip]

“At 2% and 3% they [Muslims] begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs.”

[skip]

“From 5% on they [Muslims] exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. They will push for the introduction of halal (“clean” by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature it on their shelves – along with threats for failure to comply (United States).”

[skip]

“At this point, they [Muslims] will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves under Sharia, or Islamic law. The ultimate goal of Islam is not to convert the world but to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

“When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions (Paris – car burning). Any non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats (Amsterdam, Denmark – Mohammed cartoons, murder of Theo van Gogh).”

[skip]

[The one anomaly in this set of statistics is Israel, which has not experienced uprisings and threats of violence. Its Arab or Muslim population enjoys equal political rights with Jewish Israelis. The suicide bombings and rocket attacks that have killed hundreds have been perpetrated by outsiders.]

“After reaching 20% [of a population] expect hair-trigger rioting, Jihad militia formations, sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning:

[skip]

“After 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing militia warfare:”

[skip]

“From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon and jizya, the tax placed on [conquered] infidels:”

[skip]

“After 80%, expect state-run ethnic cleansing and genocide:”

[skip]

“100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ – the Islamic House of Peace’ [more correctly, dar-al-Islam, or Land of Islam]. There is supposed to be peace because everybody is a Muslim.”

The problem with the “can’t wait” strategy that is intrinsic to Islam is that you tip off your opponent to your intentions.  In a perfect world, the West, once it got the tip-off about Islam’s intentions in 2001 would have embarked upon a true crusade aimed at doing whatever possible to quash Islamic aggression in and against the West.  This crusade would have involved wholeheartedly military action against armed Islamists; closed borders throughout the West to prevent any more Muslims from entering, regardless of how cute the children are; education at home aimed at getting Westerners to understand the threat and to tear young Muslims away from their affiliation to a conquering faith; and constant vigilance.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.  What we got in 2001 instead of immediate action to curb Islam’s territorial aggression was thirteen years of hogwash, emanating from people of good will and ignorance (such as George Bush with his “religion of peace” blather); from Leftists who see in Islam a temporary ally to destabilize the West; and from Islamists themselves, who realized that they had a lot of useful idiots at their disposal.  Rather than confronting Islamism head-on, those who have recognized its trajectory have been demonized, ridiculed, and marginalized.

In addition to silencing Islam’s critics, this hogwash also meant that, barring limited engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan (rules of engagement, COIN, etc.), we’ve spend the last thirteen years apologizing to Muslims; yielding to their increasingly outrageous demands; welcoming them into our countries and institutions; and handing them the levers of power wherever we could.

Considering how grim that last paragraph sounds, why am I saying that things are actually surprisingly good right now?  I’m saying it because the Muslims, flush with the power we handed them, may finally  have overreached themselves.  Moreover, they may have been aided in this regard by Barack Obama’s increasingly manifest hatred for Israel, the world’s only Jewish state.

Sitting at home, in America, which once was Israel’s greatest ally, things don’t look so good.  Obama refused to talk to Netanyahu when Iran bombs in Hamas hands rained down on that tiny nation.  He only picked up the phone when Israel finally began to retaliate, and he did so, not to cheer her on, but to tell her to stop being part of the “cycle of violence” and, instead, to hold her fire.  So not good.

But Obama, it turns out, is one of the few national leaders who’s taken this anti-Israel stand.  Other nations, most surprisingly, are supporting her, not Hamas:

France’s Prime Minister Hollande, unlike Obama, got on the phone with Netanyahu and expressed his nation’s strong support for Israel in her battle with Hamas.

The Arab world as a whole is fed up with Hamas:

*United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “Today we face the risk of an all out escalation in Israel and Gaza with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing.”

*The Lebanese Internal Security Forces detained two persons for having fired rockets into Israel.

*Egyptian security forces seized 20 rockets on their to being smuggled from Gaza.

*Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, attended a Ha’aretz “peace conference” in Israel the day the current fighting began* and has infuriated Hamas by his willingness to continue to work with the Government of Israel.

*Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh demanded that Israel “stop its escalation immediately,” but balanced this with calls for “the restoration of complete calm and avoidance of targeting civilians” and “the return to direct negotiations.”

*François Hollande, president of France, gave Netanyahu the most vervent backing of any foreign leader when he assured the Israeli leader that “France firmly condemns the attacks” against Israel and expressed “the solidarity of France against the rockets being fired from Gaza. The Israeli government must take all necessary measures to protect its population against threats.”

In the same Daniel Pipes’ article from which the above information comes, Daniel Pipes also points out that the world’s media is unusually quiet this time around, without any of the ringing denunciations of Israel’s self-defense that have become the norm. Indeed, many of us have already remarked upon the peculiar fact that the BBC, usually one of the most virulently antisemitic media outlets outside of the Muslim world, was the first to point out that the Palestinians were using pictures of people killed in Syria in an effort to demonize Israel.

The Egyptians, who have always sided with Hamas even though they recognized that it was a destabilizing element on their border, are now open in expressing their hope that Israel will destroy Hamas:

Some Egyptians are even openly expressing hope that Israel will completely destroy Hamas, which they regard as the “armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.”

Sisi’s Egypt has not forgiven Hamas for its alliance with Muslim Brotherhood and its involvement in terrorist attacks against Egyptian civilians and soldiers over the past year.

The Egyptians today understand that Hamas and other radical Islamist groups pose a serious threat to their national security. That is why the Egyptian authorities have, over the past year, been taking tough security measures not only against Hamas, but also the entire population of the Gaza Strip.

Clearly, nations are realizing that their interests are aligned more closely with Israel than with a radical Islamist organization.  Any stable or semi-stable state, including a Muslim one, has looked into the Syrian or Iraqi abyss and realized that there is no benefit to Islam completely unleashed.  In addition, to the extent that leaders such as Vladimir Putin are expressing their support for Israel too, I suspect that some of the support is a way to highlight the fact that Obama is a completely marginal national leader now.  If he’s against Israel, why then everyone else will be for it.

One other thing that’s different is that, for the first time, both the Israeli Defense Forces and pro-Israel NGOs have been flooding social media with pro-Israel posters, videos, and articles.  Here’s a comprehensive gallery of such images, some of which you’ve seen before, some of which are new:

Who's saving lives in Gaza

Hamas headquarters

Bill Maher on Israels right to self-defense

Hide the rocket

Israel and Hamas and their civilians

Rockets are indiscriminate

Gaza hostages

365 rockets in 72 hours

What would you do

Does all this mean that the world loves or will come to love Israel? Most decidedly not. It could mean, though, that the world, including the Arab world, is finally figuring out that Israel is not the enemy. She is, instead, the canary in the coal mine when it comes to battling radical Islam. Moreover, people may finally be figuring out, thanks to Islamists having shown their hand too soon, that (a) if ISIS is Islam, it’s not a religion of peace and we don’t want it; and (b) that if we don’t want it, we must act decisively or we’ll end up having it, regardless of our desires.

On Israel, Roger L. Simon nails it

I’m on my iPhone, so I’ll be brief. When it comes to Israel, every word Roger L. Simon writes here is absolutely correct.

Sadly, I think I’m correct in assuming that Israel will ignore Simon and, instead, listen to “friends” such as Obama, the UN, and the EU.

Israel has found the bodies of the three kidnapped teenagers

Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal YifrahGil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah are dead. This is so unutterably sad because Israel, unlike her enemies, cherishes her children:

The bodies of the three Israeli teenager who were kidnapped over two weeks ago were found by security forces in a field northwest of Hebron on Monday afternoon.

The discovery came after the Shin Bet focused its efforts in the area over the past two days during searches for the three abducted Israeli teens.

Israel will bring back her boys, but only to the silence of the grave.

And during this whole time, Obama never said a word about an American child in the hands of international terrorists. Obama is a disgrace. There is no other word.

This year’s Nakba commemoration coincides with slightly changing attitudes towards Israel in the Middle East

Israeli flagToday is Nakba Day, the day Muslims the world over violently commemorate the “disaster” that was Israel’s creation. (JoshuaPundit explains what nakba is really about and why it is such a loathsome commemoration.)

But here’s something interesting: Even as anti-Israel sentiment burns ever brighter on America’s college campuses, most recently at UCLA, there’s a different narrative shaping up in the Middle East. I have three (admittedly small) pieces of evidence to support my contention that some Arabs are very cautiously changing their attitude towards Israel. It gives me hope that, if Israel can survive the Obama administration, she may be entering a second golden age, this one without a uniformly genocidal Muslim world taking aim at her existence.

The first interesting thing is an opinion piece in the Arab News (a Saudi publication, I believe), telling Arabs it’s time (1) to learn the real truth about the 1948 war, (2) to get over the Nakba, and (3) to start accepting Israel’s existence within their midst. My first thought was that the author, Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, is an incredibly brave man. I still think that’s true, but I had a companion second thought that’s a bit more Machiavellian. Could it be that Saudi Arabia is laying the groundwork for some sort of formal recognition of Israel as a counterweight to a nuclear Iran?

The second interesting thing is that a Syrian rebel contends that the rebels should ally themselves with Israel, which is their only stable, true friend in the region. I commented on this piece before, noting that it’s nothing more than a reasonable extension of the old Arab doctrine that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In other words, it reflects precisely what I think might be going on with Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, it represents a new age in Arab-Israeli relationships because, before this explicitly expressed desire for a partnership with Israel, Egypt, way back in 1977, was the only Arab nation ever to contemplate that there could be a benefit, even a short-term one, to working with Israel.

And the third interesting thing is a report from the Gatestone Institute saying that more and more Arabs in surrounding nations are envious of Israel’s criminal system, one that is willing even to prosecute politicians. Looking at Israel and then looking at their own countries, they realize that their countries suffer badly from the comparison.

As I said, these are all little bits of data, but I certainly hope that the shifting allegiances in the Middle East — all related to Iran, whether her nuclear ambitions or her proxy war in Syria — will work to Israel’s benefit.

Early Zionists in the 1920s helping to resurrect Israel as the land of milk and honey

In response to my plea for more pictures about Jews as survivors, not victims, Murray Lawrence forwarded me these incredible pictures from his father showing the 1920s in Tel Aviv, when he was working on construction projects there.  I’m just blown away by these images. I’ve prefaced each image with the information Murray Lawrence included.

1. Father at a tar or asphalt barrel – he’s the short one, fresh from Romania by way of Istanbul and Alexandria. A historian friend of mine told me that a good deal of construction in the city in those days was done by Romanian Jews:

Construction workers, Tel Aviv, 1920s

***

2. Father and friends at the beach, perhaps from the same construction crew. They clearly do not fit the conventional image of a shtetl Jew:

Construction workers enjoying a day at the beach, Tel Aviv, 1920s

***

3. Construction site in Tel Aviv, early 1920s:

Construction site in Tel Aviv, 1920s

***

4. Neve Shaanan Street under construction. Wikipedia says that the neighborhood was founded in 1922 and that it is now a major transportation hub that includes both the old and new bus stations in Tel Aviv. It also notes that the street, whose name means “peaceful abode” in Hebrew, is the main one in that quarter and is now a bustling pedestrian mall. Hence, by stark contrast, it became a prime target of suicide bombers, who killed 37 people and wounded 170 between 2002 and 2006:

Neve Shaanan Street under construction, Tel Aviv, 1920s

***

5. Group photo at a building site, father in makeshift head-dress, probably taking his cue from his Arab friends, one of whom invited him to his wedding some time in the late ’20s, only to warn him soon after not to attend, because a local sheik had just forbidden further contact with Jews:

Construction site, Tel Aviv, 1920s

***

6. Boating party, most likely at some point on the Yarkon River as it flows through Tel Aviv. The practical idealism of these young people, their love of life, and sheer civilized natures never cease to impress me:

Boating party on the Yarkon River, Tel Aviv, 1920s