In December, Nikki Haley, the current U.S. ambassador to the UN, denounced the world body for its condemnation of America’s recognizing of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Her performance put many in mind of a 1975 speech given by her late predecessor, Daniel P. Moynihan, assailing the UN’s infamous “Zionism is racism” resolution. Six years later, Moynihan returned to the same themes in a seminal Commentary essay, “Joining the Jackals,” in which he skewered the then-outgoing Carter administration for abstaining from two anti-Israel votes at the Security Council and for the generally craven attitude of its UN delegation. Greg Weiner, the author of a biography of Moynihan, revisits the statesman’s career in Turtle Bay and his commitment to Israel and to the West—and to the meaning of words. (Interview by Jonathan Silver. Audio, 31 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)
When Daniel P. Moynihan Stood for Israel, and for Truth, at the UN
Hamas’s Deadly Escalation at the Gaza Border
Hamas’s weekly demonstration at the fence separating Gaza from Israel turned bloody last Friday, as operatives used explosives to blow a hole in the barrier and attempted to pass through. The IDF opened fire, killing three and scaring away the rest. Yoni Ben Menachem notes that the demonstrators’ tactics have been growing more aggressive and violent in recent weeks, and the violence is no longer limited to Fridays but is occurring around the clock:
The number of participants in the demonstrations has risen to 20,000. Extensive use has been made of lethal tactics such as throwing explosive charges and grenades at IDF soldiers, and there has been an increase in the launching of incendiary balloons and kites into Israel. At the same time, Hamas supplemented its burning tires with smoke generators at the border to create heavy smoke screens to shield Gazan rioters and allow them to get closer to the border fence and infiltrate into Israel. . . .
[S]ix months of ineffective demonstrations have not achieved anything connected with easing [Israel’s blockade of the Strip]. Therefore, Hamas has decided to increase military pressure on Israel. [Its] ultimate goal has not changed: the complete removal of the embargo; until this is achieved, the violent demonstrations at the border fence will continue.
Hamas’s overall objective is to take the IDF by surprise by blowing up the fence at several points and infiltrating into Israeli territory to harm IDF soldiers or abduct them and take them into the Gaza Strip. . . . The precedent of the 2011 deal in which one Israeli soldier was traded for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners has strengthened the feeling within Hamas that Israel is prepared to pay a heavy price for bringing back captured soldiers alive. . . . Hamas also believes that the campaign is strengthening its position in Palestinian society and is getting the international community to understand that the Palestinian problem is still alive. . . .
The Hamas leadership is not interested in an all-out military confrontation with Israel. The Gaza street is strongly opposed to this, and the Hamas leadership understands that a new war with Israel will result in substantial damage to the organization. Therefore, the idea is to continue with the “Return March” campaign, which will not cost the organization too much and will maintain its rule without paying too high a price for terror.