Remembering John Lewis’s Plea for Soviet Jewry

The famed civil-rights activist and long-time Georgia congressman John Lewis died last week at the age of eighty. In 1982, Lewis, who worked to maintain good relations with the Jewish community, helped establish the Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition. Although his record of support for Israel was not unblemished—he joined many of his fellow Democrats in boycotting Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2015 address to Congress—it was nonetheless admirable, and included the denunciation of the movement to boycott the Jewish state. Perhaps most importantly, the congressman was willing to condemn Louis Farrakhan forcefully for his anti-Semitism, when other mainstream figures, both black and white, equivocated or ignored it.

At a 1987 rally, Lewis gave a moving speech about the plight of Soviet Jewry, which can be viewed at the link below. (Video, three minutes.)

Read more at C-SPAN

More about: Anti-Semitism, Civil rights movement, Louis Farrakhan, Soviet Jewry, U.S. Politics

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7