In the Dark Underbelly of the Peace Industry

Tuvia Tenenbom, an Israeli-born journalist and playwright who spent much of his adult life living abroad, returned to Israel posing as a German journalist and talking to Palestinian politicians, foreign journalists, left-wing Israeli activists and intellectuals, and European NGOs. The things they said to him are included in his recent book, Catch the Jew! Jonathan Neumann writes in his review:

But it is [Tenenbom’s] encounters with . . . anonymous individuals and [the members of an] an array of non-governmental organizations that are most illuminating. There’s the Holocaust denier from the Israeli human-rights group B’Tselem. There’s the British journalist in the Golan Heights who tries, under the guise of objective reporting, to convince a reluctant Druze to condemn Israel. Staffers from the Arab human-rights organization Adalah and from Rabbis for Human Rights carefully choreograph what they show visitors (they’ll show only what looks like Arab hardship, but do their utmost to prevent a visitor from seeing real Arab life). Officials at the International Committee of the Red Cross and United Nations Relief and Works Agency condemn Israel on the basis of their reading of international law while encouraging Arab aspirations to destroy the Jewish state. . . .

What is perhaps most remarkable is that the book recounts only what these interlocutors are happy to tell journalists, for at all times they know Tenenbom is a journalist and appreciate that everything they say and do is on the record (even if they’re unaware where and how it will be publicized). This tells us how rarely they must meet reporters prepared to scrutinize them. But it also invites the reader to imagine what they are not saying—what they actually believe and hope in their heart of hearts.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Israel & Zionism, Media, NGO, Red Cross

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security