Anti-Zionism Becomes Progressive Dogma

For the hard left, writes Bret Stephens, any occasion seems appropriate for fomenting hatred of the Jewish state. But more disturbing still is that animus toward Israel is becoming increasingly de rigueur in the Democratic mainstream, as a recent vote in the Senate demonstrates:

Ostensibly on free-speech grounds, progressives—including the presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren—[recently] united behind Vermont’s Bernie Sanders in a failed bid to block a Senate bill, passed on Tuesday, that includes a . . . measure prohibiting federal contracts with businesses that boycott Israel. One wonders how these same Democrats feel about, say, championing First Amendment protections for bakers who refuse to make cakes for gay couples. . . .

What’s unsettling is that the far-left’s hostility is now being mainstreamed by the not-so-far left. Anti-Zionism—that is, rejection not just of this or that Israeli policy, but also of the idea of a Jewish state itself—is becoming a respectable position among people who would never support the elimination of any other country in any other circumstance. And it is churning up a new wave of nakedly anti-Jewish bigotry in its wake. . . .

[T]he most toxic assumption is that Jews, whether in Israel or the U.S., can never really be thought of as victims or even as a minority because they are white, wealthy, powerful and “privileged.” This relies on a simplistic concept of power that collapses on a moment’s inspection. Jews in Germany were economically and even politically powerful in the 1920s. And then they were in Buchenwald. Israel appears powerful vis-à-vis the Palestinians, but considerably less so in the context of a broader Middle East saturated with genocidal anti-Semitism. . . . The Jews of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh are almost surely “privileged” according to various socio-economic measures. But privilege didn’t save the congregants of the Tree of Life synagogue last year. . . .

None of this should be hard for most progressives to understand. . . . Yet it seems that a movement that can detect a racist dog-whistle from miles away is strangely deaf when it comes to some of the barking on its own side of the fence. And even when it does hear it, it doesn’t have the sense to banish it.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Cory Booker, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Israel & Zionism, Kamala Harris

What Israel Can Achieve in Gaza, the Fate of the Hostages, and Planning for the Day After

In a comprehensive analysis, Azar Gat concludes that Israel’s prosecution of the war has so far been successful, and preferable to the alternatives proposed by some knowledgeable critics. (For a different view, see this article by Lazar Berman.) But even if the IDF is coming closer to destroying Hamas, is it any closer to freeing the remaining hostages? Gat writes:

Hamas’s basic demand in return for the release of all the hostages—made clear well before it was declared publicly—is an end to the war and not a ceasefire. This includes the withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza Strip, restoration of Hamas’s control over it (including international guarantees), and a prisoner exchange on the basis of “all for all.”

Some will say that there must be a middle ground between Hamas’s demands and what Israel can accept. However, Hamas’s main interest is to ensure its survival and continued rule, and it will not let go of its key bargaining chip. Some say that without the return of the hostages—“at any price”—no victory is possible. While this sentiment is understandable, the alternative would be a resounding national defeat. The utmost efforts must be made to rescue as many hostages as possible, and Israel should be ready to pay a heavy price for this goal; but Israel’s capitulation is not an option.

Beyond the great cost in human life that Israel will pay over time for such a deal, Hamas will return to rule the Gaza Strip, repairing its infrastructure of tunnels and rockets, filling its ranks with new recruits, and restoring its defensive and offensive arrays. This poses a critical question for those suggesting that it will be possible to restart the war at a later stage: have they fully considered the human toll should the IDF attempt to reoccupy the areas it would have vacated in the Gaza Strip?

Although Gat is sanguine about the prospects of the current campaign, he throws some cold water on those who hope for an absolute victory:

Militarily, it is possible to destroy Hamas’s command, military units, and infrastructure as a semi-regular military organization. . . . After their destruction in high-intensity fighting, the IDF must prevent Hamas from reviving by continuous action on the ground. As in the West Bank, this project will take years. . . . What the IDF is unlikely to achieve is the elimination of Hamas as a guerrilla force.

Lastly, Gat has some wise words about what will happen to Gaza after the war ends, a subject that has been getting renewed attention since Benjamin Netanyahu presented an outline of a plan to the war cabinet on Thursday. Gat argues that, contrary to the view of the American and European foreign-policy elite, there is no political solution for Gaza. After all, Gaza is in the Middle East, where “there are no solutions, . . . only bad options and options that are much worse.”

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security