As Israelis Await the Third Lebanon War, the West Has Already Bought into Their Enemies’ Propaganda

Sept. 13 2021

In 1982, Israel fought its first war in Lebanon, against Palestinian terrorist groups and their local allies. It then spent the next eighteen years involved in low-intensity, sporadic conflict with Hizballah, leading eventually to the IDF’s withdrawal in 2000—which in turn led to the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Yet peace remains far away. Matti Friedman reports from the border:

At places like Kibbutz Adamit, the people who raise chickens and apples have lived through a half-century of violence going across the border in both directions. There were the years of infiltrations by Palestinian terrorists in the ’70s and ’80s, such as the attack on a civilian bus at Avivim that killed twelve civilians, including nine kids, or the one at the kindergarten at Kibbutz Misgav Am, or the school in Ma’alot. There were dozens.

Since [the Second Lebanon War], everyone here has been waiting for the “next war,” which is considered a foregone conclusion and is universally described in advance as much worse than the last one. Hizballah’s rocket arsenal is bigger and deadlier than it was fifteen summers ago, and in the Next War, it won’t be only northern Israel that’s in range. Hizballah’s patrons in Iran are more emboldened now than they were in 2006, while our patrons, the Americans, are confused and ailing. [Israel is] strong and heavy, and Hizballah has the element of surprise. There isn’t likely to be a buildup. The Next War will start like the last one, all at once, when nothing seems to be happening.

There is, Friedman notes, an “immense gap between the concerns of Israelis and the preoccupations of Western observers” when it comes to this looming disaster:

Since the 2006 war with Hizballah, and through several rounds of fighting with Hamas, the propaganda of these groups has found purchase in Western societies and capitals. Hizballah, like Hamas, and like the Iranians who support them both, have an acute grasp of the addled intellectual moment in the United States and of the ideological confusion of what remains of the Western press.

They understand that the rocket launch from the civilian backyard in Gaza or Lebanon won’t be filmed; the innocent people killed in the Israeli counterstrike will be captured by a dozen film crews, then tweeted by supermodels and a few members of Congress as #IsraeliGenocide. A Hizballah weapons warehouse located next to a school elicits a shrug; its destruction by an Israeli jet will be the subject of an “investigation” by Human Rights Watch and a photo essay in the New York Times in which a single empty school desk stands, undamaged and picturesque, in the rubble. The script is already written.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror