Israel Needs to Take a New Approach to Combatting Hamas

June 29 2022

Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, it has fought several wars, and concluded (and broken) several truces, with the Jewish state. Jerusalem has hoped to prevent it from rearming by joining with Egypt in imposing a blockade, to punish violence with force, and—as the favored term of the security establishment goes—reward “quiet with quiet.” What it has not done is try to dislodge the group or reoccupy the Strip. Pnina Shuker argues for a more proactive strategy, without embracing such radical measures:

There is arguably no greater symbol of Israel’s reluctance to go on the military offensive than the Hamas observation and sniper tower which overlooks the Israeli community of Netiv Ha’asara. This simple structure, erected around half a year ago, was built to threaten by its presence hundreds if not thousands of Israeli civilians—men, women, and children—going about their daily lives. Its continued presence is an affront to the security that the state of Israel is supposed to provide to every single one of its citizens.

After rocket fire from Gaza into Israel [on June 18], Israel responded with a few strikes, including on the cabin of the observation tower, destroying it but not the structure itself, meaning it could be easily and speedily rebuilt. Which it was only a few days later.

Unfortunately, this episode sends another clear message to Hamas and other enemies of Israel that they are winning, and the Jewish state will only react to events lightly and not take the necessary steps to defeat them.

What Israel and its citizens need is an offensive policy, a strategy which does not wait for the other side to threaten or strike, but that puts it constantly on the run and fearing for its existence. . . . Israel must take out the observation tower once and for all, without warning or care for those manning it. This is a relatively minor action, but can signal the start of a new strategy that will change the equation and lead Israel towards victory.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter