There’s No Taboo against Criticizing Israel

After the Washington congresswoman Pramila Jayapal referred to Israel as “a racist state” at a far-left conference last week, Michelle Goldberg—one of the New York Times’s anti-Israel columnists—rushed to her defense. Amidst a flurry of anti-Zionist libels, Goldberg disingenuously described Jayapal’s statement as a “gaffe.” She also expressed the familiar opinion—one shared, inter alia, by her fellow political commentator Nick Fuentes—that, “when it comes to American politics,” Israel is “protected by a thick lattice of taboos.” Abe Greenwald comments:

Israel is defamed in the dominant press, boycotted by politicians, athletes, and celebrities, denounced by global bodies, demonized on campuses, dragged through the social-media mud, and criticized by increasing numbers of Israelis and American Jews, including Zionists. If this is a country protected from criticism, just imagine if critics were free to speak their minds.

The claim of a taboo against criticizing Israel is itself an anti-Semitic trope, the most obscenely common and casual one there is. But think of what it really means: you’re just calling people anti-Semitic because they’re saying things the Jews don’t want you to hear. No one put it more primitively than [Congresswoman Ilhan] Omar, who tweeted “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” (Don’t worry, she “apologized.”) The claim takes as a given that Jews have a stranglehold on media, politics, and money, and can therefore control the national discourse. Michelle Goldberg’s own paper trades in it regularly and has for a long time, even as it throws up headline after headline describing Israel as a racist autocracy.

This is no claim for Israel’s victim status. The Jewish state can take it. Swing away. Give it your best shot. The critics aren’t doing a very good job. Despite all the calumnies and hit jobs, Israel is thriving and building alliances. That’s because it isn’t protected by some invisible mesh of censorship. It’s defended by Iron Dome, the IDF, the faith and innovation of its people, and the workings of its rugged democracy. Joe Biden, having struck out with the scolding approach, has just invited Netanyahu to the United States. Let’s see just how restrained Israel’s critics are about that.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, New York Times, Progressivism, U.S.-Israel relationship

Why the White House’s Plan to Prevent an Israel-Hizballah War Won’t Work

On Monday, Hizballah downed an Israeli drone, leading the IDF to retaliate with airstrikes that killed one of the terrorist group’s commanders in southern Lebanon, and two more of its members in the northeast. The latter strike marks an escalation by the IDF, which normally confines its activities to the southern part of the country. Hizballah responded by firing two barrages of rockets into northern Israel on Tuesday, while Hamas operatives in Lebanon fired another barrage yesterday.

According to the Iran-backed militia, 219 of its fighters have been killed since October; six Israeli civilians and ten soldiers have lost their lives in the north. The Biden administration has meanwhile been involved in ongoing negotiations to prevent these skirmishes from turning into an all-out war. The administration’s plan, however, requires carrots for Hizballah in exchange for unenforceable guarantees, as Richard Goldberg explains:

Israel and Hizballah last went to war in 2006. That summer, Hizballah crossed the border, killed three Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped two others. Israel responded with furious airstrikes, a naval blockade, and eventually a ground operation that met stiff resistance and mixed results. A UN-endorsed ceasefire went into effect after 34 days of war, accompanied by a Security Council Resolution that ordered the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in disarming Hizballah in southern Lebanon—from the Israeli border up to the Litani River, some 30 kilometers away.

Despite billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer support over the last seventeen years, the LAF made no requests to UNIFIL, which then never disarmed Hizballah. Instead, Iran accelerated delivering weapons to the terrorist group—building up its forces to a threat level that dwarfs the one Israel faced in 2006. The politics of Lebanon shifted over time as well, with Hizballah taking effective control of the Lebanese government and exerting its influence (and sometimes even control) over the LAF and its U.S.-funded systems.

Now the U.S. is offering Lebanon an economic bailout in exchange for a promise to keep Hizballah forces from coming within a mere ten kilometers of the border, essentially abrogating the Security Council resolution. Goldberg continues:

Who would be responsible for keeping the peace? The LAF and UNIFIL—the same pair that has spent seventeen years helping Hizballah become the threat it is today. That would guarantee that Hizballah’s commitments will never be verified or enforced.

It’s a win-win for [Hizballah’s chief Hassan] Nasrallah. Many of his fighters live and keep their missiles hidden within ten kilometers of Israel’s border. They will blend into the civilian population without any mechanism to force their departure. And even if the U.S. or France could verify a movement of weapons to the north, Nasrallah’s arsenal is more than capable of terrorizing Israeli cities from ten kilometers away. Meanwhile, a bailout of Lebanon will increase Hizballah’s popularity—demonstrating its tactics against Israel work.

Read more at The Dispatch

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden