To Prevent Attacks on Jews, Get the People Who Commit Them Off the Streets

Last week, a federal court convicted the man who murdered eleven worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018. In addition to such high-profile cases, the past few years have seen numerous, often unreported, cases of physical assaults on Jews—especially on visibly Orthodox Jews in New York City. Hannah Meyers, in a broader consideration of the baleful effects of “decarceration,” notes a common thread among these crimes and many others:

During 2019’s wave of anti-Semitic hate crimes, about a third of the offenses were reportedly committed by people with psychiatric histories. Similarly, mental illness has been a common factor among suspects arrested in recent high-profile attacks on Asians in New York City, according to the head of New York Police Department’s task force on anti-Asian bias crime. In 2021, NYPD reported that half of those arrested for hate crimes were mentally ill.

When it comes to combating extremist violence, a more targeted solution seems an obvious choice, since only a few individuals in the population are violently disturbed enough to pose an actual threat. In almost all cases, their dangerous tendencies become clear to the people around them and to law enforcement, and changes in how we approach these matters could have a preventive effect. But agencies, including the White House’s National Security Council in 2021, have instead adopted generalized policies.

One component of [the currently favored] strategy focused on “education and prevention” is an emphasis on implicit-bias training and similar anti-hate instruction. The federal Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022, in fact, mandates “anti-bias training” for all federal employees associated with combating terrorism. Local governments have also been investing in expensive training of this sort. Las Vegas’s Clark County School District signed a contract covering 2022 through 2025 that pays the Anti-Defamation League $75,000 to teach students and staff “to recognize bias and the harm it inflicts on individuals and society; improve intercultural engagement; and combat racism, anti-Semitism, prejudice, and bigotry.”

But there is no evidence that these types of coaching change anyone’s behavior. And, while learning about the Holocaust may increase inter-group empathy among well-adjusted students, it’s unlikely to affect the attitude of the cohort who would be inclined to hit a Jew over the head with a brick or shoot up a synagogue.

Read more at Commentary

More about: ADL, Anti-Semitism, Crime, U.S. Politics

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7