Chuck Schumer Talked the Talk on Anti-Semitism, but Will He Walk the Walk?

On Wednesday, the Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer delivered a speech about the growing dangers of anti-Semitism, pointedly observing that much of it today comes from the political left, in the form of hatred of the Jewish state. Seth Mandel has much praise for the speech, and for the condensed version that was published in the New York Times—as well as a warning:

The words are powerful, and Schumer should be congratulated for them. But there are words and then there’s action. On the action front, a few of Schumer’s fellow Democratic senators are talking about taking demonstrable steps—against Israel. And therein lies a problem that has been brewing for years, long before Hamas was planning its October 7 slaughter. Schumer is calling on his fellow Americans to stop attacking Jews. But he has members of his own caucus calling on the rest of Congress to join them in tying one of Israel’s hands behind its back.

Senate Democrats have begun debating whether to “condition” aid to Israel during its defensive war. . . . What Senate Democrats are talking about here is simply making it harder for Israel to win the war. Are there specific numbers of casualties Democrats will accept? How did they arrive at that number, or that formula? How do they plan on assessing Israel’s compliance given Hamas’s proven tactic of inflating casualties and conflating soldiers and civilians?

They don’t. They have, to be very clear, no idea what they’re doing. They are reacting to pressure from constituents, and that is how electoral politics works. But their only idea, it seems, is to give Hamas a veto over Israeli actions. That will not so easily pass the Senate, but the debate alone is legitimizing the tactic within Schumer’s party.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Chuck Schumer, Democrats, U.S.-Israel relationship

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