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Opinion

The Gaza War and the Decline of the West

Michael Posner

By MICHAEL POSNER
Copyright @ great untold stories inc.
Reprinted with permission

Nov 27, 2023
I’m not worried about Israel.
Israel can — Israel will — look after itself. It may take a few months, but the IDF will eliminate Hamas as a military entity of any consequence, demolish its billion-dollar network of tunnels (paid for in part by the gullible European community), and destroy what the Gaza Strip has effectively been for 15 years, the world’s largest urban terrorist camp, and a forward base of Iranian subversion.
Much of the heavy lifting — all of northern Gaza, parts of Gaza City — has already been done. Hamas’ parliament, such as it pretended to be, lies in ruins. Thousands of its foot soldiers have been dispatched, ostensibly to frolic with the 72 virgins. Others will follow. Ismail Haniyeh and the rest of the charming Hamas cabal — billionaires barricaded in five-star Qatari hotels — would be best advised to buy UVeyes, the hi-tech device that scans vehicles for bombs. An Israeli invention, by the way. Southern Gaza, particularly Khan Younis, remains, a formidable tactical challenge, but not insurmountable.
In deference to the jackals on the Arab street, moderate Arab leaders have denounced Israel’s prosecution of the war, invoking the familiar canards — proportionality, ethnic cleansing, apartheid and collective punishment, yada, yada. Privately, however, they are cheering Israel on, grateful that it is doing what they would gladly do themselves, given half a chance. A few have even bold enough to say it out loud.
It’s instructive that, while Israel’s critics convulse in paroxysms of grief, not a single Arab or Muslim nation has offered to harbour a single Palestinian — not for an hour. Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, dragged its heels even on delivery of aid, and on the release of Gazans holding dual citizenship. Can we speak the truth? The wider Arab world reviles Palestinians far more than any Israeli. And justifiably, given the havoc Palestinians have wrought in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Kuwait.
Exemplars of equivocation, paragons of posturing, earnest European politicians descended on the region, predictably condemning violence on both sides. They shook hands, nodded heads and then they expressed their deeply considered position. It boiled down to this: ‘you, Israel, clearly have the right to defend yourself. Just make sure you don’t kill anyone, okay?’
Speaking of double standards, the International Red Cross ought to win this year’s Golden Tourniquet award. The IRC navigates freely in dozens of challenging war zones, but in Gaza, it somehow could not manage to deliver a single bandage to any of the estimated 240 hostages, until the exchanges began. In fact, it took six weeks for the IRC president just to schedule a meeting with hostage family members in Geneva. Of course, it did manage a humanitarian visit to Hamas prisoners in Israel.
The IRC is part of Gaza’s vast, bureaucratic labyrinth. No fewer than 23 United Nations agencies maintain a presence there, manoeuvring within the nightmare of Hamas’ iron-fisted governance. But what applies to every journalist operating within the Strip, and to every doctor or nurse in hospitals that double as Hamas hideouts and weapon arsenals, also applies to UN staff. They are compromised. They can or will say nothing critical of the regime, for fear of their lives. Scan a decade of UN Commission of Human Rights reports, and you are unlikely to even find the word Hamas. In the Kafkaesque universe of UN rapporteurs, only Israel is guilty of human rights abuses. Some agency employees are actually complicit in promoting terror, using school curricula that lionize martyrs and teach Palestinian children to demonize Jews.
Another UN agency, UNICEF, which ostensibly exists to protect children, went to visit Gaza, but then managed to cancel plans to meet with parents and grandparents of the estimated 40 children taken as hostages by Hamas.
And the Western media? It is to laugh, or cry. Reporters for the BBC, CBC, the New York Times, Reuters, Associated Press, the Guardian — all the usual suspects — might double as contortionists with Cirque du Soleil, so expertly did they twist every Hamas claim and statistic into unvarnished truth, and every Israeli talking point into “an allegation we have not been able to independently verify.” These organizations served an unending diet of stories that invariably cast Israel as the villain of the piece. No wonder, then, the animus directed at it by a heavily propagandized, ill-informed public.
Everyone with half a brain knows that Israel’s destruction of these Iranian proxies is a victory for light over darkness, and good over unadulterated evil. Alas, the number of people with less than half a brain seems to be rising exponentially.
In the early 1920s, the visionary Ze’ev Jabotinsky maintained that Arabs in what was then British-mandate Palestine would never voluntarily acquiesce to the Zionist enterprise. They would only acquiesce involuntarily, and only when they finally understood and resigned themselves to that fact that no campaign of Arab terrorism, no coalition of armed forces, no amount of outside pressure — nothing — would ever breach Israel’s iron wall. For iron wall, read: military might. Or, invincibility. Only then, Jabotinsky argued, would Arab extremists be forced to yield to Arab moderates, willing to sue for an enduring peace.
Transparently, we are not there yet; we may never be there. As former Knesset member Einat Wulf noted recently, the essence of the conflict is simply this: Israel is dedicated to the preservation of the Jewish state. The Palestinians are pledged to its annihilation. Everything else is a detail.
But the IDF’s campaign in Gaza, and the threat of its extension to Hezbollah, to Lebanon and implicitly to Iran, is a projection of Jabotinsky’s iron wall. For 15 frustrating years, Israel fought Hamas with one hand behind its back, restrained by Western diplomatic pressure, and by a reluctance to sacrifice the lives of Israel soldiers in a bloody ground campaign. The time for half measures is over. On October 7th, the Hamas death cult issued an invitation to total war; Israel promptly RSVPed. Don’t mess with the Zohan.
True, years will be required for Israelis to recover from the collective trauma of the pogrom, and before its shattered faith in its security apparatus is restored. Politically, a national reckoning is required. A leadership transition doubtless will occur — in the prime minister’s office, the IDF, the Shin Bet. All bear some degree of culpability for the events of October 7th. There also remains a smorgasbord of contentious domestic issues, including judicial reform, that are still unresolved. None of this will be easy. But in time, the Israeli nation will be whole again.
The real crisis is elsewhere. The real crisis is here. No one who has watched what is happening on Western streets, no one who has objectively absorbed the response to the atrocities committed on October 7th, can be sanguine about our future. It is Western civilization that looks increasingly vulnerable.
Let’s start with Europe. The Europe that incubated the Renaissance and spawned the Enlightenment, is effectively finished. Not tomorrow. Not next year. But inevitably. The Arabic handwriting is already on the wall.
Three decades or more of largely unrestricted immigration from Muslim and other third world countries is rapidly redrawing the demographic maps of the UK, Germany, France, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Denmark. What record immigration levels started — the de facto Islamification of Europe — the higher birth rate will finish. Ten years? Twenty? Fifty? It hardly matters. The collapse of Europe, as we knew it, is inevitable.
It’s inevitable because, as everyone knows (but seldom concedes), new migrant groups overwhelmingly do not truly assimilate, do not embrace the traditional values and practices of their host countries. Immigrants may shop at the same supermarkets, and wear the same Nikes, but they cling to mores, customs and ways of thinking fundamentally antithetical to secular liberalism. The mystery is why anyone ever thought it would be otherwise.
“Multiculturalism makes no demands of the newcomer to integrate,” former British Home Secretary Suella Braverman recently lamented. “It has failed because it allowed people to come to our society and live parallel lives in it.” A month or so after making her comments, Braverman was fired from the Conservative cabinet, another victim of cancel culture. It is one thing to know the truth; God forbid you should speak it.
Braverman’s remarks echoed those of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2010, who shocked the world by acknowledging that “this [multicultural] approach has failed, utterly failed.” Nevertheless, in a humanitarian gesture, Germany admitted 2.1 million new migrants in 2015, almost 300,000 Muslims from Syria alone.
Far from embracing their host culture, many immigrants revile it. At least five thousand Europeans travelled to the Middle East to join Isis. Remember Isis — the Islamic State? Those fine Salafalists who made snuff films of beheadings of journalists and aid workers?
Some young European Islamists are easily radicalized: they have genuine grievances. Poor jobs (if any), inferior housing, and the dim likelihood of ever clawing their way into the shrinking middle class. Add the incitement from the mosques, the anti-integrationist, anti-western dogma delivered by imams — et voila: the next suicide bomber is born.
Extremism aside, does anyone seriously believe that the hard-won fruits of the liberal tradition — gender equality, lgbtq+ rights, freedom of speech — apply within the teeming Muslim communities of Malmo, Birmingham, Bradford, Brussels, Avignon, Marseilles, etc.? Those rights and others — habeas corpus, due process, freedom of the press — are rare in the Muslim world. Indeed, according to Islam, all commitments to the inviolability of human rights are expressly preempted by Sharia law, soft-pedalled though it is.
So: on the assumption that the West’s secular liberal values are worth preserving and defending, will they survive when a critical demographic mass no longer exists?
A decade after Merkel’s truth bomb, the romantic vision of multicultural cross-pollination peddled by other western governments has been exposed as a myth. It is simply not possible to reconcile the comforting, kumbaya fairy tale that we are all brothers and sisters — ‘you savour my shawarma and I’ll devour your poutine’ — and then take to the streets to rip posters of kidnapped children from light standards, shoot bullets at synagogues and Jewish schools, and glorify death-cult jihadists intent on unholy war. The chasm cannot be bridged.
The virtue-signalling on pluralism has gone hand in hand with incessant bromides about diversity. As others have noted (Frank Furedi, Mark Steyn), the diversity agenda emerged first in Europe, as a hoped-for antidote to the evils of nationalism, which had yielded two world wars, left millions dead, and the continent in rubble. The ostensible lesson: patriotism bad, diversity good.
Be careful what you wish for. Diversity, it turns out, is the incubator of identity politics, everyone now required to wear a tribal badge for race, ethnicity, gender and pronoun preferences. And what a winner identity politics has been, eh?
While performative politicians like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continue to sing ad nauseum from the multicultural/diversity hymn book, the grim reality has been on display for weeks: hundreds of thousands, in every major European city and many in North America, openly calling for the death of Jews, thirsting for a ‘multicultural’ pogrom, and valourizing murderers, rapists, and kidnappers.
Despite elaborate attempts to fudge its meaning, their kindergarten chant, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” is a clarion call for a genocide of the Jews. (That phrase, not incidentally, was first invoked in the mid-1930s, when Arab leaders told Britain’s Peel Commission that they would countenance no Jewish state anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea). Not a few of these aspiring Einsatzgruppen — no small irony — are Jewish, or claim to be. Indeed, the hate marches, as Suella Braverman accurately characterized them, have been populated by a United Nations of antisemites — not unlike the United Nations itself.
Notably, there were no such demonstrations when 158,000 Muslims died in the Yemenite civil war, nor any public protests when the Kuwaitis evicted almost 300,000 Palestinians (ethnic cleansing, anyone?), no demands for ceasefire when Syrian strongman Bashir Al-Assad killed 3,900 Palestinians, bombed their schools and hospitals, deployed nerve gas, and catalyzed the exodus of 5.7 million Syrians.
In this light, it’s difficult — actually, it’s impossible — not to conclude that what really motivates the protesters has very little to do with the suffering of their Arabs brothers, and almost everything to do with unfiltered, unfettered Jew-hatred.
Hypocrisy notwithstanding, the world’s oldest virus, long-suppressed, has been loosed from the laboratory and is spreading, fast. Millions are now afflicted, demonstrably in the grip of some kind of mass hysteria. Baying mobs, acts of vandalism, the unapologetic embrace of toxic ideology — can anyone doubt their yearning to do to Jewish communities around the world precisely what Hamas did to the hapless residents of Israel?
About militant Islam, the West remains largely in denial. Far too many people still naively believe the conflict is territorial, that if only Israel made sufficient concessions, a two-state solution could be found, and peace would be made. But land, West Bank settlements, the so-called occupation — none of this is remotely the issue. The shaheeds of the fledgling Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1964 were attacking Jews and Jewish settlers long before the 1967 war, before Israel acquired a single hectare of the West Bank.
Before the Six-Day War, Jordan controlled all of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount; Egypt controlled the Sinai. Did anyone then say Palestinians deserved a state of their own? Did anyone campaign for Palestinian self-determination? No— not a word.
The point is, movements birthed by the Muslim Brotherhood, including Sunni radicals like Hamas, regard any Israeli presence in the holy land as a cancer to be excised. All of Israel— Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem— is therefore deemed an illegal occupation. And the Islamists are obsessively committed to slaughtering the infidel occupiers. One prominent spiritual leader, the late Yusuf al-Qaradawi, regarded Adolf Hitler as a divine punishment for the Jews, and advocated for another Holocaust, “inflicted by the hand of the Faithful” —i.e., Muslims.
To that end, any means is justified. What the western mind seems unable to grasp is that, as philosopher Sam Harris has explained, jihadists feel no compunction using civilians as human shields, because they know “any Muslims who get killed will go to Paradise for eternity…If you don’t understand that jihadists sincerely believe these things, you don’t understand the problem Israel faces. The problem isn’t merely Palestinian nationalism, or resource competition, or any other normal terrestrial grievance. In fact, the problem isn’t even hatred, though there is enough of that to go around. The problem is religious certainty.”
Perhaps October 7th will help move the needle of our understanding; I’m not optimistic.
It will be argued, inevitably, that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful. That is undeniable. But is it relevant? Where are these peaceful Muslims in the current controversy? Have there been any counter-demonstrations — of any size — by moderate Muslims, to protest the haters of London, Paris, New York, Toronto, etc.? How many moderate Muslim politicians, imams, intellectuals or TikTok/Instagram influencers have penned op-ed pieces, given sermons, appeared on television, or recorded videos to say, in effect, ‘I categorically and unreservedly disown the Hamas massacre, and these marchers; they are giving Islam a bad name’?
There’s an obvious reason why this almost never happens. The moderates are intimidated, effectively cowed. They may privately rail against Islamic fundamentalism, but it is simply too dangerous to speak out.
Moreover, if even .01 percent of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims is a murderous zealot, that’s 1.8 million — the equivalent of a city the size of Mosul.
Another common argument is that, however precise Israel’s weapons, however scrupulous the IDF’s efforts to minimize casualties, many innocent Gazans are dying — and thus radicalizing the next generation. This thesis, too, is yawn-worthy, because all the evidence suggests that if (in the unlikely event) democratic elections were ever held in Gaza or the West Bank, Hamas or some facsimile would win the vote handily. A recent poll conducted by Arab World for Research and Development reported that 75 percent of Palestinians support the massacre of October 7th, and 83 per cent endorse the slaughtering of Jews. In other words, most of them already have murder on their minds— what difference a few more?
For Jews, one of the most worrying aspects of the weekly hate orgies has been the apparent unwillingness of the police — except in Germany— to intervene aggressively. Yes, the authorities are hopelessly outnumbered. But the larger concern is that police forces themselves have become increasingly politicized, indoctrinated in the same progressive ideology as many of the protesters — champions of diversity, equity and inclusion. DEI is the ugly stepchild of critical race theory, which assumes a priori that the West is irredeemably evil, racist, and colonialist, and that its demise should be welcomed, not mourned.
Thus, the manifestations of moral inversion: Instead of preventing people from stripping off the kidnap posters, some police officials have actually joined in. Instead of arresting demonstrators calling for a new intifada — remember the intifada? When Palestinian suicide bombers blew up Israeli buses and children buying pizza? — most police forces have stood idly by. Yet while letting hate speech go uncurbed, British cops actually arrested a man who had the temerity to post a video objecting to the dozens of Palestinian flags in his neighbourhood.
“Two things form the bedrock of any open society,” writer Salmon Rushdie has said. “Freedom of expression and rule of law. If you don’t have those things, you don’t have a free country.” Ultimately, rigorous, impartial enforcement of the rule of law is all that stands between social order and anarchy, between where we are today and the next Kristallnacht — or worse.
One would like to think the outlook in American, Australia or Canada is rosier than Europe. It isn’t.
On Veterans Day in the United States, pro-Palestinian protesters in New York City climbed lamp posts to tear down the American flag, and replace it with the Palestinian flag.
In Sydney, even before the Israelis had finished counting their corpses, emissaries of the religion of peace were in the streets, calling for the gassing of Jews.
In Canada, a country with “no core identity” according to its jejune prime minister, Remembrance Day was marked by speeches that ignored the heroic sacrifices of previous wartime generations, to rail against — you guessed it — white supremacy, colonialism and racism. In other words, the West, by virtue of is original sins, deserves the kinds of barbarism associated with Hamas, Hezbollah, Isis and Iran.
Two weeks ago, Sarah Jama, an independent member of the Ontario legislature — evicted earlier from the New Democratic Party for spewing anti-Jewish hate — co-signed a letter to Canadian parliamentarians, urging them to end support for Israel. In a measure of their moral derangement, the signatories — describing themselves as “residents of so-called Canada”— alleged that no women were raped during the Hamas assault, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. You can’t make this stuff up.
How did we arrive at this morally blighted moment? There is no single cause, but our colleges and universities must bear much of the blame. Once beacons of truth, free expression and open-ended inquiry, they have been become indoctrination camps worthy of Mao and Pol Pot. What they now teach, especially in the humanities and social sciences, is cultural totalitarianism.
“Openness used to be the virtue that permitted us to seek the good by using reason,” Allan Bloom wrote in The Closing of the American Mind (in 1987!). “It now means accepting everything and denying reason’s power…We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished. The shepherds play with the fragments that pop up to the surface, having no notion of the beautiful structures of which they were once a part.”
Among the millions marching for ‘Palestine’ are ostensibly well- educated college students, some of whom spearheaded the recent attacks on Jews on campuses. But it’s not only students. The moral rot is systemic.
This week, more than 100 faculty members of that once-elite institution known as Harvard denounce duniversity president Claudine Gay for daring to issue an anodyne statement opposing antisemitism; they claimed she was curtailing free speech.
Individual scholars at various institutions have been outspoken in support of Hamas’ brutality. Cornell professor of history Russell Rickford, for example, told a cheering throng of Palestinian supporters that news of the murders, rapes, beheadings and incineration of infants committed on October 7th was “exhilarating” and “energizing.” Chastised by his employer, Rickford later issued a lukewarm apology, but who would give it credence?
Other marchers have proudly hoisted ‘Queers for Palestine’ placards, a laughable display of ignorance on several levels. For starters, merely to hold such a sign (let alone to be caught in flagrante delicto) in Gaza City, Ramallah, Baghdad, Damascus or virtually anywhere in Muslimdom would likely lead to a swift act of defenestration.
And then there are the social justice commandos — hyper-sensitive people ‘triggered’ by every perceived ‘micro-aggression’ or ‘violent’ insult. Invoke the wrong pronoun in addressing ‘they/them,’ and you’re liable to provoke a human rights complaint. But they have no trouble celebrating maniacal terrorists, who gleefully sodomize grandmothers in wheelchairs, and subject young women to serial rape, decapitate them on camera, and then send the videos to parents.
Of course, no angry rally speech — no chant, social media post, or press interview — has been complete without multiple invocations of the word ‘Palestine.’ As if there actually were such a place, or it could be magically wished into existence by mere incantation. Deploying this term is at once a mind game and a perversion of language, because at no time in history has there been a nation ruled by Arabs called Palestine. It is a make-believe country for, as former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir bravely acknowledged, a make-believe people, invented by the KGB in 1964, using its hand-picked stooge, Yasir Arafat — a native Egyptian.
It gets worse. The war on reason — the intellectual death spiral of our colleges and universities — has been underway for more than thirty years. Today, the jack-booted brigades of wokeism — drunk on moral relativism and the denial of objective truth — have infiltrated and taken power in our major institutions, corporations, labour unions, the civil service, public agencies, the media, and artistic communities. As writer Bari Weiss noted in a recent speech, in the topsy-turvy progressive universe, colour blindness has been replaced with race obsession; ideas with identity; debate with denunciation; persuasion with public shaming; and the rule of law with the fury of the mob.
The validity of Weiss’s observation was confirmed last week on, appropriately enough, TikTok, which comedian Sacha Baron Cohen aptly said was creating “the biggest antisemitic movement since the Nazis.” Online, someone stumbled upon Osama bin Laden’s 2002 Letter to America, which attempted to justify 9/11 by accusing the U. S. government of being in the pocket of, naturally, the Jews, and therefore complicit in bombing Palestinians home. And before you could say ‘protocols of the elders of Zion,’ fevered TikTokers had experienced a life-altering epiphany, and concluded that Osama was actually a victim — and therefore, automatically, the good guy — and America was the satanic oppressor. In short, a perfect illustration of the historical ignorance and moral obtuseness that plagues Millennials and GenZ.
As a snapshot of our current predicament, the TikTok episode should be framed.
Literally unspeakable crimes were committed on October 7th. We don’t really have a vocabulary that can fully capture the butchery. The savagery of Hamas out-ISISed ISIS, no small achievement. But the response of the vox populi — the millions savouring these atrocities as a victory for ‘the resistance’— testifies eloquently, tragically, to how damaged the West’s moral compass has become. Jews are always society’s coal mine canary, and the epidemic of Jew-hate we are now seeing marks a decisive turning, what Joe Biden likes to call an inflection point. Our civilization is breaking down, and it is likely to get worse, before it gets worse.

Opinion

Algorhythm — Who Could Ask For Anything More? 

By MICHAEL POSNER It was long claimed that technique was neutral. Today, that is no longer a useful distinction. The power and autonomy of technique are so well secured that it…has become the judge of what is moral, the creator of a new morality. Thus, it plays the
role of creator of a new civilization as well. — Jacques Ellul
I no longer believe that technology is simply a matter of means, which men can use well or badly. As an end in itself, it inhibits the pursuit of other ends in the society it controls. — George Grant

The other day, a friend posed the following question: how did the Western, liberal left become so anti-Semitic? 
Gary Saul Morson calls this the Dostoevsky problem. In a recent essay in Mosaic Magazine, Morson — a professor of humanities at Northwestern University — notes that the Russian novelist was simultaneously among the most compassionate of men and yet, in his later years, a rabid, dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite. What makes good people hold horrendous beliefs, Morson asks. 
In other words, how is it that so many otherwise humane, caring, well-educated people can embrace such a toxic ideology as anti-Semitism?
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about right-wing anti-Semitism, an ugly and genuine phenomenon on its own. I’m not talking about the carefully veiled discrimination that still exists in corporate boardrooms, private golf courses and yacht clubs, or the more virulent “Jews will not replace us” strain chanted by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
I’m talking about liberals, people who, in normal circumstances, might be reliably expected to denounce cold-blooded terrorism. And indeed, to be fair, some have. 
But in the effluent of the October 7 pogrom, in defiance of reason itself, a very large segment of the hard-core left — students, high school teachers, college professors, trade unionists, civil servants, social workers, celebrities — has bizarrely chosen to align itself with Hamas, murderers who incinerate grandmothers, mutilate the dead, smash the heads of infants against walls, burn entire families alive, and play catch with the sliced-off breasts of women they have raped, before shooting them in their vaginas. 

Hamas did all of this, as British writer Douglas Murray observed, not with any sense of shame or guilt, but gleefully — jubilantly — dutifully recording the carnage and the horror on their GoPRO cameras.
Even if it were not defending itself against this kind of barbarism, Israel is a country that a liberal left should reflexively support — in fact, celebrate. After all, it’s a beacon of democracy in an authoritarian, theocratic part of the world. It’s a relentless champion of the most cherished liberal values, including free speech. It’s an enlightened defender of women’s and Lgbtq+ rights. And, ex nihilo, it has incubated and developed some of the world’s most transformative consumer and medical technologies. 
Compile a checklist of every bleeding heart leftist’s favourite causes and, by any impartial assessment, Israel would get two thumbs up on every one.
And yet, marching hand-in-hand with the baying mobs at pro-Palestinian rallies, the liberal left endorses calls for Israel’s destruction, lionizes terrorists, supports appeals for Jews (not just Israelis) to be gassed, and proclaims that Hitler was right after all — that the deaths of six million Jews in the Holocaust was not nearly enough. 
The moral contradiction is so striking that it forces one to ask: how did the left manage to keep its Jew-hatred so well hidden for so long?

In part, it is now obvious, by screening anti-Semitism behind the veil of anti-Zionism. “We’re only criticizing the policies of the state of Israel,” they whined, ad nauseum. Well, at least we can put that lie definitively to rest.
Recently, testifying in Congress, three uber-woke female presidents of once-elite American universities found themselves unable to unequivocally state that calls for Jewish genocide violated campus codes of conduct. 
It was an astonishing moment in the American conversation, one that crystallized the moral depths to which the progressive left, and the Marxist ideology that underpins Critical Race Thinking, has led higher education. 
Use the N word in any conversation, in any context, and you will be cancelled forthwith, probably in perpetuity. Use the wrong pronoun, misgender someone (even unintentionally), attempt to defend a pro-life position on abortion — all of these micro-aggressions, and many more, are deemed acts of violence, threats to the safety of students, for which the campus thought police must be dispatched. God forbid a university student should feel intellectually unsafe, or be forced to deal with the free exchange of ideas.
But explicit calls for the murder of Jews? That, the three college presidents grimly and repeatedly insisted, depends “on context.”
Nor is the left’s support merely rhetorical. Its kaffiyeh-clad legions have defaced Jewish-owned businesses, ripped down posters of hostages, harassed, intimidated and physically assaulted Jews, issued death threats, and fired bullets at synagogues and Hebrew schools. According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the two months after October 7th reached the highest level since it began tracking the figure in 1979.

How does this happen? They can’t all be card-carrying anti-Semites, can they?
I’d like to propose three tentative answers. The first is denial, a blanket refusal to accept documented, historical truth. 
What is denial? Denial is pretending that terrorists are resistance fighters. Denial is maintaining that Jesus was a Palestinian, not a Jewish rabbi. Denial is contending that there once was a land called Palestine governed by indigenous Arabs; it hasn’t happened in all of human history. Denial is claiming Gaza is still “occupied,” although Israel vacated the territory in 2005, ceding control to the Palestinian Authority. Denial is insisting that the state of Israel is somehow illegitimate, ignoring that it was established in May, 1948 in accordance with the United Nations Partition Plan, and was admitted to the UN with full member status the following year. 
In its most egregious form, perhaps, denial is suggesting that Hamas wasn’t in fact the author of October 7th. What really happened, you see, is that the IDF deliberately killed its own citizens, in order to justify invading Gaza and resettling the territory. Sadly, there are people with Ph.Ds, who believe this. 
It is this refusal even to hear counter-evidence, Morson suggests in his Mosaic essay, that characterizes the well-educated bigot. “Even the purest of hearts and the most innocent of people can be drawn into committing…a monstrous offence,” he quotes Dostoevsky as saying. And he cites this passage from The Possessed: “And therein lies the real horror: that…one can commit the foulest and most villainous act without being in the least a villain!…That is our whole affliction today!”

After denial, there is ignorance — of a shocking degree. Let us count the ways.
Among those lustily calling for the extermination of Jews, many have only the thinnest grasp of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They get most of what passes for their understanding from 30-second TikTok videos, or from other morons who get their ‘knowledge’ from TikTok. 
The things anti-Semites don’t know about the Middle East would fill encyclopaedias, were encyclopaedias still published. 
They don’t know that, during the past century, Arab leaders rejected 10 separate peace proposals that would have created an independent Palestinian.
They know that Israel’s 1948 war of independence displaced 700,000 Arab settlers in Israel — the so-called Nakba — but don’t know that an equal number of Jews were evicted from their homes in half a dozen Muslim countries at the same time. 
They don’t know that the name ‘Palestine’ has nothing to do with Arabs, who originated in Arabia. They don’t know that the name was given to the region by the Romans, as a deliberate slight to the Jews, who called it Judea and Samaria. 
And of course, when pro-Palestinian protestors chant, “from the river to the sea,” fewer than half can actually name the river or the sea referred to.
“Knowledge is no guarantee of good behaviour,” American philosopher Martha Nussbaum has observed. “But ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behaviour.” Or, as English satirist Alexander Pope remarked, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” 
Pope, incidentally, belongs to that now disgraced class of dead, white writers (b.1688-d.1744) whose work used to be taught in what used to be the humanities departments of what used to be institutions of higher learning that used to be dedicated to genuine education. 
Today, of course, the primary goal — at least in the humanities and social sciences — is no longer to teach students how to think critically, but to indoctrinate them, and protect them from the grave injuries inflicted by offensive words.
This objective, the New York Times opined recently, is in many ways understandable, “especially for students who find campuses to be uneasy places because they are among the first in their families to attend college. One way to make students feel safe, schools have decided, is to restrict speech that upsets students.”
Put aside for the moment the notion that college and university is precisely where students should be exposed to the cut and thrust of intellectual debate. But wait a minute: wasn’t a previous generation of students also the first in their families to receive a higher education? I’m thinking of battle-scarred Second World War veterans, who on the killing fields of Europe and the Pacific confronted actual aggression and genuine violence.
Not so long ago, one looked to the humanities departments to illuminate the great minds of western civilization, to teach undergraduates how to think critically, and see beyond binary options in the marketplace of ideas. At Montreal’s McGill University, for example, Professor Louis Dudek taught a two-year course called Great Writings of European Literature, which covered everything from Voltaire’s Candide to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Today, the humanities are largely an afterthought — enrolments plunged 30 per cent between 2005-2020 — and those who do enlist are lectured by rigid commissars of identity politics. 

The left’s ignorance also extends to the historical persecution of Jews. A recent survey found that one in five Americans aged 18 to 30 believe the Holocaust is a myth. Even more maintain that the six million deaths recorded are exaggerated.
You can hardly fault them for their cluelessness. In colleges and universities, the narrative is wall-to-wall Palestinian victimhood, Israeli belligerency.
The mainstream media — the BBC, NPR, CBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, The Independent, as well as Reuters and the Associated Press — has become an echo chamber, repeating the same message, along with evocative images and videos: that Israel is a white, racist, colonialist enterprise illegally occupying someone else’s land, and that it is principally interested in killing Arab women and children.
In a recent essay in The Economist, former New York Times Op-ed page editor James Bennett — he was forced to resign in 2020 after publishing a controversial piece by Republican Senator Tom Cotton — charged that the once-liberal Times had become illiberal, shifting from “an inclination to favour one side of the national debate to an impulse to shut debate down altogether.” 
Standard practices at both the CBC, the BBC and elsewhere virtually guarantee a skewed picture of the conflict. Their idea of journalistic balance is to interview one Arab/Palestinian spokesperson and one Israeli, although the latter almost invariably is a left-winger who despises his government as much as the Arabs. When IDF representatives or Israeli diplomats are invited on air, they are grilled as if they were on trial at Nuremberg, while Palestinian mouthpieces are given carte blanche to lie, distort and defame, without pushback. 
Another common tactic is the deliberate omission of news that vindicates an Israeli talking point, or stigmatizes Arabs. Thus the refusal to label Hamas a terrorist organization. Thus the willingness to uncritically accept any claim of Israeli aggression, while failing to correct the record when the facts exonerate the IDF. 
One example: when Israel asserted that Hamas had turned Gaza’s hospitals into military fortresses, the mass media worked strenuously to disparage the evidence. But when the medical chief of Kamal Edwan Hospital admitted that he had served as a lieutenant colonel in Hamas since 2010, and that 16 other doctors, nurses and paramedics on staff were members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas terror wing, the BBC, CBC and others simply ignored the story.

The polarization that marks the Gaza debate, however — and the anti-Semitic fervour it has unleashed — is a symptom of a much deeper problem: the binary universe we now inhabit.
In 1937, a 21-year-old named Claude Shannon submitted his master’s thesis to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Its deceptively boring title — A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits — obscured a revolutionary finding: that the simple, binary structure of Boolean algebra, in which variables are either true or false, ones or zeroes, could form the building block of complex computers. These on-off switches were referred to as bits; a package of eight became a byte. 
Various scholars have since deemed it the most important academic thesis of the century. Regardless, it’s fair to say that Shannon’s insight forms the bedrock of our hyper-technological world.
In fact, the binarial approach has become a prominent feature of far more than computer programming; it now governs an ever increasing swatch of daily social interaction. Played out largely on line, public debate of the most important policy issues — politics, war, abortion, climate change, immigration — is conducted almost exclusively in binary — i.e., polarized — terms. 
It’s either for or against, yes or no, true or false. Good or evil. Safe or unsafe spaces. Pro-life or pro-choice. Pro carbon taxes or against. Pro curbs on migrants or in favour of open borders. Pro Putin/Russia or pro Zelenskyy/Ukraine. Pro Israel or pro Hamas. And philo-Semite or anti-Semite. 
On Mega’s Facebook, opposing voices joust and parry, while ‘friends’ signal approval or disapproval with thumbs up Like or Dislike icons, much like Romans voting on the fate of Christians in the Coliseum. 
On TikTok — the platform’s very name suggests its binary construct — the propaganda duel on Gaza, climate change and other hot-button issues is conducted by warring videos. 
On TV reality shows (America’s Got Talent, Master Chef, Dancing with the Stars, etc.), judges decide whether contestants will go home (i.e., die) or return for another week (i.e., live); literally on The Voice, and metaphorically elsewhere, judges’ chairs either turn for Yes, or do not turn for a No. In one new Fox TV show, Snake Oil, participants win or lose by determining whether a new product invention is real or snake oil. Many video games, a sealed universe occupied by tens of millions of young men and women, force players to make simplistic binary choices about heroes and villains — i.e, about morality itself.
It gets worse. The algorithms that regulate social media platforms — Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), etc. — are written to provide content that satisfies pre-formed opinion, and thus entrench biases. Watch, if you can stomach him, one podcast of anti-Israel British activist Owen Jones, and the algorithm will soon feed you six more. The same phenomenon, of course, applies to virtually everything else: right-wing commentators, sports highlight reels, pet videos, TV sit-com and film clips, perilous rollercoaster rides, pickle ball tournaments, etc. 

The operations of old school media are not appreciably different. The New York Times, James Bennett lamented, is essentially serving partisan audiences versions of reality they already prefer, a relationship that “proves self-reinforcing. As Americans became freer to choose among alternative versions of reality, their polarisation intensified.”
McLuhan was right, after all: the medium is the message. Because, in hierarchical terms, content — and therefore meaning itself — now takes a back seat to the technological imperative, the algorithmic construct, which is designed to stoke and exploit primal emotions like fear and anger. Bland doesn’t sell. Neutrality won’t keep the eyeballs glued. 

In Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism, writer Anne Applebaum notes that “polarization has moved from the online world into reality…The result is a hyper-partisanship. There can be no neutrality in a polarized world, because there can be no nonpartisan or apolitical institutions.” Thus are anti-Semites born and nurtured.
Taking stock of the dismal, post-First World War social landscape, the poet Yeats feared that the centre would no longer hold. “The best,” he wrote, “lack all conviction. The worst are full of passionate intensity.” Is that not an apt description of our current malaise? 
Today, more a century later, the centre itself has essentially vanished and — flung centrifugally, algorithmically, to the margins — we are left bellowing at each other across the vast abyss. 

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Opinion

Hamas savages make no distinction between Israeli Jews, Arabs

Myron Love

By MYRON LOVE I remember many years ago attending a presentation by Simon Wiesenthal, the world’s leading Nazi hunter, during which he made the point that the focus of Holocaust education should not be on the number six million – the number of estimated Jews who were murdered – but rather on the 12 million martyrs – including other targeted groups such as the Roma, people who were gay, the mentally and physically handicapped and the many great many Slavic people who were also murdered. After the Jews, the Slavs were next on the list.
By focusing strictly on Germans killing Jews, he observed, it became too easy to make it out to be only Germans versus Jews – thereby making it easier for Holocaust deniers and absolving the other European peoples who were complicit in the killings.
Similarly, while we naturally mourn our Jewish brethren who were so horribly slaughtered on October 7, we need to also bear in mind that Hamas made no distinction in its murderous rampage between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs or between Israelis and foreign workers.
In a posting for The Gatestone Institute on November 30, Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh noted that he Hamas terrorists who attacked Israel on October 7 did not slaughter Jews alone. The terrorists also murdered and kidnapped scores of Muslim citizens of Israel, including members of the Bedouin community. The terrorists’ murder spree made zero distinction between young and old, Muslim and Jew.
“Scores of Arab Israelis were wounded, murdered or taken prisoner,” he reported.
One such brave individual was 23-year-old Awad Darawshe, an Arab-Israeli paramedic who was on duty at the music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, which was among the first locations under attack. When the medical staff on site were ordered to flee, he insisted on remaining behind to treat the wounded.
Abu Toameh suggests that the paramedic thought that because he was Arab, he could reason with the killers. He was murdered nonetheless.
Another courageous Arab-Israeli that the writer noted, 50-year-old Abed al-Rahman Alnasasrah, was murdered by Hamas terrorists when he attempted to rescue people from the music festival. He was married and a father of six children.
Fatima Altallaqat, 35, from the Bedouin village near Ofakim, was murdered while working with her husband near the city of Ofakim in southern Israel. She was a mother of nine children, the eldest nine years old.
Abu Toameh quotes her husband as saying: “We’re a religious Muslim family and she wore the traditional headdress of a devout woman. It is inconceivable they [Hamas terrorists] could not see who was inside [the car]. They were five meters away from her as they passed.”
Forty bullets were fired into her.
Abu Toameh further cites the comments of Suleiman Zayadneh, brother and uncle, respectively, to four of the Arab-Israeli hostages, who describes himself “as proud to be a Palestinian and Muslim”.
‘The people who came to shoot and kill — they know nothing of religion,” the writer quoted Zayadneh as saying. “These [Hamas] people came and killed left and right.”
Abu Toameh went on to reference the words of Nuseir Yassin, a video blogger with 65 million followers. Two days after the massacre, he wrote: “I realized that… to a terrorist invading Israel, all citizens are targets. More than 40 of them [the murdered] are Arabs. Killed by other Arabs. And I do not want to live under a Palestinian government. Which means I only have one home, even if I’m not Jewish: Israel…. So from today forward, I view myself as… Israeli first. Palestinian second. Sometimes it takes a shock like this to see so clearly.”
Abu Toameh reported that “there have been many storie about reciprocal inter-communal generosity and heroism in the aftermath of this national tragedy, and they create hope for the future”.
He quoted a statement by the Darwashe Family:
“We are very proud of Awad’s actions… This is what we would expect from him and what we expect from everyone in our family — to be human, to stay human and to die human.”
Abu Toameh also quoted Ali Alziadna, four of whose family members were kidnapped, as saying that he was “touched by the outpouring of support” by other Israelis.
“People from all over the country have come to hug and support our family,” Alziadna said. “The entire nation is one family now.”

Abu Toameh pointed out that many Arab citizens of Israel serve as IDF officers and policemen, risking their lives for their fellow Israelis. Many are serving at the front lines, saving lives.
Undoubtedly, Abu Toameh suggested, one of the objectives of the Hamas massacre, in addition to slaughtering as many Israelis as possible, was to thwart normalization between Israel and Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia. Hamas may also have aimed to damage relations between Jews and Arabs inside Israel.
”The terror group was, without doubt, hoping that we would witness another cycle of violence between Jews and Arabs inside Israel, similar to that which erupted in May 2021,’ Abu Toameh posited. “Then, Hamas succeeded in inciting a large number of Arab citizens of Israel to take to the streets and attack their Jewish neighbors and Israeli police officers.
“This time, however, the Arab-Israelis have not heeded the calls by Hamas. One reason is that Arab-Israelis saw, with their own eyes, how Hamas terrorists make no distinction between Jews and Muslims.
“Hamas has repeatedly demonstrated that it cares nothing for the well-being of Arabs and Muslims. From their luxury homes and hotel rooms in the safety of Qatar and Turkey, Hamas leaders give the orders to attack Israel and then sit back and let the world weep over the destruction they wrought upon their own people.
“On October 7,” Abu Toameh concluded, “Hamas metaphorically shot itself in the foot by showing the world, with unfathomably ghoulish pride, by way of Go-Pro cameras and other self-documentation, that it has neither a religious nor a secular-humanist set of values. Perhaps the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip should look at the Arab citizens of Israel and note how they enjoy equal rights, democracy, freedom of speech and a free media. If Palestinians wish to live well, like the Arab-Israelis, this is the time for them to get rid of Hamas and all the terror leaders who, for seven decades, have brought them nothing but one disaster after another.”
It is too bad that so many gullible fools in our Western societies refuse to open their eyes to the truth.

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Opinion

An Arab Trusteeship Council for Gaza

By Prof. BRYAN SCHWARTZ Oct. 17, 2023 (Originally posted to The Times of Israel)
1 No peace is possible with Hamas. It is genocidally antisemitic. This position is foundational, not rhetorical or mutable. Waiting for the emergence of a “pragmatic” version of Hamas is suicidally naïve.
2 Peace and cooperation are possible with most of Israel’s non-Iranian neighbours. They are militarily threatened by Iran, not Israel. For many in those countries, Iran’s version of Islam might be more problematic from the religious perspective than Israel’s Jewishness.
3 Hamas’ attack was partly to prevent a Saudi deal and a long-term economic cooperation
4 Israel has no territorial claim to Gaza and no material, religious, or ideological interest in running it.
5 Israel has vital moral and material interests in the emergence of a peaceful, demilitarized, and prosperous Gaza. If that can occur in the medium term, a long-term reconciliation of the Palestinians with Israel is achievable.
6 As and when Hamas is evicted from power, Gaza will need some new form of government.
7 The Palestinian authority probably cannot be trusted to take over Gaza. It is corrupt and lacked- and probably still lacks- credibility with a majority of the population in Gaza.
8 There used to be a concept called trusteeship in international law, whereby foreign powers would govern a territory in its best interests until its final status is clarified at the wishes of its own people.
9 The United Nations cannot be trusted to administer Gaza – any more than it has shown to be trustworthy to maintain strategic security in Southern Lebanon or to operate UNWRA in a manner that is effective for Palestinians and not hostile to Israel.
10 Consider this alternative. After Hamas is evicted from power, there is an interim period- say five to seven to ten years -of governance over Gaza by an Arab trusteeship council. The Council members are appointed primarily by Arab states sympathetic to Israel and eager to see the people of Gaza thrive. This Council could include local Gaza representatives and a representative of the Palestinian Authority but the majority would be representative of states like Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
11 The trusteeship agreement would be formal, agreed to by Israel, and unequivocally state its objectives, including:
-demilitarizing Gaza;
-defining the sole purposes for which outside reconstruction and development money can be spent and requiring strict accounting
-ensuring that the education system in Gaza is not contaminated by antisemitic hatred;
-promoting sound administration of Gaza, including providing for transparent and non-corrupt government, with significant safeguards for human rights, and conformity to the rule of law;
-promoting the development of a real economy for Gaza, not one fuelled primarily by international subsidies.
13 No state could participate in the Council without having a peace agreement with Israel.
14 In fact, the creation of the Council and Saudi participation in it could be part of a peace deal with Saudi Arabia. The deal could involve a reconstruction package from the Saudis for Gaza, which would help secure the support of the people of Gaza for the Council arrangement as an interim measure.
15 Policing would be carried out by a force composed of Palestinians and members of the police forces of Trusteeship states, under the direction of the Council.
16 The net effect would be to remove Gaza from Iran’s influence and establish temporary control by a consortium of mostly Sunni states. The latter would be chosen from among those that are at least reasonably friendly to Israel and genuinely committed to good governance in Gaza.
17 The definitive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict can only be achieved in a series of steps. Compromises are even more painful if they are framed as permanent. But if practical peace, stability, and some prosperity can be achieved in the medium term in Gaza and the West Bank, an amicable and enduring resolution should be achievable with the Palestinians.
18 While Israel is under severe military menace right now, it is not too early to think about how a positive political outcome can be achieved after the necessary and painful battle is concluded.
19 The current catastrophe is a so-far successful attempt by the regime in Teheran to disrupt peace negotiations involving Israel, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. Political vision along with military force might enable Israel to turn around the situation and complete and consolidate a lasting peace with almost all of its Arab neighbours and to set the stage for a formal and enduring peace with the Palestinians. The Teheran regime would be isolated, diminished in prestige, and more likely to be replaced from within.
About the Author
Bryan’s Jewish-themed musical “Consoulation: A Musical Mediation” premiered in the Spring of of 2018; https://consoulation.com His new album will appear in the coming months. Bryan Schwartz graduated with a doctorate in law from Yale School and holds an endowed chair at the University of Manitoba Law School. He is the author or editor of over thirty books and collections of essays. Bryan also created and helps to deliver an annual summer program at Hebrew University in Israeli law and society. He has served as a visiting Professor at both HU and Reichman university. . As a practising lawyer, Bryan has argued a number of cases at the Supreme Court of Canada, advised governments, and served as an arbitrator at the provincial, national and international level.

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