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Israel’s Understanding of Time

Israeli flag. Photo: Eduardo Castro / Pixabay.

JNS.org – For Israel, it’s all about chronology. Time represents both the most critical determinant of Israel’s survival and the context within which such survival must be ensured. As with an individual human being, time is also the reciprocal of death. This vital relationship is currently most conspicuous regarding Hamas and Hezbollah, but it is most urgently meaningful regarding war with Iran.

For Israel, successful geopolitics will necessarily center on this impending war. Whether the expected conflict will be sudden or incremental, its consequences could prove existential. Of greatest significance for Israel will be avoiding a nuclear war. Inter alia, this objective will be contingent on Jerusalem’s “use of time.”

What can these ambiguous observations mean for Israel in operational terms? What might be learned about the estimable probabilities of an unmanageable war with Iran? Hezbollah’s fighting capacities are greater than those of all other jihadist terror organizations, singularly and cumulatively. These belligerent capacities present a strategic threat to Israel even apart from their Iranian backing.

A key question now arises for Israel: To what extent could a greater conceptual awareness of time generate calculable security advantages for the beleaguered Jewish state?

Though generally unrecognized, Hezbollah and Israel’s other principal terrorist adversaries define authentic victory from the bewildering standpoint of “power over death.” For all these recalcitrant foes, becoming a “martyr” (shahid) represents “power over time.” Accordingly, Jerusalem will need to think about how best to undermine such intangible but determinative notions of power.

In Jerusalem, “real-time” ought never to be interpreted solely in terms of clock measurements. But what would constitute a suitably personalized and policy-centered theory of time?

Whether explicit or implicit, Israeli security analyses should contain theory-based elements of chronology. Israel’s many-sided struggle against war and terror will need to be conducted with more intellectually determined and nuanced concepts of time. Though seemingly “impractical,” such “felt time” or “inner time” conceptualizations could sometimes reveal more about Israel’s core survival problem than any easily decipherable measurements of clocks.

The pertinent notion of “felt time” or “time-as-lived” has its origins in ancient Israel. By rejecting time as a simple linear progression, the early Hebrews approached chronology as a qualitative experience. Once it had been dismissed as something that could submit only to quantitative measures, time began to be understood by seminal Jewish thinkers as a distinctly subjective quality. This view identified time as inseparable from its personally infused content.

In terms of current threats from Iran, Israeli planners should consider chronology not only at the most obvious operational levels (e.g., how much “time” before Iran becomes nuclear?), but also at the level of individual Iranian decision-makers (e.g., what do authoritative leaders in Tehran think about time in shaping their nuclear plans vis-à-vis Israel?).

From its beginnings, the Jewish prophetic vision was one of a community living “in time.” In this formative view, political space or geography was palpably important, but not because of territoriality. Instead, the relevance of particular geographic spaces stemmed from certain unique events that had presumably taken place within their boundaries.

It’s time to return to expressly tactical and strategic issues. For Israel, security policy enhancements should include support for “escalation dominance.” When Israel and Iran are engaged in continuous direct warfare, each adversary can be expected to seek primacy during unprecedented episodes of escalation but to accomplish this objective without heightening the risks of an existential conflict. Among other things, any such expectation would require mutual assumptions of enemy rationality.

There will be multiple particulars. If it could be determined that Iran and/or Hezbollah accept a short time horizon in their search for tangible “victory” over Israel, any Israeli response to enemy aggressions would have to be “swift” in the traditional sense. If it would seem that the presumed enemy time horizon was calculably longer, Jerusalem’s expected response could still be more or less incremental. For Israel, this would mean relying more on the relatively passive dynamics of military deterrence and military defense than on any active strategies of nuclear war fighting.

In the final analysis, the worst case for Israel would be to face an irrational Iran. Moreover, this could happen simultaneously with the appearance of the Hezbollah suicide bomber in microcosm: the flesh-and-blood individual terrorist. Of special interest to Israel’s prime minister and general staff, therefore, should be the hidden time horizons of this jihadist suicide bomber. In essence, this self-defiling terror-criminal is so afraid of “not being” that any plan for “suicide” will be intended as personal death avoidance. Prima facie, such a plan is not “only” literal nonsense; it is also patent cowardice.

An aspiring suicide bomber opposing Israel sees himself or herself as a religious sacrificer. This signals a jihadist adversary’s desperate hope to escape from time that lacks any “sacred” meaning. The relevant jihadist adversary could be an individual Hezbollah terrorist, the sovereign state of Iran or both acting in tandem.

What should Israel do with all such informed understandings of its Islamist adversaries’ concept of time? Jerusalem’s immediate policy response should be to convince both aspiring Hezbollah suicide bombers and Iranian national leaders that their intended “sacrifices” could never elevate them or their societies above the immutably mortal limits of time. This will be an intellectual problem, not a political problem.

Israeli policy-makers will need to recognize certain dense problems of chronology as policy-relevant quandaries. They will also need to acknowledge to themselves that any plausible hopes for national security and “escalation dominance” should be informed by reason. In Jerusalem, all ordinary considerations of domestic politics and global geopolitics will need to be understood as both reflective and transient.

“As earthlings,” comments Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut, “all have had to believe whatever clocks said.” As necessary fonts of national security decision-making, Israeli strategic thinkers now have it in their power to look beyond the simplifying hands of clocks and investigate more policy-purposeful meanings of time. For Jerusalem, exercising such latent intellectual power could offer a survival posture of potentially unimaginable value. In the final analysis, Israel must survive in a subjective time that is “felt” by its enemies while it is being measured by clocks.

The post Israel’s Understanding of Time first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Netanyahu Heads to DC After Biden Quits 2024 Race, Says Israel Will Remain ‘Strong’ US Ally Whoever Is in White House

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Jerusalem, Feb. 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday departed for a highly anticipated trip to Washington, DC, where he will meet with US President Joe and Biden and deliver a speech before Congress this week as America grapples with the aftermath of Biden’s unprecedented decision to end his 2024 reelection campaign.

During his first trip to the US capital in almost four years, Netanyahu plans to visit the White House and also address US lawmakers on Wednesday. Netanyahu was originally expected to meet with Biden on Tuesday; however, several Hebrew media outlets reported that the meeting will likely be delayed due to Biden still being sick with COVID-19.

It is unclear how Biden’s shock decision on Sunday to drop out of the US presidential race will impact Netanyahu’s address to the US Congress. According to Israel’s Channel 13, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, a close confidant of Netanyahu, assured US officials that the speech will not include criticism of or against Biden following repeated requests by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan for information about what the Israeli premier will say.

Netanyahu issued a statement following Biden’s announcement indicating the Israeli premier will underline the importance of bipartisanship in maintaining a close US-Israel relationship.

“I will seek to anchor the bipartisan support that is so important for Israel. And I will tell my friends on both sides of the aisle [in Congress] that regardless of who the American people choose as their next president, Israel remains America’s indispensable and strong ally in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said while leaving Israel for Washington, DC. “In this time of war and uncertainty it’s important that Israel’s enemies know that America and Israel stand together today, tomorrow, and always.”

The Israeli premier also expressed gratitude to Biden, stating that he will thank the US president for helping the Jewish state as he prepares to exit the White House.

“I plan to see President Biden, whom I’ve known for over 40 years. This will be an opportunity to thank him for the things he did for Israel in the war and during his long and distinguished career in public service, as senator, as vice president, and as president,” Netanyahu said.

Amid declining support for Israel among US liberal Democratic lawmakers, Netanyahu hopes to use his congressional address and White House visit to mend relations with Democrats, who have become increasingly uneasy over Israel’s war effort against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

Biden has come under heavy fire from Republicans as well as pro-Israel Democrats for what they’ve described as him turning against Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

The US president expressed strong support for Israel following Hamas’ brutal invasion of southern Israel on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists murdered 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 hostages during their onslaught. In recent months, however, Biden has paused some weapons shipments to Israel and accused the US ally of “indiscriminate bombing” — a charge rejected by Israeli officials.

The Biden administration also discouraged Israel from launching a military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah to target some of the last remaining Hamas battalions, arguing such an operation would put too many civilians at risk. Experts told The Algemeiner at the time that Israeli forces needed to operate in Rafah in order to dismantle Hamas’ military capabilities.

More broadly, the relationship between the Democratic Party and Israel has deteriorated in the months following Oct. 7. Several high-profile Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), have suggested that Israel’s military operations in Gaza are tantamount to a “genocide.” Democratic lawmakers have also called on Biden to halt arms transfers to Israel, citing concern over mounting civilian casualties in Gaza.

While Israeli officials have expressed frustration about the Biden administration pressuring them to halt their military campaign, Netanyahu is expected to use his visit as a way to repair some of the damage. The trip could also serve as a way to make Israel’s case directly to the American public, which overall remains pro-Israel despite declining support among younger demographics.

The percentage of Americans that express “little or no confidence” in Netanyahu has increased by 11 points since 2023, according to an April poll by Pew Research Center. Among Democrats, a staggering 71 percent express “little or no confidence” in the Israeli leader. 

Anti-Israel groups have also organized protests in advance of Netanyahu’s congressional address. Far-left organizations such as Party for Socialism and Liberation and Palestinian Youth Movement are urging their supporters to “surround the Capitol” during Netanyahu’s address. Leaders of these groups have branded Netanyahu as a “war criminal” and have called for his arrest. 

The people charge Benjamin Netanyahu with genocide. When war criminal Netanyahu comes to Washington DC,” Palestinian Youth Movement wrote on Instagram, “the people of the world stand with Palestine and against the genocide committed by Israel with full support of the United States and impunity.”

In addition to meeting with Biden, Netanyahu may also speak with Republican presidential nominee and former US President Donald Trump. Netanyahu has requested an in-person meeting with Trump while in the US this week, according to Politico.

The Algemeiner could not immediately verify the report.

The post Netanyahu Heads to DC After Biden Quits 2024 Race, Says Israel Will Remain ‘Strong’ US Ally Whoever Is in White House first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Avoid Punishment Following Wave of Dropped Charges, Reports Say

Law enforcement officers detain a demonstrator, as they clear out a pro-Hamas protest encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Los Angeles, California, US, May 2, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/David Swanson

The State Attorney’s Office of Cook County, Illinois has dropped criminal charges filed against three Northwestern University faculty and one graduate student who allegedly obstructed law enforcement’s efforts to clear an unlawful demonstration at the Deering Meadow section of campus.

According to a local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, the office said its decision is based on its “policy not to prosecute peaceful protesters.”

Charges against the four individuals were pursued by the Northwestern University Police Department, which said that they allegedly engaged in “obstructing a police officer during the protests,” a crime for which they could, if convicted, spend a year in jail and pay a $2,500 fine, The Daily Northwestern reported last week. They had already appeared before a judge and were scheduled to do so again in August.

The university had defended the recommendation of its police department and rejected the notion that the individuals acted peaceably, saying in a statement issued earlier this month that it “does not permit activity that disrupts university operations, violates the law, or includes the intimidation or harassment of members of the community.”

Many more protesters have similarly avoided punishment for the actions they took during a burst of pro-Hamas demonstrations at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year, according to a new report by The New York Times. Prosecutors in Travis County, Texas, for example, have dropped over 100 charges of criminal trespassing filed against University of Texas at Austin protesters, the paper said, and 60 other Northwestern University protesters saw their charges dismissed, with prosecutors calling them “constitutionally dubious.” The Times added, however, that some charges will stick, including those filed against someone who bit a police officer, and many students are still awaiting the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.

Per the report, “At the University of Virginia on May 4, as students were preparing for final exams, administrators called in police to break up an encampment. Police officers in riot gear used chemical irritants to get protesters to disperse and eventually arrested 27 people. The local prosecutor dropped the charges facing seven people after he determined there wasn’t enough evidence. He offered the rest an agreement: their charges would be dismissed in August if they didn’t have any outstanding criminal charges at the time.”

Prosecutors in other states have not been as forbearing. According to Fresh Take Florida, prosecutors in Alachua County, Florida charged seven University of Florida students, as well as two non-students, with trespassing and resisting arrest. The defendants have resolved to take their chances at trial, the news service added, noting that all nine have rejected “deferred prosecution,” an agreement that would require them to plead guilty, or no contest, in exchange for the state’s expunging the convictions from their records in the future so long as they abstain from committing more criminal acts.

One of the nine, computer science student Parker Stanley Hovis, 26, — who was suspended for three years — proclaimed earlier this month that they will contest the state’s cases.

“We did not resist arrest, and we are prepared to fight our charges,” Hovis said in a statement. “We’re standing in solidarity with each other, and collectively demanding that the state drop the charges against us.”

Jewish civil rights group have described the anti-Israel protesters across the US as posing an imminent threat to Jewish students and faculty while noting that many avert being identified by concealing their faces with masks and keffiyehs, a traditional headscarf worn by Palestinians which has become known as a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian cause and opposition to Israel. Images and footage of the practice have been widely circulated online, and it has rendered identifying the protesters — many of whom have chanted antisemitic slogans, vandalized school property, and threatened to harm Jewish students and faculty during a weeks-long demonstration between April and May — virtually impossible.

On Thursday, one such civil rights group, StandWithUs (SWU), implored the US Department of Justice to crack down on masked protests at Columbia University by enforcing legal statues which are widely referred to as the “KKK Laws,” citing numerous antisemitic incidents of harassment and assault on its campus and the difficulty of punishing the perpetrators.

Dating back to the administration of former US President Ulysses S. Grant, the so-called “KKK Laws” empower the federal government to prosecute those who engage in activities which violate the civil rights of protected groups, as the Ku Klux Klan did across the US South during Reconstruction to prevent African Americans from voting and living as free citizens. StandWithUs alleges that five anti-Zionist groups — most notably Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — currently operating on Columbia University’s campus have perpetrated similar abuses in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which guarantees all students, regardless of race or ethnic background, has the right to a safe learning environment.

“We hope the Department of Justice will take this opportunity to restore justice on Columbia University’s campuses and hold bad actors responsible for violating federal laws,” Yael Lerman, director of the SWU Saidoff Legal Department, said in a statement.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Avoid Punishment Following Wave of Dropped Charges, Reports Say first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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France Says Israeli Athletes ‘Welcome’ at Olympics Amid Mounting Threats, Added Security Measures

The Olympic Village prepared for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Photo: Paris 2024 / Raphael Vriet

French leaders said on Monday that the Israeli delegation to the 2024 Paris Olympics is welcome in France, despite what critics described as “antisemitic” comments to the contrary made by a French politician two days earlier

At an anti-Israel rally on Saturday, far-left French lawmaker Thomas Portes said, “I am here to say that, no, the Israeli delegation is not welcome in Paris. Israeli athletes are not welcome at the Olympic Games in Paris.”

Portes called for Israelis to be excluded from the Paris Olympics because of Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip who perpetrated the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.

Portes later also told the newspaper Le Parisien that “France’s diplomats should pressure the International Olympic Committee to bar the Israeli flag and anthem, as is done for Russia” due to its invasion of Ukraine.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Portes’ comments had “obvious antisemitic overtones” and “placed a target on the backs of the Israeli athletes.” He added, “I want to express my disgust at that. I want to assure the Israeli athletes of our full protection, like all athletes, but particularly them, also welcoming them.”

Darmanin also announced that Israel’s Olympic delegation, which includes 88 athletes representing the Jewish state, will have increased security and will receive 24-hour security from French police. He said the decision was made after taking into consideration the 1972 Munich Olympics — where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September — and how Israeli athletes are a target for attacks, especially since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

France has experienced a record surge in antisemitic incidents since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched the war with its massacre across southern Israel.

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné reiterated that the Israeli delegation “is welcome in France” for the Paris Olympics during his visit to Brussels on Monday, the French-language newspaper Le Monde reported. He called Portes’ remarks “irresponsible and dangerous,” and added that France “will ensure the security of the [Israeli] delegation.”

Paris Police Chief Laurent Nuñez said 30,000 to 45,000 police personnel will be working daily to ensure safety at Olympic sites and fan zones in Paris.

It was previously reported that Israel doubled its security budget for this year’s Games, which will be Israel’s 18th appearance in the Olympics. Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar told The Telegraph that the Israeli Olympic delegation this year, which is the second-largest Israeli delegation in Olympics history, has received threats but he did not go into detail. He added that delegation members will receive security details from Israel’s Shin Bet security agency but not everyone will have their own bodyguards.

“We try our best to make sure the athletes feel free but also safe and not afraid. We don’t want them to notice the security guards too much. We want them to feel confident so they can do their job,” he explained to the publication.

There have been calls to ban Israel from the Paris Olympics because of the Israel-Hamas war, but Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in March there is no doubt that Israel will participate in the Paris Olympics.

The 2024 Olympic Games will take place from July 26-Aug. 11.

The post France Says Israeli Athletes ‘Welcome’ at Olympics Amid Mounting Threats, Added Security Measures first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israel’s Understanding of Time

Israeli flag. Photo: Eduardo Castro / Pixabay.

JNS.org – For Israel, it’s all about chronology. Time represents both the most critical determinant of Israel’s survival and the context within which such survival must be ensured. As with an individual human being, time is also the reciprocal of death. This vital relationship is currently most conspicuous regarding Hamas and Hezbollah, but it is most urgently meaningful regarding war with Iran.

For Israel, successful geopolitics will necessarily center on this impending war. Whether the expected conflict will be sudden or incremental, its consequences could prove existential. Of greatest significance for Israel will be avoiding a nuclear war. Inter alia, this objective will be contingent on Jerusalem’s “use of time.”

What can these ambiguous observations mean for Israel in operational terms? What might be learned about the estimable probabilities of an unmanageable war with Iran? Hezbollah’s fighting capacities are greater than those of all other jihadist terror organizations, singularly and cumulatively. These belligerent capacities present a strategic threat to Israel even apart from their Iranian backing.

A key question now arises for Israel: To what extent could a greater conceptual awareness of time generate calculable security advantages for the beleaguered Jewish state?

Though generally unrecognized, Hezbollah and Israel’s other principal terrorist adversaries define authentic victory from the bewildering standpoint of “power over death.” For all these recalcitrant foes, becoming a “martyr” (shahid) represents “power over time.” Accordingly, Jerusalem will need to think about how best to undermine such intangible but determinative notions of power.

In Jerusalem, “real-time” ought never to be interpreted solely in terms of clock measurements. But what would constitute a suitably personalized and policy-centered theory of time?

Whether explicit or implicit, Israeli security analyses should contain theory-based elements of chronology. Israel’s many-sided struggle against war and terror will need to be conducted with more intellectually determined and nuanced concepts of time. Though seemingly “impractical,” such “felt time” or “inner time” conceptualizations could sometimes reveal more about Israel’s core survival problem than any easily decipherable measurements of clocks.

The pertinent notion of “felt time” or “time-as-lived” has its origins in ancient Israel. By rejecting time as a simple linear progression, the early Hebrews approached chronology as a qualitative experience. Once it had been dismissed as something that could submit only to quantitative measures, time began to be understood by seminal Jewish thinkers as a distinctly subjective quality. This view identified time as inseparable from its personally infused content.

In terms of current threats from Iran, Israeli planners should consider chronology not only at the most obvious operational levels (e.g., how much “time” before Iran becomes nuclear?), but also at the level of individual Iranian decision-makers (e.g., what do authoritative leaders in Tehran think about time in shaping their nuclear plans vis-à-vis Israel?).

From its beginnings, the Jewish prophetic vision was one of a community living “in time.” In this formative view, political space or geography was palpably important, but not because of territoriality. Instead, the relevance of particular geographic spaces stemmed from certain unique events that had presumably taken place within their boundaries.

It’s time to return to expressly tactical and strategic issues. For Israel, security policy enhancements should include support for “escalation dominance.” When Israel and Iran are engaged in continuous direct warfare, each adversary can be expected to seek primacy during unprecedented episodes of escalation but to accomplish this objective without heightening the risks of an existential conflict. Among other things, any such expectation would require mutual assumptions of enemy rationality.

There will be multiple particulars. If it could be determined that Iran and/or Hezbollah accept a short time horizon in their search for tangible “victory” over Israel, any Israeli response to enemy aggressions would have to be “swift” in the traditional sense. If it would seem that the presumed enemy time horizon was calculably longer, Jerusalem’s expected response could still be more or less incremental. For Israel, this would mean relying more on the relatively passive dynamics of military deterrence and military defense than on any active strategies of nuclear war fighting.

In the final analysis, the worst case for Israel would be to face an irrational Iran. Moreover, this could happen simultaneously with the appearance of the Hezbollah suicide bomber in microcosm: the flesh-and-blood individual terrorist. Of special interest to Israel’s prime minister and general staff, therefore, should be the hidden time horizons of this jihadist suicide bomber. In essence, this self-defiling terror-criminal is so afraid of “not being” that any plan for “suicide” will be intended as personal death avoidance. Prima facie, such a plan is not “only” literal nonsense; it is also patent cowardice.

An aspiring suicide bomber opposing Israel sees himself or herself as a religious sacrificer. This signals a jihadist adversary’s desperate hope to escape from time that lacks any “sacred” meaning. The relevant jihadist adversary could be an individual Hezbollah terrorist, the sovereign state of Iran or both acting in tandem.

What should Israel do with all such informed understandings of its Islamist adversaries’ concept of time? Jerusalem’s immediate policy response should be to convince both aspiring Hezbollah suicide bombers and Iranian national leaders that their intended “sacrifices” could never elevate them or their societies above the immutably mortal limits of time. This will be an intellectual problem, not a political problem.

Israeli policy-makers will need to recognize certain dense problems of chronology as policy-relevant quandaries. They will also need to acknowledge to themselves that any plausible hopes for national security and “escalation dominance” should be informed by reason. In Jerusalem, all ordinary considerations of domestic politics and global geopolitics will need to be understood as both reflective and transient.

“As earthlings,” comments Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut, “all have had to believe whatever clocks said.” As necessary fonts of national security decision-making, Israeli strategic thinkers now have it in their power to look beyond the simplifying hands of clocks and investigate more policy-purposeful meanings of time. For Jerusalem, exercising such latent intellectual power could offer a survival posture of potentially unimaginable value. In the final analysis, Israel must survive in a subjective time that is “felt” by its enemies while it is being measured by clocks.

The post Israel’s Understanding of Time first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Netanyahu Heads to DC After Biden Quits 2024 Race, Says Israel Will Remain ‘Strong’ US Ally Whoever Is in White House

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Jerusalem, Feb. 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday departed for a highly anticipated trip to Washington, DC, where he will meet with US President Joe and Biden and deliver a speech before Congress this week as America grapples with the aftermath of Biden’s unprecedented decision to end his 2024 reelection campaign.

During his first trip to the US capital in almost four years, Netanyahu plans to visit the White House and also address US lawmakers on Wednesday. Netanyahu was originally expected to meet with Biden on Tuesday; however, several Hebrew media outlets reported that the meeting will likely be delayed due to Biden still being sick with COVID-19.

It is unclear how Biden’s shock decision on Sunday to drop out of the US presidential race will impact Netanyahu’s address to the US Congress. According to Israel’s Channel 13, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, a close confidant of Netanyahu, assured US officials that the speech will not include criticism of or against Biden following repeated requests by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan for information about what the Israeli premier will say.

Netanyahu issued a statement following Biden’s announcement indicating the Israeli premier will underline the importance of bipartisanship in maintaining a close US-Israel relationship.

“I will seek to anchor the bipartisan support that is so important for Israel. And I will tell my friends on both sides of the aisle [in Congress] that regardless of who the American people choose as their next president, Israel remains America’s indispensable and strong ally in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said while leaving Israel for Washington, DC. “In this time of war and uncertainty it’s important that Israel’s enemies know that America and Israel stand together today, tomorrow, and always.”

The Israeli premier also expressed gratitude to Biden, stating that he will thank the US president for helping the Jewish state as he prepares to exit the White House.

“I plan to see President Biden, whom I’ve known for over 40 years. This will be an opportunity to thank him for the things he did for Israel in the war and during his long and distinguished career in public service, as senator, as vice president, and as president,” Netanyahu said.

Amid declining support for Israel among US liberal Democratic lawmakers, Netanyahu hopes to use his congressional address and White House visit to mend relations with Democrats, who have become increasingly uneasy over Israel’s war effort against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

Biden has come under heavy fire from Republicans as well as pro-Israel Democrats for what they’ve described as him turning against Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

The US president expressed strong support for Israel following Hamas’ brutal invasion of southern Israel on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists murdered 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 hostages during their onslaught. In recent months, however, Biden has paused some weapons shipments to Israel and accused the US ally of “indiscriminate bombing” — a charge rejected by Israeli officials.

The Biden administration also discouraged Israel from launching a military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah to target some of the last remaining Hamas battalions, arguing such an operation would put too many civilians at risk. Experts told The Algemeiner at the time that Israeli forces needed to operate in Rafah in order to dismantle Hamas’ military capabilities.

More broadly, the relationship between the Democratic Party and Israel has deteriorated in the months following Oct. 7. Several high-profile Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), have suggested that Israel’s military operations in Gaza are tantamount to a “genocide.” Democratic lawmakers have also called on Biden to halt arms transfers to Israel, citing concern over mounting civilian casualties in Gaza.

While Israeli officials have expressed frustration about the Biden administration pressuring them to halt their military campaign, Netanyahu is expected to use his visit as a way to repair some of the damage. The trip could also serve as a way to make Israel’s case directly to the American public, which overall remains pro-Israel despite declining support among younger demographics.

The percentage of Americans that express “little or no confidence” in Netanyahu has increased by 11 points since 2023, according to an April poll by Pew Research Center. Among Democrats, a staggering 71 percent express “little or no confidence” in the Israeli leader. 

Anti-Israel groups have also organized protests in advance of Netanyahu’s congressional address. Far-left organizations such as Party for Socialism and Liberation and Palestinian Youth Movement are urging their supporters to “surround the Capitol” during Netanyahu’s address. Leaders of these groups have branded Netanyahu as a “war criminal” and have called for his arrest. 

The people charge Benjamin Netanyahu with genocide. When war criminal Netanyahu comes to Washington DC,” Palestinian Youth Movement wrote on Instagram, “the people of the world stand with Palestine and against the genocide committed by Israel with full support of the United States and impunity.”

In addition to meeting with Biden, Netanyahu may also speak with Republican presidential nominee and former US President Donald Trump. Netanyahu has requested an in-person meeting with Trump while in the US this week, according to Politico.

The Algemeiner could not immediately verify the report.

The post Netanyahu Heads to DC After Biden Quits 2024 Race, Says Israel Will Remain ‘Strong’ US Ally Whoever Is in White House first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Avoid Punishment Following Wave of Dropped Charges, Reports Say

Law enforcement officers detain a demonstrator, as they clear out a pro-Hamas protest encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Los Angeles, California, US, May 2, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/David Swanson

The State Attorney’s Office of Cook County, Illinois has dropped criminal charges filed against three Northwestern University faculty and one graduate student who allegedly obstructed law enforcement’s efforts to clear an unlawful demonstration at the Deering Meadow section of campus.

According to a local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, the office said its decision is based on its “policy not to prosecute peaceful protesters.”

Charges against the four individuals were pursued by the Northwestern University Police Department, which said that they allegedly engaged in “obstructing a police officer during the protests,” a crime for which they could, if convicted, spend a year in jail and pay a $2,500 fine, The Daily Northwestern reported last week. They had already appeared before a judge and were scheduled to do so again in August.

The university had defended the recommendation of its police department and rejected the notion that the individuals acted peaceably, saying in a statement issued earlier this month that it “does not permit activity that disrupts university operations, violates the law, or includes the intimidation or harassment of members of the community.”

Many more protesters have similarly avoided punishment for the actions they took during a burst of pro-Hamas demonstrations at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year, according to a new report by The New York Times. Prosecutors in Travis County, Texas, for example, have dropped over 100 charges of criminal trespassing filed against University of Texas at Austin protesters, the paper said, and 60 other Northwestern University protesters saw their charges dismissed, with prosecutors calling them “constitutionally dubious.” The Times added, however, that some charges will stick, including those filed against someone who bit a police officer, and many students are still awaiting the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.

Per the report, “At the University of Virginia on May 4, as students were preparing for final exams, administrators called in police to break up an encampment. Police officers in riot gear used chemical irritants to get protesters to disperse and eventually arrested 27 people. The local prosecutor dropped the charges facing seven people after he determined there wasn’t enough evidence. He offered the rest an agreement: their charges would be dismissed in August if they didn’t have any outstanding criminal charges at the time.”

Prosecutors in other states have not been as forbearing. According to Fresh Take Florida, prosecutors in Alachua County, Florida charged seven University of Florida students, as well as two non-students, with trespassing and resisting arrest. The defendants have resolved to take their chances at trial, the news service added, noting that all nine have rejected “deferred prosecution,” an agreement that would require them to plead guilty, or no contest, in exchange for the state’s expunging the convictions from their records in the future so long as they abstain from committing more criminal acts.

One of the nine, computer science student Parker Stanley Hovis, 26, — who was suspended for three years — proclaimed earlier this month that they will contest the state’s cases.

“We did not resist arrest, and we are prepared to fight our charges,” Hovis said in a statement. “We’re standing in solidarity with each other, and collectively demanding that the state drop the charges against us.”

Jewish civil rights group have described the anti-Israel protesters across the US as posing an imminent threat to Jewish students and faculty while noting that many avert being identified by concealing their faces with masks and keffiyehs, a traditional headscarf worn by Palestinians which has become known as a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian cause and opposition to Israel. Images and footage of the practice have been widely circulated online, and it has rendered identifying the protesters — many of whom have chanted antisemitic slogans, vandalized school property, and threatened to harm Jewish students and faculty during a weeks-long demonstration between April and May — virtually impossible.

On Thursday, one such civil rights group, StandWithUs (SWU), implored the US Department of Justice to crack down on masked protests at Columbia University by enforcing legal statues which are widely referred to as the “KKK Laws,” citing numerous antisemitic incidents of harassment and assault on its campus and the difficulty of punishing the perpetrators.

Dating back to the administration of former US President Ulysses S. Grant, the so-called “KKK Laws” empower the federal government to prosecute those who engage in activities which violate the civil rights of protected groups, as the Ku Klux Klan did across the US South during Reconstruction to prevent African Americans from voting and living as free citizens. StandWithUs alleges that five anti-Zionist groups — most notably Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — currently operating on Columbia University’s campus have perpetrated similar abuses in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which guarantees all students, regardless of race or ethnic background, has the right to a safe learning environment.

“We hope the Department of Justice will take this opportunity to restore justice on Columbia University’s campuses and hold bad actors responsible for violating federal laws,” Yael Lerman, director of the SWU Saidoff Legal Department, said in a statement.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Avoid Punishment Following Wave of Dropped Charges, Reports Say first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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France Says Israeli Athletes ‘Welcome’ at Olympics Amid Mounting Threats, Added Security Measures

The Olympic Village prepared for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Photo: Paris 2024 / Raphael Vriet

French leaders said on Monday that the Israeli delegation to the 2024 Paris Olympics is welcome in France, despite what critics described as “antisemitic” comments to the contrary made by a French politician two days earlier

At an anti-Israel rally on Saturday, far-left French lawmaker Thomas Portes said, “I am here to say that, no, the Israeli delegation is not welcome in Paris. Israeli athletes are not welcome at the Olympic Games in Paris.”

Portes called for Israelis to be excluded from the Paris Olympics because of Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip who perpetrated the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.

Portes later also told the newspaper Le Parisien that “France’s diplomats should pressure the International Olympic Committee to bar the Israeli flag and anthem, as is done for Russia” due to its invasion of Ukraine.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Portes’ comments had “obvious antisemitic overtones” and “placed a target on the backs of the Israeli athletes.” He added, “I want to express my disgust at that. I want to assure the Israeli athletes of our full protection, like all athletes, but particularly them, also welcoming them.”

Darmanin also announced that Israel’s Olympic delegation, which includes 88 athletes representing the Jewish state, will have increased security and will receive 24-hour security from French police. He said the decision was made after taking into consideration the 1972 Munich Olympics — where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September — and how Israeli athletes are a target for attacks, especially since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

France has experienced a record surge in antisemitic incidents since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched the war with its massacre across southern Israel.

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné reiterated that the Israeli delegation “is welcome in France” for the Paris Olympics during his visit to Brussels on Monday, the French-language newspaper Le Monde reported. He called Portes’ remarks “irresponsible and dangerous,” and added that France “will ensure the security of the [Israeli] delegation.”

Paris Police Chief Laurent Nuñez said 30,000 to 45,000 police personnel will be working daily to ensure safety at Olympic sites and fan zones in Paris.

It was previously reported that Israel doubled its security budget for this year’s Games, which will be Israel’s 18th appearance in the Olympics. Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar told The Telegraph that the Israeli Olympic delegation this year, which is the second-largest Israeli delegation in Olympics history, has received threats but he did not go into detail. He added that delegation members will receive security details from Israel’s Shin Bet security agency but not everyone will have their own bodyguards.

“We try our best to make sure the athletes feel free but also safe and not afraid. We don’t want them to notice the security guards too much. We want them to feel confident so they can do their job,” he explained to the publication.

There have been calls to ban Israel from the Paris Olympics because of the Israel-Hamas war, but Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in March there is no doubt that Israel will participate in the Paris Olympics.

The 2024 Olympic Games will take place from July 26-Aug. 11.

The post France Says Israeli Athletes ‘Welcome’ at Olympics Amid Mounting Threats, Added Security Measures first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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