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Washington Post Columnist Lambastes US for Supporting Israel’s War Against Hamas

Yahya Sinwar, head of the Palestinian terror group Hamas in Gaza, in Gaza City on April 14, 2023. Photo: Yousef Masoud / SOPA Images/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

In a recent opinion piece for The Washington Post (“Biden’s Gaza policy is the latest major U.S. foreign affairs blunder,” December 13), columnist Perry Bacon Jr. questioned both the morality and integrity of the United States’ foreign policy over the last two months, as it continues to support Israel both militarily and diplomatically in its fight against Hamas.

For Bacon Jr., the support by US President Joe Biden and his administration for the Jewish state’s war against a genocidal terrorist enemy is a blunder that is “blotting out positive memories of Biden’s foreign policies — perhaps permanently.”

However, in making his case against the US administration’s steadfast support for Israel’s war in Gaza, Bacon Jr. makes it clear that he has a faulty and simplistic understanding of Israel, Hamas, and both the purpose of the war in Gaza as well as the nature of the intense urban warfare currently taking place in the coastal enclave.

The U.S. wants to lead the world on global policy issues. But the past two months are the latest illustration of why people and nations across the world are so skeptical of American foreign policy and global leadership.

— Perry Bacon Jr. (@perrybaconjr) December 13, 2023

According to Bacon Jr., Israel is currently engaged in the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians as well as the “bombing [of] everything in Gaza,” ultimately intent on destroying the entire area. To support his claims, he points to Israeli strikes on hospitals and schools as well as the mass displacement of Gazan civilians.

However, the key factor missing from Bacon Jr.’s analysis is the role that Hamas plays in this war. Nowhere in this 17-paragraph piece is it mentioned that Hamas, an internationally recognized terror organization, embeds itself within the general population, using the cover of civilian infrastructure to conceal its gunmen, rocket launchers, elaborate tunnel system, and ruthless terrorist leadership.

Thus, Hamas’ use of these locations takes away their civilian protection and turns them into legitimate military targets. Similarly, Israel encouraged the movement of civilians from northern Gaza to the south in order to shield them from the fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists.

This is in sharp contrast to the conduct of the Russian military in its invasion of Ukraine, with its indiscriminate attacks against civilians and non-military targets, which Perry Bacon, Jr., incorrectly compares Israel to a number of times.

Footage published by the IDF shows Hamas operatives opening fire at troops from an UNRWA school in northern Gaza’s Beit Hanoun, and a strike in response.

— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) December 9, 2023

Not only is Hamas’ cynical manipulation of Gaza’s civilian population and infrastructure not mentioned once in the piece, but the terror group and its barbaric actions on October 7 only warrant a couple of passing references.

For anyone unacquainted with the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, this piece will leave them with the false impression that the Jewish state is the aggressor in Gaza, without any context or reasoning given for why it has been conducting a large military operation over the past two months, and why there has been so much fighting in supposedly civilian areas.

But it’s not only Israel’s conduct in Gaza that Perry Bacon, Jr., has a problem with — it’s Israel itself.

Citing the US administration’s support for Israel as a democracy in a region that is no stranger to autocracies, monarchies, and dictatorships, Bacon, Jr., seeks to undercut this impression of the Jewish state by questioning its democratic bona fides.

The claims put forward against Israel’s democratic character include the assertion by certain human rights organizations that Israel is practicing apartheid, that Israel has been targeting journalists throughout the war, and that Israel is stifling expressions of criticism of the war in Gaza.

The charge of apartheid has been thoroughly debunked on numerous occasions, including by HonestReporting, as a legal fiction that has been concocted by opponents of the Jewish state and is not grounded in reality.

Concerning the second charge, Bacon, Jr., writes “Over the past two months, dozens of journalists have been killed in Gaza, with credible accusations that the Israeli military has intentionally targeted journalists.”

However, this analysis is belied by the fact that most killed journalists in Gaza did not fall in the line of duty and that the source for the claim that Israel is “targeting” journalists is a single quote by Lebanon’s Minister of Information Ziad Makary. The IDF has also continually asserted that it does not intentionally target journalists.

The third charge against Israel’s democratic character is described by Bacon, Jr., as “a member of Israel’s Knesset was suspended after criticizing the bombing in Gaza.”

However, a look at the source provided for this claim, an article from the Israeli daily Haaretz, proves that it is not as straightforward as he would have us believe.

In mid-October 2023, an extreme-left Jewish parliamentarian, Ofer Cassif, was suspended by the Knesset Ethics Committee for implicitly comparing Israel’s conduct in Gaza to the Holocaust. According to the findings of the Committee, Cassif’s statement was inappropriate to “his status as a Member of Knesset and severely harms the Knesset’s standing and the public’s trust in the Knesset.”

This is a far cry from a blanket suspension of an MK solely for “criticizing the bombing in Gaza.” In fact, there have been expressions of opposition to certain aspects of Israel’s conduct in the war in the Israeli public sphere without reprisal by the government.

From this piece, it is clear that Perry Bacon, Jr., has a superficial understanding of the current war in Gaza, with no nuance or complexity to temper his denigration of Israel and its military activities.

He even admits as much when he writes, “I don’t follow foreign affairs as closely as I probably should.”

This has not stopped him, however, from penning a one-sided critique of the United States’ courageous support for Israel as it combats an immoral terror group bent on the Jewish state’s destruction.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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South Dakota Passes Bill Adopting IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Gov. Kristi Noem (R) speaking to legislators during the State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024 at South Dakota State Captiol in Pierre. Photo: Samantha Laurey and Argus Leader via REUTERS CONNECT

South Dakota’s state Senate passed on Thursday a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to refer to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when investigating anti-Jewish hate crimes.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) already adopted the definition, which has been embraced by lawmakers across the political spectrum, via executive order in 2021. This latest measure, HB 1076, aims to further integrate the IHRA’s guidance into law and includes the organization’s examples of antisemitism. It now awaits a vote by the state House of Representatives.

“As antisemitism continues to rise across America, having a clear and standardized definition enables a more unified stance against this hatred,” the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), said in a statement. “We appreciate Governor Kristi Noem for making this legislation a policy goal of hers, strengthening the use of the IHRA Working Definition in South Dakota through legislation, following the December 2021 adoption via executive proclamation.”

CAM called on lawmakers in the lower house to follow the Senate’s lead and implored “other states to join the fight against antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, ensuring the safety and well-being of their Jewish residents.”

First adopted in 2005 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” and includes a list of illustrative examples ranging from Holocaust denial to the rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The definition is used by hundreds of governing institutions, including the US State Department, European Union, and the United Nations.

Widely regard as the world’s leading definition of antisemitism, it was adopted by 97 governmental and nonprofit organizations in 2023, according to a report Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Antisemitism Research Center issued in January.

Earlier this month, Georgia became the latest US state to pass legislation applying IHRA’s guidance to state law. 33 US States have as well, including Virginia, Texas, New York, and Florida.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Columbia University Sued for Allowing Antisemitic Violence and Discrimination

Anti-Israel students protest at Columbia University in New York City. Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

Columbia University allowed for antisemitism to explode on campus endangering the welfare of Jewish students and faculty, StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice and Students Against Antisemitism (SAA) alleges in a lawsuit announced on Wednesday.

Filed in the US District Court of Southern New York, the complaint recounts dozens of reported antisemitic incidents that occurred after Oct. 7 which the university allegedly failed to respond to adequately because of anti-Jewish, as well as anti-Zionist, bias.

“Columbia refuses to enforce its policies or protect Jewish and Israeli members of the campus community,” Yael Lerman, director of SWU Center for Legal Justice said on Wednesday in a press release. “Columbia has created a pervasively hostile campus environment in which antisemitic activists act with impunity, knowing that there will be no real repercussions for their violations of campus policies.”

“We decline to comment on pending litigation,” Columbia University spokesperson and vice president for communications told The Algemeiner on Friday.

The plaintiffs in the case accuse Columbia University of violating their contract, to which it is bound upon receiving payment for their tuition, and contravening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. They are seeking damages as well as injunctive relief.

“F— the Jews,” “Death to Jews, “Jews will not defeat us,” and “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab,” students chanted on campus grounds after the tragedy, violating the school’s code of conduct and never facing consequences, the complaint says. Faculty engaged in similar behavior. On Oct. 8, professor Joseph Massad published in Electronic Intifada an essay cheering Hamas’ atrocities, which included slaughtering children and raping women, as “awesome” and describing men who paraglided into a music festival to kill young people as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”

300 faculty signed a letter proclaiming “unwavering solidarity” with Massad, and in the following days, Students for Justice in Palestine defended Hamas’ actions as “rooted in international law.” In response, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik, opting not to address their rhetoric directly, issued a statement mentioning “violence that is affecting so many people” but not, the complaint noted, explicitly condemning Hamas, terrorism, and antisemitism. Nine days later, Shafik rejected an invitation to participate in a viewing of footage of the Oct. 7 attacks captured by CCTV cameras.

The complaint goes on to allege that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

More request to the university went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while Students for Justice in Palestine held demonstrations. The school’s powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events whole no one explained the inconsistency.

Virulent antisemitism at Columbia University on the heels of Oct. 7 was not a one-off occurance, the complaint alleges, retracing in over 100 pages 20 years of alleged anti-Jewish hatred at the school.

“Students at Columbia are enduring unprecedented levels of antisemitic and anti-Israel hate while coping with the trauma of Hamas’ October 7th massacre,” SWU CEO Roz Rothstein said in Wednesday’s press release. “We will ensure that Columbia University is held accountable for their gross failure to protect their Jewish and Israeli students.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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University of California-Los Angeles Student Government Passes BDS Resolution

Graphic posted by University of California, Los Angeles Students for Justice in Palestine on February 21, 2024 to celebrate the student government’s passing an resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Photo: Screenshot/Instagram

The University of California-Los Angeles student government on Tuesday passed a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, as well as false accusation that Israel is committing a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

“The Israeli government has carried out a genocidal bombing campaign and ground invasion against Palestinians in Gaza — intentionally targeting hospitals universities, schools, shelters, churches, mosques, homes, neighborhoods, refugee camps, ambulances, medical personnel, [United Nations] workers, journalists and more,” the resolution, passed 10-3 by the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC), says, not mentioning that UN personnel in Gaza assisted Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

It continued, “Let it be resolved that the Undergraduate Student Association of UCLA formally call upon the UC Regents to withdraw investments in securities, endowments mutual funds, and other monetary instruments….providing material assistance to the commission or maintenance of flagrant violations of international law.

The days leading up to the vote were fraught, The Daily Bruin, the university’s official student newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“Non-UCLA students” sent USAC council members emails imploring them to vote for or against the resolution and USAC Cultural Affairs Commissioner and sponsor of the resolution, Alicia Verdugo, was accused of antisemitism and deserving of impeachment. The UCLA Graduate Student Association and University of California-Davis’ student government had just endorsed BDS the previous week, prompting fervent anticipation for the outcome of Tuesday’s USAC session.

Before voting took place, members of the council ordered a secret ballot, withholding from their constituents a record of where they stood on an issue of monumental importance to the campus culture. According to The Daily Bruin, they expressed “concerns” about “privacy” and “security.” Some members intimated how they would vote, however. During a question and answer period, one student who co-sponsored the resolution, accused a Jewish student of being “classist” and using “coded” language because she argued that the council had advanced the resolution without fully appreciating the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history of antisemitism.

“As a Guatemalan, …my country went through genocide,” he snapped at the young woman, The Daily Bruin’s reporting documented. “My family died in the Guatemalan Mayan genocide. I understand. I very well know what genocide looks like.”

Other council members  voiced their support by co-sponsoring the resolution, which was co-authored by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group that has held unauthorized demonstrations and terrorized Jewish students across the country.

Responding to USAC’s decision, Jewish students told the paper that they find the campaign for BDS and the attempts of pro-Palestinian students to defend Hamas’ atrocities myopic and offensive.

“How can anyone dare to contextualize since Oct. 7 without acknowledging that the Jewish people are victims of such a cataclysmic attack?” Mikayla Weinhouse said. “BDS intentionally aims to divide a community. Its supporters paint a complex and century-old conflict in the Middle East as a simplistic narrative that inspires hate rather than advocates for a solution.”

University of California-Los Angeles denounced the resolution for transgressing school policy and the spirit of academic freedom.

“The University of California and UCLA, which, like all nine other UC campuses, has consistently opposed calls for a boycott against and divestment from Israel,” the school said in a statement. “We stand firm in our conviction that a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty and to the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on this campus.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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