Gaza: Unending Cannon Fire and Steel Helmets

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Before Congress’s Easter week break earlier this year, there had been negotiations to allow Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress. He was not granted that opportunity though reports indicated vacillating opinion in the House and Senate.

It would be a grave mistake to allow Netanyahu such a platform; it would confer legitimacy to his policy toward Gaza.

That policy includes genocide. The U.S. may support the right to self defense of nation-states, but it cannot ever support genocide – not even the appearance of doing so by allow a mass murderer a platform.

Gaza’s history, the complexity of geopolitics involved, along with Netanyahu’s narcissistic intransigence and stifling U.S. policy prevent the Biden administration from openly calling Netanyahu’s actions genocide.

But the genocide of Gazans isn’t something new. It’s part of decades of increasing repression. One only needs to look at a map and the numbers — hell, even satellite photos taken over time — to know this situation didn’t develop in the last handful of months.

It continues with the repeated attacks on and murder of humanitarian aid workers who have been trying to fend off famine.

We’ll need far more than maps and numbers to stop this mass murder.

The Congressional GOP caucus allowing Netanyahu to address Congress next month does absolutely nothing to discourage his policy of genocide – rather, it encourages it.


In a nutshell, Gaza is a population the size of Houston crammed into an area the size of Las Vegas — more than 2 million people crammed into 141 square miles. There are only three crossings in and out, two guarded by Israel and one by Egypt, with the perimeter surrounded by a double fence line on three sides and the ocean on the fourth.

Gaza has been under blockade since 2005 following the second Intifada, though Israel has closed the region off and on since 1991.

Israel tightened the blockade after Hamas was elected to power (2006); this change in power was a response to the blockade and the ineffectiveness of the Palestinian Authority to address Gazans’ needs.

After nearly twenty years of Israel’s tightening stranglehold punctuated with fuel restrictions (2007), closed crossings thereby blocking food (2008), and an ongoing need for humanitarian aid (2010-on), it can hardly be surprising a rebellion by Hamas occurred.

Americans have been looking away for years, avoiding the obvious build up to October 7, 2023. We can’t look away any more.

Look at this rather dispassionate map of Gaza before October 7, prepared by the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. These were the facts on the ground before October 7 with which the U.N. and other aid organizations had to work to address Gaza’s needs not met by occupier Israel.

(source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – occupied Palestinian territory, via Wikimedia)

Could Americans live with this, in this? Could they raise children under these conditions, essentially inside a large double fenced cage from which land and housing has been stolen?

Can we begin to understand why there are tunnels in and out of Gaza?

What are we defending by looking away?


The politics of the past which have long shaped and conditioned global public opinion are being used as a means to prevent us from seeing more clearly what’s going on in Gaza and across the Middle East.

At least a couple of commenters at this site have mentioned the 1960 movie Exodus, a fictionalized account of Israel’s founding as a nation-state. This film has colored Americans’ perception of Israel for 63 years, in concert with a lack of education about the entire Middle East.

Americans don’t even learn about their own internal conflicts like the Tulsa race massacre or the cause and effects of the Chinese Exclusion Act. They learn little about the history of conflicts abroad, and about the history of Arab and Persian worlds, they learn even less.

What Americans have learned in K-12 public education is that Nazi Germany and its totalitarian dictator were evil and responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews in the Holocaust – a wholly accurate depiction. Children are exposed to the primary text Anne Frank’s diary and fictional texts like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Students are conditioned to see Israel’s creation and statehood as a positive, constructive response to the persecution and genocide of Europe’s Jews in 1930-1940s.

This is the lens through which Americans view the film Exodus.

The American public has been further conditioned by foreign terror attacks of 1990s and 2001, shaping and shaped by government response. As events unfolded, U.S. media coverage rarely ever examined the events from a decolonizing perspective.

All of this material has conditioned much of the U.S. to afford wide latitude to Israel.

U.S. foreign policy which supports democracies and affirms independent sovereign nation-states’ right to self defense reinforces that latitude.

Looking the other away has been cultivated for a lifetime, further reinforced by a fear of being called anti-Semitic if Israel’s policies and actions are called into question.

Jews are not Israel. Israel is not Benjamin Netanyahu, just as Gaza is not Hamas.

And yet all of Gaza is suffering for Netanyahu’s fuck-up, while Jews abroad and a majority of Israelis at home are confronted with the fallout.

By fuck-up I mean one massive intelligence failure followed by many others.


After looking at recent history of Gaza and the conditions in which Gazans live, the October 7 attack isn’t much of a surprise.

What was a surprise: Israel’s intelligence failures the October 7 attack exposed.

Israel has a history of using targeted intelligence to eliminate potential threats, including extrajudicial execution. Why Israel did not act effectively to prevent October 7 looks as stunningly bad as George W. Bush’s failure to respond pre-emptively to al Qaeda’s threat against the U.S. in August 2001.

Israel’s leadership and military knew there was a threat. Netanyahu failed to ensure Israel was protected.

New York Times report says Israel knew about Hamas attack over a year in advance

Netanyahu failed to do his job for an entire year – but his follow-up to his massive fuck-up is obliterating the population of Gaza.

The attack on October 7 wasn’t the only problematic intelligence failure.

Israel has been less than forthcoming about its operations; though its intelligence knew of the existence of tunnels, it can’t explain how it missed a tunnel as large as the one near the Erez crossing at the border with Egypt.

Israel finds large tunnel adjacent to Gaza border, raising new questions about prewar intelligence

Nor can Israel explain deadly attacks on facilities which were alleged to be supported by intelligence but violate international law. Too many of the attacks have been proven unjustified by follow-up reporting, the most common of which is the excuse Hamas has used tunnels beneath buildings which later prove to be false.

Also poorly rationalized is the use of artificial intelligence to target Hamas, again leading to destruction of civilian infrastructure and civilian deaths. This is a form of human experimentation in addition to yet more war crimes.

The January 24 attack on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) sheltering thousands of Gazans was beyond the pale:

A United Nations building sheltering displaced Palestinians in southern Gaza was hit by Israeli tank fire Wednesday, killing at least nine people and injuring 75 others, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza.

Israel’s military said it “currently” ruled out that an Israeli aerial or artillery strike hit the UNRWA Khan Younis Training Center. The IDF also said a “thorough review of the operations of the forces in the vicinity is underway.”

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said on X that the entire center, one of the largest UNRWA facilities in Gaza, was sheltering 30,000 people, and is clearly marked as a UN site.

The White House said it is “gravely concerned” by the strike.

(source: CNN, January 25, 2024)

The attack followed months of strikes on other UN and humanitarian aid facilities. The UNRWA attack also suggests a possible fuck-you to the U.S. as there was no apparent advance notice to the Biden administration let alone the UN.

Israel initially denied responsibility for the attack on the UN refugee compound. It later claimed UN personnel were aiding Hamas as a rationalization for the attack.

You’ll note Biden got the CIA involved in negotiations after the IDF attacked UNRWA:

Biden to deploy CIA director to help broker major Gaza deal

That CIA director William Burns has been called upon to perform a diplomatic mission is an indication something bad happened with the January bombing of UNRWA, beyond the obvious human rights violation such an attack on a humanitarian mission represents.

Something deeply wrong occurred requiring a person at the highest levels of security clearance to be involved. I can’t help but think the IDF killed a CIA agent or an important asset, perhaps as a fuck-you, perhaps as a means to disrupt US intelligence, or both.

The UNRWA assault was followed by the bombing of Rafah during the Super Bowl when Americans would be distracted — Rafah, where Palestinian civilians had been told to go to avoid IDF bombing.

Israeli strikes hit Rafah after Biden warns Netanyahu to have ‘credible’ plan to protect civilians

95 civilians including 42 children were killed during this attack on Rafah. This was hardly a surgical effort intended to take out Hamas alone.

The attack on Rafah looked like yet another fuck-you to the Biden administration even after months of repeated embarrassing appeals to Netanyahu to protect civilians and allow humanitarian aid, of which one of the earliest came a couple weeks after the October 7 attack:

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke this afternoon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. The President welcomed the release of two additional hostages from Gaza earlier today, and reaffirmed his commitment to ongoing efforts to secure the release of all the remaining hostages taken by Hamas – including Americans – and to provide for safe passage for U.S. citizens and other civilians in Gaza.  The President also underscored the need to sustain a continuous flow of urgently needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza.  The President updated the Prime Minister on U.S. support for Israel and ongoing efforts at regional deterrence, to include new U.S. military deployments.  They  agreed to speak again in the coming days.

(emphasis mine; source: The White House, October 23, 2023)

The deaths of more than 100 Gazans attempting to receive food aid in March was yet another likely fuck-you. Israel was supposed to have arranged for the aid delivery which should have included security. Instead there have been claims IDF fired on Palestinians causing a stampede toward the aid trucks.

Mark Regev, the Israeli prime minister’s special adviser, initially told CNN that Israeli forces had not been involved. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) spokesman, said soon after that soldiers had not fired directly on Palestinians seeking aid, but rather fired “warning shots” in the air.

On March 8, after an internal investigation, the IDF released a timeline suggesting that the aid convoy began to cross into northern Gaza accompanied by its tanks at 4:29 a.m. A minute later, at 4:30 a.m., the IDF said its troops fired “warning shots” toward the east to disperse crowds before firing at “suspects” who they claimed posed a threat. At 4:45 a.m., the military said it fired more warning shots.

But CNN’s analysis of dozens of videos from the night and testimonies from eyewitnesses’ casts doubt on Israel’s version of events. The evidence, reviewed by forensic and ballistic experts, indicated that automatic gunfire began before the IDF said the convoy had started crossing through the checkpoint and that shots were fired within close range of crowds that had gathered for food.

(source: CNN, April 10, 2024)

Israel claims the deaths were cause by trucks running into Palestinians; they’ve resisted calls for full, unedited video of the mass shooting, which does nothing to bolster their claims that the IDF did not fire on the swarm of desperate Palestinians.

The airstrike on World Central Kitchen aid workers in clearly marked vehicles is a massive fuck-you which has been blamed on intelligence:

(source: Al Jazeera, April 2, 2024)

IDF missed the center of the logo identifying the World Country Kitchen aid vehicle by centimeters. Accident, my ass; if they targeted a driver in a left-hand drive car the IDF nailed them.

None of this makes sense, this absolute refusal by Netanyahu to be reasonable and rational let alone moral and ethical if Netanyahu is truly focused on eliminating Hamas and only Hamas. Instead these attacks on civilians look organized and systemic – as if the cruelty was the point.


Saudi Arabia’s absence in news coverage related to negotiations is also troubling; is it because the U.S. media is blind or is it because there’s little to report? Netanyahu trashed Qatar for its efforts, further heightening regional tensions; Egypt and Lebanon have been engaged in negotiations, with Lebanon being bombed on one occasion under the ruse that Hezbollah deserved it though the paramedic center it struck contained no Hezbollah, and in at least one other incident, children were killed.

Could this simply be part of the messy proxy war with Iran, which is more easily seen in the attacks by and on the Houthi in the Red Sea affecting private shipping and military targets.

Israel’s April 2 airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Syria offers a much more direct example of tensions between Israel and Iran; with this attack Israel exercised a total disregard for Syria’s sovereignty and international law.

It also showed Netanyahu cares not one whit whether his government widens the Israel-Hamas war, escalating regional tensions.


The repeated intelligence and military failures and cack-handed political decisions can’t be explained away in relation to attempts to destroy Hamas or to recover hostages – not when Israel killed three of its own hostages.

Especially since Netanyahu supported Hamas for years to prevent a more legitimate Palestinian Authority from pursuing a two-state solution.

Nothing makes sense except that Netanyahu is ethnically cleansing Gaza. Calling the goal or operation “Absolute Victory” or “Total Victory” doesn’t imply a narrow targeted effort.

Is it possible he is doing so for his own corrupt criminal purposes while he is still free and not prosecuted and incarcerated for corruption, relying on national security, political, and religious rationales as cover?

By criminal purposes I mean Netanyahu is continuing the assault on Gaza as a means to delay his trial (imagine Trump using this excuse), and clearing Gaza for some benefit to the missing Saudis (possibly oil and gas development offshore).

Is Netanyahu not only using this genocide to delay his trial but as a means to earn a payout like the $2 billion Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner received, perhaps as a payout for assassinating Iran’s Major General Qasem Soleimani, damaging Iran’s missile program, and greenlighting the murder of a Saudi-born U.S. journalist?

Is Netanyahu clearing Gaza because he wants more Trump property development — and Kushner has already indicated interest in oceanfront property in Gaza?

Is Netanyahu blowing off Biden because this entire genocide is a form of election interference intended to drive down Biden’s polling numbers, because Netanyahu wants Trump in the White House who’ll condone his complete obliteration of Gaza? Is Netanyahu killing Gazans because he wants an equally corrupt leader who’ll ensure he gets all the support he needs, politically and personally?

Is this the point at which Arendt‘s thinking about statelessness matters (see Ed Walker’s essay here), because so long as Palestine is not a second state, its claims to its own natural resources can be blown off and its obstructive people blown away by profiteers?

Energy firms face legal threat over Israeli licences to drill for gas off Gaza (15-FEB-2024)

Offshore Gas Field Could Help Gaza Recovery (23-NOV-2023)

Saudi Arabia Can No Longer Raise Oil Output For Cash (21-FEB-2024)

Perhaps this is why Netanyahu appointed problematic officials ultra-nationalists Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir whose interests in a peaceful accord with Palestinians in Gaza are likely nil.

Consider Ben Gvir’s 2007 conviction for incitement to racism and supporting terrorism. Why would such a person be appointed as National Security Minister if peace was the intention?

Ben-Gvir convicted of inciting to racism

Consider also Smotrich’s disregard for the Palestinian Authority circa 2015, bolstering Hamas:

Most of the time, Israeli policy was to treat the Palestinian Authority as a burden and Hamas as an asset. Far-right MK Bezalel Smotrich, now the finance minister in the hardline government and leader of the Religious Zionism party, said so himself in 2015.

According to various reports, Netanyahu made a similar point at a Likud faction meeting in early 2019, when he was quoted as saying that those who oppose a Palestinian state should support the transfer of funds to Gaza, because maintaining the separation between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

There had to be a point to all this deliberate fucking around with Hamas, something Netanyahu was willing to throw Israeli lives at, something for which Gazans were expendable.


Meanwhile, the politics of the past and Americans’ ill-formed perceptions have locked the US into a position where it can’t move against Netanyahu without criticism or worse for being anti-Israel, at a time when the US must also rely on intelligence from Israel and other Middle Eastern countries in order to protect oil and gas which are under attack by Iran-backed Houthi.

Except for a blip in January this year, note how there’s little media coverage about the response of oil markets and fossil fuel countries affected by the Houthis’ attacks. This absence combined with relatively stable oil market prices suggest the Biden administration has been told to put up and shut up to maintain the global economy – or the Biden administration’s investment in U.S. oil production has offset Middle East oil production burps.

(source: West Texas Intermediate/NYMEX price per barrel via Macrotrends)

It’s not clear how much the U.S.’s continued support of Netanyahu’s policies in Gaza are spurring Iranian support of the Houthis, but fighting off the attacks comes at the expense of U.S. defense spending in other areas of the world including Ukraine.

It also comes at the expense of resources necessary to stem nuclear proliferation in the region, which includes Iran. Iran has continued to rebuild its uranium refining since Stuxnet, and is now expanding capacity at two locations.

Normalization of Israel-Saudi Arabia relations has been an aim of U.S. policy, including a two-state solution.

The Abraham Accords and possible Israeli normalization with Saudi Arabia. The Biden Administration has followed agreements reached during the Trump Administration that normalized or improved relations between Israel and four Arab or Muslim-majority states—the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. Biden Administration officials have said that any further U.S. efforts to assist Israeli normalization with Muslim-majority countries would seek to preserve the viability of a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ongoing efforts to deepen security and economic ties between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco could drive broader regional cooperation—including on various types of defense. After China helped broker diplomatic normalization between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the Administration has declared that Israeli normalization with Saudi Arabia is a U.S. priority. Any negotiations toward that end would likely consider Saudi security and civilian nuclear demands, as well as a pathway toward a two-state solution. Congress has passed and proposed legislation encouraging expanded and deepened regional cooperation involving Israel.

(source: Israel: Major Issues and U.S. Relations, Congressional Research Service, September 27, 2023)

Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected the two-state solution, in spite of the fact his policies treat Gaza and Palestine as a separate state on which it can declare and go to war instead of conducting a police action within the same country. He wants it both ways — to conduct a war and treat the persons in that separate state as non-citizens, but failing to protect the civilian minority citizenry of that same state if it is part of Israel. Yet hanging onto this single state including occupied territory so tightly has not brought Israel any more security.

It’s as if it has never occurred to Netanyahu that Israel’s security might actually depend on ending occupation of Gaza and allowing its citizens to govern themselves.

Consider the aphorism that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This applies not only to Israel but to the U.S.; we cannot continue to support continued intransigence when it comes at a cost to our nation’s security. Is the bilateral aid in a 10-year memorandum of understanding which the U.S. negotiated with Israel worth more than the current and future cost of the unending Israel-Hamas war to our nation?


There is a limit the U.S. must find and define when it comes to support for Israel. We may believe in the right of sovereign independent nation-states to self defense, but we have failed as a nation when it comes to identifying and fighting just wars. The response to the terror attacks of 9/11 offers the best example of this failure; we spent roughly eight trillion dollars and nearly a million U.S., Iraqi, and Afghans’ lives on what should have been a measured police effort.

A substantive portion of that failure was in no small part based on hidden agendas including continued access to cheap oil.

We should have learned from our failures; other nations including Israel should have learned by observation.

We did not win hearts and minds though we had the sympathy of the world on 9/12, just as Israel did on October 8. Instead the U.S. used its hegemonic power to strive for more than a narrowly tailored effort to find and hold the terrorists accountable.

Look what it earned us more than two decades later, when combined with our handling of Netanyahu.

Israel should have learned already they are failing to win security and a durable peace, and in writing that I don’t mean Netanyahu because the man has proven repeatedly since October he is incapable of anything more that overreaching destruction. The Israeli people need to look long and hard at what has and has not worked for the last 60-70 years.

In a eulogy over a young kibbutz member killed by Palestinians in 1956, Israeli Commander-in-Chief of the Israel Defense Forces Moshe Dayan said,

… Let us not cast the blame on the murderers today. Why should we declare their burning hatred for us? For eight years they have been sitting in the refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we have been transforming the lands and the villages, where they and their fathers dwelt, into our estate. …

In essence Dayan’s eulogy exhorted Israelis not to let down their guard, to embrace the steel helmet and cannon to continue to settle the land, even as he acknowledged the theft of land by colonization and occupation.

Israel has its own lessons to learn, which is that of colonizer which must share a small patch of land at the risk of permanent conflict inside its own borders and beyond.

Under Netanyahu’s leadership, it has given no indication it is learning anything at all about its own history, its reputation and security with its neighbors and across the world, or how it will be seen as history is written.


[Front page photo: satellite image by Maxar published in Business Insider showing Gazans fleeing to north Gaza after IDF told Gazans to leave southern Gaza ahead of bombing. Gazans had already fled to south Gaza 2-3 weeks earlier at IDF’s order.]

138 replies
  1. Rayne says:

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    • Eric Fusselman says:

      Way to long, didn’t read read past the part where the only option with a “rebellion”

      No context for the stochastic terror Gaza had inflicted on Israel

      May not get to choose how Gaza’s protests, but Israel sure gets to decide how to respond

      • Rayne says:

        Welcome to emptywheel, first time commenter. If the content here is too long/too detailed this may not be the site for you.

        Gaza didn’t inflict terror on Israel. Hamas did. But gee, conflation is no big thing, right? Just the excuse that Netanyahu’s hard right regime uses to obliterate Gaza because Gaza=Hamas to their mind.

  2. Peterr says:

    You’ll note Biden got the CIA involved in negotiations after the IDF attacked UNRWA:

    Biden to deploy CIA director to help broker major Gaza deal

    That CIA director William Burns has been called upon to perform a diplomatic mission is an indication something bad happened with the January bombing of UNRWA, beyond the obvious human rights violation such an attack on a humanitarian mission represents.

    I think you are reading too much into this visit. Burns had been active in trying to deal with Gaza well before this. In November 2023, Burns had two meetings in Doha with the head of Mossad and the Qatari prime minister, seeking to work out a deal to free hostages, and another meeting in Poland in December. (See CBS News for more on this.)

    Remember, Burns was a career diplomat before being named to head the CIA, including a posting in Jordan. He knows the players, and *not* using him to seek a diplomatic solution would be foolish in the extreme.

    • Rayne says:

      Possibly, and yet even Burns engagement in November with Mossad suggests an intelligence angle was likely a factor.

      Had it not been the timing of the UNRWA bombing and Burns’ dispatch, back to back, I wouldn’t have made anything of it.

  3. joel fisher says:

    Absolutely the most important part of this piece:
    “The response to the terror attacks of 9/11 offers the best example of this failure; we spent roughly eight trillion dollars and nearly a million U.S., Iraqi, and Afghans’ lives on what should have been a measured police effort.” This very recent history seems to be forgotten by the mainstream media with their Stalinesque view that one death is a tragedy; while a million is a statistic.
    Once one internalizes these staggering facts–you omitted the improved relations between Iran and Iraq as a negative consequence, but, I quibble–and then remember that was the work of GOP classic, one is compelled to the conclusion that the GOP is the enemy of decent people, and, here’s where you need a barf bag, Trump has the positive effect of destroying the GOP. Scum to be sure, but useful scum.

    • Error Prone says:

      The Iran – Iraq closeness after Bush II went in is nuanced. There was a will to remove Saddam which fit against his militarism, against his giving bounties to Palestinian families over a death in resistance to Israel, and as a Sunni secular dictator of a majority Shia nation. There is less tension when an almost wholly Shia nation allies with a bordering majority Shia nation, and arguably tensions now are lessened. The Saudis had no love for Saddam, and likely feel their Kingdom’s survival as a Sunni Kingdom is better served by having a secular Arab strongman removed from power. The Cold War was a strong factor Nassar was a secular Arab dictator aligned with the Soviets, and U.S. policy then favored Sadat as his successor. Part of the sponsorship of Reagan’s Afghan “holy warriors” was to counter Soviet secular Afghan developments; and it started with Carter, only escalating with Reagan. Cold War events and policy opposing Soviet Commisars, segued into Ukraine proxy war with Russian Kleptocrats, Marx out of the picture. However it is considered, Operation Iraqi Freedom (originally called Operation Iraqi Liberty but renamed) cost our nation a lot of money and international goodwill.

  4. Harry Eagar says:

    I have a suggestion: Maybe the Muslims could offer the Jews access to Temple Mount. You know, to reinforce that religion-of-peace idea.

    • Just Some Guy says:

      You seem confused. The ban on non-Muslims praying at the Temple Mount is enforced by the Israeli government.

      • Harry Eagar says:

        That’s the problem with coming in at the middle of the show. The exclusion of the Jews goes way back.

        • Rayne says:

          But it’s not happening *now*. What’s being discussed here in this post is what’s happening today, and that’s an ongoing genocide of Gazans by Netanyahu’s government. You’re attempting to change the subject away from the post’s topic.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You might crusade on the idea that none of the three principal religions involved in this region are religions of peace.

    • ExRacerX says:

      Zoom out, Harry—religion in and of itself is the problem, not just one form of it.

      Despite religion’s claimed monopoly on morals and ethics, there are plenty of atheists who amazingly(/s) possess both.

      Fuck religion. The world would be a better place without it.

      • Scott_in_MI says:

        Because it’s impossible that humans would find secular justifications for oppressing each other. /s

        • ExRacerX says:

          Weak sauce. I never claimed that everyone possesses morals and ethics; only that religion—organized and otherwise—is not the only way to get them.

          Full disclosure: I’m a staunch humanist who trusts the scientific method. I’m also a militant atheist who saw through the bullshit at 12 and never looked back. I’m also an ethical vegan.

          Religion has nothing to offer; it is and has always been the scourge of this world.

      • Rayne says:

        Mr. Eagar’s concentration on religion disregards other critically important drivers behind the conflict over Gaza:
        – colonialist thinking by an occupier nation;
        – corrupt and racist leadership intent on autocratic government;
        – dense population and poor infrastructure planning;
        – pressure across the region which has relied too heavily on a fossil fuel economy;
        – increasing sensitivity to climate change.

        For starters.

    • Jeremy Daw says:

      Simple enough, let’s do it….

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. THIRD REQUEST: Please use the SAME USERNAME each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You attempted to publish this under a fourth username, “magwa”; you have previously commented as “Jeremy Daw,” “CitadelOfRicks,” and “jeremy.” I have changed your username on this comment to “Jeremy Daw” which you used on your last comment; make of note of this username, check your browser’s cache and autofill. Future comments may not clear for publication if you cannot stick with a single username. /~Rayne]

  5. ShadeSeeker says:

    Thank you Marcy, very succinctly written about a complex problem.

    I believe that when Netanyahu showed a map of ‘New Middle East’ without Palestine—to UN General Assembly, on September 22, 2023, 2 weeks before Oct 7 2023, that may have been the final straw for Hamas.

    So far as the question of genocide, it’s worth reading the UN report,
    ‘Anatomy of a Genocide’

    In summary:
    “The context, facts and analysis presented in this report lead to the conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating Israel’s commission of genocide is met. More broadly they also indicate that Israel’s actions have been driven by a genocidal logic integral to its settler-colonial project in Palestine, signalling a tragedy foretold.”

    Netanyahu is giving Israel a very bad name. There is a warrant out for him, he shouldn’t be allowed into the US.

    • Rayne says:

      Check the byline, thanks.

      I’d like to know what triggered the Congressional Research Service report to which I linked in this post — it was updated September 27, 2023, five days after that map without Palestine.

      As to whether Netanyahu’s actions are genocidal: at least 60% of all buildings in Gaza have been damaged if not destroyed. The magnitude of destruction is visible from space, making wholly obvious the intent is to leave nothing in which Gazans can live and work untouched. As of May 20,

      Since the start of the conflict in Gaza, following the brutal terrorist attacks by Hamas on 7 October, 31 out of 36 hospitals have been damaged or destroyed. Among the destroyed is the Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in Gaza, which remains today completely out of service.

      The remaining hospitals in Gaza are partially functioning, and operating under severe limitations. Due to the dire situation many of them are on the verge of collapse or had to be closed . Access to emergency medical care is even more crucial at a time when Palestinians in Gaza live under constant shelling and more than 9,000 severely injured people are at risk of dying due to the lack of adequate health care.


      Netanyahu cares not a whit what the rest of the world thinks of Israel. He demonstrated that with the bombings of UNRWA’s shelter and with the assassination of World Country Kitchen aid workers. Just a constant barrage of fuck-yous to the world as he eliminates Gaza.

      • Steve S from CT says:

        If Israel is intentionally destroying buildings so that Gazans won’t have anywhere to live or work as you allege that wouldn’t even be “murder” let alone “genocide.” Buildings aren’t people. Even if you think it amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” that would be a war crime, but “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” aren’t synonyms. Using inaccurate and intentionally incendiary language isn’t helpful to anyone.

        • P J Evans says:

          They’ve killed unarmed people, with their hands up.
          They’ve bombed refugee camps, where the shelter is huts and tents.
          They talk about sending in tanks to “clear” the area.
          Don’t kid yourself – they want ALL of Palestine to disappear, just like Russia wants Ukraine to disappear.

        • Clare Kelly says:

          I highly recommend reading the report linked to in the following piece:

          “The UN Human Rights Office says Israeli air strikes in Gaza may have systematically violated the laws of war requiring that civilians and civilian infrastructure be protected.”

          Here’s a direct link to the report:

        • Sloth Sloman says:

          Imagine thinking that your parsing of these details in any way provides any further understanding of anything is anything but unhelpful to the conversation.

          Removing all shelter, food and other assistance from an increasingly cornered citizen population is quite obviously contributing to the obvious genocide even if the bombs themselves weren’t a direct strike.

          You’ve all lost your goddamn minds confusing support for Palestine as antisemitism.


          Unbelievable lack of awareness in people lately. It’s completely disheartening to see this lazy semantic bullshit logic on display here.

          Ethnic cleansing and genocide are not the same? What the hell are you even on about there? What value are you adding by making that distinction? This isn’t a HBS case study for you to discuss in an ivory tower. It’s real fucking life (and death) for thousands.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Very Jesuitical argument. If I burn your clothes in inclement weather, causing you to bake or freeze to death, that’s not homicide. I’m not harming you or your children and elder members of your family, merely your clothes.

          Destroying all or the principal buildings in the entire Gaza Strip does more than harm buildings. It destroys work, shelter, employment, healthcare, community and society. That’s not news to intelligence services. It’s part of the standard playbook on how to disrupt an entire society.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Not to mention, destroying virtually all the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip pauperizes its inhabitants for generations, making them more dependent on an unforgiving Israel, and continues to make them pawns in other Arab-Israeli conflicts.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          I believe bellingcat did a report some months back detailing the work of some IDF “engineering” battalions who were using explosives to take down buildings in areas where there was no active conflict.

          One of the defining features of genocide (which is intending to destroy in whole or in part) is “c: deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” We could argue about whether the Gaza campaign “intends to destroy” the Palestinians living there, which is what we usually think of as genocide, that is, destroying an entire people, but there’s no doubt that if it’s not genocide, it is so close as to be almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

          Just because HAMAS started the fight, and chose to stage the fight in an area crowded with its own people – the latter of which is quite likely a war crime – that does not excuse Israeli conduct.

        • ShadeSeeker says:

          Steve S from CT

          You are right, ethnic cleansing does not alone equate to genocide. Genocide is a process whilst ethnic cleansing is an act, which may or may not be part of the process of genocide. Multiple acts are required as well as evidence of “genocidal intent” to establish genocide. The UN report below discusses how they may be related.

          Paragraph 8. “…… Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term ‘genocide”, observed that genocide is “a composite of different acts of persecution or destruction, ranging from physical elimination to the “forced disintegration” of a people’s political and social institutions, culture, language, national sentiments and religion. Genocide is a process, not an act.”

          Paragraph 11. “Practices leading to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine’s non-jewish population occurred in 1947-1949, and again in 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip with mass displacement of hundreds of thousands, killings, destruction of villages and towns, looting and the ‘denial of the right to return of expelled Palestinians’.”
          My emphasis.

          In paragraph 18 & 19, the report discusses how one can arrive at “genocidal intent” which is an absolute requirement to establish genocide.

          Paragraph 19. “…. Accordingly, if displacement, ethnic cleansing or mass deportation are perpetrated with the required intent to destroy the protected group as such, this may amount to genocide. Similarly, these displacement actions can also be evidence of specific genocidal intent.”

          See my emphasis in relation to paragraph 11 where the denial of the right to return of expelled Palestinians is an example that contributes to the establishment of genocidal intent. IANAL but the evidence of genocide as described in the UN report seems irrefutable to me.

      • ShadeSeeker says:

        My apologies Rayne, Your article is well researched and yet concise enough and still gives a comprehensive overview of the Gaza war.

      • Rayne says:

        How far should we go back — to the Akkadian empire? to Phoenicians? The Ammonites? the Kingdom of Judah?

        You’re still trying to change the subject in this thread from what is happening on the ground in Gaza TODAY. It’s genocide and the US should not support it.

        • Harry Eagar says:

          I don’t think I am trying to change the subject. Stopping the IDF is not the same as stopping the violence.

          I think the 2-state approach — whether desirable or not — is out of play without some extraordinary change in terms of relations. Coincident worship is my best suggestion, since it ought to be something that most people in the region could justify outside politics.

        • Ithaqua0 says:

          Human remains dating back over 200,000 years have been found in Greece… I managed to elicit the usual word-salad response from a pro-Israeli person sitting next to me at the local pub who was being exceptionally annoying by asking her if the homo sapiens who undoubtedly lived in modern-day Israel 200,000 years ago were Jewish. Oddly enough, she didn’t want to continue the conversation. The person on the other side of her bought me a drink after she left.

  6. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    “Is this the point at which Arendt‘s thinking about statelessness matters (see Ed Walker’s essay here), because so long as Palestine is not a second state, its claims to its own natural resources can be blown off and its obstructive people blown away by profiteers?”

    The answer to the question you ask above is yes.

    Today’s global organized crime syndicates like Putin’s depend on exploiting the natural resources and raw materials found in their homeland as well as the natural resources and raw materials found in other nation states, for example Ukraine.

    There are trillions of dollars worth of natural resources and raw materials in the Donbas that Putin covets financially for his criminal enterprise.

    The business relationships between Putin, Roman Abramovich and Netanyahu are ripe for publication, but they won’t be publicized because they are considered nation state secrets.

  7. Steve S from CT says:

    OK, don’t let Netanyahu speak, maybe even arrest him for war crimes. Then what? What’s your vision for the future? If it’s for a “free Palestine,” what exactly does that look like? Is it an Islamic state like Hamas wants? Are non-Muslims or non-Arabs allowed to live there? If it’s for a “two state solution,” then what are the two states? Are they “Palestine” and “Israel,” as most Westerners seem to assume, or are they “Palestine” and “Occupied Palestine” which is the furthest any Palestinian negotiators have actually gone on that? It’s all well and good to protest against “bad stuff” and demand that “they” do something, but the way to move forward is through actual goals for the future. What are yours?

    • Rayne says:

      First, non-Muslims *do* live in Gaza and the larger Palestine; they’re being slaughtered along with Palestinian Muslims and have been completely forgotten by narratives like that you offer. (See Thanks for demonstrating how the erasure works.

      Second, why are you asking me about a two-state solution which has been discussed and detailed in many ways by the relevant parties including occupiers going as far back as 1937? (See The occupied and occupiers need negotiate this because governments are not legitimate without the consent of the governed.

      Right now that which establishes a ceasefire and gets the nation of Israel and Palestinians’ authority figures to the table to hammer out a two-state solution is where it should begin. One of the first steps is to refuse to recognize Netanyahu until a ceasefire is implemented. The UN should be engaged to offer peacekeeping resources while the two parties of the prospective states work out coexistence.

      • Steve S from CT says:

        We all know what’s been proposed for a potential two-state solution, but those proposals have not been accepted, presumably because the Palestinians do not see them as sufficient or equitable. I’m asking you for your views on what terms would be sufficient and equitable. More specifically, in your view is there any circumstance under which Jewish residents of the area would cease to be “occupiers” or “colonizers”?

        • Rayne says:

          I’m not the occupied. The occupied should be the first to speak about what they need and want.

          You seem to have a problem with understanding consent of the governed, perhaps even with consent.

        • Steve S from CT says:

          Rayne, I’m sorry but this is a very disingenuous response. You’ve already “spoken first” by publishing this column. You’re clearly very willing to tell Israelis what they should and shouldn’t do, why the reticence when it comes to Palestinians? In any case, I’m not even asking you to speak for “the occupied,” I’m asking for your own views about what SHOULD happen, as a person who’s published their views about what should NOT happen. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

        • Rayne says:

          I’m speaking first because I do not consent to my tax dollars and my government being used to support genocide.

          When the occupied ask for resources, I’m ready to listen. Kind of like being ready to support Ukraine’s requests for aid against a violent occupier committing genocide.

          ADDER: you’re engaging in whataboutism, don’t think I can’t see that.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          You presume too much. Recent history suggests strongly it is Israel that rejects a two-state solution. It refuses to share power within its own state by allowing Palestinians full civil rights. It has shown more reluctance to allow an independent Palestinian state as a new neighbor.

        • boatgeek says:

          The Palestinians rejected the prior peace proposals because they weren’t two state solutions. They were, at best, one and a half state solutions. Under the last proposal rejected, Palestine would have given up productive farmland so that Israel didn’t have to move illegal settlements, would have had no armed forces, and would have to accept Israel’s ability to divide their territory in three or four at a moment’s notice. That’s not sovereignty, that’s a client state at best and colony at worst.

    • Steve S from CT says:

      I’m not engaging in anything – I’m just asking you a question that for some reason you refuse to answer. My own view is the only way to accomplish anything constructive is to establish a clear sense of what you’re trying to achieve – focusing on goals not grievances. You and I are unlikely to agree on the grievances, and any discussion of that would be pointless arguing. However, if we agree on the goals, then debating different approaches to achieving those goals could potentially be constructive. That’s why I’m asking.

        • Steve S from CT says:

          OK, I sincerely tried to engage in a constructive discussion, but you’re clearly having none of it, and I’m not going to respond in kind with my own speculations about your motivation or intent. You clearly spent a lot of time and effort writing this blog post, and I have to wonder what you’d hoped to accomplish with it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The current hard right Israeli prime minister has few restrictions on his speech, only the occasional denial of a venue. This one should be denied him. Venues convey more than speech. They convey relationships, permission, diplomatic and other status, and approval.

      I agree with Rayne that, as an urgent matter of US diplomacy, such things should be denied the current prime minister, owing to the conduct of his war against Palestinians. How the US should respond to Hamas is a separate matter.

      • Steve S from CT says:

        FWIW I completely agree with you that US diplomacy should not be providing political support to Netanyahu. That said, while I’m confident Netanyahu is doing the wrong thing, I personally can’t say what the “right thing” would be. Obviously it would get the hostages released and minimize civilian casualties, but how exactly to accomplish that I couldn’t say – I’m hoping the people involved have more information than I do. But that gets to the “goals” part of the conversation I was trying to bring up earlier.

  8. Error Prone says:

    First, “a tight terse argument well stated,” hat tip. (Bordering on a screed, but that’s fine with me, I agree.) A few thoughts generally in parallel-

    Our public education system teaches nothing about the history of Zionism, from Balfour Decoration to Truman’s decision to recognize Israel. Both times there was a contrarian view, and debate. General Marshall favored one thing, Clark Clifford another, and Truman went with Clifford, having no Arab voters to measure.

    During WW i, Montagu is a figure our children are not taught, indeed, so is Balfour, where Montagu argued against Zion.

    Second idea, don’t have the link, but at one Davos event Kissinger noted that our current history in the region – the Middle East and Islamic world – represents the “aftershocks” of breakup of the Ottoman Empire. We are not taught much about Turkey in WW i, nor about Constantinople falling in 1453 to Muslim forces being material to efforts to find sea routes to the East Indies; how the Inquisition gave Ferdinand and Isabella free time and cash to finance Columbus and his route search. We are not taught about Vlad the Impaler, [] whom he was impaling, and for what his impaling was intended to tell Islamic advancing forces. We are not taught about the Austro-Hungarian Empire at long-term war with advancing Islam. Borders shifting, but the Empire not falling.

    Kissinger’s observation, while historically true is not helpful to policy formation today. But it puts a time frame to things that teaches we are to face a long term unwinding.

    Third, “Netanyahu failed to do his job for an entire year – but his follow-up to his massive fuck-up is obliterating the population of Gaza,” is a sentence deserving comment. Who says what his job is, and was Hamas’ action missed, or allowed to enable a follow-up the Netanyahu coalition majority in the Knesset wanted?

    The majority vote in the Knesset sets the government, and that government sets its job. So, was Bibi doing his job as he and coalition saw it? What might new elections at this point, in Israel, if allowed, show us as the mood of the population’s majority? Settlement expansion to not be curbed? Gaza to be crushed, at whatever cost of IDF loss of life, war economy cost, and international disapproval? What the Israeli population might favor is as unknown, as how the Gantz opposition, or others running in elections, might differ from the aims and means of the current government.


    The three hostages IDF killed suggests rules of engagement authorized shoot first, etc.

    Re regional effects and/or policy:
    King Abdullah, saying no to Gazans being pushed into Jordan: e.g.,

    And, TOI reporting Abdullah’s reaction to Smoltrich’s “Greater Israel” map and thinking:

    And, a few years ago the U.S. was pressuring the Saudis about Yemen.
    Now it is our carrier based war, the Saudis now spectators.

    Netanyahu appointed Ben Gvir and Smoltrich because he needed their Knesset count to have a majority, and the portfolios he gave them, police and finance, are not minor.
    Ben Gvir’s history of al Aqsa incursions has been an intentional provocation by bending the tense status quo. Threats exist to leave the coalition if some cease fire suggestions are acceptable to Netanyahu. They have leverage.

    Re “proxy” war with Iran, or more: TOI reports on mid-air refueling needed for Israeli jets to be able to reach Iran:

    Last you do not mention the Dahiya Doctrine; how it fits events.

    Not that the doctrine gets much MSM coverage.
    Again, big hat tip for the publishing. Just adding interstitial thinking.

    • Rayne says:

      There’s a reason I didn’t mention the doctrine: I do not wish to legitimize it by using the name and thereby stepping into that frame.

      Under Netanyahu the IDF has engaged in the destruction of hospitals, aid facilities, schools, refugee shelters disregarding civilians in and around them. That’s the truth, and it’s genocide — that’s the frame.

    • Marinela says:

      Why we give Israel an annual four billion dollars to buy U.S. arms.

      Ideally Congress should stop giving Israel any aid to getting arms. Use that money domestically until Israel comes with a lasting peace agreement. Hey give that money to Palestinians instead if they are willing to come and negotiate for meaningful peace. But Congress is broken. In fact Congress gets away with doing things that are not what the majority of the US population wants. And in a two party system, as long as you have enough congress elected on both parties that support Israel, you got both cases covered. Regardless who wins the majority in US elections, support for Israel is not to be questioned. This is one tabu subject that is hardly discussed. Add in the lobby for arms that benefits few defense US companies, not a good picture. All of this because voters cannot demand accountability for how their tax dollars are used for.

  9. Magbeth4 says:

    Palestine was a place in Biblical times. Israel was carved from that historic area, with its borders at the present time not defined. Modern Israel is whatever its leaders choose it to be.

    In Biblical Palestine, people of many faiths and ethnicities lived, side by side, for centuries.
    In modern Palestine, a realistic solution would be a One-State State, which did not favor one religious sect over another as being “superior” to all the rest. It would be similar to this country, where, even with disagreements, we live together as a diverse population in a harmony reinforced by Law. This is a dream considering present reality.

    Netanyahu, with his cheering squad of Orthodox militants, is, in fact, committing Genocide.
    What else can you call the systematic destruction of Mosques, Universities, schools, hospitals? It is deliberate obliteration of the structure underpinning Palestinian cultural life.
    Further proof of genocide: the attacks on aid trucks, aid workers, water systems, waste systems. Netanyahu and his goons in Parliament want the total destruction of Gaza and the settlement of West Bank by Palestinians. Indeed, he must be contemplating how to turn these areas along the Coast into an Israel Riviera, and the West Bank farms into agricultural
    assets for the State of Israel.

    When a Jewish friend of many years says in despair, that he never thought he would ever be “ashamed to be a Jew,” then, I think the rest of us should take notice.

  10. Rayne says:


    The Guardian :press: @[email protected]

    Israeli far-right minister speaks of effort to annex West Bank

    Bezalel Smotrich says he aims to establish sovereignty over occupied territory and thwart a Palestinian state Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has described in explicit terms his active effort to annex the West Bank to Israel, days after the Guardian revealed how the… #press

    Jun 24, 2024, 11:29 AM

    • David Hormel says:

      Sorry to be contradictory, but it’s really difficult to call it a ‘genocide’ when 98-99% of the population is still alive…if and when a majority of the Palestinians are actually dead or dying then maybe that term will be accurate. If we’re only considering intentions – yeah lots of Israelis, including some in government, want the Palestinians gone – then we should be using the same words, the same approbation, toward Hamas, whose whole avowed purpose is to eliminate Jews from the world (just like the Nazis they collaborated with in the 30’s and 40’s).
      The people we now call Palestinian have been killing their Jewish neighbors for at least 200, 250 years – long long before any idea of large-scale Jewish return to their ancestral home. Is it any wonder that the Israelis have murderous feelings toward them? Until this deep deep hatred on both sides changes, there is no possibility of peace. I fail to understand why this is not everyone’s focus – as well as why most analyses about the situation ignore facts and aspects older than, say, 50 years or so….(well not really, but I’m trying to be polite…).

      • Rayne says:

        Welcome to emptywheel, first time commenter.

        From U.N. Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect:

        Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
        Article II

        In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

        Killing members of the group;
        Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
        Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
        Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
        Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

        Emphasis mine. Casualties and deaths compiled by Statista as of May 14, 2024:

        Since the terrorist organization Hamas launched its attacks on Israeli soil on October 7, 2023, around 1,200 Israelis died, and 5,431 were injured. Through retaliation attacks by the Israeli armed forces against Hamas in Gaza, 35,091 Palestinians were killed, and 78,827 were injured. As of April 8th 2024, the number of Palestinian deaths in the West Bank was 432, due to the on going conflict.
        Information on the data situation
        Data on the number of fatalities and injuries are based on the UNOCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) reporting by both parties to the conflict. The respective data sources were named for the purpose of transparency. It must be stated that in the case of wars and other conflicts, objective data collection is almost impossible, and reports are based on estimates. At the same time, it needs to be noted that some parties to the conflict may use numbers and data selectively for their own agenda.

        Gee, that looks like “in part” to me. The numbers are likely worse, just as COVID deaths reported officially don’t match total excess deaths.

        As I asked another commenter, how far do you want to go back? to the Akkadian empire? to Phoenicians? The Ammonites? the Kingdom of Judah? How far back do should the world go to justify Netanyahu’s government crushing Gaza and potentially radicalizing the region with this both-sidesing bullshit?

        What matters is what’s happening on the ground TODAY. NOW. We don’t live in past. We can’t change the past. But humans can change the future by changing what’s happening NOW. The US needs to draw a line and stop the supporting the erasure of Gaza now, and insist on negotiations in good faith for the remaining hostages and for a means of co-existence.

        • David Hormel says:

          Lurker since the days of FDL, for what it’s worth….Gaza is a war zone, Hamas has/had an army of at least 30k, armed, organized, and trained – and embedded within a civilian population, which violates lots and lots of international laws, including the Convention on Human Rights. That’s also what is happening now.

          The professionals who study war measure the ratio of combatants-to-civilians killed, to try to get a handle on how careful/moral an army is; the IDF’s ratio in Gaza is tremendously less than what’s normally expected in urban war environments, much lower than say the US in Mosul or Russia anywhere in Ukraine. This indicates that the vulnerability of the civilian population is indeed in the IDF’s minds and efforts. Unfortunately, as Hamas considers their fellow Palestinians as sacrificial lambs, whether they want to be or not, that concern doesn’t go very far.

          When the arch-settlerist Ariel Sharon pulled Israel out of Gaza in 2006, within hours Hamas was sending rockets into Israel. One would think that de-occupying, supposedly Hamas’ goal, would produce at least a pause in hostilities, but that’s not what they’re about; that’s also why they constantly move the goalposts in negotiations, never agreeing (to the point of pissing off even their own allies) to any kind of pause or cessation of hostilities.

          What’s happening right now in Gaza is not happening in isolation, from the past or from the influence of others beyond the physical confines of the area. Your focus is so narrow as to render your analysis fairly meaningless; sorry again, but you can’t cherry-pick facts and aspects to a deeply-complicated situation and expect it to say much that is meaningful. It’s an horrific tragedy, both sides can credibly be accused of acting barbarically – but if we don’t acknowledge the deep reality there’s no possibility of a solution.

        • Rayne says:

          So basically you’re saying Israel has such a small military-to-civilian ratio in Israel compared to Hamas’ military-to-civilian ratio in Gaza that Netanyahu has good reason to demand and use 2000-lb bombs provided by our tax dollars to blow Gaza off the map.



          So complex it’s difficult to see from space.

      • boatgeek says:

        Many people who oppose Israel’s actions in Gaza are also opposed to Hamas’ reign there. One can believe that both Hamas and Likud want to commit genocide and oppose both. However, my tax dollars only support one side, and it ain’t Hamas.

        • Just Some Guy says:

          Hear, hear. Thank you.

          The level of sophistry displayed by some commenters here is dismayingly dismal.

        • ExRacerX says:

          Unfortunately, too many folks continue to conflate Hamas with Palestine, which is like blaming people who voted against Trump for Trump’s acts in office.

    • Rayne says:

      And of course this will be yet another intelligence failure, hitting an ambulance or a well-marked paramedic facility is just an oops like the “Oops, we hit the World Country Kitchen vehicle square in the driver.”

      Israeli Strike Kills Health Official, Gazans Say, as Gallant Visits U.S. – June 24, 2024, 7:00 p.m. ET

      An Israeli strike killed a top official in charge of ambulance services in the Gaza Strip, local health officials said on Monday, as the Israeli defense minister met with top American officials in Washington about a possible new phase in the Israeli offensive.

      The official, Hani al-Jafarawi, who was the director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, was killed in a strike on a health clinic in Gaza City, the Gazan Health Ministry said.

      The Israeli military did not respond to a request for comment. It said earlier on Monday that it had killed another man, Muhammad Salah, whom it called a Hamas operative, in Gaza City on Sunday night. It was not clear if the two men were killed in the same strike.

      And of course it’s an intended fuck-you because it happened even as Secretary of State and CIA diractor met with Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant.

      Some shift in Israel’s prosecution of war against Hamas.

  11. MsJennyMD says:

    He Saved the Life of Hamas’ Leader, Only for his Nephew to be Murdered on October 7
    Christiane Amanpour speaks with former Israeli prison official Yuval Bitton, who helped save Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s life while he was in jail, and spent hundreds of hours speaking with him. Bitton explains what happened, and how on October 7, Bitton’s nephew Tamir was murdered by Hamas.

      • Fact Matter says:

        Citing a report by a well-documented antisemite without comment. About the behavior of Israel, no less. You’re telling on yourself and your honesty on this subject, Rayne. The UN, who singles Israel out repeatedly while ignoring her neighbors… yeah.

        I’m curious – do you also believe that America has fallen prey to the “Jewish Lobby” when you cite to her, who definitely does to the point of posting about it publicly or not? If not, do you think that impacts her honesty or not?

        • Rayne says:

          Welcome to emptywheel, first time commenter. Oh, no, you’re really “Duranty Would Be Proud” and this is your second comment here using a sockpuppet different username which is far too common and should be reverted if you ever expect to publish a comment here again.

          The UN “singles Israel out repeatedly“…why? Why do you think that is? Do you think the broad spectrum of persons who are the United Nations all have a personal bias against Israel for no good reason and decide to pick on poor Israel for fun? (Thanks for conflating the nation of Israel with Netanyahu’s government and policies, I’m sure he appreciates it.)

          Don’t mind me, I’m just curious and I’m going to JAQ off the same way you did in your effort to both JAQ off and change the subject with whataboutism.

        • Clare Kelly says:

          From your citation, para 10:

          “In December 2022, sixty-five scholars of antisemitism, the Holocaust, and Jewish studies stated: “It is evident that the campaign against [Albanese] is not about combating today’s antisemitism. It is essentially about efforts to silence her and to undermine her mandate as a senior UN official reporting about Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.”[15]


          I’m confused by your choice of citation, given that it negates your assertion.

        • ButteredToast says:

          Reply to Clare Kelly says:
          June 24, 2024 at 4:04 pm

          Also in the Wikipedia article:

          In February 2024, French President Emmanuel Macron described the 7 October attack as “the largest antisemitic massacre of our century”. Albanese responded on Twitter that “the victims of the October 7 massacre were killed not because of their Judaism, but in response to Israeli oppression.”

          Even if Albanese herself isn’t anti-semitic, a statement like that indicates an inexcusable blindness toward just how much anti-Jewish (not just anti-Israel) rhetoric is embedded in Hamas ideology and propaganda. And her remark that the U.S. is “subjugated by the Jewish lobby” is disturbing, considering that pro-Nazi elements in Europe and the U.S. used very similar language in blaming the onset of World War II on Jews. Albanese could have said “pro-Israel lobby,” which incidentally includes a lot of evangelical Christians, but she did not.

  12. Booksellerb4 says:

    Wow! My sincere gratitude and appreciation for this extensively detailed post. After the 1st read-through I went to the article in the Times of Israel and then I had to look up PIJ, and a few other wiki entries, just to get familiar with all the “players”. Agree with much of what you’ve laid out here and will continue following the leads and links you’ve provided.

    “Is Netanyahu blowing off Biden because this entire genocide is a form of election interference intended to drive down Biden’s polling numbers, because Netanyahu wants Trump in the White House who’ll condone his complete obliteration of Gaza?” Yes, I think so.

    There’s so much detail here, I need more time to absorb it all. Good thing I have the day off.

    Would like to send another TY to Houston — was the first one received?

    P.S. Mom preferred the Andy Williams version of The Exodus Song.

  13. P J Evans says:

    Steve S from CT says:
    June 24, 2024 at 12:35 pm

    Maybe, possibly, if you’d made a genuine effort to read, understand, and engage, instead of posting Bibi’s propaganda, you’d have gotten a better response.

    • Steve S from CT says:

      Hi, PJ – what did I post that you consider “Bibi’s propaganda?” I pointed out that the term “genocide” has a specific legal definition, do you disagree? I’d note that I made that comment on this blog,, where the vast majority of content has to do with the specific meanings of words, so it SEEMED like an appropriate thing to point out. On the other comment, I think arguing about which side has been more wronged than the other is utterly pointless. Debating grievances isn’t the path to a solution, and it isn’t “engaging.” Of course, finding a solution depends on how one defines the problem. In my view, while Netanyahu may be blocking a solution, he isn’t the problem. Many people believe Israel in and of itself is the problem, and given how Rayne uses the terms “occupier” and “colonialist” she may (or may not) be one of them, but since she refused to answer my question we can only speculate. But please let me know what part of this you consider “propaganda.”

      • Rayne says:

        Reply to Steve S from CT (14 comments)
        June 24, 2024 3:23 pm

        I’m of Hawaiian descent. My kānaka maoli family was utterly decimated by an occupying force beginning with Captain Cook, and again with the overthrow of Hawaii’s sovereignty. I recognize colonial thinking when I see it, and I recognize occupiers. I also recognize I need to treat the tribes and land with whom and on which I live with respect. I’m also part Chinese — my great-grandfather wasn’t permitted to come to the U.S. because of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

        That’s what informs my thinking. You can just stop if you think you’re going to continue with your sea lioning.

        • Steve S from CT says:

          OK this is getting ridiculous. Are you a bot? How is commenting on a blog post you published anything like eavesdropping on a private conversation? I’ve been nothing but polite and respectful, despite your repeated attacks on my character and motivation that frankly are bordering on the offensive.

          I appreciate how your family history informs your empathy for the plight of the Palestinians. I have empathy for the Palestinians too. But the middle east isn’t Hawaii – it never had a single indigenous people or culture, because it’s essentially the exact opposite of an island, it’s at the crossroad between Africa, Europe and Asia. While there’s plenty of tragedy and injustice to go around, despite recent Jihadist propaganda this is not a simple story of white European colonialists occupying land belonging to brown indigenous people. It’s more complicated than that. Also, yes, Netanyahu is clearly not negotiating in good faith, that’s true. But more than one thing can be true at the same time, including that this whole thing would end the minute Hamas returned the hostages. That’s not whataboutism it’s just the truth.

        • ExRacerX says:

          Sea lion in Wondermark comic (posted by Rayne June 24, 2024 at 4:01 pm): “I have been unfailingly polite, and you two have been nothing but rude.”

          Steve S from CT June 24, 2024 at 4:50 PM: “I’ve been nothing but polite and respectful, despite your repeated attacks on my character and motivation that frankly are bordering on the offensive.”


        • Rayne says:

          Reply to ExRacerX
          June 24, 2024 6:18 pm

          This blood here? It’s mine, from biting my tongue. sksksksksk

        • Steve S from CT says:

          “Biting your tongue…” sorry, I was being slow on the uptake. Whataboutist, JAQ-off, Sea Lion, what you really wanted to say was “Zionist,” right?

        • Rayne says:

          Reply to Steve S from CT
          June 24, 2024 9:13 pm

          No. Don’t put words in my mouth or you will not make a 19th or 20th comment here.

  14. Brad Cole says:

    1. Look up genocide, it’s not a genocide nor a genocidal policy; eg the cooperation to keep water flowing.
    2. Just as many say don’t equate Hamas with the Palestinian majority, so it’s an error to equate Bibi and Likud with the Israeli majority. They’ve both been in power for about the same time, using divide and conquer politics, to the detriment of their societies.
    3. The US has limited control over either. Biden can’t tell them what to do but imagine the blowback if he shut off all arms and then Israel was overrun from 3 or even 4 sides. And don’t say that can’t happen, because it’s what the fighting is about. From the river to the sea.

    • Rayne says:

      1. Oh, right, water to 31 hospitals and multiple aid facilities, shelters, and schools destroyed to date is such a big help; Gazans couldn’t possibly want food when they have water. It’s not genocide, just sparkling ethnic erasure. /s See the definition here.

      2. Ah. You didn’t actually read my post, just parts you wanted to use, or you’d have noted this bit: “Jews are not Israel. Israel is not Benjamin Netanyahu, just as Gaza is not Hamas.” Convenient.

      3. Biden can stop shipping destructive materiel relying at least four the Foreign Assistance Act, Arms Export Control Act, the U.S. War Crimes Act, and the Leahy Law. Someone/s in Congress have already been looking into this based on the refresh of this CRS report, U.S. Arms Sales and Human Rights: Legislative Basis and Frequently Asked Questions. Perhaps the U.S. should be spending more effort on stopping Iran’s uranium refining and less effort supporting the indiscriminate killing of Gazan civilians if there’s such a big concern about “the neighbors.”

  15. freebird says:

    The Israelis are playing the long confidence game. They let an attack happen and then feign defenselessness. Then they take land in the guise of creating a buffer zone. I once was involved in a discussion with members of the IDF and Israeli equipment contractors. Their vitriolic devolution of Arab humanity could not be contained as their opponents were described as untermenschen. Now, these members along with right-wing settlers are part of the government.

    The tragic point is that the officers of Hamas played into the ideological hands of the revanchist Israelis who are avenging the deeds of Nebuchadnezzar and the Caesars while the innocents are slaughtered with impunity.

    • Error Prone says:

      June 24, 2024 at 3:15 pm – freebird wrote
      “The Israelis are playing the long confidence game. They let an attack happen and then feign defenselessness. Then they take land in the guise of creating a buffer zone. I once was involved in a discussion with members of the IDF and Israeli equipment contractors. Their vitriolic devolution of Arab humanity could not be contained as their opponents were described as untermenschen.”

      – “They let an attack happen.” That is a key assertion nobody in the media will make. I’ve posted elsewhere about circumstantial evidence and drawing credible inferences from it. There often are conflicting credible inferences, and who should you trust?

      We missed it, gee, vs. we waited, watched it, and now we’ve free rein to react, our way.

      Holding the circumstantial belief “they let an attack happen,” I also draw another circumstantial inference. If “they let an attack happen,” then they really don’t give a shit about hostages and if hostages were all released tomorrow, things would intensify against Gaza and Gazans.

      Yes, Hamas is fair game for IDF to take on, but disproportionate retaliation, as an entrenched national policy against civilian populations being done day in, day out, is gross.

      As to a fix, four billion a year would go a long way toward funding annual outside UN peacekeeping to enforce a negotiated NEW two states in enforced mutually disarmed peace status quo. We spend it one way, we can spend it another way in the future.

      AND — BDS can encourage movement in good faith, if possible.

      As to “playing the long confidence game.” I again note TOI
      In particular, Smoltrich’s lectern map DEMANDS NOTICE.×400.jpg
      The man’s Greater Israel is “From the River, both sides, to the Sea, and King Abdullah objected to it including his nation, and more.

      Netanyahu has his cabinet bedfellows, and the bunch are deep into land theft. They openly say so, mapping it out. Long game plan. Hubris. Chutzpah. Accretionist. Having Dimona,

      Earning BDS. So let’s do BDS. See if it helps. Opinions may differ.

      • freebird says:

        I saw a demonstration of the IDF infrared detection system that monitors Israel’s borders. The system could determine the difference between a sheep or a cow from miles away based on its infrared characteristics. Review of the IDF and Israeli contractors’ capabilities are well documented online and would devastate Hamas in total war. Hamas and its supporters are undertaking a fool’s errand with their current tactics.

        I fear that if Trump wins, all the Palestinians will be displaced.

  16. John H Wolfe says:

    Rayne-a very thoughtful and encompassing post-nice job.

    You were asked ‘what would you do’ (or similar) and at least one person was not accepting of your comment. I am foolish enough to suggest what I would do if I could edict US policy.
    1) Announce a 100% stoppage of all US funds, supplies, and other resources to Israel and Egypt to take effect in ten calendar days.
    2) Put forth a plan for a two-state solution that includes percapita parity of land and resources. Once established, there would be a peacekeeping force (intended to be there at least ten years) staffed by the most neutral of forces that can be mustered, perhaps Australia, the Nordics, and Indonesia. One of the responsibilities of the peacekeepers would be to facilitate access to the holy sites equitably.
    3) Any settlements within the boundaries of the newly constituted Israel or Palestine will be dismantled beginning within 120 days of the agreement and completed within 36 months of the final agreement.
    3) Convene a conference of G20 representatives to discuss funding for rebuilding the geography that is to become Palestine. As a good faith initial table stake, the US would commit to a minimum equivalent to twice the dollar amount of the weapons this country has provided Israel over the last five years.
    4) Pledge to restart US funding for Israel 90 days after an agreement has been reached by the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians.

    OK, lots of problems with this but it is time to put something bold and definitive on the table. I recognize that the US cannot dictate a resolution to the conflict but the US can put something on the table as a starting point.

    • Steve S from CT says:

      This proposal is based on the premise that a two-state solution could be achieved if Israel were forced to make an offer the Palestinians would be willing to accept. However, the Jihadists have been absolutely clear that there is no such offer – that they are unwilling to accept anything less than an Islamic state in all “Arab lands.” Of course, not all Palestinians are Jihadists, however, the Jihadists are the ones with the guns and rockets they get from Iran, and the funding from Qatar and others. They’re also the ones, btw, who recently raped, murdered, and took hostage Israeli civilians in order to provoke a war, because they wanted to head off a normalization with Saudi Arabia which could have helped lead to a peaceful solution, and instead decided a war was likely to benefit the Jihadist movement and damage Israel (a strategy that, sadly, is working very well for them). Given the tens of thousands of Jihadists now poised at Israel’s northern border ready to attack at any sign of weakness, please explain how you think your proposal would increase, rather than significantly reduce, the possibility of a peaceful solution? Note that nothing I’m saying here is intended to suggest Israel is not responsible for its own behavior. Just pointing out things are more complicated than they might seem, and more than one thing can be true at the same time.

      • John H Wolfe says:

        Of course, you bring up some valid points. And, perhaps you know how many more Palestinians have been turned into extremists by the IDF response to October 7. That is why, in my view, there can never be a two-state solution without a strong and very long-lasting, international peacekeeping force.

        Perhaps the withdrawal of US funds will focus people on ways of addressing the complex issues.

      • boatgeek says:

        You may wish to think just a moment on the fact that the Palestinian Authority recognized the state of Israel, cooperated on security, and got kicked in the teeth for it. Belazel Smotrich is now actively planning a slow-motion annexation of the West Bank via settlement expansion.

        It’s an unfortunate reality that Likud and Hamas are allies in the fight against a two-state solution. Likud and its right wing allies actively allowed those suitcases of Qatari cash into Gaza to prop up Hamas. Of course, you’d know that if you’d actually read Rayne’s post (see second link under Netanyahu’s Bad Faith), but that seems to be a little too much nuance and complication for you.

        Fundamentally, Israel has a choice to make with regards to two states or one. If they want a Jewish state that survives past a generation or two, they’ll need to accept a two-state solution. And that will require some painful concessions including removal of some settlements. If they proceed down the path of annexation, they’re going to end up with more Arab voters (Muslim and Christian) than Jewish. While I have no illusion that Israel will grant Palestinians the franchise in the near future if Smotrich is successful in annexing the Palestinian Territories, at some point they’re going to be forced into it. And that’s when the Jewish state comes to an end.

    • ShadeSeeker says:

      The two parties will not co-exist peacefully, children from both sides have been terrorized and a percentage from both sides will form extremist view detrimental to long term peace. This will go on for generations (it has already been going on for three generations). Yet no will accept any more Palestinian refugees, Jordan won’t, Egypt won’t. The only place for the Palestinians is in the West Bank and Gaza. Thus that is the territory we have to work with.

      Your idea of a third party (a military force) controlling the situation is the only solution. From a practical point of view, this third party would be required for several generations, lets say two, three and maybe more generations i.e. 25-100 years. We can not allow another single terrorist act to destroy the path to peace.

      I also believe that a solution needs to be imposed and that would probably require US help. Refusing military aid to Israel, maybe even sanctioning Israel if Netanyahu or extremist are still involved in the political process. The Palestinian people of course need to be involved and the surrounding Arab states also need to be brought on side. If both sides can see that a genuine attempt for long term peace is being made, than maybe it will work….hell it has to work!

  17. DaveInTheUK says:

    That’s a powerful and excellent piece, Rayne.

    Hamas use despicable and cowardly tactics when they hide in civilian areas, especially schools and hospitals. But the Israeli army is one of the best resourced in the world (including, shamefully, weapons supplied by my own country). They boast of training, skills and intelligence among the best in the world. They possess the means and capabilities to surgically deal with pretty much any terrorist.

    So why is their answer to every threat to drop a 2000lb bomb on it?

    They’ve long since crossed from legitimate self-defence into war crimes. It’s sickening.

    • Rayne says:

      If they’re the best intelligence in the world — and fuck me, we’re relying on them a lot — why the hell didn’t they act more effectively about the massive tunnel before October 7?

      How are we supposed to trust them, especially when Netanyahu has made almost no effort to mitigate harm to civilians?

  18. Sloth Sloman says:

    Every one of you trying to parse out whether this is a “true” genocide or “true” ethnic cleansing or “but actually…-ing” every reasonable statement of fact regarding this war should be ashamed of yourselves and your lack of intellectual honesty. You are complicit. You are the Hosses.

    The scoreboard blows all of your arguments out of the water before you start, and it’s not even close.

    “Israel will stop bombing civilians when Hamas stops using them as human shields” is not the logical trump card you think it is.

        • ButteredToast says:

          “Trying to put pro-Israel points on?” Excuse me, PJ? I commented that Francesca Albanese shouldn’t ignore that anti-Jewish (not just anti-Israel) rhetoric is pervasive in Hamas ideology and propaganda. And her saying that the U.S. is “subjugated by the Jewish lobby” is very similar to the language anti-semites in the 40s used in blaming World War II on Jews. I did not defend Netanyahu or what his government is doing, which is appalling.

  19. Raven Onthill says:

    Let me put in a word for political scientist Dov Waxman’s The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, a good FAQ on the history and ideology of the conflict, as well as a conclusion containing, in my opinion, one of the better peace proposals. (My brief review here.)

    I have Thoughts, but no time to write them. That book is a good place for people who don’t know the history to become informed on the matter.

  20. John Lehman says:

    What? No solutions? Hell, there’s been continuous wars in that area since Abraham. Turks, Persians, Arabs, Crusaders, British and more ( who’s being missed? Greeks ) Maybe we should give more respect towards the UN and resolve things there instead pointing fingers and bombing the hell out of each other.

    It’s not easy being human.

    • John Lehman says:

      Oh ya, sorry, forgot the Romans, those guys that established and spread our Judeo-Christian values through out the whole world.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Israeli minister and PR spokesperson: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now, that I think we should, especially in the United States, be on the offensive.” As if Israeli has ever lagged in trying to shape US government and public perception. Given the level of annual USG support, it’s a small investment, but why take chances.

    Then minister Gilad Erdan envisioned in Concert a “PR commando unit” capable of covertly launching widespread social media condemnations of celebrities who criticized Israel’s government.

    Israel’s lobbying, in part, expressly makes it a “strategic priority” to redefine antisemitism to include “harsh” criticism of Israel or the Israeli government. The state of Georgia, under Governor Brian Kemp, just adopted that enhanced definition, which seems to conflict with the First Amendment. “One struggles to find a parallel in terms of a foreign country’s influence over American political debate.”

  22. Steve S from CT says:

    One last thought, and I sincerely intend it to be constructive feedback. The idea of a “comments section” is a tantalizing goal, and I’ve wanted it to work since the days of Usenet, but it consistently falls into the same traps. When it’s words on a screen we always interpret things in the most negative way, and somehow we consistently develop these online personas that likely don’t reflect who we are as people in real life.

    You posted an article and invited comments. I commented. You could have engaged with my comments, or just ignored me, but instead you consistently responded in a hostile manner intended to belittle and dehumanize me, to render me into a meme. I know nothing about Rayne the human being, but Rayne the online persona – the one that wrote the article, moderates the comments, and posted these comments – is a bully, plain and simple. Go through the threads with an open mind if you can and you’ll see.

    I don’t like bullies, so I won’t be engaging further. I can already imagine the responses this will likely generate from your online persona, but I sincerely ask Rayne the real person to consider whether this is the outcome you actually want (not for me specifically, but in regards to the comments in general)

  23. Error Prone says:

    Good thread. Good post to start it. A hope is some policy makers may read it. Some likely keep an eye on EW.

  24. dejavuagain says:

    I was hoping that EW would continue to stay away from this topic. One thing is that apparently no editor reviewed the essay for balance. I searched for the word “rocket” and unfortunately there was no mention of the thousands of rockets assaulting civilian “targets” in Israel often on a daily basis, a definite war crime by Hamas and Hezbollah. Israel was being accused of genocide within days of the October massacre, before the IDF did anything. And genocide against the Palestinian’s? Does that include genocide against the millions of Palestinians in Jordan. And water – why in 15 years or more of control did the Gazans not build a proper desalination plant (even underground) or a proper solar generation facility, electing instead to build an elaborate military tunnel network with the intention of killing Jews? Anyway, Bowman will lose big time today – a victory for sanity and balance and education of progressives, who need attitude adjustments. AIPAC would have been derelict in not targeting Bowman. P.S. West Bank Settlements are abhorrent. Please close down this thread.

    • Rayne says:

      First, with this much money Israel should have been able to establish better security for itself, and perhaps acquire an approach to living peaceably with its neighbors:

      This money came at the expense of other priorities for the US, like health care and food for economically disadvantaged K-12 students, so on.

      Try using the Five Whys methodology of root cause analysis: begin with Why are rockets coming from Gaza aimed at Israel? When you get to the ultimate root cause, ask why the US should continue to pour money into a system which fails to address the root cause(s).

      Second, no. You are not going to tell this site what it can and can’t discuss. You’re also not going to pull that shit with me after two of my fellow contributors also discussed Gaza without being told by a commenter “I was hoping that EW would continue to stay away from this topic,” and “Please close down this thread.” You’re free to leave.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      LOL. Your sense of balance seems a tad distorted.

      As for Bowman, there may be lots of reasons to like or dislike him. But it’s more than disconcerting when a foreign country targets for removal from office individual politicians whose views it doesn’t like, and spends tens of millions to make it so, which is an explicit Israeli government aim.

      • P J Evans says:

        Or funds politicians it does like. (My congresscritter got 10K from AIPAC. He’s a booster for them, even when it’s morally indefensible, like right now.)

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The billionaire Miriam Adelson, widow of Sheldon, expects to spend $100 million for Donald Trump this campaign season, about what the couple spent in 2020, though “her team” emphasized she had not pledged a specific amount.

    Her rationale this time around is Trump’s purported stance on Israel. She staunchly opposes establishing a Palestinian state. John Bolton cautioned her, however, not to rely on any Trump promises, because his positions change with the wind. I don’t imagine Trump’s promised further tax cuts for the super wealthy play any part in her thinking.

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    While supporting Israel, the Netherlands’ MoD criticized its “disproportionate” use of force in Gaza:

    Israel is using “disproportionate force” on the Gaza Strip, outgoing Minister Kajsa Ollongren of Defense told Nieuwsuur on Monday. “I think this war has claimed far too many civilian casualties….Rafah is a place where you cannot carry out a military action without a lot of casualties. Well, that’s what happened.”

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “The starvation of Gaza is a perverse repudiation of Judaism’s deepest values Hunger’s role in Jewish philosophy and history makes it all the more horrifying that civilians in Gaza are eating garbage.”

    For many months now, it has been no secret that one of America’s closest allies has been using hunger as a weapon against a civilian population. That hunger is being used by Israel is supremely ironic, given the particular role that privation from food plays both in Jewish philosophy and in the grim history of the Jewish people. It is a charge that the Jewish State has repeatedly denied in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    • CaptainCondorcet says:

      Ezekiel 16 has some interesting things to say about the destruction of Sodom. One would think Jewish ultra-orthodox fundamentalists would err on the side of caution given a passage of the Nevim that sure doesn’t seem to be compatible with at-best careless (but obviously Rayne steps through why at this point it can’t JUST be carelessness) targeting of the poor and the hungry.

      • Fraud Guy says:

        It seems that, generally, reactionaries use religion as a weapon, shield, and veil for their actions, and not as a guiding principle to live according to its tenets.

  28. Whirrlaway says:

    “A Davidic Kingdom has no more need to respect the pre-existing world order than would a Thousand-Year Reich. Military/Administrative districts can be established as convenient, exemplar the West Bank or Vichy France. There is no peace and no end to sacrifice, only the Forward March.” -B.N.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the SAME USERNAME and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. In addition to “Whirrlaway” you have previously published comments as “Marshall Pease,” “Marshall,” “mpzrd,” and “Marsl.” Pick a name and stick with it. /~Rayne]

  29. CaptainCondorcet says:

    Among a wealth of fantastic citations and analysis, I am particularly thankful Rayne that you called out the U.S. election interference angle. There’s a line from Macklemore’s new song Hind’s Hall, a song that as a product by a mainstream musician is remarkably detailed in its critique of U.S. policy failures with Gaza, that says “F*%^ no I’m not voting for you [Biden] in the fall”. Macklemore would likely choose death before voting for Trump, but I wonder if anyone informed him prior to release what abstentions can do in close races. I’m not questioning the intensity of the emotions expressed by people outraged at the crimes of the IDF. But as this article notes, it is absolutely in Netanyahu’s best interests to humiliate Biden over and over if it gets “Finish the Job” Trump elected. But if that’s true, it’s also in the interest of a handful of other countries to see that happen as well. The Saudi angle was covered, but I wonder sometimes about the Putin one.

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The hits just keep on coming. There is concern that Israel is targeting journalists, as well as aid workers, because war knows no restraint.

    “An incredible loss for Palestine’: Israeli offensive takes deadly toll on journalists. The flak jackets handed to Palestinian media workers by the non-profit Press House quickly became a symbol of the dangers they face.”

    • Ahmed Y_25JUN2024_1951h says:

      I think China is a far bigger issue where there are no journalists at all. I am also concerned about China strangling our ability to get computer chips from Taiwan–this scares me more than anything else going on in the world.

      Is the potential chip shortage so scary to think about that we cannot focus on it?

      It seems there has been a lot of news about members of Hamas who are also journalists. Am I right?

      • Rayne says:

        See your comment at 7:51 pm and my reply. This is off topic in this thread.


        Community members: please do not reply to Ahmed because this may be an effort to DDoS the discussion here.

  31. Ahmed Y_25JUN2024_1951h says:

    I want to boycott China for its genocidal acts–I am angrier at China than anyone else.

    I figure if there is a place where I can get advice, it is here.

    Thank you.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We have adopted this minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too short it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      First, this is an off topic subject. We’re not discussing China.

      Second, a boycott is a withdrawal from commercial and other relations with a target entity. So stop buying anything made in China.

  32. Error Prone says:

    A thought this morning over morning coffee. This thread has lasted without an influx of several propagandists yelling at us as “antisemites.” The propagandists, many in Congress who are not Jewish, know they are dealing with people here who are beyond the reach of that tactic. It is used in popular media, the term.

    I expect the post has not been missed by AIPAC people. They’ve been largely silent here. I think they see and let live posting that says Israel is a separate question from unhinged and/or ungrounded anti-Jewish hate, Which is what “antisemitism” is, although the term is somewhat bogus. Arabs are Semetic people and Arabic is a Semetic language. What Israel’s leadership is doing to Gazan Arabs is, in semantic truth, antisemitism.
    That link notes the scholarship suggesting how “East-European Jews are more ethnically Khazar than they are Semitic,” with a host of footnote links. We need a better term, because there are Semites not Jewish, and Jews not Semites. That ethnicity situation is worth thought, but for now the term “antisemitic” has been coopted by Jewish usage. Into our language as the equivalent of wrongful hatred toward Jewish people.

    Smotrich talking of his ancestry in the area likely is ethnically Semetic. David Ben Gurion was born in Poland and would fit a Khazar ethnicity; although clearly a Zionist and an Israeli. Mixing the scholastic and linguistic distinctions with a popularization of “antisemite” usage is established, and unfortunately now there is no escape. But accepting the term for what matters; we basically in commenting here accept the truth that opposition to Zionism, or to this particular war-making of Israel’s current government is NOT antisemism. And the propagandists know better than to try to mess up distinctions here while they get away with rhetoric elsewhere.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You assume that superb moderating has not saved this thread from inundation by paid lobbyists, for whom influencing American public opinion is a strategic imperative.

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t want to get into the ethnic backgrounds of Netanyahu’s government; it’s their choices and actions which matter. The gross failures to use effective intelligence to protect Israel — resulting in the October 7 attack and the subsequent repeated refusal to protect Gazan civilians in what looks like an extrajudicial reprisal rather than an effort to restore order and bring Hamas to justice for the attack — have nothing to do with ethnicities. It looks like Netanyahu abusing his powers for corrupt purposes, assuring retention of his position and power as PM during a manufactured war while clearing land for future development.

      We’ve seen this kind of gross disrespect for human life and the will of the people in the not-too-distant past. We only need to look back at Assad’s crushing of Aleppo. We can’t call what happened there genocide because so many different ethnic groups were involved, a comparison which differentiates Netanyahu’s war on Gaza. The results are the same: a leader crushed a city half the area of Gaza with the same population numbers as Gaza because that leader was corrupt and incompetent.

      And I resent my tax dollars being sent to prop up another corrupt and incompetent leader while civilians die. I resent the GOP congressional caucus inviting that corrupt and incompetent leader to speak in our nation’s capitol even as that leader is killing innocents.

      • Error Prone says:

        The Netanyahu invitation is wholly political, which makes it worse.

        The ethnicity – only mentioned per objection to the term “antisemitism,” the term itself, semantically, as well as its misuse by too many to mean “you disagree.”

        No intention to misdirect attention, you are fine jumping that possibility, it helps. The conduct of a rogue government is the story, and the uncertainty is the mood of “the Israeli street.” If that term does not offend any readers.

        • Rayne says:

          Netanyahu relies on the framing of any dissent as “antisemitism.” A lot of dissent has been suppressed that way.

          But it’s Netanyahu’s corruption and incompetency which should be hammered.

          I am still furious that we’re financing massive bombs which could create more voids where they are dropped…all because Netanyahu’s government apparently has a problem with systematically using ground penetrating radar or similar technology to detect voids like tunnels which could have been monitored if not closed. And if Netanyahu’s government was actually doing that, why did October 7 happen at all? The frame semitism/antisemitism has nothing to do with that fuckery.

      • Error Prone says:

        Rayne notes, ” I resent the GOP congressional caucus inviting that corrupt and incompetent leader to speak in our nation’s capitol even as that leader is killing innocents.’

        Such a speech might not happen.

        TOI today,

        Item subheadline re possible ICC arrest warrants – “Prime Minister’s Office said reexamining Netanyahu’s trip to US next month should warrants be issued, as any emergency landing in a signatory country could result in his arrest”

        • Rayne says:

          Reply to Error Prone
          June 26, 2024 at 1:00 pm

          How fortunate for the accused that the U.S. has withdrawn its signature from the ICC. -__-

  33. earlofhuntingdon says:

    AIPAC spent over $20 million to defeat Democratic progressive Jamal Bowman, and to make a point about the cost to other politicians and public figures of being an outspoken critic of the israeli government, especially in the way it conducts its war in Gaza. Bowman spent about $3 million, high, but a more typical sum for a House race. This is also the sort of response Trump’s billionaires aim at effective Democrats.

    “The Aipac-funded candidate defeated Jamaal Bowman. But at what cost?”

    “Jamaal Bowman’s primary defeat leaves progressives angry at role of Aipac.”

Comments are closed.