For The Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby writes: The Pew Research Center last week released a new survey of American attitudes in the Middle East. The results weren’t surprising. In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, 51 percent of Americans say they sympathize more with Israel. Only 14 percent feel greater affinity for the Palestinians.
Sympathy Toward Israel Has Never Been Higher
Pew’s findings demonstrate the strength of pro-Israel feeling in the United States. The poll was conducted amid the current fighting with Hamas, but the bottom line hardly changed from Pew’s last survey in April, when it reported that in the 36 years it has been sampling public opinion, “sympathy toward Israel has never been higher.”
[Check out the book "Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel" at Amazon.com]
But below the surface, America’s Israel-friendly consensus is splitting along the same left-vs.-right fault line that has polarized so many other issues. While support for Israel is overwhelming among Republicans and conservatives, it has been shrinking among Democrats and liberals. “The partisan gap in Mideast sympathies has never been wider,” reports Pew, with 73 percent of Republicans sympathetic to Israel in the ongoing conflict, but just 44 percent of Democrats. Respondents identifying as liberal Democrats were five times as likely as conservative Republicans to sympathize more with the Palestinians.
Thus is the Democratic Party losing its way on one of the great moral issues of our time.
For roughly the first third of Israel’s existence, Democrats tended to support the Jewish state more strongly than Republicans did. In a compelling new book, ““Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel”, foreign-affairs thinker Joshua Muravchik writes that during the run-up to the Six Day War in 1967, “Israel was above all a cause championed by liberals.” So heartfelt was this support that even ardent Democratic opponents of the Vietnam War, such as John Kenneth Galbraith and Eugene McCarthy, advocated US military action on Israel’s behalf. Read the rest of this entry »
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) July 22, 2014
Synagogues are targets during increasingly violent protests against Operation Protective Edge
For The Times of Israel, Cnaan Lipshiz reports: For the past 14 years, French Jews have grown accustomed to coming under attack during periods of conflict in the Middle East from hostile elements within their country’s large Arab and Muslim communities.
One recent incident, however, stood out: the July 13 riot by Palestinian sympathizers outside the Synagogue de la Roquette in central Paris that trapped some 200 terrified people inside the building. A street brawl ensued between the rioters and dozens of Jewish men who arrived to defend the synagogue.
“In people’s minds, there will be a before and after the Synagogue de la Roquette,” Joel Mergui, president of the Consistoire, French Jewry’s central religious services organization, told the French newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur.
The incident involved pro-Palestinian protesters who reportedly had just come from a large demonstration against Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza.
The violence drew a stern rebuke from French President Francois Hollande. Read the rest of this entry »
“This is the cruelest, most grotesque war that I’ve ever seen.”
For NRO, Celina Durgin: Hamas is purposely placing Palestinian citizens in Gaza in harm’s way to cause more civilian casualties at the hands of Israeli troops, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday on Special Report.
Hamas is “using their own people as propaganda fodder,” Netanyahu said.
Hamas soldiers have positioned their weapons in civilian homes… (read more)
[VIDEO] Bill Whittle: It’s Been 45 Years Since Man Walked on the Moon for the First Time. Have We Been Challenged Since?Posted: July 20, 2014
Its been 45 years since man walked on the moon for the first time. Have we been challenged since? Or are we a windless sail, full of potentital without a direct challenge? We tamed a continent, we conquered the skies, and we did fly to the moon–don’t let us, as a people, only have political discussion as our challenge.
Sarcelles (France) (AFP) – A French rally against the deadly Israeli offensive in Gaza once again descended into chaos Sunday as protesters looted shops and riot police lobbed tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds.
“We’re going to get the cash register.”
The demonstration in the northern Paris suburb of Sarcelles is the third to have deteriorated in the space of eight days in a country that counts the largest Muslim population in western Europe and a huge Jewish community.
Looters then began raiding shops, wrecking a funeral home and destroying its front window as several protesters shouted: “F@ck Israel!”
A decision by authorities to ban protests in areas deemed too sensitive has also garnered controversy as they took place anyway and turned violent, while authorised ones elsewhere in the country — as well as in other cities across Europe — were peaceful.
From Vienna to Stockholm and on to Amsterdam, thousands rallied on Sunday to oppose Israel’s offensive, which has left more than 400 Palestinians and 20 Israelis dead. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIT LAHIA, GAZA STRIP—Saying they’ve begun to reevaluate their stance as the latest outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence has escalated, hundreds of residents of the Gaza Strip told reporters Friday they are starting to have mixed feelings about Hamas using them and their loved ones as human shields.
“I’m not crazy about the fact that Hamas is actually okay with me dying as long as it fuels both resentment toward Israel and support for the party.”
“At this point, I have to say I’m pretty much on the fence about having militants strategically store their missile batteries in and around my home, which Israel will almost certainly want to bomb,” said Azzam al-Salhi, explaining that, while he’s always understood Hamas’ reliance on guerilla tactics to perpetuate the decades-long fight against Israel, he has recently soured on the idea of going to bed every night facing the real prospect of being incinerated by an Israeli airstrike intended for a Hamas arms cache.
“I guess I sort of appreciate where they’re coming from, so it’s tough. Of course, my kids hate it…”
Thousands march through French cities in protest of Israeli operation in Gaza Strip; French president says will not allow violence to spill over into France
REUTERS – Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched in French cities on Saturday to condemn violence in Gaza, defying a ban imposed after demonstrators marched on two synagogues in Paris last weekend and clashed with riot police.
“The far-left New Anticapitalist Party, an organizer of last Sunday’s rally and the banned one in Paris, urged protesters in Paris to defy the ban, prompting police to issue a warning”
A Reuters photographer said demonstrators in northern Paris launched projectiles at riot police, who responded by firing teargas canisters and stun grenades.
Demonstrators also climbed on top of a building and burned an Israeli flag. At least one car was set on fire.
A police spokesman said that 38 demonstrators had been arrested by early evening and that the clashes were dying down.
French President Francois Hollande said he understood emotional responses to the killing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in a flare-up of hostilities with Israel but would not allow violence to spill over into France. Read the rest of this entry »
Boko Haram wants to enforce an Islamic state in Nigeria though half the country’s population of 170 million is Christian.
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Boko Haram extremists have killed more than 100 people and hoisted their black and white flag over a town left undefended by Nigeria’s military, just 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the northeastern state capital of Maiduguri, a civil defense spokesman and a human rights advocate said Saturday.
“Nine major villages are on the run.”
Hundreds of villagers in another northeast area, Askira Uba, are fleeing after receiving letters from the Islamic extremists threatening to attack and take over their areas, spokesman Abbas Gava of the Nigerian Vigilante Group said.
Survivors said Saturday that insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades and lobbed homemade bombs into homes, and then gunned down people as they tried to escape the fires in the attack on Damboa town launched before dawn Friday. Most of the town has burned down, they said. Read the rest of this entry »
Now that the U.S.-Russia relationship has broken down, Moscow could throw a wrench into the teetering nuclear negotiations with Iran.
“If Putin decides that retaliating against the U.S. and ruining Obama’s foreign policy legacy is more important than sealing a pact with Iran, the whole thing could unravel.”
“An extension is the only thing the Iranians need to complete their bomb work. The whole point of the sanctions was to make sure that time is not on the side of the Iranians.”
U.S. officials, lawmakers, and experts, have been watching and waiting for Putin to use the Iran negotiations as a way to mess with Obama ever since the tit-for-tat sanctions began in March.
Moscow and Tehran have been negotiating a $1.5 billion oil-for-goods exchange, which could undermine international pressure on Iran to make a deal with the West. But overall, Moscow has continued to be a reasonably constructive part of the international coalition pressing Iran to roll back its nuclear program. Read the rest of this entry »
Jon Stewart Wrong on Israel-Gaza ‘I think they take the very funny Mr. Stewart very seriously. Which, in this case, is a bit of a problem.’Posted: July 17, 2014
It’s an asymmetrical war, all right. But America’s satirical news host has got it the wrong way around
Yeah, it misrepresents what’s going on here. But hey, it is funny, and all those millions of Americans who watched it on Monday know that it’s just satire, don’t they?
Except I fear that they do not. I think they take the very funny Mr. Stewart very seriously. Which, in this case, is a bit of a problem.
Why? Let’s take it joke by joke.
Our super-smart, engagingly frustrated host starts up despairing over a news report of the intensifying conflict which says Israeli troops are poised to invade Gaza, and which ends with the words “as the aerial bombardment from both sides continues.”
Stewart: “Tastes great. More killing.”
See, right off the bat, I’m unhappy. Because, first up, he’s begun with talk of Israel being set to invade Gaza, but without any cited reason — such as, say, Hamas being a terrorist organization with a notorious track record of suicide bombings, individual killings, kidnappings, and incessant rocket fire. And, second, because the implication here is that the combatants — Israel and Hamas — are both happy to be back killing again, and that’s just plain false. Hamas is avowedly committed to the destruction of Israel and holds to a perverted interpretation of Islam that claims killing Jews, Christians and non-believing Muslims is your guaranteed path to paradise if you also die in the process. Israelis, by contrast, would much rather live and let live. (We left Gaza unilaterally in 2005, under international pressure, hoping that the security risk would be worth it, and that we’d be rewarded with tranquility rather than rocket fire, but I wouldn’t expect Stewart to go back that far.)
Stewart: “Both sides are engaging in aerial bombardment, but one side appears to be bomb-better-at it. (Studio laughter at the wordplay.) Most Hamas rockets are neutralized by Israel’s Iron Dome technology, and Israeli citizens can even now download a warning app. (Cut to clip of Israel’s US ambassador Ron Dermer explaining how Israelis can know where and when they’re being attacked.) So Israelis seem to have a high-tech, smart-phone alert system.”
Let me see if I understand the point he’s making here: Having falsely implied that Israel is as keen on killing as Hamas is, Stewart now seems to be criticizing Israel for not being as vulnerable as Hamas would like it to be to those Hamas rockets that are sent to kill us. Read the rest of this entry »
For Commentary Magazine, Max Boot writes: It tells you all you need to know about Hamas that its biggest victory to date against Israel–one that is no doubt being celebrated in the fortified bunkers that house its leadership–was the death of four young Palestinian boys on a Gaza City beach on Wednesday. The boys were apparently killed by an Israeli bomb or missile.
Needless to say, the Israel Defense Forces do not deliberately target children–any more than do the armed forces of the United States or other civilized powers. That is both morally abhorrent and strategically stupid: What possible purpose can be served in killing children? But while deeply harmful and counterproductive for Israel, this inadvertent strike was a big win for Hamas. It produced the most coveted of victories in modern warfare: a front-page picture, taken by the storiedNew York Times photographer Tyler Hicks, of one dead boy lying on the Gaza sand and another being carried in a man’s arms.
There is no surer or better way for Hamas to make its propaganda point, which is the only point of this entire exercise from its standpoint. Hamas, like other terrorist groups, knows it cannot win a military victory against a much more powerful enemy, but it can win a public-relations victory by fostering the illusion that Israel is the aggressor and the Palestinians its victims.
Such an image is as powerful as it is misleading. All informed observers know the facts. Read the rest of this entry »
The summer when America fell apart
When I read that opening sentence, I thought – finally, someone’s on the same page. When we began this ongoing theme – The Global Panic of July 2014 – it was meant as a joke, dark humor to survive the seemingly endless cascade of bad news. But it’s also an amplified recognition of reality; increasing disorder and dysfunction, nationally and internationally. Mixed with breathtaking technological advances, with the promise of more economic disruption to come. From 9/11 until now, we are witnessing a disintegration of the post-war world order. This summer marks even more global instability. Things are unravelling at a faster pace than even my most pessimistic colleagues have suggested. A historic turning point? If so, Victor Davis Hanson‘s an informed tour guide. Read the whole thing here.
Germany in 2008 enthusiastically hosted candidate Barack Obama for his so-called “Victory Column” speech. Now, Germans suddenly sound as if they are near-enemies of the U.S. Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly was furious that her cell phone was tapped by American intelligence agents.
“Asian powers apparently assume that Obama won’t guarantee the security of the Japanese as America had in the past.”
She just kicked the top CIA official out of Germany, further enraged that the U.S. had recruited at least one German official to provide intelligence on the German government. Polls show that Germans find Vladimir Putin’s Russian tyranny almost as popular as Barack Obama’s America. Read the rest of this entry »
What is perverse, is that we look for bloggers who are influential, but only if they are nice about people.”
— Caroline Doudet, Blogger
– Translated from French via Google Translate –
“New: restaurants continue their customers who dare to criticize I must say they are the judges to prove them right.”. The lawyer-blogger Maître Eolas was surprised last night of the decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Bordeaux on June 30, which condemned referred blogger “The Irregular” € 1500 as a provision on damages 1000 € of costs of proceedings (Article 700 of the Code of Civil Procedure) for a review of a restaurant in Cap Ferret (33).
[A better analysis of this at The Corner by National Review's Ian Tuttle - "French Court Criminalizes Food Critic’s Google Success"]
This restaurant had just enjoyed a post “The Irregular” titled “The place to be avoided at Cap-Ferret” followed by the name of the institution (the article has since been removed but is still available in the cache here) published in August 2013, and appeared on the first page of Google when you typed the name of the restaurant.
‘The Place to be Avoided at Cap-Ferret’
The paper lamented including disruption of service in the institution and the attitude of the owner of the premises, described as a “diva”. “All that for two appetizers … take what wars” concluded the post with reference to a dark history of appetizers arrived at the same time as the main course (the blogger had therefore returned). Read the rest of this entry »
The Hammer on Iranian Nuclear Program Negotiations: Obama Administration wants to ‘Come Up with a Fig Leaf of a Deal’Posted: July 16, 2014
Charles Krauthammer last night said that the Obama administration and Iran will agree to continue talks about the latter’s nuclear program this week because the administration wants to “come up with a fig leaf of a deal.”
- A few minutes ago, two rockets fired from Gaza struck the Ashkelon area, and five rockets struck elsewhere in southern Israel, as per IDF.
- In an interview to a news agency, President Shimon Peres admits that firing at Gaza made for a “moral dilemma”, but there was no alternative to it.Speaking to the Associated Process, the nonagenerian President said, “There is a moral problem, but I don’t have a moral answer to it. If they are shooting at us, and don’t let our mothers and their children … have a full night’s sleep, what can we do?”
Israel says Hamas is telling Gazan civilians to ignore IDF warnings. The Israeli Army further says that it called off three airstrikes after identifying civilians in the area.
Earlier today, we urged civilians to move away from IDF military targets in Gaza. Once again, Hamas told civilians to ignore our warnings.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 16, 2014
Holding off its barrage of rockets briefly in line with a truce proposed by Egypt, Israel resumed its strikes on Gaza Strip as Hamas continued firing, dashing hopes of a ceasefire. Read the rest of this entry »
For The Weekly Standard, Ellen Bork reports: Over half a million people filled the streets of Hong Kong on July 1, marching for democracy on the anniversary of the British colony’s handover to Chinese Communist rule in 1997.
On June 29, an unofficial referendum organized by democracy activists concluded with 800,000 votes cast—more than one-tenth of Hong Kong’s population. The overwhelming majority supported a democratic election for Hong Kong’s next chief executive.
“The Obama administration’s response to the massive display of support for democracy has been more appropriate to a teenager shrugging ‘whatever’ than a major power expressing itself on a central pillar of the president’s Asia policy.”
Beijing has promised that in 2017, the Hong Kong chief executive will be popularly elected. Hoping to tamp down expectations of an actual democratic election with a competitive nomination process, however, Beijing issued a white paper on June 10 that identified “loving the country” as the “basic political requirement” for civil servants, including the chief executive. For Beijing, “love” means loyalty to the Communist party, disdain for civil liberties undergirded by the rule of law, and hostility to democracy. Read the rest of this entry »