Since March 30, when Hamas launched its first “return march” with thousands storming Israel’s border, Israel’s media pundits have said neither side wants escalation. They had it right. What’s being termed “the small arrangement” looks like a big win for Hamas, whose strategy most resembles that of North Korea.
Britain’s Labour Party has undergone a kind of gravitational collapse. Its fringes have fallen into its center, forming a black hole that is a maelstrom of anti-Semitism. Hard to imagine that only a decade ago it was the most mainstream of parties. Its leader Tony Blair preached a mixture of social justice and free markets. The speed with which Labour has fallen to extremists should serve as a wake-up call.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared that the “spirit of Hitler has been revived, Israel is the most fascist and racist state.” He then called on – well, everybody – “to work against Israel.” What sent Erdogan into orbit was Israel’s newly minted Nation-State Law, which passed last week by a vote of 62 to 55 after a boisterous Knesset debate lasting over eight hours.
Biographers typically have an affection for their subjects. Sometimes so much so that they descend into hagiography. No danger of this from Haaretz writer Anshel Pfeffer, an extreme example of the debunking biographer. Typical of his snarky style: Netanyahu “had given up on Israeli journalists being honest enough to present him as the country’s only true leader.”
As Bashar al-Assad retakes southwestern Syria, Israel is concerned. On July 1, the IDF moved tanks and artillery to the Golan border, a signal to the Syrian president to proceed with caution. To ensure the message was received, the Israeli army uncharacteristically announced the military reinforcement. The Jewish state seeks to ensure several red lines: 1) that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah leave Syria; 2) that Assad honors the 1974 Agreement on Disengagement; and 3) that a horde of refugees doesn’t storm its border.
For most people, American aid to Israel is the measure of the “special relationship” between the two countries. AIPAC, the major pro-Israel lobby in the United States, considers its efforts to secure this aid its No. 1 priority. It was therefore surprising to hear senior Israeli officials in late May complain about American assistance, with one describing it as a drug addiction.
Last week marked 18 years since Israel fled southern Lebanon. The man responsible for it, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, notable for wearing his self-satisfaction on his sleeve, said in a radio interview on Thursday: “Then, as now, I am very proud of my decision to remove Israel Defense Forces from Lebanon.” He did this, he added, despite “many reservations from the political and security establishment.” In fact, Barak overcame the objections of the IDF’s entire upper echelon. One wishes he had directed the same energies to overcoming Hezbollah instead.
A couple of weeks before the Gaza riots began, the pro-Israel media watchdog CAMERA put up across from the New York Times building a massive billboard: “The New York Times At it AGAIN: Defaming Israel with distorted ‘news.’” Although its strategic location made it impossible to miss, Israelis nearly universally agree that the Old Gray Lady didn’t get the message—and that the Times is but one of a slew of global media outlets copying from the same script, according to which IDF soldiers randomly kill peaceful protesters.