Miss Iraq: If you still wonder? (& Iron Dome also saves many Palestinian lives)

May 24, 2021

The former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan has posted many comments supportive of Israel in recent days. I have met her in the past, and like many other Muslim Arabs from the Middle East that I've met, they don't share the antisemitism that many opponents of Israel raised in the west (both Muslim and non-Muslim) do.

The video of the attack that she is referring to in the tweet pictured above is here.

See also from 2018: Video: Miss Iraq, defying death threats, visits and praises Israel


[Note by Tom Gross]

There are hundreds of people writing to me with questions about the Middle East at present. I apologize that I don't have time to reply to the vast majority of you.

Below are four articles that I think are all worth reading when you have time.

Before that are three short videos of a few seconds duration each, and a letter from today's Wall Street Journal.



The person who filmed this is laughing. Far more vicious unprovoked assaults on Jews resulting in hospitalization in cities including London, New York and Los Angeles have continued in recent days.




I mentioned this on Facebook a few days ago, but many people outside America have not seen examples of the many violent unprovoked assaults on Jews in America in recent days, partly caused by media incitement against Israel. In this example, random Jews were assaulted at a Los Angeles restaurant by persons shouting pro-Hamas slogans.




Another example from recent days in Los Angeles of unprovoked assaults on Jews, this time by assailants in a car.




More here:


As I mentioned in my dispatch last week, CNN fired their contributor for also praising Hitler.


Will the BBC once and for all dismiss the antisemites reporting on (and lying about) Israel from within the BBC ranks?

-- Tom Gross



Iron Dome Also Saves Many Palestinian Lives
Wall Street Journal
May 24, 2021

Ultimately the Iron Dome, by precluding a stronger Israeli response, saves many more Palestinian lives than Israeli ones, by orders of magnitude.

The fact that Israel has a technological way to withstand such rocket assaults promotes a public-opinion view that a more vigorous Israeli reply isn't warranted and would be an unnecessary escalation because the number of Israeli civilian casualties is relatively low. It is especially harmful and myopic that the media focuses on comparisons with the number of Palestinian casualties (mostly Hamas operatives). According to his line of thinking, Israel should stand still, sticking to the defensive measures of deflecting (and tolerating) the blows of Palestinian rocket attacks. No nation on earth would measure up to such an expectation. Israel should not be held to this unreasonable benchmark.

Zeeiv Amitay
Stamford, Conn.




The Palestinians need to stop living in the past
Fanatical irredentism and recurrent intifadas haven't served them well, as the rubble of Gaza shows
By Andrew Roberts
Daily Telegraph (London)
May 21, 2021

(Andrew Roberts is a distinguished British historian, and a longtime subscriber to this email list.)

Sometimes it is difficult for a people to face the stark truth about themselves, but the latest Gaza conflict makes it unavoidable: the Palestinians need to get over their historical complaints, which largely date back to the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948.

To listen to some in the anti-Israel movement today ? which extends far further into Britain's media than it should ? one might imagine that the Palestinian exodus of 73 years ago was somehow an occurrence unique in modern history. The truth is very different. For all sorts of geopolitical reasons, many groups were forcibly or voluntarily moved during the troubled decade of the 1940s. There were no fewer than 20 different groups ? including the Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus of the Punjab, the Crimean Tartars, the Japanese and Korean Kuril and Sakhalin Islanders, the Soviet Chechen, Ingush and Balkars ? who were displaced in that period, many in their tens or hundreds of thousands.

None of the specific circumstances are directly comparable. But all of these peoples chose to try to make the best of their new environs except one, and most have succeeded. Some, such as those who emigrated to the United States, have done so triumphantly. The sole exception has been the Palestinians, whose leaders again and again chose to embrace fanatical irredentism and recurrent intifadas regardless of the interests of their people. The rubble seen in Gaza today is all they have to show for it.

The Palestinian militant cadres chose the terrorist path while every other one of the displaced people of the late-1940s chose the peaceful one of moving on with their national stories, looking forward, rather than back to a past that has grown rosier through the distorting prism of hindsight.

After the Second World War, more than 3 million Germans were forced to leave their homes in the Sudetenland, Silesia and lands east of the Oder and Neisse rivers, where their forefathers had lived for centuries. They embarked on the 300-mile journey westwards under conditions of extreme deprivation, carrying only what they could pack on to carts and into suitcases. Having reached the new borders of East and West Germany, they settled and made no irredentist claims to the new Poland and Czechoslovakia. Today, they and their children comprise some of the most successful people in Germany.

The same period saw massive population transfers in the Punjab and North-West Frontier territories of India, where some 16 million people crossed between the new states of Pakistan and India, and modern historians are finally coming to agreement that somewhere between one-half and three-quarters of a million people died in the appalling communal massacres that ensued. While there are severe border disputes still between the two successor countries over Kashmir, no one from the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities is agitating for restitution of the lands their forefathers farmed or shops they once owned in the Punjab.

Before his death in 1953, Joseph Stalin moved entire ethnic groups from one side of Eastern Europe and the USSR to the other, sometimes numbering millions. They were "relocated" to Siberia, the Crimea or Central Asia, often hundreds of miles from their homelands and under the harshest conditions. In all, forced internal migrations of the Tatars, Volga Germans, Ingush, Balkars, Karachays, Meskheta Turks and other ethnic groupings numbering some six million led to the genocidal deaths of up to 1.5 million, including 46 per cent of the Crimean Tatars. Yet there are no appreciable irredentist movements among these former Soviet citizens; they have made the best of their new situations rather than carrying on an ultimately hopeless struggle to return.

Tragically, it has been the Arab states' cynical policy for over seven decades to keep the Palestinians boiling with indignation. For those Palestinians who have continued to live in refugee camps even into the fourth generation, 1948 was indeed a catastrophe, but many other peoples have learned to deal with the same or worse by moving onward and upward. The State of Israel is here to stay, and until the Palestinians are able to accommodate themselves to that fact, they will never find happiness



Israel's secret weapon: We have nowhere else to go
Golda Meir's words are as relevant as ever today, and the past weeks of another mini-war with Hamas and the accompanying spike of antisemitism have only further proven her point.
By Lahav Harkov
Comment article
Jerusalem Post
May 24, 2021

There's a story that US President Joe Biden has told many times over the years about his first trip to Israel.

As a freshman senator in 1973, Biden was granted a meeting with prime minister Golda Meir, who together with Yitzhak Rabin briefed Biden on the many threats Israel faced, showing him a series of maps.

"I guess she could see the sense of apprehension on my face," Biden said in a 2010 retelling of the story. "She said, 'Senator, don't look so worried? We Israelis have a secret weapon.' And I thought she only had said this to me, no one else in the whole world? And I thought she was going to tell me about a new secret weapon."

So what is Israel's secret weapon, Biden asked eagerly.

"We have nowhere else to go," replied Golda.

In 2021, when Israelis travel the world and find success in a broad range of fields, when technology and globalization make a large ? but privileged ? segment of the global population feel like they hold the world in their hands, some may think that statement is an anachronism.

And yet Golda's words are as relevant today as ever, with the past two weeks of another mini-war with Hamas and the accompanying spike of antisemitism only further proving her point.

We, the Jewish people, have nowhere else to go.

Israelis and the vast majority of Jews in the world who feel a strong connection to Israel already knew this, of course.

Just walk down the street in Israel and ask any random passerby if they think they would be alive today if there was no Israel. Chances are the person would say "no."

The majority of Israeli Jews, descended from the 850,000 refugees of the ethnic cleansing of Jews from North Africa and the Middle East ? minus our tiny corner of the region ? have good reason to say "no."

I would also say no.

It was the pre-state Yishuv that kept all four of my maternal great-grandparents from meeting the deadly fate of their relatives at the hands of pogromists and then Nazis, and there are countless Israelis with similar stories.

But Hamas and their acolytes, the useful idiots in the West echoing the terrorist group's charter by chanting the genocidal rallying cry: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," seem to have missed this point.

When Palestinians compare Israel to crusaders, they're saying we're a blip in history, destined to be driven out by a heroic Muslim-led army as was done to the crusaders after 88 years.

But when Palestinians who have picked up on leftist lingo, along with their fellow travelers, present Israel as an illegitimate "settler colony" ? as one meme that was shared by influential accounts in recent weeks claimed ? they forget a key difference between Israel and actual settler colonies.

When the European Crusades conquered Jerusalem, when the French settled in much of North Africa, when the British took over India, to name some settler colonies, they were still the satellites of a home country, even as they remained for generations. When mid-20th-century rebellions in the colonies were too violent or costly, the European governments packed up and left, evacuating their citizens along with them.

We are in Israel so that we never have to pack our bags and leave again, so that we don't have to keep the proverbial suitcase by the door. It is because Israel itself is our historic and present home country, and there is no satellite for us.

Palestinians and their advocates like to tell Israelis to go "back" to Poland or Russia or wherever else ? it's always Eastern Europe and not the part of the world from where the majority of Israelis actually come. But, of course, those places are not our homes, and the circumstances under which much of our ancestors left show that those places never were our homes.

In the last two weeks, there has been a 500% spike in recorded antisemitic incidents in the UK, according to the Community Security Trust, and a wave of antisemitic assaults, vandalism and harassment of Jews has hit cities across North America, from Montreal to New York to Tucson to Los Angeles. In Western Europe, antisemitism is there all the time, and it has been for years.

It seems unlikely that this uptick in violence will kick off a wave of Jewish immigration to Israel. While the percentage of American Jews ? the largest Diaspora community ? who have experienced antisemitism is on the rise, most are able to live safely and comfortably, as Jews should be able to do anywhere in the world.

But we don't live in a world where Jews can live safely wherever they want. We never have.

The rise in antisemitic attacks comes from those who claim to be standing up for the Palestinians in the latest round of fighting between Israel and Gaza. Mobs of young, keffiyeh-wearing men maraud the streets of LA asking diners in a sushi restaurant if they're Jewish ? not Israeli ? so they can pick someone to assault.

In Manhattan, one man took part in a pro-Palestinian march and then went on to bludgeon a Jewish man; the NYPD is using the victim's bloody kippah as evidence of a hate crime. The assailant, by the way, was featured in an Instagram post by supermodel Bella Hadid, whose father is Palestinian and who participated in the same march. She has nearly 45 million followers. And those are just a couple of examples.

There is something deeply ironic about people trying to "free Palestine" by attacking Diaspora Jews. By turning their violence on Jews outside of Israel, by driving around Jewish neighborhoods to intimidate and assault the residents, by asking people on the street if they are Jewish while brandishing knives, they are expressing their desire to ethnically cleanse their Western countries of Jews.

Don't they know where Jews go when they're ethnically cleansed? To Israel, that very place from where they want Jews removed.

But we're not like the crusaders. We're still here, 73 years later, and no number of Hamas rockets will get us out of here, not even 4,000 in 11 days, nor will antisemitic attacks on our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora.

And the reason is that we still have our secret weapon: We still have nowhere else to go.



The phoney war between Israel and Hamas
The Western media exaggerates the reality of asymmetric conflict
By Edward Luttwak
May 22, 2021


Earlier this week, an Israeli soldier was wounded by a Hamas mortar bomb while guarding a convoy of heavy trucks loaded with medical supplies, food and fuel at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza. Yes, it was in Israel's interest to reduce the suffering of Gaza's inhabitants while it pursued its campaign to protect its own population by finding and destroying Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets stored in basements and underground tunnels: the less suffering and death, the less diplomatic pressure on Israel (particularly from the US) to call off its campaign unilaterally.

For the same reason, it was in Israel's interest to accept extraordinary limitations on its bombing. Before attacking any occupied building, whether to destroy command posts or stored rockets or mortar bombs, the residents are warned with phone calls and often also by a "knock on the roof" ? a guided weapon with no explosive that delivers a shock at impact but hardly ever hurts anyone. If civilians are spotted in or near the targeted building, attacks are delayed or called off.

All this sacrifices military gains for Israel; Hamas, naturally, takes full advantage of the bombing warnings to move out its personnel and portable equipment. But lost military gains are better than added political costs, and by now even Israeli corporals know that in warfare only political victories count.

And so it's worth noting that in spite of all the imagery of death and destruction, in spite of the incessant media talk of genocide, the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry reported a total of 232 killed just after the ceasefire. Yesterday, by comparison, Israel's estimate was that it had killed at least roughly 215 combatants, including 25 "senior commanders' ? but in the Hamas count they mysteriously become innocent civilians, with some becoming children. (Note Hamas does have some teenage recruits).

There were, of course, actual civilians among the dead and wounded. For one thing, according to a senior military source, of the 4,200 or so rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, approximately 650 fell inside the Gaza Strip. And unlike Israel's guided weapons, they fell at random, and they definitely caused civilian casualties, including a family of six in one case. (Of the remaining rockets, roughly 1,950 were not intercepted because they were projected to fall in empty ground ? and did. Another 1,440 were successfully engaged by Israel's Iron Dome batteries, while 160 fell inside Israeli residential areas, causing minimal casualties thanks to Israel's system of bomb shelters).

But putting figures to one side, the most obvious asymmetry in this endless conflict is how Hamas, unlike Israel, is not subject to the imperative of minimising civilian casualties. On the contrary, it gains a propaganda advantage in the Arab world ? as well as Iran's approval ? for any civilian or military casualties it inflicts on the Jews, while also garnering support in the West from any casualties suffered by Gaza's population ? so much so that after Israeli attacks, doctored images purporting to show dead Gazan children are often circulated.

Hamas certainly has no political obligation to the people of Gaza; it declaredly serves the much grander cause of global Islam. Its positioning as neither Gazan nor Palestinian, but only Muslim, gains support from agitated Muslims everywhere and endows it with an enviable freedom of action: each day it can decide whether to keep the ceasefire or resume its rocket bombardment, without having to bother about the safety of Gaza's population, let alone its welfare.

In this round, as in the last in 2014, there was disquiet among the Israeli Arabs, but this time they were confined to certain neighbourhoods in Lod and Acre. The media's exaggeration of their magnitude and significance was especially extreme: the existence of a large Arab professional class, especially prominent in Israel's hospitals, was ignored ? as was the fact that Israelis continued to eat in Arab restaurants right through the fighting.

Nor was there any mention of the Arab members of Israel's parliament: the seven Palestinian nationalists and seven Islamists who are the only freely elected parliamentarians among some 420 million Arabs. Even if the rest of the world forgets that, they do not: they vigorously assert their Israeli citizenship, especially now that both Netanyahu and his rivals need at least one of the two Arab parties as coalition partners.

As for the rest of the Arab world, Israel's few friends did not have to speak up: Fly Dubai and Emirates were just about the only foreign airlines that continued to serve Israel's Ben Gurion airport, while Egypt worked valiantly to secure the ceasefire.

All these facts may be dismissed as rose-tinted optimism from a safe distance, but the collective judgement of the Israeli stock exchange is unequivocal: on Thursday, as rumours of the imminent ceasefire started to circulate, the country's TA-35 index increased from 1669 to 1678. The reason it did not leap ahead was that even at the peak of the rocket barrage its lowest dip was 1609, still

Similarly, the response overseas has been remarkably encouraging. While much is made of Israel's loss of unequivocal support on the far-Left of the Democratic Party, the Biden Administration was firm in its support, as were Israel's new allies in Latin America and Europe.

All this, paradoxically, is the cause of Israel's political paralysis, which has manifested itself in one inconclusive election after another. After all, with prosperity and security, voters have no urgent need to focus on the essentials and feel free to vote according to their political whims. Long may this continue.



Tom Gross writes:

This piece below from yesterday's London Sunday Times recounts some very disturbing anti-Israel based anti-Semitism in the UK, as elsewhere.

What is also disturbing, though, is that Britain's most important Sunday newspaper adds fuel to the fire by making it sound like Israel is somehow entirely to blame for last week's mini-war and if only Israel would change its policies, peace with Hamas would miraculously break out.

Reminder: no Israeli has lived in the Gaza Strip since 2005 ? apart from three Israeli civilians still being held hostage there.

Please see: http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/ExodusFromGaza.html


'I'm an English student ? it's not my job as a Jew to answer for Israel over Gaza'
Conflict in the Middle East has led, as it always does, to antisemitic abuse on British campuses
By Josh Glancy
The Sunday Times
Sunday May 23 2021


Until recently, Rachel Coussins generally steered clear of arguments about the Middle East. A second-year English student at Nottingham University, her concerns revolved more around Shakespeare, socialising and salvaging a meaningful undergraduate experience from the wreck of the pandemic.

But like many other Jewish students on campus, the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians has thrust Coussins into the middle of a battle she did not expect to have.

Coussins, 20, describes facing a tsunami of vitriol online, directed not only towards Israel and its military choices, but often making broader conspiratorial allegations and targeting British Jews as well. Memes and infographics have spread on social media accusing Israel of genocide, a second Holocaust and being a state established to extract oil. Young Jewish students find themselves being held accountable for Israel's actions.

"There have been moments when I've been genuinely terrified," said Coussins. "I'm left-leaning politically but a lot of people on the left aren't good at recognising antisemitism. It's not my job as a Jew to answer for Israel. I live in England, I'm an English student."

In the face of an information onslaught, Coussins posted her own infographic on Instagram, arguing that it is perfectly reasonable to be upset about facing antisemitic discrimination alongside distress at the plight of the Palestinians.

The post went viral. Then came the abuse. One user messaged to call her a "deluded Zionist rat" and "Nazi c**f***". She estimates that abusive messages came from more than 40 accounts. One user asked how she could support a new Holocaust given what her people had gone through. Another called her a "slut for Zionism".

Coussins no longer feels comfortable showing her Star of David necklace on campus, nor her Reform Synagogue Youth movement hoodie. "That's how a lot of Jews are feeling," she says.

The wave of campus discrimination is part of a 600 per cent rise in antisemitic incidents since the war in Gaza broke out, according to the Community Security Trust (CST), which oversees security for the Jewish community. Tell Mama, the CST's parallel group in the Muslim community, has reported a rise of more than 400 per cent in anti-Muslim incidents, including responses from the far right to a rise in Muslim protesters on the streets.

At University College London (UCL), Jewish students have received threats that their yarmulkes would be removed and have been warned that they would be greeted on campus "Arab-style". One post wished the Jewish recipient death and told them they would "burn in this life and the life after".

A Jewish student at Oxford University reported overhearing a group of fellow students talking about Israel and Palestine. One asked: "Why don't they just wipe out those rich Jews?" She said the group also discussed Hitler and how wiping out Israel could be the "solution" to "Jews".

"You do feel slightly unwelcome and a bit despondent," said Leah Mitchell, 20, a Classics student at Oxford. "As soon as we heard the news from the Middle East, you have that feeling of dread, you know what's coming. But you can't really prepare for seeing some of this stuff coming from your peers, people in your own community. The greedy Jews wanting the oil, that did catch me by surprise."

In messages seen by The Sunday Times, a Jewish student at another London university was told in a student subject Whatsapp group that history would view her the same way it sees the Nazis.

A Jewish student at a university in the Midlands was told in a group chat that a fellow student would not work with them unless they were willing to debate the situation in the Middle East and allow themselves to be "informed".The message also suggested that just as the Jewish student would not want to discuss the legitimacy of Hitler and the Nazis, so this student would fight any discussion regarding the legitimacy of "so-called Israelis".

"It is of course acceptable to oppose, even strongly, the policies of the Israeli government, as many Jews do, but it is completely unacceptable to pour out hatred towards Jews simply because they are Jewish," said Rabbi Dr Harvey Belovski, rabbinic head of University Jewish Chaplaincy. "Students go to university to learn a bit, have fun, spread their wings. What's happening to them is quite terrifying. Some feel uncomfortable in their accommodation. Some have left campus. They find themselves effectively pariahs."

Belovski said some universities, including UCL ? where new security measures have been put in place ? and Nottingham, have taken a strong stance against antisemitism. Others have been slower. He is writing a letter to all vice-chancellors imploring them to protect their Jewish students.

Beyond campus, antisemitic incidents in recent days have included the smashing of windows in Manchester, rape threats being made from a car in north London and the vicious beating of a rabbi in Chigwell, Essex. On Friday morning, a suspect was arrested in Golders Green following an attempted attack on Jewish shoppers. Similar attacks have taken place in Los Angeles, New York and Berlin.

"It's mostly verbal abuse, with a bit of violence," says Dave Rich, head of policy at the CST. "If at some point there aren't any terrorist attacks on Jews anywhere around the world as a response to what's going on now, I'd be amazed. All the jihadi terrorist groups are putting out calls for it, and that filters down."


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