Systemic Racism

The fact is undeniable. The United States of America was and is afflicted with systemic racism. But hear me out.   
    It cannot be held against the Founding Fathers that Dutch, Spanish, British and other colonizers brought over thousands of black slaves in the 150 years before independence. Sad to say, slavery was very much a part of that era and spanned the globe. But the Founders are responsible for enshrining into American law systemic discrimination (including slavery) against disfavored groups, and blacks top that list. The Constitution’s “three-fifths compromise” was an attempt to improve the status of blacks. The Southern states wanted each black to be fully counted in order to increase their representation in Congress but without granting any civil or voting rights to blacks. The Northern states objected and the compromise was reached that as long as blacks were denied rights, five blacks would be counted as three.     

Be that as it may, it is indisputable that blacks suffered discrimination. They were denied basic human rights, enslaved, considered chattel, and could not live with dignity. It is also true that a gruesome Civil War was fought –the bloodiest in American history – during which blacks were fully emancipated. The South remained obstreperous, and harsh, discriminatory laws lingered for almost a century until the march of history flattened the racists and bigots who measured human life only by the color of one’s skin.  

    It is also indisputable that bigotry in other forms was also rooted in American life. For decades after American independence, Jews in some places were denied the right to vote and own property, and Blue Laws that prohibited Sunday work forced Jews to choose between observing Shabbat and being unable to work for two consecutive days, something that was financially untenable for many Jews.

Infamously, Chinese and other Asian immigrants were categorically excluded by racist immigration laws, and Catholics who came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries dealt with enormous prejudice. Indeed, it is perhaps inevitable that the most heterogeneous society on the planet should suffer from racism. Newcomers, and others with different values, lifestyles or even religion, are greeted with suspicion. Most countries are homogeneous, severely restrict immigration and citizenship, and mostly avoid the pitfalls of racism. But they lose out on the advantages of the heterogeneous society.

      Yet, America, a unique country in that it construed itself as a melting pot that welcomed all nationalities and faiths, dealt with its prejudices in a sustained way, changing laws and transforming hearts and minds along the way. It attempts to be as free of hatred as any individual can possibly be, hatred being an emotion that is part of our makeup. There is no multi-ethnic society in the world today that is as free and as welcoming as is America, which, for some strange reason, continues to be a magnet for immigrants across the globe who want to live in that systemically racist society.      America progressed because it embraced Martin Luther King’s vision of people being judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  

   Unfortunately, though, the US still retains “systemic racism;” it is just that the targets of its systemic racism today are no longer blacks but whites and Asians.    

Consider the following. There is a Marxist, anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and anti-American group called Black Lives Matter that has achieved much notoriety in recent years. It is extraordinarily well funded and it has achieved notable political gains, including gaining a strong foothold in the Democratic Party. It is by definition a racist group; obviously, a group that called itself “White Lives Matter” would be considered racist. This group has elevated skin color above everything else. By this standard, Rev. King is a racist too because he rejected the stupidity that skin color means anything. To these people and their supporters, skin color means everything. That is racist, systemic racism, racism that is built into the American system.

      Thus, adherents to their philosophy seek segregated college dorms and graduations – just for blacks. They want to be exempt from certain laws and prosecutions – but only for themselves. They demand preferential treatment in employment and college admissions – just because of their skin color. They are favored today with government handouts – from agricultural subsidies to scholarships to housing assistance – all unrelated to need and only related to skin color. That is racist. “Critical Race Theory” – that everything, but everything, in society revolves around skin color – is racist. It is a smack in the face to traditional American values. It is astonishing that it is tolerated, much less taught in schools to impressionable children.

      The ruling powers have abandoned the pursuit of equality of opportunity, which is morally sound, for pursuit of equality of result, which is morally repugnant as well as impossible to achieve without confiscating assets from one group to give to another. The Biden administration has embraced identity politics to the extreme. Government appointments are not at all based on competence but on complexion, gender, national origin or some other irrelevancy. It is almost a parody – fill in here a black female and there an Eskimo, here an American Indian and there a Hispanic. Qualifications are secondary considerations. It would be a fantastic parody but for the pervasive panic of the parodist losing his livelihood and possibly his life pointing out the obvious absurdity.   
 
It is unbecoming, even disgraceful, to scan team rosters (except for the NBA), company letterheads, corporate boards, movie credits and the granting of awards to count how many of each group is represented, and then to change the format, composition or standards to augment the number of one group and limit the number of another. That too is systemic racism. Identity politics is racist to the core. The sacred value of “diversity” is also racist because its sole criterion is physical appearance rather than ideas, values, or ability. Skin color has become such a definitive characteristic that the media has begun to refer to Blacks or Black (upper case) and not black or blacks. Whites remain white, stuck in the lower case.     
They have roped in well meaning Jews as well, Jews who are overcome by guilt because somehow while hiding from the Czar’s predations in the Pale of Settlement, Jews too were responsible for slavery in the American South. The recent Gaza War exposed Black Lives Matter as an anti-Israel, anti-Jewish hate group. Jews who last year endorsed and thus empowered BLM – liberals, leaders, organizations, even rabbis – were woefully misguided. Some have admitted their error and walked back their support. Others, in their misplaced guilt exacerbated by fear, still support them in order to escape the horror of being labeled “racists.” These Jews timidly refuse to condemn BLM’s anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rhetoric. They don’t see the irony in supporting racists who want to destroy them just so that they can avoid being called racists – by the racists themselves. They indeed are providing their enemies with the rope that will be used to hang them. Jewish groups are quick to denounce white supremacists who are a fringe in today’s America, scorned outcasts, and give a pass to the black supremacists who are well organized, well funded, unafraid to spread their racism and Jew hatred and who constitute a sizable part of America’s leftist political mainstream.    

Every nickel or job provided to any person simply based on skin color – and not given to another because of his skin color – is an example of systemic racism. The same is true of any advantage, benefit, unequal treatment, grading on a curve, etc. – whenever the determinant is skin color or ethnicity, the winner is a beneficiary of systemic racism and the loser is a victim of systemic racism. Similarly, attributing every crime committed by a white against a black to the fact that he or she is black without any evidence is also racist. It also pointedly ignores the dismal fact that 95% of crimes committed against blacks are perpetrated by other blacks.     
Asians particularly are suffering the effects of the newest version of systemic racism, suffering discrimination in admissions and employment that the elitist, establishment denizens of an intimidated America only wink at.     

The United States made enormous strides and at great cost overcame the legacy of the systemic racism that tarred its founding. How unfortunate is it that systemic racism still exists and is being perpetuated, and in many cases celebrated, by its current beneficiaries. What has changed is the victims of that racism are not the original victims but whites, Asians and others who still see America as the land of liberty, freedom, equality and opportunity for all. 


    Can the King vision will be realized? Not in the short term. Today’s systemic racism is too entrenched. But its prospects in the long term will define America’s viability, prosperity and domestic harmony. It was Chief Justice Roberts who wrote more than fourteen years ago that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” It is probably the most sensible opinion he has expressed.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take another Civil War to eradicate the modern manifestation of systemic racism. 

Political Predicaments

   The proposed government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid reminds one of a schmorgasbord table that is filled with food – kosher and non-kosher, meat and milk, and not quite separate and distinct. You don’t know where to start eating or whether or not to start eating. It looks tempting but the probability of eating treif is as likely as that of eating kosher. Without a mashgiach it is impossible and even with a mashgiach it is inadvisable. It is thus best to walk away.  

    The motivation for such a government is certainly understandable. A society cannot forever endure political instability. Four elections in a parliamentary system in a divided country have produced gridlock and the likelihood of further elections ending this morass in a decisive way is quite remote.  As long as PM Netanyahu leads Likud, the result will be electoral paralysis. He will always win the largest number of mandates but never quite enough to form a government. 

     Let’s face it. Netanyahu has many achievements to his credit. He has served longer in office than did Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the United States. Millions of people cannot imagine another individual as prime minister. He kept the country relatively safe and presided over unprecedented peace and prosperity. His relations with world leaders is unparalleled, as is his ability to exploit opportunities in the Arab world, Russia, China and with friendly Western countries such as the United States, as well as knowing how to survive hostile administrations. All this should be acknowledged by those people whose hatred for him blinds and cripples them.   

  Nevertheless, it must be conceded that he is a flawed individual. At the top of his list of defects is that Netanyahu is a bad breaker-upper. Too many people who have worked for him and closely with him despise him and that has created the current gridlock. If there is a villain in this muddle, it is Gideon Saar whose refusal to join a Netanyahu government precludes the establishment of a right-wing government that reflects the overwhelming majority of the population. But Saar is just one of many politicians and personalities whose relationship with Netanyahu has collapsed. If Likud polls in the 30’s as the largest party, it is never going to matter if 70 other Knesset members refuse to work with him. He, of course, is further hampered by the ongoing criminal trials against him that may not end for years. The wheels of (in)justice do grind slowly.   

  Truth be told, the PM’s record is not unblemished. He has always been coy towards the right wing, fully embracing their ideology only during elections. He was for the Expulsion in Gaza before he was against it. He endorsed the two-state delusion before he (sort of) walked away from it. His record on settlement building is decidedly mixed, always talking bombastically but without the deeds to match the rhetoric. No one campaigns from the right better than he does but campaigning is not governing. He has allowed Jewish outposts to be brutally destroyed but has turned a blind eye to illegal building in the Arab sector. He did a lot for Israel – but he could have expanded settlements even more, could have reined in the Supreme Court with limiting legislation, could have cracked down on the illegal weapons and crime among Israeli Arabs, could have expanded the Israeli housing market so there is availability other than luxury homes, etc.  The latter could have been accomplished in Judea and Samaria, and that is a missed opportunity and remains an unsolved problem.  

   Netanyahu also has the less than endearing habit of attacking his opponents with his own flaws. He has accused Bennett and Saar of enabling a left-wing government – but didn’t he do that in the past with Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and Benny Gantz? He accused Bennett of wanting to form a government with Yair Lapid – but didn’t he do that in 2013? He accuses the new team of seeking to rely on Arab votes for its viability – but didn’t he just to do the same thing? He accused Bennett of being obsessed with becoming prime minister at all costs – but isn’t he obsessed with being prime minister at all costs?    

    All politicians should occasionally look in the mirror so they should know whom they are really addressing when they become the most passionate.  What Netanyahu must hate most about Bennett is that Bennett reminds him, too much, of himself. 

    That being said, the dangers and opportunities of this hybrid government are enormous. Their only common denominator is hatred of Netanyahu, which might help form a government but certainly not guide or sustain it. If a Minister of Transport Michaeli decides to destroy Shabbat by having public transportation and commerce or if a Minister of Finance Lieberman squeezes Torah education by freezing money to Yeshivot, then Bennett will rightly suffer lifelong ignominy. If a left wing government legalizes same sex marriage or imports some other madness from the Western world, then he will be to blame. Recall that the very first item on Yamina’s platform is to strengthen Jewish identity and the Jewish religious heritage  in the land of Israel. If a Bennett led government weakens Torah and Jewish identity – indeed, heads a government that lacks Sefaradim and religious Jews – that too would be shameful, and the price paid to him in future elections pales before the contempt Jewish history will have for him.  

    Yet, there are advantages to such a government as well, assuming religious life is not devastated by it, and they bear some reflection. A cult of personality is damaging in any environment, religious or political. No politician should ever think he is indispensable. Democracy is reinvigorated, even safeguarded, by the presence of new blood.  A Netanyahu forced out of office is unlikely to return and a new era in Israeli politics begins. Due credit, on balance, will be accorded him for his long and mostly successful tenure. A Bennett-Lapid government will have the benefit of dealing with a Biden administration that does not know them, that has been gearing up to pressure Netanyahu and will not quite know how to handle a right-winger and centrist, both on record as opposing the two-state delusion. Such an inherently unstable government will not be able to make any concessions at all, and will be bolstered by its right-wing opposition. But such a government will be able to deal forcefully with Arab terror and threats to the security of Jews both foreign and domestic. 

      There is a way forward out of this discordant daze in which we live. Obviously, if Netanyahu stepped down as head of Likud, and a new leader – say, for argument’s sake, Nir Barkat – was appointed, a right-wing government would be formed in 30 minutes. But as that won’t happen in the short term, here is what might (should?) happen.

     Assume that the Bennett- Lapid government is sworn in with the support of four Arab mandates. Ten members of Likud can then break away, form their own faction, join the government, and there is already a sizable Jewish majority. Then, one or two of the religious parties can join the government as well, which obviates the need for Labor and/or Meretz to control any portfolios. The end result is a right-wing government, respectful of Torah and tradition, strong and resolute, but including Lapid and Lieberman who, like it or not, do represent a sizable part of the Israel electorate. In two years we can worry about what will happen in two years, which is an eternity in Israeli politics (or, recently, the equivalent of four election cycles).

     That being said, it will be shocking if Bennett and Lapid are able to form a new government this week, and if they do, doubly shocking if it lasts even six months. But they will have achieved their primary goal, for better or for worse, of ousting Netanyahu from power.

Intended Consequences

     “This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.”    

It would be exhilarating if Israel’s Prime Minister spoke these words and meant them. But this is actually part of the stirring speech given by President George W. Bush at the National Cathedral on September 14, 2001, just three days after the vile Arab-Muslim terrorist attack of September 11 that killed thousands of innocent Americans. There were no calls for restraint, proportionality or a cease fire. Instead, President Bush appropriately reserved for himself and his nation the right to end the way “in a way and at an hour of our choosing.”    

  That is an elementary right, part of natural law. No one had to acknowledge America’s right of self-defense, and certainly not as a grand concession. But Israel’s right to defend itself, according to much of the world, is not absolute and subject to limitations, and our right to conclude this war “in a way and at an hour of our choosing” is non-existent.  

   What has changed through this recent conflict? Why did Israel agree to a cease fire? And why does this sane government constantly do the same thing and expect different results?   

   There are two ominous takeaways. One is the questionable loyalties of many Israeli Arab citizens, who rioted in the mixed cities, assaulted Jews, desecrated Jewish holy sites, and were treated as victims by the Israeli police who arrested Jews who defended themselves while letting the Arab marauders slip free. That they are nihilistic enough to betray the only country in the region where they can live freely is not such a surprise; hatred runs deep. A variety of well meaning organizations will surely try to paper over the violence (“blaming both sides” always works) and call it aberrational but this fissure in Israeli society will linger without resolution, awaiting the next explosion. It is bad enough to have such a fifth column in our midst, however small their number; it is even worse to lose faith in the police, which absented itself from the rioting, failed to quell it to any significant degree, and focused on inhibiting Jews from responding. 

      Part of the feckless response will be noted in the Supreme Court decision on the Sheikh Jarrah real estate dispute. The case seems open and shut – some residents are squatters and others have no legal title to the land and refuse to pay rent – and if the Court caves because of fear, intimidation and public pressure, then it is even clearer that there is a two-tiered system of justice in Israel, with Jews getting the short end of the stick.

      The second consequence is predictable, and here past results are indicative of future performance. Hamas will derive lessons from this conflagration as it has from the previous ones. The lethality of its weapons continues to improve, as does their precision. Israel’s remarkable ingenuity blunts most of its impact, but there is tragic loss of life, limb, and treasure, and a complete disruption of normal life. Hezbollah will learn as well, and thus each subsequent conflict becomes, if not more deadly, then certainly more disruptive. 

     That interference in our lives is the primary goal of Hamas. It cannot achieve any political or military goal. My sympathies for the “innocent civilians” of Gaza are somewhat limited, considering that they voted Hamas, a genocidal terror group, into power in 2005. They didn’t vote for Hamas because of Hamas’ trade policies. They knew for whom they were voting. Bear in mind that one of the putative reasons for the latest round of Hamas violence is Hamas’ desire to improve its electoral position for the upcoming (but never quite arriving) Palestinian elections. That means that, according to their calculus, Hamas gains votes by subjecting its “innocent” citizens to Israeli reprisals. Hamas wins more support when it places its rockets and arms in residential buildings and neighborhoods, with the attendant consequences to “innocent” civilians when their buildings are blown up. Such civilians may not be as innocent as the media presents them to be. 

    Nor is the media itself. Can it really be that the Associated Press or Al Jazeera did not know that they shared an office building with the Hamas intelligence services? If so, it is the worst case of journalistic malpractice – or willful ignorance – since ace reporter Lois Lane could not figure out that her colleague Clark Kent was Superman.    

Of course, it is worth remembering that Hamas only took power from the defeated Fatah of Mahmoud Abbas after a brief war in which they killed hundreds of each other and civilians. Fatah officials were literally thrown off the roofs of their office buildings, something less than an orderly transition of power. Hamas murders more Arabs than it does Jews. Its political echelon lives not in the squalor of Gaza but in the luxury of Qatar. Its leaders abscond with the money foolishly provided by the West if they are not using it to build munitions factories and underground tunnels. For all the billions sent their way in the last two decades, not a single “refugee” camp has been closed or renovated.

     Why, then, does Israel tolerate Hamas? Why can’t the most vaunted and feared army in the Middle East vanquish this band of terrorists who, as their charter states, seek to “obliterate” Israel and Jews from the face of the earth? How many times must we play the same macabre game?      One answer might be that Israel wants Hamas to suffer – but also to survive. Hamas remains because Israel wants it to remain.    

Don’t get me wrong. Israel would rather have peace and prosperity, and welcomes good relations with all Arab nations. It certainly would prefer, ideally, that there not be genocidal maniacs to our southwest. But the existence of Hamas plays a practical role in Israeli calculations.   

    Consider: if Israel invaded Gaza for the purpose of conquest, there would be one of two results. There would be great bloodshed, followed by calls for an Israeli withdrawal to which Israel would invariably succumb. Conversely, Fatah would take over. And then?   

    There would be a renewed demand for some territorial linkage between Gaza and Samaria, and Israeli “gestures” (i.e., concessions) for the sake of peace. More importantly, this would provide new life to the two-state illusion, the fanciful idea that the land of Israel can be partitioned again into Jewish and Arab states and co-exist peacefully. For some reason – probably because the West needs to project one Arab group in this conflict as moderate – Abbas, Fatah and the PA are always perceived as possible diplomatic partners for Israel, notwithstanding that President Abbas is a dictator, rules with an iron fist, enriches himself and his family, has little popular support and hates Israel no less than does Hamas.  

    Hamas is the counterweight to this two-state delusion because Israel can point to the dangers of ceding land to any Arab entity, as Israel did with Gaza sixteen years ago with deleterious results. The specter of Hamas seizing power in any potential independent Arab entity has rendered the two-state illusion moribund even to the Israeli left and, frankly, frightens much of the Arab world as well. As long as Hamas exists, two states are impossible. If Israel wanted Hamas gone, Hamas would be gone.     

Israel’s recent strategic thinking has been quantitative rather than qualitative. It seeks to degrade the enemies’ capabilities every few years but without actually crushing the enemy. Perhaps, then, this is Israel’s qualitative strategy – to keep Hamas as a player in the game because it serves as a useful foil and precludes Israel from acquiescing to a further partition. Such a strategy, cynical though it might be, is not unreasonable. The problem in kicking the can down the road is that the enemy’s capabilities continue to improve and that would make the next war even deadlier. It also leaves Israel vulnerable on the diplomatic front as various Western nations – including the United States – want solutions and not protracted conflict, even if solutions are impracticable and illusory. America’s support for the two state illusion is less than two decades old but politicians speak of it as if it has always been American policy.  

    Indeed, the rise of Jew hatred in the United States is also menacing. Jews especially should take note and seek to counter the explicit Jew hatred that now predominates in a leading wing of the Democrat Party. It is understandable if they can’t – “where is Schumer?” – but the silence of the Jews is still unacceptable and embarrassing. Can it be that American Jewish support for the Democrats exceeds American Jewish support for Israel? 

     If that is the case, then the continued deterioration of the American Jewish community is more dangerous than even Hamas –and even Israel’s tolerance of Hamas, which will rebuild quicker than last time, as we await, G-d forbid, the next round of hostilities.  

   The good news is that, as always, Jews in Israel rally around each other in difficult times, and furthering Ahavat Yisrael is its own reward.

Rockets Red Alert

I just emerged from my safe room. One alarm, one rocket, no damage. Moving on…    

Why does it seem like I have seen this movie before? It is true that there is a sense that it is all new, that each time the enemy tries to kill innocent Jews (and sometimes succeeds, unfortunately) it is a big shock. I was working at my desk earlier today, heard an explosion in the distance. A rocket flew over my house, landed a couple of miles from here in an empty field. No siren at all because the trajectory did not endanger anyone. I was unfazed. But why would people be shocked? This has been going since the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif in 2005. Perhaps people have forgotten that; forgetfulness can be a most convenient psychological tool.  

   You might recall that the expulsion (euphemistically called the “Disengagement”) was supposed to end the “occupation,” and empower the Arabs to govern themselves productively and peacefully. And if not – if hostilities would persist – then it was said that Israel would have the absolute right to obliterate Gaza as no normal country tolerates attacks on its citizens. Well, the “occupation” ended, there are no Jews in Gaza, no grounds for animosity. But instead of governing themselves productively and peacefully, the citizens of Gaza – yes, the “innocent” civilians whose plight has the world’s hypocrites up in arms – voted in the Hamas terrorists. You might recall as well that Western (and Israeli) fellow travelers touted Hamas as more attentive to the Gazans’ social and welfare needs and so would be good stewards of that territory. 

     Those geniuses were dreadfully wrong, which hasn’t precluded them from offering new advice. As some of us predicted, Gaza became a terror state, whose only industry and export is violence and mayhem. I assume there are some good Gazans who regret voting for Hamas and would like nothing better than to live in peace. Since their rulers will not allow that, they would be well advised to follow the path of the Syrian refugees and go live in Europe. The plight of Gazans is bad, getting worse, and will not get better. Anyone with sense should leave.

     It is clear that Hamas does not mind at all inflicting the worst type of suffering on their people. And this suffering is exacerbated by the Hamas terror tactics of placing their rockets launchers and weapons depots above, below and inside residential apartment buildings, hospitals, schools, mosques, and the occasional UNWRA facility. Obviously this is cruel and cynical and results in civilian deaths, but what astonishes is the immediate claim – parroted by liberal media outlets – that Israel is violating international law (!) by firing on civilians (!). It is astonishing that people should utter it sincerely (I’m sure they are insincere) because placing military facilities in civilian areas is itself a violation of international law. Since it would be absurd to impose international law on only one side in a conflict, what we have here is a battleground in which international law is irrelevant. It either applies to both sides or it does not apply at all. All the more reason for good Gazans to flee and for the international community to assist them in finding a new home, if indeed that is what they want. That would be humane and moral.

What is unacceptable and immoral is to grant immunity to a gang of terrorists, even if they are sovereigns in their own territory, because they repudiate international law. No person of genuine integrity would posit such a thing. If, then, one goal of Hamas is to win the PR battle, Israel would do well to announce to the world that Gaza, by its own choice, is an “international law free-zone,” with whatever consequences pertain.

    Those consequences should include – immediately – the cutting off of the electricity, power, water and food that Israel furnishes the Gazan kleptocracy. It is a twisted reality that Israel provides the infrastructure to Hamas, which then uses it to attack their benefactors. I don’t recall the Americans providing funding, supplies and weapons to the Nazis in World War II. This is a strange region. Blackmail and threats are an acceptable way of doing business, and weak governments are easily manipulated into embracing a false sense of stability.   

Why now? Even Hamas is not irrational, although they too have no realistic end game. The reasons for these flare-ups are multifaceted, and we would do well to note that has changed in the recent past. Hamas uses its rockets as a release valve, allowing its people to vent (through attacks on Jews) in the hopes of distracting them from the crooked governance and the miserable lives they are living. The people see Israel making peace with a number of Arab countries, bringing prosperity to the region – but not to them. They could have it but the Jew hatred of their leaders (and many of them) is so absolute that it blinds them to any other reality.

    Hamas also was poised to triumph in the upcoming (but never quite arriving) Palestinian elections. Those were just postponed by Mahmoud Abbas, currently in his sixteenth year of a four year term. In the warped arena of Arab politics, your preferred party attracts more support if it can murder innocent Jews. So this conflagration is also about building street credibility among the voters for an election that may never come. 

     The Arabs also notice the dysfunctional Israeli government now at loggerheads for almost two years, with new elections likely in a few months. Part of this dysfunction has enabled the terrorists to horde weapons and improve their abilities which they like to test every few years. The Israeli governments – ineffectual, divided, and seeking only momentary stability – have allowed the problem to fester. Long term strategic thinking, including reasonable objectives and goals, is completely absent. Besides the improved rocketry, Hamas is testing out the new strategy of instigating Israeli Arabs to commit violent assaults against Jews. Only the context – a battle – is new. Israelis in the mixed cities have long suffered from Arab violence, although it must be added that the main victims of Arab violence even in Israel is always other Arabs. Jews in Lod and Akko are suffering from the vicious assaults of their fellow “citizens.” Those who believe that coexistence is possible have good hearts but weak minds. It is hard to swallow that Jews have been arrested for defending themselves. That is outrageous and unworthy of a Jewish state. And if there have been unwarranted attacks on innocent Arabs, those too should be condemned.

     The land dispute in Sheikh Jarakh is as much a phony pretext for hostilities now as it was for Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount was in 2000. It is all fabricated. I can’t weigh in on the particulars of the case – the reclamation of Jewish owned land seized by the marauders in 1948 – except to say that wars have consequences. The evil losers of wars that they themselves started have no claim to anything. That is justice – otherwise there is literally no price to be paid for launching wars against peaceful people.

      Finally, Hamas, like the PA, has been struggling financially because their funding was cut off by the United States, Iran is reeling under the weight of the Trump sanctions, and their cause has lost its allure in much of the Arab world. Even terrorists have to follow the money – they need money for weapons, and they need money to pay terrorists. The PA pay-to-slay had fallen on hard times resulting in a steep drop in terrorist attacks on Jews, and last year, the fewest attacks on Jews in generations.     

Well, like the cavalry in bizarro world, Joe Biden rode to their rescue, and has provided hundreds of millions of US taxpayer dollars to the PA, and to UNWRA, which is similar to writing a check directly to Hamas. Within a few weeks, with the funding resumed the terror resumed. Those who predicted that a Biden administration would do that and thus provoke another round of terror and war have been vindicated. There may have been legitimate reasons for vote for Joe Biden, but support for Israel was not one of them. Most American Jews do not vote based on a candidate’s feelings towards Israel; it is not a priority for them. But those Jews and their rabbis who claim to love Israel and make it their priority, and having been duly warned that this would be the result, should take a good look in the mirror. Good intentions that underwrite lousy results are unhelpful.

It is not that these flare ups could not have taken place under Trump and were just more likely under Biden; it is that they did not take place under Trump because few of the conditions precedent obtained. That is to his credit – but we are left to deal with an explosive new reality.    

It amazes that people are praising President Biden for his public assertion that Israel has the right to defend itself. Sure, it sounds very noble. But do Jews have so little pride that we have to be thankful to someone who recognizes that we too posses the fundamental right of self-defense –as do all human beings? Is it some great concession that we are allowed to defend ourselves? Is that right really doubted by serious, moral people? Or is this praise grasping at straws because soon enough the Biden administration will not be so obliging?    

And with it all, the spirit here is fantastic, people adapt very easily, the death and injuries are horrific personal losses but the nation remains strong and resolute. If only we had politicians with the same spirit who could put their egos aside and serve the people rather than themselves. If only all Jews would realize that every action has a consequence; would that they would actually care about the consequence.