Friday, December 29, 2023

Magdi Jacobs on the Hamas sexual violence on October 7, 2023

Magdi Jacobs on Twitter, on the massive NYTimes report ("'Screams Without Words': How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7") on the rape of women by Hamas on October 7, December 29, 2023 (link to her thread:

The @nytimes just published the most comprehensive report on the sexual violence of 10/7 that I have seen. It confirms what many have already suspected: that sexual violence against Israeli civilians did not only occur, but was used as a method of war.

Before I continue: This conversation is not about Israeli's military strategy/goals. Or its history. This is a conversation about an event that will have historical ramifications. It is not a conversation about justification, past or present. It is only a conversation about truth.

 Hand-to-hand combat against civilians is a rare kind of "first strike" in warfare. 

Something that has gotten terribly elided--if we care about history or truth--has been the overall nature of the attack by Hamas on 10/7. It was an attack where the primary victims were civilians. Hand-to-hand combat against civilians is a rare kind of "first strike" in warfare.

The swift violence of such an event. . . it is not something seen frequently outside the context of genocide  

This attack also happened very quickly, something people don't seem to have noticed. In the space of a few hours, over a thousand people were butchered. The swift violence of such an event. . .it is not something seen frequently outside the context of genocide.

It is important to sit with all of this--the true nature of 10/7--b/c so much truth has being lost, here. 10/7 was one of the most brutal--and swiftest--attacks on civilians in our modern history. Now, within this context, we must consider the sexual violence that was committed.

The primary question since 10/7 has not been whether or not sexual violence occurred, but whether sexual violence was used as a method of war. The preponderance of evidence has long weighed in favor of the latter. The Times' article makes it even clearer.

Every indicator is that the violence was systematic  

When determining whether sexual violence has been used as a method of war, investigators will look at the scale & scope: was the violence limited to one area & one group of men or was it much broader in its scope? The answer is: every indicator is that the violence was systematic.

The Times interviewed witnesses and reviewed visual evidence--photo and video--from at least 7 sites on 10/7. This entails that Hamas militants, in the space of a few hours, are alleged to have committed several *separate* acts of sexual violence across multiple sites.

This single fact would be of great interest to the International Criminal Court or to other bodies interested in war crimes. Several militants committing assaults across several different sites in a short time entails some level of planning/permission to engage in sexual violence.

To believe otherwise would entail asserting that, within the space of 6-12 hours, different men came to music festival, to a military base, & then to different kibbutzim & other sites & decided, independently of one another, to commit these crimes against women.

Trigger warning: I am trying to not be graphic, but here I do have to give some detail: Both genital mutilation & gang rape are alleged to have occurred at different sites. Different weapons were used for the mutilation. There are also accounts of broken bones across sites.

I'm not a war crimes investigator or expert in international humanitarian law. But, broadly speaking, this is how people answer the Q: "was sexual violence used as a method of war?" Was there planning? Was it systematic? Are only the soldiers culpable or are others culpable too?

I have many thoughts on this story and our reaction to it, but I am taking a break now. I encourage everyone to be faithful to the truth first & foremost. No justice has ever come from denying the truth.


The last paragraphs of the New York Times article are on the children of Gal Abdush, who was raped and murdered by Hamas terrorists, and her husband Nagi, also murdered by Hamas.

The couple had been together since they were teenagers. To the family, it seems only yesterday that Mr. Abdush was heading off to work to fix water heaters, a bag of tools slung over his shoulder, and Ms. Abdush was cooking up mashed potatoes and schnitzel for their two sons, Eliav, 10, and Refael, 7.

The boys are now orphans. They were sleeping over at an aunt’s the night their parents were killed. Ms. Abdush’s mother and father have applied for permanent custody, and everyone is chipping in to help.

Night after night, Ms. Abdush’s mother, Eti Bracha, lies in bed with the boys until they drift off. A few weeks ago, she said she tried to quietly leave their bedroom when the younger boy stopped her.

“Grandma,” he said, “I want to ask you a question.”

“Honey,” she said, “you can ask anything.”

“Grandma, how did mom die?”

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Pro-Palestinian group "Within Our Lifetime" supported the Hamas attack from the beginning on October 7, 2023


On October 7, 2023, the very day of the Hamas attack on Israel, the pro-Palestinian group "Within our Lifetime" posted this statement on their Instagram page, and it's still there: "By any means necessary. With no exceptions and no fine print." From the very beginning they supported murder, rape, torture, and kidnapping of Israeli and foreign civilians. I hadn't realized how vile this group was. 

And they're planning another rally for tomorrow in New York City, with a slogan that echoes the name that Hamas gave to their terrorist attack - "Flood New York for Palestine." One of the cosponsors is "Jews Against White Supremacy" - in this case a more accurate name might be "Jews against Jewish existence."

They are calling to "end all attacks on our people." Well, if their heroes, Hamas, had not attacked Israel on October 7, Israeli soldiers would have remained on the Israeli side of the border, and there would be no Israeli planes bombing Gaza. (This is not an endorsement of the Israeli tactics in Gaza, which have now killed over 21,000 people, most of them civilians just as innocent as the people murdered by Hamas).

On October 7, this is what "Jews Against White Supremacy" posted on Instagram:

According to them, the Hamas terrorist attack was "decolonisation in action."

The Hamas attack was "Land Back" and decolonisation in action. 

No, it was rape, murder, torture, and kidnapping in action. 

And then, three days later, on October 10, they post that "There are absolutely devastating scenes in Gaza right now as Israel is annihilating the Palestinian people." And they supported, and continued to support, the Hamas attack on Israel, they urged "by any means necessary" from their safe places in the US, Canada, and other western countries - knowing that they would not suffer from the utterly devastating Israeli attacks on Gaza. When will it occur to them that the unconscionable course of action they supported and still support would do nothing but lead to death and destruction? This is "performative activism" at its worst.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Trying to find hope - Psalm 121

Psalm 121 in Hebrew

English translation

Psalm 121

A Song of Ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
        from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
        who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved;
        he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel
        will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;
        the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day
        nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
        he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
        your going out and your coming in
            from this time on and forevermore.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

"Go back to Europe, they said."



Antisemitism in Oakland, California


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Shoshkhe Engelmayer - "How do you explain 'hostages' to a child of four?"

The Israeli artist Shoshke Engelmayer has been producing at least one image a day about the war, usually about the hostages. She made this one yesterday and posted it to her Facebook page.


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Rutgers University suspends SJP chapter

Rutgers University has just suspended its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. 

From the JTA article:

A dean’s letter to the group stated that it had violated several university policies, including those forbidding “disruptive or disorderly conduct,” failure to comply with university directives, improper behavior by campus guests, and “inappropriate use of space.” It referenced student complaints that members of SJP had disrupted “classes, a program, meals, and students studying.”

The letter also noted “allegations of vandalism” at the business school that corresponded with the group’s programming; a recent Instagram post from the group stated that SJP was “occupying the business school.” Neither the letter nor a university spokesperson elaborated further on the particulars of the incidents that led to the group’s suspension, but a Nov. 30 open letter from local Jewish federation CEO Dov Ben-Shimon said that Rutgers SJP and other student groups “have called Hamas’ massacre of Jews in Israel ‘justified'” and added, “Their actions against Jewish students on campus have moved far beyond microaggressions.”...
Michelle Jefferson, associate dean of students and director of student conduct at Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus, wrote in her letter to SJP that “there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the continued activities by the student organization pose a substantial and immediate threat to the safety and well-being of others, or the suspension of organizational activities is needed to maintain preservation of the University.”

On October 12, the Rutgers SJP chapter issued a statement decrying the participation of the President of Rutgers in a vigil organized by Hillel to mourn the Israelis and citizens of other countries murdered by the Hamas terrorists, using these words: "His statement endorses Rutgers Hillel’s vigil mourning Israeli settler deaths." This is, of course, a lie and a smear. Those killed by Hamas were Israelis and citizens of other countries living within the borders of sovereign Israel, not in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, or the Golan Heights. SJP makes clear with this statement that they consider all of Israel to be "occupied" and therefore illegitimate. 

I'm glad that Rutgers suspended SJP, and hope that this becomes a permanent ban.

"While we abhor any targeting of civilians...."

On October 26, 2023, the "faculty of the Cornell Coalition for Justice in Palestine" published a letter in the Cornell Daily Sun. The letter began, "The faculty of the Cornell Coalition for Justice in Palestine stand for Palestinian human rights, sovereignty, liberation and the right to resist." What does the "right to resist" consist of?

The third paragraph reads: "While we abhor any targeting of civilians, our collective represents a diversity of views about the tactics of the Palestinian struggle. Yet we unite in unwavering opposition to apartheid and to the ongoing occupation, displacement, degradation, collective punishment and slaughter of Palestinians."

"While we abhor any targeting of civilians...." This is apparently as far as they can go to indicate any displeasure at the murder of over 1,200 people on October 7 by the Hamas terrorists. They don't mention the taking of hostages, much less murder or rape. 

What are the "diversity of views about the tactics of the Palestinian struggle"? No details are given, but I suspect that the diversity includes those who don't care about deliberate attacks on Israeli civilians, or perhaps even applaud it. (Remember Russell Rickford's words a week after October 7 at an anti-Israel rally in Ithaca). 

The letter has no signatories - none of the faculty concerned revealed their names. 

Friday, December 08, 2023

November 18: Hadash demonstrates in Tel Aviv for a ceasefire

Hadash, the leftist Arab-Jewish party in Israel, held a protest calling for a ceasefire on November 18. The demonstration was very small, according to the Times of Israel:
Dozens of people gather in Tel Aviv for an anti-war protest calling for a ceasefire and diplomatic solution to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The protest, organized by the mostly Arab Hadash party, was allowed by police after several similar gatherings were refused permits over the past few weeks.
Protesters carry signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English calling for an end to the war, with slogans reading “In Gaza and Sderot, children want to live”; “An eye for an eye and everyone is blind”; “No to occupation and siege, yes to peace” and others.  
No Palestinian flags can be seen in photos online of the event.

Here's a photo of some people in the demonstration:

People demonstrate against the Israel-Hamas war in Tel Aviv, November 18, 2023.
(Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv to protest for immediate ceasefire

The Ha'aretz article on the protest says that several hundred attended.
Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv to protest for immediate ceasefire 
Hundreds gathered in Tel Aviv's Charles Clore Park in central Israel for a Jewish-Arab demonstration led by Israel's Hadash party. The protest calls for the immediate ceasefire and an end to the war. Protesters say they support an "all-for-all" hostage deal where all Israeli hostages are brought back in exchange for "Palestinian political prisoners unlawfully held in Israel."
Hadash MK Aida Touma Suleiman spoke at the protest, saying: "They will not silence us. We won't let the human voice against the war be unheard, so here we say: we are against the war. From the first day, we said that we oppose the atrocities and crimes committed against civilians, and when civilians in Gaza die from bombings - we will condemn these crimes as well. You will not prevail because there is also a voice in Gaza, and there are also citizens and children in Gaza."

Dana Mills, former Peace Now director, declared, "Enough of the war, enough of the murder and massacre in Gaza. We will not be silent or calm until all the prisoners return home safely.'"