Tag Archive for: terrorism

Parents of Americans Held in Gaza: ‘We Are All Hostages of Hamas’

They know the underground of the U.S. Capitol like the back of their hands. “I have walked more distance in these corridors than I have in my own house,” Ronen Neutra says wistfully. “I can’t believe this is our life.” The 135 days since her son was taken hostage by Hamas have been a sleepless nightmare. “We don’t have day and night,” she admitted. “… It all becomes very blurry to us.” And like the other five American families waiting for word about their loved ones, there’s no end in sight.

Omer was just 22 when he was pulled out of his IDF tank by terrorists and marched to Gaza. A dual citizen who grew up in New York City, he was born just a month after 9/11 — the last time the world was rocked by such unspeakable evil. Omer decided to join the Israel Defense Forces during his gap year before college in the U.S. He picked the tank brigade because he heard “it was among the army’s toughest jobs.”

His unit was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades, the Neutras pieced together from online videos and information from the two governments. That’s when his fate became linked to Edar Alexander, another American-Israeli citizen, who grew up a short train ride from Manhattan. At just 20, he decided to join Garin Tzabar, which trains young people from around the world who want to join the IDF. He was assigned to the infantry at the same base, one month before the attack. Not far from Omer’s tank, the young 20-year-old was surrounded by Hamas militants, standing alone with his rifle.

Now, the two families, who lived a handful of miles apart in New York, are linked by something far more tragic: the unknown fate of their sons. Almost every week, The New York Times reports, the families are on a plane to either Washington or Israel, meeting with international leaders. There’s no certainty that Omer or Edar — two of the six remaining American hostages — are even alive. Of the 130 hostages still in Gaza, the Wall Street Journal estimates that at least 50 may be dead.

“Every day has been like five days,” Orna tells reporters. Friday nights, Shabbat, are the hardest. That’s when she and her husband Ronen, both children of Holocaust survivors, would video chat with Omer at his army base. With hope they don’t feel, the families bought “new, larger dining room tables” for happier times when they’re all reunited. Willing him to be okay, the Neutras even flew to Israel to rent an apartment so that Omer will have a place to go when he’s released. “We wanted to create the reality that he is coming home very soon,” she said.

They wait, fear, and prepare for a reunion they pray will come. At rally after rally, Orna reads a variation of the same words, “We miss your laugh, and your beautiful smile, so, so much, Edani,” While they try not to think about what Omer and Edar are enduring at the hands of Hamas, both sets of parents can’t help but worry. “We are very fearful,” Ronen told The Daily Caller, “130 days without a sign of life, without knowing his medical condition, without any medical crew — including the Red Cross — allowed to go and visit him and the rest of the hostages. Who knows what his condition is? We have no idea … So how should we feel? I don’t know. I mean, we are very fearful, very nervous.”

But honestly, he said, “We don’t have time to think about ourselves and feel pity about the situation, or anything else for the most part.” Their sole focus is spending every waking second working to bring their sons home.

While the rest of America goes about its days, the Neutras and Alexanders try to keep the government focused on the innocents 5,600 miles away. As recently as last Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted that the U.S. is “working intensely with Egypt, with Qatar, on a proposal to bring about their release.” He talked about meeting with the families like Ronen and Orna’s. “The agony that they face … — not knowing the fate of their loved ones — is beyond our imaginations.”

Just as torturous, they admit, is watching the world turn on Israel — their one hope for eliminating the terrorists. Omer’s dad argues, “Get rid of Hamas and give us back our hostages [and] Israel will stop immediately.” Until then, he lamented, “It feels like Hamas is holding hostage the whole Western world. “They’re holding onto our kid. We are definitely hostages. And everyone’s hands are tied…”

Right now, Israeli leaders say, Hamas’s demands are “delusional.” “We want a deal very much and we know we need to pay prices,” a former IDF commander told CNN over the weekend. “But Hamas’s demands are disconnected from reality.”

Past negotiations were not executed in good faith, they point out. In other deals, Hamas promised to deliver medicine to the hostages, only for IDF soldiers to find those medications untouched “with the names of Israeli hostages on them” during the rain on Nasser Hospital.

To the people who say Israel should just back off and leave Gaza alone, Ronen and Orna say it’s time for the world to learn some history and the longtime “abuse of power by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in Gaza.” “Israel has been fighting for its survival since [its founding]…” Orna insisted. “They still need to fight for their survival,” Orna told the Daily Caller. “Take the time and look at the issues before you take a stance on them.”

The important thing is for Israel to ignore the naysayers, focus on the job at hand, and eliminate Hamas. “It’s time,” Ronen urged. “It’s so urgent [for the hostages]. Every day that there is a delay in reaching a deal is putting a death sentence on some of them.”

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

U.S. Part of a ‘Cash Bonanza’ That’s Paying Illegals to Cross the Border: Report

Is the U.S. bankrolling our own border invasion? That’s what an explosive new report from The Epoch Times suggests. While Americans struggle to pay for shelter, medical care, food, and schooling for the migrants who’ve been bussed to major cities, we may also be footing the bill for their journey here. “We’re actually funding our own border crisis,” the Center for Immigration Studies’ Todd Bensman warned. And most taxpayers have no clue.

While the Biden administration has been all too willing to throw open the gates to illegal crossers, their biggest contribution to the crisis is through the U.N., where this president has been funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to agencies sabotaging our border. The International Office for Migration (IOM), for instance, which is part of the U.N., had been raking in about a half-billion dollars before 2021. Now, alarmed experts say, that funding “has skyrocketed” to an eye-popping $1.3 billion in 2023 — double what it was under Donald Trump.

Why is that a problem? Because that money, investigations have shown, is being handed out directly to migrants who want to cross the border illegally. “People who might not have taken the risk to travel to the U.S., because they were worried about food or safety now have help,” Bensman points out. “That help,” The Epoch Times notes, “comes in the form of prepaid debit cards, food, water, shelter, medical care, and transportation.” In most cases, these migrants are “directly” receiving cash — “what the U.N. emergency manual calls ‘cash in envelopes.’”

Bensman went to Mexico to see with his own two eyes whether this was actually happening. In 2021, his tweet of migrants in long lines for U.N. debit cards went viral. “The IOM workers said a … family of four gets about $800 a month.” Most of this, he told The Epoch Times, “[is] provided by, ultimately, the United States taxpayer.”

They have money — and something just as dangerous: motivation. They know the border is wide open, Bensman points out. “They say, ‘Well, you know, we’re coming now because Biden’s letting us in.’” The reality is, “People respond to the signals that are being sent,” Ian Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), argued. “If they believe that there is a good chance that they’re going to be able to get to the United States and be allowed to remain here, then they will go through all the things that they have to go through.”

Meanwhile, people tracking the money say that a majority of it comes from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, which, ironically, is responsible for processing and resettling people requesting refugee status. But, as experts point out, millions of dollars are going to migrants — most of whom don’t qualify as refugees — long before they step foot on American soil.

All of this is propped up by the U.N.’s own efforts, which is siphoning off donations from U.S. taxpayers to overrun their own borders. One program is “allocate[ing] $372 million in ‘cash and vouchers’ and ‘multipurpose cash assistance’ during 2024 for 624,300 migrants — the population of Detroit — in Central and South America who are headed for the U.S. border.”

With America’s help, Bensman wants people to know, the U.N. is “aiding and abetting mass migration.” Just last month, the IOM announced that it’s upping the ante to $7.9 billion to “[realize] migration’s promise as a force for good throughout the world.” IOM’s director general, Amy Pope, in her plea to member nations, even claimed that the kind of migration the U.S. is experiencing, “when well-managed, is a major contributor to global prosperity and progress.”

She’s also been speaking that into the ear of Joe Biden for years, since, as The Epoch Times points out, she served as the president’s senior advisor on migration and as deputy Homeland Security advisor to Barack Obama. It’s no coincidence that the person incentivizing these mass border crossings has direct ties to the White House, where she’s used her perch at the U.N. to extract more money from the overly generous United States.

Raising even more eyebrows, the report points to a stunning number of political appointees who share Pope’s radical views. That alone, experts say, shows that the crisis is intentionally “engineered.”

Illegal immigration “is a big business for the Biden administration,” Mehlman points out. “There’s no question that we saw a vast increase in migration to the United States, starting from the day that Joe Biden took office. … It’s happening because people are allowing it to happen. It is being facilitated every step along the way.” Largely, Bensman shakes his head, because of these giveaways, this U.S.-backed “cash bonanza.”

The U.N. seems to believe that “people should be able to move to any country they desire,” regardless of the laws they’re violating, or the havoc they wreak on those societies, or the devastation they do to the nations they’re fleeing. “If the incentive is to leave rather than to reform and change things where you are,” Bensman warns, “then those failed societies continue.”

Republicans, and a surprising number of Democrats, realize that this self-funded invasion is destroying our country from within. They’ve played hardball on the Ukraine billimpeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a historic vote, and, most recently, threatened to cut his salary if DHS’s reports on the exploding border numbers continue to be late. But the reality is a harsh one: Americans are unknowingly fueling the crisis.

“The United Nations is using our own tax dollars against us,” Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) fumed in January, “and U.S. policymakers can no longer stand by while elites in the U.N. actively financing an invasion of our sovereign territory.”

And frankly, as outrageous as it is that Americans are unknowingly paying people to break our laws, it’s who we may be paying that should frighten people. An open border, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins argued, is an open invitation to terror. With 300 suspects of the Terror Watch List already captured on their way across, who knows how many slipped through — or worse, were simply released into our communities? “We may never know until they are encountered by law enforcement at a later date,” a Homeland Security agent anonymously told The Daily Caller. “Very well after it’s too late.”

“Lawlessness compounds lawlessness,” Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.) insisted on “Washington Watch.” He’s right. But even more infuriating is secretly underwriting lawlessness — at the literal expense of American security — knowing that until that stops, it can never be contained.

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

China Continues Funding Iran, Russia as Regime Sends Nationals through Southern Border

As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues buying Iranian oil and helping Russia fund its war with Ukraine, Xi Jinping’s regime appears to be sending nationals into the United States through the porous southern border via at least one secretive camp deep in the Panamanian jungle.

During the February 2 episode of “The Tucker Carlson Podcast,” libertarian podcaster and author Bret Weinstein described a recent trip he took to the Darién Gap, a dense, rugged, mountainous jungle without roads in southern Panama in which migrants from South America hoping to make it to the U.S. must pass through. While touring some of the “transit camps” where migrants ready themselves for the trip north, Weinstein noted that “people are coming from the Middle East. We met Afghans, we met people from the Caribbean, Haitians, people from Yemen, Iran. It’s shocking, really. This looks superficially like the migration of Central Americans … but that’s not the whole story.”

Weinstein went on to describe a transit camp at San Vicente, which was “almost entirely Chinese.” He noted that unlike at other camps that he visited, he was not allowed to enter the San Vicente camp and interact with people. However, he was able to interact with a few of the Chinese nationals outside the camp. “They are the opposite of forthcoming,” he explained. “They have no interest in talking to outsiders. … It is not a friendly migration. These Chinese folks [were] overwhelmingly male, military age. … There were few if any children in the Chinese migration. [Children] were everywhere in the other places we visited.”

“The sense of … hostility that I felt from the Chinese was particularly unsettling given that I know where they’re headed. … They’re headed to the U.S.,” Weinstein underscored. “… I believe their government has some reason to facilitate [this].”

Meanwhile, Radio Free Europe published a report in January detailing how China clandestinely buys oil from Iran. It describes how a “dark fleet” of oil tankers off the shores of Singapore exchange cargo. “The fleet has grown steadily over the past five years, delivering Iranian crude to China as the countries work in concert to circumvent international sanctions that target Tehran’s lucrative oil exports,” the report describes.

As has been firmly established, the Islamist regime of Iran is the “foremost state sponsor” of a host of international terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and more.

Recently, Senator Kevin Cramer (R-S.D.) joined “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to describe how China is helping to bankroll America’s adversaries, even as the Biden administration continues to make friendly overtures with the communist regime.

“[T]hey’re able to sell Iranian oil to China … on the black market,” he noted. “[T]hey sell to these ‘teapot refineries,’ which are sort of off the grid, but not really off the grid, and we look the other way. This is all part of playing nice, but we’re playing nice with two enemies when we should be sanctioning that oil like Donald Trump did. We should be protecting that oil from even getting to China.”

Cramer continued, “We need to be much more assertive about our economic sanctions, oil sanctions, the trade between these enemy countries and make it darn hard on them to collaborate with one another and to fund their terror. And at the same time, places like North Dakota and Texas and Oklahoma and a whole bunch of other places [like] Alaska have plenty of clean oil that is produced by good, free people [who are] happy to sell around the world and not fund terrorism with it.”

Perkins pointed out that “many U.S. companies are investing in Chinese technology, and they’re aiding the CCP.”

“[T]he fact that we haven’t learned this lesson yet is shame on us,” Cramer concurred. “[D]ecades ago, when we let China into [the World Trade Organization] and gave them favored nation status, that happened with the hope that they’d become more like us. Well, all they’ve done is exploited us with our own weakness. But the fact that Wall Street and our own corporate citizens are still drawn to that incredible market because they love the cash more than anything, or the fact that we still import cheap stuff from China that is made with slave labor in some cases — certainly unfair labor, certainly unfair conditions, certainly much more polluting factories. … The fact that we still allow it at all is mind-numbing to me, and we’ve got to do a lot more.”

In December, Cramer joined Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and six other senators in introducing the Iran China Accountability Act, which “would block any taxpayer dollars from being used to advance an Iran nuclear agreement until they terminate cash ties with China and terminate ties to terrorist groups such as Hamas.”

AUTHOR

Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘There Are Terror Threats Coming Across The … Border’: DCNF Reporter Discusses Al-Shabaab Member Caught In Minnesota

A Daily Caller News Foundation reporter warned “terror threats” have crossed the U.S. border during a Saturday morning appearance on Newsmax.

A member of al-Shabaab, a radical Islamic terrorist group based out of Somalia, was captured in Minnesota in January after being released into the United States following an initial detention at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a memo obtained by the DCNF. DCNF Investigative Reporter Jennie Taer discussed the memo with “Wake Up America” weekend hosts Sarah Williamson and Michael Graham.

“We exclusively reported earlier this week that an al-Shabaab terrorist had made their way through the southern border, was caught by Border Patrol in March, was actually released after they determined he was a mismatch which was completely incorrect,” Taer told Williamson and Graham.

WATCH:

“He was not a mismatch on the terror watch list and ICE found that out in January and they just a few days ago nabbed this guy in Minnesota. So, absolutely there are terror threats coming across the southern border and Border Patrol was also warned in a memo that we obtained earlier after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack that there could be Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah terrorists crossing,” Taer continued.

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota demanded an explanation about the incident Friday from Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

Taer previously reported that CBP’s San Diego Field Office Intelligence Division sent out a memo in October warning that the radical Islamic terrorist groups Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad could enter the United States via the U.S.-Mexico border.

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported over 302,000 illegal immigrants came across the U.S.-Mexico border in December after nearly 380,000 illegal immigrants have been encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border during the first two months fiscal year 2024, which started Oct. 1, according to data released by the agency. CBP also reported 2,045,838 encounters in fiscal year 2023, 2,206,436 in fiscal year 2022 and 1,659,206 in fiscal year 2021.

AUTHOR

HAROLD HUTCHISON

Reporter.

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Israeli Leader: The World Is Telling Hamas That ‘The Path of Terror Is Worth It’

“I go to sleep a dead man.” That’s the only way Liri Albag’s father can describe what it’s like to know his daughter is a hostage in Gaza. He holds up a picture of his beautiful girl before captivity — and another, the unrecognizable face of his 18-year-old looking dirty, dazed, and disheveled. Somewhere, deep underground, she waits for help that has not come. “I want to show to the world,” a pained Eli tells reporters. “This is the same girl — it is not different girls,” he pleads. It’s the face of a girl who’s seen unspeakable horrors. Horrors that will not stop if Israel does.

For Liri and so many others, the one blessing is that they do not hear the world telling the Jewish State to stand down. They aren’t near televisions where news reports scream for two-state solutions and political leaders without a daughter in Hamas’s hands call for an end to the invasion. They don’t know that barely five months removed from the massacre that killed 1,200 Israelis that their friend America is dangerously close to betraying them.

The lucky ones, the girls who survived weeks in those tunnels, talk like ghosts who have seen the worst of humankind. “Have you eaten enough today,” Agam Goldstein-Almog asks the female hostages still in Gaza. “Has he harmed you again? Has he asked you, again, if you’re married, if he could set you up with someone from Gaza? Has he entered your shower again, stripped the pajamas that he gave you, touched the wound from the bullet that he shot, that really hurt you? But his control hurt more.”

Knowing — and not knowing — is what’s hardest for Eli. “We know that some of the girls,” he pauses, “it’s very difficult to say this, [but] they attacked them, sexually, and we are worried.” When he asks the women who are released about whether they were raped, they look away.

Like all of the parents, he knows the stories. Agam and her mother saw the haunted faces of others who had been severely sexually abused. Through “great difficulty and tears,” the answer was almost always yes. “Suddenly, they had a friend to tell, someone they could unburden themselves to. We cried together.”

So imagine being a parent or survivor and hearing the world’s demand that their tormenters be rewarded — that in exchange for this unspeakable cruelty they earn their own state. Ohad Tal, a member of the Israeli Knesset for the Religious Zionist Party, can only shake his head in disbelief. “It’s just unbelievable,” he told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch.” “I mean, basically what [these people are] trying to say is that Israel doesn’t have the basic right to defend itself. … Because, I mean, we didn’t initiate anything with Hamas, just to remind everyone.”

And yet now, leaders from around the globe — including some mixed messages from our own U.S. leaders, are “telling Hamas after the atrocities of October 7th that what they will get is a fully functioning state from the hands of America, basically, is telling them that the path of terror, this is the right path to go. It’s worth it. This is what we’re telling them, right? And I think it’s a huge mistake, not just for Israel. It’s a huge mistake for the world.”

Tal, like so many Israelis, has trouble believing how many countries have abandoned them after such an unprovoked and brutal slaughter of innocent people. “We have to understand that on October 7th, something unbelievable happened in Israel,” he insisted. “Something that’s really beyond imagination. I mean, Hamas fighters — but not only them, actually, because it was also Islamic Jihad and random Gazans who came into Israel [too] — penetrated into the kibbutzim, to the villages around Gaza, and basically butchered 1,200 Israelis [including] kids in their beds. They raped women, they beheaded babies. They slaughtered parents in front of their kids and took 240 of them into Gaza.”

He told the story of a father, whose name is Ohad — just like him — who was hijacked and taken “with his whole family — his wife Batsheva and their three kids — into Gaza.” “The wife, Batsheva, and two kids succeeded to escape, because they took them on motorbikes. … [and] she took three kids with her. But one of the terrorists didn’t give up — and took from her hands one of her kids into Gaza.”

“Just really try to imagine,” Tal said with emotion, “a mother that sees her husband and her son being taken away, brutally taken away from her to the unknown — to the terrorists of Gaza.” We are talking, he insisted, about an atrocity that is “unprecedented in human history.” And right now, as we speak, there are 136 hostages still in the hands of terrorists. “Among them babies. Babies,” he emphasized. “I mean, these are things really are beyond imagination.”

So when he hears politicians or protestors calling for a two-state solution, this Knesset member wants to remind people that Israel tried that. In fact, Tal pointed out, they gave up their own land in 2005 to make it work. That was a mistake, he admitted. Letting Hamas have functional control of Gaza didn’t fix anything. “Many people thought that, you know, if we will improve their economy, if we will allow Palestinians to come to Israel to work, to earn decent money, that will take away their desire to destroy us, that will create a better feeling that we are neighbors. But it didn’t turn out.”

And now, the idea that Israel should return to that after the evil and injustice they’ve experienced is ludicrous. As Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) described it, what you’d have under this so-called “two-state solution” is a scenario “where Israel’s here, Gaza’s there: two different states, and one continues to attack the other.”

Because again, Tal explained, “within the Middle East, everything is very simple. … If you’re weak, we will come and bite you. This is how it goes. … You have to remember [Hamas] succeeded [in doing] something that all the Arab armies didn’t succeed to do in 75 years. They tried. They didn’t succeed. [Hamas] did it in one day. And if [they] get a state at the end of it, it means it was worth it.”

And what will happen then? “Radical Islam, because of it, will raise its head all over the world. [You] can already see it. It begins in Europe. You can already see they’re telling the Christians in Europe, ‘We want to apply Sharia rules here in your countries, you are our slaves.’ This is how they treat Christians in Europe today. This is what we want to see in America. This is what we want to see in the entire Western civilization, because this is what will happen ahead.”

So while the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tediously go through the deadly work of smoking out Hamas, the world needs to understand that this is a very complicated situation, Tal reiterated. “… [Gaza] is not [as] small as people maybe tend to think.” And with the “unbelievable” amount of tunnels and underground facilities — “thousands of miles of them” — it’s not easy. He estimates that the IDF has destroyed about 20% of the tunnels, and of the 40,000 fighters, soldiers have killed about 10,000 — so “about a quarter.” “And this is after four months of fighting,” he pointed out. “So there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. And it takes time, and we have to have patience. And I think also the administration here in America has to have patience and understand that it takes time.”

If they need to be reminded why Israel is doing this, the nightmarish images from October 7 should be more than enough motivation. “Along with other members [of the] Knesset, I watched a video of these inhuman acts, recorded largely by the terrorist themselves — the sites of the joyful mutilation of our people by the hands of Hamas death squads. [It] sent a strong and enduring message to all of us that we must reassess everything.”

The Palestinians do not want to have a state side by side with Israel, Tal insisted. “They want a state instead of Israel. And we will never accept that.” Look at history, he urged at Wednesday’s National Gathering of Prayer and Repentance. “Every time Israel has retreated from a territory, it has been attacked from there.”

“We need to send a very clear message that terror cannot pay nor be rewarded. This is a war between good and evil. There is no gray area. Humanity has to make a choice. … And I call on everyone present here today to stay with us. Stand on the right side of history. Stand with the good in prayer and action.”

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Pentagon’s Special Ops Office Holds Book Talk On ‘Far-Right’ Domestic Terrorism

  • A Department of Defense office overseeing special operations invited two terrorism experts to discuss their new book on far-right terrorism in the U.S., screenshots obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show.
  • The invitation appeared to go out via email to “all” staff of SO/LIC, the acronym for the Pentagon’s office overseeing special operations and irregular warfare.
  • “Serious acts of terrorism have erupted from violent American far-right extremists in recent years, including the 2015 mass murder at a historic Black church in Charleston and the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol,” the book’s synopsis, which was also included in the email, reads.

A Department of Defense (DOD) office invited two experts to discuss their new book on far-right terrorism in the U.S. as part of a new series featuring guest speakers, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The invitation appeared to go out via email to “all” staff of SO/LIC, the acronym for the Pentagon’s office overseeing special operations and irregular warfare, according to screenshots obtained exclusively by the DCNF. Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and Jacob Ware, a research fellow at CFR, were scheduled Tuesday to present their book, which traces right-wing domestic terrorism through U.S history, including the Ku Klux Klan and groups involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots seeking to reverse the 2020 election. 

“Reminder to please join us at 1200 tomorrow morning via Teams (link below) for this virtual brown bag book talk event — renowned terrorism scholars Dr. Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware. Their new book, God, Guns, and Sedition: Far-Right Terrorism in America was released earlier this month,” the invitation, dated Jan. 29 at 9:51 a.m., reads.

“This is the first of what we hope will be a series of brown bag events featuring internal and external speakers,” it said, and was signed by the “FO Team.”

The reminder included a brief description of the book and links to the author’s biographies in documents on the internal office drive.

“Serious acts of terrorism have erupted from violent American far-right extremists in recent years, including the 2015 mass murder at a historic Black church in Charleston and the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol,” the book synopsis, which was also included in the email, read.

“They are the latest flashpoints in a process that has been unfolding for decades, in which vast conspiracy theories and radical ideologies such as white supremacism, racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, and hostility to government converge into a deadly threat to democracy,” it said. “This talk, derived from the speakers’ new book, God, Guns, and Sedition (Columbia Univ. Press) discusses the rise of far-right terrorism in the United States, the impact of U.S. domestic terrorism on our foreign policy and our allies, and policy recommendations to counter far-right terrorism.”

The email did not explain why domestic terrorism, a problem outside of the DOD’s purview, was selected as the topic for the first book talk or who approved it. The DOD didn’t respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

Hoffman and Ware have engaged in presentations and other media to promote their recent release, according to a DCNF review.

The Pentagon initiated a stand-down after the Jan. 6 riots and ordered a review of extremism present within the ranks of U.S. military personnel. Fewer than 100 service members were identified as having participated in extremist activities, but the Pentagon’s focus on right-wing views may have worsened a polarization problem.

Despite two years of work, the Pentagon failed to understand domestic extremism and may have inflated the issue, to the possible detriment of cohesion within the ranks, according to a DOD-funded study released in December.

“God, Guns and Terrorism” opens with a description of an anti-government group in 2020 advocating for the overthrow of the U.S. government, spurred by former President Donald Trump’s social media incitement, a sample of the book on Amazon.com shows. It then describes the “accelerationist” ideology, which the authors say motivates many right-wing anti-government groups, as a “white power strategy to foment violence and chaos as a means to seize power.”

The two recently co-authored an editorial arguing that far-right threats of violence in support of the MAGA agenda is splintering the Republican party. GOP support for Trump could inspire a repeat of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, they said.

“The violent far-right extremist movement is neither loyal to the GOP nor concerned about protecting its own candidates or elected officials. It is an anti-government underground fueled by election denialism and driven by the worst authoritarian impulses,” they wrote.

Ware and Hoffman didn’t respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

AUTHOR

MICAELA BURROW

Investigative reporter, defense.

RELATED ARTICLE: Biden Pentagon’s Efforts To Crack Down On ‘Extremism’ May Have Harmed Military, DOD Study Finds

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If Hamas Isn’t Defeated, ‘It’s Open Season on Israel,’ Experts Say

On Monday, 24 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza strip while attempting to establish a buffer zone for residents of the communities on the Israeli border so they could return home. It was during this process that a blast was triggered and two buildings collapsed. The fatal explosion made victims of two dozen soldiers, a tragedy that The Times of Israel called “the single deadliest incident since the start of Israel’s ground offensive in the enclave.” Several other soldiers were severely wounded.

Since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas, there’s been no shortage of pain and suffering. Thousands have died, many are still held hostage, and deadly conflict threatens to spread throughout the Middle East. Amid all the chaos, death, and destruction, many wonder: why keep fighting? Caroline Glick, a senior contributing editor at the Jewish News Syndicate and host of the “Carolyn Glick Show,” has an answer.

“We lost 24 soldiers [Monday]. It’s a big blow to the country. It’s a big blow to the families,” she shared on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.” But the hard truth is that “the fight must go on,” because this is “a fight for Israel’s survival,” she urged.

Since October 7, mass casualties have resulted on both sides. But at the heart of the matter, Glick emphasized, Hamas is a terrorist organization that has vowed not to end their brutal attacks until Israel is extinct. She pointed out that “Hamas, in and of itself,” does not “pose an existential threat” in the sense that they have atomic bombs. But rather, they’re a force that won’t stop building itself back up again, no matter the blows it receives. She emphasized, “They don’t have anything that animates them as a people other than killing Jews.”

But Hamas is not alone in their fury against the Jews. As Glick discussed, Israel has many enemies. Iran could be considered the “head of the snake,” with Hamas, the Houthis, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations connected to the Islamist regime. “And if we don’t finish the job with Hamas,” she added, “what we’re telling everybody is that it’s open season on Israel.”

Perkins pointed out that the Biden administration wants a two-state solution. Few involved in the war agree with that course of action, Glick noted. A two-state solution “would be a massive reward for terrorism,” she said. “There’s no support in Israel whatsoever for this, but … there’s no support among the Palestinians” either. She explained that the majority of Palestinians don’t want a two-state solution because they “just want to annihilate Israel.”

“I mean, it’s hard for us to get our heads around because [Hamas is] so evil and it’s so different from us,” she continued. “They worship death, and they seek literally to kill us all. … It’s not just in their charter. It’s what they say, and it’s what they do.” So essentially, Glick said, the Biden administration is asking Israel “to choose between impossible alternatives.” Perkins added, “It’s not the reasonable man theory.” Compromise is what Biden and the Left are pushing for, Glick agreed, but “you can’t compromise on this when it’s a zero-sum game.”

She emphasized that there are a “quarter of a million Israelis who are living as internal refugees,” both from the south and from the north, who won’t stop fighting. Ending the war with a cease fire, she warned, would leave “Hamas in power … Hezbollah at the border … [and] Iran to be nuclear.”

“After October 7th, everybody’s eyes are open to the danger,” Glick concluded. “[W]e’re a country that loves life, and we insist on surviving.”

AUTHOR

Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Two-State Solution Would be Israel’s Fatal Final Solution

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘Break It Down’: No Consequences for Pro-Terrorism Protestors Assaulting White House

Ten weeks ago, I wrote of a November 4 protest at the White House in which a pro-Hamas mob “cursed the U.S. president, waved the flag of a foreign adversary, and endeavored to breach the White House compound.” No one was held accountable for that vile display of hate and anti-Semitism, even from the president ostensibly committed to the extermination of these evils. So, in the least surprising development ever, the pro-terrorism protest happened again this Saturday, only bigger and bolder — and again with no consequences.

This weekend’s protest imitated the earlier one in many respects: a large crowd assembled in Freedom Plaza before moving over to the White House and attempting to scale the fence. Again, rallygoers — including not only Arabs, but white college students, black race activists, and red communists — donned the black-and-white Palestinian keffiyeh scarf. Again, they left behind a mess of trash and graffiti in Lafayette Park. Again, they chanted curses at an absent president, as well as subtle endorsements of genocide, such as “Free Palestine.” Again, they flew the flags of foreign powers inside the White House’s protective fence.

And again, all who committed lawlessness at the protest got away with it. “During the demonstration near the White House complex Jan. 13, a portion of the anti-scale fencing that was erected for the event sustained temporary damage. The issues were promptly repaired on site by U.S. Secret Service support teams,” said the Secret Service, adding that they made no arrests.

D.C. Police Chief Pamela Smith told reporters, “a majority of today’s demonstration remained peaceful,” but “there were instances of illegal and destructive behavior in Lafayette Park, including items being thrown at our officers.” Her statement did not indicate that D.C. police had made any arrests. Conservative reporter Julio Rosas, who was on the scene, posted on X/Twitter, “I did not personally see anyone get arrested outside the White House tonight.”

The sizable crowd — reported at anywhere from “tens of thousands” to “400,000” — overflowed Freedom Plaza, east of the White House, as buses arrived from 20 states to swell the crowd for the post-lunch rally. Organizers pompously dubbed the gathering, “The March on Washington for Gaza,” a nod to the famous Civil Rights-era event during which — unlike Saturday’s protest — the attendees actually marched to Washington on their own two legs. At around 2 p.m., an Islamic call to prayer, in Arabic, was played over loudspeakers at the park, which sits on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol.

Attendees smothered the event in hundreds of Palestinian flags, including one apparently larger than my house. Other flags spotted at the event include the Islamic Jihadist flag, used by U.S.-designated foreign terrorists organizations, and the national flags of Egypt (the Gaza Strip’s other neighbor), Yemen (where the Iran-backed Houthis are based), South Africa (which, despite its own history of apartheid, accused Israel of genocide before the International Court of Justice), and Tunisia (which recently considered a bill to criminalize normalizing relations with Israel).

Of course, the Progress Pride flag flew there, too, right under the flag of Palestine, where the powers that be would likely kill and torture anyone who identified as any sort of LGBTQ identity. Meanwhile, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (a communist party) sponsored a banner that read, “End all U.S. funding for Israeli apartheid.”

Just before 3 p.m., the crowd began to assemble for a march on 14th Street NW, exiting Freedom Plaza from its northwest corner. At 4 p.m., the protestors began a half-circuit of the White House complex, heading north on 14th Street NW, then west on K Street NW, then south on 17th Street NW, before finally arriving at the northeast corner of the White House complex around 4:50 p.m. A large number of protestors eventually filled Pennsylvania Avenue and the adjacent Lafayette Square.

The only known arrest associated with Saturday’s demonstration occurred along the march route. On 14th Street NW, between H Street and I Street, a man brandished a knife at the head of the march. One protestor quickly disarmed him, and police took him into custody. It seems implausible that the knife-wielding man was present to attend the protest. The man’s attire (bright orange jacket and dayglow-yellow hat and gloves) and his behavior are more consistent with a mentally unstable member of D.C.’s population, many of whom congregate in Franklin Park, a block from the incident. If so, then his arrest was a sad, bizarre intrusion of D.C.’s ordinary affairs into this national protest.

Ironically, the protestors had no problem with D.C. police closing the route of their march to vehicular traffic. Thousands of protestors walked right past scores of uniformed officers without so much as an insult. Yet after hours of such peaceful cooperation — or at least co-existence — within 15 minutes of arriving at the White House, the protestors were attempting to break through barricades.

By 5:02 p.m., conservative journalist Wid Lyman reported, “Protestors are shaking the outer fence at the White House.” At 5:16 — when it was still not quite dark — Rosas concurred, “Palestinian protesters aggressively shake and hit the security fence outside the White House.”

During the next half hour, the number of protestors swelled as more marchers completed their trek. Protestors lit flares in the colors of the Palestinian flag, draped Palestinian flags and keffiyehs on the statues of Lafayette Square, graffitied public property, and threw “bloody baby dolls” over the White House fence. They began throwing other items, too: water bottles, rocks, even staves broken off from the flags they carried.

As protestors continued to hit and rattle the security fence, they took to chanting, “Break it down!” Now, both their actions and their words declared their desire to breach the White House’s perimeter. Rosas reported at 6:13, “Palestinian protesters have shaken the fence so hard that they have moved portions of it back.” In an improvement upon the previous protest, this time the Secret Service had installed a second, temporary fence, comprised of heavy metal screens that locked together. Unlike the permanent fence, this one was not anchored to the ground.

The tensest moment came around 6:45 p.m., when protestors shook the fence so violently that they managed to partially dis-attach one section of the temporary fence at the top. As the crowd chanted, “Free Palestine” and rattled the fence in a terrible clanging, another conservative journalist, Mark Naughton, captured the moment on video in real-time, from the thick of the fray.

Secret Service agents — who had already donned riot gear — rushed to repair the fence. Protestors predicted they were about to be pepper-sprayed as officers shook up cans in preparation. At least one officer had to climb a ladder by the wildly swinging fence to secure it. “Police were not able to fix the broken fence and had to attach makeshift clamps,” reported Lyman. As officers reattached the fence, the crowd booed and began shouting, “Shame on you!”

Although the situation was quickly resolved, it did alarm the Secret Service, prompting them to order a partial evacuation of the White House. “As a precaution, some members of the media and staff in proximity to Pennsylvania Avenue were temporarily relocated while the issue was being addressed,” said the Secret Service.

The near-breach in the security perimeter might have prompted Secret Service to call in reinforcements. About 15 minutes later, more police officers appeared and dispersed the crowd. By 7:43, all that was left were the items thrown from the crowd.

The massive protest received strikingly light media attention. “I saw no obvious MSM yesterday in DC covering the massive protest,” wrote Naughton. “Some well equipped media maybe MSM (no affiliation hats or jackets) at the literal start line of the March but by the second block, all were gone. When some protesters became aggressive at the White House, only @Julio_Rosas11 and @Wid_Lyman and a few unknown media remained.”

Rosas echoed the sentiment, describing the media’s response as “passive coverage, instead of an outrage cycle.”

There were a couple stories, such as this one by PBS, but they contain little firsthand reporting of the actual riot. This, despite the fact that White House reporters were evacuated when the fence was breached; the mainstream media was situated inside the barricades, not in the crowd.

Two conversations captured during the fracas demonstrate that the protestors themselves knew that their actions were 1) not peaceful and 2) not going to change anyone’s mind. Unfortunately, some of the exchange was inaudible, but the rest is a profound denunciation of the protestors’ tactics and motivations.

In one exchange, a protestor standing by the fence asked the one standing next to him, who was shaking it with all his might, “What is the point of this [rattling fence]? [inaudible] for our point to get across?” “Yes, yes,” the other replied. “Honestly, how old are you? What’s going to happen? Do you think now he’s [Biden] going to change his mind, because you’ve proved to him that Palestine is [inaudible]?”

Afterward, another protestor exhorted those shaking the fence, “Why are we doing this? Let’s do this s*** right, bro.” Someone asked him, “Okay, what is ‘right’?” He replied, “‘Right’ is doing it peacefully, singing our songs, and doing our dances.” Those around him called him a crude name and then ignored his advice.

The fringe-left street activists aren’t alone. Employees of as many as 22 federal agencies, including the Executive Office of the President, the National Security Agency, the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Naval Research Laboratory, planned to participate in an illegal strike on Tuesday, organized by an anonymous group calling itself “Feds United for Peace.” They planned to observe a “Day of Mourning,” as Tuesday is the 100th day since Hamas’s terror attack. However, their plans came to nothing, as all federal offices in the D.C. area were closed anyway due to a winter storm.

Somehow — does it have to do with the dissidents within the system? — the Left’s constant pressure on Biden is having an effect on his foreign policy. Although the majority of Americans supports Israel and is disgusted by the Left’s uncivilized street demonstrations, the Biden administration is heeding its warnings, ratcheting up pressure on Israel as the radical Left turns up the heat on the White House. “The president’s patience is running out” on Israel’s war in Gaza, an anonymous official told Axios on Sunday. Several weeks ago, Biden abruptly hung up on Netanyahu after a tense exchange.

After his administration has done everything possible to slow down Israel’s war and making its task harder, Biden is now annoyed with Israel that it hasn’t won yet. Or, perhaps more correctly, Biden is channeling the anger of those who are annoyed that Israel fought back at all after Hamas’s October 7 terror attack. Meanwhile, Israel’s surrounding enemies have no desire for peace and continue to attack, with a Hezbollah rocket attack killing more Israelis on Tuesday.

In addition, the U.S. military’s passive response to provocations have emboldened other Iranian proxies in the Middle East to conduct bolder attacks. As of Thursday, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen had launched 27 attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, in addition to a number of missiles aimed at Israel. On January 9, they escalated the situation even further by directly attacking U.S. military ships. “These attacks have endangered U.S. personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized trade, and threatened freedom of navigation,” complained Biden. “More than 2,000 ships have been forced to divert thousands of miles to avoid the Red Sea — which can cause weeks of delays in product shipping times.”

In response, the U.S. finally launched retaliatory strikes against the Houthis on Thursday and Friday.

The pro-terrorism protestors outside the White House had this message for American forces trying to keep the world’s most important shipping lane open for business: “Hands off Yemen.” Wouldn’t that be nice, if we could do so?

On Sunday, the Houthis launched an anti-ship cruise missile towards a U.S. Navy ship it was capable of sinking. Fortunately, the ship survived, but the terrorist group has now made its intentions to kill U.S. servicemembers plain. The U.S. responded with a third strike against Yemeni targets on Tuesday. Meanwhile, on Thursday U.S. Navy SEALs captured a small boat that was smuggling missile parts from Iran to Yemen. Two men went missing during that mission, possibly drowned.

In light of these tense and dangerous developments in the Middle East, why would President Biden listen to the opinions of a fringe element that embraces anti-Semitism, alienates the public, and obviously hates America? Perhaps it’s because he needs their votes in November. Biden’s approval rating sank to an all-time low of 33%, while 58% disapprove in a recent ABC News/IPSOS poll. Biden now has the lowest approval rating of any president since George W. Bush in 2006-2008. So, the radical Left can continue their pro-terrorism protests, rattling Biden’s cage in the most literal sense, and expect no consequences.

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand. All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLES:

LOS ANGELES, CA: Pro-Hamas savages spray ‘Free Gaza’ and ‘Intifada’ at National Cemetery, chant genocidal anti-Jewish slogan

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Biden Regime to List Houthis as ‘Terrorists’ While Still Making It Legal to Fund Them

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Young Americans Think the Holocaust Is a ‘Myth,’ ‘Exaggerated,’ or Political Ploy

Philosopher George Santayana is often attributed with coining the phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Such a well-known saying almost seems cliché. But does it have merit? Reflecting on Ecclesiastes 1:9, we know there is nothing new under the sun, and we often see history repeat itself, or even take on new meaning (for better or for worse).

As time widens the gap between the past and the present, it’s easy to forget what has occurred. Perhaps more concerning, it’s easy to remember historical events incorrectly. This begets three possible outcomes: learning the wrong lessons, fabricating lessons that push a certain narrative, or just not learning any lesson at all. The actions of our day imply we’ve experienced all three.

Osama Bin Laden, founder of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda and primary perpetrator of the 9/11 terrorist attack, wrote a “Letter to America” in which he explained his motivation behind the tragic event in American history. The fall of the Twin Towers, the strike at the Pentagon, the plane that crashed in the Pennsylvania field, and the thousands of innocent people injured or killed that day, drastically changed America. Yet, last month, bin Laden’s letter exploded across the internet, and many of the viewers praised what the terrorist had to say.

“I feel like I’m going through an existential crisis right now,” some said. Others read the propaganda and insisted they “will never look at life” or “this country the same.” I believe it goes without saying that terrorists do not and will never deserve sympathy. Yet, how easy is it for lies to be perceived as truth? And the rise of social media use (TikTok in this case), and the increasing message of wokeness, has only added to the spread of deception. So, these waves of ignorance continue.

A recent poll conducted by YouGov, although not the first of its kind, revealed one in five young American adults believe the Holocaust never happened. At least 30% of the respondents, ages 18 to 29, doubt the authenticity of the event, and about a quarter of this same group claimed the retelling of this historical account has been “exaggerated.”

In 2020, the first “50-state survey of Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z” was released, and the results showed a “lack of basic Holocaust knowledge.” If there was concern about how people viewed the Holocaust three years ago, it can’t be surprising that the concern has only grown worse — especially as history continues to unfold and our societal problems increase.

Anti-Semitism has grown to its highest percent in about three decades. Since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, the question many are asking is, did the attacks spark this outburst in anti-Semitism, or did it expose what had already been building for some time?

While there’s much evidence to support the latter, this poll alone indicates that, in addition to young Americans not knowing much about the Holocaust or whether it happened, many of them have politicized the 1940s Jewish genocide. When analyzing the partisan differences, the survey demonstrated 26% of those who voted for Biden and 13% of those who voted for Trump in the 2020 election believe Israel “exploits Holocaust victimhood for its own purposes.” In other words, for some, the Holocaust is just another piece of propaganda meant to serve one party and degrade another. How unfortunate.

It’s also sad that some of America’s most prominent Ivy League school presidents won’t do anything about the anti-Semitism spreading on their campuses. Or that young Americans see no problem in calling for the eradication of the Jewish state and people. It’s hard to believe the hatred toward and rhetoric against the people of Israel has gone so far that the Hamas murderers, rapists, and brutal, stone-cold terrorists, have racked up support and sympathy.

It’s incredible that the Holocaust, where six million Jews were burned alive, starved, gassed to death, worked to death, tortured in concentration camps, ripped from their families, used as props for surgical experiments, and deprived of every basic human right known to man, has been forgotten or denied by many. Obviously, the word, “unfortunate,” does not do justice. But it’s not just “unfortunate” to forget the past. It’s dangerous, and is often driven by dangerous ideologies.

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, commented to The Washington Stand, “This phenomenon is a strange combination of American youth being unchurched and uneducated.” She continued, “When people young or old are unaware of who the Jewish people are in salvation history, they will be unable to believe something like the Holocaust could happen to them or anyone else.”

Letting go of history by any means — be it misinterpretation, forgetfulness, purposeful politicization, or denial — means the future will be affected by it, and often not in a positive way. “The Marxist march through our institutions includes the church and the schools,” Kilgannon added. “And the result of this will not be a communist utopia, but rather a hellscape where terrorist attacks are normalized as ‘anticolonial.’”

She concluded, “You can only maintain such an insane narrative when historical events like the Holocaust are lost to history.”

AUTHOR

Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

The Moral Bankruptcy of Higher Education — and the Opportunity it Gives Christians

In a disturbing House hearing this week, the heads of three of America’s most prestigious universities — Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — equivocated on whether calls for the slaughter of the Jewish people are acceptable.

Used to employing the artful dodges of academic jargon, these “educators” did their best to use complex sentence structures and condescending nuance to avoid answering straightforward questions. When asked by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) — herself a Harvard grad — direct questions about massive student demonstrations condoning violence against Israel and Jews in general, Harvard president Claudine Gay said, “We embrace a commitment to free expression even of views that are objectionable, offensive, hateful — it’s when that speech crosses into conduct that violates our policies against bullying, harassment, intimidation.”

Calling for mass murder is not “bullying, harassment, (and) intimidation?” And so it went — the cowardly evasions of the ivory tower flowing from the leaders of some of the reputedly greatest institutions of higher learning in the world. So now, alarmed by the unnerving calm of a group of PhDs defending their students’ “right” to call for slaughter, the University of Pennsylvania’s board of trustees met in an apparent state of panic over Penn president Liz Magill’s refusal to condemn genocide. Magill has now “promised to review the university’s code of conduct after she faced calls to resign for declining to say whether advocating genocide was a violation of the policy.” How reassuring.

For decades, conservatives have been warning that university liberal arts faculties are run by academics who are wandering so far left that were the earth flat they would fall off. Now, we have data to prove this. In a faculty survey published last fall, the Harvard Crimson newspaper reported that “more than 80 percent of Harvard faculty respondents characterized their political leanings as ‘liberal’ or ‘very liberal.’” Less than 2% characterized themselves as conservative. More broadly, a 2016-2017 study found that 60% of university faculty identified as “left or far left.”

To be clear, being liberal and being anti-Semitic are not synonymous. Rather, it should surprise no one that in environments where young people are taught that Israel is an illegitimate state, that claiming there are moral absolutes is oppressive patriarchal nonsense, and that “heteronormativity” (i.e., the norm of being attracted to the opposite gender) is merely a repulsive social construct that should be crushed, a good number of these young men and women will be swayed.

Post-teenagers are well-known for a proneness to moral indignation. Given that many have had virtually no moral training in the home or churches (just be nice, believe in some kind of deity, and vote Democratic — this is the de facto creed of “mainline” Protestantism) and have not been taught to think carefully and critically in their public schools, it should be unsurprising that when a post-modern professor waxes on about a real or imagined problem, sprinkling his lecture copiously with calls for “justice” and presenting well-culled “facts” to buttress his case, some impressionable youth will fall for his ill-conceived blather.

There is no such thing as values-neutrality. Between Josef Stalin’s celebration of his mass killings (or as he put it, “Who’s going to remember all this riff-raff in 10 or 20 years’ time? No one”) and Jesus’s teaching that we should love our enemies, there is a great gulf fixed. While no one (to my knowledge) stands behind a university lectern actually calling for murder, thousands of my fellow PhDs take their lecture hall podiums and foster theological unbelief, ethical confusion, factual distortion, and logical fallacies day by day, week after week.

So now, as we see major college campuses awash in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric, many university donors and political commentators are shocked by what they are hearing. Why? Have they honestly assumed you can void an education of “the laws of nature and of Nature’s God” and produce men and women of character, moral bravery, and sound minds? Or, at least to some, is this the point: raise a generation for whom hopelessness, rage, and confusion confect into pre-revolutionary radicalism?

The very foundation of our country assumes the existence of a personal Creator Who, in His unmerited kindness, has endowed us with the rights He wants us to enjoy. Try asserting the truth of this claim in any secular university liberal arts faculty lounge. The response you receive will be less than pleasant.

There is another issue at play, as well: Cowardice. Saying no to an insistent child is aggravating; saying no to the insistent, demanding, and continuously outraged Left must be exhausting. But it is also needed. Some voices should not be given space to vent their cries of vicious and ignorant rage. Not every opinion deserves an equal hearing, especially if some of those opinions urge genocide. It is pure dishonesty to suggest that there’s a bright line between rhetoric and action. Fostering hatred leads to hateful actions — this is axiomatic. Evidently the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and MIT missed that class in simple moral geometry.

We should not be surprised by the sudden eruption of indignation now rising among rich donors and many in the major media, especially given the general inattention of much of American society to what’s happening all around us. And while we might hope that the current state of astonishment and anger on the part of wealthy donors and assorted cultural elites will force an accounting of what some of America’s most talented youth are learning, don’t bet on it.

When the president of Harvard — founded as a training ground for evangelical pastors — can’t simply say that when students yell for the destruction of Israel that they have gone too far, such a belief would not be an exercise of either faith or hope but pathetic fantasy.

What we can hope in is that the God of the Bible is real. Christ’s victory over sin, death, and Satan has inaugurated a new kingdom that no power on earth can so much as dent, let alone stop. This is the message we need to bring to a generation desperate for something permanent, something that transcends time and contention and pain.

AUTHOR

Rob Schwarzwalder

Rob Schwarzwalder, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in Regent University’s Honors College.

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Harvard President Plagiarized Her Dissertation

Harvard Covered Up Secret Plagiarism Probe into President Claudine Gay, THREATENED the NY Post

RELATED VIDEO: America’s Education System Is SEVERELY Broken | On the Ground at U Penn

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘It’s “Me Too” Unless You Are a Jew’: Why Won’t Women’s Groups Condemn Hamas’s Rapes?

Why won’t so-called “women’s groups” condemn Hamas terrorists for raping Israeli women on October 7? This is what a growing number of people are asking, including Former Miss World and Miss Israel 1998, Linor Abargil, who gave a very moving and emotional speech before the United Nations on December 4.

Abargil appeared on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday. She said, “It’s ‘Me Too’ unless you are a Jew.” She observed, “It’s not about political, it’s not about ‘Free Palestine, it’s not about which side you’re on on the map: to use rape as an act of war is unbearable. I mean, what happened to humanity?” She then became very emotional and had to take a moment to compose herself before she shared:

“One of my friends… told me a story about this young woman — that he saw a video of her — she was raped by three Hamas people, one after another raped her. . .Screaming they beat her, spit at her, they then butchered her, and one of them took her cell phone and just send everything to her mother. Her scream just haunts my friend every night he’s tried to sleep. And her screaming should be out there for all the world to shout out for this girl that is not here to shout herself. But instead, all of the organizations are just silent. …I mean, I’m telling you, I’m just speechless.”

In the second hour of Thursday’s program, Dana Perino interviewed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) who also called out the women’s groups that are usually her political allies. They include Emily’s List, Democratic Women’s Caucus, Women’s March, I Stand With Her, and American Association of University Women.

Gillibrand said, “When I saw the list at the U.N., I couldn’t believe it. I was so aghast, I was so furious. I don’t understand how we cannot have solidarity amongst all women in the United States and globally — that using rape as a weapon of war is unacceptable. It has to be condemned. The fact that the U.N. has not called Hamas a terrorist organization and condemn[ed] the horrific violence on October 7 is unacceptable. And they’re not even enforcing international law.”

She went on to say, “I think women’s rights groups in the United States should care deeply about women around the globe and should not turn a blind eye. They should not keep their head in the sand. They have a moral responsibility to have moral clarity…”

Perino asked Gillibrand if she watched the video of the October 7 massacre that the Israeli government provided for Congress to watch. She responded, “I did. It’s unspeakable. The horrific acts that were committed in the most heinous and evil ways you can imagine: beheadings, dismemberments, mass rapes, shooting of babies and children. It’s something that should never, ever happen. And it has to be called out not only by the U.N. but by the world community. … They did not show us the victims of rape, and they did not show us the videos of rapes happening because they thought it was too horrific for Congress to see, but we should see it. And these films and these photographs should be made public because the world has to condemn this…”

Abargil’s and Gillibrand’s emotional pleas stand in stark contrast to the cold words of Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, December 3. When CNN host, Dana Bash, asked her why women’s groups are “downright silent” about Hamas raping and mutilating Jewish women on October 7, Jayapal shockingly downplayed Hamas’s evil acts, continually trying to compare those acts to Israel’s justifiable right to defend itself.

Bash said, “With respect, I was just trying to talk about the women, and you turned it back to Israel. I’m asking you about Hamas…”

Jayapal interrupted, “I already answered your question, Dana, I said it’s horrific. I think that rape is horrific — sexual assault is horrific. I think it’s horrific. I think that it happens in war situations. Terrorist organizations like Hamas obviously are using these as tools. However, I think we have to be balanced about bringing in the outrages against Palestinians…”

Bash pointed out, “And it’s horrible, but you don’t see Israeli soldiers raping Palestinian women.” To which Jayapal responded, “Well, Dana, I don’t want this to be the hierarchy of oppressions…”

Although U.N. Women finally condemned Hamas on December 1 (almost two months after the October 7 attack), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still pleading with groups such as the United Nation’s own World Health Organization and women’s groups around the world to be vocal advocates for the many Israeli women and girls that were raped on October 7 (and for the hostages that likely continue to be abused). He said, “I heard heartbreaking stories of abuse. I heard, as you have heard, about sexual abuse and unprecedented cases of cruel rape.”

He then asked, “Did you remain silent because it was Jewish women? … I say to the women’s rights organizations, to the human rights organizations, you’ve heard of the rape of Israeli women, horrible atrocities, sexual mutilation? Where the hell are you? I expect all civilized leaders, governments, nations to speak up against this atrocity.”

Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow for Education Studies, Meg Kilgannon, is not surprised by women’s groups’ lack of attention to this horrific issue. She told The Washington Stand, “National women’s groups have been part and parcel of the Democratic Party for years. For women who pay attention, we know that these groups will never represent our values or the real interests of women. The example of excusing depraved behaviors of terrorists is just another of many ways the leaders of women’s groups serve the interest of progressive and authoritarian men.”

FRC’s Director of the Center for Human Dignity, Mary Szoch, agreed and added, “The terroristic actions of Hamas are pure evil and should be denounced by everyone — especially those claiming to speak for women. Failure to speak out against members of Hamas raping Jewish women is inexcusable.”

AUTHOR

Kathy Athearn

RELATED VIDEO: Hostility to Mother Mary – and the Role of Feminism

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Israel Targets Hamas Commanders as Terror Group’s Atrocities Are Exposed

Israeli forces surrounded the house of Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar in southern Gaza on Wednesday, demonstrating just how quickly they have advanced southward. “Our forces can reach anywhere in the Gaza Strip,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The war is still far from over, with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant predicting two more months of major fighting, followed by “mop up” operations to “tak[e] out pockets of terrorist resistance.” But Israeli leaders “definitely feel that they’re racing against that clock because that pressure is mounting from all around the world,” even as further evidence of Hamas’s atrocities emerge, veteran war correspondent Chuck Holton said Thursday on “Washington Watch.”

The Israeli military is scoring military victories both high and low. Israel has begun flooding Hamas’s tunnel network in northern Gaza with seawater, with the dual aim of destroying military equipment and forcing Hamas fighters to come to the surface, Holton explained. So far, it has proved “a fairly effective strategy,” and the Israel Defense Force (IDF) is “taking prisoner many Hamas fighters who are giving themselves up,” he said.

By late November, the IDF had killed five senior Hamas military leaders, about half of the 11 depicted in a photo taken from a tunnel in northern Gaza. The IDF also believes it has “significantly degraded” at least 10 out of an estimated 24 Hamas battalions (of 1,000 or more fighters each) “by taking out midlevel commanders,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

“When they say they’re going to take out Hamas, … what they are planning to do is just destroy any infrastructure that could be used for military purposes, and to kill the leadership of Hamas and replace them with something that’s a little bit friendlier,” Holton explained.

The problem is, the IDF is finding that “the whole of Gaza has been militarized in some way, shape, or form,” said Holton. “The whole of Gaza is not a bunch of civilians in cities, with some military things sprinkled around there. It’s actually a giant military base with 2.5 million civilians living in it.” This means that, “in order to destroy Hamas’s capability to make war, … they may have to just raze the whole thing and start over. And obviously that would take a much, much longer campaign to accomplish.”

But Israel needs to achieve victory as soon as possible, said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, host of “Washington Watch.” He pointed out, “you have the international community and the United Nations repeatedly saying we need a humanitarian ceasefire, which is essentially another name for allowing Hamas to regroup.” The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took the extraordinary step of forcing the Security Council to vote on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The U.S. vetoed the resolution on Friday afternoon, with 13 out of 15 members voting for the measure and the U.K. abstaining.

“Definitely, they feel that they’re racing against that clock because that pressure is mounting from all around the world,” Holton agreed.

“Also, the Biden administration is really starting to show its true face,” he added. “At the beginning, they were standing up and saying, ‘We stand with Israel, they have the right to defend themselves.’ And now they’re saying, ‘Israel, you cannot take longer than the first week of January to complete this.’ ‘We will not allow you to replace the government in Gaza with anything other than Palestinian people,’ etc., etc.”

On the other hand, “the Israeli leadership is saying, ‘Well, there’s one other group of people that has more power over us than you do. That’s our own electorate.’ And the voters here in Israel are saying, ‘Absolutely not. We are not going to put up with more Palestinian Authority in Gaza or anywhere else,’” said Holton. “Israel knows that the Israeli people are not going to let up the pressure on their own politicians until they accomplish this mission.”

“I would think, if I were in Israel, there is only one thing to do. That is, to eliminate this threat,” said Perkins. “As [the hostages] come back and discuss their treatment, and [as] more and more information comes out about what happened on October 7 — the atrocities, the brutality, just demonic activity.”

“They’re hoping to be able to free more of those hostages,” Holton offered. “They found out some absolutely terrible things from the hostages that were released during the ceasefire last week. And that is, that the vast majority of those women were raped, some of them many, many times, even while the bombs were falling around them, … and even some of the men.”

As Perkins met with members of Congress on Capitol Hill this week, he said he witnessed “many of them brought to tears by the reports that they got.” Members of Congress have screened a 43-minute video that features uncut footage of the events on October 7, taken either from surveillance cameras or by Hamas militants.

“Killing the leadership of Hamas as quickly as possible is [Israel’s] quickest route to some sort of victory that they can claim,” said Holton. “And the pressure that they’re putting on the civilian population is … actually helping the IDF, because now the civilian population is starting to understand that, if Hamas would just give themselves up and lay down their weapons, all of their suffering could end. And they’re starting to blame Hamas — rightly so — [rather] than to blame the Israelis.”

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Palestinian poll shows overwhelming support for terrorism, and suggests that international attention is misplaced

An extraordinary survey of Palestinians shows widespread popular support for the Hamas massacres of October 7, with nearly all Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank feeling a sense of national pride since the attack.

The Arab World for Research and Development sociological center, or AWRAD, published the results on November 14 from its offices in Ramallah, West Bank. The main findings reveal a strong sense of unity and high morale:

  • 75 percent of residents in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank support the massacres of October 7;
  • 98 percent feel pride as Palestinians in light of this terrorist attack;
  • only 9 percent believe that reaching a peaceful agreement with Israel is possible;
  • a mere 7 percent consider the possibility of coexistence between the Arab and Jewish peoples;
  • contrary to demands of Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, only 17 percent support a two-state solution;
  • nearly 75 percent support the creation of an Arab state “from the river to the sea,” meaning the physical destruction of the state of Israel;
  • almost 70 percent expect the continuation of war;
  • nearly 73 percent believe the Arabs will prevail;
  • only 3% think that Israel will emerge victorious.

The survey of 668 people was evenly conducted across the entire territory of the West Bank and Jerusalem. The conflict in Gaza limited the survey to Palestinians in Rafah, Khan Yunis, and Deir al-Balah, the southern and central parts of the territory.

Answers to questions, as a percentage of respondents:

Questions Sector Gaza West Bank Total
How much do you support the military operation carried out by the Palestinian resistance led by Hamas on October 7th? 63.6 83.1 75.0
Considering the ongoing events, do you feel a sense of pride as a Palestinian? 97.8 98.2 98.0
Now, has your commitment to a solution based on the restoration of historical Palestine as a final resolution increased? 66.4 74.4 71.1
Now, has your conviction in the possibility of achieving a peaceful solution with Israel increased?   9.0   9.2   9.1
Now, has your conviction in the possibility of coexistence between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples increased?   7.9   6.6   7.2
Do you support the solution of establishing one state or two states in the following formats:

Two-State Solution for Two Peoples

A Palestinian state from the river to the sea

 

 

22.7

70.4

 

 

13.3

77.7

 

 

17.2

74.7

Do you believe that Palestine or Israel will emerge victorious from this war?

Palestine

Israel

 

 

66.4

6.5

 

 

77.0

0.8

 

 

72.6

3.1

The overwhelming majority of those surveyed in Gaza and the West Bank rejected proposals expressed by Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden for the peaceful coexistence of Arab and Jewish states.

The survey also gives an idea of the levels of support among the population of Gaza and Ramallah for various current parties, terrorist groups, organizations, news media, and foreign countries. The United States and Israel rank dead last.

Positive assessment of the following parties/organizations/media/states, as a percentage of the number of respondents

Parties/Organizations/Media/States Sector Gaza West Bank Total
Al-Qassam Brigades 79.1 95.2 88.6
Islamic Jihad 71.9 92.9 84.2
Al-Aqsa Brigades 69.7 86.9 79.8
Hamas 59.6 87.7 76.0
Arabic media 37.5 56.0 48.4
Hizballah 44.1 45.8 45.1
Russia 34.7 43.0 39.5
China 35.3 33.2 34.4
Turkey 31.1 36.1 33.9
Iran 32.9 32.5 32.6
International Red Cross 26.7 27.8 27.3
Fateh, or Al-Fatah 18.4 26.6 23.2
Egypt 18.8 10.7 14.0
Jordan 13.0 11.5 12.1
Palestinian Authority   8.3 11.7 10.3
Western media 12.6   6.4   9.2
United Nations 14.8   5.1   9.1
EU   8.0   2.6   4.7
Saudi Arabia   1.4   4.1   2.9
UAE   1.5   3.3   2.5
UK   1.8   0.5   1.0
US   0.7   0.3   0.4
Israel   1.1   0.0   0.4

Among the Arabs of Gaza and Ramallah, Hamas ranks high but not at the top. In terms of the level of public support, other terrorist organizations –the al-Qassam Brigades, Islamic Jihad, and al-Aqsa Brigades – are at the top of the list.

Russia under Vladimir Putin enjoys support substantially higher than any Arab country in the survey. Qatar, which supports Hamas and other terrorist groups in addition to hosting a vital United States military facility, was not mentioned in the survey. Russia is also more popular than the Fateh Party, the old party of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, also known as Al-Fatah; and the wildly unpopular Palestinian Authority. Survey results show that Russia is more highly regarded than Islamist-run Turkey and Iran, and almost as popular as the Hezbollah terrorist group.

Conclusion

West Bank residents surveyed show markedly more support for violence and extremism than residents of Gaza, site of nearly all the combat during the conduct of the survey from October 31-November 7.

Survey results show that Hamas is far less popular in Gaza than the West Bank, and that three other terrorist groups are far more popular in both areas.

A conclusion to draw from the results is that international focus on Hamas and Gaza, and not on other terrorist groups and the people in the West Bank, is to miss the most crucial points of the latest war against Israel.

AUTHOR

Andrei Illarionov

Senior Analyst for Russian and European Affairs.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

As Israel-Hamas War Resumes, U.S. Navy Intercepts Drones in Red Sea

Israel is at war again. A four-day truce turned into eight, as the combatants took turns releasing prisoners — with Hamas releasing hostages captured in its October 7 raid, and Israel releasing three times as many security prisoners. But, on Friday, instead of delivering all the promised hostages to Israel, Hamas delivered another barrage of rockets.

Hamas “has not met its obligation to release all of the women hostages today and has launched rockets at Israeli citizens,” lamented Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hamas also took credit for a terrorist attack on Thursday — during the ceasefire — in which two Palestinians opened fire at a bus stop in Jerusalem, killing four people and wounding five.

Netanyahu promised, “Upon the resumption of fighting, we emphasize: The Government of Israel is committed to achieving the goals of the war: Releasing the hostages, eliminating Hamas, and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to the residents of Israel.” The IDF responded to Friday’s missile barrage with 200 airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza.

Despite their overwhelming military superiority and rapid success in dismantling the Hamas command-and-control node at the Al-Shifa Hospital, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) face even more difficult tasks ahead. The IDF must press southward into southern Gaza, where Hamas militants have hunkered down behind even more civilians, after residents of northern Gaza fled southward through Israel’s humanitarian corridor to avoid the fighting. The presence of extra civilians — an estimated two million people — makes it easier for Hamas to hide behind them, and harder for Israel to destroy Hamas with minimal civilian casualties.

Additionally, just because Israeli forces occupy an area does not mean Hamas resistance there has been eliminated. The IDF is still proceeding neighborhood by neighborhood to clear out Hamas fighters in Gaza City. In a Saturday airstrike, the IDF killed Wissam Farhat, an architect of the October 7 terror attack and commander of Hamas’s Shejaiya battalion — Shejaiya is a “neighborhood” of nearly 100,000 people in Gaza City. On Sunday, an IDF Arabic-language spokesman posted pictures of the remaining commanders of the Shejaiya battalion and warned them to surrender, “this is a final notice. You are all targets.”

In addition to above-ground resistance, the IDF must also clear out Hamas’s intricate network of tunnels, which allow militants to hide from surveillance and airstrikes, shelter behind protective barriers, and appear at any point at will. The IDF said Sunday they have discovered more than 800 tunnel shafts in the Gaza Strip leading to hundreds of kilometers of tunnels, leading to Hamas’s “strategic assets,” as well as schools, mosques, and playgrounds.

Before their forces push southward, Israel is trying to go the extra mile to protect civilians. In one spectacular move, the IDF dropped leaflets over the Gaza Strip to warn civilians to leave homes in a “dangerous battle zone” east of Khan Younis, a Hamas stronghold, according to the Associated Press.

In the same report, the Associated Press did everything possible to give readers the impression that Israel was the party responsible for ending the ceasefire. “Airstrikes hit houses and buildings in the Gaza Strip minutes after a weeklong truce expired,” said the very first sentence. The second paragraph recorded, “militants in Gaza resumed firing rockets into Israel” with no mention of the timeframe, leading readers to infer this occurred in response to Israel’s bombing. Not until paragraph 13 — after the fifth inserted picture — did the AP admit that Hamas launched rockets before the ceasefire ended. Even after including such an admission, the article brazenly maintained, “Israel and Hamas traded blame for ending the truce.”

It sounds like the AP is still sore about Israel bombing their Gaza headquarters in 2021. The AP’s offices were located in the same building as Hamas’s military intelligence unit, a fact of which the international fact-gathering conglomerate claimed to be unaware.

The AP’s insinuations are simply misleading. But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the lead diplomat pressuring Israel to give Hamas an off-ramp. “It’s important to understand why the pause came to an end,” he said Friday from Dubai. “It came to an end because of Hamas. Hamas reneged on commitments it had made.”

“In fact, even before the pause came to an end, it committed an atrocious terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” Blinken added. “It began firing rockets before the pause ended, and as I said it reneged on the commitments it made in terms of releasing certain hostages.”

Blinken is no warmonger out for Palestinian blood. In a recent conversation, he insisted, “You can’t operate in southern Gaza in the way you did in the north.” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant responded, “The entire Israeli society is united behind the goal of dismantling Hamas, even if it takes months.” Blinken shot back, “I don’t think you have the credit for that.” Apparently, the U.S. Secretary of State would rather negotiate with terrorists than see our ally defeat them.

On this point, Blinken is not going rogue from his boss. President Biden has begun dictating Israel’s military tactics for them. Ostensibly, U.S. diplomatic pressure on Israel pretends a concern for Palestinian civilians. But the best outcome for Palestinian civilians is where Israel is given a free hand to stamp out the brutal extremists who rule and terrify them. The true effect of U.S. demands would be to ensure the survival of Hamas.

“Israel is the only responsible actor in this conflict. Therefore, it is the only party that can be shamed and cajoled out of pursuing its own national-security imperatives,” wrote National Review’s Noah Rothman. “And yet, the 10/7 massacre was so vicious — such a paradigm-altering event — that Israel, too, is no longer as responsive to the hectoring it routinely receives from comfortable quarters in the West as it has been in previous rounds of fighting.”

After suffering a surprise attack comparable to 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, Israel is committed to destroying Hamas, and no outside pressure is going to stop them.

It’s not like Israel has a choice. Last week, Hamas’s top leader Yahya Sinwar threatened that the October 7 massacre “was just a rehearsal.”

Israel faces enemies elsewhere, too. On Israel’s northern border, the IDF has exchanged cross-border fire with Hezbollah, a terror group operating out of Lebanon. The Yemen-based Houthi terror group has also fired missiles at Israel, which have been intercepted by the IDF and the U.S. Navy. Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis are Islamist terrorist groups supported and financed by Iran’s extremist regime, which is committed to the destruction of Israel. Iran maintains a network of terror group proxies across the Middle East.

Israel is not alone in facing these enemies. From October 17 to November 30, U.S. bases in the Middle East sustained 74 attacks from Iranian proxies, Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said in a press briefing. On Sunday, the Houthis fired missiles in the direction of a U.S. destroyer and nearby commercial vessels in the Red Sea. “The way things are stacked up right now, Israel and the United States are intertwined in terms of how this plays out,” said Shalom Lipner, who served in the Israeli Prime Minister office from 1990-2016.

Israel is at war, and the U.S. is at war right alongside them.

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Israel, Hamas Trade Prisoners, Extend Ceasefire

Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day ceasefire which began Friday, during which Israel has agreed to release three Palestinian prisoners for every Israeli hostage freed. As of early Monday morning, Islamist terrorists based in Gaza had released 58 hostages, including 39 Israelis, while Israel had freed 117 Palestinians. Despite alleged and real violations of the ceasefire, the combatants agreed Monday to extend the ceasefire for two more days.

Calls for a pause in fighting began immediately after Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,200 Israelis, wounding more than 5,000, and kidnapping more than 240 hostages. Hamas militants directly targeted civilians, including elderly women, children, and even babies; they burned, raped, murdered, and committed unspeakable acts of brutality. In context, early calls for a ceasefire — after Hamas finished shooting but before Israel began — implicitly denied that Israel had a right to defend itself, and therefore a right to exist as a sovereign nation.

Demands for a ceasefire intensified as Israel’s air force bombed military targets and Hamas looted humanitarian stores throughout Gaza. On October 27, a majority of world governments passed a resolution of the U.N. General Assembly that called for an “immediate” truce in Gaza and contained no condemnation of Hamas. On November 1, the anti-Semitic wing of the Democratic Party pressured President Biden to reverse his rhetorical support for Israel and add his voice to the growing chorus chanting, “ceasefire now!” On November 9, Israel agreed to observe four-hour daily pauses to allow civilians to evacuate.

“Just as the United States would not agree to a ceasefire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to global pressure for Israel to unilaterally lay down its arms.

Circumstances changed early last week when Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) successfully completed a two-front pincer advance on Al-Shifa hospital complex in northwest Gaza, which they have long identified as sitting above a key node of Hamas operations. The IDF has produced surveillance footage showing Hamas dragging two hostages through Al-Shifa hospital on October 7, as well as stolen IDF vehicles brought to the center. Israel believes that one hostage, Corporal Noa Marciano, was murdered in the hospital before her body was later found several blocks away. They also found a weapons laboratory in the basement containing finished and half-finished mortars, warheads, thermobaric weapons, and RPGs.

The IDF has also made efforts to explore the web of tunnels underneath Al-Shifa. On Wednesday, they showed journalists a tunnel stretching for 55 meters, which led to a restroom, kitchen, a large room with air conditioning, and several smaller rooms before ending in a blast-proof door with loopholes that would allow Hamas fighters to defend it against the IDF. The IDF also found dozens of guns, ammunition clips, and grenades in the tunnel.

“The findings prove beyond all doubt that buildings in the hospital complex are used as infrastructure for the Hamas terror organization, for terror activity,” the IDF said. “This is further proof of the cynical use that the Hamas terror organization makes of the residents of the Gaza Strip as a human shield for its murderous terror activities.”

It’s unclear whether Israel has completely explored Hamas’s tunnel network under Al-Shifa. The aforementioned tunnel’s only entrance was a four-foot-square hole in the ground, which the IDF only discovered by accident. This raises the possibility that similar underground features are similarly well-concealed. IDF forces exploring other tunnel corridors have found at least one exit leading to a kindergarten and another tunnel underneath a mosque. “It’s going to take time” for Israel to unearth all Hamas hideouts under the 10-acre hospital complex, said Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht.

However, Israel’s capture of Hamas’s chief military post did give it an opportunity to contemplate a ceasefire. Israel’s two objectives are freeing the hostages and exterminating Hamas from Gaza. Unfortunately, the IDF did not manage to free any more hostages during their advance on Al-Shifa. The painstaking measures it adopts to protect civilians necessarily slow down its movements, enabling Hamas to spirit away its captives before Israeli rescuers can arrive. Israel is still committed to destroying Hamas, but it agreed to a ceasefire to negotiate the release of as many hostages as possible.

Before the ceasefire took effect, Israel demolished tunnels located beneath Al-Shifa and redeployed troops to the ceasefire lines.

The four-day ceasefire went into effect on Friday at 7 a.m. local time. On Friday, Hamas released 24 hostages — 13 Israeli women and children, 10 Thai citizens, and a Filipino citizen — and Israel reciprocated by releasing 39 imprisoned Palestinians. On Saturday, after a delay, Hamas released 17 hostages — 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals — and Israel released another 39 Palestinians. On Sunday, Hamas released another 17 hostages — 13 Israelis, three Thai nationals, and a dual Israeli-American citizen (a four-year-old girl whose parents Hamas killed on October 7) — and Israel released another 39 Palestinians. All told, Hamas has released 39 Israelis, 17 Thai citizens, one Filipino citizen, and one dual Israeli-American citizen, while Israel has released 117 Palestinian prisoners.

As of Monday afternoon, a fourth prisoner exchange had begun, with Hamas reportedly releasing 11 Israelis in exchange for the release of 33 Palestinian prisoners.

Thus far, all the prisoners exchanged between Hamas and Israel have been women and children. Many of the Palestinian prisoners released by Israel are teenage boys from the West Bank convicted of security offenses such as stone-throwing or disturbing the public order.

The Thai and Filipino hostages were not part of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire, brokered by the U.S., Qatar, and Egypt but were apparently released in a separate deal the Kingdom of Thailand brokered with Iran.

With the release of more hostages, the world learns more about the conditions they faced. “Their captivity sounds horrific — held underground for seven weeks, barely fed, sleeping on chairs, and denied the ability to go to the bathroom for hours; some in need of medical care, including one elderly woman in life-threatening condition,” summarized National Review’s Jim Geraghty.

On Monday afternoon, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majid Al Ansary announced that Israel and Hamas had agreed to extend the truce for two more days, allowing for the release of another 20 hostages. This agreement would extend the ceasefire until 7 a.m. local time on Thursday.

However, the preservation of the ceasefire is not automatically guaranteed. Unspecified Palestinian militants broke the ceasefire after only 15 minutes when they fired a rocket towards southern Israel — fortunately, it did no damage. “The world barely noticed; no one really expects Hamas to uphold its end of the agreement,” interpreted Geraghty. Hamas has also separated family units, in violation of the ceasefire.

For their part, Hamas officials have complained that Israel violated the terms of the ceasefire by not allowing humanitarian aid trucks into Gaza (Israel allowed 200 trucks carrying aid to enter), not releasing prisoners in the order Hamas wanted (Israel never promised to do so), and firing at Gazans seeking to return to northern Gaza (the ceasefire forbids reentry).

Hamas broke the last ceasefire on October 7 when, after years of lulling the IDF into a false sense of security, it launched a murderous surprise attack on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Still smarting from the latest blow, Israel is in no mood to trust the untrustworthy Hamas to abide by another ceasefire.

Whether the ceasefire continues for two days only or extends much longer, there is little hope of a permanent peace between Hamas and Israel. The Iranian-backed terrorist group has stated repeatedly and publicly that it aims at the total “annihilation” of Israel. Faced with an existential threat, Israel has no choice but to make its war aim to “destroy Hamas” — at least in Gaza. Thus, Israel is prepared to resume military operations in “full force” as soon as the ceasefire ends — assuming Hamas waits that long.

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


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