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"There’s one way to justify the war Israel has waged so far, a war that has killed thousands if not tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians and turned much of the Gaza Strip into a parking lot: to say, correctly, that this is the price demanded by Hamas, an enemy whose entire theory of the war is to force the slaughter of its own people until America blinks, and the only way not to reward those tactics if you’re America is to refuse to blink."

How is it "not rewarding" Hamas tactics to *do* the very thing - kill Palestinian civilians - that you recognize as "the price demanded by Hamas"? This is *their* strategy.

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Folks, Bibi has made it clear that he wants TFG to return to the presidency. He is deliberately instigating the Rafah offensive to enflame the dissent in the US. He is not supporting Biden's administration and Biden has let him know that he will not allow him to use US aid to continue killing civilians. Bibi won't support a 2-state solution and is doing everything he can to stay in power and out of jail. He is in a similar situation as TFG who is trying to win the presidency and stay out of jail. Two birds of a feather. Dropping tunnel-busters is the easy path to destroying Hamas and the most costly in civilian lives. Going in with troops and digging out Hamas is the "difficult" path and the most costly in Israeli lives which would kill his administration. So he wants to win with the least cost to himself. This is what authoritarians do. We're giving him plenty of bullets and grenades so he can still do what he says he wants to do. But does he have the stomach to bear the cost?

BTW, in response to the article's note about making a public statement, I'm 100% convinced this was communicated to Bibi in private in no uncertain terms and Bibi told President Biden to pound sand. Enough said.

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I've read elsewhere that the info was communicated to the Israeli's privately. And they then leaked it.

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This talk of Biden having a chance to win is a pipe dream. Trump has completely compromised the Supreme Court, House of Representatives and to a degree, the Senate, the Florida documents Judge Cannon, neutralized Garland, and no Federal cases , that could have turned the election will never be heard before or after the election.

Even if Trump loses in the popular vote or even the electoral vote they will never be certified. Votes in the 100,000s will be disqualified by the states, DeJoy will sabotage the early vote counts or cause them to be processed too late, and voter intimidation at the polls by proud boys etal.

And what will Biden do in response?

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I am not a military strategist but I can see that using 2000 pound or 500 pound bombs in a densely populated area is likely to kill a lot more innocent civilians than terrorists hiding in tunnels they are trying for. I understand that reaching into the tunnels is hard and the easiest way is to blow them up with bombs dropped from planes. However, try this thought experiment: There are 5,000 terrorists in tunnels under Central Park in NY, Grant Park in Chicago or Golden Gate Park in SF. If you drop a 2000 pound bomb on any of these places, how many surrounding streets/blocks will you damage or destroy? How many innocents will be “collateral damage”? Would we consider that to be worth the cost or would we look for a way to kill the terrorists that isn’t so destructive to civilian lives? Now think that I am positing urban “green spaces”. In Gaza it is just densely packed construction - most of it probably pretty shoddy. Biden is saying “Bibi, you’ve gone too far. Let your generals find a better way. Our military will help devise such a plan if you let us. The US cannot be complicit any longer in this indiscriminate destruction of humans and their ability to live”. I do not see this as a change in policy. It’s the equivalent of a “time out” for Bibi who has been performing like an obstreperous toddler for the benefit of his right-wing colleagues/supporters.

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Dear Bill and Andrew,

I respectfully disagree with parts of your newsletter today. President Biden has been intimating for months now that he was going to withhold at least some of the offensive weapons the United States regularly sends to Israel should they invade Rafa without a credible plan to evacuate the Palestinian civilians sheltering there. Being that Israel has begun this invasion without that credible plan I believe that President Biden was right to begin suspending offensive weapons shipments, and I would like him to go father in this regard until Israel does what is necessary to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and refrains from expanding settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank.

It’s a “damned if you do, dammed if you don’t” political situation for President Biden because someone is going to be angry regardless of what he does . The brainwashed gulls on the college campuses chanting “Genocide Joe”and calling for Jews to be murdered at their rallies as they don Halloween masks and barricade themselves inside university administration buildings are not likely going to vote to re-elect President Biden under any circumstances. But there are millions of other Americans who have voted uncommitted in the Democratic primaries of their respective states who have not participated in these demonstrations who are also disillusioned with his Gaza policy. If, they think President Biden is not putting sufficient pressure on Netanyahu and his Likudnik flunkey thugs to protest Palestinians during this horrible conflict they will probably either vote for a minor third party candidate or opt to stay home later in this year’s presidential election. This is not a risk I am willing to take with the survival of American democracy at skate.

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I find the argument you read in some places (not in the newsletter! good points about this having happened before) that Biden shouldn't ever withhold arms for any length of time, or have a position on how they're used, utterly bizarre. In what universe does the bigger country, providing the money and the weapons, not have a say? I'm from the UK, I'm pretty sure in WWII my country didn't just get to say 'and NOW we're going to...' without getting the okay, once the US was paying, let alone once their own soldiers were involved. (and the US military are involved in this situation, aircraft at least)

I also don't understand the argument some writers make that amounts to 'terrorists did an appalling thing, why are people asking for any restraint in the response'? because... we expect more of democratic countries than terrorists? because a lot of people trapped in that area have done nothing at all except have the misfortune to be born in a terrible locale?

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It is past time the United States asserts itself as the senior partner. Bill Kristol might disagree but we, not the Israelis set the terms. Israel has behaved recklessly, is committing massacres and its behavior is borderline genocidal if not genocidal in fact. It is not in American interests for Israel to continue this path and despite what Bill Kristol and company think, Israel is not the beginning and end of American interests. We also have significant interests with Arab countries and Israel's wanton killing of Palestinians and continuing to annex their land is detrimental to American interests in Arab countries. The answer is not to subordinate American interests to the interests of Israel, but the opposite. Nations have permanent interests, not permanent friends and Israel is quickly becoming a liability to ours.

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I think what Biden is telegraphing to the world is we are still the world power and we set the terms. He is also likely helping the countries we, and Israel, need to remain allies in the middle east who have not been too happy with how the war has been conducted. We can still hold strong on keeping Israel secure but it is under our terms.

These events are happening so quickly, it's hard to really have an appropriate time to discuss them. The only thing I think Biden should do but hasn't is give an Oval Office address on any of the world issues, Ukraine and Israel at the top, about why America needs to be involved.

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What terms is he setting? Israel can invade Rafah as long as they use their own bombs? That's incoherent.

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We decide where our weapons go and what support we give. So yes.

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Consciously withholding my almost automatic "like" on a Morning Shots column for the first time ever.

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What is a 2000 pound bomb for, anyway? Destroying tunnels would be my guess. Let the Israelis use whatever their mission dictates, within the laws of war.

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Great, they can do that using Israeli munitions.

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No matter who it kills? No matter what homes, food, or hospitals they destroy? Hmm... This sounds like the definition of amorality. In fact, this would be pure evil. And... You want to use US bombs? Wow. Scary.

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You have no idea what these bombs were meant for.

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Blowing up things and killing people. There. That was easy. Keep'em coming.

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Blowing up thing, correct. Blowing up tunnels harboring a terrorist organization using homes and schools as cover. Blowing of terrorists, yes. Blowing up civilians, not intentionally, only by accident. Do you remembered when the Nazis spend a month begging civilians to get clear? I don't either.

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That's a very naive perspective on what has already happened. The bombing will happen in a place where Gazans were told to go for safety. Their homes were blown up... In the north. Egypt, says Nope.

Your initial and immediate reaction was to give Israel carte blanche to bomb... As long as it was legal. Bias? Yeah.

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When Gazans went south, four battalions of Hamas went with them--when your human shields move, you move. It's in the Hamas handbook. It's the chapter right after the chapter on molding public opinion with cooked statistics.

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May 9·edited May 9

Kristol doesn't like it when Biden tells the truth; he doesn't like it when he parries questions. How about a column by James Comey?

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I knew that this newsletter would go downhill when Sykes left. I didn't know that it would get this awful this fast. Kristol is essentially unreadable. It's a pity because I did enjoy the Bulwark when Sykes was around. He had a great rotating cast on his Podcast, too. Now? Right-wing drivel passed off as Anti-Trump rhetoric. Endless one-sided coverage of the Gaza War. I believe that the Bulwark has never published ANY Palestinian writers. Not once. Definitely not worth the $10/month any longer.

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Well thank you, that's very kind. TBH I often feel like I'm just pissing into the wind on these comments. Lol, my GF says I have to express my contextual information/research into a visual depiction. But god damn it, I think in words, not images.

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Definition from US Holocaust Memorial Museum: Genocide is an internationally recognized crime where acts are committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. These acts fall into five categories:

-Killing members of the group

-Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group

-Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

-Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group

-Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

There are a number of other serious, violent crimes that do not fall under the specific definition of genocide. They include crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and mass killing.

The only crime Netanyahu’s govt has not yet committed is the last. Bill - how can you insist this is not Genocide? Please explain.

And to

Andrew’s’ question for Biden ~ if bombing innocent civilians in Rafah does not hold now, did it hold before?

Great question.

It did not. Nor did most of the Ben Gvir-Netanyahu Rightwing approach to the people they conquered and held imprisoned in Gaza.

This last point gets to the core of my issue w the Right Wing Zionist approach to the people they exiled from Isreal. We supposedly support Israel in part because they are the only Democracy in the Mideast. But they only allow input/ voting from the Israeli citizens, not the majority of Palestinians under their control. Does Not look like democracy from my POV.

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founding

Margaret, your definition is a paraphrase of Article II of the Geneva Convention, not a quote. Here are the key words, exactly as they appear:

". . . acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such."

NOTE: intent to destroy. . . national, ethnically, racial, or religious . . . AS SUCH (meaning, per se).

This is not what is happening in Gaza. It is happening in Ukraine, yes, but not in Gaza.

By your rendering of the definition, Hamas is guilty of genocide against Jews. Is that what you intend?

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You twisted that in some pretzel logic to get to your conclusion. If you hold that what is happening in Ukraine is genocide but what is happening in Gaza is not then, you've entered Earth 2. If Hamas killing 700 Israelis is genocide but Israel mass bombing 35,000 Palestinians is not genocide then you have bigger problems than definitions, you need to deprogram that brain from the Israeli propaganda that has led to support ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from 1948 to genocide of the same in 2024. Israel intends to destroy Palestinian nationality, ethnicity, racial, and religious. Israeli leaders talk and are in the process of of expelling all Palestinians, annexing their lands, destroying their religious and cultural heritage. South Africa's case is literally filled of pages of Israeli leader statements one after another uttering genocidal statements.

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Nancy Thanks for your citation.

FYI I was not quoting the Geneva Convention. As I wrote, I was quoting the consensus statement from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A museum in honor of and representing Jews who had suffered during a horrific period in their history. Their words.

Supported by our US Government. https://www.ushmm.org/information/about-the-museum/council

We can disagree about verbiage but the essential meaning is there if you care to see.

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founding

I am glad that you, too, rely on the US Holocaust Museum as an authoritative source. I consult it often. There is no disagreement about the verbiage. I cut and pasted it directly from Article II of the Geneva Convention on Genocide, which the International Committee of the Red Cross provides (see link). The exact wording of the actual text matters very much in this case.

https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/ihl-treaties/genocide-conv-1948

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By you elaborate definition, giving some one a dirty look is genocide.

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That is the definition from the US Holocaust memorial Museum. Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust have contributed to this definition of genocide.

Read it again. Dirty looks are not part of their definition.

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By your definition it is genocide for the IDF kill even one Palestinian. Correct?

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For the record: the definition of genocide does not require that anyone be killed.

"Genocide" is not a threshold that is passed at some level of violence, it is a description of the *aims* of a campaign of actions, of which mass murder is often a feature, but not the essence.

The essence of genocide is destroying the identity itself. "Blot out the memory of Amalek," as the Bible story has it - a story certain members of the Netanyahu government now invoke.

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For the record, that intemperate comment is the entire case for calling the Gaza war genocide. Just like Naxi Germany!!

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Intemperate? You should read up on Smotrich and Ben-Gvir. This is who they are, true Kahanists.

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Again Not my definition.

I am flummoxed by the deep dive into the semantics while ignoring the actualities of what is happening in Gaza.

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What is happening in Gaza is horrible. You are saying in addition that it is genocide. That is an offense against semantics.

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"But they only allow input/ voting from the Israeli citizens, not the majority of Palestinians under their control. Does Not look like democracy from my POV."

Has there ever been a democracy anywhere which allowed for voting of non-citizens in lands that they controlled? I can't think of any. When the U.S. was occupying Japan and Germany post WW2, did it cease to be a democracy by not enfranchising the Germans and Japanese?

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The Us occupied Japan 1945-1952 and Germany 1945-1949

Both with a goal of leaving them to direct their own lives.

Israel has occupied Palestine for over 70 years with no eye on allowing a separate state of Palestine. Not all Israelis

But those in power. Without truth and acknowledgment of past harms, in Israeli’s case reparations for the taking of Palestinians homes and lands (still ongoing) there will not be peace and reconciliation. So far the shouts of anti semitism are just fueling a divisive dialogue and so many are adding fuel to the fire. There are many people in Israel that want peace and know that violence is Not the solution.

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Excuse me. In the aughts a two state resolution was in the works. --That's where the Palestinian Authority came from. In 2007, Hamas fought a war with Fatah to put an end to that.

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Just like most events, I do not believe it was as simplistic as that. Even I, who was busy getting a degree and raising my son in the 90's, pretty oblivious to world events, understood then that it was the continual

encroachment and building of settlements into Palestinian land, encouraged by the Right wing arm of the govt, that sabotaged any chance of successful negotiation. "How can you negotiate in good faith, while the other negotiating party is stealing your land?" is a gross paraphrasing of an interview of one of the Palestinian negotiators. And yes Hamas was not helping.

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Likud, the Israeli MAGA, was and is stealing land. The Labor Party at the time had the votes to achieve a two-state resolution. This is not to absolve Likud, a member of which in 1995 actually assassinated Rabin. a labor PM, for daring to entertain the thought. In the next decade, Ehud Barak, again of Labor, signed off on the process. So for you to say that Israel and Israelis haven't done a thing in 70 years is factually incorrect.

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You perhaps are defending those Israelis who have marched and voted and tried like Rabin, to urge a reasonable coexistence with the people in the Israeli occupied territories. I admit I do not know all the work they have done. What I know is that it was not enough. I myself turned a blind eye to the plight of two generations of people trapped in a purgatory and now trapped in hell. I am just trying to raise my voice where I can to say enough of this bludgeoning of an entire people. Enough of my country, my tax dollars supporting the bludgeoning.

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May 9·edited May 9

And America carried out presidential (as well as multiple other) elections during that time period, without enfranchising the locals in the places that U.S. troops controlled. Does that or does that not disqualify American democracy? If it's about occupation and not allowing the occupied population to vote like you stated in your previous post, I don't see how you avoid that conclusion that the U.S. ceased to be a democracy during the occupations of Germany and Japan. If it's something else, you don't really state what the defining factor of democracy is.

Are you saying that for a certain amount of time period it's fine, but after X+1 years you stop being a democracy? Are you saying that the goal of the overall occupation is what is dispositive as to whether or not an occupying democracy surrenders their status as one? Does the scale matter? The U.S. has been occupying Al-Tanf since 2015, are we not in a democracy right now and wasting our time opposing Trump's attempts to overthrow elections? Because as far as I can see, your logic is going

1) I don't like the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza

2) I don't like calls to support the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza

3) Those calls for support are justified on the basis of Israel being the only functioning democracy in the region

4) Because of point 1, I disagree with people in points 2+3.

5) Ergo, Israel cannot be a democracy, otherwise I might have to support the occupations that I cannot support.

Which is kind of nuts. You can say that the Israeli occupation is wrong and counterproductive and makes the country a rogue state and lots of other true if unflattering adjectives, but I fail to see how you can bridge the gap to saying it's non democratic by virtue of not doing something literally no other democracy has ever done either.

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Let me try to clarify: to me, Israel does not look like a good/healthy democratic nation -from my POV. Just like the USA did not look like a true democratic nation when it held slaves, or would not really allow blacks to vote in elections, nor women. (And yes I know we are a Democratic Republic) My POV of a democracy is inclusive, and/or working hard to be so.

We in the US also have problems. But what has happened in Israel towards the people of Palestine is systemically reprehensible. I do not consider the leadership there pro democracy meaning inclusive or even working toward inclusivity.

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But there's a big difference in your cases about the U.S. Enslaved people, and women, and African-Americans when they were disenfranchised were all Americans. They lived in America, in places that were permanently incorporated into the country. Depending on where and when you're talking about, a significant number of those people were citizens.

You're judging Israel by a far harsher standard, that they are not a healthy democracy because they are excluding people who are NOT their citizens, have no particular desire to be their citizens, but who live in territories that the Israelis exert control over. That would be more equivalent to the occupations of Germany and Japan, or the on again/off again interventions in Haiti, or the colonization of the Philippines. And to me at least, that's a pretty important dividing line. Quite frankly, I don't think any country has ever lived up to the standards you're insisting Israel uphold to be a democracy.

And yes, what is happening in the West Bank and in Gaza is reprehensible. But I do not think it takes away from the democratic 'street cred' of Israel. It simply proves that democracies can be quite reprehensible when you have popular support for brutality.

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The democratic credibility of any country is reduced to the extent there are people subject to its governance but with no say in its direction.

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There's no solution while Palestinians refuse to accept a Jewish state and insist on a right of return.

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Why can't they insist on a right to return to their home? Why do they have to permanently give up their homeland? So they should accept a Jewish state AND give up the right to return to their homeland? How do you think that is a legitimate demand?

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I know of no other group of people for whom the right of return is inheritable to the descendants of people who were removed. For instance, nobody recognizes a right of the children/grandchildren et al of the Germans kicked out of what is now western Poland to come back and grant themselves Polish citizenship by virtue of their displaced ancestors.

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Thats actually false, Poland recognizes the right of citizenship of all Poles who were expelled by the Nazis and those who returned after the war, got their citizenship back. Those who moved away and became citizens of other nations lost it. The German government in question was destroyed by the Allies. So you are now in the very uncomfortable position of comparing the actions of the Nazi government towards the Poles to the actions of the Israeli government in regards to Palestinians. That is an appropriate comparison though. Second, Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan have never been granted citizenship of any other country and therefore remain citizens of the land that was Palestine where Israel now exists and therefore are legally considered citizens of that land.

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What do you suggest the people who live there now do?

The tribes aren't getting Manhattan back either.

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People who live there make room, there is enough for both people. I love the carelessness of your question. What do I suggest the people who live there now do? What do you suggest the people who lived there do? I am glad you compare this to the American tribes. For starters, Native Americans were ethnically cleansed and American settlers committed war crimes and genocide against them, so this is your admission that at least thats what Israel has done to Palestinians, ethnic cleansing and genocide. Second, any Native American can move to Manhattan. So same here, Israel should grant the right of return to any Palestinian just like any Native American can move to anywhere in the United States.

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May 9·edited May 9

Biden's actions wouldn't be as much of a conundrum if he had the ability or inclination to clarify them.

I'd love to know his vision for Gaza. Has he shared it yet? Does Hamas get to stay or go? The suspense is maddening!

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It’s Israel’s responsibility to share a vision for Gaza. Not Biden’s.

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Israel's stated goal is to eliminate Hamas' military capability, to end its rule of Gaza, to free Gaza from Hamas, and to make sure that the Gaza Strip doesn't pose a threat to Israel.

If Biden has a different plan, time for him to share it.

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May 9·edited May 9

Israel's stated goal is to eliminate Hamas - thats all that has been said, they havent told anybody how they hope to achieve it, wether its to stop their money sources or whether they wish to eliminate every hamas member or whether its just the officers they wish to kill/capture...the fact that the objectives in gaza are so vague, are frankly worrying especially when you consider its a military operation...a operation without a firm goal is sure to reach that "mission accomplished" banner moment, sooner rather than later :(

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That’s not a vision for Gaza. That is a goal for conducting the war. Israel has stated no plan for Gaza after it eliminates Hamas. Incidentally, Biden isn’t stopping Israel from prosecuting Hamas.

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If you want to play word games... I'd love to know Biden's goal for Gaza. Has he shared it yet? Does Hamas get to stay or go?

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It’s quite literally not Biden’s responsibility. Try again.

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May 9·edited May 9

I'll make it easy for you. What's your goal/vision for Gaza and Hamas?

Mine is two states and Hamas has to go for that to happen.

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Extra surprising, Eggers himself is apparently a staunch Israeli fellator.

Sooooo he's essentially saying that the $35k Palestinians killed, 70% of whom are women and children, are all ultimately on Hamas.

Ummm if Egger could tell his ass from a hole in the ground, he'd know that Hamas hasn't even run elections since 1/2 of the population of Gaza was even born.

No one forced Israel to bomb Gaza indiscriminately. The fact Egger has no problem with Israel raizing Gaza to the ground points to him clearly thinking that Palestinians are sub-human.

Sigh, so much for the Bulwark being different. You can take the boy from Republican cruelty towards brown people party, but you can never take that Republican hatred away from the boy.

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May 9·edited May 9

Why are you accepting the reports of Hamas as to casualties at face value--they don't even discriminate between military and civilian casualties? What evidence to you have that bombing has been indiscriminate?

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I appreciate the factual info you share. Here on this platform is where we can articulate our perceptions and detail out the facts. I am hopeful for this platform because we have an opportunity to state the obvious and hopefully others can chew and digest.

The fact that the majority of the civilians in Gaza had no choice in choosing or keeping Hamas. Many weren’t even born when the last vote in 2007 occurred. The fact that a people have been contained in an open air prison for generations needs to be shared and repeated. The fact that innocent civilians, mostly women and children are being killed maimed and starved. With no plan for Reconciliation and repair going forward needs to be stated again and again. So actually tho I feel your anger. I do appreciate the Bulwark for the work they do and being receptive to hearing the differing voices like yours! And you for speaking out.

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