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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Monday, October 30, 2023


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Behind the Israeli-Hamas War

Only when Hamas stops firing missiles into Israeli communities will Israel stop bombing and shelling the sites from which such missiles are shot off, and which house other military installations, purposely embedded among civilian populations and gathering places, in an effort to demonize Israeli retaliation to their terrorism.

But Israeli attacks on other Hamas military installations, hopefully not in civilian locations, to pave the way for a possible invasion to destroy Hamas permanently, will continue, even then.  Remember that while Israel is a nation, Hamas is labeled as a terrorist group, in the category of Al Qaeda and ISIS, and deserving of such treatment, if only it can be separated from killing and making homeless the mostly innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip.  And that is proving difficult for Israel.

Original 1947 Two-State Solution.
                                                       Gaza is the yellow area between 
                                                       Israel and the sea adjacent to Egypt.

The Arabs living in Palestine, and surrounding Arab nations, refused to accept the United Nations’ partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the State of Israeli a year later.  At that time, both Israel and the Palestinian Arabs were envisioned as living side by side within a peaceable ‘two-state’ arrangement, but the Arab states supporting the Palestinian Arabs chose to go to war instead, and lost, as they’ve done on several occasions since then.

The Arabs who fled, expecting to soon return after their ‘victory,’ were left stranded and embittered in refugee camps, where their descendants remain today. 

The Gaza Strip was similarly populated by those who fled,  It was occupied by Israel until 2005 when its troops were withdrawn and the Israeli settlements there disbanded.  The aim of that disengagement was to yield a tentative peace and make Israel more secure.  That turned out to be a mistake because the following year, Hamas won legislative elections in the Gaza Strip, and after a military confrontation, ousted the Palestinian Authority (see the next paragraph) from any role in Gaza.  There have been no elections there since then.

Those who remained in the primarily Arab West Bank, although eventually occupied by Israel, are still governed to a limited extent by the Palestinian Authority, heir to the PLO, but a group willing to reach a fragile accommodation with Israel .

The Palestinians missed the opportunity to have a state of their own, something they had never had before, in the hope of acquiring all of Palestine.  (Abba Eban, the late Israeli diplomat, once commented that the Palestinians ‘never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.’)

Continued Palestinian efforts to rewrite history militarily have resulted in many Israelis no longer supporting a ‘two state’ solution.  They see it as a danger to Israel and treat what would have been the Palestinian state as ‘occupied territory’ available for Israeli settlements. 

Hamas, which rules Gaza, not accepting the Palestinian Authority, continues to see a ‘one-state’ solution as well, with Israel eliminated.  This is a mirror image of the ‘one-state’ solution, with all Arabs moved out, that some Israelis see.  And it is this latter group that Benjamin Netanyahu depends upon for the votes to keep him in office.

And here is the part that no one talks about, but which sooner or later will be part of negotiations.  Did the specifics of the 1947 partition of Palestine treat the Jewish population of Palestine more generously than it treated the Arab population of Palestine? 

I suspect that was the case, probably because of sympathy for the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, seeking a place to go to.  But that has, except for Jews, receded into a cubbyhole of history, unknown to many born since those days.

Holocaust survivors were not welcomed in more than token amounts at that time by major Western nations who were quietly pleased that the creation of the State of Israel lessened the pressure on them to accept refugees.  

Similarly, Palestinian Arabs, once they had lost their portion of the land a ‘two-state’ solution would have provided, found that they were not being welcomed by neighboring Arab states whose military support of them had failed.  ‘You have no place to go to? That’s your problem.’  Some turned to violence, but the real answer to this problem is to restore the ‘two-state’ solution idea, but today, there are obstacles to that. Let’s look at them.

Partition of Palestine took place 75 years ago and a lot of history has taken place since then.  It is not too late to remedy problems that started then, but it cannot be done so long as Hamas and its Iranian supporters continue to demand the extermination of Israel, and while some in Israel want to continue to encourage settlements in areas it won in wars that Arab nations repeatedly lost, areas approaching Israel’s ancient biblical borders.

Once the weapons are silenced, these issues will become prominent. The chief obstacle right now to silencing them is that a ‘cease fire’ leaves Hamas’ terrorism unpunished and makes their attack seem worthwhile, something that is totally unacceptable to Israel. Remember that the United States as well as the European Union has declared Hamas to be a terrorist group.

It’s an awful question to ask, but how many of the Gaza Strip’s non-combatant civilian population, amidst whom Hamas’ military institutions are purposely located, have to die in bombings to satisfy Israel’s understandable need to avenge the 1,400 of its non-combatant civilians killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7, and the hostages Hamas kidnapped on that date, whose fate still remains uncertain?

Most recently, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said that two goals have been set for Israel’s war with Hamas: ‘To eliminate Hamas by destroying its military and governing abilities, and to do everything possible to bring our captives home.’

Within Israel’s military establishment, however, there is concern that Israel’s goals will be blurred if Mr. Netanyahu follows through on that promise to simultaneously seek to attain these two goals. 

The second goal, concerning the hostages, requires negotiation and accommodation with Hamas’s leadership (even if through intermediaries), while the first goal requires the elimination of Hamas’ military and governing abilities — a difficult balance to strike, two senior Israeli military officials recently said.  The question seems to be how you go about negotiating with someone you are intent on destroying? 

That’s why Israeli military action on the ground penetrating into the Gaza Strip have been limited and tentative.

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A sad and overwhelming view of the tragedy occurring in Israel and Gaza today will appear in the Nov. 6 issue of the New Yorker magazine.  It is not easy reading and New Yorker editor David Remnick does not offer solutions.  In fact, the first sentence of his lengthy article reads The only way to tell this story is to try to tell it truthfully and to know that you will fail.’ 

You can read it at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/11/06/israel-gaza-war-hamas or by CLICKING HERE.

Finally, Israel should think about the quote often attributed to Casey Stengel, when he managed the NY Yankees:  ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up somewhere else.’  That seems to describe the political situation in Israel today.


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Antisemitism in the United States

One cannot get involved with the subject discussed above without relating it to antisemitism in the United States.  For a shocking overview of that, critical of both our political parties, read S.E. Cupp’s column from Saturday’s Palm Beach Post.  (Cupp is a life-long Republican.)  More than a decade ago, Ms. Cupp shared an afternoon news commentary roundtable on MSNBC that featured several unknown but up-and-coming young voices, including Ari Melber, now an MSNBC mainstay.

Here is what she wrote last week:

“The Far Left Has a Serious Antisemitism Problem”

S.E. Cupp


“The headlines paint a troubling picture: 

'Liberals Need a Reckoning With Antisemitism.'

'How the Democrats betrayed the Jews.'

'The Left Faces a Reckoning as Israel Divides Democrats.'


The conflict between Israel and Hamas, a terrorist group that barbarically murdered 1,400 innocent civilians in a coordinated attack on Israel, has unleashed a shocking and appalling level of antisemitism from the left.


From a disturbing indifference to Jewish suffering, to an inability to make obvious declarative statements about Hamas’ atrocities, to a repeated moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas — the latter of which explicitly wants to wipe Jews off the planet — to outright hostility toward Jews, the ugly invective is coming from some unexpected places.


Inside the Democratic Party, elected state officials and members of Congress have refused to condemn Hamas and many have called for an immediate Israeli ceasefire, essentially demanding the IDF leave Hamas alone.


Rep. Rashida Tlaib and others are offering conspiracy theories about the attacks akin to 9/11 trutherism. Tlaib, for example, does not believe U.S., Israeli and media reports that an Islamic Jihad rocket misfire — not Israel — caused an explosion at a Gaza hospital. Instead, she believes Hamas, the terrorists, and is demanding an independent investigation. 'Both the White House and the Israeli government have long, documented histories of misleading the public about war and war crimes,' she said.

On college campuses, many of which are now infamous for trigger warnings, banning offensive speech and creating 'safe spaces,' professors and students are trafficking in viciously antisemitic comments in support of Palestinians, with one national student group celebrating the massacre as a 'historic win for the Palestinian resistance.'


In left-wing and mainstream media, a slew of commentators, hosts and reporters have pushed Hamas propaganda and anti-Israel sentiment.


According to Gallup, Democratic voters are also now more sympathetic toward Palestinians than Israelis, for the first time since it began asking.


This has all led to some soul-searching and exasperation among American Jews who once counted Democrats as supporters. Rabbi Joel Simonds says, 'In these last few days, the silence is deafening and it is hurtful and a betrayal on so many levels. It’s not going to change the way we look at justice. It’s going to change the way we look at our allies.'


Playwright David Mamet wrote of 'the sick thrill of antisemitism' inside the Democratic Party, that they 'repeat and refuse to retract the libel that Israel bombed a hospital, in spite of absolute proof to the contrary, and will not call out the unutterable atrocities of Hamas. The writing is on the wall. In blood.'


Jewish celebrities including Amy Schumer, Josh Gad and Debra Messing have all addressed antisemitism they’ve encountered.

I know how disorienting, disappointing, and distressing this is for my Jewish friends, as many have shared with me how scared and unsafe they suddenly feel in a country they thought would 'Never Forget.'


Back in 2017 I was shocked when hundreds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, racists and bigots marched at a Virginia rally — unmasked and unashamed — wielding tiki torches, and screaming racist slogans like, 'Our blood, our soil,' 'Jews will not replace us,' and 'White Lives Matter!'


In the wake of the Charlottesville violence, where one neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, injuring dozens and killing one woman, the president told America that there were 'some very fine people on both sides.'


I had to reconcile with a fact that made me physically sick to my stomach: this naked and appalling bigotry and hate is coming from inside my own political party.


Racism, of course, wasn’t new. It’s always been here. But to watch this level of proud intolerance take hold of a wing of the Republican Party, metastasize over the ensuing years, infect Congress and the right-wing media, and receive comfort from the party’s biggest standard-bearer — the president — has been one of the hardest things to watch in my career in politics.


If you’d told me 25 years ago that the Republican Party of Lincoln would one day elect white nationalists to Congress, that a president would dine openly with neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers, that a presidential candidate would insist that slavery had its upside, I wouldn’t have believed you.


Similarly, if you’d told me that the Democratic Party of Harry Truman would struggle one day to defend massacred Jews against Islamic terrorists whose stated purpose is the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of the Jews, I wouldn’t have believed this either.

I know it’s a painful reality to confront. But just as Donald Trump exposed a dark and ugly underbelly of the far right, Hamas has exposed a dark and ugly underbelly of the far left.


S.E. Cupp is the host of 'S.E. Cupp Unfiltered' on CNN.



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Contrarian Opinions

For several ‘contrarian’ opinions on American foreign policy, specifically concerning Israel and Ukraine, check out several articles Bari Weiss included in her ‘Free Press’ blog the other day. (Weiss is a former NYTimes writer who left that publication because of conflicts between its editorial staff and herself and has since moved rightward politically.) 

Whether one agrees or disagrees with these viewpoints is not the question.  It is a matter of being exposed to ideas not commonly discussed elsewhere.  Check them out at https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/WhctKKZNzNSffHmSvlvmfGVdFwgvbktxNVjPbLSrQhbtfZzxcbjdcBTfQPgBlDgbqwzBskV  or just CLICK HERE.


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