December 22, 2018

Why Does Hezbollah Dig Tunnels?

Israel has now located four tunnels dug by Hezbollah into Israel from Lebanon.

In a helpful article Seth J. Frantzman chronicles the growing sophistication of such terrorist tunnels popular with the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, and Hezbollah.  

Naturally, the word, “tunnels” makes us think of harmless narrow passageways and a means of simply getting from one place to another. But these are deep, concrete fortified structures designed for surprise attack on civilians in Israel.  There is plenty of room inside for fighters, weapons, and supplies as seen in this video by UN Watch director, Hillel Neuer. The enormous costs of building are paid by Iran.

Not only are the Hezbollah tunnels constructed for purposes of attack on Israeli civilians, some are built on the property of Lebanese civilians. Of course, all this is against international law as it’s a war crime purposely to attack civilians or to use civilian areas for staging violence.

When Hamas tunnels into Israeli farms, or sends incendiary devices into southern Israel, or when Fatah honors terrorists in the West Bank, we hear that the problem is “occupation” even though there are no Jews or IDF soldiers in Gaza and all the West Bank cities are under Palestinian control.  What is the problem from Lebanon? 

The Hezbollah tunnels run under an internationally recognized and undisputed border.  And certainly Hezbollah is not advocating for the welfare of Palestinians who in Lebanon are not even allowed citizenship.  Just maybe it has to do with the demographics of Israel?

These tunnels are simply the shortest distance to Jews. According to the leader of Hezbollah, it's simply most convenient to attack the nearby Jews of Israel; any Jews anywhere are just as much a target.

December 08, 2018

What Do AntiZionists Want?

Yesterday, the New York Times ran this front-page headline: “Anti-Zionism is Not the Same as Anti-Semitism.”  

Here at Framing Israel we’re interested in language and rhetoric, so the claims of Times staff opinion writer, Michelle Goldberg demand our attention. She says, “The conflation of antisemitism with antiZionism is a rhetorical slight of hand that depends on treating Israel as the embodiment of the Jewish people everywhere.”  This statement seems to be slight of hand, itself.

I would understand saying Israel embodies a 2000-year longing of Jews to return to their roots.  Or that Israel embodies the modern Zionist hope for a home safe from antisemitism.  I do understand that Goldberg objects to such Zionist themes and that she feels somehow implicated in what the Israeli government does.

At the same time, she tells us that BDS advocacy by new members of the US Congress is something that “American Jews have nothing to fear...” This appears right below the headline, in fact.

Goldberg writes that while some criticisms of Israel can be antisemitic, one can object to “Jewish ethno-nationalism without being a bigot.”

But “entho-national” doesn’t describe Israel, which is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, democratic Jewish state.  And antiZionism is not hard to recognize.  It isn’t criticism of Israel.

Rather, antiZionists believe there should no majority Jewish country between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

There can be a Palestinian majority country, or all the many Muslim majority countries, or a Japanese majority country; in fact, there can be all of the 195 countries of the world except one.

BDS advocates for the elimination of the world’s only Jewish majority state.

In earlier eras, antisemitism showed up as hatred of the Jewish religion and at other times as hatred of the Jewish people.  Although these forms of Jew hatred still exist, more often antisemitism now appears as hatred of the Jewish state.

Singling out Jews for special harm fits the definition of antisemitism so well that even the New York Times front page can’t make this reality go away.