US Alone In Support For Israel War Effort

World opinion and American opinion diverge significantly.

As expected, the US vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza; indeed, we were the only one of the 15 members to vote against (the UK abstained). The pressure against Israel continues.

Najib Jobain, Samy Magdy, and Elena Becatoros, AP (“Israel presses on with Gaza bombardments, including in areas where it told civilians to flee“):

Israeli warplanes struck parts of the Gaza Strip overnight into Saturday in relentless bombardments, including some of the dwindling slivers of land Palestinians had been told to evacuate to in the territory’s south.

The latest strikes came a day after the United States vetoed a United Nations resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, despite it being backed by the vast majority of Security Council members and many other nations. The vote in the 15-member council was 13-1, with the United Kingdom abstaining.

“Attacks from air, land and sea are intense, continuous and widespread,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said before the vote. Gaza residents “are being told to move like human pinballs – ricocheting between ever-smaller slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival.”

Guterres told the council that Gaza was at “a breaking point” with the humanitarian support system at risk of total collapse, and that he feared “the consequences could be devastating for the security of the entire region.”

Gaza’s borders with Israel and Egypt are effectively sealed, leaving Palestinians with no option other than to seek refuge within the territory. The overall Palestinian death toll in Gaza has surpassed 17,400, the majority of them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory, whose counts do not differentiate between civilians and combatants.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for civilian casualties, accusing the militants of using civilians as human shields, and says it’s made considerable efforts with its evacuation orders to get civilians out of harm’s way.

On Saturday, the Israeli military said its forces fought and killed Hamas militants and found weapons inside a school in Shijaiyah in a densely populated neighborhood of Gaza City. It said soldiers discovered a tunnel shaft in the same neighborhood where they found an elevator, and in a separate incident, militants shot at troops from an U.N.-run school in the northern town of Beit Hanoun.

Residents reported airstrikes and shelling in Gaza’s north and south Saturday, including the city of Rafah, which lies near the Egyptian border and where the Israeli army had ordered civilians to move to.

The main hospital in the central city of Deir al-Balah received 71 dead and 160 wounded over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Saturday morning. In the southern city of Khan Younis, 62 dead and another 99 wounded were taken to Nasser Hospital in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.

Israel has been trying to secure the military’s hold on northern Gaza, where furious fighting has underscored heavy resistance from Hamas. Tens of thousands of residents are believed to remain despite evacuation orders, six weeks after troops and tanks rolled in during the war sparked by Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 raid targeting civilians in Israel.


Despite growing international pressure, the Biden administration remains opposed to an open-ended cease-fire, arguing it would enable Hamas to continue posing a threat to Israel. Officials have expressed misgivings in recent days about the rising civilian death toll and dire humanitarian crisis, but have not pushed publicly for Israel to wind down the war, now in its third month.

“We have not given a firm deadline to Israel, not really our role,” deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told a security forum a day before the U.S. veto in the U.N. Security Council. “That said, we do have influence, even if we don’t have ultimate control over what happens on the ground in Gaza.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant argued that “a cease-fire is handing a prize to Hamas, dismissing the hostages held in Gaza, and signalling terror groups everywhere.”

A delegation of foreign ministers from mainly Arab nations and Turkey was in Washington to push the U.S. to drop its objections to an immediate cease-fire. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Friday ahead of a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel’s bombardment and siege of Gaza is a war crime that is destabilizing the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said the U.S. veto showed Washington’s isolation.

“The American political system is now helpless on issues related to Israel. Therefore, Israel acts recklessly on this issue and continues its oppression.,” Fidan told Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu and broadcaster TRT.

Fidan and the Palestinian, Saudi, Indonesian, Egyptian, Jordanian, Qatari and Nigerian ministers met with Blinken to press for an end to the fighting, while the group is to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Saturday.

As fighting resumed after a brief truce more than a week ago, the U.S. urged Israel to do more to protect civilians and allow more aid to besieged Gaza. The appeals came as Israel expanded its blistering air and ground campaign into southern Gaza, especially Khan Younis, sending tens of thousands more fleeing.

Bassam Masoud and Nidal Al-Mughrabi, Reuters (“Intensified fighting across Gaza as U.S. vetoes ceasefire“):

Israel pounded the Gaza Strip from north to south on Saturday in an expanded phase of its two-month-old war against Hamas, after the United States wielded its U.N. Security Council veto to shield its ally from a global demand for a ceasefire.

Thirteen of the Security Council’s 15 members voted for the resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire that was blocked by Washington. Britain abstained.

Since a truce collapsed last week, Israel has expanded its ground campaign into the southern half of the Gaza Strip by launching the storming of the main southern city Khan Younis. Simultaneously, both sides have reported a major surge in fighting in the north.

Residents of Khan Younis said on Saturday that Israeli forces were ordering people out of another district just west of positions the Israelis stormed earlier this week, suggesting a further assault could be imminent.

The vast majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have already been forced from their homes, many fleeing multiple times. With fighting raging across the length of the territory, residents and U.N. agencies say there is now effectively nowhere safe to go, though Israel disputes this.

Israel has blocked Gazans from fleeing along the main north-south route down the spine of the narrow strip, and is shunting them instead towards the Mediterranean coast.

In Khan Younis, the dead and wounded arrived through the night at the overwhelmed Nasser hospital. A medic ran out of an ambulance with the limp body of a small girl in a pink track suit. Inside, wounded children wailed and writhed on the tile floor as nurses raced to comfort them. Outside, bodies were lined up in white shrouds.


There were no new figures on Saturday for dead and wounded from other parts of Gaza, including the entire northern half, where hospitals have ceased functioning and ambulances often can no longer reach the dead.

“We believe the number of martyrs under the rubble might be greater than those received at hospitals,” health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra told Reuters.

Fighting in the north has been its most intense in parts of Gaza City and settlements on its northern edge, where huge explosions could be seen from across the fence in Israel. Northern Gaza families were posting messages on the internet pleading with emergency crews to venture into Gaza City to rescue loved ones still trapped there.

Jeremy Bowen, BBC international editor, Jerusalem (“US uses veto but pressure for Gaza ceasefire is building“):

UN secretary general António Guterres has spoken about the “serious risk to the maintenance of international peace and security” in the Gaza conflict, citing the spillover of hostilities in “the occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen”.

He triggered Article 99, prompting a UN Security Council vote on Friday, because he believes this is a very urgent matter which must be brought to the attention of the council.

The Israeli government detests the UN and they detest the secretary general.

The Israelis rejected his description, claiming Mr Guterres is in fact the threat to world peace because he is pandering to Hamas by trying to end the fighting now, before their mission to destroy the group has been concluded.

That ill-feeling will not have improved after the secretary general also mentioned that one of the risks is that the situation in Gaza could get so bad that there would be a mass displacement of Palestinians over the border into Egypt – which is also of huge concern to the Egyptian government.

There was, Mr Guterres said, a high risk of the “total collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza”. And the Palestinians say that is exactly what Israel wants because it wants to get all Palestinians out of Gaza.

Journalists are not permitted by Israel to enter Gaza so I can’t report from there myself, but what the secretary general is saying sounds pretty accurate from the pictures and video we can see and the people we speak to.

By all the measures you can think of, the situation there for civilians is absolutely catastrophic, as they are subjected to a remorseless military campaign. Israel says they are doing what they can to save civilian lives but insists Hamas holds responsibility for using them as human shields.

At the UN, the Americans duly vetoed this resolution calling for a ceasefire. For those concerned about the significant loss of life, that does sound a bit hollow – the Americans claim the Israelis are saying they will stick to the rules of war and avoid unnecessary civilian deaths. But, they say, there is a gap between what Israel says and what it does.

I think the strategy behind the secretary general’s decision to bring a vote – which he knew would probably get vetoed – was to hurry up the inevitable moment when the Americans will say to Israel: “Enough is enough, you’ve had enough time and killed enough people and it’s time for a ceasefire.”

Some diplomats I have spoken to have said they might give the Israelis another month – I think Mr Guterres’s strategy is to try and shorten that, partly by increasing international pressure and also partly by shaming the Americans into thinking that they cannot continue to hold this position as it becomes less and less tenable.

That pressure has also increased today with the publication of footage of prisoners in Gaza, held by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), stripped to their underwear and being driven away in trucks. It’s a cruel image of war seeing these men, which local reports on social media suggest could be as many as 700.

Those same sources, including family of some of the men, say that they were taken from a UN school where they were sheltering, and where others tried to get away and were killed.

A horrendous video circulated yesterday of six people lying dead in the street – said to be from that same area and near that same school – and one of them was a bloody corpse lying on top of a white flag he had apparently been carrying.

The IDF say they are trying to work out who is a suspect and who is responsible for those terrible attacks on 7 October – and that they are all the while observing the international law on conflict.

But for those who have little sympathy for what Israel is doing, or have lost sympathy because of the level of killing that has been carried out in Gaza, those people are saying that this is another sign of Israeli indifference to the dignity and the health of Palestinians.

Merlyn Thomas and Ethar Shalaby, BBC (“Al-Mawasi: Gaza humanitarian zone not humane, evacuees say“):

As Israel presses its military offensive across Gaza, the army has been repeatedly advising some two million civilians to move to a “humanitarian zone” smaller than London’s Heathrow Airport.

Al-Mawasi is a narrow strip of land by the Mediterranean Sea. It has few buildings and largely consists of sandy dunes and agricultural land.
The zone designated as safe by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), is just 8.5 sq km (3.3 sq miles).


The IDF has urged civilians to move to al-Mawasi on at least 15 occasions on social media, the last on 2 December.

The first mention of the humanitarian zone was on 18 October, when the IDF’s Arabic spokesperson posted on X: “The IDF orders Gaza residents to move to the humanitarian zone in the area of al-Mawasi, to which international humanitarian aid will be directed if necessary.”

Another post, from 21 October, stated: “If your life and the lives of those you love are important to you, head south of Wadi Gaza. We advise you to arrive at the humanitarian area in Mawasi according to our instructions.”

Little to no internet connectivity has made it difficult for people to find safe areas in other parts of Gaza.
However, even the IDF instructions on al-Mawasi have changed several times. Civilians say the changing messaging has made it difficult for them to know exactly where to find safety there too.

Each IDF post has been accompanied by a map pinpointing a small area within al-Mawasi that Gazans should evacuate to.

But different areas in al-Mawasi have been designated as “humanitarian zones” by Israel on different dates.

On 18 October, the IDF designated the humanitarian zone marked in purple below. But three days later, the IDF declared a different area – shown in blue.

Then, on 30 October, the area changed again – to the one marked in green.

To the extent Israel’s war aim of eliminating Hamas is just—and I believe it is—it remains unclear to me what more they are supposed to do to protect civilians given the circumstances. Gaza is a tiny, highly urbanized area, and Hamas militants are illegally hiding among the civilian population. Egypt has sealed its borders, meaning safe areas—which the IDF is taking great pains to announce, complete with color-coded maps—are likely the best of bad alternatives.

Whether Israel’s war aims are achievable, alas, is a different question altogether. Two months in, it’s hard to know how close the IDF is to destroying Hamas. And it remains unclear what the end state is. A Palestinian zone in Gaza run by someone (who?) other than Hamas? An Israeli-occupied Gaza?

Regardless, it’s undeniable that the result is civilians, including children, being killed in astonishing numbers. World opinion has largely turned against Israel as a result. And, while some of this can surely be explained by hatred of the Jews, it’s clearly much more than that. After all, the US was joined by France, the UK, and Japan in voting against the October 16 ceasefire resolution. Less that two months laters, France and Japan are on the other side and my strong guess is that the UK abstained only to avoid voting against its strongest ally.

While there is some division within the Biden administration and the Democratic Party as a whole, my guess is that US support for Israel will continue for quite some time. A Pew poll released yesterday shows American public support rather strong.

On the matter of who’s responsible for the war:

  • [F]ar more Americans (65%) say Hamas bears a lot of responsibility for the current conflict than say that about the Israeli government (35%).
  • Majorities of both Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (73%) and Democrats and Democratic leaners (62%) say Hamas has a lot of responsibility for the conflict. But Democrats (50%) are more than twice as likely as Republicans (21%) to say the Israeli government bears a lot of responsibility.
  • About half of adults ages 18 to 29 (46%) say Hamas has a lot of responsibility for the war. That compares with majorities of 60% or more among older age groups.

On Israel’s conduct of the war, results are somewhat mixed:

  • Americans also differ over Israel’s ongoing military operation against Hamas, with nearly a third (32%) not sure.
  • About a quarter (27%) say Israel is going too far in its current military operation, while about as many (25%) say it is taking the right approach; 16% of Americans say Israel is not going far enough militarily.
  • More than four-in-ten Democrats (45%) say Israel is going too far in its military operation against Hamas, compared with 12% of Republicans.
  • There also are age differences in these opinions, with younger Americans more likely than older age groups to say Israel is going too far.

OBiden’s handling of the war gets poor reviews, but for weird reasons:

  • Roughly a third of adults (35%) approve of the Biden administration’s response to the Israel-Hamas war, while 41% disapprove and 24% are not sure.
  • Republicans disapprove of the administration’s response by about two-to-one (51% disapprove, 28% approve). Democrats are more divided: 44% approve of the administration’s response, 33% disapprove and 22% are not sure.
  • Adults under age 30 are particularly disapproving of the administration’s response to the conflict. Just 19% approve, while 46% disapprove. The administration’s response is viewed less negatively among older age groups.  
  • Americans generally differ over whether President Joe Biden is striking the right balance in dealing with the Israelis and Palestinians (25%), favoring the Israelis too much (21%), or favoring the Palestinians too much (16%). Nearly four-in-ten adults say they are not sure how Biden is handling this.

So, obviously, we have to filter these results through partisan lenses. Republicans are naturally going to oppose pretty much anything Biden does simply because he’s the head of the opposition party, whereas Democrats are reflexively going to support their guy. Yet Republicans actually support the Israeli war effort more strongly than do Democrats!

FILED UNDER: Middle East, World Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. steve says:

    Wile I think we should continue to support Israel in the current crisis I do think its revealing that in this vote and in so many votes its largely just eh US and maybe a few other countries supporting Israel. It’s believable that the Arab countries vote based upon hatred of Jews. Maybe some lingering stuff in parts of Europe, though I seriously doubt that’s enough to sway votes. But what about those South American and African countries? Is there some secret movement in Ghana and Ecuador we dont know about? It seems pretty clear that based on their actions Israel is not viewed very positively.


  2. MarkedMan says:

    Those who support Israel want to separate this specific war from the policies in the past thirty years. They say, “we have to treat the Hamas barbarism and mass murder separately, and any attempt to discuss our apartheid regime and the shrinking bantustans is anti-semitism.” Most people are not fooled.

  3. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Every actor in this drama acts from different motives. Personally, I remember Abba Eban saying after the Six-Day War,”if the Arab League made a motion that the world is flat, they would get forty votes for it in the General Assembly.”

  4. Tony W says:

    I think that very few of us give a shit if the combatants are Jews or Arabs or Pagan or Christian or Atheist or Vegetarian.

    Most of us see a large, well-trained, well-equipped military force devastating a civilian population center in purely revenge-motivated retribution for a cowardly terrorist attack.

    The invisible friends of each belligerent are irrelevant to this reader, their humanity is more important.

    This is why Israel is losing worldwide support.

  5. Kevin says:

    Ezra Klein had a very good interview with passionate antisemite Nimrod Novik, member of the executive committee of Commanders for Israel’s Security, who argued very persuasively that leadership has been lacking on both sides of the conflict, and Israel has been doing everything possible to keep it that way. And that the current war is counterproductive, and possibly just a way for Netanyahu to avoid prosecution. And that there are things that Israel could be doing, even without a Palestinian counterpart, to raise the likelihood of peace going forward. It’s not what they’ve been doing.

  6. Modulo Myself says:

    Considering how the Israeli government sounds when they open their mouths about the Palestinians, it’s a real stretch to make people believe this is about anything other than eliminating Palestinians as human beings. It’s very selective interpretation, like saying ignore everything in Israel, the West Bank, or which happened before 10/7. It is not convincing to people who are not inclined to think this way.

    And there’s also overall cluelessness of people in America who are against the ceasefires, Palestinians rights, or anything other than general apathy and racist bloodlust. At least know something about modern life, the Ivies, Palestinian protesters, actual Israelis. Something, anything, just learn at least and be wrong instead of offering up dog-like drivel.

  7. JKB says:

    Hmm, no mention of those kidnapped on Oct 7 and who are likely being raped every day by the “freedom fighter”. I guess they are to be abandoned and buried in unmarked graves to continue the Sexual Atrocity Denial.

    This could all be over tomorrow if Hamas released the hostages and laid down their arms. Perhaps the UN could send in a body of soldiers from the “Ceasefire” countries to accept the Hamas surrender and then establish a Nuremberg like trial system to adjudicate the individual Hamas members?

    Come on, UN, use some of that goodwill your employees developed giving aid and comfort to Hamas rapists over the last decade or so.

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    Yep, the whole world condemns Israel, oh noes.

    If only the US would abandon Israel they’d. . . what, exactly? Drive their tanks back home and laugh off the Hamas missiles landing o their homes? Or would they create a ‘fact on the ground’ by abandoning any effort to protect civilians and drive Gaza’s entire population into the Sinai? Or even turn Gaza into a sea of glass?

    The UN has no moral authority. The UAE and China voted to condemn Israel? STFU.

    We come back to the fact that no one, anywhere, has any sort of solution to the problem of Gaza. A lot of yelling, a lot of condemning, a lot of wishing we had a time machine so we could fix the past, and not a single, solitary idea for a practicable solution other than a very final solution*. A solution an abandoned, isolated, terrified Israel led by a frightened crook, might well find.

    *Yes, I know, duh.

  9. gVOR10 says:

    There was a partially successful Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement before Oct 7. It is Palestinian led, but its success was largely due to Israel’s actions against Palestinians. It was, I believe, more successful in Europe than the U. S., but has had some success here. Significant numbers of Palestinians and other Arabs have settled in Europe and the U. S. There are large numbers of Arab students abroad. It was unreasonable to expect there would be no dissenting voices to our support of Israel. And yet even our supposedly liberal MSM are joining the jihad against the three university presidents Elise Stefanik targeted. It was inevitable there would be pushback after the ten thousandth dead Gazan, but Israel seems to be succeeding in winning the propaganda war, including painting any criticism as antisemitism. And the Israel lobby is strong enough in U. S. politics to ensure we veto U.N. resolutions.

    I lost the link, but there was a column in Haaretz saying Netanyahu would fail to destroy Hamas, but would succeed in blaming Biden for the failure. Netanyahu’s policy is that the Palestinians must go away, with no care as to how or where. The bottom line is there are about 5 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and they have no power and no friends. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan et al have chosen to largely sit this out. The Palestinians are screwed. I can’t change that they’re screwed, but I don’t have to applaud.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We come back to the fact that no one, anywhere, has any sort of solution to the problem of Gaza.

    How you get from this obviously correct statement to, “and therefore the US must endlessly support Israel as it murders people and steals their land” is beyond me.

  11. MarkedMan says:


    And the Israel lobby is strong enough in U. S. politics to ensure we veto U.N. resolutions

    They are strong but not strong enough to explain the US playing pretend for the decades following the settler murdering Rabin. You have to look to the Christian Fundamentalist lobby and voting bloc in the US for that. No politician wants to go up against both at the same time.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:


    And yet even our supposedly liberal MSM are joining the jihad against the three university presidents Elise Stefanik targeted.

    They were fucking idiots who handed the GOP a ton of lovely viral video they’ll use as ammo in the election. I have no sympathy for these highly educated professionals who arrogantly decided they could handle Congress. They couldn’t even handle Elise Stefanik, FFS. Mainstream Democrats – you know, the ones who actually hope to save democracy – have no choice but to protect themselves by trashing these three nitwits.

    As for BDS, Israel’s GDP per capita is double Saudi Arabia’s, and on a par with North Carolina. BDS is more vacuous virtue signaling that’s done nothing to impede Israel and even less to help Palestinians. BDS did however prime the American college elite to talk about imperialism and colonialism and apartheid and thus predictably implode under questioning by a MAGA moron.

  13. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: “How you get from this obviously correct statement to, “and therefore the US must endlessly support Israel as it murders people and steals their land” is beyond me.”

    Because the inevitable correlative to “there is no answer” is “so we must unquestionably rally behind the team I prefer and support everything they do no matter what and anyone who disagrees is a Nazi who wants to kill all Jews.”

    Don’t know why you couldn’t make the obvious leap.

  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    Answer my question then: what do you think Israel would do right now in Gaza if the US left them completely isolated? Sit and wait peacefully for the next Hamas attack?

  15. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “They were fucking idiots who handed the GOP a ton of lovely viral video they’ll use as ammo in the election.”

    Remember, kids, if someone gets picked on by the bully, we must always separate ourselves from the victim immediately and start copying the bullying behavior, or maybe someone will bully us, too. We call this strength.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    No, we call it politics, dummy. Because right now we are facing an existential crisis of democracy, a serious threat to literally every freedom we hold dear, and NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. Jesus Fucking Christ.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    1) The US condemns Israel and stops all arms shipments.
    2) Hamas and Hezbollah celebrate by firing missiles into Israel while the West Bank erupts in a new intifada.

    With me so far? Anyone doubt the first two parts? OK, now show me number 3. Is it, 3) Israel accepts that missiles raining down on them are just something they’ll have to get used to? Is that what anyone here believes would happen next?

    Try to think beyond the needs of your own virtue signaling. Because the reality – and everyone here knows it – is:

    3) Israel drives Gazans into the Sinai, rejects a two state solution, and finds new friends which turns out to be surprisingly easy when you have a very robust arms industry.

    They will never accept a life under constant attack. Never. And they have between 80 and 400 nuclear weapons. US support is the only thing restraining Israel. Without a US guarantee they’ll do what they have to do to survive. These are the people raised on the Holocaust and Masada.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: If what you were saying was, “The Mideast is a f*cked up place and there are no good guys, so we are going to have to hold our nose and deal with Israel with the same attitude we use with Saudi Arabia (who are currently butchering Yemeni civilians in their attempt to get to terrorists) or Iran or Kuwait or a half dozen others we try to mange to keep the oil flowing”, then we would be in agreement. But you are saying this requires our politicians to exalt strengthening Israeli’s apartheid regime above all other considerations, while I say it is doing long term harm to the interests of the United States.

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    I have a lot of respect for you, but this:

    But you are saying this requires our politicians to exalt strengthening Israeli’s apartheid regime above all other considerations, while I say it is doing long term harm to the interests of the United States.

    Is bullshit. No one is exalting anything. As for ‘other considerations,’ what would those be? Angering the Arab thug states who’d be giving Israel weapons to exterminate Hamas if we weren’t? The Chinese? The Russians? South America like anyone gives a rat’s ass? Corrupt African dictators? Or is it just the sneers of Dutch people we meet on vacation in Amsterdam?

    We are in a trap. That’s the reality. As I’ve said before, that’s why this is a tragedy and not a sitcom. We have no answers. The one thing we can do – abandon Israel – would almost certainly drastically raise the death toll in Gaza.

  20. Gustopher says:

    Israel would ignore a UN resolution calling for a cease fire, just as they have ignored countless other UN resolutions to stop the illegal settlement of occupied territories in the West Bank, stop the blockade of Gaza, etc. The UN is ultimately irrelevant.

    If the US were to cut all support of Israel, and make the weapons we gave them in the past magically disappear, I have little doubt that Israeli soldiers would be in Gaza with machetes as soon as they run out of what is left.

    Israel is a racist apartheid* state, fighting for their very way of life. And their way of life is morally reprehensible. It’s been morally reprehensible since the founding of Israel and the partition of Palestine into “fertile areas for the Jews, non-fertile areas for Arabs” and the initial wars.

    Right now in Gaza, this is Trail of Tears level shit, except without a destination. That was not generally considered one of the high points of American history**.

    And “lack of destination” is pretty much a perfect description of the war. There is no stated plan for what happens to Gaza after this war and after Hamas is miraculously rooted out. It sure looks like ethnic cleansing, and like the Palestinians are going to be shoved against the Egyptian border with the hopes of forcing them over and then shouting “no backsies!”

    And without a stated plan on what the future of Gaza will look like, I think we have to believe our eyes. Which is presumably why there are no journalists allowed to enter Gaza, and perhaps why the journalists who are in Gaza seem to be getting killed. The Israeli government does not want the world to have eyes in Gaza.

    For decades we have been supporting Israel with the hope that our support can help guide them towards a stable solution that isn’t apartheid, or genocide — a gentle ethnic cleansing, perhaps, with a bit of resettlement with more carrots than sticks. Pushing towards a less worse outcome.

    It’s long past time that we acknowledge that this hasn’t worked, and we’ve just been propping up a racist state. We should, at the very least, walk away.

    *: I know, it’s not really apartheid if it’s not from the apartheid regions of South Africa, and each racist state holding an unfavored ethnic group in second class status is its own special thing.

    **: it was a high point of my 6th grade American History class, where we were marched across the football field and many of us had to lie down “dead” along the way so we would really see and understand it as more than just numbers in a book.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The one thing we can do – abandon Israel

    There is a hundred possible gradations between abandoning Israel and our current policy.

    And while I think US leaders should put America’s interests first, I think our current, “no repercussions for Israel regardless of what they do” which we have adhered to since Rabin’s assassination has done more harm to Israel than it has to us. And, as I said, our adherence to such a policy has less to do with the fractious “Jewish Lobby” than with the fanatical and monolithic (in this area) Christian fundamentalist leadership and the voting bloc they control.

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: For decades Israel has been able to shield its preferred population from the consequences of the conditions in the occupied territories. It’s been basically stable.

    The Israeli population has no reason to want things to change unless they feel consequences. Sure, there are a few lefties there who care about Palestinians in Gaza, and a moderate middle who lament that “nothing can be done”, but by and large the population is content with how they live and doesn’t want to do anything that could disrupt that.

    In order to have an equitable peace of some kind, the Israelis are going to have to feel at least some of the pressure and pain as the Palestinians feel on a daily basis.

    The pre-October-7th status quo is not acceptable. It’s a third of the population of Israel and the occupied territories living without rights. And that’s what Israel is fighting for.

    Three questions:
    – Does Israel have a right to exist?
    – Does Israel have a right to exist as an apartheid state?
    – Does Israel have a right to exist if the only way it can remain safe is if it is an apartheid state?

    I suspect most people would answer: “Yes. No. I don’t know man.”

    Israel needs to find an answer. Israelis have been under no pressure to find an answer, just mowing the lawn on a regular basis and keeping the threat contained while perpetuating the situation that creates the threat.

    Maybe the answer is a two state solution where the Palestinians actually have a viable country with water. Maybe the answer is to give Palestinians full Israeli citizenship. Maybe the answer is to give each Palestinian $1M and make them the most sought after refugees on the planet (that would cost $5T, which seems expensive, but half that seems weirdly doable)

    Without an actual threat to a way of life that is predicated on oppression of Palestinians, the Israelis aren’t going to be considering any of that.

  23. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Because right now we are facing an existential crisis of democracy, a serious threat to literally every freedom we hold dear, and NOTHING ELSE MATTERS”

    And the solution is to help destroy our allies as we huddle in a defensive crouch begging the Republicans to please not hit us. Because that always works. I mean, it’s not like anyone around here has ever complained that the problem with Democrats is that they don’t fight back and show weakness whenever they’re attacked. I mean, except for you.

    But then, you’re also the one who screams that people getting fired for expressing an unpopular opinion is the worst thing that can happen until someone expresses an opinion that you don’t like and then you’re heating up the tar and feathers.

    I don’t mind that your ethics are situational — whose aren’t? And I don’t (usually) mind that you express every passing thought as if it’s the unchangeable moral truth. But when you combine the two of them, it’s just trolling.

  24. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Before this started, 2 million people lived in 141 square miles (roughly 5.5 * 25 miles), at a population density roughly that of Washington, DC. We’re at the point where those 2 million people are randomly being told that today, it is the Washington Mall that is the safe zone, and tomorrow they will told that it is the area around GW. With no food, water, or sanitation – or exit strategy other than their collective deaths – in sight.

    Roughly 1 million of these 2 million people are 18 or under and have literally never known any other life other than the one where their entire existence can be uprooted or destroyed at a whim by the IDF with no feasible pathway to get out.

    And this is the world that Netanyahu wants them to live in. And that we are propping up.

    “They are not human beings and not even human animals, they are subhuman and that is how they should be treated” Arieh King on Xitter, calling for the live burial of a group of stripped and detained Palestinian men.

  25. JohnSF says:

    India, UK, Germany, etc etc.@MarkedMan:
    Except it’s not an “apartheid regime”.
    Apartheid was based on denial of civil rights to “non Whites”.
    That is not the situation in Israel/Palestine.
    This categorization is applied by some Americans primarily because of an inclination to map American racial history, and political sociology, onto the Middle East in general, and Israel/Palestine in particular.
    It’s a mistake.

  26. JohnSF says:

    “Steals their land” might apply to the West Bank; it does not apply to Gaza.
    If the Israelis were determined to “steal” Gaza, why would they have dismantled the settlements there and pulled out the IDF in 2005?

  27. Gustopher says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    We’re at the point where those 2 million people are randomly being told that today, it is the Washington Mall that is the safe zone, and tomorrow they will told that it is the area around GW. With no food, water, or sanitation – or exit strategy other than their collective deaths – in sight.

    It’s a deadly game of Duck Duck Goose, with no refreshments.

  28. JohnSF says:

    “…butchering Yemeni civilians…”
    I cordially dislike the al-Saud as much as any, and more than most, and for my own good reasons.
    However, the Houthi are not nice people.
    Not at all.
    To put it very mildly indeed.
    Ask the people of southern Yemen their opinions on the Houthi.
    And fighting the Houthi involves killing civilians.
    Almost all wars involve killing civilians; that tends to be the horrible nature of war.
    If you know of a way to fight a war without such consequences, please let me know the details.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: You keep pointing this definition of “apartheid” out, and everyone ignores you. It’s possible that the definition people in the US use is a bit more loosey-goosey than in Britain, perhaps because we don’t want to acknowledge the reservation system that Native Americans were pushed into.

    Shoving a minority into ghettos, allowing them out only to work for you, blockading their ghetto from the outside world, controlling access to food and water… there are differences to South Africa and the Jim Crow South, but there are also a lot of similarities.

    Whether Brian Epstein was a hebephile, ephebophile or a pedophile, we can all agree that fucking children is wrong, right?

    And as for your insistence that apartheid requires whiteness, I think it’s heartening that we are moving into a colorblind world.

  30. JohnSF says:

    Israel would not soon run out of weapons, or collapse economically, if the US withdrew all support entirely.
    This is not the 1970’s, when US aid was crucial to Israel.
    Today total US aid comes to about 1% of Israeli GDP.
    Weapons supply is very valuable to Israel; but not an existential necessity, IMO.
    Or at least, you, and still more the peoples of various Middle Eastern states, should hope not.
    For reasons Michael Reynolds has indicated.

  31. JohnSF says:

    I am very used to being ignored. It bothers me very little.
    Nor does it affect whether I am correct, or not.
    Apartheid was never a British definition, incidentally.
    But apartheid was based upon strict, if somewhat arbitrary, distinctions between “White”, “Black”, “Coloured”, “Asian”.

    Of which only “White” had full citizenship and civil rights.
    As Israeli Arabs have full civil rights, and Mizrahi Israelis are pretty much indistinguishable from Arabs except in language, the usage of apartheid seems to me to be inaccurate.
    And probably often aimed at rhetorical point scoring.

    My preference for exactitude in terminology may annoy some, but that’s me.

  32. DK says:


    As Israeli Arabs have full civil rights,

    Tantamount to claims gays, women, blacks have “full civil rights” while the powers that be are busy suppressing black votes, banning books by black and gay authors, banning drag shows, criminalizing gender-affirming care, carving out exceptions for NO GAYS ALLOWED businesses, enslaving women with forced birth, making easier for the state to execute black citizens in the streets without due process, etc.

    Israeli Arabs are fighting for full civil rights, like so many of us in West. To say nothing of the state-sanctioned settler terrorism in the West Bank, which Israel’s allies condemn (lip service?) to no avail.

  33. JohnSF says:


    fertile areas for the Jews, non-fertile areas for Arabs

    In fact, the 1937 British land purchase law permitted Jewish purchase of land only in the coastal strip from Acres to a bit south of Jaffa.
    This was perhaps the most fertile land, but a lot of the rest of Palestine was comparable
    Well, apart from the Negev desert, or the eastern areas of Transjordan.
    The point being, perhaps the Palestinians/Arabs (and that / is there for a reason) might have done better to have accepted the Peel Commission proposal of 1937. Or the UN proposal of 1947. Or the ceasefire .line of 1948. Or…
    The thing is, when you roll the iron dice, you don’t get ask for backsies.

  34. JohnSF says:

    It’s not tantamount to any such thing.
    Civil rights under law are civil rights under law.
    In various regimes, including apartheid, “racial” groups have been denied any civil rights whatsoever.
    Seriously, do you think that silly Republicans banning books, or various genderish nastiness, unpleasant as it may be, is remotely similar to the structured racial hierarchies of South African apartheid?
    The basic point: Arab Israelis have civil rights.
    How the hell do you think there’s an Arab Israeli party with seats in in the Knesset?
    Was there ever a Black American Party in Congress?

  35. wr says:

    @JohnSF: “However, the Houthi are not nice people.”

    Oh, in that case they should definitely all be killed and we should think nothing about it!

  36. wr says:

    @JohnSF: “My preference for exactitude in terminology may annoy some, but that’s me.”

    I’m pretty sure that the mothers of Palestinians children who have been torn apart by gunfire appreciate your dedication to rhetorical accuracy.

  37. JohnSF says:

    As doubtless were the mothers of French and German “children torn apart by gunfire”.
    Should the defeat of the Nazis have therefore been called off, to spare the children?

  38. JohnSF says:

    No. Just that some may be killed to achieve certain justifiable objectives.

  39. Michael Reynolds says:


    and then you’re heating up the tar and feathers.

    Did I say I wanted them to be fired? No. I said they were idiots. If we went around firing idiots we’d have a very high UE rate.

    Unlike my progressive friends, I don’t believe in ruining a person’s life because he did or said something stupid – say, wearing blackface 30 years ago or, I don’t know, stealing money. I believe in redemption – for obvious reasons. Most of what I write ends up having redemption as a theme. It was frankly a little embarrassing once I noticed.

    I’m reading a book on the history of Oscar which has a long section on the Hollywood Black List. Now, I think it’s pretty clear that Communism turned out to be a murderously evil force in the world. Some writers were members. Do I therefore support HUAC? Of course not: I believe in freedom of speech.

    I believed in freedom of speech when I stood up to Left wing book banners and got canceled for my troubles. I explained at the time that if we abandon principal we’d be weakened if, in the future, it was Right-wingers banning books. Principals can unite across constituent groups whereas identity politics – which was the force behind Left wing book banning – would inevitably divide and weaken.

    But hey, what are the odds that we’d almost immediately be attacked by Right-wing book banners?

    I also believe in defending minorities and women and all sorts of old-fashioned liberal shit. But I DGAF about striking a moral pose or showing off for my friends or trying to stay in synch with my circle. I believe in ideas, in abstractions, capital T truth, and freedom and when I have to defend those principles I want to win. So, will I wrap my arms around some fuckwit university president who’s stabbing holes in our lifeboat? No, she can swim. Same principal applies when I bitch about Hollywood’s incompetent handling of DEI. Don’t fuck things up by being stupid. My enemies I can handle, it’s my friends who worry me.

    I’m not loyal to a group, I’m loyal to principles. I try very hard to see the truth. I’m not always right. Note: I voted for Nixon in 1972. But I was right about book banning, I was right about Hollywood DEI, I am right about identity politics, and I’m right about Gaza.

  40. MarkedMan says:


    It’s a mistake

    I disagree. Yes, in South Africa it was somewhat different. But we have no better term for a “democracy” where only some people can vote, and the rest of the population is under the boot heel of the military, the police, the covert services.

  41. Modulo Myself says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You aren’t right about anything. A few weeks ago you are talking about how it it is libel to say Israel is committing genocide. Now you are happily admitting that they would commit genocide if it weren’t for the US. Either so much has changed or you just do not know what you are talking about.

    Honestly, you are becoming a gasbag who goes from 0 to college kids and the left in 2.5 seconds, 0 to WW2 in 2, and 0 to I in less than 1.

  42. MarkedMan says:


    As Israeli Arabs have full civil rights

    ”Full” seems a stretch, but even conceding that, there are 2 million non Israeli Arabs under the bot of the Israelis. They have no say whatsoever.

  43. Gustopher says:


    Israel would not soon run out of weapons, or collapse economically, if the US withdrew all support entirely.

    We should just do that then.

  44. Modulo Myself says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I’ll just add (because I thought about the phrase this morning) American democracy does not face an ‘existential threat’. It faces a concrete threat in the GOP, a party which has shown it has zero regard for democracy if the votes go the other way.

    When politicians talk about existential threats, it means there’s nothing concrete. Ukraine is an existential threat to Russia, because it isn’t a threat at all. Gay rights are existential threats to conservatives, because there’s nothing threatening in these rights. And as far as Israel goes, Hamas is both a concrete threat and represents an existential threat. And that’s why a goon like Stefanik thinks ‘intifada’ means genocide (and the Harvard president apparently agrees with her). Palestinian resistance is an existential threat to Israel in the same way that Hamas rampaging through kibbutzes is a real threat. What the global right craves are existential threats. They don’t care anything about real threats.

    So bottom line is that you want to embrace reactionary paranoia, you’re going to end up in GOP/Trump/Putin/QAnon. Once you start embracing existential threats, you will not stop, because everything becomes an existential threat which can not be explained by anything other than bullying, demagoguery, and violence. In this vein, the right answer to Stefanik was to tell her to go fuck herself. Intifada does not mean genocide and if you think it does you are an idiot. But the problem is that the pro-Isreal right is sliding hard into Pizzagate territory, and telling the truth is just throwing fuel into more conspiracy theories about anti-semitism.

  45. JohnSF says:

    Perhaps you should.
    And then see what eventuates.
    “Be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it.”

  46. JohnSF says:

    Because they are not categorized as citizens of Israel, because Israel has not formally annexed the West Bank.
    Do you wish it to do so?
    “Be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it.”

  47. JohnSF says:

    There are all sorts of better terms.
    Apartheid is simply inaccurate.
    Perhaps a closer analogue would be British rule in Ireland, in some respects, up to 1829.
    Or German Imperial rule in Alsace-Lorraine.
    Or etc etc.
    The main point is apartheid was based upon “visible racial” definitions, and the denial of almost all civil rights to “non Whites”.
    It’s just not how Israel functions.
    It’s a misleading analogy, that seems to me to be based on a desire to denounce, and to assert righteousness.
    That Israel’s policies regarding the West Bank are both ethically wrong, and pragmatically mistaken seems obvious.
    Invoking “apartheid”, or viewing it through the lens of American racial sociology and history, is a mistake which may lead to a complete inability to try to resolve the problem.
    A resolution might not be probable; but it’s probably even less possible if the involved are determined to see it in terms of their own history and politics.

  48. JohnSF says:

    @Modulo Myself:
    This is doubtful.
    Nazi Germany was regarded, and referred to, as an existential threat to Britain during WW2.
    Primarily because it was.
    Similarly, the UK regarded itself as an existential threat to Nazi Germany.
    Because we were.
    We intended to end them.
    We did.

  49. JohnSF says:

    @Modulo Myself:
    An “intifada” in and of itself does not equate to genocide.
    But it may be an indicator of genocidal intent and ambition.
    Hamas, who were the main actors in the post-2000 “intifada” operations, have been generally quite plain that their objective is the elimination of Israel, and of the “Zionist colonialist settlers”.
    This tends to make the Israelis disinclined to negotiate their future security with them.
    For some peculiar reason.
    It is also worth considering the history of “Palestinian nationalism” since the 1930’s.
    For instance, why, from 1948 to 1967, there was scant demand for Egypt and Jordan to surrender the West Bank and Gaza to a Palestinian state, but instead support for fedayeen and Fatah guerilla war against Israel.

    The Arab/Palestinian tendency since the 1937 Peel Plan has been to roll the Iron Dice.
    Well, fair enough.
    But the thing is, when you roll the Iron Dice, you don’t get to demand “backsies”.